The Legend of Zelda franchise is well known for its elaborate dungeons and rich lore-based adventures. Over the years, players have come face to face with many different enemies and explored many different areas. Whether it's a portable release, a retro classic, or a new-age 3D masterpiece, The Legend of Zelda series has remained a stalwart juggernaut of entertainment.
The stories and styles may change but one true constant remains the same. Each Zelda game is packed full of interesting and sometimes elaborate boss battles. These monstrous champions range from small and agile to massive and imposing. We've seen spiders, fish, elementals, ghosts, wizards, reanimated bones, and a slew of other deadly foes. There are many bosses to conquer in the current The Legend of Zelda universe.
For the most part, Link has found himself easily trumping these champions. Some bosses have simple mechanics and most don't put up too much of a fight. That being said, there are a few instances in which our hero has had his hands full. This begs the question, of all of Link's boss battles, which has challenged him (and you the player) the most?
This list is dedicated to 15 of the most difficult boss battles found in The Legend of Zelda series. What boss gave you the most trouble? Let us know!
15 Bongo Bongo (Ocarina of Time)
Most Legend of Zelda fans had a love/hate relationship with Bongo Bongo. The massive Phantom Shadow Beast was once locked away at the bottom of a well, before making its way to the Shadow Temple. Bongo Bongo is a menacing-looking beast with one large eye and two huge "disconnected" hands. Upon first glance, one would expect Bongo Bongo to be exceedingly difficult to defeat. While that may be partially true, there is a particular trick that makes the fight a bit easier.
This monstrous boss offers a battle mechanic that is both uniquely entertaining and supremely annoying. The battle takes place on a huge bongo drum (hence the name) and you'll find yourself flanked by both of Bongo Bongo's massive hands. These two disconnected appendages are the only visible part of the boss and you'll need to use the Lens of Truth if you want to see the rest of his horrifying form.
What makes Bongo Bongo so annoying is that the arena will actually bounce Link around, making it difficult to hit the boss in his vulnerable eye. You can counteract this bounce by wearing the Hover Boots, but it's important to note that their slippery soles can cause just as much strife when trying to aim accurately. This fight gets a whole lot easier if you bring Ice Arrows, which skews his overall difficulty quite a bit.
14 Stallord (Twilight Princess)
Crime doesn't pay. This is especially true for criminals that find themselves subject to Hyrule jurisdiction. The seediest of ruffian would find themselves housed in a massive prison known as the Arbiter's Grounds. This Colosseum-like jail was built to house convicts and murders while they awaited judgment. These individuals were either sentenced to lengthy prison time, exile, or even execution. This torrid past turned the Arbiter's Grounds into one of the most depressingly haunting places in Twilight Princess.
On your quest for the almighty Spinner, you'll fight through Stalfos, Ghoul Rats, Poes, and Poison Mites. Unfortunately, none of these foes will adequately prepare you for your fight against Stallord, a Twilit Fossil reanimated by the evil Zant. This battle features a few mechanics surrounding the newly acquired Spinner and can be annoying for first-timers. During his first phase, Stallord will swipe at players and summon Staltroop to protect his vulnerable spine.
Navigating the maze of blockers, avoiding spike balls, and dodging Stallord's attacks can be an aggravating experience. It isn't enough to break this creature's spine either. Once his body is dust, Stallord will attack you as a floating head and introduce a new track-hopping mechanic into the fight. Stallord can be a handful the first time you meet him but he's a pushover once you understand the fight.
13 Thunderblight Ganon (Breath of the Wild)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn't make use of the same generalized dungeon structure as other Legend of Zelda titles, so it doesn't have nearly as many bosses to conquer. There is an abundance of sub-bosses to destroy, but Ganon only employs four champions to stop Link this time.
It's quality over quantity in this release and that means the bosses offer a raised difficulty compared to other Legend of Zelda titles. One particular champion is exceptionally hard to destroy. Thunderblight Ganon is a master of electricity, using high-intensity attacks that will do massive damage to an unprepared Link. You can better prepare yourself for this fight by drinking electricity resistance tonics and wearing rubber armor, but that doesn't make Thunderblight Ganon any less imposing.
