A Game Over is an event which occurs whenever Link is defeated; this can occur if his Heart Containers are fully depleted, if he is exposed to extreme heat, or if he stays underwater for too long, along with some other, rarer cases of death. Typically, a cut scene that presents Link gasping and collapsing to the ground precedes the Game Over text itself. Typically, the player will get the option to continue, save, or continue from a certain location such as the origin. Some installments of the Legend of Zelda series keep track of the number of times the player has encountered a Game Over.


The Legend of Zelda

Game Over (The Legend of Zelda)

A Game Over in The Legend of Zelda

Whenever Link's Heart Containers are fully depleted, Link begins to spin around in circles before fading away completely. The Game Over screen then appears, giving the player the choice to continue playing (starting from the Origin if Link died in the Overworld or at the beginning of a dungeon if he was defeated inside one) or to save the game and return to the file select screen. The game counts the number of Game Overs that have occurred, but this has no real significance.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Whenever Link loses a life, the screen begins flashing colors (in the GameCube and Wii Virtual Console re-releases, the screen simply turns red) and Link blinks like a silhouette before fading away. Afterward, if Link runs out of lives, a screen announcing the return of Ganon appears, as sprinkling Link's blood on his ashes causes his resurrection. Interestingly, the screens differ between the original Japanese Disk System release and the International cartridge builds - in the former it is a dark screen that carries the ominous text "The End" as a roar is heard, whereas the latter changes it to "Game Over" and has an imposing silhouette of Ganon himself against a blood-red background with a modified sound clip from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (also repositioning the text and correcting "Gannon"). Link can continue his quest over again from the North Castle or save and return to the title screen. If Link dies inside the Great Palace selecting continue will allow him to continue from the entrance to the Great Palace instead of the North Castle. Dying will reset Link's Experience to zero, and in the Famicom version, it will also lower all his stats to the number of his lowest stat.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

When all his Heart Containers are depleted, Link begins spinning in circles before collapsing face-first. If Link has a Fairy handy, it will appear and restore seven of his Heart Containers. If there are no Fairies handy, a menu will appear asking the player if they wish to save and continue, save and quit, or continue without saving. The file selection screen and fairy fountain music will play in this menu. If they choose to continue with or without saving, where they begin depends on where Link was when his hearts were depleted. If Link died in a dungeon, he will start from that dungeon's entrance. If he died in the Light World, he will be given the option to start in Link's House, the Sanctuary, or the Mountain Cave, though the latter two options only appear if Link has visited these areas before. If Link died in the Dark World, he will begin from atop the Pyramid. In the Game Boy Advance port, Link no longer has the option to start in the Mountain Cave, but instead can choose to begin at the door he last exited. In the GBA remake, Link is also heard to gasp as he falls down. The game counts the number of Game Overs that have occurred and displays them next to the file after completing the game, but this has no real significance. During the credits, a breakdown of how many times Link died at various locations in Hyrule is shown.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

When all his Heart Containers are depleted, Link begins spinning in circles before collapsing. The player is then given the choice to save and continue, continue without saving or saving and returning to the title screen. An instant Game Over will occur if Link stole from the Mabe Village Shop and then returns, where the shopkeeper will launch a lightning bolt attack that will instantly and completely deplete Link's health, and the Secret Medicine cannot save him if this happens. If Link makes it to the end of the game without receiving a Game Over, Marin will fly across the screen with wings, symbolizing that her lifelong wish to become a Seagull was granted. In the DX version, this changes if the game is played on a Game Boy Color (or later system); a portrait of Marin will appear in the sky accompanied by her characteristic melody as it fades into seagull form, possibly directing Link to shore. There is then a message from Nintendo thanking the player.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

When all his Heart Containers are depleted, Link drops to one knee, before collapsing face-first to the ground and the camera slowly revolves around to his front. If Link does not have at least one Fairy on his person, disappointing dirge music plays, then the words "Game Over" appear cloaked in flames. The player is then given the choice to save and continue, continue without saving or save and return to the title screen. If he does have a Fairy however, no music will play as he collapses- afterwards, the Fairy will automatically resurrect Link and fully restore his Heart Containers.

