Stalfos

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Featured Article
Stalfos
Stalfos ss.png
Game(s)Every Zelda game except Four Swords
Non-canon AppearancesNintendo Land
The Legend of Zelda animated series
Captain N: The Game Master
The Legend of Zelda comic
The Shadow Prince
A Link to the Past comic
Link: The Faces of Evil
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Zelda's Adventure
Ocarina of Time manga
Oracle of Seasons manga
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Habitat(s)Dungeon
Effective WeaponsSword
Bombs
Ball and Chain
Boomerang
Hammer
EXP Points50Triforce piece.png
70Triforce piece.png

The Stalfos (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Stalfos Knights)[1] are skeletal knights that have challenged Link since their debut in the original The Legend of Zelda, and have appeared in nearly every game. The name Stalfos is both singular and plural (variations such as Stalfo and Stalfoses, etc. are incorrect). Their name is a portmanteau of stal- and -fos; meaning skeletal (see stal) humanoid (see fos).

Master Stalfos, Captain Stalfos, and Igos du Ikana are three of the most notable members of this skeletal family across the Zelda series and are given speaking roles. The most powerful "Stal" creature is the mighty Stallord. Stalchildren are a common, weaker variation that were introduced in Ocarina of Time and appear independently of normal Stalfos. In Majora's Mask, Skull Keeta is their leader. In Four Swords, only Stalchildren appear.

Contents

Characteristics

Oot-stalfos.png
Stalfos from Ocarina of Time

Though the Stalfos has changed quite a bit across titles, the physical and behavioral generalities have, for the most part, remained constant. Stalfos, since the original The Legend of Zelda, are weapon-wielding, undead, skeleton warriors who frequent dungeon locations and stand-in as mini-bosses from time to time. The first The Legend of Zelda as well as Skyward Sword provides the Stalfos with swords for each hand, The Adventure of Link provides the shield, and only in the incarnations seen in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess do these foes adapt a strategic, defensive sword-fighting style, living up to the fearsome, powerful name they have built for themselves across the series. Interestingly, the majority of Stalfos enemies in the series do not wield any weapons but use other conventional means of attacking and defending from Link's attacks.

Stalfos are seldom isolated, appearing in groups of two or more. Their tendency to group increases the strength of the opposition, in all titles except Ocarina of Time in which the Stalfos challenge Link one-on-one if Z-Targeted; the other Stalfos politely wait their turn and begin their fight once their former has been vanquished. In Four Swords Adventures, the standard Stalfos accompany the Big Dark Stalfos in attacking Link, and they can be found in either the Light or Dark Worlds during the battle.

Weaponry and Attack Power

Stalfos ss.png
A Stalfos from Skyward Sword

While the long sword is a staple of Ocarina of Time, the larger versions of the foe seen in A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Four Swords Adventures, Twilight Princess, and Spirit Tracks, the Stalfos in the original Legend of Zelda, as well as in Skyward Sword, carry swords in both hands. However swords are not the only weapon used by the Stalfos to inflict damage, the Stalfos also make do with chucking bones (as in A Link to the Past and the Oracles), their own skulls (as in The Minish Cap), and even wielding heavy spiked clubs (as seen in The Wind Waker).

The Stalfos from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess can perform sword slashes, overhead jumps and are able to block Link's attacks effectively, while the Stalfos seen in The Wind Waker use its blunt weapon belligerently. The only way to damage them is to wait until they lower their guard or to stab them in the back.[2]

Furthermore, the amount of damage dealt increases as the series progresses, from a small nick in The Legend of Zelda[3] to multiple hearts in Twilight Princess, the use of swords and other dangerous weapons having a large edge over those Stalfos that resort to other means of inflicting damage. Only in The Legend of Zelda do these foes receive an upgrade called the Blade Beam in the second quest, an attack that takes two hearts from Link after every successful strike.

