The Legend of Zelda series has recently hit its thirtieth anniversary. It started with a basic game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with a little Elf man running around on a field, stabbing enemies with a sword. The series evolved into one of the most acclaimed video game franchises of all time. It is one of Nintendo’s biggest first party properties, a distinction it shares with classic series like Mario and Pokémon.
At the most recent E3 event, Nintendo only promoted a single game – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The latest entry in the Zelda series is one of the most hotly anticipated titles of 2017, and much like Twilight Princess before it, the game will be released on two consoles. Breath of the Wild will be released on both the Nintendo Wii U, and the equally anticipated Nintendo Switch.
With a series that has such a long and involved history, it is only natural that there are many secrets that most players are unaware of. Today, we will be peeling back the layers of Hyrule’s history. From the cut Goron boss that resembled a Power Rangers robot, to the censored sexual content of the handheld games. These are 15 Secrets Hidden In The Legend of Zelda.
15. The Goron Megazord
One of the recurring races that have appeared in Hyrule throughout the Zelda series is the Goron. They are a rock-like species, that mainly live in mountains and volcanoes. They tower over the other native inhabitants of Hyrule, and some can even grow to colossal sizes. Despite their stature, they are a peaceful people, and contain some of the noblest, and most gentle of warriors among their number.
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the relations between the Goron and the rest of Hyrule are heavily strained. When Link tries to enter their lands, he is faced with opposition at all sides. To even enter Death Mountain, he needs a pair of heavy Iron Boots in order to stand his ground against the Goron’s attacks. Making peace with the Gorons is one of the major quests in the game, and Link will eventually become their ally.
When going through the files of the game, hackers found an interesting boss monster that was left out. At one point in development, Link was supposed to battle a giant monster… composed of rolled up Gorons. Taking their inspiration from the Megazord in Power Rangers, the Goron combine into one huge monster, and would likely have given Link an interesting battle. Sadly, this fight was cut for unknown reasons.
14. The Arwing Of Time
One of the many innovations brought into the series by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the “Z-Targeting system”. Due to the Nintendo 64 only having one joystick (that was needed for movement), it was difficult to move the camera within the new 3D environments. This was resolved by pressing the Z button when enemies where near, allowing Link to be focused on that opponent. By using the Z-Targeting system, the player would be able to move around the enemy, whilst their attacks would still be aimed at them.
Implementing such a system was not easy, especially as Nintendo was new to creating 3D games. One of the ways in which Nintendo tested out this new system was by including a classic vehicle into the game – the Arwing from Star Fox.
By going through the game’s files, fans managed to discover a code to activate this lost test model. With the use of a cheating device, players could summon a fully functional Arwing. The ship will fire lasers at Link, and he can destroy it with a ranged weapon.
The Arwing was also included to help with the creation of the boss known as Volvaga. Volvaga’s movements were based on the Arwings from Star Fox 64. The Arwing model was included in the game as part of developing Volvaga within Ocarina of Time.
13. The Dragon Quest Grave
Zelda II: The Adventures of Link is considered the black sheep of the series. Even its own creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, is not a fan of the game. When asked if he had ever made a bad game, Miyamoto named Zelda II as the one he regrets not doing more with. That is a pretty damning statement, for what was once considered a great game at the time of its release. While it has not aged as well as it’s predecessor (especially in the difficulty department), it is still a worthwhile entry into a series that was still finding its feet.
At the time of the game’s release, it seems that the creators of the game were a bit more bullish about what they were making. In the Japanese version of Zelda II, the town of Saria contains a grave with a famous name engraved upon it. If you approach the grave, it will read – “Here Lies Loto”.
Loto was the name of the protagonist of the original Dragon Quest game on the NES. Dragon Quest was fast becoming one of the most successful video game series in Japan at that time, and the message could be interpreted as a friendly challenge from Nintendo to Enix.
