Darknuts resemble large knights equipped with heavy armor, a large sword, and a wide shield. These foes share trite similarities to the Iron Knuckle enemy and the Boss, though there are a few discernible differences, one being the Gothic appearance of Darknut's armor as opposed to the somewhat Eastern appearance of the Iron Knuckle's armor. Apart from that, the two have never appeared in a game together, aside from the non-canon The Wand of Gamelon, where Darknuts are a common enemy and an Iron Knuckle is a boss and Cadence of Hyrule, where they are enemies and sub bosses.
These enemies are masters of swordfighting, seen most vividly during battles fought with them in Twilight Princess, where the differences in size between Link and the Darknut further emphasizes this accurate behavior.
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Darknuts charge at Link in Link's Awakening. Like their Blue and Red counterparts in the The Legend of Zelda, they could only be harmed from the back or the sides. Some also throw spears, which is rare, since they attack with their swords.
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Darknut "I have no idea what to do against these knight things! Just try using the sword techniques you know, Link!"
Darknut (asked again) "The only thing to do is try all your sword techniques on it until you find one that works! Don't worry! You have what it takes to beat him, Link!"
Darknut mini-boss in battle position in Twilight Princess
In Twilight Princess, Darknuts remain one of the most powerful enemies in the game, even more formidable than their The Wind Waker counterparts. They still retain some of their characteristics like removable armor and high defense, but now have increased speed and more sword techniques. Their armor has become less bulky and more streamlined like a medieval knight. In terms of equipment, they use either a large Sword or a mace in conjunction with a Shield. Midna does not know how to beat them, but suggests that Link should try using all of his sword techniques.
Darknuts come in two phases, the first being armored. The best strategy is for Link to draw it towards him, backflip when they plunge their sword down, and then land a Jump Strike. The Back Slice, Helm Splitter and Mortal Draw are also effective. Bomb Arrows can be used to remove a Darknut's armor from afar (or Bomblings provided Link angles them so as to not hit the Darknut head-on), but the Darknut's shield will soak up any arrows aimed at it directly. Link must instead target the ground immediately next to or behind the Darknut. When Link lands a hit on it, some of its armor strips off, though not as quickly or in as large amounts as in The Wind Waker.
Eventually, when all of its armor is off, revealing its chain mail under-armor, it proceeds to jump back and throw its weapon at Link. It then pulls out a smaller sword (a longsword), granting it different attacks, and becomes much more agile, having shed its bulky armor. An unarmored Darknut tends to attack with two cuts in succession (which gives Link a split-second opening to counterattack), a thrust, or a kick which can briefly throw Link off balance. The Darknut also becomes far more adept at blocking Link's attacks and can dodge explosions and arrows effortlessly. Jump attacks, jump strikes, and back slices can send a Darknut reeling just long enough to attack.
One Darknut with a different helmet, sword and shield is the mini-boss in the Temple of Time, while others commonly guard items such as keys or new areas. Red and blue variants of the Darknut are also found in the Cave of Ordeals. A gold armored Darknut is found in Hyrule Castle. However, the differently colored equipment does not denote any change in the Darknut's physical attributes.
In Link's Crossbow Training, a Darknut appears as the boss of Stage 8-3. Its appearance is identical to its Twilight Princess incarnation, but now attacks by unleashing a swarm of insects in addition to sword combat. Its shield is invulnerable, requiring that Link wait until the Darknut attacks to shoot its armor off with the Crossbow. The armor appears to be enchanted, as each piece turns into a larger insect that attacks Link after it has been shot.
When all of the Darknut's armor is destroyed, it then proceeds to attack Link with its smaller sword, but also gains a teleportation move, in which it turns into a swarm of insects to move around and attack. After landing several consecutive hits, the Darknut then turns itself into a swarm of white insects that are each worth 100-300 points. By shooting these white insects, Link can whittle down the Darknut's health and defeat it.
Cadence of Hyrule
Darknuts appear as Minibosses in Cadence of Hyrule where they move to the beat of the music. They move faster than most Minibosses as they move on every beat, making them speedy yet powerful enemies despite wearing bulky armor. They also carry a shield that protects them from frontal attacks and can push the heroes backwards as they move, making them dangerous in areas where they can pin the heroes against walls or push them into holes and other hazards. Every few beats, they will lower their shield which will temporarily expose them to attack. When their shield is down, they will only swing their sword if the hero is either standing still or tries to run to their sides.
When the opportunity to strike the heroes arises, they will hold out their sword for one beat and 5 warning tiles will flash in a horseshoe formation before they swing their sword on the second beat, dealing damage to anything within 3 spaces in front of them and anything that was already standing at their sides.
In The Legend of Zelda TV series, a Darknut appears in only one episode: "That Sinking Feeling". In this episode, Link and Princess Zelda encounter a Darknut as they are journeying through the Underworld. The Darknut blocks most of Link's sword attacks, and when the Darknut swings his sword at the young hero, Link manages to evade it but falls in the process. Just as the Darknut is about to strike at him, Link kicks the foe's ankle and the Darknut falls, allowing the young hero to deliver the final blow. The Darknut leaves behind a Magic Bracelet, which proves to be useful later on in the battle against Ganon.
In the The Legend of Zelda comics by Valiant Comics, Darknuts mostly resemble their artwork depiction of the original The Legend of Zelda. Like in the games, there are red and blue Darknuts, with the blue Darknut being known as Darknut Prime. Like most of Ganon's minions, these foes are also capable of speech. Although a robed Darknut makes an appearance in He Also Serves, normal Darknuts are first introduced in The Power, where Link and Zelda encounter them upon entering the Underworld. The young hero manages to bury them under a pile of rubble thanks to a bomb's explosion, but the mighty foes recover and start chasing Link again. Eventually, Link is able to easily defeat them with the use of the Triforce of Power.
