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Artwork of a Zora from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda (1986)|
|Latest appearance||Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (2020)|
Zoras, also translated as Zolas, are fish-like creatures that first appear in The Legend of Zelda as enemies, with an appearance likely inspired by the Gill-man from the film Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starting with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the species has been portrayed as being peaceful and human-like, though the original design and purpose are still occasionally used, typically in games that throw back to older titles. Of note is that the Ocarina of Time design has never demonstrated the enemy design's ability to breath fireballs. Despite their human-like appearance in later games, they still require a certain amount of water to survive, and hatch from fish-like eggs.
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda
Zolas first appear in The Legend of Zelda, where they poke their heads above the surface of water, spit a fireball at link, and then duck back under, doing the same in another part of the water. In the original Japanese Family Computer Disk System version of the game, the Zola's sprite was different. Notably, it lacks an outline, making it less distinct against the water, and its mouth is shut, causing the projectiles to appear to come from the front of its face. This sprite can also be seen in Western manuals.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Zolas are now shown above water, where they crawl around on all fours before rearing up on their hind legs to spit a fireball. They begin appearing midway through the game, and appear in locations such as in caves and on bridges. In western releases, normal attacks do not affect them at all, though they are weak to Fire.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Zoras, also referred to as Zora's Spawn, are now green and have a home location, Zora's River. In this area, they sometimes pop up from the shallow water and pursue Link on foot. Attacking these ones will stun them for a moment, allowing them to be picked up. Attacking them while stunned defeats them, which tends to award bombs in varying amounts. There is also a large one at the start of the river who will sell Link Flippers to let him swim. This is notably the first friendly Zora shown. In the Dark World, they are replaced by the kappa-like Dark Zora.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Zolas appear as enemies with the same abilities as in the original game. In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, a friendly Zora can be found in Animal Village with the aid of the Magnifying Lens. In addition to acting as a photo opportunity, it provides a hint to finding the Boomerang.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time features Zoras as an entirely friendly race, and have a large redesign to make them look friendlier, notably with faces that are more human-like than fish-like. They live in Zora's Domain and can usually be spoken to on foot. Some, however, still pop out from hidden spots in the water, where they can be spoken with instead. Specific Zoras in the game are King Zora and his daughter Princess Ruto, the latter of which becomes infatuated with Link after he rescues her. The Zoras worship a large whale-like fish named Lord Jabu-Jabu. One Zora operates a diving minigame in Zora's Domain, and gives Link the Silver Scale if he passes. In the future, Ganondorf freezes Zora's Domain and most of the Zoras are trapped under a sheet of ice. The Zoras' old enemy behavior is for the most part given to Octorok, which in turn is replaced by Mad Scrub.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Zoras are found in the Great Bay on the west side of Termina, where the power of Majora's Mask has caused the water to become foggy with abnormal water temperature, making it hard for them to catch fish to eat. Notably, a popular band known as the Indigo-Gos performs at Zora Hall and plans to play on the carnival. However, several Gerudo pirates steal several of lead singer Lulu's unhatched eggs and mortally wound her boyfriend, guitarist Mikau. By using the Song of Healing, Link can gain the Zora Mask and take Mikau's form, allowing him to swim faster and throw his fins like boomerangs. Other Zoras include one that operates a jar-smashing minigame, which Zora Link can use his fins for, and several inside Zora Hall. Most express their admiration for the band or worry about the water quality, but one is attempting to spy into Lulu's room for presumably lecherous reasons. Speaking to him as Zora Link will cause him to run away. Baby Zoras are also seen when all of the eggs are gathered, and resemble tadpoles. Presumably due to being the children of two musicians, they also resemble music notes, and teach Link the New Wave Bossa Nova by arranging themselves on a musical staff.
Additionally, the question "Are the fins damp lately?" is said by Toto to be a typical Zora greeting.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
- “Don't think us noble sea Zoras the same as those savage, vulgar river Zoras!”
- – Zora, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
Hostile Zoras appear in both Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, while friendly Zoras appear in Ages only unless a linked game starting from Ages is being played. In this game, they are differentiated as river Zoras for the hostile ones and sea Zoras for the friendly ones, though the dialog implies it is a cultural distinction rather than one of species. The Nintendo Power guide refers to the enemy as "Zolas" to differentiate them from the friendly Zoras. River Zoras are found in water across both Holodrum and Labrynna. Sea Zoras live underwater in Zora's Domain, now found in the western side of Labrynna's ocean. However, mysterious pollution has caused King Zora to become ill and eventually die. However, Link saves him in the past with a Magic Potion. This game shows that Zoras have extremely long lifespans, as it is indicated that the King Zora of the past and present is the same person. In the present, he gives Link the Library Key and later allows Link to explore inside Jabu-Jabu, who is still a baby in the past.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, only the spirit of a Zora, Laruto, is spoken to, being the former sage of the Earth Temple. Her descendant, Medli, becomes the next in that position. Medli is of a bird-like race called the Rito, implying the Zoras may have evolved into them after Hyrule flooded.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Zoras appear as enemies, where they are blue and cycloptic, but otherwise resemble their typical enemy design. In The Swamp, some Zoras hide under lily pads, and will bounce the Links if they stand on them.