The funny thing is, the original Final Fantasy also made this exact same joke… about both Dragon Quest and The Legend of Zelda. If you visit the town of Elfheim in Final Fantasy, there exists a cemetery. In the original Japanese version of the game, one of the tombstones has Link’s name upon it. In the American localization, the tombstone has the name of Erdrick, the English name of the protagonist of Dragon Quest.
12. Majora’s Training Montage
In The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, many of the dungeons in the game contain “Stray Fairies”. They are hidden in hard to reach places, and the player will most likely keep the Great Fairy’s Mask on while dungeon crawling (as its power is to attract Stray Fairies like a magnet). This has the added effect of making Link look like he is not quite prepared for his journey to stop the moon from crashing into Termina.
The rewards for assembling all of the Stray Fairies are worth the hassle you have to go through in order to obtain them. The first one grants you the ability to use magic (which is vital in continuing the game), the second allows him to use his Spin Attack, the third increases his maximum magic allowance, the fourth increases his resilience, and the fifth grants you the powerful Great Fairy’s Sword.
Originally, Nintendo had intended for the player to see a more in-depth explanation for the Great Fairy’s rewards. Fans have gone through the code of the game, and discovered lost cutscenes that show Link training with the Great Fairy. One of them shows Link being physically shown how to use the Spin Attack, and the second has Link doing a Rocky style training montage. The Great Fairy watches as Link does push-ups and sit-ups, presumably to increase his defence.
11. Death By Microphone
Compared to the later titles in the series, the original Legend of Zelda had very little text within the game. This didn’t stop the original English translation of the game from being a total mess. A lot of the English text made no sense, or was lacking crucial hints from the original Japanese version of the game. This left many early players floundering, and forced them to check every nook and cranny in order to proceed.
The bad translation also extended to the game’s manual. One of the monsters in the game is called the Pol’s Voice, and it’s description within the manual gives a hint to its weakness. The manual states that the Pol’s voice is “A ghost with big ears and a weak point – he hates loud noise”. This led many players to suspect that using the recorder item would somehow wound the Pol’s Voice… to no avail.
In recent years, fans have learnt the truth. The Japanese NES (the Famicom) had built-in controllers. The second controller had a microphone inside of it. If a player spoke into the microphone while in the same room as the Pol’s Voice, then they would all die. Due to the NES not having any microphones, this cannot be performed. The part about their weakness was still translated, however, and left in the manual.
This weakness has even been included in versions of the Japanese Virtual Console release of the game. If you make a heavy noise into the Nintendo 3DS microphone while playing the Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda, then the Pol’s Voice will be destroyed. This weakness was also kept for the Pol’s Voice that appear in Phantom Hourglass, as blowing into the DS microphone will stun them.
10. The Secret Room
Nintendo Power magazine was considered one of the premier gaming publications in the early days of video games. While it was eventually cancelled (like most gaming magazines) due to the Internet taking its place, there are still many people who fondly remember Nintendo Power.
Outside of its coverage of video games, Nintendo Power has become known for its competitions… or rather, their failed results. One kid won a chance to appear in The Mask 2, a movie that was never made. Another kid won a chance to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger… which involved shaking his hand for a few seconds as he was about to board a plane.
When The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was being developed, Nintendo Power held a contest for the winner to have his name inserted into the game. The winner was a boy named Chris Houlihan, and his name was indeed put inside the game. Actually finding the Chris Houlihan room is another matter. You either have to follow an incredibly specific list of instructions, or force the game to crash in some way. If the game detects something is wrong, then Link will be booted to the Chris Houlihan room.
9. The Lost Fairy Of Hyrule
Despite being a primarily solo experience, Nintendo have attempted to make multiplayer Legend of Zelda games on several occasions. In 2004, they released The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure for the GameCube. While critically acclaimed, the game was difficult to play. You needed four Game Boy Advances and four connector cables (along with four players) to get the full experience of the game. Such a setup isn’t always practical, and the game did not see the same sales numbers as the other Zelda titles on the system.
With the release of the 3DS, Nintendo decided that now was the time to try again with a multiplayer Zelda. The system has a huge player base, and it can handle both local and Wi-Fi multiplayer games. This led to the creation of The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, a game based around three player dungeons.
