With images courtesy Melora of History of Hyrule and Sprites via Videogamesprites.net!
Unperturbed by the disappointing response to Zelda II, Nintendo charged onward to relase The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo in 1991, and the world was pretty much never the same again. This game was absolutely massive, both in terms of market success and literal in-game content. Great care was noticeably taken to recapture what worked for the original game, but expanded upon with a sprawling map packed full of little secrets to discover, and most strikingly of all, an entire alternate "dark world" players could eventually shift between just about anywhere in the game.
A Link to the Past is still remembered as one of the greatest console titles of all time, even more beloved than the first since the day it released, and childhood-defining for virtually everyone who owned a Super Nintendo at the time.
It pains me to say this, but although I was somewhere around seven or eight years old in 1991 - a perfectly adequate age to take this game seriously - my little moldy attention-deficit brain simply did not play nicely with RPG-esque gaming just yet, and simply could not commit to starting up a new file of Zelda the 3rd. Instead, I played the game at friend's houses or from rentals, in both cases exploring Hyrule from save files that were already technically complete. Yes, I said rentals, because in 1991 we didn't have save files on "memory cards" or on the consoles themselves. Save files were built into the actual game cartridges, so if you rented Zelda or Final Fantasy or Super Metroid from the video store, you could play in or even overwrite one of the three save files from some other poor kid.
So my 1991 Link to the Past experience was bumbling around in a haunted world of empty treasure chests, dead bosses and NPC's with nothing left to say...but I didn't even care, and I still got sucked into hours upon hours of that pointless, aimless wandering, because there were little guys to find. Little guys and gals and whatsits and thingies crawling and swimming around every single corner, seemingly without end. This game, you see, was absolutely PACKED with monsters new and old; more monsters than was ever remotely necessary, considering how many were almost the same coding with a different sprite, or only appeared in a couple of dungeon rooms, or only under highly specific circumstances.
The only downside? There was never any hope to cover any adequate amount of this game's creatures in the instruction booklet, so they didn't even bother. Only eight enemies appear in the official manual, and any official artwork beyond that remains largely unreleased to this day. This frustrated me back then, of course, and disappoints me even now, but it also means that there were still new creatures for me to discover as I wrote this article, and I'll still be leaving out a couple dozen of the slightly less thrilling species...
Let's always start with the Octorok! It's the most constant monster in the franchise, and every game does something a little different with it. 2013's A Link Between Worlds would also function as a direct sequel to this adventure, and though it sadly cut the bestiary down by quite a bit, it followed its predecessor's designs as closely as possible and added a few exellent new monsters of its own. We'll be including these updated models wherever we can, and we'll roll my favorite creatures from the sequel into this review as well.
These Octoroks are taller and more bulbous than in either previous game, with big round head sacs, tentacles so stumpy they almost look like candy corns in the 3-d model, prominent rock-spitting siphons and large, pale eyes with lovely rectangular pupils. These are remembered by an entire generation as their most iconic look...but I guess that must be true for every Octorok then, isn't it? I don't need to know your blood type or your star sign or your birthplace; the real question is what did the Octorok look like when you were just the right age to play the latest Zelda???
I LOVE this. It's related to the Octorok, but its head is swollen with some sort of buoyant gas, and it scatters little baby Octoroks by exploding! I like how it doesn't even have a visible siphon, as if that closes up to prevent the gas from leaking. The assumption some might make is that this is a distinct species, but the assumption you and I probably both make is that this is a reproductive life cycle stage by which Octorok spread themselves to distant ecosystems.
What's really fun is that in all the game, there's only ever one Octoballoon, drifting over the shore of Lake Hylia. It's not a boss, a mini boss, a special event or important in any other way. It's a perfectly normal enemy, except for the fact that you can only find one at a time in a single location. I love when games do this. I wish basically all games felt obligated to toss in a couple extra, one-off, totally missable critters just to liven things up.
