Monday, October 28, 2013

ReDeads in Zelda: The Nintendo Take on Zombies

Zombies, zombies everywhere!  At least that's what it seems like when it comes to videogames (and more recently, television shows).  The Legend of Zelda games are no exception due to their own form of zombie: the ReDead.  Today let's observe this undead (does being re-dead technically count as undead? hmm...) monstrosity that Link must face.

ReDeads made their first appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and what a first appearance it is.  Link finds himself in an underground tomb of the royal family of Hyrule (located in Kakariko Village's graveyard), and comes across a large room filled with zombie ReDeads.  In fact, the majority of ReDeads are found in tombs, as well as Hyrule Castle Town after Ganondorf sacks it.  It wouldn't be appropriate to have this super-disturbing enemy hanging out on the sunny beach of Lake Hylia, now would it?

Before you even catch sight of a ReDead, you'll know it's nearby due to the distinctive moaning sounds it makes (maybe it's saying "braaaiiinss" in the Hylian language?).  They walk extremely slow, and with a hunchbacked posture, fitting for a zombie.  You might think that this would make them easy to avoid, but the game developers were one step ahead of you.  ReDeads will let out a high-pitched scream when Link is nearby, which paralyzes him in fear.  When this happens, you helplessly watch as one or more of these monsters shambles towards the frozen Link.  Once they are close enough, they will jump on Link's back and proceed to bite him.

Just like the Dead Hand in Ocarina of Time, this creature was clearly designed to give kids nightmares.  It's definitely one of the most-feared enemies in the game.

Like most enemies in Ocarina of Time, the ReDead makes an appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.  This game also contains an enemy called the Gibdo, which is basically a ReDead dressed up in mummy wrappings.  While wearing the Gibdo mask, Link can converse with some of these zombie mummies, while you try to decide if you're horrified or amused.

ReDeads even pull in a guest appearance in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.  Here they abandon their previous looks for something we are more accustomed to seeing with zombies.  They have greenish dead-looking skin, as well as a mouthful of teeth, definitely nailing the undead corpse look.  They have very long arms which almost drag on the ground, and a gigantic head (oddly enough, they even have earrings), making for an altogether disturbing visual appearance.  Like their previous incarnations, they have a paralyzing scream that incapacitates Link.

That about wraps up our quick look at the zombie creatures in the Legend of Zelda games.  ReDeads are definitely a frightening enemy, due to their appearance and their ability to freeze Link on the spot.  They are proof that Nintendo does display a bit of a dark side every once in a while, and that's fine with me!

What did you guys think of the ReDeads?  Did they give you a fright when you first encountered them?


  1. Redeads aren't zombies. They were never human. They are clay-like monsters, animated with evil magic. If you want to know where I got this info, I'll tell you. The trophy description from Smash Bros. Both Melee and 3DS say that.

    1. Half true. But why would there be redeads then in the Royal Family tomb? That would imply that Ganondorf somehow predicted that Link needed to go there for the sun song, and we all know the triforce always selects those Ganons with power since that is what he is seeking.

      The best theory I can muster is that the redeads in the castle town 9 years after Young Link are the animated corpses of the dead Hylian Guards/Soldiers, and they are there to make Link think that all of the civilians got killed and reanimated which isn't the case.

      This can be proven, though not done, through counting every soldier NPC and counting every redead NPC.

      The game art of a redead, and also the 3DS version shows that redeads have a skeleton.

      Those holes in their 'eyes' is a wooden mask that is placed on a deceased person as per Hylian customs.

      It begs more questions, like the Shadow Temple redeads. Are they simply because of the main boss in the temple? I know the Water Temple boss is responsible for freezing Zora's Domain, so it's not absurd that this may be the case for the Shadow Temple Boss being a necromancer. But then again, the shadow temple boss back 9 years before Adult Link was imprisoned while after 9 years, Ganondorf released him after Link's success with the Water Temple boss.

      It is very possible that yes, some minions of Ganon have reanimated the corpses through Necromancy.