The overall plot of Tri Force Heroes is based around clothes. The princess of the land has been cursed to only wear a horrible onesie, and it is up to Link and his two identical friends to save her. You unlock new costumes throughout the game, with each one granting Link new abilities.
There is another costume in the game that can only be found through hacking. Link was intended to have a costume based off of the Great Fairy. This was from an earlier point in development, as Link’s facial design is not the same as the one from the final version of the game. The costume can also be seen in promotional material for the game, where it was intended to be bright pink.
8. Lean Back Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2013. The game took the series back to its roots, and did away with a lot of the unnecessary narrative weight of the 3D instalments. Gone where the lengthy intro sequences where you were stuck in a town doing fetch quests before actually being able to start the game. Within five minutes, A Link Between Worlds gives you a sword, tells you to rescue the Princess, and sends you on your way.
This return to the old school was met with massive critical acclaim. When most gaming publications were drawing up their “Game of the Year 2013” lists, the top three were usually Grand Theft Auto V, The Last Of Us, and A Link Between Worlds. Two of the most graphically impressive games of the past decade were duking it out with a classic top-down Zelda title.
While A Link Between Worlds looked like a 3D game that was viewed from the top, the developers actually cheated in order to create the effect. All of the sprites and backgrounds in the world are actually leaning back, so the players can more easily see the front of the 3D objects. It’s like everything in Hyrule is doing the “Neo dodging bullets” move from the original Matrix movie.
7. That One Offensive Dungeon
The Legend of Zelda has rarely received complaints about its content. The games are based upon high fantasy concepts, like legendary warriors, hideous monsters, and a princess that needs rescuing. The series has had very little in terms of violence or sex.
One element of the series that has been repeatedly censored is the religious overtones. Crosses have been altered in the earliest Zelda games. A Link to the Past had to have its whole name changed for this reason (it was originally called Triforce of the Gods in Japan). The most famous of the changes happened in Ocarina of Time, when the music from the Fire Temple was changed in later versions, due to it originally containing an Islamic prayer.
Most of the changes were preemptively made by Nintendo of America during the localization process, and were not the result of any sort of outcry on behalf of the public. One of the few games in the series to ever receive complaints was the original Legend of Zelda on the NES. This was due to the third dungeon in the game being in the shape of a Manji. The Manji is a Buddhist symbol, and it inspired Adolf Hitler’s creation of the Swastika.
6. The Master Net
The Master Sword is one of the most powerful weapons that Link uses in battle. As well it should be, when you consider the amount of fooling around you have to do to find the thing in the first place. The Gods of Hyrule are very picky about who gets to wield the Master Sword, and if you can’t complete at least three dungeons worth of block puzzles, then you won’t make the cut.
Even a magical weapon, forged with the intention of being wielded by destined hero cannot compete with a glitch in the programming. There have been several instances in the past where the Zelda games can be completed with non-conventional items. It is even possible to complete the original Legend of Zelda without ever picking up the sword.
There have been at least two instances of major foes having a weakness to items in the Zelda series. During the first stage of the battle against Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, you are supposed to reflect his magical bolts back at him with the Master Sword. You can also do this with an empty bottle.
In A Link to the Past on the SNES, you can defeat the evil wizard, Agahnim, using only the Bug-Catching Net. It is a lot easier to use the Master Sword to reflect his spells back at him, but the Net can also do the job.
5. The Dream Ending
Most of the Legend of Zelda games end on a happy note. Usually, Ganondorf (or his legally distinct substitute) is defeated, the Triforce is united once more, and Link & Princess Zelda go off to have some implied post-rescue sex. The player leaves Hyrule to its next era of peace, and they get to reflect on the amazing gaming experience they just had.
The big exception to this is The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. At the start of the game, Link is shipwrecked during a storm, and wakes up on a strange island. At the end of the game, he discovers that the island is not real. Once he defeats the final boss, he returns to reality… and is still shipwrecked. The fate of this Link was not known for many years (it was believed he had died at sea). It wasn’t until A Link Between Worlds where it was hinted that Link survived, and returned to Hyrule.