Dismemberment and Regeneration

Stalfosww.png
Stalfos from The Wind Waker

As skeletons, their bones can be thrown, and coincidentally, these foes can loose body parts in the heat of battle. Humorously, in The Minish Cap, these creatures can be decapitated through use of the Gust Jar or the Cane of Pacci, and can be chopped in half in The Wind Waker. In both cases, the remaining segments of the body operate as if always in such a form, though impaired due to the lack of the body parts that were sliced off in battle. Picking up the Stalfos' club in The Wind Waker forces the foe to rip off one of its arms to use as a weapon, thus continuing the battle.

Interestingly, beginning with the Stalfos Warrior in A Link to the Past, few Stalfos incarnations can regenerate given time. Especially in situations when more than one Stalfos is present, as in the Arbiter's Grounds in Twilight Princess, or in one of the rooms of the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time, if Link takes too much time to defeat the collective group of Stalfos, one that was defeated earlier may rejoin the fight, revitalized to full health once more. Only the creatures seen in The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks arise, reforming their dismantled skeleton bodies while the Ocarina of Time version simply pops up from the ground.

Featured first in A Link to the Past with the Stalfos Warrior, a Bomb must be placed by the dismembered remains of a defeated Stalfos, granted there are remains, to fully defeat it, or it will continue to regenerate. The incarnations seen in Ocarina of Time regenerate on their own given time, and the versions of The Wind Waker crumple, leaving a bouncing head to carry on the vitality of the body. In the latter, once the head is dispelled, the skeleton is fully dead.

Stalfos (Figurine from The Wind Waker)
Stalfos Figurine.png
Habitat: Earth Temple
Weakness: Its head
These skeleton warriors attack by violently swinging their gigantic maces around. Even if they're shattered to pieces, they'll reform unless their heads are destroyed.
Stalfos (Figurine from The Minish Cap)
Stalfos Figurine.gif
Appears in dungeons. Blue ones jump, and red ones throw bones. See what happens when you remove their heads with the Gust Jar.

Varieties

In all titles, save for all of the console games except The Adventure of Link and Four Swords Adventures, two Stalfos varieties exist: a weaponless version, and a larger Warrior, Stalfos Knight or similar iteration. The Stalfos incarnation without a weapon incorporates an increased amount of defensive tactics, such as jumping, to evade defeat. These ill-equipped Stalfos are the ones to resort to bone or skull throwing to make up for their lack of a legitimate weapon. The larger incarnation is capable of dealing more damage and carrying out more of an offensive strike against Link with a weapon of some kind.

Coloration

StalfosOrangeOracle.png
StalfosBlueOracle.png
StalfosRedOracle.png
StalfosGreenOracle.png

In The Adventure of Link, Stalfos come in three varieties: white, red, and blue. White Stalfos are simply skeletons with swords and shields that are considerably weaker than their red and blue counterparts, both of which possess increased fighting finesse, including jumping and thrusting attacks. All forms are highly vulnerable to attack, however, as they rarely move their shields.[4]

In Oracle of Ages, there are two types of the regular Stalfos: blue and orange varieties. The blue versions are standard Stalfos that simply walk about, while their orange counterparts tend to jump away from Link's sword slash, and have the ability to toss bones. This coloration is mirrored in The Minish Cap, in which the blue iteration only jumps, while the red uses bones as their primary weapon. Furthermore, a special kind of Stalfos known as the Blue Stalfos is the mini-boss of the Ancient Tomb, the eighth dungeon in Oracle of Ages. In Oracle of Seasons, both the blue and orange Stalfos make appearances, but there are also red and green varieties, each of them have their own unique abilities.

Parutamu

Red Parutamu from The Adventure of Link

In The Adventure of Link, Parutamu are armored Stalfos with horned helmets. They behave like their red and blue counterparts, but are more durable and deal more damage to Link.

Stalfos Knight

StalfosKnight ALttP.png
Main article: Stalfos Knight

A Link to the Past introduces a larger form known as the Stalfos Knight appearing in the Ice Palace dungeon. These Stalfos are much larger, tougher, and carry large swords. Link cannot defeat them with his sword alone, and must use Bombs to destroy them completely.[5]The ability for normal Stalfos to regenerate in this manner was taken over to later games such as Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. The Stalfos in The Adventure of Link are known by the Japanese name of Stalfos Knights, Stalfon.

