|Game(s)||Every Zelda game except Four Swords|
|Non-canon Appearances||Nintendo Land|
The Legend of Zelda animated series
Captain N: The Game Master
The Legend of Zelda comic
The Shadow Prince
A Link to the Past comic
Link: The Faces of Evil
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Ocarina of Time manga
Oracle of Seasons manga
Ball and Chain
The Stalfos (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Stalfos Knights) are skeletal knights that have challenged Link since their debut in the original The Legend of Zelda, and have appeared in nearly every game. The name Stalfos is both singular and plural (variations such as Stalfo and Stalfoses, etc. are incorrect). Their name is a portmanteau of stal- and -fos; meaning skeletal (see stal) humanoid (see fos).
Master Stalfos, Captain Stalfos, and Igos du Ikana are three of the most notable members of this skeletal family across the Zelda series and are given speaking roles. The most powerful "Stal" creature is the mighty Stallord. Stalchildren are a common, weaker variation that were introduced in Ocarina of Time and appear independently of normal Stalfos. In Majora's Mask, Skull Keeta is their leader. In Four Swords, only Stalchildren appear.
Though the Stalfos has changed quite a bit across titles, the physical and behavioral generalities have, for the most part, remained constant. Stalfos, since the original The Legend of Zelda, are weapon-wielding, undead, skeleton warriors who frequent dungeon locations and stand-in as mini-bosses from time to time. The first The Legend of Zelda as well as Skyward Sword provides the Stalfos with swords for each hand, The Adventure of Link provides the shield, and only in the incarnations seen in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess do these foes adapt a strategic, defensive sword-fighting style, living up to the fearsome, powerful name they have built for themselves across the series. Interestingly, the majority of Stalfos enemies in the series do not wield any weapons but use other conventional means of attacking and defending from Link's attacks.
Stalfos are seldom isolated, appearing in groups of two or more. Their tendency to group increases the strength of the opposition, in all titles except Ocarina of Time in which the Stalfos challenge Link one-on-one if Z-Targeted; the other Stalfos politely wait their turn and begin their fight once their former has been vanquished. In Four Swords Adventures, the standard Stalfos accompany the Big Dark Stalfos in attacking Link, and they can be found in either the Light or Dark Worlds during the battle.
Weaponry and Attack Power
While the long sword is a staple of Ocarina of Time, the larger versions of the foe seen in A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Four Swords Adventures, Twilight Princess, and Spirit Tracks, the Stalfos in the original Legend of Zelda, as well as in Skyward Sword, carry swords in both hands. However swords are not the only weapon used by the Stalfos to inflict damage, the Stalfos also make do with chucking bones (as in A Link to the Past and the Oracles), their own skulls (as in The Minish Cap), and even wielding heavy spiked clubs (as seen in The Wind Waker).
The Stalfos from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess can perform sword slashes, overhead jumps and are able to block Link's attacks effectively, while the Stalfos seen in The Wind Waker use its blunt weapon belligerently. The only way to damage them is to wait until they lower their guard or to stab them in the back.
Furthermore, the amount of damage dealt increases as the series progresses, from a small nick in The Legend of Zelda to multiple hearts in Twilight Princess, the use of swords and other dangerous weapons having a large edge over those Stalfos that resort to other means of inflicting damage. Only in The Legend of Zelda do these foes receive an upgrade called the Blade Beam in the second quest, an attack that takes two hearts from Link after every successful strike.
Dismemberment and Regeneration
As skeletons, their bones can be thrown, and coincidentally, these foes can loose body parts in the heat of battle. Humorously, in The Minish Cap, these creatures can be decapitated through use of the Gust Jar or the Cane of Pacci, and can be chopped in half in The Wind Waker. In both cases, the remaining segments of the body operate as if always in such a form, though impaired due to the lack of the body parts that were sliced off in battle. Picking up the Stalfos' club in The Wind Waker forces the foe to rip off one of its arms to use as a weapon, thus continuing the battle.
Interestingly, beginning with the Stalfos Warrior in A Link to the Past, few Stalfos incarnations can regenerate given time. Especially in situations when more than one Stalfos is present, as in the Arbiter's Grounds in Twilight Princess, or in one of the rooms of the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time, if Link takes too much time to defeat the collective group of Stalfos, one that was defeated earlier may rejoin the fight, revitalized to full health once more. Only the creatures seen in The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks arise, reforming their dismantled skeleton bodies while the Ocarina of Time version simply pops up from the ground.
