Stalfos are classic fictional enemies from The Legend of Zelda series of video games. They have appeared in every The Legend of Zelda game to date, and always take the form of undead skeletons. Depending on the game, they are sometimes referred to as "Stalfos Knights". Stalfos are dead warriors who still have a strong will to fight, and serve evil powers such as Ganon or Vaati.
The Legend of Zelda
Stalfos first appear in The Legend of Zelda as dungeon-dwelling enemies. They usually attack Link by trying to touch him. They were depicted as holding a pair of swords, but they did not seem to have any use. However in the Second Quest, they can shoot sword beams.
The Adventure of Link
Stalfos are found in the various palaces of the side-scrolling The Adventure of Link. Still a skeleton carrying a sword and shield, Stalfos gained a more proportionate appearance that fit the game's new perspective. There are four variations of Stalfos in this game. The first is red and carries a sword and shield. It swings its sword at the top level, but never defends its legs. Blue Stalfos uses the downward sword slice, but is otherwise exactly the same as the red ones. Both Stalfos variants may wear helmets once in a while, which protects them from Link's downward sword slices.
A Link to the Past
Stalfos return in A Link to the Past, again in red and blue colors. Blue Stalfos jump around to avoid Link whenever he swings his sword towards one, while the red ones throw bones at him from afar. Special yellow Stalfos also appear at times; these ones can detach their skulls from their bodies. Once detached, the floating skulls spin around and rush at Link.
A larger form of Stalfos known as the Stalfos Warrior appear in the Ice Palace dungeon. These skeletons are much larger and tougher than Stalfos, and carried large swords. Link had to attack them repeatedly, and then, when they had crumbled to bones, destroy their skull with a bomb before the warrior could regenerate.
In Link's Awakening Stalfos are practically unchanged from their A Link to the Past counterparts, with the exception of a hooded Stalfos that wields a sword. This Stalfos appear in certain locations, and attacks Link in a manner similar to a Moblin.
The Master Stalfos is a large Stalfos that appeared as a mini-boss in the "Catfish's Maw" dungeon that must be defeated to get the hookshot. It is reminiscent of the Stalfos Warrior of A Link to the Past, but also carries a shield.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, the Stalfos are said to be people who have gotten lost in the maze-like Lost Woods. They mainly appear in mini-boss form. These Stalfos carry swords and shields and can parry many of Link's attacks. They often fight in pairs, and occasionally, Link has to kill the other Stalfos quickly before the first one regenerates. A total of 16 Stalfos appear in the game: five in the Forest Temple, four in the Shadow Temple, two in the Gerudo Training Ground, one in the Spirit Temple, and four in Ganon's Castle.
There is also a smaller form of Stalfos called Stalchildren that appear in large groups at night in Hyrule Field. These Stalchildren were unarmed and attacked only with their claws. If decapitated they would continue to fight without trouble. They would harass Link until the sun rose, then they would disappear. If Link keeps killing Stalchildren, after a while even bigger versions will attack, and will leave behind bigger Rupee rewards when defeated, up to 50 if one is fast enough. Using a cheating device to extend the night, eventually the Stalchildren can grow to sizes rivaling Hyrule Castle. Unlike Stalfos, Stalchildren were never flesh and bone.
In the original Japanese, these smaller Stalfos are called "Stalbabies", while the seemingly unrelated Skull Kid is called the Stalchild.
Stalfos are rare in Majora's Mask, and the ones that fight like the ones in Ocarina of Time are the King of Ikana (called Igos du Ikana) and his guards.
Igos du Ikana
When Link travels to Ikana, he eventually travels into the depths of Ikana Castle, where the skeletal ghost of the Ikana's king, Igos du Ikana, sits. He first sends his two guards after Link, who fight like normal Stalfos except that they will continually regenerate after being struck to the ground. To truly vanquish them, Link must burn away the curtains with Fire Arrows to allow light to enter the room again and reflect it on to the fallen corpses with the Mirror Shield. An interesting feature of the guards is that they will dance after Link when he plays the ocarina through the "Bremen Mask". After the two guards are defeated, the king himself attacks. The king is larger and more powerful than the other Stalfos, and he can breathe poison breath onto Link and even detach his head (in which case it will fly around the room and try to bite Link) and make his body invulnerable to attack. Defeating him will free his soul and he teaches Link the Elegy of Emptiness.
Skull Keeta was the captain of the Ikana army. He lays asleep in theIkana Graveyard until Link plays the Sonata of Awakening. After awakening, Skull Keeta walks away from Link who must catch up to him and engage in a battle. After being defeated, Skull Keeta reveals some of his past, and gives Link the Captain's Hat which allows him to talk with Stalchildren. He wished for Link to use it to tell his soldiers that the war ended before falling to pieces.
Stalchildren appear in the Ikana Graveyard at night. In this incarnation, they are the fallen soldiers of the kingdom of Ikana, who still guard their gravestones. Their captain, Skull Keeta, can be awakened, in which case he will run up the trail of the graveyard to test Link. When Link attacks him, he starts to attack Link himself with either his claws or by jumping high in the air and attempting to land on Link. When Link defeats him, Skull Keeta asks him to bring peaceful rest to his undead soldiers, and Link obtains the Captain's Hat, which make the Stalchildren harmless and will speak to Link when prompted to.
Stalchildren also appear in the second Golden Skulltula house, in the Great Bay. They are harmless here, do not attack Link, and give useful information on puzzles if spoken to with the Captain's Hat.
Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages
In both Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, Stalfos come in two variants: cloaked Stalfos that shoot arrows or wield swords, and more regular Stalfos, some of which jump and throw bones. In Oracle of Seasons, Link meets a pirate captain who is a friendly Stalfos. It is later revealed in the linked game that the he was once the King of Labrynna, the husband to Queen Ambi, and was somehow transformed into a Stalfos while lost at sea.
Blue Stalfos is the sub-boss of the Ancient Tomb in Oracle of Ages. He closely resembles the Grim Reaper, in that he wears a cloak and wields a scythe. He will shoot project tiles at Link, which if come in contact, will turn Link into a baby, making him vulnerable.
The Wind Waker
Stalfos are rare in The Wind Waker, and their attacks are much different from previous forms. These Stalfos are much larger than previous incarnations, and they hobble around on short stubby legs while swinging around spiked maces. They wield the maces inexpertly and will spin across the room while using them. When Link slashes them or uses bombs, their bodies will shatter and their heads will bounce away from him. Link must destroy the heads or else they will reassemble. Link can also cut them in half in which case their torso and legs will separate and walk around. Taking the Stalfos' mace when it's shattered and waiting until they reassemble will cause the Stalfos to pull off its arm and use it as a weapon. Dropping the mace, however, cancels this.
Four Swords Adventures
In Four Swords Adventures, Stalfos appear as minions of the four Big Dark Stalfos. Their appearance is the same as in The Wind Waker minus the clubs. Gibdos in this game are revealed to be Stalfos wrapped in mummy-like bandaging and once a Gibdo is defeated, it's inner self, the Stalfos appears in the Dark World where the player must journey into the Dark World in order to finish the job.
Big Dark Stalfos
The Big Dark Stalfos are four large powerful Stalfos that guard the green, red, blue, and purple Royal Jewels as bosses. They are in fact the cursed and corrupted forms of the Knights of the Royal Jewels and must be defeated in order for the curse to be lifted.
The Minish Cap
There are two types of Stalfos in The Minish Cap, blue Stalfos and red Stalfos. The blue ones will dash towards Link and try to jump on him. The red ones however, can throw bones. Sometimes a Stalfos may disguise itself as one of the breakable skulls, during which Link can actually suck in the Stalfos in skull form with the "Gust Jar" item and destroy it. When using the Gust Jar on Stalfos that are walking around in full body, it removes the head, and the body will wander around slowly. A decapitated Stalfos can not notice Link or attack, but hurts him if touched.
Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland
In Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, the Stalfos pirate captain from Oracle of Seasons returns.
In Twilight Princess there are several different types of Stalfos. Stalfos like those in Ocarina of Time have returned, but with the characteristics of Skeleton Warriors from Link to the Past, as Link must drop a bomb (or use a bomb arrow or the Ball and Chain item) to totally crush their bones and defeat them. If any other weapon is used against then the Stalfos will break into pieces, but the bones will then soon pull themselves together and recreate the Stalfos. The Stalfos in this game carry swords and have glowing green "eyes" similar to those of Igos du Ikana's henchmen. Stalfos first appear in the Arbiter's Grounds, and make a few appearances afterwards.
Stalkin are miniature skeletons armed with equally small tridents. They are extremely weak, but emerge from underground in large swarms.
Twilit Fossil: Stallord (Hahra Zigant in the Japanese version) is the boss of Arbiter's Grounds in Twilight Princess. Stallord is a massive, draconic skeleton protruding from the sand which Zant brings to life by plunging a magical sword into its skull. Stallord attacks by breathing streams of deadly smoke at Link and summoning Staltroops to both attack for it and to defend itself. The spinner rail is also patrolled by razor traps. After Link uses the Spinner to destroy its spine, the sand drains from the arena and reveals a tall column covered in Spinner tracks. Stallord's skull revives and flies around the arena, and Link rides the column's rails, dodging the fireballs it spits, to catch up to and attack it. Once Stallord is defeated, Zant's sword releases a Heart Container, and the door to the Mirror Chamber is opened.
The boss music played during Stallord's first phase shares the same music as Diababa's first phase and the second phase is a remixed, accelerated version of the music heard during King Dodongo's and Volvagia's boss fights in Ocarina of Time.
Staltroops are armored undead summoned by Stallord, during the first phase of the boss battle with it. They are used by Stallord to block Link's "Spinner" item, and do not attack him directly, despite being armed with swords and shields.
Skeletal dogs, called Stalhounds, also appear in Hyrule Field at night, similar to the Stalchildren of Ocarina of Time. They circle Link and jump at him to attack. The player is eventually forced to fight a whole pack of Stalhounds located near the South Gate of Hyrule Castle Town in order to recover an item stolen from Link's friend Ilia.
Stalfos frequently appear in the Northeastern quadrant, which is reached late in the game. They are quite common on the Isle of the Dead and the Isle of Ruins, as well as in the 7th dungeon, Mutoh's Temple. Two different varieties appear; the more common ones are found in the overworld, and almost identical to The Minish Cap's Stalfos. Their main means of attack is to jump away from Link's sword while throwing bones at him. The second type, which only appear in Mutoh's Temple, wield swords (in a rather clumsy and awkward fashion), and wear helmets similar to those of the Stalfos from The Wind Waker. Both can be defeated by removing their skulls (with either the sword or the Grappling Hook) and destroying them, or by smashing them to bits with the Hammer. They frequently disguise themselves as ordinary skeletons, rising up to attack only when Link comes too close.
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