Princess Zelda (ゼルダ姫, Princess Zelda) is the titular character of The Legend of Zelda series by Nintendo. In most incarnations, Zelda is the princess of the kingdom of Hyrule, the setting for the vast majority of the series. In earlier games she was often seen as a damsel-in-distress, but in more recent installments, she has been depicted as an ally and companion to series protagonist Link. Zelda made her Super Smash Bros. debut in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and returned in both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4.
Zelda's first appearance was in The Legend of Zelda on the NES, where she served as the damsel-in-distress for Link to rescue from the evil monster known as Ganon. She has appeared in some capacity in every installment of the Zelda series, with the exception of Link's Awakening, where she is only mentioned briefly, and Tri Force Heroes, where she is referenced via an outfit.
Since then, she has usually filled the role as the princess that must be rescued at some point in each game, but unlike Nintendo's other prominent damsel-in-distress Peach, Zelda frequently takes an active role in Link's final battles with Ganon, such as in The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Spirit Tracks, where she attacks Ganondorf (or Malladus in Spirit Tracks) with Light Arrows, and has been shown to have very powerful magic abilities.
Like Link, Zelda's age and appearance are subject to change throughout the different games; in some games, she is a young girl, and in others, she is a teenager or a young adult. This is because most games have a different incarnation of Zelda, barring Phantom Hourglass, which shares the same version of both Link and Zelda as The Wind Waker.
Zelda first became playable in the Philips CD-i Zelda games, infamous for their non-canonical status and poor quality. Her first playable appearance in an official Nintendo game was Super Smash Bros. Melee, and she would later become playable in the official, albeit still non-canon, Hyrule Warriors.
While Zelda herself is not mentioned in the original Super Smash Bros., the games The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are all mentioned, referencing her.
As a playable character
Main article: Zelda (SSBM)
Zelda makes her first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series as a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Her design is based off her appearance from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Zelda is a slow but powerful character who uses magic in many of her attacks, and is unique due to her ability to turn into another character, that being her alter ego Sheik. Her neutral special move is Nayru's Love, which causes a brief blue diamond shield to protect her. Her side special is Din's Fire, which sends a fireball at her opponents. Her up special is Farore's Wind, which will teleport Zelda up in the air. Lastly, her down special is Transform, which allows her to transform into Sheik. Despite the power and versatility of her magic attacks, Zelda is ranked 22nd on the tier list in the F tier thanks to her low mobility and overly demanding, situational playstyle.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
Zelda is a playable character, so she is featured on three trophies that can be acquired by beating each major 1-player mode with her on any difficulty. Her first trophy is earned by defeating the Classic mode as her on any difficulty; her second from the Adventure mode; her third from the All-Star mode.
Her Classic trophy reads as follows:
The crown princess of Hyrule. Zelda entrusted Link with the future of Hyrule after a revelation came to her in the world of dreams. She knows much about the Triforce; in fact, the only person who likely knows more about Triforce lore is Ganondorf himself, whom Zelda evaded in Ocarina of Time by transforming into her alter ego, Sheik.
As a Playable Fighter
Main article: Zelda (SSBB)
Zelda returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a starter character, with her new design based on her appearance from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. She retains the ability to transform into Sheik from Melee, now appearing as "Zelda/Sheik" on the character selection screen, and unlike in Melee, her starting form can be chosen. As with all other characters, Zelda received a Final Smash in Light Arrow, a powerful beam of light with near-one-hit KO levels of knockback. Despite many of her attributes being buffed, her significant weaknesses still remain, and Zelda fares even worse in Brawl than she did in Melee, ranked 37th on the Brawl tier list, second to last.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
Zelda has a trophy that is awarded each time Classic mode is completed with her on any difficulty, and several randomly-available ones. See Light Arrow for the trophy description of Zelda's Final Smash, and Sheik for trophies of her in that form:
The princess of Hyrule. In other games, her role changes between titles. In Ocarina of Time, she was hunted by the would-be conqueror, Ganondorf. She deceived him, however, by adopting the persona of Sheik. In Twilight Princess, she surrendered to Zant and was held as his prisoner.
The princess of Hyrule, loved and trusted by the people. When Hyrule is invaded by Zant from the Twilight Realm, Zelda is resolute in opposing him...but she chooses to protect her people and must surrender. From then on, she is imprisoned in the Twilight Hyrule Castle. In memory of the lost people of Hyrule, Zelda wears a black robe of mourning.
Zelda (Wind Waker)
The rightful successor of the throne and descendant of the true royal bloodline of Hyrule. She strove to put an end to the ongoing battles with Ganondorf. As the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom, she became a target of the resurrected Ganondorf. Although she was hidden in Hyrule Castle, Ganondorf managed to find and kidnap her.
As a playable character
Main article: Zelda (SSB4)
Zelda returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. She retains her appearance from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but is no longer capable of transforming into Sheik, who has become a separate character entirely. As a result, she has a new down special move, Phantom Slash.
Despite her status as a bottom-tier character in Brawl, Zelda was nerfed in SSB4 due to the aforementioned removal of Transform, which was further compounded by the vast number of buffs that other characters (Sheik included) received in SSB4, as well her flaws not being properly compensated. However, Zelda has received notable buffs courtesy of game updates. These included increased damage outputs, improved multi-hit connectivity, decreased ending lag and, in regards to Phantom Slash, the removal of a critical blind spot. An indirect buff Zelda received was due to the changes to shield mechanics, as her multiple hit moves and Lightning Kick have became safer on shield and enable her to avoid being punished better than before. As a result, Zelda has become slightly better than she was in Brawl, yet has not improved much compared to the majority of other veterans in SSB4. As such, Zelda is currently placed 55th out of 58 on the SSB4 tier list, in the F tier.
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