A visitor! Maybe? The Chain Chomp is the same here as it is in the Mario games, encountered only in Turtle Rock, a dungeon where you'll also find familiar green warp pipes. Later Zelda entries would feature more of these cameos from its sister series, and I do like the suggestion that they share a universe; it's always felt believable enough to me. The most compelling question is if this is really a refugee from the Mushroom Kingdom or if, in fact, Chain Chomps were Hyrulian to begin with.
I remember once thinking of this as one of the more "normal" enemies in this game, but the Eyegore is more interesting the more you stop to consider it. It's a sentry resembling a suit of armor that can stand completely still, blending with similarly designed ornamental statues to ambush intruders (or, in the case of the castle dungeon, to ambush escapees) but it has a single, huge eyeball for a face, so it's not just a magically animated suit, is it? Maybe it's an eyeball creature controlling the suit, or bringing an armored statue to life? I also really like the metal "teddy bear ears" on the helmet. The Eyegore's actual ears? I don't know. These definitely come across as a magical, semiliving construct, a Hyrulian "robot."
These ice palace enemies are surprisingly unsettling; they're humanoids with tiny legs, oversized arms, clawed hands, buggy glowing eyes, pointed ears, bulging craniums and simple, circular black holes for mouths. A lot like a Saucerman or a Hopkinsville Goblin, and the "icicles" hanging off the arms are another cool touch...or maybe that's another natural part of the creature's physiology? They're another "ambush" monster, eerily embedded in the frozen walls until certain Freezors break free and run around aimlessly. I don't feel like these are things "made" of ice, but something else adapted to ice or with a frozen outer coating.
The Geldman is a simple enough sort of monster; a humanoid torso and arms rising from the ground, seemingly made of sand.
Funny enough, the monster first appeared in artwork created for the original Zelda, appearing only in the player's guide, so it was either something invented for the book and later canonized, or a monster scrapped from the first game's development.
What's funnier however is that they apparently aren't just made of sand:
In A Link Between Worlds, the Geldman can be pulled out of the ground and lose its sandy coating, revealing a flesh-and-blood muscular humanoid, still shaped like the Geldman with the same neckless lump of a head, but now we can see its six pack, its tiny legs and its red speedo. So this is just a species of weird man things that swim around through sand? They have to be intelligent if they all have underwear. Or is that all they have? Just an entirely sand and underwear based culture?
BIRI & BARI
I always love an aerial jellyfish. Bari are round, angry-eyed hovering jellies with short little tentacles and an electrical charge. Like the first game's Zol and Gel, they also split apart into the smaller "Biri" when damaged.
Zoras are back to being fishy heads that pop out of the water, but they've got a more Kappa-like design with orange lips reminiscent of a duck bill. They also have a larger "King," and he's the first friendly, talking Zora in the series. He can't seem to do anything about his people always trying to kill you - and doesn't even address it - but he's a jovial guy who will also sell you swimming gear, because I guess his kingdom is a little hard up lately. Neutral to benevolent Zora would become more common to the setting from here on.
This is another "NPC" creature; some sort of little spirit or demon resembling a cartoonish blue bat, and he can be freed from an old stone shrine to punish link with a terrible curse! Here's an official illustration in which he's pretty ominous:
...Unfortunately, the Mad Batter is not really bright. Or maybe he's just bonkers, as the name implies, because his "curses" are always helpful upgrades. In this game, he basically doubles the efficiency of your magic meter, halving the cost of magic, but he seems to think this means he's cut your magic power itself in half. I think "not very bright" is the correct answer actually.
The original game had the triceratops-like Dodongo as a boss monster, and non-boss versions would become a staple of later games, but the Helmasaur is an entirely different sort of shield-headed lizard-beast. In-game, its green helmet almost reminds me of a horseshoe crab's shell, with dark pits resembling closed eyes. It's one of those few enemies with known artwork however, in which it's given an even larger, dark blue helmet with cute, nervous looking eyeballs peeking out from the bottom. Both are charming creatures, and I kinda wish they'd just become the new design for the "Dodongos." It has a more memorable, iconic quality than the more straightforward giant reptiles the Dodongos would become.