In Hyrule Castle, a Great Fairy is transformed into a pair of green Zoras resembling the A Link to the Past design, which are then split up. Upon finding both, they re-merge into her.
Another green Zora acts as a friendly character in Kakariko Village, where the Links must feed him fish for a reward of a large Force Gem and a Heart Container. To do so, the Links must chase the fish across a horizontal band of deep water, trying to get them to go up a path in the middle that leads to the Zora.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Zoras live in Zora's Domain to the north in the Lanayru province, where they were previously led by Queen Rutella. However, she is killed, Zora's Domain frozen with many Zoras trapped in ice, and her son, Prince Rhalis missing. Once Zora's Domain is restored, the drained Lake Hylia is also restored, and the Zoras attempt to find Rhalis. Once Rhalis is found and restored to good health, Link attains the Zora Armor, allowing him to travel to the Zoras' Lakebed Temple. Another Zora is found in the raft minigame, where she swims ahead and keeps watch on Link's progress. Zora knights are also shown, having fish-like helmets. It is also demonstrated how different Hylian and Zora physiology are when the Hylian Doctor Borville considers himself to be unfit to care for a Zora, presumably having inadequate knowledge on how their bodies work. A Zora can also be found on the outskirts of Goron City looking for the Hot Springs, and worrying that they will dry up if they cannot find it.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Zoras are mentioned in the description of the Ruto Crown treasure. They are effectively replaced by Zora Warriors.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Hostile and friendly Zoras appear in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, both resembling their A Link to the Past design. They are among the only enemies that can be encountered before Yuga invades the Sanctuary. Their queen, Oren, lives in Zora's Domain (at the location Zora's River is in A Link to the Past) and is an unusually-humanoid depiction of the design, but bloats up to an immense size when without her Smooth Stone. After Oren is restored from her swelling, she mentions that she tells her subjects to not attack passerby, but they do not listen to her due to being territorial. Other friendly Zoras, called Zora Underlings are found on land and wear capes. One in a blue cape is shown worrying about the bridge to Zora's Domain being broken after the Shady Guy jumps the gap, particularly as the Zora was uncharacteristically unable to swim. Later, Zora Underlings worry over her lack of Smooth Stone, and after it is returned, express their relief at her restoration and annoyance in her continued reliance on it. Once Link clears the House of Gales, a yellow-caped Zora Underling can be found outside, having gone to Lake Hylia for a swim with Oren, only to be left behind. After Oren is kidnapped by Yuga, a purple-caped one can be found alone in Zora's Domain, and simply assumes she is late in returning until Link tells him he rescued her. Walking enemy Zoras do not appear, but walking Ku are introduced in Lorule.
In the Japanese script, it is instead indicated that her bloated form is her true form that she hides with the Smooth Stone, with one Zora repeatedly mentioning he likes and even prefers it.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
Zoras themselves do not appear in The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, but the Zora Costume is based entirely off their appearance in A Link Between Worlds.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Zoras again live in Zora's Domain in Lanayru. This game expands on Oracle of Ages's depiction of their longevity. Their lifespans are about twice as long as Hylian ones, and often take longer to physically mature. As such, mentally-adult Zoras may still physically resemble children. It is stated that a better indicator of Zora age involves speech mannerisms, as older Zoras try to speak more eloquently. Fully-grown Zoras are much taller than adult Hylians in this game, having vey long torsos and short legs, and come in many colors. The majority of them have large shark-like foreheads (somewhat resembling those of Craniocs) and sharp teeth. However, this is not the case for all of them, as King Dorephan more closely resembles a humanoid whale and his adviser has a manta ray-like head. Much of Zoras' weaponry in this game is made of silver, and they are weak to electricity, causing Shock Arrows to be banned from selling at their shop. They are shown to sleep in water, having their heads poking above the surface in a pool in Zora's Domain at night.
