The ever-changing sizes of Ganon and Link

Watch Nintendo's most intense rivalry shift and change with the ages

Another bizarre situation. The two Game Boy Color Zeldas, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, do not contain a battle with Ganon, but if you beat one and use its end-of-game password at the beginning of the other, you’ll end up confronting another blue Ganon… but one that’s far larger than its NES or SNES counterparts.

Prior to this, the sprite Ganon forms were moderately larger than Link. But now, in a post-Ocarina world, even the 2D incarnations have to step it up. The Oracles also continue the idea that Ganon (the monster) has little to no control over his actions, saying only “Destroy all… KILL ALL!” before throwing himself into battle.

The Ocarina versions of Link and Ganondorf co-headlined 2001’s Super Smash Bros Melee, though for whatever reason ‘Dorf is slightly smaller than before. In the original game, Link barely cleared Ganondorf’s chest, but now they’re practically the same height. Then again, he’s kind of squatting, so if he were to stand tall he’d probably be in the 1998 standard range.

Wind Waker’s once-controversial graphics are now charmingly timeless. No matter what generation we’re in, or how many years have passed, it’ll always look stylish and sleek. As for Link and Ganondorf, they’re on par with their regular sizes, though Link’s a child and therefore significantly smaller than usual. Doesn’t stop him from embedding a sword in Ganondorf’s head though.

Wind Waker is also the first Zelda game in which “Ganon” never appears; even in the above final battle, Ganondorf retains his human form. The only vision we get of Monstro-Ganon is in the game’s opening movie:

That’s very clearly a giant pig thing with a trio of dead people lying in ruin. You never actually fight this form, nor do you see it directly. Ganon’s next appearance, however, is all wiz-pig.

Another oddball entry, Four Swords Adventures saw our hero split into four separate kid-Links on a mission to stop Vaati (a new villain) and, ultimately, Ganon himself. Up there you see the four Links standing next to statues of the original blue pig-wizard from the NES/SNES versions, and Link’s roughly the same height. Strange.

WHOA. That’s hands-down the biggest effing Ganon we’ve ever seen. He absolutely dominates the screen, zipping from one spot to the next as he hurls his rotating staff. There’s no Ganondorf at all, just this imposing beast.

Interestingly, Ganon is in full control the whole time, and even his dialog suggests Ganondorf’s mind is alive and well. He doesn’t suffer another gruesome end, he’s just a badass giant sprite, possibly the last time we’ll ever see such a thing in the Zelda universe.

Ganondorf spends most of Twilight Princess as a rumor, occasionally mentioned as a great dark power that was sealed away long ago. Eventually you learn he’s behind the latest round of monsters and disunity (no surprise there) and have to take him out for good. ‘Dorf is about the same size as before, still looming over an aged Link, but he decides to go nuts again and become the Dark Beast Ganon.

Just how big is this feral new Ganon? Let’s see if we can get reeeeeal close…

OH. Yeah he’s pretty damn big. Possibly the biggest he’s ever been. But, as always, Link topples even this gargantuan foe. This leads to Ganon shifting yet again to his human form and hauling ass on a decidedly Ring Wraith-y steed.

After a lengthy swordfight, Link finishes Ganon off by impaling him on the Master Sword. As of this writing, Ganondorf has yet to appear in any subsequent Zelda releases (i.e. Phantom Hourglass and most likely Spirit Tracks), so we’ll honor his memorable villainy with the screen below – a poignant moment with Link, Zelda and Ganon all standing on a hilltop, the latter with a sword hilt lodged firmly in his chest.

The End? It was until 2008’s Super Smash Bros Brawl threw the Twilight Princess versions of Link and Ganon at each other’s throats yet again. This time around Ganondorf is significantly taller than Link, with a much higher discrepancy than their last Smash Bros appearance.

And just for good measure, we tossed in a Wind Waker Toon Link against the Twilight Princess Ganondorf.

That brings us totally up to date with Link, Ganon and the Zelda series as a whole. Next up is this year’s Spirit Tracks, to be followed by a new, possibly MotionPlus-controlled Zelda that’ll be revealed at E3 2010. So far, all we’ve got is this not-so-subtle hint that Link’s sword will be a ghostly blue girl, or perhaps the Master Sword comes to life and becomes the focus of a very waggly sequel.

Hey, if Ganon’s in it, we’re there.

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