Sprite of a solider from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)|
|Latest appearance||Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda (2019)|
Guards, also called soldiers, Knights, or Short Sword Soldiers, are recurring enemies that use a variety of weapons. Basic Guards are generally depicted with a short, dagger-like blade. Low-ranking Guards such as these have a distinctively-shaped helmet with a large hole in the front to see from. There is usually a piece of metal sticking upwards above this, and a Chonmage-like attachment on the back. In earlier appearances, lesser soldiers have a small brown area visible on the bottom of their helmets. It is implied by A Link to the Past's epilogue that this is a little bit of skin visible, though most artwork depicts this as part of their helmets. In A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes, this is part of the helmet, and the same color as the rest of the armor. Higher-ranking Guards are typically depicted with helmets with a smaller viewing hole, and typically a crest and horns resembling those of a Darknut. The origins of the Guards vary significantly depending on the game, but they almost always are a relatively weak but numerous enemy.
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, soldiers are heavily implied to be Hylian Soldiers brainwashed by Agahnim. At the start of the game, yellow-armored soldiers can be found in front of several gates near Hyrule Castle, as well as on top of the battlements. While they do not allow Link through, they are friendly and offer advice. One of the ones on the wall recounts to Link how one of his friends has become increasingly distant to the point of seeming like a mindless drone recently, and worries that the same fate shall befall him. Once Link has saved Princess Zelda from her imprisonment, this type of guard disappears, presumably put under Agahnim's mind control.
In the castle courtyard and on the ground floor of the castle, generic, knife-wielding soldier enemies are found alongside sword-wielding ones. The dagger-wielders are depicted with green armor and short yellow pauldrons and a small yellow and brown shield. They patrol a small area, and do not react if Link makes noise. The only way for them to notice him is for him to walk in front of one. They do not chase him very far, however, and run in a straight line. Unlike other soldiers, the only indication of them noticing Link is a slight speed increase. Once Agahnim sends Link to the pyramid, the only ones of this type that can be encountered are the two in the secret passage to the castle grounds. Once Ganon is defeated at the end of the game, all of the soldiers are restored to normal, presumably including the ones Link has seemingly killed. At this point, their whole faces are shown within their helmets.
Of additional note is that the basic soldiers actually have a unique unused helmet intended for them, present in the graphics data for their unique armor graphics. The helmet shows more face skin and has a somewhat-threatening design with spikes and studs, both of which may have been reasons for its lack of use in the final.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, soldiers appear again as enemies, having been influenced by Vaati's magic. Generic, knife-wielding soldiers are shorter than other types, lack the topknot-like attachment sword- and bow-wielding ones have, and have a smaller and triangular frontal spike. They commonly appear en masse around the enormous Chief Soldiers. They appear blue-armored outside and green-armored in Game Boy Advance sub-areas, but have the same amount of health in either case. Stronger red ones debut in the Field, and also appear as stationary door guards near the end of the Ice Temple. Sometimes when accompanying a Chief Soldier, they will appear yellow-armored, walking back-and-forth in formation until the Links engage, at which point they will change color. If the Chief Soldier is defeated before they are, they run around frantically before exploding. Of note is that the guide calls them "Darknuts" on a single occasion, despite continuing to use generic terms every other time.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, soldiers are depicted as paintings brought to life by Yuga. They are noted to look "way tougher" than Hyrule's current soldiers. Short Sword Soldiers are far more common than in A Link to the Past, appearing alongside the slightly-stronger Sword Soldiers across Hyrule. Some also appear alongside shieldless red Spear Soldiers inside upper Hyrule Castle, released all at once midway up by Yuga. Short Sword Soldiers no longer wield shields and have the exact same pauldrons and helmets as other lesser soldiers. They also actively chase Link instead of running in a straight path. Occasionally. basic soldiers of different types grow from cut grass or bushes, but only if another of the same type is active in that area. In Lorule, there are various types of Lorule Soldiers, many of which have a corresponding type to the "normal" soldier enemies. However, the "normal" types appear in the Treacherous Tower.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
In The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, various soldiers are found in the Fortress area, seemingly working for the Lady. It is not touched upon whether they are real people or simply armor, though the game's panorama art appears to show them with arm skin. Due to being later-game enemies, they are far more competent at blocking than previously. Additionally, generic Short Sword Soldiers do not appear, with the weakest being the green, shieldless Sword Soldiers. In the Sky Realm, Sky Soldiers appear, being stronger versions of the normal Soldiers. Both have six subtypes present.
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, Guards appear in numerous types alongside Darknuts and Iron Knuckles. The typical Guard helmet has received a redesign, no longer having the topknot-like attachment, while the upward-facing blade over the eyehole has been replaced by a picture of the Triforce. There is no connector in front of the mouth. The more elite Guards are depicted with the same helmet, but with horns and a crest replacing the Triforce mark. There are various types of Sword Guards, with all but the red ones being identified simply as "Guards" in the English translation.
Names in other languages
- Stratton, Bryan, and Stephen Stratton. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Page 14.
- Stratton, Steve, and Cory Van Grier. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Prima Official Game Guide. Page 79.
- 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."