Learning a Hidden Skill
To acquire a Hidden Skill, Link must first find specific Howling Stones that will teach him a new song. Once the young hero howls the melody with the Golden Wolf, which is the wolf form of the Ancient Hero, the skeleton warrior will ask Link to transform into his human self and find him, pinpointing the location on the young hero's Map. When Link has found the golden wolf, Link will walk up to the wolf and be transported to a cloudy area, where he will be taught the Hidden Skill by the Ancient Hero. However, before the session begins, the Ancient Hero will always ask Link if he is ready to learn the next skill. Should the young hero say no, the warrior will transport Link back to Hyrule. If Link says yes, the Ancient Hero will test him to see if he properly learned the previous Hidden Skill, and if he passes the test, the Ancient Hero will proceed to teach Link the next skill.
Although up to seven Hidden Skills can be learned throughout the game, only the first one, the Ending Blow, is required to complete the game. As such, the first meeting with the Golden Wolf cannot be avoided.
List of Skills
|The enemies that are filled with energy will quickly recover and attack again even when stunned by a powerful strike. The ending blow is a secret technique you can use to end their breath before they spring back into action.|
|— Ancient Hero|
The Ending Blow is the first Hidden Skill that is taught to Link by the Ancient Hero. It is the only Hidden Skill that must be learned in order to advance through the game.
As its name implies, the Ending Blow is a decisive stroke that will eliminate any enemy if properly executed. Once an enemy is temporarily knocked down, Link will have a chance to finish off the foe by jumping in the air and performing a Down Thrust right into the enemy's chest, thus instantly defeating it. The chance to execute this skill is notified when the player is prompted to press the Action Button on the controller when "Finish" appears on the screen. If the button is pressed, Link will dispatch the downed foe with a jump and a downward thrust of his sword. However, if the enemy moves out of the way, Link will be temporarily vulnerable while trying to pull the sword out of the ground.
The Ending Blow can also be used on certain bosses and minibosses, such as the Deku Toad. The Ending Blow is used in the final part of the battle against Ganondorf. Once Link has dealt enough damage to Ganondorf to knock him down to the ground, the young hero will use this skill to deliver the final blow to the Evil King, thrusting the Master Sword into Ganondorf's chest and thus defeating him.
Torch Slugs are the only foes that will prompt an Ending Blow "Finish" without taking damage, for they will emit a burst of flames that will fling Link off before he has a chance to make contact. Due to the control setup, this also makes a targeted Jump Attack impossible on a Torch Slug.
The move reappears in Skyward Sword as the Fatal Blow, executed by shaking the Wii Remote and Nunchuk vertically while targeting a downed enemy. The technique is taught to Link by Eagus early on and is again required to finish the game.
|No matter how well-tempered a blade is, if a foe is clad in armor and bears a shield, the sword will do it no harm. When facing such a foe, you must [...] thrust your shield against the defenses of your enemy, causing the fiend to recoil.|
|— Ancient Hero|
The Shield Attack is the second Hidden Skill in Twilight Princess. This skill lets Link bash the enemy with his Shield to open their defenses. To perform the Shield Attack on the GameCube version, Link must get close enough to the enemy while targeting it and then press the R-Button, which will cause the enemy to lower its defense and thus allow the young hero to attack the foe with another skill, such as the Helm Splitter. In the Wii version of the game, this Hidden Skill can be executed by thrusting the Nunchuk forward.
Other than bringing the enemy's defenses down, the Shield Attack can also be used to deflect certain enemy projectiles.
The move reappears in Skyward Sword as the Shield Bash, executed by shaking the Nunchuck. However, this version of the attack cannot be used offensively, and instead is used only to prevent damage to the integrity of Link's shield.
|A mere shield attack is no match for an enemy protected not just by a shield, but by a thick, full-body coat of armor. Such enemies are often focused on guarding against frequent frontal attacks. They often leave their rear unprotected.|
|— Ancient Hero|
The Back Slice is the third Hidden Skill in Twilight Princess. While Link is targeting his enemy, he can side jump with the Action Button to roll around the foe, which will cause the young hero to end up directly behind his opponent and thus give him a chance to strike. By pressing the Sword Button at the end of the sidewards roll, Link will perform a jumping slice into the enemy's back. This is seemingly one of the most useful Hidden Skills, as it can be used anytime and is one of the fastest ways to attack and defeat armored foes, such as Darknuts.
This technique can also be used when nothing is targeted, but Link will just roll sideways instead of in a semi-circular pattern. Side-jumping and then side-rolling repeatedly is the fastest way to travel sideways, but running and rolling forward is still faster, unlike in Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask.
The Back Slice is nearly identical to the vertical-countering parry seen in The Wind Waker.
|It is impossible to circle around and perform a back slice against fully armored enemies that move swiftly in combat. Against such foes, you must first use a shield attack to make them flinch, but then quickly [...] leap into the air over the enemy's head and greet them with your blade by immediately striking from behind.|
|— Ancient Hero|
The Helm Splitter is the fourth of the Hidden Skills taught by the Ancient Hero in Twilight Princess. This skill proves useful when the enemy is too fast to successfully land a Back Slice on. The move is initiated by a Shield Attack to stun the enemy, then by pressing the Action Button, Link will jump in the air above the foe and slice its head in a vertical flipping motion. After performing the Helm Splitter, Link will land behind his opponent, giving him a chance to continue attacking the foe from behind. This skill is most effective against enemies with helmets (hence the name), such as Darknuts.
