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Stalfos

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This article is about the common skeleton enemy. For the skeleton called "Stalfos" in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, see Stalfos Knight. For the skeleton called "Stalfos" in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, see Stalchild.
Stalfos
SS Stalfos art.jpg
Artwork of a Stalfos from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
First appearance The Legend of Zelda (1986)
Latest appearance The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Nintendo Switch) (2019)
Notable member(s)
Blue Stalfos
Captain Stalfos
First Mate
Igos du Ikana
Igos du Ikana's lackeys
Stalblind
Stalchampion
Stallord (Ocarina of Time manga)
Variant(s)
Fire Stalfos
Gibdo
Shrouded Stalfos
Stalchild
Stalfos Gel
Stalfos Knight
Stalfos Mage
Stalfos Rider
Stalfos Warrior
Stalmaster
Staltroop
Sutarunakku
Relative(s)
Bubble
Skull Kid
Stal
Staldra
Stalhorse
Stalhound
Stalizalfos
Stalkoblin
Stallord
Stalmoblin
Stalnox
Comparable
Cap'n
Gar and Dion
Hero's Shade
Malmord
Pirate (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages)
Skeldritch

Stalfos (alternately pluralized Stalfoses[1]) are skeleton enemies that appear in nearly every The Legend of Zelda title, starting with The Legend of Zelda. They can use a variety of weapons depending on the game, including swords, clubs, and even their own bones.

History[edit]

The Legend of Zelda series[edit]

The Legend of Zelda[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda, Stalfos are a simple and weak enemy found in a small amount of labyrinths, almost exclusively appearing in the first one, Eagle, where there are a large amount. They walk around aimlessly while swinging two swords around, and can be defeated quite easily. Rarely, they can be seen visibly holding keys in their bodies. In the second quest, however, they are capable of shooting powerful sword beams, thus making them much more dangerous.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past[edit]

Stalfos ALttP blue sprite.png

In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Stalfos lack swords and come in different colors. Indigo-tinted ones are the generic ones, and wander around the room, jumping away if Link attempts to hit them with his sword. Red-tinted ones act mostly the same, but also retaliate with a thrown bone. Yellow-tinted ones are rare, and drop from the ceiling in groups of four before sending their heads floating after Link. Attacking these skulls with the sword does not damage them, but knocks them back and eventually prompts them to float away. There are also ones that are simply slowly-moving floating skulls, appearing turquoise-tinted in Misery Mire and orange-tinted in Turtle Rock. These skulls can be damaged and defeated normally, though they have much more health than normal Stalfos. There are also large Skeleton Knights in the Ice Palace, which must be knocked down and then defeated with bombs. Gibdos in this game resemble Stalfos, but have no further connection.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening[edit]

Stalfos LA sprite.png

Stalfos have three variants in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. One acts like the indigo-tinted ones in A Link to the Past, another jumps up before slamming down on top of Link, and the last one acts like the red-tinted ones from before. The first two types are first found in Tail Cave, while the last does not start appearing until Angler's Tunnel, where it replaces the first type from then on. Burning a Gibdo's bandages also reveals this type. There is also a hooded type called Shrouded Stalfos that acts like a Moblin or Darknut.

In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, the A Link to the Past-inspired ones are both orange-tinted, though the bones that are thrown are red-tinted. The slamming type is tinted green. In the Nintendo Switch remake, the dodging type is white, the slamming type is yellow, and the throwing type is red.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Stalfos appear as common minibosses and enemies in the latter half of the game, first appearing in the Forest Temple, and later in the Gerudo Training Ground, Spirit Temple, Shadow Temple, and Ganon's Tower. They have swords, shields, and glowing red eyes, which continue shimmering even while paused. As they move around, they make a deep, grunting, chuckling sound. They swing their swords and hide behind their shields, also being capable of jumping away to evade and forwards to attack. In some cases, they can seemingly walk above pits. Stalfos are relatively strong enemies, so using the shield when they attack is worthwhile. In the Forest Temple and the escape from Ganon's Tower, a pair of Stalfos has a unique behavior, in that both must be defeated within a short amount of time of each other or the fallen one will rise again. In Master Quest, they are even more common, appearing in the Fire Temple, Ice Cavern, Water Temple, and the Forest wing inside Ganon's Castle, and as such are in every adult dungeon.

In prototype versions of the game, Stalfos are shown with a much different design, having angry eye holes, yellow bones, and no helmets.

