Artwork for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002)|
|Latest appearance||The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (2013)|
- “Oh! Well now! Ahoy there, swabbie! As of today... EH-HEH-AHEM! I am your superior... Niko! Now, I promise I'll go easy on you, so you do as I say, OK?”
- – Niko, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Niko is the lowest ranked member of Tetra's crew of pirates. He appears in three games: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Due to this, he is one of the only non-magical characters to have met multiple incarnations of Link within one lifetime. In the first two games, he is at a vague young age, and in the last one, he is an old man.
Niko wears a red and white-striped shirt, a dark green pair of pants, and a skull belt. While young, he also wears a blue beanie. In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Niko is an old man who somewhat retains his appearance, except he is holding a cane and has some white hair (instead of greenish-blonde like in his previous appearances).
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Niko is the lowest-ranking of the main pirates, and as such must do all the work below deck. When Link temporarily joins, he is very happy to finally have a "swabbie" to boss around. He has Link go through an obstacle course below deck to prove his mettle, which teaches him how to swing on ropes between rising platforms within a time limit. Niko speculates that it will take a full year for Link to become skilled enough to pass it, and when he inevitably does it much quicker, he is taken aback. The reward for completing this is the Spoils Bag, which Niko's frantic tone indicates he is not actually permitted to give to Link. Once Link does so, he is called back to the deck, so Niko cannot put him to any actual work.
Later, after the pirates raid Bomb-Master Cannon's shop, Niko is left to guard the ship while the others party on Windfall Island. He is behind the hold's locked door, only letting in those who know the password, which is randomly chosen by the game. When Link gets through, Niko assumed he returned because he missed being his "swabbie." He has him go through a similar obstacle course for the bombs, now without the platforms appearing (though with some piles of crates providing a similar function). Once Link does so, Niko panickedly lets slip that he himself has never successfully completed that course, and lets Link have the bombs on the condition that he tells no one that he gave them up in a bet. Tetra, however, listens in via the Pirate's Charm, and calls Niko "a simple-minded little rat." If Link speaks to Niko after this, he is simply impressed Link has the charm, and asks Link if he can have it in exchange for becoming Link's swabbie instead.
Later, Aryll mentions him in her letter to Link, saying he is always goofing around and never takes anything seriously, but sincerely misses Link. At the end of the game, he is seen with the other pirates, the sages, and Aryll as they pick up Link and Tetra.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
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The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Niko only appears in the prologue and epilogue, now apparently working on-deck. He has taken up a hobby of cutout-based presentations, as he does one pertaining to the story of The Wind Waker. Link, however, had fallen asleep to it. Tetra yells at the two to get back to work, as they are searching for the Ghost Ship. When it appears, Niko becomes frozen in terror, while Tetra boards and Link unsuccessfully tries to do the same.
At the end of the game, Niko and Mako call out to the two when they awaken on the Ghost Ship's deck. Niko asks Tetra if there was any treasure, and she begins berating him over not coming to her rescue after she had been frozen for so long because of it. The other pirates are confused due to it only being 10 minutes in their world, but by the time she points back to the Ghost Ship, it has vanished, leading Niko to exclaim that it really is cursed. At the end of the game, Tetra is still scolding Niko and arguing with Gonzo.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Niko is an old man living in Aboda Village in a house with a decorative mast on the roof. He keeps a photo of himself in his youth. He still makes presentations, though his art style has changed drastically. At the beginning, he shows Link his "blasted masterpiece" (or "blasterpiece"), a presentation on the war between the Demon King and the spirits of good, which he titles Spirits and Demons...at War! He only shows it to the public once per year, but the current incarnation of Link, who is his roommate, sees them for free at their house. Once again, however, Link sleeps through them, to Niko's chagrin.
Later, when Link is dressing as a guard, Niko notes his resemblance to his old friend. Once Link brings Alfonzo back to the village, Niko gives him a Stamp Book, requesting he collect stamps from places all around the world. He tells him he could not do so when he traveled before due to lacking a book at the time. When Link shows him stamps, Niko gives him rewards. When Link shows him ten stamps, he gives him the Shield of Antiquity, the previous Link's shield. With fifteen, Link gets the Engineer's Clothes back, and with all twenty, the second type of Swordsman's Scroll, providing the Great Spin Attack.
Once Link has completed the Fire Temple, Niko sends him a letter with a treasure map of Aboda Village he found while cleaning. He also apparently showed his "masterpiece" to the Postman, who considered it an earful.
Hyrule Warriors Legends
In Hyrule Warriors Legends, Tetra's standard outfit has an unlockable recolor based on Niko's outfit. In the Master Wind Waker Pack DLC, Toon Link also has an unlockable Niko recolor of his Hero's Clothes. Both outfit recolors are included in Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition.