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ALttP Book of Mudora Artwork 2
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Not to be confused with Link's Shadow, the Final Boss from The Adventure of Link.
Not to be confused with Shadow Link, the recurring enemy and Boss from Four Swords Adventures, A Link Between Worlds, and Tri Force Heroes.

Dark Link is a recurring antagonist in The Legend of Zelda series.


Dark Link is the evil reflection of Link.[1] He is one of the most enigmatic enemy characters in the The Legend of Zelda series, usually appearing with no backstory and no dialogue, although it is implied on numerous occasions to be merely constructed of shadow magic, usually by Ganon. Dark Link is more than just a mere battle against a monster for Link, but a battle against himself, as the young hero has to face his own strength turned against him. Because of this, he is often the ultimate challenge when encountered, and in one case, is fought as the Final Boss.[2]

As Link's doppelgänger, Dark Link bears a resemblance to the Link of whichever game he appears in. He wears the same clothing as Link: a tunic and a long, floppy cap, though the similarities to Link end there. His entire outfit is black or dark gray instead of green. Moreover, his hair is usually either a shadowy black or a dark gray. Dark Link tends to be left-handed like Link. However, in some appearances (particularly when multiple copies of him appear), he has been shown to be ambidextrous. Another notable feature is his red eyes, which are usually the only prominent feature against his dark visage.

Mainline appearances[]

The Adventure of Link[]

TAoL Final Battle

The final battle of The Adventure of Link, where Link must face his shadow self.

Dark Link, also known as Link's Shadow,[name reference needed] makes his debut appearance in The Adventure of Link, where he serves as the game's Final Boss. Dark Link dodges, blocks, and jumps easily from Link's attacks, while aggressively swinging and thrusting his sword at the hero. After the hero manages to defeat his dark self, he is awarded the Triforce of Courage by a sage who has been guarding it at the palace. Link would then use the power of the Triforce to help awaken Princess Zelda from her deep slumber.

There is a well known strategy in the final battle against Dark Link, where if Link were to crouch and attack by a corner, Dark Link will continuously jump and run into his attacks, easily landing hits. However, this is actually a flaw in the enemy's A.I. in the international NES releases only, where it is simplified from the original Japanese version on the Famicom Disk System.

Ocarina of Time[]

Navi's Comment
Navi says:

Dark Link
Conquer yourself!

Dark Link OoT

Link dueling Dark Link in the Water Temple

In Ocarina of Time, Dark Link appears as a Sub-Boss in the Water Temple, where he materializes from Link's reflection in the water to confront his good counterpart. Dark Link reacts to most of Link's movements and attacks, usually defending himself in the process.[3] Dark Link has the same amount of health as Link; the number of Heart Containers the hero has equals the number of hits with the Master Sword it takes to defeat his doppelgänger. When hit, Dark Link will lean forward in pain, fall through the floor and then spring back up afterwards, from behind. At the beginning of the battle, Dark Link is nearly transparent, but will gradually become opaque as the battle progresses. When he is fully opaque, he will become more aggressive and actively attack Link instead of simply reacting to his moves.

Although Dark Link rarely drops his guard, there are a variety of strategies for defeating Dark Link, such as stunning him with Deku Nuts, casting Din's Fire, striking him with the Megaton Hammer, or any of Link's sword attacks, including the Biggoron's Sword, with or without Z-targeting. If Link performs a sword thrust, Dark Link will simply hop onto the blade of the sword (before attacking if aggressive). He attempts to Jump Attack, Dark Link will side-jump to dodge, immediately following with the same attack of his own. Once Dark Link is defeated, he falls to the ground and vanishes, and Link is able to enter a room containing the Longshot.[3]

Dark Link shares Link's voice, but it is slowed down and distorted, giving a demonic feel.

Oracle of Ages[]

During the second phase of the final battle, Veran creates four clones of Dark Link that mimic Link's movement in reverse and act as dangerous obstacles. Unlike other appearances of Dark Link, these clones do not attack, and are useful in recovering health, as they are easily destroyed and drop one Heart each. They are similar in behavior to Arm-Mimics and Mask-Mimics.

