Artwork from The Legend of Zelda
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda|
|Latest appearance||Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity|
Lynels are rare, powerful, lion-like centaur enemies that are typically found in mountainous or ruinous areas. In every game they appear in, they are among the most powerful enemies in both strength and durability. Their name seems to be a corruption of the name "Lionel."
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda
In The Legend of Zelda, Lynels appear to the north, on Death Mountain, and appear in orange and blue varieties, with the blue being stronger. Both types are very strong but only of average speed, and they attack with sword beams. A single blue one guards the cave containing the White Sword, but in most other places with them, they appear in very large amounts. Their art depicts them with a sword and shield, but likely due to the graphics flipping to make them appear walking when pointing up or down, they are depicted with a pair of swords in their in-game sprite. They are the strongest overworld enemy, though some underworld enemies are of comparable strength.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Lynels, also known as Mountain Lions, are larger and even more lion-like. They only come in one color, that being orange with a white mane and green highlights and garb. They now breath fireballs and move around quickly, now actively targeting Link instead of the more random movement in the orginal. They are quite rare, with only three appearing, all in the Dark World's Death Mountain near Ganon's Tower.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, red and blue Lynels are found in Temple Remains, while a special golden-colored Lynel appears in Tarm Ruins as part of a quest. They attack like the ones in the first game, but their projectile resembles a flashing arrow and they never appear in large amounts. Additionally, their feet and tails are now depicted as also being more lion-like. They are capable of quickly charging at Link when they turn towards him. The Lynels in this game are called Wolf Warriors.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Lynels appear on Hyrule's Death Mountain and look like they do in A Link to the Past, though their behavior has changed. They are slower than before, and instead of breathing long-range fireballs, they breath a continuous stream of fire a short distance in Link's direction. There is also a stronger type that is dark brown with red garb, which only appears high in the Treacherous Tower andd is able to breath both streams and balls of fire. This type's flames are particularly dangerous in Hero Mode, as an insufficiently-armored Link may be killed immediately regardless of health.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Lynels make their fully 3D debut and appear much more muscular than previously, as well as having huge horns. Like many advanced enemies in the transition to 3D, Lynels are made far more dangerous than they originally were, with the strongest Lynels being far more dangerous than the game's Guardian Stalkers. Unlike most monsters in the game, Lynels are intelligent, and capable of noticing Link from great distances. If one notices Link and then he leaves its line of sight before it decides Link is an enemy, the Lynel may alertly look around the area for multiple minutes, trying to find him again. Additionally, the Lynel Mask does not indefinitely fool them, only briefly confusing them. If one sees a Remote Bomb, it will purposefully kick it away, though they will not look up if Link is throwing them from a high ledge. Lynels are usually found alone, though as many as three can be found in the same general area as each other. Like other enemies, Lynels and their weaponry get stronger the more enemies Link defeats. Unlike most others, there are very few exceptions to this due to their limited numbers, and as such if photographs are not obtained before this increase happens, they will be unattainable outside of purchasing them. Aside from the normal brown and red Lynels, the colors of Lynel are the Blue-Maned Lynel, the White-Maned Lynel, and the Silver Lynel. The Master Mode DLC additionally included the even stronger Golden Lynel, as well as making Lynels in general more common to the point of one being on the Great Plateau.
In battle, Lynels can wield Lynel Bows with powerful arrow types, as well as Lynel Swords, Lynel Spears, Lynel Crushers, and Lynel Shields. Later iterations carry "mighty" versions of these, and the strongest carry "savage" versions. Lynel Bows are capable of firing multiple arrows at once that can curve through the air to reach Link. Additionally, Lynels can breath huge bursts of fire and charge quickly into Link to trample him or hit him with a melee weapon. If Link manages to evade one, it may teleport in order to catch up with him again. If one has not seen Link, he is capable of using his Parasail to glide onto its back and "ride" it for a few seconds before it knocks him off, thus giving Link the opportunity to attack it without it being able to directly respond. If defeated, Lynels can drop Lynel Horns, Lynel Hoofs, and Lynel Guts, with the silver types also able to drop rare gemstones.
Historically, a Lynel on Ploymus Mountain menacing Zora's Domain was defeated by a Hylian (presumably Link before the Great Calamity), an event carved into (but weathered away from) the seventh Zora Monument. In the present day, a low-armed Lynel is found on the same mountain, and is likely intended as the first Lynel the player encounters. It is not intended to be fought, but rather snuck around in order to collect the Shock Arrows littering the area in order to use them to fight Vah Ruta. This Lynel in particular stays low-level and unarmed throughout the game, but will still pose a challenge for unprepared players if it spots Link. This is the only Lynel the game actively pushes the player to face in the main plot.
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, Lynels are brown and appear as rare minibosses. They are armed with a bow and arrows they can shoot extremely fast, though they are not as powerful as their usual attacks. Stronger versions called Purple Lynels and Black Lynels also appear.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Lynels appear as strong enemies and bosses, though notably less powerful than in Breath of the Wild to fit the gameplay. Normal Lynels wield Shock Arrows and can also attack by charging and breathing fire, with higher level ones also slamming down to make huge plume of fire. One first appears in the scenario "Mipha: The Zora Princess," and is very likely intended to be the same one that is mentioned in passing in Breath of the Wild. It appears on Ploymus Mountain during an assault on Zora's Domain by several Moblins and electrical enemies, with the young Prince Sidon attempting to face it down. Link, Impa, and Mipha come to his rescue and must defeat it to complete the scenario, at which point it flees. Shortly thereafter, a giant horde of Lynel archers armed with Shock Arrows must be destroyed with Vah Rutah. Later, blue, white, and silver Lynels appear along with three elemental varieties, being Electric Lynels, Fire Lynels, and Ice Lynels. Finally, a malice-infused type of silver Lynel known as the Malice Lynel appears in the final chapter.
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 15.
- Averill, Alan. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages Player's Guide. Page 31.