Dark Link (ダークリンク, Dark Link), or Shadow Link (シャドウリンク, Shadow Link), is a dark doppelgänger of Link that appears in multiple The Legend of Zelda titles, including Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. While Dark Link and Shadow Link are considered separate entities in the Zelda series, the Super Smash Bros. series reconciles elements of both characters in its representation of Dark Link.
Dark Link's origin is shrouded in mystery, and he is sometimes believed to be a creation of Ganondorf. Dark Link's strength and abilities differ in the games he has appeared in. In most of Dark Link's appearances, he appears to know every technique Link knows or has learned and can effectively match and counter his attacks; other games also show that he is capable of using Link's items as well.
Dark Link's design varies between games. In his earliest appearances, such as The Adventure of Link and Ocarina of Time, he appears as a completely black version of Link, sometimes with glowing red eyes. After the Dark Interlopers used Dark Link's likeness in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, he started being depicted with various gray shades in his color scheme, occasionally including white hair; this color scheme was first directly associated with Dark Link himself in Super Smash Bros. Brawl before retroactively being featured in Zelda titles such as Ocarina of Time 3D. While Dark Link himself does not appear in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Dark Armor Set is based upon his updated appearance in Ocarina of Time 3D.
In Melee, Dark Link is fought by the player controlling a red-colored Link in the event match Event 18: Link's Adventure. This version of Dark Link is an allusion to the Shadow Link final boss of Zelda II, Link's Shadow; the playable Link's red palette swap likely references the Reflect spell from Zelda II, which turned his tunic from green to red. An all-black character does not appear anywhere else in the game, and aside from the texture and lack of voice effects, he is identical to Link. However, this texture can be applied to any character via the debug menu or the black character glitch. If playing as Dark Link through these methods, his icon and voice will be the same as regular Link; the event match's settings can be recreated in the debug menu by setting his sub-color setting to 3 and status modifier setting to 18 (respectively, dark icon and no voice).
In addition to Dark Link himself appearing, a Dark Link-inspired alternate costume is available for both Link and Young Link. Unlike later installments, only Link's tunic changes, with his eyes, skin, and hair remaining unchanged.
Dark Link also reprises his role as the enemy of Event 18: Dark Link Duel. However, the Dark Link in said event is shown as being completely black, like Shadow Link in Melee and Zelda II. Despite that, Dark Link uses the damage meter icon for the normal palette swap. Co-Op Event 7: Battle of the Dark Sides features the players as Link and Samus versus Dark Link and Dark Samus.
Toon Link also has an alternate costume that resembles a toon version of Dark Link, such as Shadow Link from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, while likewise featuring a similar color scheme to that of the Dark Interlopers.
The Dark Link alternate costumes from Brawl return in Super Smash Bros. 4 for Link and Toon Link. In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the Link costume is used to represent the Dark Link character in the Final Battle Team-Up event match and two entirely darkened Links in the A Fated Battle event match.