For the month of October, we are highlighting the top villains in gaming. Andrew, Jeff, and Jeremie have teamed up to take all those guys you love to hate, and rank them. We will reveal them to you in a countdown, starting with #31 and ending with #1 on Halloween. Check us out each day of the month to see where your favorite villains rank!
#6: Dark Link
First Appearance: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Most Notable Appearance: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The concept of a light and dark side existing within each of us is not a new concept. Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Superman and Bizzaro, the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force - these concepts and characters each speak to the idea that within even the best person is a villain. When it comes to video games, this was never represented better than Dark Link.
Dark Link made his first appearance on the NES’ Zelda II: Adventure of Link, as the final boss in the game. Not only was he the final boss, but he truly was the most difficult enemy in the game. In this game he is actually referred to as Link’s Shadow, but regardless of his name, he represented the dark side of Link - a concept that has stuck with the character in later Zelda titles.
His next appearance was in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the N64. He showed up as the mini-boss in the game’s most difficult dungeon, the Water Temple. This guy was completely black, with bright red, glowing eyes. The eyes of hate. However many hearts you had, he had. If you were aggressive, he was even more aggressive. It just felt like an extremely uneasy moment in the game since you were basically tasked with beating yourself. On top of that, his voice was distorted, giving it a dark, almost demonic tone.
I’m glad that Dark Link exists. The character represents a great deal of what makes the Zelda series so great - the willingness to change up formulas and introduce new, unexpected concepts. He has had cameos in later Zelda games and even a couple of Smash Bros. games. each reminding us of an iconic moment in an iconic game.