One of the most critically-acclaimed video game franchises is the Legend of Zelda, a series of games filled with memorable characters like Link, Princess Zelda, and Ganondorf. These characters have generated fan bases from all over the world. Their popularity has earned them roles in other video games outside of the Legend of Zelda series, such as the Super Smash Bros. franchise where Link has been a playable character in every installment.
The Legend of Zelda features dozens of other characters who are memorable to fans of the series, but for completely different reasons. These are characters some fans would like to forget, simply because of how frustrating they can be. Sometimes Link would be forced to deal with them in battle, but on other occasions Link would have no choice but to work alongside them. An unlikable character who accompanies the player throughout the entire game is the kind that can make the gaming experience extremely frustrating.
It seems that Nintendo has listened to their fans with the release of Breath of the Wild, a game that seems to be missing many of the annoying character archetypes featured in previous installments.
While we enjoy the independence of adventuring alone in Breath of the Wild, let’s take a look back at the 15 Most Annoying Zelda Characters.
Long before fans were complaining about Link’s companions in Wind Waker, Majora’s Mask, and Skyward Sword, there was Navi, Link’s fairy companion in Ocarina of Time. Navi is considered by many fans to be not only one of the most annoying characters in the Legend of Zelda franchise, but one of the most annoying video game characters of all-time. Navi is well-remembered for her repeated interruptions of “Hey,” “Listen,” “Watch out,” and “Look.”
Though her advice could sometimes be ignored, she’d keep saying “Hey” until you finally decided to hear what she had to say, even though there was a good chance that you already knew it what it was. Navi was also strongly opposed to the idea of Link taking part in any side-quests. Any adventuring in Hyrule that didn’t directly involve defeating Ganondorf would be met with a sharp reminder from Navi that you still have work to do.
In Twilight Princess, Link gets a new kind of helper in the form of Midna, an imp-like creature from the Twilight Realm who joins forces with Link to defeat the evil Zant. Midna has become one of the most popular characters in the Legend of Zelda franchise, but the character is not without her shortcomings. She makes constant interjections with the purpose of bossing Link around or explaining a problem before the player has a chance to solve it.
In the beginning of the game, Midna treats Link like a slave as she uses him to serve her own ends. She berates and insults him, forcing Link to put up with the verbal abuse until Midna finally realizes the error of her ways. Midna actually does go through a considerable amount of character development and begins to become a more likable companion for our hero.
When sailing in the Great Sea in Wind Waker, you may have come across an enormous cyclone. Within these cyclones is a magical frog named Cyclos. If you draw too close, you’ll get sucked in. While spinning around in the tornado, the only way you can attack him is to use your bow and arrows. If you fail to defeat him fast enough, you’ll find yourself launched to some random location in the Great Sea, an area that’s most likely nowhere close to your current destination.
This inconvenience will continue to repeat itself each time you fail, with you being uprooted from your spot on the map and sent somewhere else. When you defeat Cyclos, he’ll teach you the Ballad of Gales so you can warp to other places on the map. It’s a useful tool that almost makes up for the frustration caused by Cyclos and his tornadoes.
One of the characters who assists Link in Skyward Sword is Scrapper, an ancient robot who was restored to his normal functions by the Skyloft blacksmith. He helps Link by retrieving large objects too heavy for Link to lift by himself. He’s motivated by his affection for Fi, the fairy that resides in Link’s sword. His jealousy toward Link causes him to disrespect the protagonist by insulting him throughout the game and calling him “Master Shortpants.”
Scrapper’s constant insults may be annoying, but it was the quest at the Volcano Summit that secured Scrapper’s place on this list. During this part of the story, you have to escort him through a dangerous area to use the Water Basin to access the Fire Sanctuary. Instead of keeping his distance while Link clears the path ahead of monsters, Scrapper stays as close as he can, putting himself in constant danger throughout the journey. His close proximity to Link makes it difficult to protect him, especially when they encounter a pair of Lizalfos. Scrapper repeatedly cries for help each time he’s attacked, forcing Link to divert his attention from his own opponent to save the danger-prone robot.
