The Fighter's Shield from A Link to the Past
All games except Tri Force Heroes
|Use(s)||Defense; blocks projectiles and attacks.|
|Comparable Item(s)||Hylian Shield, Mirror Shield.|
Shields are recurring items in The Legend of Zelda series. It is Link's primary protective defense used to deflect objects, guard from attack, and in some instances, reflect light onto other objects. As a common and recurring item in nearly every Zelda title, the Shield is not only a trademark of the series but completes Link's hero-like appearance, along with any Sword he happens to wield at the time. From defending Link to being the favorite snack of Like Likes, the design and function of the Shield greatly differs throughout the series.
Levels of Shields
In the Zelda universe, three common shields exist: the Wooden, the Durable, and the Mirror shields - from which the games, at their own discretion, add different variations and unique shields to the mix that operate differently as required by the individual games themselves. A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time both contain examples of all three varieties.
The Wooden Shield is often the first that Link acquires in his journey, as this type of shield is the closest and most readily available to Link at the time. Though not specifically noted, many of the games such as The Legend of Zelda and A Link to the Past incorporate wooden shields; they are noted by their adequate protection from rocks and arrows and weakness against fire, instead of by their rudimentary wooden makeup. In 3D The Legend of Zelda titles, the wooden shield's weakness to fire makes it a relatively risky choice to use under volcanic and high heat conditions because contact with fire will burn the shield, namely the Deku Shield and the Ordon Shield, away completely. Unlike the more durable Iron Shield in Skyward Sword, the Wooden Shield is resistant to electricity. In order to accommodate this aversion to fire, wooden shields can be replaced at many bazaars for a nominal price. Also, in A Link Between Worlds, the basic shield has the same properties as most other basic, wooden shields, blocking most basic enemy attacks, but not such attacks as beams or fire, but it cannot be burned away.
- Related Articles: Fighter's Shield, Hylian Shield, Sacred Shield, Hero's Shield, Iron Shield, Red Shield, and Magical Shield
The Durable Shield is the more durable counterpart to the wooden shield, in that it can not only deflect most enemy attacks and projectiles, but it does not fail in the presence of high heat. The Magical Shield of The Legend of Zelda is the first form of this shield, and the Red Shield from A Link to the Past and Hero's Shield of Majora's Mask fame are prime examples of the impenetrability of these shields - even large boulders that rain down from the apex of Death Mountain do not leave a scratch on the surface of the Hylian Shield of Ocarina of Time. However, in Skyward Sword, the Iron Shield, which is normally indestructible, can be damaged when attacked, especially with electricity, but it is among the most durable shields in the title. Also in Skyward Sword, the Sacred Shield has limited durability, but it is resistant to most elements and will repair itself when damaged. Contrary to the wooden shield, which often has a minimalistic art design on its facing side, these often impregnable shields commonly boast the Hylian Crest and the Triforce at their front. While the majority of these shields are metallic in construct, many in the series do not give any physical description beyond what they protect against.
- Main Article: Mirror Shield
Always having a smooth, reflective face, the Mirror Shield is usually the last, and sometimes even optional, shield variation Link can receive on his quest; this shield is an impregnable shield with one added function: the ability to reflect light. Its plot usability is determined by game; for example, Ocarina of Time incorporates a mirror shield that is required to beat the Spirit Temple, while The Minish Cap presents the shield as a reward for completing a lengthy side-quest unrelated to the plot. The mirror shield is used almost exclusively to complete the dungeon it was found in, and rarely throughout the rest of the game, save certain side-quests and other small situations.
In most titles, all shields (except flammable wooden ones) are invulnerable. However, Skyward Sword introduces shields with limited durability; they are damaged when used strenuously. The level of damage sustained is indicated by the Shield Gauge. Shields can be repaired at the Scrap Shop or with a Revitalizing Potion. When the Shield Gauge empties, the shield is broken beyond repair, unless Link possesses an infused Revitalizing Potion at that moment. Like many items in Skyward Sword, shields can be upgraded at the Scrap Shop, improving their durability but otherwise retaining their qualities. The Hylian Shield, obtained by completing the Thunder Dragon's Lightning Round, is indestructible and cannot be upgraded.
Every shield in Skyward Sword has a specific amount of damage it can take before breaking. This is laid out in the table below. In general, for a given tier of shield (i.e. basic, 1st upgrade, 2nd upgrade), the Sacred Shield derivative is the weakest, the Wooden Shield derivative is the second strongest (being 1.6 times as strong as the Sacred Shield derivative), and the Iron Shield derivative is the strongest (being 2.4 times as strong as the Sacred Shield derivative or 1.5 times as strong as the Wooden Shield derivative). For a given type of shield, the first upgrade is 1.5 times as strong as the basic shield, and the second upgrade is twice as strong as the basic shield.
The damage dealt to a shield by an enemy attack or other damage source is proportional to the damage it would do to Link. Therefore, if a given attack does twice as much damage to Link as another attack does, it will also damage his shield twice as much. However, this does not apply to the increased damage attacks deal to Link in Hero Mode; shields take the same amount of damage from a given attack in Hero Mode that they do in regular gameplay. The number in the "strength" column in the table below indicates the number of hits required to break that shield provided the hits would each deal one heart of damage to Link in regular gameplay or two hearts in Hero Mode. (In the case of the Sacred Shield and its upgrades, the total number of hits does not take into account recovery of shield integrity over time.)
|Hylian Shield||Hylian||Cannot be upgraded||∞|
Link has always used the shield to defend himself. Sometimes, the shield is even necessary to defeat specific enemies. However, the way the shield is utilized varies; depending on the game, Link is limited to defending either automatically or manually.
In The Legend of Zelda, Link automatically carries his shield, but it can only block projectile attacks as long he faces the direction of attack. Once again, in A Link to the Past, the shield exclusively deflects ranged attacks. However, he doesn't only need to use it in the direction he's facing. As he charges his sword for a Spin Attack, Link can hold his shield on his right side (except when looking east, in which case he holds it on his left side), leaving that side guarded but his front open.
Link, in The Adventure of Link, may use his shield against not only ranged attacks, but direct ones as well, which is crucial during combat with Iron Knuckles and Stalfos. However, this shield cannot defend against strikes from chain hammers, axes, clubs, and fireballs. The Reflect magic, one of the many spells Link can use in The Adventure of Link, increases the defensive powers of the shield, allowing it to bounce back projectiles. The shield of Four Swords Adventures can also deflect both ranged and direct attacks, but as before, they are vulnerable to certain attacks. In Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, Link's can protect against ranged and close-ranged attacks. Only in Phantom Hourglass, however, can Link use the power of Wisdom Gems to augment the defensive powers of his shield.
The shield in Link's Awakening is used as any other item in the game; by assigning it a button command. Because of this, for the first time, Link may utilize the shield whenever desired. This function is reused in Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. The system reappears in Four Swords and again in The Minish Cap, in which the shield can bounce some attacks back at enemies.
Ocarina of Time greatly changed the way the shield functions. All shields must be equipped before using. Link can use the shield in two ways. He can hold it while remaining stationary, tilting it in whatever direction he faces. Contrarily, when targeting, Link can focus on his enemy while moving freely and defending with his shield at the same time. Similarly to the Reflect magic, Link's shield can reflect certain enemy projectiles back at the attacker, an ability that comes with the item (except for the Mirror Shield in Ocarina of Time). In a special case, if Link equips the Hylian Shield as a child, he must carry it on his back at all times, even when defending, because the shield is too heavy for him to lift. This method can be used to block debris shooting from Death Mountain. The shield mechanics of Majora's Mask and The Wind Waker are the same as those in Ocarina of Time, except shields are equipped automatically.