Shrouded Stalfos

The Shrouded Stalfos from Link's Awakening

Link's Awakening and the Oracle games included Shrouded Stalfos alongside normal Stalfos. Shrouded Stalfos would throw spears at Link, while Sword Stalfos would fight with sword and shields in a similar manner to Darknuts.

Master Stalfos

Main article: Master Stalfos

The mighty Master Stalfos of Link's Awakening is a particularly large Stalfos that appears in the Catfish's Maw, where he has stolen the Hookshot. His appearance and behavior is similar to the Stalfos Knights of A Link to the Past.

Ikana Stalfos

Ikanastalfos.png
Ikana Stalfos from Majora's Mask

Stalfos in Majora's Mask are the long-dead skeleton knights of the Ikana Kingdom, Igos du Ikana and his well-trained guards.[6] To truly vanquish the two defeated guards before they regenerate, light must be reflected from the Mirror Shield onto their fallen forms. King Igos du Ikana is the largest and most powerful Stalfos figure in Majora's Mask; he can exhale a poisonous breath onto Link, detach his head (in which case it flies around the room and tries to bite Link) and make his body invulnerable to attack. Defeating him leads to freeing his soul and him teaching Link the Elegy of Emptiness.[7]

The captain of the Stalchildren in Majora's Mask, Skull Keeta, asks Link to bring peaceful rest to his undead soldiers of Ikana after his defeat in battle.[8] Captain Keeta had originally served under King Igos du Ikana.[9]

Big Dark Stalfos

Main article: Big Dark Stalfos
A Big Dark Stalfos

Four Swords Adventures includes two new types of Stalfos, the Dark Stalfos and Big Dark Stalfos. Dark Stalfos appear in the Temple of Darkness as invincible dark shadows wielding swords. Only by entering the Dark World can their true form be seen and fought. They fight like Chief Soldiers, with heavy lunging swings. The Big Dark Stalfos are actually the Knights of Hyrule who have been transformed into monsters of magic by Ganon, and sent to the Dark World. The gems they hold that are the key to the Tower of Winds. They appear as boss enemies at the end of certain stages. When the four Links defeat one, they obtain the gem the Stalfos was guarding. Once the Links have all four (one for each Links' color) they gain access to the Tower of Winds where Princess Zelda is held.

Weaknesses

Overall, the Stalfos enemies are weak to carefully timed sword strikes, as most conventional overworld enemies are, except for the fact that Bombs, Boomerangs, and Arrows also do the trick in dispelling these creatures, dependent on the title. Decapitating or dismembering these monsters aids in their anniliation, however, regardless of method, when it comes to Stalfos that can regenerate, Link must make sure to place a Bomb on their remains, or fully defeat the entire creature before moving on. In The Wind Waker, the Skull Hammer is very effective against Stalfos once it has been decapitated. The Stalfos variety seen in Twilight Princess are especially vulnerable to Bomb Arrow, as a single hit will instantly destroy one.

Spin-Off Appearances

Ambiguously Canon Content hide

Game & Watch Zelda

Stalfos character art from Game & Watch Zelda

In the Game & Watch Zelda, Stalfos hide themselves below the platform Link is on and attack upwards. The player cannot attack them. However, their attacks are slow and in a sweeping motion, making them easy to dodge. Between one and four Stalfos appear on each floor.

Link's Crossbow Training

Stalfos also appear in Link's Crossbow Training, in various Defender-type stages. Several of them hold shields much like their Twilight Princess counterparts. The shields can be shot several times to be destroyed, allowing the Stalfos to be hit, or the shield can be circumvented with a single Bomb Arrow.

Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland

In Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, the boss known as Captain Stalfos appears and is the leader of a troupe of skeleton pirates. Although he shares his name with Stalfos, his crew members are not Stalfos, and are generally friendly.