In Choices, Zelda encounters a Darknut after fleeing from Ganon's grasps, but her life force is nearly gone from having used all her magic to escape and is unable to put up a fight against the knight. However, the princess refuses to give up, and although she is weak, she manages to win against the Darknut by sending him down a bottomless pit.
The Crystal Trap
In The Crystal Trap, a Darknut will greet Princess Zelda's arrival to the Dark Tower by promptly attacking her upon sight. By shooting an Arrow at the Darknut's back, Zelda defeats the foe and climbs up the tower to find that the Darknut was actually protecting the Handprint, one of the three items necessary to free Link from the Crystal.
The Shadow Prince
In The Shadow Prince, one or more Darknuts ambush Princess Zelda, Charles of Moria and Link while they are in the woods, depending on which path Link takes. If the young hero chose to go back to North Castle to get help for the fainting Zelda, he will return only to hear the princess excitedly flatter Charles, saying that, while Link was gone, Charles defeated a Darknut and caused the other two to run away in fear. However, if the young hero agrees to let the Morian knight take Zelda back to North Castle, a Darknut will suddenly appear and charge at Charles, who confidently faces his enemy with having two weapons to choose from: his axe or sword. Although Link tries to help Charles in the fight, he will be unable to draw his sword since it seems to be stuck to the sheath, forcing Zelda to fight with her dagger instead. The Darknut, once defeated by Charles's axe and Zelda's dagger, will leave behind a Red Darknut Arrow.
Later on in the book, after the King of Hyrule calls a Royal Council informing about the latest sightings of monsters appearing in strange places, he mentions that an entire mob of Darknuts were spotted in the Jungle of Favors the night before. Since Darknuts do not usually appear outside of a cave or a castle, the king considers the spotting of the Darknuts in a jungle to be alarming and decides that the Triforce of Wisdom should be immediately delivered to the Fifth Castle of Ancient Hyrule to keep it safe from Ganon.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Darknuts appear as a Trophy and Sticker. The Trophy is based on their Twilight Princess appearance while the Sticker is based on their appearance in The Wind Waker.
A knight enemy clad in heavy armor that defends with a shield and attacks with sword techniques and kicks. Darknuts lose their armor as they take hits, but they grow faster in the process. Their sword skills are quite accomplished. The most fundamental way of dealing with Darknuts is having good command of spin attacks and back slices.
Darknuts appear in Hyrule Warriors as Captains. Their design resembles the unique, lone Darknut from the Temple of Time in Twilight Princess. Darknuts attack using their sword, and have two separate attacks that reveal their weak point gauge. One of them involves a red glow coming from around their eyes, followed up by a large upward sword thrust. This attack is special in that if you’re standing close enough to the Darknut while guarding, your guard will break when their eyes glow, so it’s best to avoid getting too close to one. Its over attack that reveals its weak point gauge involves it readying its sword and taking out its longsword, before unleashing multiple rapid-fire attacks with both blades. That’s your opening to use a boomerang on it, which will cause it to start slashing out of control at its allies, before revealing its weak point gauge. A Darknut’s weak point gauge can also be revealed by dodging behind it. An easy way to do this is attack it until its guard is up and then dodge behind it.
These heavily armored, bulky enemies often seen in the Legend of Zelda series are slow but powerful and can use their swords to block attacks and projectiles. When you're faced with one, you'll need to slowly cut away its armor. Once it's gone, the Darknut will become more agile, but it'll also be more vulnerable!
These enemies are called Soldiers in the English guide for Link's Awakening, but were always known as Darknuts in the Japanese version.
Shooting Fire or Ice Arrows at a Darknut's back and/or cape in The Wind Waker is amongst the easiest and most life-preserving ways to eliminate a Darknut.
Darknuts in The Minish Cap generally carry their shields with their left hands, but their shield-hand changes when they face east. This is because the Darknut's sprite is being horizontally flipped, mirroring the graphic. This may be so Link can constantly attack Darknuts from the top instead of having to alternate between top and bottom every time they turn left or right.
Golden and purple versions of Darknuts exist within the code of The Minish Cap, but go unused.
Chief Soldiers are known as Darknuts in the Japanese version of Four Swords Adventures. In the English guide, Soldiers are sometimes erroneously called Darknuts.
↑ 7.07.1"HA! You flee in FEAR from the might of the Darknut Prime!" (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics) pg. 2 [The Power])
↑"I just need a little DISTANCE to throw this bomb! Cave in!" (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics) pg. 2 [The Power])
↑"Yield, Princess Zelda! You are so weary from running you can barely lift that bow! You are no match for Darknut!" (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics) pg. 1)
↑"He's right. The magic spell I cast to escape Ganon...almost destroyed me... My life force is nearly gone! I'm in no shape to fight one of Ganon's knights!" (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics) pg. 1)
↑"But NOTHING is going to stop me." (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics) pg. 1)
↑"'Welcome!' an inhuman voice whispers from the shadows. 'Who's there?' Zelda demands, pulling back on her bowstring. A tall, armored figure steps into the moonlight. 'A darknut!' Zelda whispers. Without another word, the evil knight charges, his shield held high, his long blade slicing the air." (The Crystal Trap (Archway) pg. 49)
↑"'Word came last night that an entire gang of Darknuts were spotted in the Jungle of Favors.'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth) pg. 5)
↑"'And then there's the matter of Darknuts in the woods. I've never heard of a Darknut appearing outside of a cave or a castle. Why are they turning up in our forest all of a sudden?'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth) pg. 92)
↑"'I believe Ganon is after our Triforce of Wisdom again. It's in danger here. We must move it.' [...] To the Fifth Castle of Ancient Hyrule.'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth) pg. 6)