11. The Gerudo
The Gerudo are a race of women famous for their reputation as warriors. Isolated from other societies, the Gerudo live primarily in desert environments. The Gerudo have appeared in multiple games but debuted in Ocarina of Time. Link must complete a serious of challenges involving the Gerudo before gaining access to the Spirit Temple.
The Gerudo serve an obstacle for Link simple because they hate men. It is for this reason that Link gets thrown into a jail cell every time they catch him within their walls. These high-and-mighty women make the Gerudo Fortress one of the most challenging parts of the game.
At the beginning of Ocarina of Time, our young hero Link must visit the Great Deku Tree to begin his quest to save Hyrule from Ganondorf. The first obstacle in his path is the so-called Great Mido, a member of the Kokiri who demands that Link find both a sword and a shield before visiting the tree. Mido looks down on Link simply because he doesn’t have a fairy, though in actuality he’s a jerk to everyone and makes all the Kokiri work for him.
Mido was always cruel to Link because he was secretly jealous of his friendship with Saria. After the death of the Great Deku Tree, it comes as no surprise when Mido blames it all on Link, who he has always looked at him as an outsider.
We haven’t seen Mido since Ocarina of Time, but in the Wii title Skyward Sword we get Groose, who we could basically call Mido 2.0. Idiotic, arrogant, and immature, Groose is everything that Mido was, but worse. His unrequited love for Zelda caused him to take out his frustrations on Link. His bullying of Link sinks to a new low when he resorts to stealing Link’s loftwing which almost costs the hero a chance at competing in the Wing Ceremony. His antics forces Link to go to great lengths to retrieve his loftwing. Though Link still manages to win the Wing Ceremony and defeat Groose, we can’t help but feel that Link was unable to give Groose his just due.
In Phantom Hourglass, one of the colorful characters you encounter during your adventures is a pirate named Jolene. In fact, you probably encountered Jolene several times.
Known as the She-Pirate, Jolene hunts down Link’s ship in order to settle a score with Link’s ally, Linebeck. Her actions give Link no other choice but to fight her. Link can defeat Jolene but it won’t matter. She’ll pop up again at random locations on the map. If the player doesn’t watch out for her on the sea chart, she’ll come back into a range for another round. Link’s repetitive battles with Jolene are always the same, giving the player good reason to avoid her at all costs. Unfortunately, Jolene won’t leave you alone until you progress to a certain point in the game’s story.
7. The Ghost
One observation you can make about the characters in the Legend of Zelda series is that the one who annoy players the most aren’t the hero’s enemies, but the friendly characters he meets on his journey. In Link’s Awakening, our hero will eventually attract the attention of a sad ghost who will follow him all over the map, making irritating noises all along the way without making it clear exactly what it is he wants you to do. He also won’t let you venture into any dungeons, which effectively makes the ghost’s problem a mandatory side-quest.
Whenever you’re tired of listening to him or ready to go in a dungeon, you’ll have to figure out where the ghost wants to go. As soon as you take him back to his house and assume the quest is over, the ghost will ask to be taken to his grave. Only then do you get a reward for everything he’s put you through.
Though Demise is the main antagonist of Skyward Sword, the villain with the biggest presence in the game is Ghirahim, the flamboyant demon lord who opposes Link. Conceited and bloodthirsty, Ghirahim tries to kill Link multiple times while underestimating him at every turn. Ghirahim never seems to take Link seriously and shrugs off each humiliating defeat as pure luck. Ghirahim is similar in a lot of ways to the stereotypical martial arts movie character who operates as a secondary antagonist. He repeatedly loses to the hero while somehow believing that their next encounter will be different. But of course, it never is.
5. The Running Man
Found running around Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time is a character dubbed “The Running Man.” When Link meets him as a child, he can sell him a bunny hood for a hefty price. The character becomes much less helpful seven years into the future when Link meets him as an adult. This time, the Running Man challenges Link to a race.
