Ball and Chain Trooper
|Ball and Chain Trooper|
Artwork of a Ball and Chain Soldier from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)|
|Latest appearance||The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Nintendo Switch) (2019)|
Ball and Chain Troopers, also known as Ball and Chain Guys, Mace Knights, Iron Ball Soldiers, Ball and Chain Soldiers, Ball & Chain Soldiers, and Ball 'N Chain Guards, are a type of elite Guard that first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and appear in more games after than any of the other types of Guard. They generally use a spiked flail as a weapon, hence their name, and are generally quite powerful, being able to use their weapons as defense and as a long-range attack. In some games, versions with burning weapons also exist.
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ball and Chain Troopers are found solely in Hyrule Castle and wear gray or gold armor, though both types act essentially the same. The gray one is encountered near the beginning of the game in the castle's Lockup, holding the key to Princess Zelda's cell. When he sees Link, he swings his flail around before swinging it a distance towards Link. Link should attack after he swings it towards him, as the soldier will briefly hold his weapon without attacking. After enough hits from the sword, the Ball and Chain Trooper is defeated and drops the key. After Link gets the Master Sword, golden-armored ones, also called Ball and Chain Knights, can be found in pairs in the upper castle. They have the same amount of health, and due to Link having better equipment than before they individually present less of a challenge. However, they are only stunned by the boomerang for a bit over an instant. Once Agahnim is defeated in the castle, they cannot be encountered anymore.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a single Ball and Chain Trooper is encountered in the last accessible room of Kanalet Castle, where it guards a Golden Leaf. In guides prior to the Nintendo Switch version, it is referred to as a Knight. Guides also list it as among the game's Guardians, though it does not have the "encounter" music like the others. Unlike in A Link to the Past, this one has visible eyes, lacks horns, and has a circular shield. It is also found in a vertically oriented room and its sprite always faces down. In Link's Awakening DX, it has red armor, while in the Nintendo Switch version, it has heavily-redesigned gold armor with red eyes, a red comb, breathing holes in the visor, and no shield.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Ball and Chain Troopers again occupy the same areas as Darknuts, and can be found both outside and in dungeons. They are most commonly in castle or ruins-themed areas, though they can also be found in the Sword and Shield Maze in Subrosia. They are constantly spinning their flails while not throwing them, albeit not at a wide range.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords
In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, Iron Ball Soldiers have golden armor that has attributes of both prior designs. They are found in Talus Cave, Death Mountain in the Hero Key path, and Vaati's Palace. In Four Swords Anniversary Edition, they are also extremely frequent enemies in the Hero's Trial. Like other strong enemies, their generation effect is a bolt of lightning instead of puffs of smoke. In this game, they constantly spin their flails around before throwing it, with their only resting period being after doing so. This makes fighting them at close range more dangerous.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Ball and Chain Troopers come in a variety of colors with different behaviors, and have long horns on their helmets and flails roughly as large as the soldier himself. Like in Link's Awakening and the Game Boy Color games, their sprites always face down. Their flails are capable of destroying in-game objects, including houses. The golden-armored type constantly swings their flail around and gets faster when attacked, with the spiked ball leaving white afterimages. One of this type is first found as a miniboss after a small group of sword soldiers in Hyrule Castle. In the Tower of Flames, a new type is introduced, which has a burning flail that leaves a trail of fire as it spins. In this game, this type is red-armored. The gray-armored ones swing around a normal, small flail a short distance, then specifically throw theirs very quickly at nearby Links, with it growing to the larger size when it does so. This type first appears as a miniboss in the Temple of Darkness. Additionally, there is a blue type unique to the Monster Hunting Returns minigame of the Tingle's Tower multiplayer area. They act as a combination of the gold and gray types, swinging a small flail around their heads before rapidly sweeping it in a wide circle as it grows.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Ball and Chain Soldiers appear in the Palace of Winds and Dark Hyrule Castle, and look and act basically the same as in Four Swords. Additionally, they appear in Simon's Simulation.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Ball and Chain Soldiers resemble their appearance in A Link to the Past, though they act more like the ones in Four Swords. They do not appear until the upper castle, however, where they again appear in gold. Both gray and gold ones appear in the Treacherous Tower. In Lorule Castle, an alternate version with spiky armor and a burning flail appears as a miniboss in two dark rooms, with the fire providing light.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
In The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, Ball & Chain Soldiers resemble their appearance in A Link Between Worlds and appear in the Fortress. Like the other Soldiers other than Bomb Soldiers, they are more defensive, and are actually capable of using their spike ball as a shield when not swinging it. Occasionally, they ride on Totem Armos. They come in two colors again, the Gray Ball & Chain Soldiers and the Gold Ball & Chain Soldiers, the latter of which has a burning flail. In the Sky Realm, stronger versions called the Sky Ball & Chain Soldier and the Sky Fire Chain Soldier appear.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (comic)
In the comic adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past by Shotaro Ishinomori, a Ball and Chain Trooper and several other soldiers ambush Link outside Sahasrahla's house, having been lead there by a scaly-faced hooded figure who previously pointed Link there. His weapon knocks down a tree, and Link falls off a cliff trying to avoid the flail. Later, after Link reaches the Eastern Palace and gets the Pendant of Courage from Sahasrahla, the squad corners him again. However, due to the pendant's power, his flail ricochets off Link's blade and tangles him up, and Link slices him down the middle, revealing him as simply enchanted armor. After Link obtains the Master Sword, another Ball and Chain Trooper ambushes Link with another soldier, but both are quickly outmatched.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (manga)
In the manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past by Akira Himekawa, a Ball and Chain Trooper guards Zelda, like in the game. Link throws a pot at it and grabs the chain, with the pot knocking its helmet off, causing it to fall apart and reveal it to be evil magic in the armor.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda
In Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda, Ball 'N Chain Guards come in teal and gray varieties. When the player character is within range, they quickly swing their flails across all spaces immediately surrounding them. The gray ones appear as minibosses in Hyrule Castle, coming in pairs holding a single long chain between them.
Names in other languages
|Iron Ball Soldier|
- McBride, Debra, and David Cassady. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Page 121.
- Stratton, Bryan, and Stephen Stratton. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Page 19.
- Stratton, Bryan, and Stephen Stratton. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Page 176.
- Rocha, Garitt. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Strategy Guide. Page 10.
- Stratton, Bryan, and Stephen Stratton. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Page 71.
- M. Arakawa. The Legend of Zelda - Link's Awakening Player's Guide. Page 102.
- Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce instruction booklet, page 50.