The Legend of Zelda series is one of Nintendo’s popular and best-selling franchises. The series was conceived as an opposite to the Super Mario series with it having a focus on non-linear gameplay and an overhead view. It also revolutionized gaming forever by introducing the save feature which has become a staple in almost all modern games. The series has been a part of the Super Smash Bros series since the very beginning and has expanded with every game. This article will examine how the series has changed through each installment of Smash and why these changes were made. It will also look at which Zelda games have seen representation in each game and in what form.
Super Smash Bros.
The original Super Smash Bros was developed alongside Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64 and because of this the content in Smash 64 has very peculiar origins. This game saw only one Zelda character, the player’s stand-in: Link. Link’s design in Smash 64 is based off of concept art for adult Link in Ocarina of Time. Although his main design is from Ocarina of Time, many of his moves are not. Link’s bombs, hookshot and boomerang (the latter being an item he could not use as an adult in OoT) are based on their A Link to the Past designs. Due to this, we end up with a character based on designs from various games in the series.A Link to the Past was also the first game to feature Link’s spin-attack, which acts as his up-special in the Smash series. Link’s entrance animation could be based on Ocarina of Time but it is not completely true to how exiting a dungeon looks in that game. Two of Link’s alt costumes are based on the Goron and Zora tunic from Ocarina of Time while his final alt is based on Link’s appearance when he gets the blue ring in the original Legend of Zelda for NES. Finally, some of Link’s standard attacks are taken from Zelda II the Adventure of Link.
Zelda has 1 level in the original Super Smash Bros which is Hyrule Castle. This version of Hyrule Castle is based on the version from Ocarina of Time. The background image is a picture of Death Mountain from Ocarina and a sign from that game also appears. The music is a remix of the original Legend of Zelda theme and the tornado hazard is also from the original Zelda.
Lastly there is one item from the Legend of Zelda in this game being the Heart Container. This item is based on its design from the Ocarina of Time.
Overall that makes one of each category for series representation in the original Smash game: one character, one stage, one item and one song (not including the victory fanfare). All of the console games up to that point were referenced in some way or the other, but Link’s handheld adventure, Link’s Awakening missed the boat.
Referenced: Legend of Zelda, Legend of Zelda II, Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time
Not Referenced: Link’s Awakening
Super Smash Bros Melee
The second game in the Super Smash Bros series only came out a few years after the first but saw a massive jump in Zelda content in that time. There had been three Zelda games released in between Smash 64 and Melee: the two Oracle games on the GBC and Majora’s Mask for the N64. Despite this, Melee chooses to continue to use it’s main source of inspiration from the Ocarina of Time designs for the overall aesthetics of Zelda representation. This time around Sakurai could work on Link using the final game model and artwork from Ocarina of Time, so he appears more true. The boomerang, bombs and hookshot were all updated to have their Ocarina of Time designs and the Fairy Bow from OoT was added as a new move for Link. Everything else about Link’s moves stayed the same., He did get one new alt not based on any game before.
There are four new characters from the Zelda franchises added in Super Smash Bros. Melee and all of them are from the Ocarina of Time. Zelda and Sheik are two unique characters who have a transforming mechanic. All of Sheik’s moves and alts are unique to the Smash series while Zelda has moves based on the three spells Link can acquire in Ocarina of Time. Din’s fire is the only move not to act like its original counterpart. The two clone characters are Ganondorf and Young Link, the latter acting exactly like Link and using the same attacks. The only difference between the two is that Young Link is obviously based on his child design from Ocarina of Time and so he sports the Kokiri Sword and shield instead of Link’s Master Sword and Hylian Shield. Young Link also has a bottle of Lon Lon Milk from Ocarina of Time. Ganondorf acts very different like his in-game counterpart as he is based on Captain Falcon due to their similar body types. His model looks like it’s from Ocarina of Time but, it is actually from the Spaceworld 2000 tech demo and this is why he has a sword in his victory animation. That is the only content in Smash from the Zelda series that originate from a tech demo.
In regards to stages and music in Melee, the Zelda series saw a jump from one to two and one to three respectively. The first of the new stages was Temple which is based on the recurring idea of dungeons from the Zelda franchise. It’s two main inspirations are Zelda II with certain parts mimicking it exactly, and the stages song theme being a remix of the Zelda II temple theme; while the other inspiration is Ocarina of Time with the Temple of Time cameoing in the background. Melee’s other Zelda stage is Great Bay from Majora’s Mask. This level has many elements taken from that game like the moon in the background and Tingle as a hazard. It has two stage themes but neither of them are from Majora. The first is a new remix of the main Zelda theme while the other is ‘Saria’s Song’ from Ocarina of Time.