Running the entire race can take a couple minutes, so if you race him repeatedly you’ll find yourself spending a great deal trying in vain to beat him. No matter how fast you are, you’ll always lose. Each time you finish the race and think you’ve finally won, the Running Man will announce that he’s beaten you by one second. If you use a Gameshark code to freeze the timer at 0.00 seconds, the Running Man will still claim victory.
4. The Skull Kid
The Skull Kid is a mischievous, eternally youthful character that appears in three of the main titles in the Legend of Zelda series. In Ocarina of Time, Link has to teach him Saria’s Song as a child, and has to fight him as an adult. In Majora’s Mask, the Skull Kid becomes the game’s antagonist when he steals Majora’s Mask, taking him from a minor annoyance to an apocalyptic threat. The Skull Kid’s act of thievery creates a titanic mess that only Link can clean up.
If having the moon crash into the Earth wasn’t enough, the Skull Kid returns to test our patience once again in Twilight Princess. To get the Master Sword, Link has to get through the Skrull Kid by playing a game of hide-and-seek with him. During the game, Link also has to avoid the Skull Kid’s puppets which keep respawning no matter how many times he destroys them.
3. Princess Ruto
In Ocarina of Time, young Link must find all three of the Spiritual Stones to open the Door of Time and acquire the Master Sword. To get Zora’s Sapphire, Link must venture into Jabu-Jabu’s Belly, the third dungeon of the game and rescue the missing Princess Ruto. His greatest opposition isn’t the monsters lurking within, it’s the princess herself. Ruto is portrayed as the stereotypical spoiled-brat princess who does nothing but complain while the valiant hero tries to rescue her.
After refusing to walk, Ruto takes every opportunity to scold Link while forcing him to carry her around. Link has to continue setting her down and picking her back up again each time he wanted to open a door or fight an enemy. The one thing that she was good for is that Link could use her weight to activate switches.
Ruto finally warms up to Link after they escape Jaba-Jabu’s belly. Ruto gives him Zora’s Sapphire as a sign of their engagement. Considering the trouble Link had to go through to rescue Ruto, we can’t blame him for never marrying her.
Introduced in Majora’s Mask is one of the strangest characters to ever appear in the Legend of Zelda series, Tingle. Not only is he the strangest, but he’s also one of the most easily recognized characters behind Link, Zelda, Navi, Ganondorf, and Midna. Tingle is a 35-year-old man who dresses up like a fairy, hangs from a balloon and says, “Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah!” His main purpose in this game is to sell maps to the player.
Tingle is given the same function in Wind Waker, except in this installment of the franchise, the developers have turned Tingle into what some fans call an extortionist. After you rescue him from the town jail, Tingle will begin selling you sea charts which are necessary for finding the pieces of the Triforce. In some video games, a character indebted to you might at the very least offer a discount, but in the case of Tingle, you’re forced to pay an outrageous sum of almost 400 Rupees per chart, which adds up to a total of over 3,000 Rupees.
Beginning with Ocarina of Time was a tradition of Link being guided through the game by a fairy sidekick. In Skyward Sword, Link’s companion is Fi, a spirit that resides within the Goddess Sword. Fi acts an A.I., providing him with advice based on logic and statistics.
The problem with Fi is that most of her advice pertains to things that the player is generally already aware of. If you’re low on health, the game lets you know by the constant beeping sound, which many fans find annoying all on its own. Despite the warning, Fi will always deem it necessary to pop out of the sword and interrupt whatever you’re doing to remind you to find health.
Some fans complain that Fi’s advice about the player’s quest helps to ruin one of the most fun things about the Legend of Zelda series, which is the part where you have to figure out your next move on your own. Fi’s repeated interruptions also slow down the player’s progress.
It could be that Nintendo was listening to their fans when they released the latest game in the series, Breath of the Wild, without including a character like Fi to hold your hand through the story.