There's also a giant boss version, the Helmasaur King, with a really gnarly looking spiky, meaty body, a long tail ending in a spiked club and a blue, three-pronged helmet resembling the skull of a Diplocaulus! You can actually break this one's helmet to reveal a vulnerable forehead gem underneath, but Gameboy Advance rerelease would add a bonus version of this boss with a creepy eyeball instead.
A Link Between Worlds also had its own take on this monster, the Gemasaur, which actually appears to be the undead corpse of a Helmasaur King, mostly skeletal, but encrusted with multicolored crystals.
This poor thing is also called a "spiny beetle," but it doesn't really have any visible spines; it's more like a four-legged, wingless brown cockroach with cartoon eyes and no feelers. It's also completely harmless, and usually hides under a bush or a rock. If Link takes away its covering, it'll just madly dart around, causing no harm to anybody but dropping rupees (money) in its path. Don't bully them!!! That's their rupees! They buy bushes and/or rocks with it!
We already mentioned the existence of the alternate "Dark World" in this game, but part of its angle is that anyone visiting it gets transformed into their "true inner self," or something like that, taking on weird creature forms. I best remember this from two guys who got stuck there just outside the final fortress, becoming a horned oni-like figure and a cute little kirby-esque pink blob with nothing but dot eyes and simple ball feet. I was pretty fascinated by these two in my rental-save-state explorations, and I remember assuming they had some prior context to them, which they do not.
Other transformed Hyrulians are mostly nondescript monster people, their details hard to make out from their tiny sprites, except that there's a bomb salesman with a seahorse-like snout that occasionally puffs a little cloud of smoke!
...Then there are the dark world NPC's known unofficially as "storytellers," who offer hints in exchange for money. These include a white octopus that isn't a recolored Octorok, but similar in proportions. Then there's a fat, green bird with big eyes and a toucan-like beak, an adorable little talking tree with glowing white eyes under its bushy canopy, a brown humanoid insect-like guy that hovers on his little wasp wings, and the weirdest Dark World NPC with a speaking part: a cartoon hand sticking out of the ground. Kind of a "Mickey Mouse Glove" hand on a little arm, like a signpost.
The hand will not only give you a hint, but mention that he was a thief in the light world, so this implies the Storytellers are probably all more "outcasts."
Link is actually not immune to the effect of the Dark World, transforming into an anthropomorphic rabbit with no ability to swing his sword or otherwise defend himself. So, you can counter this effect with the right item, but there's something known only as the Rabbit Beam that will still transform you back into a bunny-man if it catches you. This is coded and treated as an "enemy," and consists of whirling, glowing light that lies hidden in ambush before it homes in on you. Is it intelligent? Is it alive? It's definitely the most abstract thing we're counting as a "monster."
Several monster types, too, have "Dark World" counterparts we'll be looking at. Both worlds still have a number of creatures with no equivalent in the other however, so there's no telling whether these cases are a case of alternate forms or convergent evolution. Ku behave exactly like the Zoras, for instance, and normal Zoras are absent from the Dark World. So do Zoras become Ku in the Dark World, or are Ku an endemic Dark World species occupying the same niche, possibly the reason Zora are unable to colonize this other realm?
Whatever they are, Ku are much freakier looking water-goblins; they have froglike bodies, turtle shells, orange duckbills with big buckteeth and large cycloptic eyes. It's like a one-eyed kappa with a bit of beaver or nutria thrown in the mix.
These are major enemies in the ice palace, and as the name implies, they combine the traits of crocodilians with penguins! Green, menacing, scaly giant penguins with pure white eyes, sharp spines on their heads and broad, yellow bills full of sharp teeth. Like regular penguins, they can slide around on their bellies, which is a hilariously frightening thing for large killer reptiloids to be doing. I wish there were Pengators. I wish there were big alligator things that could dart around and eat people up in the arctic.
