Link (リンク, Link) is the protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series by Nintendo. Unlike the majority of Nintendo protagonists, there are several, distinct incarnations of Link seen throughout The Legend of Zelda series. Regardless, they all share the same destiny as heroes whose courageousness enables them to defeat powerful forces of evil and stop their conquests, most notably Ganondorf/Ganon. Other hallmarks shared by the Links are their ability to wield the Master Sword and their possession of the Triforce of Courage, although these are not depicted universally.
A teenage Link has appeared as a playable character in all four Super Smash Bros. games, although a preteen incarnation has also been playable since Super Smash Bros. Melee. Link is marketed as one of Nintendo's flagship characters alongside Mario, with some sources considering him one of the greatest Nintendo characters and gaming protagonists of all time.
Link's first appearance was in the original The Legend of Zelda, which depicted his quest to rescue Princess Zelda and the land of Hyrule from the evil Ganon. Link is designed with a green tunic and a green hat, which, like Mario's design, was due to the NES' hardware limitations. This appearance has since been traditional for Link, with the exception of his appearance in Breath of the Wild, which nonetheless features versions of his traditional green clothes as unlockables.
As the The Legend of Zelda series traditionally does not give Link dialogue during conversations, there is very little insight into his personality. However, each incarnation has been shown to be a brave, humble and polite young man. However, it is worth noting that while there have been multiple games within series, it has not always been the same Link who the player controls. This is evident with the fact that are there multiple timelines within the series, wherein many games typically feature a new Link with a new origin. Notable examples include the Hero of Time (referring to the Link from Ocarina of Time/Majora's Mask), the Hero of Winds (referring to the Link from The Wind Waker/Phantom Hourglass), and the Hero Chosen by the Gods (referring to the Link from Twilight Princess). However, each incarnation of the hero is tasked with defeating the main antagonist of the story, typically Ganondorf/Ganon, from either taking over the world or in other cases, destroying it.
Because of the different Links, Link's origins can vary, but he is almost always a child or teenager who starts out as a normal person until learning of his destiny to save Hyrule and Princess Zelda from the evil Ganondorf/Ganon and as his journey presses him, he becomes a hero. In Ocarina of Time, he is a young Hylian whose mother, before dying, entrusted him into the care of the Great Deku Tree. In The Wind Waker, he is a young boy living a carefree life on Outset Island with his grandmother and younger sister, given the legendary Hero of Time's clothes. In Twilight Princess, he is an ordinary young man working at Ordon Ranch.
One thing that has varied with Link is his age. In some games, such as The Wind Waker and the present timeline of Ocarina of Time, Link is a child, with these two particular incarnations being represented as playable characters in the Super Smash Bros. series. In Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Breath of the Wild, and the future timeline of Ocarina of Time, Link is depicted as a teenager. However, the only teenage Links to appear as playable characters in the Super Smash Bros. series are the Hero of Time and his descendant from Twilight Princess.
Link made both his first fighting appearance and his first official appearance in a Nintendo game outside The Legend of Zelda series in Super Smash Bros., and has appeared in all installments of the series since. In each of his appearances within the Super Smash Bros. series, Link wields the Master Sword and the Hylian Shield.
In Super Smash Bros.
As a playable character
Main article: Link (SSB)
Link's first appearance in a fighting game is in Super Smash Bros. as one of the eight starter characters. The incarnation that appears is the Hero of Time from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He is a slow character, but his Master Sword grants him many disjointed moves to allow for combos from a distance. His neutral special move is a fast Boomerang that will return to Link. His up special move is the Spin Attack, which is powerful but does not grant him much distance for recovery, which is often sited as his main flaw holding him back. Lastly, his down special move pulls out a Bomb which can be thrown either directly at opponents for combos, or to rest on the ground. Due to his flaws, Link is ranked 11th of 12 on the tier list, placing him in the C tier.