Melee introduces one new Zelda item which is the Bunny Hood from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. The item has the same function as the hood did in Majora’s Mask with granting the wearer increased speed. The Heart Container also comes back, looking and functioning exactly like it did in the first Smash game.
Melee introduced the concept of trophies to the franchise.. The Zelda series itself got 30 different trophies with most of them coming from Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask, although it did allow for a Marin trophy which finally gave Link’s Awakening, the first Game Boy Zelda game, some much needed love.
One of the new modes introduced in Melee was an Adventure mode where players rand around various levels based on Nintendo’s different playable series in Smash. One of these was of course, the Legend of Zelda which saw both a platforming based level that makes references to both Zelda II with its music and level design and Ocarina of Time with its art design. It also included three different enemy types all from OoT being the ReDead, Octorok and Like Like enemies.
Overall Melee saw a large increase in the amount of Zelda content from the character count going up to five, the stages and item count doubling up to two each, two additional music tracks being added and with three songs overall and finally 30 new trophies added. As for the amount of games represented all four games from before get some content shown with Majora’s Mask and Link’s Awakening being the two newcomers bringing the total amount of games represented to six. Unfortunately both Oracles games miss out on any content and do not ever get any content in future Super Smash Bros titles.
Referenced: Legend of Zelda, Legend of Zelda II, Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask
Not Referenced: Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons
Super Smash Bros Brawl
The third game in the Super Smash Bros series aimed to go for a more detailed approach in the way it look and so all the Zelda content in the game received a massive redesign. The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess was the latest console Zelda title at this time and so a lot of Brawl’s visuals for the Zelda franchise took from this game instead of Ocarina of Time. All of Link’s items were changed once again to match their new Twilight Princess designs and Link’s black alt was replaced with his Dark Link appearance from that game. One of Link’s new taunts has him pull out a fairy which could be Navi from the Ocarina of Time but it could also just be a random fairy. Link got a new stage entrance in this game which is based on the original Zelda game by having him warp in on a tornado.
Zelda gets her brown-haired look from Twilight Princess in this game although a classic look based on her Ocarina colours is also present. All of her moves continue to be based on Ocarina of Time except her new Final Smash: the light arrows. These are based on the bow and arrows she uses in Twilight Princess. Sheik is based on early concept art for her in Twilight Princess as she does not appear in the final game.Thanks to that all of her moves stay the same. Ganondorf is now made more unique and slightly more accurate to his in-game appearance, most of the details can be found here in an article written by Frostwraith,. His design is from Twilight Princess (like the rest of them) and his sword now takes that appearance of the Sword of Sages from that game and is used as a taunt.
The Zelda series loses one character in the jump from Melee to Brawl but also gains a new one. Toon Link sails into the Brawl and is unique from the others as he is based off of the Wind Waker instead of Twilight Princess. This gives two different Zelda styles a chance to shine for once. Toon Link is a semi-clone of Link with slightly different standard and aerial attacks. He shares all the same specials with Link still but this time they are based on their Wind Waker designs instead.Toon Link’s alts reference the Four Swords series of games, specifically Four Swords Adventures, and also has a design based on the classic Link from the first two games.
Temple returns from Melee as a Zelda stage but the series also gets two brand new stages based on the two main console Zelda’s of the time: The Bridge of Eldin from Twilight Princess and Pirate Ship from the Wind Waker. This matches up with the character designs in Brawl and this continues into the items. The Heart Container is now designed to look like it’s Twilight Princess variant and Tingle was added as the first Zelda Assist trophy, based on his Wind Waker design. The Bunny Hood returns from Melee and looks the same due to not appearing in either Twilight Princess or Wind Waker and it is joined by the new Deku Nut item which also has its design from Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask for the same reason.
For the first time Brawl introduced the concept of having more than two songs per stage and letting players customize the frequency of which they appear. This allowed for more Zelda representation in the music and Brawl ended up containing 20 different music tracks from nine Zelda games. Most of these games had already been represented in Smash before but there was one new game: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures with the song ‘Village of the Blue Maiden’.
Trophies return in Super Smash Bros Brawl and coming along with them are Stickers. Both of these have Zelda representation with 47 trophies and 75 stickers respectively. Of the 47 trophies almost all of them are based on Twilight Princess and Wind Waker as per the norm in Brawl. In fact, the only two that are not are two of the items (Bunny Hood and Deku Nut) which are based on Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. So, that is only four games which is only one more than Melee. Thankfully stickers pick up the slack by representing nine different games: the four being included with trophies and then Zelda 1, The Minish Cap, A Link to the Past, Phantom Hourglass and then the only Zelda spin-off game to get any references in the Smash series at all, Tingle’s Rosy Rupee-land.