In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Stalfos' eyes no longer brighten and dull repeatedly, now just being solid red.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, normal Stalfos are not present. However, Igos du Ikana and his lackeys are based off the Stalfos from Ocarina of Time, having many of the same animations and behaviors. Of note is that their skulls look atypical: Igos's skull resembles that of an orangutan, while his lackeys' resemble different species of dogs'.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages[edit]

Stalfos blue OoS-OoA sprite.png

In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Stalfos have four color-based varieties. Blue-tinted Stalfos (also called Stalfos Knights[2]) act similar to the ones in the first game but are not restricted to the cardinal directions, with one carrying a key in the Ancient Tomb, similar to the first game. Red-tinted ones jump away from Link, orange-tinted ones jump away and occasionally throw bones, and green-tinted ones slam down. Shrouded Stalfos also reappear, and the latter game has a Grim Reaper-esque miniboss called the Blue Stalfos in the Ancient Tomb. Gibdos become orange Stalfos when burned.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Stalfos wield clubs and have large underbites and red tassels on their heads. One followed by a pair of others act as the miniboss of the Earth Temple, with them appearing as strong generic enemies afterward. They often emerge from sarcophagi or burrow out from the ground. They swing their clubs back and forth slowly, sometimes causing them to spin around erratically. Attacking one enough causes its skull to detach and hop around temporarily, at which point Link can attack it. They can be knocked down immediately with a bomb, though most other items have no effect. Sometimes, a horizontal sword slice will cut a Stalfos's torso off its legs, causing it to try to escape Link by walking on its hands.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures[edit]

FSA Stalfos.png

In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Stalfos first appear in the Eastern Temple and can act like the ones in the first game or the blue or red ones from A Link to the Past, but have no physical distinction from each other. Ones on the Game Boy Advance screen usually act like the ones in the first game, but begin dodging at the Pyramid. Each type looks like the ones in The Wind Waker, aside from the tassels. The tassels are instead given to the Sutarunakku, which act like typical Darknuts. Along with appearing normally, groups of four may be spawned by specific Wizzrobes.

While normally dungeon enemies, two non-jumping Stalfos are also fought at the end of the Field. Defeating them opens a Vaati-eyed portal that allows a battle with the first Big Dark Stalfos. Another encounter like this albeit with four Stalfos occurs in the Desert of Doubt. In the Temple of Darkness, they can visibly carry small keys akin to Gibdos in the first game. Also in that temple, Stalfos can be found in side-scrolling areas, where they simply walk back and forth while paying the Links no mind. Another type in that temple appears as a silhouette of a giant Keese normally, but in the Dark World is shown to be a normal-sized Stalfos skull. When tan Gibdos are defeated, they become non-jumping Stalfos and are sent to the Dark World.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap[edit]

Stalfos red TMC sprite.png

In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Stalfos look like the Stalchildren in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, but are slightly larger and able to face more directions. They appear with red or blue details and first appear in the Fortress of Winds. Both types jump away from Link if he slashes at them, with the red ones throwing bones as well and the blue ones attempting to slam down on him. Sometimes, Stalfos disguise as the throwable skulls found in dungeons. If a Gibdo is burned with the lantern, it becomes a blue Stalfos.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Stalfos appear with various swords and armor depending on where they are encountered, and seem to have a small horn on their skulls. They first appear in the Arbiter's Grounds. They follow Link and slash at him. If Link defeats them, they will be knocked down into a pile of bones, only to rise again shortly. To defeat them entirely, Link must use an explosive, with Bomb Arrows being the most effective. Later, the Ball and Chain can also be used.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Stalfos tend to initially appear as a bone pile on the ground, and then assemble themselves before patrolling a small area when Link approaches. A few also ambush him by jumping out from trees or graves. When they see Link, they begin sidling around while slowly backing away from him, occasionally throwing bones. Others stand still on distant platforms to throw bones from. The bones can be thrown to hit Link on elevations different from the Stalfos's own, unlike most enemy projectiles in the game. Jump Attacks are more effective than normal sword swings in hitting them, after which their heads hop around on the ground like those of Bubbles. Attacking with the grappling hook brings the heads straight to Link, but as such may damage him. If a head is not defeated in time, it will float back to the body, which reassembles. If hit with a bomb or the hammer, they will be defeated immediately, and if the body of a beheaded one is hit by one of these, it will be permanently destroyed, leaving the skull helpless.

Unlike most enemies that appear in both The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass, Stalfos here do not particularly resemble their counterpart in that game, being much less stylized and having a blue collar. Stalfos as enemies debut late in the game, appearing on the Island of the Dead, Isle of Ruins, and Mutoh's Temple in the Northeastern Sea alongside the stronger Stalfos Warriors, though inanimate bone piles resembling Stalfos appear as early as the Temple of the Ocean King's entrance hall. In these cases, the lingering spirits (represented by a floating blue flame) tell how they died and potentially offer Link advice. One, Kayo, instead appears with a ghostly version of his living body.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Stalfos look and act the same as the ones in Phantom Hourglass. After their heads have fallen, Link can grab them with the whip and throw them. They first appear in the Fire Temple and later appear around the Sand Temple, which has a large similar skeleton called Skeldritch as a boss. Stalfos have a chance of dropping the common Stalfos Skull treasure upon defeat.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Stalfos are uncommon and fairly powerful. They have two swords, a ring of spikes around their heads, and pink glowing eyes. One first appears as a mid-boss in the Skyview Temple. On the return trip, three appear as a replacement for the original boss, Ghirahim. They later appear in a cave-themed room in the Sky Keep and at the end of the hoard battle near the end of the game. Stalfos attack and defend with their swords, holding them both in various ways to parry Link's own sword swings, and tending to move them around. A four-armed Stalmaster appears as a midboss in the Ancient Cistern, acting much the same, but with three swords and a shield.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Stalfos look and act like the ones in A Link to the Past, albeit pursuing Link rather than wandering about. The only colors are tan, which acts like the indigo-tinted ones, and red. Groups of Stalfos appear as mid-bosses of the Eastern Palace and Tower of Hera, being tan and red, respectively. Gibdos also become Stalfos when they are burned.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes[edit]