It's GIBO!!!! What is a GIBO!? I don't know! I don't think anyone knows! It's a hovering, roughly starfish-shaped red blob of jelly with a pink nucleus, and it's invincible until the nucleus leaves the jelly to fly around a while. I love when a monster is nothing but a glob, but there's also something (charmingly) infuriating about it. What KIND of a glob. Of what. This is just normal to guys like Link? He walks into a room and there's a wad of something that tries to touch him to death and that's just his life, huh? I guess it's still not as bad as how Mario has it. Sometimes there's just a ball of dirt or an old box that hates him for no reason.
This is our first enemy completely exclusive to Link Between Worlds, and what a sweetie cutie face!! Gyorm is an ADORABLE speckly grey slug with two large, unstalked (or very, very short stalked) eyeballs identical to those of an Octorok, except its mouth is a long, thin little tube and its only "tentacles" are like two big flippers. It's like a slug combined with a fat baby seal and a seahorse's face. It is PRECIOUS. Most squeezable animal in Hyrule, bar none.
But WATCH OUT THERE pal!!! Gyorm are always encountered riding around in their thorny snail shells, which hover above the ground with a little propeller. How ludicrous is that. They're snail monsters whose shells are just personal hovercraft. Their shells convergently evolved with Bowser's clownmobile.
This is our first eyeball-centric boss monster, which isn't a statement that need surprise anyone in a Zelda game. Arrghus is a large, bulbous, transparent jellyfish with an eyeball inside, surrounded by little flying offspring called Arrgi, and we do have official artwork of this. The weird thing is, Arrgi are depicted as nothing but featureless, yellowish wads in the artwork, almost like flying rocks, whereas in the sprite they're little cloudlike puffs with angry, squinted eyes. In the 3-d update, they were simply flying eyeballs. What exactly is their relationship? What are they? I prefer the interpretation by the original in-game sprites, and I like the idea that some sort of symbionts or larvae or drones look so different from the main creature.
So we aren't going in any order here besides the order I feel like, which is very loosely in order of my favorite or more interesting to talk about (barring my decision to always put Octoroks, and their variants, at the beginning) but here's another eyeball guy, Kholdstare, which is a puffy pinkish cloud with one eyeball that lives embedded in a giant chunk of ice. Once you've done away with its icy shell, it splits into three smaller flying eyeball-clouds. I like this one; it has a cool name and a cool elemental twist on the usual eyeball creature. Ice monsters frequently bore me only because they tend to follow patterns of just big cold-climate vertebrates or humanoids.
Link Between Worlds, meanwhile, adds the Dharkstare boss. This one is also encased in ice at first, but can already freely float around. Its true body has a relatively small eyeball surrounded by multiple layers of tentacles in a beautiful urchin-like arrangement, which starts out nearly pitch black but flares up a magnificent purple-blue - now with an intensely red and yellow eye - when you make it angry enough!
Another eyeball thingy exclusive to Between Worlds, the very weird Margomill is an ornately carved stone pillar made up of rotating segments, the top of which is a platform with an organic eyeball in the center. Why does THIS exist now? It's modeled after a gearbox, and it rises higher throughout the battle by adding more layers. When the eyeball closes, the lid also has little interlocking teeth, like a mouth. I'm going to wildly hypothesize that this is just the big giant version of whatever the Eyegores really are, controlling a differently shaped construct.
The localization team must not have looked all that hard at this enemy before they decided to rename it, since it's clearly a walking cephalopod-like animal. It's like an octopus with six stumpy brownish tentacles, angry glowing eyes and a big white sphere head on top, nothing like a beetle or any other sort of insect, and I'm not sure the head thingy is even meant to be all that hard or helmetlike. In fact, its Japanese name is essentially "pawn," and it does in fact evoke a weird biological *chess pawn.* This implies however that there ought to be a whole set of them, like octopussley knights and rooks and whatnot. It should also mean they come in black or white and don't like each other. I guess that'd be a bit much and a bit "on the nose," but it'd make for some pretty neat designs, I say!
"HARD HAT BEETLE"
A classic is back! But I have mixed feelings about this Leever. The original was just a fleshy dome with four strange fins on it, evoking no particular taxonomy; it was something wholly unique to Hyrule, as cryptic and weird as some of the most baffling fossil invertebrates. As of "Link to the Past," the Leever is more explicitly plantlike or anemone-like, with a dark mouthlike hole at the center of four petals. I still like it very much, but I liked it even more before I could so easily compare it to anything as conventional as "a flower."