Although the amount of characters stayed the same, The Legend of Zelda saw an increase in every other department with its representation. Melee had six Zelda games be represented and that number has more than doubled in size to 13. This is largely due to the the stickers and music selection however.
Assist Trophies: 1
Referenced: Legend of Zelda, Legend of Zelda II, Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Four Swords, The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Tingle’s Rosy Rupee-Land,
Not Referenced: Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons
Super Smash Bros for…
Finally we come to the latest Super Smash Bros title which was split into two separate games: one for the 3DS and one for the Wii U. I will start by covering what is in both games before moving onto the individual game representation. Starting with the characters they are all identical in design to how they were in Super Smash Bros Brawl but with some slight new moves. Link now has his forward slash which was introduced in Ocarina of Time. Zelda has a phantom attack which references The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks. Sheik gets two new moves but they are both original to Smash. Ganondorf and Toon Link remain the same. Some characters have some new alts that reference some other games from the Zelda series: Link has a Fierce Deity outfit from Majora’s Mask and a Skyloft outfit from Skyward Sword. Ganondorf gets an alt based on his classic colours as pig Ganon from the original Legend of Zelda. Lastly, Toon Link loses his classic Link outfit to have a design based on his appearance from A Link Between Worlds. Mii Fighters were introduced in Smash for and come with their own outfits based on popular Nintendo IP. The only two outfits to be based on Zelda however are the Link outfit based on his Skyward Sword design and the Majora’s Mask from the game of the same name.
Items are the other aspect of Super Smash Bros that are the same in both games. The Zelda series saw a huge jump in the amount of items this time around going from three items and one assist trophy to eight items and four assist trophies! The Bunny Hood and Deku Nuts return and are identical to Brawl but the Heart Container continues the trend of being based on the latest console Zelda by adopting its Skyward Sword design. The rest of the items don’t take from any Zelda game in particular, but from multiple of the home console games. The Bombchu appears from Ocarina of Time; the Fairy Bottle that first appeared in A Link to the Past was added as a healing item; a Cucco appears as an item and sports its Twilight Princess design and finally both the Gust Bellows and Beetle from Skyward Sword were included. The assist trophies also cover various main console Zelda games in their references. Tingle returns sporting his Wind Waker design again; the Skull Kid appears with his Majora’s Mask design; Midna from Twilight Princess will sometimes come out to assist and lastly Ghirahim from Skyward Sword can be called upon to attack opponents.
That covers it for all the content in both games (outside of a handful of trophies and songs) so next we will move onto…
Beginning with the stages, the Zelda franchise saw two brand new stages and one returning stage that was added as DLC for both versions of the game. The returning stage was Hyrule Castle 64 from the original Super Smash Bros. The two new stages were made using assets from two handheld Zelda titles: Ocarina of Time (3D) and Spirit Tracks. The former is called Gerudo Valley and contains a cameo from Koume and Kotake from that game while the latter stage has you fight on top of the spirit train.
In Super Smash Bros for 3DS every stage gets two songs each. Starting with the stage music, Hyrule Castle has its original medley and a new remix which takes songs from the original game, Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past. Gerudo Valley has two songs from Ocarina of Time, a medley and a remix of it’s own area theme. Finally the Spirit Train has a remix of the Spirit Tracks overworld theme and then a song mash-up of two songs from the original Legend of Zelda. That is not all the music though as there are an additional three Zelda songs within Smash Run making the total number of music from Zelda represented a big ol’ nine. The three songs exclusive to Smash Run take from Skyward Sword, A Link to the Past and Zelda II making it six Zelda games to get music this time around.
Another feature of Smash Run are the enemies units. There are now seven enemies from the Zelda series to make an appearance in Super Smash Bros for 3DS with two of them returning from Melee. The Redead returns and retains it’s Ocarina design but the Octorok receives a change to resemble its Skyward Sword appearance instead. Of the remaining five enemies: three are from Ocarina of Time (Stalfos, Bubble and Peahat), one from Twilight Princess (Darknut) and one from A Link to the Past (Cucco although it’s trophy uses the designs from Ocarina of Time instead).
The final Zelda representation in Super Smash Bros for 3DS is the trophy section. There are now 59 trophies in Super Smash Bros for 3DS although 18 of these are shared across both versions. Each playable character gets an alt. trophy which shares the same dialogue in both versions but has a different pose and outfit so I am treating them as separate trophies. There is more variety in which games the trophies come from this time around although it follows the pattern of being based on whatever the latest games were. Twilight Princess and the Wind Waker get represented through the character trophies while Majora’s Mask and Skyward Sword get referenced through the items instead. Then the three games to get the main focus with trophies this time are Ocarina of Time (3D), Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. This makes a total seven games represented through the Smash 3DS trophies which is three more than in Brawl.