Other Appearances

Non-Canon Information hide

Animated series

A Stalfos as seen in the animated series

In the Zelda animated series, Stalfos appear as one of Ganon's most common foot soldiers. For the most part, Ganon uses the Stalfos to carry him around on a platform since his teleportation powers are limited in the overworld: in "The Ringer", Ganon disguises several Stalfos in cloaks so that they may transport him to the Magician's Contest,[10] and in "The Missing Link", Ganon arrives to North Castle with Stalfos carrying him once again.[11] Unlike the video games, Stalfos can be seen wielding a variety of weapons: long rods, bombs, maces, axes, bows and the usual sword, out of which they can also shoot sword beams from. Interestingly, Stalfos seem to be able to withdraw bombs from their chest any time they please, as seen in "The Ringer" and in "The Missing Link". They usually attack in groups, although Link easily defeats them with just one zap from his Crissword.

Like all of Ganon's minions, Stalfos are capable of speech and have a rough, raspy voice. They appear in seven episodes out of the thirteen total: "The Ringer", "Sing for the Unicorn", "Doppelganger", "Stinging a Stinger", "Hitch in the Works", "The Missing Link", and "The Moblins are Revolting".

Captain N: The Game Master

Stalfos appear briefly in two episodes of Captain N: The Game Master. Like in the Zelda animated series, they are capable of speech, although they are only heard speaking in one episode.[12] In "Quest for the Potion of Power", Link fights and defeats two Stalfos as he, Princess Zelda, and Kevin are making their way through the Parapa Palace. Stalfos also appear in "Having a Ball", where they confront Link, Zelda, Kevin, and Princess Lana while they are in the desert; however, they pose no real threat to the heroes since Kevin and Link easily dispose of them using the Zapper and the sword, respectively.

The Legend of Zelda comic

Stalfos make several minor appearances throughout the issues of the Legend of Zelda comic published by Valiant Comics. They first appear in To the First Power as one of the enemies that capture Link under the orders of a Wizzrobe. They once again appear in Queen of Hearts, where they battle against Link and Queen Seline to keep them from breaking the magic container that will give the queen her magical powers back. Stalfos are last seen as one of the monsters ambushing Princess Zelda after she fails in defeating Ganon in Day of the Triforce.

The Shadow Prince

Stalfos as seen in The Shadow Prince

In The Shadow Prince, Princess Zelda, Link, and Charles of Moria encounter Stalfos when they accidentally fall into the Underground Tunnel, which is a maze infested with these skeletal warriors. After the fall, Link notices a piece of paper sticking out of a rock and tells Zelda and Charles he's found a map, hoping that it's not fake.

If Link thinks the map is fake, he will throw it away and tell Zelda and Charles to follow him.[13] With the Stalfos pursuing them, Link tries to get the group out of the tunnel, but he trips on a Stalfos since the tunnel is so dark. The page ends with a Game Over as Zelda cries to Link saying that he picked the wrong path, claiming that they'll die at the hands of the Stalfos.[14]

However, if Link decides that the map is real, he will tell the Zelda and Charles to follow him after examining the routes just as the Stalfos begin to approach them.[15] Eventually, they safely exit back out to the woods, leaving the Stalfos howling at the end of the tunnel.[16]

Philip's CD-i Games

Stalfos appear in every one of the Philip's CD-i games as regular enemies, however a stronger version appears in Link: The Faces of Evil called a Fire Stalfos that has the ability to shoot fireballs out of its sword.

A Link to the Past comic

In the A Link to the Past comic, two Stalfos appear in the Ice Palace. When Link asks Kholdstare that he let him see the map of the Dark World, Kholdstare refuses and unleashes two Stalfos to attack Link. When the young hero sees that they keep re-spawning even after defeating them, he begins to focus his power on the Master Sword,[17] whose power causes for the Stalfos to be permanently defeated.

The Stalfos enemy from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Ocarina of Time Manga

In the Ocarina of Time manga, one Stalfos (or, rather, the floating disembodied head of one) returns to Ganondorf to report an encounter with Link. Strangely, Ganon calls this Stalfos by the name of the Twilight Princess boss, Stallord.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Stalfos make an appearance as enemies in the Nintendo 3DS exclusive mode Smash Run.

Trivia

  • According to a Kokiri, a Stalfos is the result of what happens when someone gets lost in the Lost Woods in Ocarina of Time.[18]
  • In Ocarina of Time, Stalfos' eyes shine even while Navi is telling Link about how to defeat them.

