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- This article is about Link's alternate forms in the Zelda series. For Hyrule's geographical changes, see Hyrule/Appearances by Game. For Ganon's shapeshifting, see Puppet Ganon and Ganon#In-Game Appearances.
In most of the Zelda games, Link is portrayed as a Hylian or human-like character destined to combat evil and, as such, makes use of his physical and intellectual skills over the course of his journeys. Occasionally, however, he has undergone various moments when he is transformed into another form, which initially may imply limitations to him and his capacity to progress on his quest, but he eventually manages to not only return to his original self, but also shapeshift at will and use the new form to his advantage.
Below is a list of games in the franchise where the concept of shapeshifting takes place.
- Main article: Fairy Spell
One of the eight Spells Link learns on his quest allows him to turn into a fairy and, unlike most of the other transformations in the series, it's completely acquired by voluntary means (in this case, as a reward by healing a sick child with the Water of Life in Mido Town). When in fairy form, Link can fly freely through side-scrolling zones, thus being able to cross large chasms, high obstacles and even locked doors without the need of a Small Key. The disadvantages are that he cannot attack enemies by any means, and that he can only retrieve his Hylian form by going out from the place where he is.
- Main article: Bunny Link
When Link is in the Dark World, he is transformed into a bunny unless he has the Moon Pearl. According to the legend, this happens because anyone entering the once-prosperous Golden Land will turn into an animal or object that can visually reflect that person's heart or emotions. Though unconfirmed, it's implied that Link is turned into a bunny because of his purity as a person. After retrieving the Moon Pearl, Link retains his original form while in the Dark World; and the only times he's turned into a bunny again are when certain shiny clouds (located in dungeons) touch him (and even then, the process is only temporary). Link is entirely defenseless as a bunny, although he instantly comes back to normal after being injured by an enemy.
- Main article: Young Link
Upon acquiring the Master Sword at the Temple of Time, Link is put into suspended animation for seven years, after which he awakens as an adult. He can become a kid again by returning the sword to the pedestal in the Temple, but only after clearing the Forest Temple (regardless of how many of the other dungeons he may have cleared in the meantime). The differences between Young and Adult Link include: Different items for use (for example, Young Link is the only one allowed to use the Boomerang and the Slingshot, while Adult Link is the only one for use of the Hookshot and the Fairy Bow), different equipment (Young Link cannot change his tunic, boots or sword; and the only extra shield he can use is the Hylian one. Adult Link has everything else suitable for him), size advantage (Young Link is the only one who can enter a small hole), and travel means (Adult Link is the only one who can ride Epona), among other things.
In Majora's Mask, the concept of transformation develops further, as various masks transform Link into alternate forms. The first of these is Deku Link, who comes through involuntary shapeshifting, after Link loses to Skull Kid during a confrontation; however, Deku Link does have advantages, such as flying with the help of Deku Flower pads, shoot bubbles, hop a few times on water and spinning; Link, with the help of the Happy Mask Salesman, eventually regains his Hylian form, and keeps the Deku Mask to turn back into a Deku Scrub every time the aforementioned abilities come in handy. It is theorized that Deku Link is related to the long-missing son of the Deku Butler, who is found in the Deku Palace.
The other transformations come by voluntary situations: Goron Link is the result of the ghost of a deceased Goron warrior giving Link his own body (encased into a mask); in this form, Link can curl to travel at very high speed, press giant buttons only with his weight, ground pound and land powerful hits. Zora Link materializes after the decease of a Zora guitarist, and allows the young hero to swim very fluidly underwater, walk on the bottom of it, use his fins as boomerangs, attack with electric energy and apply punches and kicks during direct confrontations. There is a mask that is obtained after defeating an Eyegore in Stone Tower Temple, and transforms Link into a giant, while still retaining his physical Hylian form; however, it only works during a boss battle (Twinmold), not to mention that the Z-Targeting feature is disabled. Finally, there is a secret transformation that is provided by the Fierce Deity's Mask, which allows Link to destroy enemies with extremely devastating attacks, but it only works during boss battles, including Majora's Mask itself.
It should be noted that Hylian Link himself, unlike in Ocarina of Time, can now jump with more ease thanks to his athletic skills. He is also the only form who can use most of the C-items; the exception are the Powder Keg (which correspond to Goron Link), while Deku Link can use Deku Nuts as well. Most forms, in addition, can also use bottles.
As an extra note, every form of Link (except the Giant and Fierce Deity forms) uses a version of the Ocarina: Deku Link has the Pipes of Awakening, Goron Link has the Drums of Sleep, Zora Link has the Guitar of Waves, and Hylian Link has the Ocarina in its usual form.
In the Oracle series, Magic Rings 43 to 47 transform Link into different forms if worn. While wearing one of these rings, Link cannot attack or use any of his items, and they have no other purpose than to change his appearance. Link returns to his original form after removing the ring, while swimming, and for a brief moment when moving between rooms.
The rings, with their relative transformations, are:
- Octo Ring: transforms Link into an Octorok.
- Moblin Ring: transforms Link into a Moblin.
- Like Like Ring: transforms Link into a Like Like.
- Subrosian Ring: transforms Link into a Subrosian.
- First Gen Ring: transforms Link into the original Legend of Zelda version of himself.
- Main article: Minish Link
In The Minish Cap, Link can change his size significantly, having a miniature height, while still retaining his external Hylian form. This allows him to gain access to places whose size and/or entrance would be too small for him in natural size to enter. He also can speak with animals and (eventually) with the Minish as well. As with most transformations in the series, however, his item repertoire is once again significantly limited.
- Main article: Wolf Link
In Twilight Princess, Link turns into a wolf whenever he goes into the Twilight Realm. During the first half of the game, that happens three times in total, and after that he becomes a wolf because of a curse cast upon him by Zant; but thanks to a purge by the Master Sword, the curse is encased on a Shadow Crystal, an item that is kept by Midna and thanks to which Link learns to change his form at will anytime. Among Wolf Link's abilities are:
- As the game doesn't feature any instrument, Wolf link plays melodies with his howl.
- Recording scents in order to look for objects or people.
- Walking on thin ropes suspended on air.
- Dash while he's running.
- Dig holes when looking for treasures or secret caves.
- Use his senses to witness spirits and the aforementioned scents.
- Create an energy barrier, with the help of Midna, to attack enemy groups.
- Hop and climb between spots, with the help of Midna.
- Warp through portals, with the help of Midna.
- Talk to animals.
Goron Link, one of the playable transformations in Majora's Mask.
Fierce Deity Link is a secret transformation in Majora's Mask.
|Gameplay Elements of The Legend of Zelda Series|