The Helm Splitter is nearly identical to the horizontal-countering parry seen in The Wind Waker.
|The ways of the sword are known to many creatures, and some have strengthened their guards against shield attacks and back slices. Should you encounter such a foe, the mortal draw that I am about to teach you is most effective. You must sheathe your sword and cast aside the most basic of sword skills, the [...] target. You must wait until your foe is upon you... Then, before the enemy can see through your ruse, you must quickly draw your blade [...]. There is no defense for this. The mortal draw deals death.|
|— Ancient Hero|
The Mortal Draw is the fifth Hidden Skill taught by the Ancient Hero in Twilight Princess. It is perhaps one of the most useful and devastating of the Hidden Skills, but it is risky to attempt, especially against multiple foes. To perform it, Link must stand still with his sword sheathed and not target the opponent he wishes to eliminate. Once the foe gets close enough to the young hero, Link's hand will move to his hilt and the Action Button will change to "Draw", which causes Link to quickly draw his sword and perform a devastating blow to the nearest enemy.
This skill will defeat most enemies in a single hit, and is notably the most damaging sword technique in the entire series in terms of how much it amplifies Link's regular slash.
|One of the basic sword techniques is the jump attack. It inflicts great damage, but none would call it effective against multiple foes. To perform the jump strike, prepare a jump attack, but focus power in your blade. The surge the blade releases can strike all enemies around you.|
|— Ancient Hero|
The Jump Strike is the sixth Hidden Skill in Twilight Princess. This move is an upgraded version of Link's already devastating Jump Attack, giving him a greater advantage against a group of enemies. Instead of tapping the Action Button while locked on to an enemy, holding the button will charge the Jump Attack to the upgraded Jump Strike. When the A Button is released, Link will jump into the air, swing his sword left and right to knock any enemies in his path, and then slam his sword into the ground, creating a shockwave that will knock down all enemies in range.
Unfortunately, this attack is harder to pull off than most other Hidden Skills. It forces Link to remain in one place for a moment to charge before striking, allowing enemies to strike him prior to his strike. Even after Link leaps up and swings away in mid-air, many enemies will still be able to attack him mid-jump.
- Not to be confused with the Great Spin Attack, a sword technique entirely different from this technique.
|You have at your disposal the basic sword technique known as the spin attack. You now have in you the ability to magnify the power of your spin attack. But the only time you can draw out that power is when your life energy is brimming full.|
|— Ancient Hero|
The Great Spin is the last Hidden Skill in Twilight Princess. This move is a much stronger version of Link's normal Spin Attack. At full health, Link uses a wide-range Spin Attack with a powerful wave for an extended radius. The difference between the Great Spin and the Spin Attack can be noticed by how the Great Spin's attack radius is red instead of the Spin Attack's light green.
In the Twilight Realm, if Link is at full health and has absorbed the light of the realm into the Master Sword, the Spin Attack will reach its maximum radius, as the Spin Attack has the same reach as the Great Spin, and combined with the Great Spin's radius makes it much wider (approximately 1.5 the radius of the Great Spin).
The Great Spin returns in A Link Between Worlds as the reward for returning all 100 Lost Maiamais to Mother Maiamai. It works in essentially the same fashion as in Twilight Princess, an increase in power and radius over the normal Spin Attack, the difference being that Link is not required to be at full health for this spin attack.
|Names in Other Regions|
- "Let teachings of old pass to you... Take sword in hand and find me..." — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "You have a little more of the look of a hero than you did before... Do you feel ready to earn your next skill?" — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "But before we begin, I must test you to ensure you have mastered the last skill I taught you...the ending blow." — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "What ails you? You cannot shield-attack with [R] unless you lock on with [L] first! Get closer to your foe and shield-attack with [R]!" — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "When facing such a foe, you must use [R] to thrust your shield against the defenses of your enemy, causing the fiend to recoil." — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "While [Z]-targeting your enemy, thrust the Nunchuk forward to shove with your shield. You can also reflect your foe's projectiles!" — N/A (Twilight Princess)
- "That is when you -target and press while tilting to jump and roll around your foe, then perform a jumping slice." — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess HD)
- "Do not miss your chance to land a helm splitter with after your shield attack!" — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess HD)
- "You must sheathe your sword and cast aside the most basic of sword skills, the -target. You must wait until your foe is upon you… Then, before the enemy can see through your ruse, you must quickly draw your blade with ." — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess HD)
- "Lock on with , then press and hold . Wait for just the right time to release your strength!" — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess HD)
- "Carefully consider the distance of your enemies, and then focus your power with . Then release it!" — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "I will repeat this once more: you can only perform this technique when your life energy is brimming full. Remember this." — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "You learned the final hidden skill, the great spin! With full life energy, unleash a spin attack for even more damage." — Ancient Hero (Twilight Princess)
- "Incredible! You've mastered the Great Spin! Build power by holding B, and then let loose!" — Dialogue box when obtaining the Great Spin (A Link Between Worlds)