A Link to the Past & Four Swords[]

Dark Links

The four Dark Links in A Link to the Past & Four Swords

In the Game Boy Advance remake of A Link to the Past, after completing both the main story of A Link to the Past and the multiplayer Four Swords game, the Palace of the Four Sword is unlocked. The Dungeon Master is four Dark Links, each with a unique tunic, corresponding to the colors of the Links that hold the Four Sword. Reaching the final room of the dungeon causes the four different colored Four Swords to rise into the air, and following this the Dark Links will drop from above. Each Dark Link has slightly different abilities, but they all aggressively attack with sword swipes and do not open their defenses often. They are quite agile, able to leap backwards out of the way of Link's attacks. They are fought one at a time, and they get progressively more difficult; The green Dark Link uses the Pegasus Boots to suddenly dash at Link. The red Dark Link uses the Hurricane Spin and the Pegasus Boots. The blue Dark Link also uses Pegasus Boots and the Hurricane Spin, and he can leap into the air to perform a Down Thrust (similar to Link's use of the Quake Medallion). The purple Dark Link is the final Dark Link, and utilizes the Pegasus Boots, Hurricane Spin, Down Thrust, and the Sword Beam. Defeating each Dark Link will break the curse on the Four Sword and return it to normal.

Twilight Princess[]

Main article: Interlopers

Dark Link makes a cameo appearance during a cutscene in Twilight Princess that tells the tale of how the Twili race was banished to the Twilight Realm. Portraying the powerful Dark Interlopers who sought to control the Sacred Realm, three clones of Dark Link manage to destroy Link (portraying a common citizen) before they are banished to the Twilight Realm by the Light Spirits.

Spirit Tracks[]

Dark Link appears as the final challenge of the Take 'Em All On! mini-game in Castle Town. In this appearance, he attacks using a blade as dark as himself, that subsequently leaves a fitting black trail, and he can also place bombs and shoot arrows. He can also perform a jump attack like Link, only his is higher and much slower. Dark Link also mimics Link's sword attacks when he himself is not attacking, so Link must block his attacks and then counterattack. The music played when fighting him is the same as the track used when Link chased the Ghost Ship during the final boss's second phase in Phantom Hourglass. Conversely to his appearance in Ocarina of Time, he slowly fades from a pure black to a translucent gray as he takes damage, and once defeated, he falls over on his back and disappears, his eyes eerily left open during the whole animation. The room he is fought in is the only one which contains Hearts, despite Joynas's earlier warning that there is no way to recover health in the challenge rooms.[4]

Breath of the Wild[]

In Breath of the Wild, the Dark Series is an Armor Set that gives Link the appearance of Dark Link, as he appeared in Ocarina of Time. Wearing the full Set grants Link the Night Speed Up Set Bonus.

Tears of the Kingdom[]

In Tears of the Kingdom, the Dark Series returns as Armor that can be purchased at Bargainer Statues found throughout The Depths.

In other media[]

Ocarina of Time (Himekawa)[]

In the Ocarina of Time manga by Akira Himekawa, Link meets up with his shadow doppelganger at Kakariko Village. From Beneath the Well, Dark Link emerges, ready to defeat the original Link. The hero managed to defeat his dark self by learning that the shadow monster is only as skilled as Link was then. So to defeat him, Link had to become better than he was before. Slicing Dark Link in half, the dark hero was not yet done. Dark Link then returned riding on a Dark Epona. Link countered and defeated his evil doppelganger once again with the use of his own Epona. This Dark Link replaced Bongo Bongo as a Boss, most likely because the Shadow Temple didn't appear in the manga.

Spinoff appearances[]

Hyrule Warriors[]

In Hyrule Warriors, Dark Link appears as a mini-boss in the "A War of Spirit" Scenario. He is summoned by Cia by channeling the darker side of Link's personality into physical form, appearing as a completely dark version of him with glowing red eyes. After the first one is defeated, several more copies are summoned which attack Link and the Hyrulean Forces. Link fights them all with the confidence that he can easily overcome them, but quickly becomes overwhelmed, and is saved by his allies who defeat and dispel the Dark Links.