I'm also not all that big on the updated Lanmola; what happened to that epic cyclops centipede?! Here, the species is just some kind of simple armor plated green worm with fangs and no eyeball! No eyeball at all!
Moldorm, on the other hand, has gone a positively WACKY route that I really adore. The old faceless wormy was great, but in Link to the Past it's a chain of slimy green orbs with little wiggly cilia-like tentacles, two hilarious big lidless eyeballs just stuck to the front like Cookie Monster's ping-pong eyes and a spinning flower on the end of its tail. Then, in the 3d sequel, they decided to model every segment like a hamburger bun, making the cilia into whirling lettuce leaves. I love both interpretations so much. Can't imagine why.
This one, I like a lot more than the new Lan-mola. Swa-mola is its slime-dwelling counterpart in the beautiful wetland known as Misery Mire, and these cute pals have fully insect-like heads with big, chompy mandibles and beady orange eyes. They're even cuter in 3-d, with a jagged dark mouth between the mandibles!
This is a weird one that only gets weirder. A Buzz Blob is an electrified jelly creature shaped kind of like a big, green, upright lozenge with two black dots for eyes and two featureless nubs at the bottom for "feet." I won't say what else it kind of evokes. Let's say a cucumber with two smaller stumpier cucumbers for legs. How about that.
BUZZ BLOB & CUKEMAN
Buzz Blobs just kinda dance around aimlessly, frying Link if he happens to touch them, making them pretty funny all around. But if Link uses his magic powder on a Buzz Blob, it turns into a "cukeman," which now has giant white eyes - too wide to actually fit on its head, like oversized sunglasses - and in their original appearance, fat red lips that were probably a poor design choice. Later games leave these off, so the Cukeman would become just a buzz blob with the wacky eyes.
The thing about the Cukeman is that it otherwise functions exactly the same, but if you press B close enough to one without getting shocked, it will talk. In their first appearance they only say "Tra la la, look for Sahasrahla" in reference to a single NPC, or if you've already met him, they'll say "Oh yah, you found Sahasrahla! ... ... ... Good job la la!"
There's never any clue as to why Buzz Blobs turn into Cukemen or what they have to do with this one random dude. In later appearances they spout all sorts of unrelated nonsense that varies with the localization, and in Germany one of these phrases wound up being "Never without a condom!" so at least I'm not imagining what these guys look like.
When I discovered these in those old rentals, I was THRILLED. I knew what antlions were from several books about insects and I found the whole idea of them astonishing, but I had never seen one in real life OR ever referenced in any kind of media, unless you count the Return of the Jedi bit inspired by them. So when I saw an antlion monster pop its head out of a sand pit in a Zelda game, I was delighted to know anyone but me knew or cared about these amazing insects! If only I'd known then just how many antlions showed up in other Japanese media! It was just MY crapsack country that so unforgivably overlooked them!
Of course, the Devalant isn't just a giant antlion. It's some kind of Hyrulian thing "convergent" with an antlion. I love how the 3d game decided they have circular, toothless tube mouths in addition to the large mandibles, and under the sand these could very well be another worm-like cousin of the Lanmola.
I actually never encountered these back in the day, and had no idea they existed. They're chunky mushrooms with little glowing dot eyes, a single pair of two-toed feet and a pair of birdlike wings, so very much like something from the Marioverse. Not only are they quick fliers, but a variant can drop bombs, and for something as awkward as a winged fungus they're one of the nastier threats Link deals with around the Dark World.
The updated Tektite isn't as interesting as the official artwork from the past two games, but that artwork was kind of just one person's interpretation of the sprite, and not all that "official." I prefer those designs, but Link to the Past makes clearer what the Tektites are really going for, which is just a direct upgrade of their original sprites.