If Link drowns, which may occur if Link has spent too much time underwater without wearing the Zora Tunic or if his Heart Containers are emptied completely through an enemy attack, he instead begins to choke, toss and turn, and then goes limp, floating in the water. There is also a Game Over that occurs if Link stays too long in the searing heat of the Fire Temple or Death Mountain Crater without wearing the Goron Tunic. In this cutscene, Link will die of hyperthermia, causing him to collapse normally while bursting into flames. This also happens if he dies atop a lava tile. In addition, there is a unique death animation if Link is directly killed by Ganondorf's signature attack - it is again similar to his standard death, except he becomes paralyzed with electricity very loudly and he is unable to emit a sound in defeat.

Like Link's Awakening, there is a bonus after the credits finish on a 000 file - variations of the Scarecrow's Song will play after a short while, but this was removed in the GameCube and 3DS versions for unknown reasons.

During the final boss fight against Ganondorf, should the player fail and acquire a game over, they have technically acquired one of the game's endings, which leads into the "Downfall Timeline". This makes Ocarina of Time's game over screen the only one in the series to be considered canon.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

There are two Game Over scenarios: one is the normal one, which is very similar to that of Ocarina of Time, which happens when Link loses all of his health and has no fairies to revive him, or when he stays under water too long without wearing the Zora Mask. A second Game Over occurs should Link fail to turn back time before the Moon crashes into Termina. A scene depicting the Destruction of Termina then occurs, in which the entire land, are engulfed in flames as Link is swept away. Afterward, Majora's Mask is shown, followed by someone, presumably the Happy Mask Salesman, speaking of Link's "terrible fate" while the Happy Mask Salesman's laugh is heard in the background. However, this is averted as the Happy Mask Salesman then saves Link by resetting the three-day cycle, and the death is not counted (at least in the Japanese version, presumably). This is pointed to by the prior laugh and quotation of the Happy Mask Salesman, and by the first sentence he speaks to Link when he restarts under the Clock Tower, which is not something he says to Link during any other time loop. Unlike when Link plays the Song of Time, nothing about his progress is saved, such as the acquisition of key items or his current health or magic, and everything is reset to the state it was when Link last used the Ocarina of Time or at the game's previous save.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

The Game Over screen is virtually identical to that of Link's Awakening, featuring the same animation, although a small graphic change is made to the save menu and the music is altered. There is now a non-standard game over that counts - if Link pesters the Great Moblin and his flunkies too many times by destroying the structure that they were attempting to build, the Great Moblin will finally notice him and lock him inside the shack as the explosive he set goes off, blowing everything up and leaving only rubble (in the first two times Link tries to blow up the structure, if the player stays inside the structure, the player will still get the instant Game Over). There is also a second instant game over in Oracle of Seasons if Link gets squashed by the closing walls in two of the rooms in the Ancient Ruins. Note that the Magic Potion is unable to save Link if he either gets squashed or blown up in the Great Moblin's shack.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

When Link's hearts are depleted, he will stagger slightly, then collapse. The screen is blackened, and the words "Game Over" fall one by one, followed by the option to quit, save and quit, or continue. If Link dies in water, he will drown and float limply. However, this will not happen if he is within the bounds of an island, in which case he will wake up ashore first (though if his hearts run out, his energy will give out and he will barely resume consciousness).

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

When one Link runs out of hearts and the group lacks the necessary amount of Rupees to revive him, the game resets, forcing them to restart the level. The screen blacks out everything except for the fallen Link, the Link then spins and collapses onto a patch of lit up ground and the words "Game Over" fall down letter by letter. A music box esc theme plays and the other links sit below, on the bottom screen in the Anniversary Edition.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