In The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, tan Stalfos appear primarily in the The Dunes, and are now much more adept at jumping, as well as able to throw bones. They now will jump as soon as a Link slashes his sword, and if close o a wall or ledge, will attempt to jump behind him. However, it is possible to trick them off cliffs or hit them as they land. Projectiles are typically the most effective. Gibdos become Stalfos if removed of their bandages, but appear much larger than Stalfos. An enormous Stalfos called Stalchampion appears as a boss in the same area, and tends to slam down when it jumps. A type of treasure called Stal Skull also appears.

CD-i games[edit]

Stalfos TFoE-TWoG sprite.png

Link: The Faces of Evil[edit]

In Link: The Faces of Evil, Stalfos have two swords and walk around. They first appear in Goronu, and later in Lupay. The boss Goronu is resurrecting them to act as minions. There is also a dagger-wielding type called the Fire Stalfos, which can shoot fire.

Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon[edit]

In Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Stalfos look and act as they do in The Faces of Evil. They appear in Gobiyan Ship.

Zelda's Adventure[edit]

ZA Stalfos.png

In Zelda's Adventure, Stalfos act as they do in the first game, but wield a sword and shield. They appear in the Shrine of Illusion.

Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland[edit]

In Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, Stalfos appear as pirates led by Captain Stalfos and his First Mate. They initially appear, led by the First Mate, on a ship at Cape Treasure, where they forbid Tingle from boarding their ship, but flee when they see a dog Tingle had given bones earlier, allowing Tingle to board the ship, at which point they offer him to join them. They then appear throughout Pirate's Hideout, the game's second dungeon, and Tingle must prove his worth to them by running errands and gathering their treasures. Once he meets Captain Stalfos, he attempts to kill him, though after the captain is defeated he reveals he meant no harm, just thinking that he would look better as just bones. They then give him the Bone Ocarina, allowing him to summon them while on a dock.

Tingle is unable to travel on a pirate boat with a dog bodyguard due to the Stalfos' fear of dogs.

Nintendo Land[edit]

In Nintendo Land, hand-crafted Stalfos appear as rare enemies in the "Battle Quest" mode, first appearing in the seventh quest, Gerudo Fortress Trail. They usually appear in pairs, wield swords and shields, and have the unique ability to quickly bury themselves into the ground and emerge elsewhere. This allows them to both escape and ambush the players.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Stalfos are enemies in Smash Run, in which their appearance is retained from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Stalfos walk slowly left to right and attack the fighter if they are too close. Stalfos sometimes jump backward to reposition themselves. They can block fighters' attacks with their shield, but are still vulnerable to attacks from above, below, or behind. There is a slight moment where the Stalfos lowers its shield, during which it becomes temporarily vulnerable to frontal attacks. The Stalfos attack with their sword, using a three-slash combo or a jump attack.

In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Stalfos are an enemy fought within the Master Fortress in Classic mode.

Hyrule Warriors[edit]

In Hyrule Warriors, Stalchild captains use the design of Stalfos from Ocarina of Time 3D. However, they are never identified as Stalfos in-game. In Adventure Mode, Stalmasters, Gibdos, and ReDead Knights use edited versions of Stalfos' original sprites on the map screens, despite Gibdos already having their own sprites in the first game.

Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda[edit]

CoH Stalfos.png

In Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda, Stalfos have teal helmets with orange details and appear alongside Stalfos Knights, Stalfos Riders, Stalfos Mages, and Stalfos Gels. They also come in other colors, being Yellow Stalfos and Black Stalfos. Normal Stalfos hop in the player character's general direction every other beat and come equipped with shields that fall off when attacked. If attacked from the side, the Stalfos will instead be damaged instantly. Both their colors and their behavior are taken from the Armored Skeleton enemies in the original Crypt of the Necrodancer.

Gallery[edit]

For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Stalfos.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese スタルフォス
Sutarufosu
スタルフォス (首投げ)
Sutarufosu (Kubinage)
Stalfos; from a corruption of 「スケルトン」 (sukeruton, skeleton) and 「スカル」 (sukaru, skull)

Stalfos (head/neck throw) (A Link to the Past)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Averill, Alan, Jessica Folsom, Erik Peterson, and Jacob Ward. The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition Player's Guide. Page 7.
  2. ^ Averill, Alan. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages Player's Guide. Page 111.