Link's in-game character description says:
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
As a playable character
Main article: Link (SSBM)
Link returns in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a starter character. While his playstyle has been largely retained, his moves have been slightly tweaked. His up special move is now a much more reliable recovery jump. His new neutral special move is the Bow, which allows Link to fire an arrow. The arrow's range depends on how long the player holds down the B button. As a result, his Boomerang has been moved to be his side special move.
Link has been buffed in the transition to Melee. Due to the increased distance to Spin Attack and his faster air speed, Link has an improved recovery, which was considered his main flaw in his previous appearance. He has many projectiles and disjointed hitboxes from his Master Sword. However, he has a very slow dashing speed and is easy to combo due to his weight and falling speed. Thanks to his buffs, Link is ranked 18th out of 26 on the tier list. This places him at the bottom of the E tier, and makes him the lowest ranking mid-tier character.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
As a playable character, Link has three trophies - a normal trophy won beating the Classic Mode with Link on any difficulty, and "Smash Red" and "Smash Blue" trophies are acquired by beating the Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively. His Classic Mode trophy reads as follows:
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
As a playable character
Main article: Link (SSBB)
Unlike the previous two installments, Super Smash Bros. Brawl does not feature the Hero of Time. Instead, he has been replaced by his descendant, the Link from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. While this Link's playstyle is essentially the same as his ancestor's, some of his moves are slightly different in order to match their aesthetics and functionalities in Twilight Princess. This is most apparent with the Gale Boomerang and the Clawshot: the former can pull opponents and items toward Link with a small tornado, while the Clawshot can grab an edge, but not plain walls. Other changes include the arrows of his renamed Hero's Bow, which now disappear after a distance, and his Spin Attack now being chargeable.
Like the rest of the cast, Link has a Final Smash that he obtains when he breaks a Smash Ball. In his case, his Final Smash is the Triforce Slash, in which light from the Triforce of Courage on Link's hand shoots out and traps an opponent in between two large Triforce-shaped force fields. Link then dashes at the opponent, unleashes a barrage of slashes, and then finishes with a powerful blow with enough knockback to one-hit KO the opponent if nothing gets in the way.
While this Link's attacks are stronger, his mobility and recovery are very poor, to the point that the latter is comparable to his ancestor's in SSB. Due to his weaknesses largely outweighing his strengths, Link is ranked 35th out 38 on the tier list, which places him in the F tier and results in him being a bottom-tier character.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
Link has a trophy that is awarded each time the Classic Mode is completed with Link on any difficulty. See Triforce Slash for the trophy description of Link's Final Smash, and Toon Link for the trophies based on The Wind Waker Link:
As a playable character
Main article: Link (SSB4)
The Twilight Princess incarnation of Link reappears as a starter character in Super Smash Bros. 4. However, his overall color scheme is noticeably more vibrant, due to SSB4's aesthetics.
In addition to his playable appearance, Link's appearance serves as the basis of a downloadable content costume for Mii Swordfighters. Nintendo also released a QR code for those who wish to have the exact Mii used in the costume's advertising. While the costume is based on Link's SSB4 appearance, its simplified design, brighter color scheme, and mirrored hairstyle closely resemble the Skyward Sword incarnation of Link.
Link has been buffed in the transition to SSB4. Many of his attacks are faster and stronger, while SSB4's new edge mechanics make his Clawshot's tether recovery more dependable. His projectiles have also seen some improvements: Hero's Bow charges faster, Gale Boomerang's new launching angle improves its follow-up potential, and Bomb deals additional damage if it explodes near the opponent's feet. However, Link is still highly susceptible to rushdowns due to his rather sluggish mobility, while some of his attacks' damage outputs were slightly lowered. Thanks to his buffs largely outweighing his nerfs, Link has been able to attain some notable players in tournament play and achieve respectable results, even at the national level. As a result, he is ranked 39th out of 58, placing him in the D tier and resulting in him being a mid-tier character like his ancestor is in Melee.
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