The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did a lot of great things for the franchise's combat. It put a major emphasis on diversifying the list of weapons that both Link and his adversaries wield, meaning players get more fighting styles to choose from and more types of threats. However, Breath of the Wild also dropped a lot of classic Zelda enemies, opting to instead focus on a short list of monsters with a lot of variants like Bokoblins and Lizalfos. The monster variants did a decent job of keeping combat variety high, but it's still a shame that lots of enemies did not appear.
That's why it's exciting to know The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will have a fresh batch of enemies for players to scrap with. The sequel will seemingly emphasize Ganondorf's return from the dead and a potentially more dangerous tide of Calamity Ganon's Malice, so with those factors in play, the timing seems perfect for several classic Zelda monsters to return.
Updated on March 31, 2023 by Renri Seong: Breath of the Wild was a new take on the Legend of Zelda games featuring open world and breaking tradition. It also featured new enemies such as the Guardians and the Blights. Tears of the Kingdom is an anticipated installment in the Zelda franchise, opening up a brand-new world above the vast lands of Hyrule. Early trailers revealed Bokoblins teamed up with Stone Taluses from Breath of the Wild. However, a new game means a chance to bring back some of the classics.
Darknuts seem like a solid addition to Tears of the Kingdom as a new heavyweight threat. These dark knights are mainstays in The Legend of Zelda, making their debut in the first game and appearing as powerful enemies in multiple entries since. Darknuts are particularly well known for the versions from The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, in which they're too durable for Link to fight head-on, forcing him to test his swordsmanship until he can cut off their armor.
Breath of the Wild lets Link collect armor, but it doesn't have many humanoid enemies with significant armor plating. Mobility and parrying are crucial skills in Breath of the Wild, and Nintendo can design a new line of Darknuts focused on testing those skills as they mount a heavy offense that Link must evade until he can get through the armor. If Tears of the Kingdom blends the sturdy black armor of Twilight Princess Darknuts with their jackal-like appearance in Wind Waker, the result could be a great new version of a classic enemy.
Darknuts appear in quite a few Zelda games, but Poes are even more prolific. As mischievous ghosts that appear and disappear in the midst of combat, Poes fill the role of a classic fantasy foe in The Legend of Zelda. Poe Souls also traditionally serve as valuable collectibles that earn Link special rewards, or at the very least a fistful of Rupees. Despite these valuable contributions, there are no Poes in Breath of the Wild; the teleporting elemental Wizzrobes are the closest thing the game offers.
Tears of the Kingdom seems like it might put an emphasis on dark magic and necromancy, as the E3 2021 trailer appears to show Ganondorf rising from his grave in a lich-like form. If that's the case, the sequel could use some undead enemies like Poes to support the theme. The plush, baglike Poes might be too cartoony for this version of Hyrule, but Nintendo could take inspiration from more stylized variants like in Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. It'd also be great to see Poe Souls become a collectible of value in Tears of the Kingdom, potentially for the monster part merchant Kilton.
A lot of Zelda enemies have variants that can be cute, especially in more cartoonish entries like A Link Between Worlds. Nevertheless, ReDeads manage to be consistently terrifying creatures. Between their zombie-like designs and their ability to paralyze and grapple Link, trapping him in dangerous situations, ReDeads have become Zelda icons, causing fans to move carefully when traversing the depths of Zelda dungeons.
It's unclear if Tears of the Kingdom has traditional dungeons that ReDeads can haunt, but it'll doubtless have dark tunnels and enemy strongholds worth guarding. Considering how Breath of the Wild's Blood Moon reanimates every dead monster in Hyrule, it wouldn't be strange if the undead Ganondorf also conjured some ReDeads to reinforce his army. By introducing ReDeads, the sequel could also include the flammable mummy-like Gibdos as a ReDead variant. It'd be satisfying to toast a Gibdo with Link's new flamethrower.
Some eagle-eyed viewers noticed a zombie-like monster in Tears of the Kingdom's second teaser trailer. It manifests beneath the light of the Blood Moon, appearing next to a Lizalfos. These monsters weren't seen in Breath of the Wild, so the theory that they are ReDeads is very plausible. If Tears of the Kingdom keeps the Noise Indicator from Breath of the Wild, then players would need to rely on it when near ReDeads or Gibdos.
Most of Breath of the Wild's enemies do little more than attack Link, there aren't many focused on protecting their allies or making Link more vulnerable. Wallmasters could fix this if they got updated in Tears of the Kingdom. While Wallmasters usually appear as disembodied monster hands that try to drag Link to earlier parts of dungeons, the sequel's Wallmasters could spawn from pools of Malice and try to grapple Link in more combat-oriented ways, either throwing him into crowds of enemies or pulling him away from vulnerable monsters. They'd simultaneously add a new element to Zelda combat while giving Malice another means to threaten Link.
