The Legend of Zelda games let players choose how Link looks, so they can see which versions of Link have looked the best over time.
With multiple timelines, a seemingly endless number of games, and the main characters of The Legend of Zelda showing in different versions of Hyrule and other places, the character designs also change to fit the story, world, art style, and mood of the games.
Link usually changes the most from one game to the next, since you direct him and see the adventure from his point of view. Each version of Link is different, but they all have some things in common. It’s time to look at Link’s past from the beginning and figure out which versions of him look the best.
The Wand Of Gamelon And The Faces Of Evil
Phillips’ terrible The Legend of Zelda games for their CD-I system might not even be real Zelda games, but they still have Link and Zelda in them, so we have to talk about them.
In short, this Link is terrible. There’s the in-game sprite, which is at best just okay. Then the infamous cutscenes play, which make the game look and sound like something out of a nightmare. It’s a classic Link idea, but the strange art style of the game really holds it back.
The Legend Of Zelda
The first game in the series was made for the NES, and without it, we wouldn’t have some of the best games ever made. So why is the source Link so far down on this page? Even though it made Link’s look famous, the game’s sprite is simple.
It’s not that the first Link is bad, but it’s not the best. In an interview with Game Kult, Shigeru Miyamoto said that Link’s sprite artist, Takashi Tezuka, had to make certain choices in order to make the hero stand out because of the limits of the NES. They chose to give Link a long hat and big ears, which made them think of Disney’s Peter Pan. In the end, they decided to give Link a green dress like Peter Pan’s.
Zelda 2: The Adventure Of Link
Link’s style in The Adventure of Link is almost the same as it was in the original NES game. However, the sprite has been improved by making Link look more like a person instead of short and fat like in the original.
Link travels across Hyrule again in Zelda 2, this time to stop Ganon’s minions from bringing back the King of Evil. Since this game takes place years after the first, Link is older and taller, which is mirrored in his design. Even though it’s easy, it works.
Link’s Awakening, Oracle Of Ages, And Oracle Of Seasons
Link’s form stays pretty much the same in the Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. He has the same Peter Pan-like look from The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link.
Link’s green hat and outfit are back, but his sprite is very different from the first two games. He has a softer, cuter look, which fits with the way these games are made and what they are about. Due to the limitations of the console, Link’s appearance would not be fully realized for a while, but the concept is still good.
Link’s Awakening Remake
This remake of a classic Game Boy game was surprisingly fun, especially because it had a new art style. Link’s design is so cute that you can’t help but smile when you see it. It also does a great job of combining Link’s original form with the more modern look that fans are used to seeing.
His all-black, cartoony eyes are especially cute, and his shiny body looks almost like a tiny figure. This remake did a great job of bringing Link’s look up to date while keeping it true to the original sprite.
A Link To The Past
Link’s official art for A Link to the Past keeps the green robe, long hat, and warrior’s shield from the first game, but adds the blonde hair that will become his trademark.
Link’s sprite in the game, on the other hand, has bright pink hair, which is an interesting choice. It seems that it was done so that Link’s hair wouldn’t mix in with his face and the background. Fair enough, but… pink? Why not dark brown or yellow? Link does look pretty good in pink, though.
A Link Between Worlds
Take the version of Link from A Link to the Past, turn it into a 3D character model, and change the color of his hair. This is pretty much what A Link Between Worlds is about. It’s just a better version of the SNES Link.
A Link Between Worlds is a sequel to A Link to the Past, but it follows a different Link. It makes sense that the series went back to an old style that hadn’t been seen in years. It’s clear that Nintendo cared about A Link to the Past fans because they put so much care into recreating that world.
Hyrule Warriors – Linkle
Timelines can make some interesting changes, and in this different world, Linkle is the hero of Hyrule. But she is not just a copy of the normal hero. Instead, she has a very unique look.
Linkle wears a blouse with a green hood that looks more like a poncho. She doesn’t have a sword or a shield. Instead, she has two crossbows, boots that go up to her thighs, and a map around her neck. She has bangs and two knots in the front of her hair, which reminds me of Zelda from Skyward Sword.
The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, And Tri Force Heroes
Most of the time, Nintendo will only use a new version of Link for one or two games before changing things up for the next game. But in the case of Toon Link, this form has spread across many games and generations.
This form of Link, who is friendly and expressive, first appeared in The Wind Waker and continued in Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, and Tri-Force Heroes, even though the character was different in the last two games. When he first came out, people didn’t like how cartoony he looked, but now he’s a classic. You can even play as him in Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors.
The Minish Cap
The game cover and artwork made by Capcom and Nintendo just say “Toon Link,” but the sprite inside the game is much more special. Link has a bad case of bedhead when he doesn’t have his green hat on, which gives him a little more personality.
In this game, his friend, the intelligent hat Ezlo, is built into him. This gives the classic hat a new twist. The sprite’s movement is top-notch and by far the best of the character’s 2D sprites.
Link’s main design in Skyward Sword takes ideas from both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. These ideas, along with a few new ones, come together to give the character a look that is both familiar and new.
This fits with the story, since Skyward Sword is the first game in the timeline and shows how the hero will usually wear a green dress. His happy nature comes through in his art style, which is bright and colorful.
Ocarina Of Time And Majora’s Mask
Link’s first appearance in 3D was in Ocarina of Time, which was made possible by the Nintendo 64. A Link to the Past was the first step. Link’s style as a whole is really good in this game. His iconic tunic, which he grows into as he gets older, is more fully realized.
Just putting in a more grown-up version of Link would set the bar that all other games would try to reach. In Majora’s Mask, the game that came after Ocarina of Time, the boy version of Link from Ocarina of Time would come back. The 3DS remakes improved the graphics of the original games, including Link’s look, by rounding off the edges and adding more details.
Breath Of The Wild
Breath of the Wild changed the way Zelda games work by letting you explore Hyrule in an open world. Link’s main outfit in this game is the blue Champion’s Tunic, which has an image of the Master Sword on the front. In other games, Link’s main outfit is a green tunic.
Again, Breath of the Wild Link is different from the other Links because he doesn’t wear a hat. Instead, he ties his hair back with a hairband. This game changed the way Zelda games are made in a big way, and so did the way Link looks.
Tears Of The Kingdom
Link has a lot of clothes to choose from in Tears of the Kingdom. However, Nintendo usually shows Link wearing the blue Champion’s Leathers or Archaic armor set in its marketing materials. The Champion’s Leathers are the same as the Champion’s Tunic that Link wore in Breath of the Wild, but Zelda has changed it so that it has chain mail and other layers for protection.
The Archaic armor set, on the other hand, is made up of a gray and green tunic and shoes that look like gladiator boots. The tassels on the dress also look like the three pieces of the Triforce. Link’s right side is open, so you can see that he has a Zonai arm that used to belong to Rauru. When compared to other versions of Link, this one has the longest hair, which is loose when you start Geometry Dash Subzero game.
The Legend of Zelda got a lot darker and more epic in Twilight Princess, so it made sense that Link’s look would change to match. This Link has dark blonde hair and wears chain mail under his shirt.
The longer hat is a nice touch, and the darker shade of green on his clothing is nice because it matches the more serious tone of Twilight Princess. This, plus the fact that his Wolf form looks very different from anything else, makes it a great version of the hero as a whole.
Even if you don’t like this spin-off game, the character designs for almost everyone in Hyrule Warriors, especially Link, were unique and visually appealing.
This form of Link, who wears a very stylish blue scarf, metal shoulder guards, and chain mail, looks the most like a warrior than any other. His hair is more golden, and he has a more lively look in general. When you add in the beautiful motion, this makes for a design that is almost perfect.