This agile fighter has three phases and will start the battle by using simple slashes and ranged attacks. During his second phase, players must manipulate a pillar and cause Thunderblight Ganon to fall victim to his own lightning attack. The third phase is where the difficulty really ramps up. Moving at breakneck speeds, the boss will teleport and aggressively attack Link. If the electricity doesn't kill you, expect Thunderblight Ganon to do you in with one swift strike.
12 Puppet Ganon (The Wind Waker)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker took the franchise in a different direction. The entirety of The Wind Waker plays like a children's book. The 3D cel-shaded graphics brought a renewed look to the series and Toon Link's ever expressive face was a sight for sore eyes. Much of the adventure took place on the Great Sea but there were still many dungeons to explore and many bosses to conquer.
With the bright color scheme and cartoony graphics, it's hard to imagine finding a particularly menacing boss during this adventure. However, underneath the vibrant veil lies a seedy underground filled with imposing enemies and sinister champions. At one point, players will find themselves face to face with an eerie marionette but this toy is far from child's play.
Puppet Ganon has three separate phases that introduce new mechanics into the fight. The first variant dangles from strings and must be "cut down" using the boomerang. Once enough strings are cut, the marble-like vulnerability will appear. Puppet Ganon's second form is a menacing spider that will attempt to leap at you from the ceiling. His third form, the snake, became the ire of many players. This serpent will zip around the room at warp speed, striking Link and making it exceedingly difficult to snipe his vulnerability.
11 Gyorg (Majora's Mask)
Gyorg is a classic example of a boss that is easy for some, yet difficult for others. This giant masked fish is found at the end of the Great Bay Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The temple itself can be a bit annoying but this particular boss has the potential to quickly eliminate Link if the hero is not careful.
The battle begins atop an octagonal platform, where a mysterious entity stalks Link from the surrounding depths. After a few tense moments, the massive beast appears and will ram the platform in an attempt to knock the hero into the water. The only way to damage Gyorg is by hitting him with a projectile (arrows or the Zora fins work) and then attacking him within the water once he is stunned. The Zora barrier works wonders for damaging the monstrous fish but being within the water puts you in a horribly vulnerable state.
A single attack against Gyorg will pull him from stun and send him into an angry frenzy. It's important to get back to the platform as quickly as possible or the gluttonous fish will swallow Link whole and chew on him for a moment. This fight can be exceedingly difficult with a low amount of hearts as Gyorg's swallow attack will deplete two of them at once. If you aren't comfortable with the swimming mechanics or don't have a good grasp on how to use Zora Link, this battle can be a nightmare.
10 Molgera (The Wind Waker)
Molgera is another prime example of the easy/hard phenomenon. There are many accounts of players conquering this slithery opponent without taking any damage, while others fall victim to its vicious attacks.
This giant sand worm is the guardian of the Wind Temple (strange I know), the sixth overall temple in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The mechanic for this fight is pretty straight forward. Molgera will soar through the sky and then plummet into the sandy ground below. Once there, it will open its huge maw and attempt to swallow Link. If it succeeds (much like the Gyorg fight) it will sap two hearts before spitting the hero out. Players need to make sure they don't step too close to the Molgera's pit to avoid damage.
The only way to damage the beast is by hook-shotting its long tongue and slashing away at it. Once the tongue is damaged, Molgera recedes back into the sands before bursting to the sky once more. This process continues a few times, with the boss spawning minions during each transition. These minions can be annoying but are easily defeated and leave hearts behind, which makes the fight a bit easier.
9 Evil Eagle (Link's Awakening)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was responsible for starting the handheld Zelda craze. This particular release felt more RPG-like in design, with interesting side quests and challenging gameplay. It played like a traditional top-down Zelda release but did have a few interesting instances in which the "style" and mechanics changed.
There are many bosses in Link's Awakening, but one annoying champion stands out from the crowd. Evil Eagle is the main boss of Eagle's Tower, an intricate level with an odd ending mechanic. Players will fight this dastardly foe atop a small platform at the peak of the tower. As the eagle swoops down, Link will need to quickly slash at its head to do damage. A direct strike will halt the bird in place and cause it to fly off-screen.
What makes this battle so difficult is the eagle's annoying gust attack, which has the potential to sweep the hero right off the platform. Falling will not result in defeat but it will "reset" the battle and Evil Eagle will regain all of its health. Focusing slashes, standing in the appropriate places, and quickly switching between weapons is the key to surviving this swift foe.
