As a sequel to one of the densest most reference-packed games in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is filled to the brim with easter eggs, nods to past Zelda titles, and more. There’s so many that it’s a bit tough to keep track of – luckily, we’re here to keep track for you. Here are all the little ways that Tears of the Kingdom links to the past:
Zelda is a series full of recurring figures in Zelda, Link, Impa, and Ganondorf, but most other story-essential characters swap out title by title (except for the occasional oddball NPC like Beedle). However, the name of a very significant Tears of the Kingdom character harkens back to the series’ past – Rauru, First King of Hyrule, whose name comes from the sage from Ocarina of Time (himself named after a town in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link). OoT Rauru was a pretty minor character with minimal presence and personality, so it’s interesting to see this Zonai namesake have a more involved, fleshed out role.
Lon Lon Milk logo
Take a look at bottles of Fresh Milk, and you’ll notice the logo of Lon Lon Ranch (from Ocarina of Time) stamped on front.
Fierce Deity Armor
There are several references to past Zelda games in armor sets you can find across the world – one of them is the Fierce Deity Armor, based on the iconically cool (and slightly horrific) Fierce Deity Mask from Majora’s Mask. It boosts your Attack when you have pieces equipped, letting Link ravage opponents… even if it’s not quite as strong as it was back then.
Zora’s Domain statue
In the last game, the statue in Zora’s Domain was of their people’s long deceased Champion, Mipha. Now it’s been joined by one of Sidon and Link, reflecting the duo’s heroics in the last game.
Link will hum different classic Zelda tunes throughout his adventure, easiest to hear (though still faint) while he’s cooking. Songs include the main Zelda theme, “Epona’s Song,” “Saria’s Song,” and “Zelda’s Lullaby.”
The currency you collect in the depths is Poes, wandering souls that you can take to stones to reap rewards. Poes are a Zelda classic, usually appearing as a ghostly enemy that materializes in and out of existence.
One of the new boss types you encounter in the overworld is the Gleeok, a three headed dragon that goes all the way back to the series’ beginnings on NES, where it was a boss enemy. Gleeok reappeared as bosses in Oracle of Seasons and Phantom Hourglass, and is now back with elemental properties. Yikes!
Champion’s Ballad DLC Photo
If you played the Champion’s Ballad DLC in Breath of the Wild, you’ll find the photo of Link, Zelda and the Champions inside Link’s home. How bittersweet…
More spoilerish nods and references follow! Read at your own risk!
The backstory of the game’s narrative involves an imprisoning war headed by Sage Rauru, six sages, and sealing away a demon king. Sound familiar? This is very similar to the events of Ocarina of Time, where six (actually seven) sages led by Rauru fought to seal Ganondorf with Link’s help. The fact that the narrative calls upon finding their descendants is slightly reminiscent of Wind Waker’s story as well.
The Wind Temple Dungeon, Boss, and Theme
The cyclonic Wind Temple calls back to the dungeon of the same name from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The boss this time around is named Coldera, which is a play on the boss of the temple from that game, Molgera – you can even hear the motif of Molgera’s boss theme echo in Coldera’s!
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