February 23, 2018
Have you ever wondered just how many times the Mario series is referenced within Legend of Zelda games? Last week I posed the reverse of this question and we found out (thanks to YouTuber Nintendo Unity) that the amount of crossover count is colossal between the two. Coming back today, I have a list of my own favorite references to our pudgy, plucky plumber seen throughout Hyrule, let’s go through it, shall we?
#5: Mario Portraits (Ocarina of Time)
It’s a small detail, but out in Hyrule Castle courtyard where Link meets Princess Zelda for the first time, you can peer in a window to find a portrait of another princess who may have once lived there! In fact, there are portraits of Peach, Bowser, Mario, Luigi, and even Yoshi! These were the very first time I noticed one video game reference another, and it made me feel super smart to get it, though guess I was like ten. Next time you’re in there, shoot Mario’s picture with the slingshot and he’ll give you some rupees, but keep it a secret to everybody!
#4: Mario Mask (Majora’s Mask)
The Happy Mask Salesman is a pretty weird dude, and quite a packrat at that. He has a pack full of weird masks, and through the game Link finds that there are many magical masks with useful abilities, but none of them are as mysterious as the mask bearing Mario’s face within the Salesman’s collection! I always imagined that if he put this on he would acquire the ability to jump at will. Wouldn’t that be helpful?
#3: Chain Chomp (Link’s Awakening)
His name was changed to Bow Wow in Link’s Awakening, but this was clearly a classic Mario enemy reimagined. He had a lot more personality when he moved to Koholint, though. There was a segment where he would assist you in making your way to a dungeon, and his sister (or daughter or something, it’s not really clear) just wants to feel pretty and will trade you her lunch for a ribbon. Dog food might not seem like a great prize, but when a chain chomp helps me obtain the most powerful item in the game through a bizarre and complex trading sequence, I can’t help but smile.
#2: Bob-ombs (Minish Cap)
This is one of the few cases where a Mario enemy has actually appeared in the series, and it fights exactly like you would expect a Bob-omb; through explosions! Seeing these was a fun throwback to the old Mario games, or another one of my favorite cameos, in Super Smash Bros. They’re just so much fun no matter where they pop up. If you can think of an enemy that better explains the word “Shenanigans,” then please let me know!
#1: Composer Brothers (Ocarina of Time)
Okay, so this one is a personal extrapolation of mine. I might be paranoid, but I could never help but notice that these menacing, moustached brothers bear striking resemblance to the duo made famous by the world’s best known platforming series. One is tall and skinny and wears green, the other (the elder) is short and fat and wears red. Coincidence? Could be, but with as much crossover as Nintendo includes on a daily basis, I see no good reason to believe so.
That wraps up my top five, but there are certainly more out there! Did I shed light on a weird cameo you never noticed before? Is it a shame I picked Bow Wow instead of the Yoshi Doll from Link’s Awakening? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter and we can keep the conversation flying!