8 Ganon (Link to the Past)
Before Ocarina of Time stole the spotlight, gamers were enamored with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This SNES release took all of the joy and wonder from the original NES title and elevated it to the next level. The visuals were perhaps the biggest upgrade and although some mechanics and gameplay elements changed, the game itself played like The Legend of Zelda we'd all come to know and love.
Another big change were boss fights. The champions in A Link to the Past were elaborate in comparison to their predecessors. A prime example of this is Ganon. The final boss for the original Legend of Zelda makes a return as the final boss in A Link to the Past. This boar-like baddie feels like a true "end boss" in the SNES title. Players will need to focus and stay on their toes if they hope to vanquish this variant of Lord Ganon.
His attacks are surprisingly agile and painful. During the first phase of the fight, Ganon will send out a circular pattern of fireballs, while also tossing "fire bats" towards Link. As he takes damage, Ganon becomes a much more formidable foe. His attacks gain speed, power, and variance, and he will begin to "take away" the outer edge of the arena. This is definitely one of the harder variations of Ganon and one of the better battles in The Legend of Zelda franchise.
7 Moldorm (A Link to the Past)
Another solid example of new-and-improved in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is Moldorm. This slithering worm-like creature has cemented itself as one of the most annoyingly difficult bosses in the entire Legend of Zelda universe. Serving as the last boss of the game's third dungeon, Moldorm is a prime example of how quickly a boss fight can go south.
The mechanic for this fight is incredibly simple. Moldorm has a bright colored protrusion on his tail that serves as his weak spot. It only takes six hits to down this massive worm but landing those strikes is much easier said than done. Moldorm moves in a very erratic pattern, coiling its body up often and blocking attacks with its massive head. It can be rather hard to hit the small weak point and slashing will cause Link to stand still for a moment.
What makes this fight so agonizingly annoying is Moldorm's hefty knockback. The battle arena is a platform flanked by large pits. If you venture too close to the edge (or Moldorm inevitably forces you there) you'll fall down into the room below. This wouldn't be much more than a minor annoyance, if not for the fact that Moldorm regains all of his health and the battle essentially restarts. Contact with the creature will cost Link one heart container. To make matters even worse, once you strike Moldorm a fifth time, the beast will kick into overdrive and careen across the floor in an enraged state.
6 Vaati (Minish Cap)
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is a cult classic. This handheld title for the Game Boy Advance is easily one of the best portable Zelda adventures to date. Much like Link's Awakening, Minish Cap features an array of side quests and hidden secrets. The title has a unique storyline and revolves around a mysterious group of creatures called Picori (although they call themselves The Minish). With many interesting mechanics and an array of challenging puzzles to solve, Minish Cap did a great job in setting itself apart from the rest of the franchise.
It also did a fantastic job in crafting an end boss fight that is supremely challenging and entertaining. Link doesn't tangle with Ganondorf in this one. Instead, players will find themselves scrambling to save a petrified Princess Zelda from the hands of the evil Vaati. This maniacal villain was once a peaceful Picori. His obsession with evil and power soon consumed him and he set out on his own to terrorize the surrounding lands.
Vaati is easily one of the most complex bosses to ever feature in a Legend of Zelda game. He has three separate forms, each with their own unique mechanics and he employs a powerful array of attacks that can be downright difficult to avoid. This battle rewards swift movement, focus, proper placement, and well-aimed attacks. Vaati's first form is complex enough in its own right but his second and third forms are a serious challenge.
5 Digdogger (Oracle of Seasons)
Digdogger finds its way on this list based purely on its insanely annoying fight mechanic. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons features some rather unique equippable items, including the manipulative Magnetic Gloves. These powerful accessories will allow Link to pull, move, or even deflect metallic objects via magnetic force.
Players are required to use these gloves to defeat the boss of Unicorn's Cave. Digdogger is a giant spherical creature with a massive eye and a serious vertical leap. The ocular monstrosity will spend much of his time hopping around the room and attempting to squish Link. The only way to damage him is by rolling a giant spiked ball with the Magnetic Gloves.
The main issue is how this ball interacts with our hero. Since the Magnetic Gloves work by swapping polarity, there are instances in which the heavy spined object is freely sliding across the ground. Link will need to position himself so that the ball hits Digdogger while simultaneously avoiding the boss' annoying pounces. If too much magnetic force is applied the player runs the risk of ramming the ball headfirst into Link. Once Digdogger is struck four times, he will split into miniature versions of himself that must be eliminated quickly before they reform and reset the mechanic.
