As one might be able to tell from my impressions over on Mario’s Hat, I’m really looking forward to Hyrule Warriors. Part of this is due to my fondness of the action in The Legend of Zelda‘s setting, which this has in spades. Moreover, it’s also due to the cast of characters being featured.
The Zelda series has many great and memorable characters, but one problem with it is that you never get to see many of them together from game to game. Generally speaking, the only recurring characters have been Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, though Impa seems to be showing up more these days as well. The list of characters always grows, yet the cast never really manages to expand. Perhaps it’s a matter of my growing up with the likes of Masters of the Universe, ThunderCats, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, wherein the ranks seemed to be constantly swelling, but I like watching the forces of good and evil grow, the stakes raising ever-higher with each new addition.
In any case, while the Zelda cast has a higher turnover rate than the role of security guard in Five Nights at Freddy’s, Hyrule Warriors is bringing together an all-star cast of favorites from over the years. It is, in a word, glorious.
And yet… I want more.
Maybe I’m being a little greedy here, sure, but while I’m sure that Agitha, Fi, and Princess Ruto will make fine additions to the ranks, there are some characters that I just can’t help but want to see in this game. Of course, seeing that the game is already out in Japan as of this writing and there is no word on further characters than those already revealed, it seems unlikely that there are any more in the game. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t hope that the following characters show up as downloadable content, or even in a sequel.
Okay, this one is starting off with a bit of a softball. I am a sucker for the original Link– a fan through and through, even though he barely gets any attention these days. I do like other Links from throughout the ages, from A Link Between Worlds, Twilight Princess, and of course, the stylish scarf-wearing hero seen in Hyrule Warriors. But the original Link is the one who brought me to the dance, so to speak, and he just resonates with me more than just about any other, despite being one of the least-developed– or perhaps because of it.
As it is, we’re already getting other Links into the mix via downloadable content, including the Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess (yay!) versions. It would seem that they play more or less the same as the default version, serving as just different skins for the same basic frame, and of course Classic Link could be very much the same. But, they don’t have to do that.
To me, one of the most defining features of the original Link (franchise-wise, not timeline-wise, though with Skyward Sword…) is an ability that’s faded over the years: The ability to shoot beams from his sword. Many Links have not been able to perform this simple, iconic feat, and among those who have, only the original seems to have this ability innately. A Link to the Past, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds– any others who have demonstrated the ability to fire beams have only been able to do so with some sort of enchantment, such as through use of a more powerful blade such as the Master Sword. Meanwhile, Classic Link seems able to do it with pretty much any sword he lays his hands on.
But whether he can fire from his blade or not, I would love to see the OG return in style… perhaps with his Magical Sword in tow.
The original Zelda… or Zeldas… the ones on the NES didn’t really have anything special to them unto themselves. On the other hand, her portrayal in other media was considerably stronger and much more strongly suited to a game like this.
This version of Zelda is perhaps best known to fans of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, particularly those who remembered to tune in on Friday for the once-a-week The Legend of Zelda cartoon, and later in Captain N: The Game Master. Those weren’t her only appearances, however, as this version was also used across other media, such as Valiant’s Nintendo Comics System books and the Nintendo Adventure Books from Archway.
While again, a simple palette swap would be manageable, the option also exists to use other weapons which stay true to her appearances. Rather than wield a sword, her weapons of choice are most frequently boomerangs, bows, and even crossbows– say, wasn’t there another game with one of those? Incidentally, expect that to come up again later.
In any case, regardless of what weapon she uses, I’d love to see this Zelda back in action– ideally fighting alongside Classic Link in the game’s 2-player mode.
Still rolling with the softballs, yes.
Really, though, this is just more of an excuse to say that it would be cool to have multiple players each using a different colored Link. Of course, considering the fact that the game is only for one or two players, perhaps this idea is something of a wash? I don’t know, I still like the idea, though I guess the Four Swords nomenclature isn’t really applicable here.