So this is functionally just a giant-sized water strider that skates around on shallow water, and in the sprite you can see that it's meant to have a head with large, red dragonfly-like eyes, a green thorax and an abdomen. I don't know why Link Between Worlds changed the head segment into a green duck-like bill, but it does make this creature a little less Earthly, so I guess that's alright. What I really like however is the implication that Hyrulians think of a giant water strider as an aquatic Tektite whether or not they're biologically related, which would be unlikely given their anatomy. It's like a Lion vs. a Sea Lion, you know??
My beloved Pol's Voice don't return in this title, but the Hokkubokku feels like it may be a close cousin of theirs. In fact, its "head" could have passed for an updated Pol's Voice sprite itself; it's just an orange, roundish blob with angry, pupil-less bright eyes and a pair of mouselike ears. This, however, sits atop a pillar of three more orange globs, like the "Pokeys" in the Mario games, and these were interpreted in the 3-d followup as looking like a stack of pumpkins.
These weird things live in the desert, where they burrow up from the sand and start bouncing around. They can also be defeated one segment at a time, with every segment bouncing around independently of the main body until it's destroyed. If it didn't have the rodent-like ears I might have overlooked this monster as just another nondescript blob or worm creature, but what we have here is a vertical column of rubbery pods with a head that looks vaguely like a cartoon bunny, and its physiology works like some kind of flatworm. Sure, Hyrule.
I love these! A brand new enemy that feels similar in spirit to the original Leever, this is nothing but a clump of seven fat, sausage-shaped tentacles in a wriggling clump, the whole mass slowly creeping along the ground. I like that the tentacles are a mix of colors, too; brown and blue in the original sprite, orange and black in the 3d model.
And another Leever-adjacent enemy! Ropa has a green, saclike body and five orange, knob-tipped tentacles on top, also anemone-like, but it actually hops around wildly. Actually, the Zelda fandom wiki currently puts it thusly:
"Much like the movement of sea anemones under water, rather than moving along the ground they stalk their victims by propelling their mass through the air, hopping repeatedly to close distance."
This is actually the exact opposite of what sea anemones do under water, but I enjoy that someone possibly thought otherwise.
Ropa may have been named after the "Roper" from Dungeons and Dragons, which looks like a big stalagmite with tentacles. These are also one of the most common if not the "basic" Dark World enemy, and more abundant still in its very spookiest locales such as the Skeleton Forest and the Ghostly Garden graveyard. Sounds like they're attracted to corpses!
WONDERFUL. Just a giant, bright yellow, slimy fat slug with knobby antennas, and another inhabitant of Misery Mire. The simple round, black dot for a mouth is also really cute. Despite being big banana slugs, Sluggulas move fairly quickly, and they leave BOMBS in their path, just laying high explosives like a trail of eggs!
EVEN MORE WONDERFUL. Slarok are the Octoroks of the Dark World, and instead of Octopuses, they're another giant slug! They have the same eyeless-looking knobby stalks as Sluggula, but with fatter red bodies, Octorok-style mouths and five short, yellow claws arranged kind of like four "legs" and a "tail." They are everything I love about the aesthetics of both slugs and cartoon octopus monsters. I wish these appeared in more games, even without the presence of the same "Dark World" from this one.
We mentioned the magic powder that turns Buzz Blobs into Cukemen already, but it has all kinds of weird effects on other things throughout the game. Over a dozen species of monster, however, simply turn into these same identical "slimes" when dusted, onion-like yellow blobs with grumpy eyes and a fair of little green leaves or feelers on top. Actually just exactly like an onion with eyes. They're not very strong and they don't move very quickly, so it's a good way to deal with some of the more troublesome creatures if you have the magic to spare. There's even one enemy, a humanoid brown lizard thingy called the Deadrock, that can't be beaten at all without slimifying it first.
One of my favorites! This Dark World plant monster consists of a big, pale, eyeless mouth with sharp teeth, a fringe of blue leaves and two dinosaur-like legs. Basically like Audrey II's head with feet attached. It hops around and chomps and that's basically all it needs to do!