If Link runs out of hearts, he spins in a circle, screams and collapses. Also, in the final dungeon, Dark Hyrule Castle, if Link fails to defeat the three Darknuts defending the door leading to Vaati in time, the third bell of Vaati's ritual will toll, meaning that he has successfully extracted all of the Light Force from Princess Zelda, obtaining godlike power. Before the Game Over screen appears, a brief scene showing Vaati standing on the roof of Dark Hyrule Castle is shown while Ezlo exclaims that all hope is lost.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Should Link lose all of his hearts without having a Force Fairy in his possession, the screen will turn black, and he will stumble for a second and collapse on the ground. The words "Game Over" will appear on the screen. There is a second way to get a Game Over here as well, in The Field when Link is tasked with escorting Malon back to Lon Lon Ranch, he will have to protect Malon from danger, as she has only one heart. If she runs out of health, Link will automatically be defeated as well regardless of how many Hearts he has.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Game Over (Twilight Princess)

The Game Over Screen in Twilight Princess

When all of his Heart Containers are depleted, Link will stagger and totter around, before falling on his knees and collapsing; much like other games, if he dies while swimming, his body will float limply in the water. This time, Link can also die on Epona, slowly collapsing on her back. If his Heart Containers are depleted as a result of sinking into lava or quicksand, or from falling into a pit, the Game Over screen will appear after the usual animation (otherwise, it is implied that Midna managed to save him). If Link dies in wolf form with Midna on his back, he will stagger, whine and collapse while Midna hovers over him, sighing in disappointment and shaking her head. An instant Game Over screen is also seen if Link fails to escape Barnes' burning bomb storehouse, extinguish the wagon's fire while escorting Prince Ralis, Ilia, and Telma to Kakariko Village, jump off the Great Bridge of Hylia in time after it catches fire, or is hit by his own cannon (unless he has a fairy or is wearing the Magic Armor in that instance).

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

When Link dies, he will gasp and fall onto his back. If he has anything in his hands at the time of his death (a pot, a force gem, a crystal), it stays in the exact same spot it was before his death, seemingly leaving it hanging in the air. If the Heart Containers of the S.S. Linebeck are depleted, the boat will partly sink into the sea, and the Game Over screen will appear.

In the Goron Temple, Link joins fates with Gongoron. The goron warns him that this means if one of them falls in battle, so will the other. True to his word, if either Link or Gongoron runs out of health, the one who is not being controlled is seen dying just after the one in play.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

The Game Over screen is similar to the one featured in Phantom Hourglass, the exception being the words "Game Over" slowly falling in between two small wisps of smoke. If a Game Over occurs on the Spirit Train, either by loss of hearts or ramming into an enemy train, the train bursts into flames, Zelda screams Link's name, and the Game Over screen appears. The same happens when transporting someone except Zelda is silent and the passenger instead says something. It is also possible to get a Game Over while transporting Carben. When Miniblins raid the Spirit Train, the player has to prevent them from reaching Carben. If the player takes too long to dispatch a Miniblin that is near Carben, they will throw a cage around him, resulting in an instant Game Over. Oddly, if the player looks closely, he can see if Link gets a game over while on the train, he is still standing up and at the controls.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Game Over consists of Link toppling onto the ground and trying to stand up again briefly only to collapse and remain still, followed by a black screen with the words "Game Over" appearing (if he dies from falling, then he will not try to stand up). Water animations again return, and Link can die on his Crimson Loftwing. Additionally, there are four ways an instant Game Over can occur; when Link is run down by the giant boulder in the Earth Temple after getting the Dragon Sculpture, when Link is touched by lava in the burrow near the Mysterious Crystals in the Fire Sanctuary, when Link gets crushed by the descending statue in the Ancient Cistern after acquiring the Blessed Idol, and when Link allows The Imprisoned to reach the top of the Sealed Grounds and destroy the Sealed Temple. If Link is crushed by a boulder flung by the Bokoblins' catapult in the Bokoblin Base, and does not have enough hearts to survive the attack, he will also get a Game Over without the usual death animation.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

When Link's heart meter runs out, he will spin around before falling over, just like in A Link to the Past. The screen around him will turn black and the words Game Over will appear. Any tools Link was renting from Ravio will appear next to him and Sheerow will grab them and fly away. Link will respawn in Ravio's Shop unless he perishes in a dungeon, in which case will be given the option to spawn in his house or the dungeon he died in. If he dies in Lorule before he has traveled back to Hyrule through a Fissure, he will respawn in the blacksmith's house instead of his own.

