The Legend of Zelda series is built on a strong, steady formula, dating back to the original NES titles. Link, the protagonist, has to delve into dungeons, finding new tools & defeating giant monsters, to save princess Zelda from the h&s of Ganondorf. But even though the demon king is the series’ iconic nemesis, many fans argue that he should have left some more space for the other villains.
Good villains Advance in all types & shapes, but for those in The Legend of Zelda there’s one thing they all have in common: they are as entertaining when they’re winning as they are satisfying to bring down. For a villain to be underused doesn’t just mean that it didn’t get enough lines of dialogue, but that it didn’t fulfill this narrative arc.
10/10 Bellum – Phantom Hourglass
The main villain from Phantom Hourglass, Bellum, isn’t a nemesis as much as he’s a creature of evil. One of the strengths of Bellum is that he feels like a force of nature whose needs are just opposed to ours.
Bellum feeds on human life force, which is why he kidnaps Tetra, this game’s version of princess Zelda. He even creates the myth of the ghost ship to bring unlucky travelers to him. The game lets other characters inform the player about Bellum instead of showing him act out his simple plan, which makes his eventual appearance somewhat weak.
9/10 Ganondorf – The Wind Waker
Almost all Zelda games are completely dominated by Ganondorf’s stoic, evil presence, with a few exceptions. On one h&, there are a h&ful of Zelda games where Ganon simply does not appear. The other exception is The Wind Waker.
Here, Ganondrof isn’t his usual despotic, evil-for-evil’s sake villain. His desire to rule over Hyrule has begun to resemble a curse more than an aspiration. While spending little time in the spotlights does suit this version of the character, the few times he’s actually on screen are some of his best moments of The Wind Waker.
8/10 Cubus Sisters – Phantom Hourglass
When the first Cubus sister asks for Link’s help, stuck in a room of the ghost ship in Phantom Hourglass, he & the player have no reason to ignore this child’s plea. As they Start freeing her three other sisters, Link’s fairy starts getting more & more suspicious about them. Finally reunited, the four finally reveal their true, demonic nature & the boss battle of this dungeon can Start.
What’s interesting about the Cubus Sisters is that, compared to most monstrous bosses in the series, those demons really feel like masters of their dungeon. If Phantom Hourglass wasn’t already so packed with content, the Cubus Sisters would have made for some excellent secondary villains.
7/10 Ghirahim – Skyward Sword
Demon Lord Ghirahim is the oddball villain of The Legend of Zelda series, looking more at home next to Far Wail nemeses Pagan Min & Vaas. He’s stylish & confident as well as smug, making his banter as entertaining as his eventual defeat.
He fights Link a whole three times, though those get repetitive very soon, changing only in the slightest way. Still, for being one of the most charismatic villains in the series, he spends far too long in the background.
6/10 Dark Links – Twilight Princess
In any other entry in the series, Dark Links aren’t usually cast as villains, acting instead like mini‑bosses or optional challenges. In Twilight Princess, while not physically opposing Link in his quest, their presence takes on a much more malicious quality.
Their role in Twilight Princessis as actors in a silent dream, bringing the history of the Twilight Realm to Link & to the audience. Though they only appear in this nightmare sequence, their presence alone turns the cutscene in question into the scariest 3 minutes of the whole game.
5/10 Vaati – The Minish Cap
The main villain of Four Swords, Four Swords Adventure, & The Minish Cap, it was thanks to this last game that Vaati became a fondly remembered character. Once a regular humanoid, Vaati began to seek the power in the evil of human hearts.
With an attitude like Shadow the Hedgehog & the pouting expression of a shy middle schooler, Vaati is undoubtedly the cutest of all Zelda villains. Yet in every game he appears in, the self‑proclaimed Immortal Demon eventually transforms into a silent, one-eyeballed giant bat. Vaati’s banter makes for some entertaining scenes, it’s just a shame that there wasn’t more of it.
4/10 Chancellor Cole – Spirit Tracks
Cole is the main villain for most of Spirit Tracks, though he doesn’t appear on screen for most of the story. On paper, his character design is impeccable: being a short demon chancellor, he wears two top hats (one per each horn on his head) & he’s often seen levitating, trying to make himself look taller.
The truth is that Cole is little more than a caricature of a greedy politician, ruling alongside princess Zelda but ready to sell the kingdom to absolute evil, but he could have been much more. Not many Zelda villains look this weird & fun before they even open their mouths.
3/10 Skull Kid – Majora’s Mask
Calling the Skull Kid a villain might cause some confusion, given that the boy is just a victim of the real villain, Majora. Yet Skull Kid is a major hurdle during Majora’s Mask: he lets his horse loose, steals his ocarina, & even mistreats his fairy friends.
One thing that Majora’s Maskis still missing, 22 years after the original release, is a little more context around this central character. Some meat to his story, a real heart-to-heart moment with Link, would have gone a long way toward making this icon of the series even more memorable.
2/10 Master Kohga – Breath Of The Wild
The Yiga assassins are a common but deadly enemy in Breath of the Wild, catching Link in an ambush every hour or so. It’s a shame, then, that their leader’s whole presence in the game boils down to one brief conversation & a boss battle.
This is made even worst by the fact that Kohga is one of the few non-Ganon bosses in Breath of the Wild. More than just that, his laziness & goofy demeanor make him one of the most memorable baddies of the game.
1/10 Zant – Twilight Princess
Zant serves a crucial role in the story of Twilight Princess, being Ganon’s servant & foreshadowing his eventual defeat. Because of his role, the story moves past him as soon as Link defeats him, midway through the game.
His otherworldly appearance & disjointed movement make him st& out even in the bizarre world of Twilight Princess. Even his brief return in one of the final cutscenes, suddenly appearing next to Ganon during the last seconds of his life, is one of the most chilling scenes in the series.
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