In the Master Quest DLC pack, Dark Link appears again in the Cia's Tale Scenario, "Darkness Falls". When Cia's dark magic begins to steadily unhinge her mind, she begins summoning several Dark Links to defend herself from Ganondorf's Forces, under the delusion that Link will come to protect her. However, by the time Zelda's Forces reach her stronghold, the Dark Links appeared to have all been vanquished in battle.

In Hyrule Warriors Legends amd Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, the Dark Links make one final appearance in the Wind Waker Scenario, "Reclaiming the Darkness". They are summoned forth by Dark Cia to capture the real Cia. However, they and Dark Cia are once more vanquished by Link and his allies.

Two of Cia's combo attacks with the Scepter involve summoning a circle of Dark Links around her to take out nearby enemies.

A Dark Link Costume is also available to use when playing as Link for players who buy the Hero of Hyrule DLC season pass, or by purchasing all of the packs included in it. The Costume will also turn Link's Weapons into the same color scheme; Epona and the Great Fairy will change color and have glowing red eyes. As Dark Link was spawned from Link's shadow, he himself does not cast one.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity[]

As in Breath of the Wild, Link can don the Dark Armor set to take on the guise of the Hero of Time's incarnation of Dark Link, though its pieces are obtained in separate challenge missions. The Dark Hood is obtained in Questionable Escort Mission, the Dark Trousers in Fire Hazards and the Dark Tunic in Unnatural Disaster. Unlike in Breath of the Wild, the costume is merely cosmetic and does not provide any bonuses when wearing the full set.

Crossover appearances[]

Super Smash Bros. series[]

Super Smash Bros. Melee[]

SSBM Dark Link

Event Match 18, "Link's Adventure" in Super Smash Bros. Melee

Dark Link appears in the Event Match "Link's Adventure", where the player takes control of Link on the Hyrule Temple stage. In this appearance, Dark Link is designed after his appearance from The Adventure of Link, but is behaviorally identical to Link. Dark Link can be defeated by KO'ing him twice.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[]

Dark link3

Dark Link, as an alternate costume for Link, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a Link and Toon Link are able to take on the appearance of Dark Link as an alternate costume, something that cannot be done in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Link's costume mostly resembles the one featured in the Twilight Princess cutscene, being mostly gray and black with red eyes, while Toon Link's is based on Shadow Link as he appears in Four Swords Adventures.

Dark Link is fought by Link in the event match "Dark Link Duel" on the Bridge of Eldin stage. It is a homage to the Link's Adventure event from Super Smash Bros. Melee, since the Dark Link here is entirely black, unlike Link's alternate costume based on Dark Link, and is similarly numbered the eighteenth event match. As in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Link is the only option to fight against Dark Link. However, unlike Super Smash Bros. Melee, this battle is fought as a Stamina match, making him more like a traditional The Legend of Zelda enemy.

Dark Link is also fought during the seventh co-op event, Battle of the Dark Sides, which is similar but the second player takes control of Samus while Dark Link is accompanied by Dark Samus, an entity that, like Dark Link, is completely black, instead of resembling the identically named character of the Metroid series.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U[]

Link and Toon Link return their Dark Link costumes in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[]

Link, Toon Link and also Young Link can take on the appearance of Dark Link as alternate costumes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While Link is based on his Breath of the Wild appearance, Link's costume does not resemble the Dark Series, instead giving Link dark gray skin and glowing red eyes while wearing a black Wild Set. Young Link's costume also gives him dark gray skin and glowing red eyes while wearing a black Kokiri Tunic and black Kokiri Boots.

NES Remix 2[]

In NES Remix 2, the very last The Adventure of Link challenge, Stage 10-4, involves Link having to defeat Dark Link in a recreation of the original battle from The Adventure of Link.


