Artwork of a Darknut in Hyrule Warriors
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda (1986)|
|Latest appearance||The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Nintendo Switch) (2019)|
Darknuts are heavily-armored sword-wielding knight enemies. They are very hard-hitting, adept at using shields, and often fairly intelligent relative to other enemies, and as such are usually some of Link's toughest foes. Their name is likely a corruption of "dark knight."
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda
Darknuts first appear in Level-3, Manji. They appear in orange and blue, with the blue ones being more powerful. Darknuts can only be damaged away from their shields, and they constantly move forwards with their swords, occasionally turning. Unlike many enemies, they can only turn 90° at a time. They typically try to pursue Link, and very often appear in very large groups. They sometimes appear in water-filled rooms, where Link can use the stepladder to be out of their reach.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Darknuts, known as Soldiers in the Player's Guide, appear as the guards of Kanalet Castle who betrayed Richard. When a sword-wielding Darknut sees link, it will charge at him. Aside from wielding swords, they can be found without them, in which case they will throw spears. In fact, they are just a graphical and statistical replacement of Moblins, Pig Warriors, and Shrouded Stalfos, a fact which can be observed by swimming around the moat; during one screen transition, a Darknut will change into a Pig Warrior, and vice-versa. Inside the castle, one Darknut hides within a Darknut-shaped relief on the wall which can be bombed. This Darknut holds one of Richard's Golden Leaves. In DX, Darknuts, like Moblins, Pig Warriors, and Shrouded Stalfos, are blue. In the Nintendo Switch remake, they are black.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
Darknuts, again known as Soldiers, appear in various dungeons in both red and blue, wielding either swords or throwing spears. They still share behavior with Moblins and Shrouded Stalfos, but are substantially stronger both in offense and defense. Due to their metallic armor, they can be pulled by the Magnetic Gloves. They can be found at the Northern Peak, Unicorn's Cave, Tarm Ruins, Ancient Ruins, Explorer's Crypt, Temple Remains, Sword & Shield Maze, and Onox's Castle. A stronger golden one can be found along the Western Coast after a specific old man is spoken to.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, swordless Soldiers appear in the northern half of Talus Peaks outside Symmetry Village, where they are red in the present and blue in the past. Both colors appear in the Crown Dungeon, Ancient Tomb, and Black Tower.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords
Darknuts appear as strong enemies who will face anyone who slashes at them, and are also capable of slashing with their swords. When they slash, their backs are vulnerable. Once again, they can also be pushed and pulled around by the Magnetic Gloves due to their heavy armor. Like other strong enemies, their generation effect is a bolt of lightning instead of puffs of smoke. They have a "T" on their shields, likely short for their Japanese name, Tartnack.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Darknuts have centipede patterns on their armor and appear in three different armor amounts, each of which has a different figurine. Additionally, they come in different colors, being grayish green with dark silver trim, white with red trim, gold with black trim, white with light silver trim, black with cream trim, and red with gold trim. The colors do not denote any functional difference, though ones of the same color are often found near each other and certain types are found more commonly in specific colors. A green shieldless Darknut first appears as the mid-boss of the Tower of the Gods, guarding the Hero's Bow, and later appear as normal enemies. Later, shield-bearing ones, also known as Shielded Darknuts, appear only as normal enemies, first appearing in white armor alongside shieldless ones in the sunken Hyrule Castle, only becoming active once Link has gained the Master Sword. Some shield-bearing Darknuts, also known as Caped Darknuts, also wear red capes and the captains, also known as Mighty Darknuts, wear crested helmets, have somewhat higher power, and are able to appear as either Shielded Darknuts or Caped Darknuts. Darknuts are adaptable enemies, able to use martial arts or alternate weapons if theirs is knocked away.
Most of the time, Darknuts are found patrolling, though some stand perfectly still, imitating suits of armor and waiting for Link to approach. To defeat a Darknut, Link typically must first perform parries against its attacks to dodge around behind it and slice open the ropes holding its armor on, as well as dodging over it to knock its helmet off. Armor can also be destroyed simply by attacking repeatedly, and is even given its own health bar by the Hero's Charm. To reach the ropes on a Caped Darknut's armor, the cape must first be destroyed with repeated cuts or Fire Arrows. Once its armor has been removed, it is revealed to resemble a jackal or a doberman pinscher, but with a nose shaped like Ganondorf's. From here, it can be attacked directly until it is defeated. They continue to punch and jump-kick at Link and will follow at a fast speed without their armor, and ones with shields never drop them. They drop the Knight's Crest as spoils. A photo of a cape-wearing Darknut always produces a Mighty Darknut figurine that notes that "some wear capes," even if the one in the photo does not have the helmet. This is an artifact of the figurine in the Japanese version simply referring to the caped type.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Darknuts, known as Chief Soldiers in the Player's Guide, appear as large counterparts to soldiers, and are typically flanked by a battalion of them. When active, they can be heard barking orders to their troops. They are capable of doing a forward-moving slash attack, and appear to wear bird-like masks. Once again, their shields effectively defend their fronts, while their backs are weak. They appear as minibosses throughout the game, with a blue one at Lake Hylia, a green one in Hyrule Castle, another blue one in Death Mountain Foothills, another green one in the Field, another blue one at the Swamp, a green one in Frozen Hyrule, a red one and a blue one separately in the Realm of the Heavens, and a blue one and a red one together in the Dark Cloud. The Knights of Hyrule are shown with the same bodies as Chief Soldiers.