4 Gleeok (The Legend of Zelda)
Those of you out there that have experienced the original Legend of Zelda can attest to its overall difficulty. In comparison to the newer releases, The Legend of Zelda is one of the most entertaining, yet simultaneously frustrating titles to ever grace the NES. There are quite a few dungeons to prattle through and each is filled with an array of enemies, a mini-boss, and a champion.
One would argue that Ganon (with his horrible invisibility) is the hardest boss in the original release but the final fight leaves a lot to be desired in terms of difficulty. The true menace of the first Legend of Zelda is Gleeok, a multi-headed dragon that Link meets on multiple occasions. This boss turned mini-boss (then turned boss again) shows up in three different locations. Each time Link spots it, it's sporting a fancy new head but its fight mechanics stay the same.
Gleeok's difficulty spikes when the boss takes damage. You'll need to strike at its moving heads to do damage and striking one head enough will cause it to detach. Once detached from its body, the errant head will slide around the room and shoot fireballs at Link. This is difficult enough when there is one head involved, so imagine the frustration when there are four.
3 Thunderbird (The Adventure of Link)
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link doesn't share much in common with its predecessor. The game is entirely different and is perhaps the most peculiar Legend of Zelda title in the entire franchise. Players are still forced to drudge through dungeons and collect magical items, while there is still an abundance of enemies to slice and dice through.
Aside from those common Zelda themes, The Adventure of Link plays very differently. Gone is the top-down view, replaced by a side-scrolling and platforming. The overworld is massive and enemy encounters will toss our hero into increasingly difficult battle sections. To make matters worse, the map will rearrange and change itself if Link succumbs to defeat. They didn't just change The Legend of Zelda formula, they cranked the difficulty up to 11.
If Link can somehow make it past all of the brutal enemies and dungeons, he'll be rewarded with an intense battle against Thunderbird. Once the Thunder spell is cast, Thunderbird will take damage by way of a small hitbox on his face. Link is forced to jump to strike this particular spot while Thunderbird floats erratically in the air. A hail of life-sapping fireballs makes this battle a truly harrowing experience.
2 Dark Link (The Adventure of Link)
If you thought Thunderbird was hard, you're in for a rude awakening. Dark Link (or Link's Shadow) is the final boss to the NES classic Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Developers saved the best for last with this boss, as it's easily the most difficult thing players will encounter during this adventure (which is saying a lot).
Dark Link is an incredibly agile and annoyingly skilled foe that takes focus and concentration to defeat. This shadowed version of Link comes equipped with all of the hero's moves and is nothing like the pushover found in the Ocarina of Time's Water Temple. Landing a hit on Dark Link can be difficult in its own right, but too much aggression will be met with swift and punishing strikes. Players will need to keep their shield up and their wits about them if they hope to topple this doppelgänger.
The battle itself is difficult enough, but the timing in which this fight occurs is agonizing. If Link does manage to defeat Thunderbird in pitched combat, his reward is the immediate arrival of Dark Link. It's hard enough to deal with one boss on this list but having to face two of them back to back is pure punishment.
1 Onox (Oracle of Seasons)
We already saw one Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons boss on this list, but Onox is in an entirely different league. Digdogger was annoying, Onox is painful. After locating the eight essences, Link will gain access to Onox's castle. A few floors later and players are face to face with the big man himself.
This boss doesn't seem like much a first. He'll start off by tossing a large spiked ball at Link and then follow up dropping large boulders from the ceiling. All of these things are pretty easy to avoid on their own but after doing enough damage to Onox the fight changes dramatically. The boss will begin to toss speedy tornados towards Link, while a crystal (with Din inside it) hovers near him. Striking the crystal will cause Link to take damage.
Any players that manage to survive this second wave of attacks are granted access to the Oracle of Seasons finale, a one-on-one battle between Link and Onox's true form. It's important to keep a close eye on Link's health as some of Onox's attacks are difficult to avoid. By leaping on his large hands, Link can do damage to the vulnerable crystal atop the boss' head. Oracle of Ages featured a fairly elaborate end-boss as well, but it's a pushover compared to Onox.