  • In his appearance in Ocarina of Time, Dark Link appears under a dead, blackened tree. This may serve as a contrast to the living green trees that surrounded Link in his youth, and to emphasize the light/darkness scenario.
    • Upon passing the dead tree, Link's shadow disappears before Dark Link materializes, suggesting that Dark Link is his shadow.
  • As seen through ROM hacking in Ocarina of Time, it is possible for Dark Link to take fall damage with his own voice grunt. However, Link himself will actually take the damage.
  • Dark Link in Ocarina of Time can be made to imitate most of Link's animations. Stunning Dark Link with Deku Nuts in a specific way will cause him to mirror Link's every move. This can be used to a comical effect; for example, if Link is down to low health and leans over panting, Dark Link will also act fatigued. Dark Link also mimics Link's idle animations, such as checking his sword and tunic. If Link puts on the Iron Boots, Dark Link will start moving as if he were also wearing them.
  • Dark Link's model in Ocarina of Time, due to its basic textures, appears to be a more simplified version of Link's with some minor differences as he lacks ears, has no facial expression, his tunic is more "skintight" and lacks gauntlets. Additionally, his sword and shield are part of his limbs. This is due to the graphical limitations of the Nintendo 64.
    • In Ocarina of Time 3D, Dark Link is much more detailed and textured than in the original Nintendo 64 release, granting him an appearance similar to the Dark Interlopers visual aides. When defeated, he now makes the same sound effect that Link normally makes when knocked to the ground rather than simply screaming.
  • The animation of Dark Link taking damage and falling through the floor in Ocarina of Time is reused from his defeat in The Adventure of Link.
  • Dark Link in Ocarina of Time moves toward Link in the same manner as he is using the Z-targeting. If Link gets very far away, Dark Link will begin running normally until he gets close enough to be in range.
  • If Link does not have any shield equipped while facing Dark Link in Ocarina of Time, his dark counterpart will still have his Hylian Shield-like shield. It is possible to fight and defeat him without such, though this greatly increases the difficulty.
  • In his battle in Ocarina of Time, Din's Fire as well as the Megaton Hammer during his virtually transparent stage, will instantly land hits on Dark Link, as he is unable to defend against those attacks, making the duel significantly easier. However, some fans view this as a rather cheap way to defeat him, as Dark Link is intended to test the player's skills.
  • In the Game Boy Advance version of A Link to the Past, the Dark Links have the same sword and shield that Link currently has equipped, but they will always inflict the same amount of damage. If Link does not have any shield, his dark counterparts will have the Fighter's Shield.
  • Strangely, although Link and Dark Link share the same amount of health in Ocarina of Time based on how many Heart Containers the former has, the amount of damage they inflict is not. Whenever Dark Link hits Link with his Master Sword-like weapon, he loses half a Heart. However, as the number of hits with the Master Sword to defeat his counterpart matches the number of Hearts, this suggests the actual damage Link delivers to Dark Link is roughly the same as one full Heart Container. This is presumably for balance reasons.
  • Due to the high level of challenge when facing Dark Link and the fact he mimics Link's every move, many fans find his battles as a way of simulating fighting against other players.
  • In Breath of the Wild, a Dark Link Armor Set is available for purchase at Kilton's Fang and Bone shop after completing all four Divine Beasts.


TMC Forest Minish Artwork Names in other regions TMC Jabber Nut Sprite
JapanJapaneseダークリンク (Dāku Rinku) (OoT)[5]Same as English.
CanadaFrenchCALink noir (OoT3D)[6]Black Link
This table was generated using translation pages.
To request an addition, please contact a staff member with a reference.


See also[]


  1. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 173 (ALttP | OoT | OoT3D | OoA | ST)
  2. "Dark Link
    Conquer yourself!
    " — Navi (Ocarina of Time)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time — Prima's Official Strategy Guide, Prima Games, pg. 83
  4. "However, you'll find nothing to restore your health inside. Nothing at all!" — Joynas (Spirit Tracks)
  5. Nintendo Official Guidebook—The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Shogakukan) pg. 144
  6. "Link noir
    Terrasse ton alter ego !
    " — Navi (Ocarina of Time 3D)
The Legend of ZeldaThe Adventure of LinkA Link to the PastLink's AwakeningOcarina of TimeMajora's MaskOracle of SeasonsOracle of AgesFour SwordsThe Wind WakerFour Swords AdventuresThe Minish CapTwilight PrincessPhantom HourglassSpirit TracksSkyward SwordA Link Between WorldsTri Force HeroesBreath of the WildTears of the Kingdom