Featured first in A Link to the Past with the Stalfos Warrior, a Bomb must be placed by the dismembered remains of a defeated Stalfos, granted there are remains, to fully defeat it, or it will continue to regenerate. The incarnations seen in Ocarina of Time regenerate on their own given time, and the versions of The Wind Waker crumple, leaving a bouncing head to carry on the vitality of the body. In the latter, once the head is dispelled, the skeleton is fully dead.
|Stalfos (Figurine from The Wind Waker)|
|| Habitat: Earth Temple|
Weakness: Its head
These skeleton warriors attack by violently swinging their gigantic maces around. Even if they're shattered to pieces, they'll reform unless their heads are destroyed.
|Stalfos (Figurine from The Minish Cap)|
||Appears in dungeons. Blue ones jump, and red ones throw bones. See what happens when you remove their heads with the Gust Jar.|
In all titles, save for all of the console games except The Adventure of Link and Four Swords Adventures, two Stalfos varieties exist: a weaponless version, and a larger Warrior, Stalfos Knight or similar iteration. The Stalfos incarnation without a weapon incorporates an increased amount of defensive tactics, such as jumping, to evade defeat. These ill-equipped Stalfos are the ones to resort to bone or skull throwing to make up for their lack of a legitimate weapon. The larger incarnation is capable of dealing more damage and carrying out more of an offensive strike against Link with a weapon of some kind.
In The Adventure of Link, Stalfos come in three varieties: white, red, and blue. White Stalfos are simply skeletons with swords and shields that are considerably weaker than their red and blue counterparts, both of which possess increased fighting finesse, including jumping and thrusting attacks. All forms are highly vulnerable to attack, however, as they rarely move their shields.
In Oracle of Ages, there are two types of the regular Stalfos: blue and orange varieties. The blue versions are standard Stalfos that simply walk about, while their orange counterparts tend to jump away from Link's sword slash, and have the ability to toss bones. This coloration is mirrored in The Minish Cap, in which the blue iteration only jumps, while the red uses bones as their primary weapon. Furthermore, a special kind of Stalfos known as the Blue Stalfos is the mini-boss of the Ancient Tomb, the eighth dungeon in Oracle of Ages. In Oracle of Seasons, both the blue and orange Stalfos make appearances, but there are also red and green varieties, each of them have their own unique abilities.
In The Adventure of Link, Parutamu are armored Stalfos with horned helmets. They behave like their red and blue counterparts, but are more durable and deal more damage to Link.
- Main article: Stalfos Knight
A Link to the Past introduces a larger form known as the Stalfos Knight appearing in the Ice Palace dungeon. These Stalfos are much larger, tougher, and carry large swords. Link cannot defeat them with his sword alone, and must use Bombs to destroy them completely.The ability for normal Stalfos to regenerate in this manner was taken over to later games such as Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. The Stalfos in The Adventure of Link are known by the Japanese name of Stalfos Knights, Stalfon.
Link's Awakening and the Oracle games included Shrouded Stalfos alongside normal Stalfos. Shrouded Stalfos would throw spears at Link, while Sword Stalfos would fight with sword and shields in a similar manner to Darknuts.
- Main article: Master Stalfos
The mighty Master Stalfos of Link's Awakening is a particularly large Stalfos that appears in the Catfish's Maw, where he has stolen the Hookshot. His appearance and behavior is similar to the Stalfos Knights of A Link to the Past.
Stalfos in Majora's Mask are the long-dead skeleton knights of the Ikana Kingdom, Igos du Ikana and his well-trained guards. To truly vanquish the two defeated guards before they regenerate, light must be reflected from the Mirror Shield onto their fallen forms. King Igos du Ikana is the largest and most powerful Stalfos figure in Majora's Mask; he can exhale a poisonous breath onto Link, detach his head (in which case it flies around the room and tries to bite Link) and make his body invulnerable to attack. Defeating him leads to freeing his soul and him teaching Link the Elegy of Emptiness.
The captain of the Stalchildren in Majora's Mask, Skull Keeta, asks Link to bring peaceful rest to his undead soldiers of Ikana after his defeat in battle. Captain Keeta had originally served under King Igos du Ikana.