The Player's Guide also once refers to soldiers or guards as "Darknuts."
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Parsed Dark Nut, they appear in green with gray trim and white with red trim. They constantly face Link while hiding behind their shields, occasionally slashing at him. The green type is initially encountered in an underground room in Castor Wilds while Link is trying to find a special gold-colored Kinstone fragment. The white type is initially found as the mid-boss of the Fortress of Winds. The green type seems to have more health, while the white type is faster and tends to lunge forward as it thrusts more often. After these, neither color returns until the second floor of Dark Hyrule Castle, where a duo of green and white Dark Nuts is treated as equal to one of the more powerful type called the Red Dark Nut, itself first found in the Palace of Winds and capable of charging its sword into a corkscrew-like thrust. Dark Hyrule Castle also features an even more powerful type than that called the Black Knight.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- “I have no idea what to do against these knight things! Just try using the sword techniques you know, Link!”
- – Midna, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Darknuts again have color and helmet variation corresponding to that of The Wind Waker. A black-armored Darknut that is roughly twice Link's height and wears a crested helmet appears as the mid-boss in a Pantheon-like room of the Temple of Time, and is capable of many techniques using its massive broadsword, as well as Shield Attacks. Despite its strength, it is hampered by incredibly slow movement. While it defends much of the time with its shield, attacking it successfully and repeatedly chips pieces of its armor away, with moves like the Helm Splitter being quite effective at breaking its guard for successive hits. Once all of its outer armor is gone, it will throw its sword at Link and start attacking him with an arming sword (most likely an estoc). In this stage, it is much faster, and may even kick Link back. However, it is much less powerful and cannot defend nearly as well.
Later, Darknuts with more typical horned helmets appear as enemies deep in the Cave of Ordeals and in Hyrule Castle, where they are usually fought in pairs and come in subtly different colors, being silver, red-tinted, and turquoise-tinted. Sometimes silver ones initially wield maces instead of broadswords. Playing through the Cave of Ordeals again after completing it once adds an extra Darknut to the 39th and 49th floors, both of which have distinct silver-and-red armor and swords. A turquoise Darknut in the foyer of Hyrule Castle acts as the location's second miniboss, following King Bulblin. The final Darknut, located in Hyrule Castle's tower, wears a unique set of gold-tinted armor. However, none of the armor or weapon variations denote any functional difference.
The hero's shade character has similar armor and stature to Darknuts, and they in fact share certain animations.
Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Darknuts appear, and are among the first enemies encountered with a large amount of hit points. Their shields can deflect projectiles such as bombs in some positions.
BS Zelda no Densetsu
In BS Zelda no Densetsu, Darknuts appear in yellow and blue and have the same role as in the first game, but can now be damaged by the Magical Boomerang. Additionally, on the dark fourth day, they replace many Octoroks on the overworld.
Darknuts with the Temple of Time armor from Twilight Princess appear as captains. They are capable of throwing swords, as well as bumping an enemy with their shield while their eyeholes glow, before a wide slash, which leaves their Weak Point Smash gauge open. Additionally, it is exposed simply by getting behind the Darknut, making them fairly simple captains. Stalmasters act as stronger counterparts to them, making them the only special troops to have a reskinned version that is not a direct variant, or even from the same time period. Hylian Captains and Goron Captains additionally act similar.
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, Darknuts appear as minibosses. They resemble their appearance in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and wield extremely large swords. They notably appear alongside Iron Knuckles in this game, which are depicted as being rounder than the more muscular Darknuts. Normally, they cannot be attacked from the front, but they can perform a Spin Attack that hits surrounding spaces. If this happens, they will become exhausted for several beats, leaving them open to attack. It has a red variant called the Red Darknut and a black variant known as a Black Darknut, which somewhat resembles the Black Knights from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap except their palette incorporates red and blue instead of yellow.
- For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Darknut.
Names in other languages
|Tartnuc / Tartnack, possibly short for "turtle knuckle"|
- Phantoms from The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass closely resemble Darknuts, while they and the similar-acting Reaplings all have "Tartnack" in their internal filenames, being the Japanese name for Darknuts. This suggests Phantoms' models were originally intended for Darknuts before becoming a new enemy, or that Darknuts were simply used as a template and placeholder name for the new enemy. Functionally, Zora Warriors are more comparable to typical Darknuts.
- A Darknut has made a cameo appearance in a Super Mario-Kun issue, as seen in this scan.
- M. Arakawa. The Legend of Zelda - Link's Awakening Player's Guide. Page 97.
- Averill, Alan. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages Player's Guide. Page 50.
- 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 124.
- Waybright, David. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Official Strategy Guide. Page 210.
- The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, pages 23 and 40.
- The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, page 23. "As you cross the bridge, line up in the wide formation to cut through the onslaught of Darknuts that confront you."