Twilight Princess takes the Shield mechanics of the previous 3D titles and expands on them. Now when targeting an enemy, Link automatically lifts his Shield in defense. However, he can't automatically reflect projectiles without use of the Shield Attack, a learned ability he can also use to open the defenses of enemies and stun them. To defend with the Shield in Skyward Sword, the Wii Remote's Nunchuk must be thrust forward. The same motion is used to perform a Shield Bash, a move similar to the Shield Attack. If used just as an enemy's attack lands, the Shield Bash will act as a parry and temporarily stun them. Performing this parry does not decrease the Shield's durability. In Breath of the Wild, Link can perform a Deflect by pressing the 'A' button while guarding by holding 'ZL'. This move will bash enemies and even cause damage as a slash attack when used with any type of Lynel Shield. Similar to the Shield Bash in Skyward Sword, Link can perform a Perfect Guard by Deflecting just as an enemy's attack lands. This acts as a parry and temporarily stuns the enemy. Perfect Guards can be performed on Guardian lasers as well, which will deflect their lasers back at them and cause a high amount of damage. Deflecting can also be used to deflect certain projectiles back at enemies. Link can also use his Shield to Shield Surf down hills in Breath of the Wild. This, like Deflecting, is also performed by pressing the 'A' button while holding 'ZL', but while in the air.
- The Shield from A Link to the Past is the first shield to feature a bird design
- There is a recurring pattern in the designs of shields in Skyward Sword. Basic shields have a bird's foot in their design. Improved shields have stylized bird silhouettes with spread wings. Final-stage shields have swirling wind patterns.
- Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword are the only games in which more than one shield can be kept in the inventory and in which it is possible to use a shield other than the "best" one Link currently possesses. Of these, Ocarina of Time is the only game to feature the Mirror Shield, making it the only game in the series where the Mirror Shield can be carried unequipped.
- Originally, in games where the Hylian Shield is the highest-level shield (Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword), Like Likes did not appear, while they (or Pikits, in the case of A Link to the Past) appeared in all other games that feature the Hylian Shield. As Like Likes are able to eat Hylian Shields in games where they appear, their absence in these titles may be related to there being no superior, inedible shield present. However, A Link Between Worlds provides an exception: Both the Hylian Shield and Like Likes are present, and Like Likes are unable to eat it.
|Names in Other Regions|
|FrenchCA||Bouclier (LA | FSAE | ST | ALBW)||Shield|
|SpanishLA||Escudo (FSAE | ST | ALBW)|
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 138(TLoZ | LA | FS | FSA | PH | ST | ALBW)
- "The shield has three potential levels of power. Your first shield can only fend off the enemy's arrows, spears and rocks. If you improve your shield or find a better one, you can defend yourself against different attacks." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 23)
- "Your shield will break when your shield gauge drops to zero." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "When Link is not attacking, he can use his shield that is always by his side to defend from enemy attacks. Don't forget! There are some enemy attacks Link can't defend against." (The Legend of Zelda manual, pg. 20)
- "Dodge objects which you can't fend off with a shield..." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 31)
- "When you're not using your sword or any other item, you can use your shield to fend off direct blows. Be careful, though! There are some attacks your shield can't defend against." (Four Swords Adventures manual, pg. 28)
- "You can defend yourself against enemy arrows or stones using the shield. Note that you must press the Button to bring your shield up into a ready position. This will repel most enemy attacks." (Link's Awakening manual, pg. 14)
- "[The shield] Blocks (and sometimes reflect) enemy attacks. Some enemies can't be defeated without a shield, but it's also just a good idea to know when to defend yourself." (The Minish Cap manual, pg. 18)
- "Normally, Link will crouch as he raises his shield, but he can also move with his shield raised when Z-Targeting is activated. You can also change the direction Link guards against by tilting the Control Stick while he is crouching behind his shield." (Majora's Mask manual, pg. 23)
- "While holding down L, you will lock on to the enemy and defend simultaneously." (Twilight Princess manual, pg. 18)
- "Ready Shield / Shake the Nunchuk forward to ready your shield. Swing the Wii Remote to return to a normal stance." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "Shield Bash / Shake the Nunchuk again to bash your shield forward. Time it just right for the full effect." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "A sturdy shield favored by Lynels for its defensive and offensive capabilities. First and foremost a shield, but the banded edges can deal slashing attacks when deflecting." — N/A (Breath of the Wild)
- "The Shield When an enemy throws a weapon, you can use the shield to defend yourself. When you stop moving, you automatically lift the shield while standing or crouching." (The Faces of Evil manual, pg. 3)
- "The Shield When an enemy throws a weapon, you can use the shield to defend yourself. When you stop moving, you automatically lift the shield while standing or crouching." (The Faces of Evil manual, pg. 4)