Big Dark Stalfos
- Main article: Big Dark Stalfos
Four Swords Adventures includes two new types of Stalfos, the Dark Stalfos and Big Dark Stalfos. Dark Stalfos appear in the Temple of Darkness as invincible dark shadows wielding swords. Only by entering the Dark World can their true form be seen and fought. They fight like Chief Soldiers, with heavy lunging swings. The Big Dark Stalfos are actually the Knights of Hyrule who have been transformed into monsters of magic by Ganon, and sent to the Dark World. The gems they hold that are the key to the Tower of Winds. They appear as boss enemies at the end of certain stages. When the four Links defeat one, they obtain the gem the Stalfos was guarding. Once the Links have all four (one for each Links' color) they gain access to the Tower of Winds where Princess Zelda is held.
Overall, the Stalfos enemies are weak to carefully timed sword strikes, as most conventional overworld enemies are, except for the fact that Bombs, Boomerangs, and Arrows also do the trick in dispelling these creatures, dependent on the title. Decapitating or dismembering these monsters aids in their anniliation, however, regardless of method, when it comes to Stalfos that can regenerate, Link must make sure to place a Bomb on their remains, or fully defeat the entire creature before moving on. In The Wind Waker, the Skull Hammer is very effective against Stalfos once it has been decapitated. The Stalfos variety seen in Twilight Princess are especially vulnerable to Bomb Arrow, as a single hit will instantly destroy one.
|Ambiguously Canon Content||hide|
- According to a Kokiri, a Stalfos is the result of what happens when someone gets lost in the Lost Woods in Ocarina of Time.
- In Ocarina of Time, Stalfos' eyes shine even while Navi is telling Link about how to defeat them.
Stalfos in BS The Legend of Zelda
- "Stalfos: Lure it close to you and watch its movement carefully! Attack it when it drops its guard!" — Navi (Ocarina of Time)
- "A skeleton that's got a sword in each hand. Little attacking power." (The Legend of Zelda manual, pg. 35)
- "A skeleton warrior that can somehow use a sword, but is poor at handling a shield." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 38)
- "You cannot destory the Skeleton Knight with the sword alone. When he collapses, he is vulnerable to another weapon." — Sahasrahla (A Link to the Past)
- "Trick the king into thinking he's seeing a child-sized version of [Captain Keeta] by wearing the Captain's Hat during your bone-rattling battle with the skeletal Stalfos knights and Igos himself." (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Official Nintendo Player's Guide (Nintendo Power), pg. 134)
- "I grant to you a soldier who has no heart. One who will not falter in the darkness." — Igos du Ikana (Majora's Mask)
- "I ask you to take my soul, which rests in the fiercely burning flame... And convey my words to my men, who, even in death, remain loyal to me. Tell them the war has ended..." — Skull Keeta (Majora's Mask)
- "Captain Keeta—the giant skull captain in Ikana Graveyard—once served under the Ikana King, Igos du Ikana." (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Official Nintendo Player's Guide (Nintendo Power), pg. 134)
- "Since my teleportation powers are limited in the upper world, I'll have to travel in style." — Ganon (The Legend of Zelda, Episode 1 )
- Stalfos carrying Ganon in "The Missing Link"
- "You mean to disturb our masters?!" — Stalfos (Captain N: The Game Master, Episode Having a Ball )
- "'This map has to be fake,' Link says. 'Why else would it be in such an easy hiding place? Follow me! I'll get us out of here!' 'But Link!' Zelda cries. 'Maybe it's--' It's too late. Link has already disappeared down the nearest tunnel." (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 80)
- "Then Link looks up to see the pale bones of the Stalfos whipping toward them. 'Oh, Link!' Zelda cries. 'You picked the wrong path. We're done for!'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 81)
- "Link hears the howling of Stalfos rushing toward them. He takes a deep breath. 'Let's hope this map is real,' he says to Zelda and Charles. Quickly, he unfolds it and searches for a route out." (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 48)
- "'This way!' he calls. [...] In minutes they're back outside. The skeletons stop at the mouth of the tunnel, howling." (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 48)
- "It's impossible to keep them down! Aaaargh!! I've had enough!" (A Link to the Past (Nintendo Power), pg. 7)
- "Anybody who comes into the forest will be lost. Everybody will become a Stalfos. Everybody, Stalfos." — Fado (Ocarina of Time)
|Names in Other Regions|
|Japanese|| スタルフォス (Sutarufosu)
ドクロナイト (Dokuro Naito)
ドクロナイトソード (Dokuro Naito Sōdo)
Sword Skull Knight
|French||Stalfos, Chevalier Squelette|
|Chinese||骷髅战士 (Kūlóu Zhànshi)||Skeleton Warrior|