Overall, there are 13 Zelda titles which are represented in Super Smash Bros for 3DS: these being the seven from the trophies and then Zelda 1, 2 and A Link to the Past through music and character’s moves. Finally Toon Link’s alts reference both Four Swords title and A Link Between Worlds.
Starting with the stages we only saw one new Zelda stage this time being Skyloft from Skyward Sword. This is the first time since Smash 64 that Zelda only had one new level, but to make up for this it ended up having a total of four returning stages. The previously mention Hyrule Castle 64 made it into both versions as Smash for DLC, but exclusive to the Wii U version we have Temple from Melee; Bridge of Eldin and Pirate Ship from Brawl. That is five stages overall with a stage from every Smash Bros game present (except 3DS) and each stage covers a unique console Zelda game: Ocarina of Time, Zelda II, Twilight Princess, Wind Waker and Skyward Sword.
Moving onto My Music all nine songs from Super Smash Bros for 3DS appear in this game but they are joined by an additional 25 for a grand total of 34 music tracks. Along with the six Zelda games featured through music in Smash 3DS we also get Link’s Awakening, Majora’s Mask, Four Swords Adventures and A Link Between Worlds represented.
The final form of representation comes from the trophies. There are 49 trophies overall from the Legend of Zelda series with 18 being shared with the 3DS version. This is actually 10 less trophies than on the 3DS version with less Zelda games represented. On the Wii U we only get the main console Zeldas represented being the five that got stages and Majora’s Mask bringing the total to six games represented.
Despite the lack of trophy representation there are still 13 Zelda games represented in Super Smash Bros for Wii U which is the same as the 3DS version. Both version come with one game they reference exclusively: for Smash Wii U it is Link’s Awakening through the ‘Tai Tai Heights’ song and in Smash 3DS it is Phantom Hourglass through some trophies.
(Both Wii U and 3DS)
Assist Trophies: 4
Smash Run Enemies: 7 (3DS Only)
Stages: 3 (3DS), 5 (Wii U) [1 Shared]
Music: 9 (3DS), 34 (Wii U)
Trophies: 59 (3DS), 49 (Wii U) [18 Shared]
Referenced: Legend of Zelda, Legend of Zelda II, Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening (Wii U only), Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Four Swords, Phantom Hourglass (3DS only), Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Spirit Tracks, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds
Not Referenced: Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Minish Cap, Tingle’s Rosy Rupee-Land
That covers it for all the Super Smash Bros games and nearly every Zelda game is represented in some way. Most of the ones missing are either spin-off games like the Game & Watch, Crossbow Training and remaining Tingle games. There are then also the games that came out after Super Smash Bros for Wii U & 3DS had mostly finished with development, these being Hyrule Warriors, Triforce Heroes and Zelda Wii U. The only big game to completely excluded are the two GBC Oracle games by Capcom. Below I have provided an easy to read list that shows how game representation from Zelda has changed in Super Smash Bros from each iteration:
Super Smash Bros:
- The Legend of Zelda is added
- Zelda II the Adventure of Link is added
- A Link to the Past is added
- Ocarina of Time is added
- Link’s Awakening is added
- Majora’s Mask is added
- Space World 2000 demo is added
- Four Swords added
- Wind Waker added
- Four Swords Adventure added
- Minish Cap added
- Twilight Princess added
- Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland added
- Phantom Hourglass added
- Space World 2000 demo is removed
- Spirit Tracks added
- Skyward Sword added
- A Link Between Worlds added
- Link’s Awakening removed (3DS only)
- Minish Cap removed
- Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland removed
- Phantom Hourglass removed (Wii U only)
The big thing to take away from all of this in regards to Smash’s Zelda representation is that despite not get an increase in characters since Melee and not getting any newcomer in the latest installment, it has excelled in every other department. The jump with items and stages between Brawl and Smash for was more than most other series. It should also be noted that if it was not for Toon Link’s alts referencing the first Four Swords game there would be no Capcom Zelda’s referenced in Smash for. This means that the big focus in Smash is on games Nintendo have personally developed in-house so Hyrule Warriors and maybe Triforce Heroes (which was developed by Grezzo) content may still miss out in future Smash titles…unless they end up being relevant around the time the next game is in development. Also, the games to get the biggest focus in Smash are usually the last few major Zelda console games in development so expect the next Smash title to have a focus on Zelda Wii U content.
Let me know in the comments what you thought about all of the Zelda representation in the Super Smash Bros series. Do you think there should have been more, less or is it perfect right now? Let me know how you feel about the lack of Capcom Zelda games being referenced and about your fears for which games might get cut in the future? I hope you enjoyed this read and remember to stay strong, smart and courageous in all of your future days.