It is possible that Link doesn't die in this game, as Ravio reclaims his items, meaning the timeline in which Link lost all his health doesn't abruptly end and continue from before that. It is instead implied that Ravio or the Lorulean Blacksmith dragged him back to his house/the blacksmith's house.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This iteration of the Zelda series uses ragdoll physics for the first time in the series. When Link is hit by a weak attack at low health, he will go through an animation where he steps backwards while toppling over forwards and then the ragdoll physics kick in. For example, if a Bokoblin throws a stone at Link an while he is atop a pillar at low health he will first go through the collapsing animation and if he is close enough to the edge of the pillar, he will flip over and land sprawled on the floor. If Link is hit by an attack of great force such as a Remote Bomb then he will be knocked back and slump on the floor. If Link runs out of stamina in water then he will wave his arms around before sinking with one arm above the surface, then the screen fades to black before Link appears on the last solid ground he touched and can stand upon, provided he has. For the first time in the Zelda series, Link can be killed by weather effects such as cold climates and natural lightning.

After a Game Over, Link is given the option to continue from his last save or quit. If Link continues from his last save he will start in the area of his last save, however his death will still be recorded as a red X symbol will appear on the Sheikah Slate map showing where Link met his end. If the cursor is placed on the X icon it will read R.I.P. next to it. As part of "The Master Trials" DLC, the Hero's Path function of the Sheikah Slate will record Link's deaths when retracing his steps back to a point on the map in which he died and received a Game Over, and is even accompanied by sound effect of Link screaming as if he fell down a pit and a red R.I.P. "X" appearing over where he died before moving on to where he spawned after continuing.

Interestingly, the colour of the Game Over text can appear in different colours such as red, yellow, or light blue which correspond to the manner of Link's death. For example, being killed by cold climate, cold water, or freezing attacks will cause the text to appear light blue while being killed by electric attacks or lightning will cause the text to appear yellow. Red tends to appear when Link is killed by non-elemental attacks, fire damage, heat, lava, or fall damage.

Taking a departure from other Zelda games, NPC's can now kill Link, albeit unintentionally. Attacking NPC's who wield weapons (including Hylians, Gorons, Gerudo, and Zora) will cause them to draw their weapon. Additionally attacking some unarmed Gorons will cause them to attack with their fists in a similar manner such as the Goron Patriarch Bludo. If Link swings his own weapon at them and then approaches them they will hit Link with their own weapons. This attack does no damage itself and only throws Link back but if Link attacks an NPC on a hill so Link is facing up the hill, the NPC will retaliate and, if he is at low health, cause him to roll down the hill and die from rolling damage. This can also be achieved by attacking a Goron with Link's back turned towards a lava pit. Examples of this can be found here and here respectively.

Instantaneous Game Over scenarios in this game are few and far between, but this is offset by the incredible amount of damage that many things can deal to Link, many of which may take only one hit to kill early on in the game. It is also possible for Link to almost endlessly tumble down a mountain face, losing health every time he bounces off the slope; sequences like this can be long and damaging enough for Link to be unable to escape before his Fairies and Mipha's Grace are consumed as well as his entire life meter.

The only way Link instantly dies is if he is hit by an attack from a Yiga Blademaster while infiltrating the Yiga Hideout. If Link is spotted, a battle will ensue in which every hit dealt by his enemies will lead to the young hero's health being depleted instantly, leading to an automatic Game Over as the Yiga taunt Link by saying "Beware, fool, the eye of the Yiga." This scenario bypasses Mipha's Grace, Heart Containers, armour defences and any Fairies Link might have in his inventory.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

Hyrule Warriors

When a warrior loses all of their health in battle, they will scream and fall to the floor as the word "Defeat" appears in purple writing. A remix of the game over music from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask will play during this. This screen can be skipped with the + button. The player can then choose to continue from their last save point (or restart the whole battle in Adventure Mode). Interestingly, the character being controlled is seen breathing after being defeated, implying that they are not dead but their forces simply had to withdraw due to being unable to take on the mission without them able to fight. If a vital character that isn't playable is forced to flee, this can cost the battle. The player can also lose if their base is taken over by enemy forces. In Legend/Free mode, a support character will lament this before the screen appears.

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