But really, given how much I absitively, posolutely loved The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, how could I possibly leave the one and only Princess Hilda off of the list? Simply put, I obviously couldn’t.
Truth be told, I’m not sure what Hilda could bring to the battlefield. Sure, she could just be another variation on Zelda, but then that would be a waste of her perfectly good staff, one would think.
Incidentally, I’m sure there are those wondering why I didn’t bring up Ravio. I love the guy, but without spoiling the story from the game (seriously, if you have a Nintendo 3DS and haven’t yet, go play it! Now!), I really don’t think he’s cut out to be cutting down row after row of Bokoblins and other villainous creatures. And really, if he were to do so, it would just seem like a tremendous betrayal of his character overall.
For those who are unfamiliar, Roam is a character introduced by Shotaro Ishinomori (of Cyborg 009, Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and other fame) in his 1992 comic adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Nintendo Power magazine. Though I’m not really a fan of that particular comic (with all due respect, I much prefer Himekawa’s manga), I will admit that Roam is an interesting enough character to consider, particularly for what he could potentially bring to the game.
Known as “The Mystery Knight,” Roam, like Link, is a descendent of the Knights of Hyrule– a master archer, no less. In addition to a sword, he also wields a crossbow for his arrow-slinging needs (told you it would come up again).
His most interesting ability, however, is being able to transform into a humanoid eagle form and take flight while retaining use of his weapons. This was the result of the Dark World’s transformative powers combined with his negative emotions, which in the comic had to be mastered in order to retain a human form (rather than a pink bunny, Link had to keep his in check to avoid becoming a werewolf-like creature, predating Twilight Princess by about 14 years). Unfortunately, without a little bit of deus ex machina writing, Roam might not be able to bring said transformation with him into Hyrule.
Though a fun character, Groose’s effectiveness was largely situational. And by “situational,” I mean his combat contributions consisted of building a catapult to launch bombs at a giant demon in a hole. A worthwhile contribution, don’t get me wrong, but unless that thing can come off its tracks, it’s hard to imagine it being much use in Hyrule Warriors. Heck, even if it could, it’s still hard to imagine in any capacity beyond “background character.”
On the other hand, he was a student at Skyloft’s Knight Academy, so maybe he has some skills we’ve yet seen?
Damn right, Ganon. We have a Hyrule Warriors Ganondorf, and through Club Nintendo, his Ocarina and Twilight Princess forms. Why not his classic “Prince of Darkness” form?
Pluses: He’s huge. Minuses: He’s huge, which might be a slight problem to incorporate from a technical standpoint, as most characters in Hyrule Warriors seem to occupy roughly the same amount of space.
Back in the green column, he has the “Trident of Power,” the antithesis of the Master Sword, as well as a variety of cool flame attacks which would be awesome to use in a 3D slash-em-up game like this.
Ganon is pretty much end-of-game material, but that’s precisely why using this form to annihilate hordes of foes all at once would be so cool. Do we really need any more reason than that? Besides, if Classic Link and Zelda were to be included, you’d want to round out the set.
Whether you like him, love him, or hate him, you can’t deny that Vaati has left a significant footprint on the series, effectively acting as the main villain/driving force for three games, more than anyone besides Ganondorf himself. Though most commonly seen in his more monstrous forms, one mustn’t forget that his genesis in Minish Cap also revealed his more humanoid side– a side that would benefit from being redesigned to fit the Hyrule Warriors aesthetic, having only been seen in games which followed in the footsteps of Wind Waker‘s toon styling.
In addition to his sorcerer ways, one can easily assume that the ash-faced antagonist is also adept at swordplay. As Minish Cap opens, we soon learn that it was he who won the sword-fighting tournament held at Hyrule’s Picori Festival, which makes him seem like a solid fit for the style of action Hyrule Warriors brings to the table.