Prior to the Great Calamity, Link apparently spent a large amount of time around Zoras due to being in a relationship with their princess, Mipha, who was also the Champion chosen to pilot the elephant-like Divine Beast Vah Rutah. However, after the Calamity occurred and Mipha died as a result, many of the older Zoras blamed Link. 100 years later, Vah Ruta begins causing excessive rain in Zora's Domain by spraying the water from the reservoir from its trunk, threatening to eventually flood the Lanayru Wetlands and the rest of Hyrule. When Link returns alongside the popular Prince Sidon, all but one of the Zora elders openly despise Link, and he must prove his worth. Once he does so and it is revealed that Mipha genuinely was in love with Link, they start to become more trusting, and once he frees both Vah Rutah and Mipha's soul from Waterblight Ganon (in turn saving Zora's Domain), they realize they were wrong about him and welcome him as a friend.
Additionally in this game, Lizalfos are often found in water and spit water balls at Link, closely resembling the original enemy Zoras in appearance and attack.
Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
In Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Zoras appear as enemies and are brown. They move back and forth slowly along the surface of the water, occasionally stopping to spit projectiles in a wide arc. In the former, they appear from the murky liquid surrounding the Hermit Flat and Ganon's Lair. In the latter, they appear much earlier, in the water near the Gobiyan Ship, in Shutoy Lake, and in the swamp under Dodomai Palace.
Zolas, also known as Swamp Zolas appear as enemies in Zelda's Adventure. In this game, they usually appear on land, seemingly buried up to the waist, but occasionally appear in shallow water. They use their long arms to throw spiked balls at Zelda instead of spitting fireballs. They appear in the Forest of Torian and in the Swamp of Vendoss, where they are green. A cyan type called the Sea Zola appears at the Seacoast Plain, acting the same but taking more hits to defeat. A rock-throwing enemy called Dolomite has a similar stance and attack pattern.
BS Zelda no Densetsu Inishie no Sekiban
In BS Zelda no Densetsu Inishie no Sekiban, Zoras appear in the water and walking around outside the Waterfall of Wishing and at Zora's River during the rainstorm that happens when the fog clears up. King Zora also appears in his original capacity from A Link to the Past. Once the rainstorm stops, the ones on land near the Waterfall of Wishing are replaced with Sand Crabs and Octoroks.
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, both friendly and hostile Zoras make an appearance. Both have designs based on the typical fixed-camera appearance. The friendly ones appear as characters in Lake Hylia. They enjoy surfing, and have a prince that was put to sleep. He can be woke up by bombing a specific ghostly apparition of a Zora in his chamber and defeating the Ghast that then attacks. As a reward for saving him, the prince gives the player flippers. Another unique Zora, this one with a manta ray-like head, can be found running a shop on the beach, where he sells a snorkel and an empty bottle.
The hostile Zoras appear in more areas and look quite similar, but have a pierced upper fin and unfocused eyes. Unlike friendly Zoras, they appear exclusively in water, popping up to spit projectiles that travel with every beat. These can be fireballs which burn the player or balls of ice which can freeze the surface of water, the player character, and other enemies. Unlike most appearances, they always appear from the same spot in the water, and unlike Octoroks, will appear even when the player character is close. The green variant is known as Evil Zora and the red variant is known as Eviler Zora.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Zoras in their Breath of the Wild design appear, along with Mipha, Dorephan, and Sidon in both young and adult forms. They initially appear in Mipha, the Zora Princess, where the heroes help them fend off a horde of electrical enemies, which they are weak against. Zoras appear as troops in battle, having a large array of colors and other design elements between each, though unlike with monsters the colors do note denote any difference in strength. They are led by Zora Captains, which can be told apart by being slightly larger and having different armor. Zora wield silver weapons, like in Breath of the Wild.
The Legend of Zelda (Milton Bradley)
Names in other languages
Zōra (Hokō Taipu)
Zora (walking type) (A Link to the Past)
River Zora (Oracle of Ages and Cadence of Hyrule enemy)
- As shown in at least one concept illustration, the Zoras in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were intended to look more like they did in the 2D games earlier in development. Due to the eyelashes, this may have been an early Princess Ruto.
- ^ The Legend of Zelda instruction booklet, page 30 (FDS) or 31 (NES).
- ^ M. Arakawa. The Legend of Zelda – Link's Awakening Player's Guide. Page 95.
- ^ M. Arakawa. The Legend of Zelda – A Link to the Past Player's Guide. Page 27.
- ^ Averill, Alan. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages Player's Guide. Page 133.
- ^ Fat, Beauty, and A Link Between Worlds's Localization, Legends of Localization
- ^ CD-i magazine first 1999 issue, page 6
- ^ Zelda's Adventure instruction booklet, page 5.
- ^ CD-i magazine third 1999 issue, page 4
- The Legend of Zelda enemies
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening characters
- Zelda's Adventure enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time species
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask species
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages species
- The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures characters
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess species
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds enemies
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds species
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild species
- Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda species
- Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda enemies
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity troops