The ever-changing sizes of Ganon and Link

Last year we revealed the hilariously inconsistent sizes of Mario and Bowser, two of gaming’s most recognizable characters. Makes sense then to give Nintendo’s “serious” hero/villain duo a hard time too, eh? Witness pointy-eared Link change from squat child to lean teen, and the villainous Ganon transform from monster to human and back again.

Back in the day, making it all the way through Death Mountain was such a daunting task that even Ganon’s original sky-blue sprite was intimidating. It’s sort of hard to tell exactly what he is (pig-wizard, it turns out), but that didn’t stop our seven-year-old hearts from beating out of control at the very sight of Ganon and his trendy skull belt buckle.

The manual’s official art made it look like Ganon was a towering warlock, bested only by shoving the Triforce directly into his body. Exciting!

Above: The manual’s epic (though incorrect) art 

Naturally, that’s not what the game looked like at all. Ganon is large, but nowhere near that size. And Link, well, he looks like Link. Everyone knows Link.

But everyone might not know that when Ganon dies, he erupts into a pile of gore. Maybe they’re bloody ashes, who knows. Either way it was such a violent end that Ganon actually stayed dead for the sequel.

Thin as it is, the plot does make it clear that Link successfully killed Ganon in the first game (though Ganon’s minions are attempting to resurrect him by some gobbledygook no one remembers). Link is now a slender teenager, and the game’s final battle is against Link’s own shadow.

Some still assert that Shadow Link is actually Ganon, but all the asserting in the world won’t make it true. Ganon’s only appearance in Zelda II is that Game Over image up there, with no contextual placement of Link to determine size. This is obviously very important, so we’d best move on.

The 16-bit Link/Ganon duo is more or less the same as the NES, so we get a stubby Link hobbling around another pig wizard. Both are a bit more detailed, with Ganon brandishing a trident (Of Doom, probably) and Link, uh, still being short. Based on this new (non) information, we can guess this is the accepted ratio for the early ‘90s.

Basically they’re still on target, with Ganon a bit larger and rounder than Link. We have more definition thanks to newer technology, but so far no drastic size variations.

It’s a secret to everybody – Ganon isn’t in the black and white Link’s Awakening, nor is he in the 1998 Game Boy Color remake. Instead, Link’s last challenge is a battle against a series of nightmares, one of which is a very clear reference to the familiar porcine spellcaster. The sizes appear on track, even if this isn’t technically Ganon in the first place.

Whoa! With six years to stew about his defeat in A Link to the Past, Ganon swells in size to this monstrous demon brandishing two oversized swords. Keep in mind that Link is now an adult and still barely comes up to Ganon’s knees.


Even reeling over in pain, Ganon’s new form is immensely larger than anything we’d seen yet. However, you only see this Ganon at the end of Ocarina, as his smaller, “human” form takes center stage.

Ocarina marks the first appearance of Ganondorf, who from here on out acts as Ganon’s “main form,” and only becomes the hideous “Ganon” after losing control of his evil powers. Despite becoming human, Ganondorf still stands tall over adult Link.

Fun fact! Nintendo censored Ganon’s bloody Ocarina death for the Virtual Console release, replacing red blood with green.


Above: We promise this is Link stabbing Ganon

Next page – Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Smash Bros!


  • gonar12 - June 23, 2009 7:33 p.m.

    SECOND!!!!1! Great Article GR
  • Bhouse563 - June 23, 2009 7:52 p.m.

    God, now I have to play Ocarina of Time again.... Thanks asshole :-P reCAPTCHA: darneder 222
  • cassadinechik - June 23, 2009 7:52 p.m.

    Ha! The red screen of death from Link II was vital to my pre-teen years! Thanks for the comparisons, now I will have nightmares of giant pig-wizards...
  • AntistaIsTheLight - June 23, 2009 7:58 p.m.

    Cyberninja didnt claim it so FIRST!Great article GamesRadar.Second to last pic on the first page had me cracking up.
  • FalconMbuster - June 23, 2009 8:07 p.m.

    Never realized Ganon tended to be so... blue in his 2D incarnations.
  • garnsr - June 23, 2009 8:59 p.m.

    He's real mean. Remember when all instruction books were in color, with pictures of all the badguys, and usually descriptions? Those were the days.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - June 23, 2009 9:34 p.m.

    ^ Did you read the second page? No fewer than three Wind Waker images.
  • shadowless92 - June 23, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    GANONDORF i never understand why sometimes hes a pig and sometimes hes human and i dont actually understand zelda in general cus its like Link is always different in each game its like if u call ur son link in that world hes destined to be a legendary hero add me and plz explain
  • Jacob816 - June 23, 2009 11:53 p.m.

    I hate to be the asshole that brings it up, but how about Link and Ganon from the CD-i games?
  • LinkSceptile333 - June 24, 2009 12:14 a.m.

    Ganondorf looked tall in Twilight Princess.
  • Harmon20 - June 24, 2009 2:33 a.m.

    how about some Samus/Ridley comparisons?
  • The_Zanger - June 24, 2009 2:36 a.m.

    Are you kidding?! They replaced the blood?! Thats so fucking stupid!! I played the sissy version of OoT.
  • LittleTaco - June 24, 2009 3:12 a.m.

    i agree with Harmon20 a amus/ridley comparison would be real nice
  • phoenix_wings - June 24, 2009 4:39 a.m.

    I never really remembered the blood in the first version of OoT...I always thought he was throwing up. Which was kind of unusual...since...well, he was dying. But I presumed you'd be like "Holy fuck, I'm dying! Blaargh!" I guess all those Light Arrows sticking out of his chest really would cause that kind of reaction. LOL--at least they didn't go all MKII on us and make him sweat.
  • Ezekiel17 - June 24, 2009 7:58 a.m.

    The CD-i versions of link and Ganon looked like douchbags. Comparing an ACTUAL nintendo Zelda title to on of those peices of crap would be like comparing Modern Warfare to Terrorist Hunter (or whatever that game was called).
  • EmmaXII - June 24, 2009 9:37 a.m.

    I don't think ganondorf will be in the new Zelda for the wii because its twilight princess style, Think about it. Orcarina -- Majoras mask, same link, no new reincarnations, same style, no ganondorf in Majoras mask. Wind waker -- phantom hourgless, same conclusion. . . I think it will be the same with twilight princess cause i think thats the route there going with for the newer Zelda games, just my thoughts.. . .
  • Mr.Epic64 - June 24, 2009 1:09 p.m.

    ^ 1)To feed baby's. 2)To make guys happy.
  • _D-Man_ - June 24, 2009 3:47 p.m.

  • Thequestion 121 - June 24, 2009 8:01 p.m.

    That was an awesome and fascinating feature, guys!! Ganon is freaking huge!!!
  • Silvermech - June 25, 2009 3:16 a.m.

    I'm shocked. I never knew Ganondorf had another form. But I'm young and have questionable sanaty. But I ask, why is he supposed to have died? He's an evil mastermined, for all we know he just dispersed himself to later reform.

Showing 1-20 of 47 comments

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