Gallery

References

  1. Zelda.com
  2. "Stalfos: Lure it close to you and watch its movement carefully! Attack it when it drops its guard!" — Navi (Ocarina of Time)
  3. "A skeleton that's got a sword in each hand. Little attacking power." (The Legend of Zelda manual, pg. 35)
  4. "A skeleton warrior that can somehow use a sword, but is poor at handling a shield." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 38)
  5. "You cannot destory the Skeleton Knight with the sword alone. When he collapses, he is vulnerable to another weapon." — Sahasrahla (A Link to the Past)
  6. "Trick the king into thinking he's seeing a child-sized version of [Captain Keeta] by wearing the Captain's Hat during your bone-rattling battle with the skeletal Stalfos knights and Igos himself." (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Official Nintendo Player's Guide (Nintendo Power), pg. 134)
  7. "I grant to you a soldier who has no heart. One who will not falter in the darkness." — Igos du Ikana (Majora's Mask)
  8. "I ask you to take my soul, which rests in the fiercely burning flame... And convey my words to my men, who, even in death, remain loyal to me. Tell them the war has ended..." — Skull Keeta (Majora's Mask)
  9. "Captain Keeta—the giant skull captain in Ikana Graveyard—once served under the Ikana King, Igos du Ikana." (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Official Nintendo Player's Guide (Nintendo Power), pg. 134)
  10. "Since my teleportation powers are limited in the upper world, I'll have to travel in style." — Ganon (The Legend of Zelda, Episode 1 )
  11. Stalfos carrying Ganon in "The Missing Link"
  12. "You mean to disturb our masters?!" — Stalfos (Captain N: The Game Master, Episode Having a Ball )
  13. "'This map has to be fake,' Link says. 'Why else would it be in such an easy hiding place? Follow me! I'll get us out of here!' 'But Link!' Zelda cries. 'Maybe it's--' It's too late. Link has already disappeared down the nearest tunnel." (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 80)
  14. "Then Link looks up to see the pale bones of the Stalfos whipping toward them. 'Oh, Link!' Zelda cries. 'You picked the wrong path. We're done for!'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 81)
  15. "Link hears the howling of Stalfos rushing toward them. He takes a deep breath. 'Let's hope this map is real,' he says to Zelda and Charles. Quickly, he unfolds it and searches for a route out." (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 48)
  16. "'This way!' he calls. [...] In minutes they're back outside. The skeletons stop at the mouth of the tunnel, howling." (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 48)
  17. "It's impossible to keep them down! Aaaargh!! I've had enough!" (A Link to the Past (Nintendo Power), pg. 7)
  18. "Anybody who comes into the forest will be lost. Everybody will become a Stalfos. Everybody, Stalfos." — Fado (Ocarina of Time)


Forest minish.png Names in Other Regions Jabber Nut MC.gif
Language Name Meaning
Japanese Japan スタルフォス (Sutarufosu)
スタルフォン (Sutarufon)Triforce piece.png
パルタム (Parutamu)
ドクロナイト (Dokuro Naito)Triforce piece.png
ドクロナイトソード (Dokuro Naito Sōdo)Triforce piece.png
Stalfos
Stalfon

Skull Knight
Sword Skull Knight
Spanish Spanish-speaking countries Stalfos
French French-speaking countries Stalfos, Chevalier Squelette Triforce piece.png
German Germany Stalfos
Stalfos-RitterTriforce piece.png

Stalfos Knight
Italian Italy Stalfos
Korean South Korea 스탈포스 (Seutalposeu) Stalfos
Chinese Mainland China (Simplified Chinese) 骷髅战士 (Kūlóu Zhànshi) Skeleton Warrior

Bosses in The Legend of Zelda series

The Legend of ZeldaThe Adventure of LinkA Link to the PastLink's AwakeningOcarina of TimeMajora's MaskOracle of AgesOracle of SeasonsFour SwordsThe Wind WakerFour Swords AdventuresThe Minish CapTwilight PrincessPhantom HourglassSpirit TracksSkyward SwordA Link Between Worlds