Finally, we have…
The Palace Guardians: Horsehead, Helmethead, Rebonack, Carock, and Gooma
Okay, straight-up confession time: The entire reason I made this list was to include these guys. Heck, when I started, the list was only these guys, but then I got to thinking about more, resulting in the above.
One thing I find particularly interesting with is that, with the likes of Ganondorf, Zant, and Ghirahim being available (and my suggestion of Vaati above), one might think that this lot would add to the ranks of playable villains, but no. These are the good guys.
In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, each one served as the guardian of one palace set throughout the greater land of Hyrule long ago. Their mission, as bestowed upon them by none other than the king of Hyrule himself, was to guard the stone statue in each palace, protecting it from those dark or unworthy forces who might seek to venture into the Great Palace and seize the power of the Triforce of Courage for themselves.
Link had to prove his worth by besting them in combat, and their true nature was well– if not best– illustrated by the appearance of Rebonack (aka the “boss” Ironknuckle) in one of Valiant’s comics:
As such, it’s easy enough to imagine Horsehead, Helmethead, Rebonack, Carock, and Gooma pledging their fealty to the princess of Hyrule in a time most dire. Heck, even better would be a scenario in which Ganondorf is the one to summon them, only to learn where their true loyalties lie.
Each guardian brings something different into the mix as well. Horsehead is the most basic, a towering force (as most of them are) who swings a mean mace that could probably clear a room. Meanwhile, Helmethead lives up to his name by being able to remotely control two floating helmets that launch fireballs at their target (which he himself can generate as well). The potential here is clear, as his sword and shield could be used to clear away foes in a more conventional manner, while his additional helmets could provide assistance from above, raining fiery destruction down upon the enemy hordes.
Carock, the mighty Wizzrobe, would be a formidable force on the battlefield, as his short-range teleportation and constant volley of magic spells would keep foes guessing. Meanwhile, Gooma, a boss developed exclusively for the U.S. version as a larger, stronger form of the normal Gumas encountered throughout earlier palaces, would likely have the most brute strength of the lot, and can quickly deal out damage with strikes from his spiked ball and chain.
Finally, there is Rebonack, who basically planted this entire idea in my head during the early reveals when I thought “I want to play as an Ironknuckle!”, and the idea kept escalating from there. Admittedly, seeing as Ironknuckles were basically designed to be the opposite-number troops to Link’s basic sword-fighting abilities in Zelda II, they might not offer much that Link doesn’t himself. Rebonack, on the other hand, brings the aforementioned sword beams into play, but even better? He has a mechanical horse. Just the thought of riding that and plowing through hordes of enemies with the front-mounted spikes and Rebonack’s lance is delightful.
However, that does leave the question of the one odd guardian out: Barba, the dragon who guards the sixth and final palace before Link ventures to the Great Palace. Emerging from a pool of lava to strike, one gets the idea that Barba isn’t the most mobile of creatures beyond that pool.
However, the Japanese version might hold the key, as the dragon is known there as Volvagia– the same name as the dragon who emerges from a pool of lava and flies around his cave to fight Link in Ocarina of Time. While this might nonetheless be a questionable fit for the action of Hyrule Warriors, one could imagine the possibility of the other guardians (or other characters, period) being able to summon the might beast for some sort of special attack. Even better would be if, like in the Japanese version of Zelda II, he sounded like an oncoming freight train upon approaching the battlefield.
On the other hand, there are other reasons (Warning: Possible spoilers) that Barba/Volvagia could be left out, though depending on how it was written, it could provide motivation for the rest as well.
And there we have it! These are the 14 characters (or variations on characters, in some cases) that I believe are must-haves in some way, shape, or form for Hyrule Warriors, now or in the future.
Agree? Disagree? Have some of your own you’d like to see in there, like Saria, Nabooru, a Darknut, or even Tingle? Sound off in the comments below, as I’d love to see who you can drag out of the annals of Zelda history for this one.