Within the lore of the franchise, it's not surprising that Breath of the Wild has such a different cast of monsters from its predecessors. It takes place more than 10,000 years after the next most recent Zelda games, so there's been a lot of time for change. Still, while the Breath of the Wild family of games celebrate change, it'd be nice to get more nods toward the franchise's history. If Ganondorf will have a renewed role in Zelda, then at least some of his recognizable minions deserve a place in the spotlight too.
7 Deku Baba
Another common enemy is the Deku Baba. These plantlike creatures are commonly seen in the earlier dungeons of Zelda games. It goes without saying that they're extremely weak to Fire Arrows. Just like any other monster in the Zelda franchise, their weak offense/defense doesn't mean they can't be a threat for those that are too careless.
It's unlikely a Deku Baba would be on the Sky Islands in Tears of the Kingdom, but what's stopping them from growing around Hyrule? These monsters would have been perfect to deal with in the Korok Trials Shrine Quest in Breath of the Wild. If Deku Babas were to appear in Tears of the Kingdom, there's no doubt they'd be one of the game's weaker monsters.
Stalfos have consistently appeared in a majority of Zelda games. While Breath of the Wild had Stalkoblins and the like, the Stalfos didn't seem to make the cut. The method of defeating these enemies differs from title to title, but they could be dangerous and hard-hitting if Link wasn't careful.
Since it seems the Blood Moon will play a larger role in Tears of the Kingdom, it's the perfect excuse to bring back Stalfos. With BotW/TotK's gameplay, there could be plenty of creative methods to defeat these skeletal enemies. Unlike Shadow Beasts, Stalfos aren't bound by any specific lore, so they don't need a major plot reason to make their return.
Armos are enemies that disguise themselves as harmless statues, springing to life the minute Link tried to move them or got too close. Their stone body makes them immune to sword slashes, so Link needs to strike the core at their back in order to defeat them. Armos would then self-destruct and could potentially damage Link if he's within range.
One of the trailers for Tears of the Kingdomreveals mechanical-based enemies like the small Guardians in Breath of the Wild. Since Link will be taking to the Sky Islands, it's not unlikely that there could be Armos or even Beamos. Most enemies in Breath of the Wild could be attacked head-on, but taking on an Armos could be similar to Stone Taluses.
The large Skulltula are one of the first monsters players would run into on their quest. In Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, players would have to wait for the Skulltula to turn around so that they could strike at its soft underbelly. In Twilight Princess, Link could only damage them when they raised their front legs to attack.
Compared to other monsters, Skulltulas aren't nearly as threatening. However, with their habit of dropping from the ceiling onto unsuspecting players, they can be quite troublesome. There weren't any spider-like monsters in Breath of the Wild, but they'd be right at home in the forests or dark caves in Tears of the Kingdom.
3 Shadow Beast
Shadow Beasts were beings of the Twilight Realm in Twilight Princess. They took on this grotesque form when corrupted by the power of the Usurper King, Zant. At the beginning of Twilight Princess, Link would fight them mostly in the Twilight Realm. Shadow Beasts would drop from a Twilight Portal and prevent Link from escaping. He would then need to defeat all of them at the same time in order to escape and unlock a Warp Spot. If one Shadow Beast was left alive, they would revive their fallen allies, and Link would have to start the process all over.
While it's unlikely the Shadow Beasts will return in Tears of the Kingdom, they could add a bit of challenge to the gameplay. If Shadow Beasts did return, it's unlikely they'd be linked to warp spots. The Twilight is one of the many places that players want to revisit in BotW's sequel, but including them would add another layer to the already-established lore.
Dodongos are giant, fire-breathing lizards that could only be defeated by striking their tail. The Dodongos of OoT also served as a hindrance to the Gorons in the past. They're not nearly as important to the story in Majora's Mask, but they would drop 50 rupees upon defeat.
They don't appear in Breath of the Wild, and it would seem they were replaced by the Fire-Breath Lizalfos. However, Dodongos with their impenetrable armor could bring a challenge to TotK players. There are very few enemies that only have one hit-spot, so having a Dodongo or something similar would shake things up.
1 Like Like
Common enemies in water-based levels, the Like Like isn't as strong as a Darknut, but it had a habit of eating Link's shield or the Goron/Zora Tunic. Fortunately for Link, his shield or tunic could be recovered once the Like Like was defeated. If a Like Like were in TotK, it could give players some trouble by eating shields or pieces of armor.
The best way to defeat them is from a distance with a bomb or Fire Arrow. Those that had the Biggoron's Sword or Great Fairy Sword in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask respectively could defeat them in one hit. In Breath of the Wild, players could equip Link with different weapons and armor. It's likely this will be the case in Tears of the Kingdom, too, which give Like Likes an excuse to block Link's path.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is set to release May 12, 2023 for Nintendo Switch.