Like-like is back! And almost identical to the original game, until you encounter it in the Dark World. The Japanese version simply names this as a "subspecies" of Like-like, but the English version decided to call it a "Pikit" to distinguish the two even further, because both their design and behavior is quite a bit different:
LIKE-LIKE (AND "PIKIT?")
Whereas a Like-like resembles a big fleshy barrel with a mouth on top, its Dark World variant or "Pikit" resembles a yellowish, three-petaled flower bud that creeps around on a cluster of little purple roots, and can pop up to shoot out a long, gooey tendril like the tongue of a chameleon. And whereas the Like-like only eats Link's shield, the Pikitlike will steal all sorts of stuff! Sneaky!! I love them so much. I love creatures with nematode-style petal mouths already, but this is JUST that. Just the petals walking around with a big tongue. What else do you need?!
It's unfortunate the Pikit don't return in Link Between Worlds, but that game does introduce the "Rupee-Like," a Like-like with a little antenna it uses to hold a single rupee, like the lure of an anglerfish. One of my favorite Zelda creatures borrowing my favorite hunting strategy from real-life monsters.
This is absolutely my favorite thing invented by Link Between Worlds. This flying enemy looks a little like a Clionid or "sea angel;" its body is a round, pale, fleshy blob that tapers to a short, pointed tail and flaps around with two pointed, wing-like fins. Its head, however, is another like that of the Pikit, this one with six "petals" that open up into a fleshy red maw. No eyes, no teeth, nothing else but those cool as heck flaring lobes.
It is my opinion that if you give a creature a weird mouth, something weird should come out of it, and Zelda knows this well, as we already saw with the Pikit. In Keeleon's case, it spits up bombs! That's two slug-related monsters that make bombs, now, the Keeleon and Sluggula. Together with Slarok and Gyorm this is obviously THE Legend of Zelda game for gastropod lovers, by far one of the four or five most essential criteria in judging any video game and/or work of art in general.
I think Keeleon is my favorite design, but Vitreous is a solid one with my favorite overall "concept;" the boss of Misery Mire is just one giant eyeball and tons of littler eyeballs encased in a big roundish pile of green jelly, its name a reference to the gelatinous goo inside our very own eyeballs! Do you like being reminded of the goo? That your eyes are just kinda two plump tiny balloons full of pudding? I bet you do!
It's a kickass name, but the Japanese name is also wonderful: SLIMEDOGGER! That makes Vitreous either a relative of the first game's Digdogger, or another case in which a monster was named after another one with a similar vibe. There's honestly no telling if all the various sentient eyeballs in this continuity are in any way related to one another.
Vitreous doesn't have "official art" of its own, but it does appear in a tie-in comic book, in which Misery Mire's slime is red instead of green. The comic also refers to the entity as Mister Vitreous, which I choose to consider canon.
The later, unrelated video game Demon's Crest would also happen to feature a boss monster remarkably similar to Vitreous, named Ovnunu. You can see him on my old Demon's Crest review page, one in desperate need of an update, but see if you can also find the "Easter Egg" I hid there all the way back in, I think, 2000.
The final monster I'm including here is a boss exclusive to Link Between Worlds, and it's a mix of just about everything cool we've seen so far. It's a big pink bud that splits open into a gorgeously colored and quite menacing giant flower, with a huge circular googly eye on each of its five innermost petals. The surrounding ring of sharp-tipped, fan-like yellow petals is pretty threatening looking, and of course that spins around. Surrounding those are larger, veiny pink petals or leaves and below that is a huge cactus-like thick stalk. It's just SO cool, so pretty, and so full of character all at once!
The best part? Zaganaga ties in with a classic enemy previously left out of the "Link to the Past" setting:
THE PEAHAT! Now a ball cactus that flies with its spinning pink flower, which isn't terribly different from the original Peahat. No added eyes or teeth to muddle the whimsical fun of a simple whirling helicopter-plant. Zaganaga spawns little Peahats throughout your battle, implying it's some sort of "more mature" Peaheat, like their mother plant!
This is pretty much it for "Link to the Past" creatures I felt like going over. When next we meet, we'll be seeing what Octoroks and their friends got up to on the Nintendo 64!