If you complete Link’s Awakening without ever suffering a Game Over, you will receive a new cinematic during the ending. In the original version of the game, Link will see a winged version of Marin flying across the screen. In the DX remake of the game, Marin will be transformed into a seagull, and Link will see her fly away.
4. The Lost Magic
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess had several development issues close to completion. This was mainly due to the game receiving a Wii port that was intended to coincide with that console’s release. The game had originally been intended to be exclusive to the GameCube, but it was decided that a Wii version with motion controls should be released first, with the GameCube version coming later. Most fans actually prefer the button-centric GameCube version, as the motion controls of the Wii version were poorly implemented.
A lot of things had to be cut out from Twilight Princess as it neared completion. The most important of these was the magic meter. Promotional material for the game showed images of a green magic meter next to Link’s health bar. Fans have went through all of the text files in the game, and there are unused parts of the script that suggest that magic would be an integral part of Link’s transformation into his Wolf form.
3. The Secret Song
Nintendo has always been very open to allowing crossovers between their first party titles. It’s the whole point of the Super Smash Bros. series. More crossovers have happened as time goes on, as more and more Nintendo games have been produced over time. The recent DLC for Mario Kart 8 has practically turned it into a Smash Bros. racing game, with the inclusion of tracks and characters from Animal Crossing, F-Zero, Excitebike, and The Legend of Zelda.
The most peculiar of all Nintendo crossovers has happened within its music; namely, the mysterious tune known to fans as “Totaka’s song”.
Kazumi Totaka is a composer who has mainly worked with Nintendo on their games. He is best known for creating the music in the Animal Crossing series, along with a lot of the Wii branded titles (like Wii Sports). In almost all of his games, he has included a secret melody, that players need to go out of their way to find.
Totaka’s song has appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. If you enter Richard’s Villa (the home with all of the frogs), and wait two minutes and thirty seconds, you will hear Totaka’s Song.
Another version of the song exists within the games files. Going from its musical quality, it sounds as if it was meant to be played on the Ocarina.
2. The Lost Giant
As mentioned before on this list, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has a lot of cut content. This could be partly blamed on its troubled development cycle. This cut content includes the Goron boss monster, the lost magic meter, and a range of unused shadow monsters.
The most peculiar of all of the unused content in the Twilight Princess is a figure referred to as “?Man” within the game’s files. Should this character model be summoned into the game, then it will appear as an unnerving giant, referred to by fans as the “Bespectacled Man“.
Appearing as a huge man with a striped body, the Bespectacled Man is a visually bizarre creature. It has a yellow circle for a face, a pair of square glasses (with pure white eyes behind them), and no features. The main theory about its existence refers to the stripes on its body. It is believed that the Bespectacled Man may have been used as a height reference for other character models in the game.
1. Link’s Rude Awakening
The Legend of Zelda series has rarely needed any censorship during its run. The main exception to this was the changing of names with religious connotations (like changing “Temple” to “Sanctuary”) and the use of blood (changing Ganon’s from red to green in Ocarina of Time).
Due to being a first party Nintendo title, the Zelda series has rarely needed to censor sexual or suggestive content. The games are intended for as wide an audience as possible, and nudity is less likely to show up in a cartoon fantasy setting (at least compared to the aforementioned violence and religious iconography).
There exists one game in the series that needed to have its sexual content toned down for the western release. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening on the Game Boy originally had nudity (both shown and implied), but oddly enough, it was all with non-human characters.
In Link’s Awakening, there exists a settlement on the island called “Animal Village”. One of the residents of this town is an artist, who is painting a Hippo woman. In the original Japanese version of the game, the Hippo has breasts, and attempts to cover herself when you enter.
Later in the game, you encounter a Mermaid who is distressed due to losing her necklace. In the original Japanese version of the game, she lost her bikini top, and didn’t want to move due to embarrassment.