- For fighter info, see Ganondorf (SSBM), Ganondorf (SSBB), Ganondorf (SSBWU/3DS), and Ganondorf (SSBU).
- "Ganon" redirects here. For his Final Smash, see Beast Ganon.
Ganondorf (ガノンドロフ Ganondorofu?) is the main antagonist in the The Legend of Zelda video game series. He made his debut in his beast form known as Ganon (ガノン Ganon?) in the original The Legend of Zelda game, although it was misspelled as Gannon in-game. The name "Ganondorf" was first mentioned in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with the villain making his first appearance as Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Since then, the name "Ganondorf" has been used to refer to his human form, while "Ganon" is used for his monster form, the only exception being in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, though at times the names were used interchangeably in said game. In either case, he has been Link's archenemy since the first game.
Ganondorf was originally introduced in the original The Legend of Zelda game as Ganon. Here, he was established as a power-hungry monster who had kidnapped Princess Zelda for her piece of the Triforce, but was destroyed by Link at the end of the game. Since then, collecting the Triforce and conquering Hyrule has usually been Ganon's main goal in the series. He has appeared or been mentioned in nearly every Zelda game, with five exceptions: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Legend Of Zelda Spirit Tracks, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Note that in Phantom Hourglass, he was included in the prologue, describing the events from Wind Waker, in which Ganondorf appears.
Ganon's appearance has changed over the course of the series. In his first appearance, he appears as a monster whose facial features are like that of a pig's with turquoise skin (though it will change to red at one point, which is the cue to hit him with the Silver Arrow), while in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, he has blue skin and turns silver when weak to the aforementioned Silver Arrows. In Ocarina of Time, Ganon's skin is dark green and he has yellow eyes (and so far, this and Twilight Princess are the only games to depict Ganon with a tail). The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, in a departure from previous games, features a quadrupedal Ganon for the first time, and appears as more of a boar than a pig.
In his first appearance as Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it is revealed that he is the only male in the Gerudo Tribe, born every 100 years. All Gerudos are identified by their noticeably darker skin (which may be due to living in the desert) and red hair. He is seen wearing armor in both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, while in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker he appears to be wearing sorcerer's robes.
In The Wind Waker, set in the "adult" timeline where the Hero of Time disappears after being sent back to his own time, the goddesses flooded Hyrule to seal Ganondorf under the sea; hundreds of years later, Ganondorf manages to escape to the surface, and starts planning his revenge. His evil plans are thwarted once again by Link, who at the end of the game vanquishes him seemingly once and for all. In Twilight Princess, instead set in the "child" timeline where the Hero of Time returns to his youth, Link warned the Kingdom of Hyrule about Ganondorf's future actions, and he was sealed preemptively in the Twilight Realm. Here, he conspired with the usurper king Zant to stage an invasion of Hyrule and cloak it in twilight. He is ultimately defeated by Link, Zelda, and the legitimate ruler of the Twilight Realm, Midna.
In both The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, Ganondorf appears older than in Ocarina of Time, sporting a beard and a more curated hair style; he also has a considerably more robust body. In Twilight Princess, he wears armor and a cape like in Ocarina of Time, while in The Wind Waker he is seen wearing a full body cloak. In Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, Ganondorf has also had the ability to transform into Ganon during battle.
It is elaborated in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword that Ganondorf is the personified malice of the Demon King Demise, who was defeated by the descendants of the goddess Hylia and her chosen hero; as a result, he is endlessly resurrected as long as there are individuals who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero. The only exception to this is Four Swords Adventures, which features a reincarnated Ganon born centuries after the previous Ganondorf's death in Twilight Princess. By the time of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Ganondorf's malice has entirely consumed him and caused him to lose control over his humanity, turning him into a swirling mass of primal evil known as Calamity Ganon.
Ganon is the primary villain in most of the Zelda games, with his schemes usually involving kidnapping Princess Zelda, conquering the land of Hyrule, or obtaining the Triforce (sometimes all three). The only game (So far) to feature Ganondorf as a playable character is Hyrule Warriors, which is a spinoff, and thus non-cannon.
Unlike most of Nintendo's other famous villains, such as Bowser and King K. Rool, Ganondorf is a cunning, intelligent, and an extremely powerful character. Andross from the Star Fox series shares this trait. In Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf accomplishes something that Bowser (and many other villains) struggle with--he conquered the world! Thus, Link had to build up his strength so he could take Hyrule back from Ganondorf, who had ruled for seven years by that point.
Whether he appears as Ganondorf or as Ganon (A Link to the Past's game manual gives him the name Ganondorf Dragmire which is a name which hasn't appeared before or since), Hyrule knows that it will be facing an incredible evil that only Link and Zelda can stop.
Ganon is mentioned in Link's profile, although his humanoid Ganondorf form is never directly referenced.
In an official poll held on Smabura-Ken (the game's official Japanese website) regarding characters for a potential sequel, Ganondorf placed fifth with 36 votes.
As a playable character
Ganondorf makes his first appearance in the Smash Bros. series as a secret playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He can be unlocked after completing Triforce Gathering or by playing 600 VS. matches. According to the official Melee website, Ganondorf wasn't planned to be included as a playable character. However, the convenience of him having a body build very similar to Captain Falcon's allowed him to be easily cloned from Captain Falcon, leading to his inclusion as one of the last-minute clones to pad out the roster. His design is based off of his appearance from the SpaceWorld 2000 GameCube Tech Demo, which is in turn based off of his appearance from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Ganondorf is considered a clone of Captain Falcon due to their similar moves, though he does have a few notable differences. Overall, Ganondorf is slower, but more powerful. Ganondorf's neutral attack is a single jab instead of being an infinite jab combo like Captain Falcon's. The most notable difference is that they have different f-airs, as while Captain Falcon has the famous knee, Ganondorf has a flying punch, also referred to as the Skull Crusher. The primary statistical difference between the two is that Ganondorf's f-air is not as powerful as the knee, but it has no sourspot, along with greater reach. Ganondorf is also heavier, making him more difficult to KO horizontally than Captain Falcon (though Captain Falcon's faster falling speed gives him greater vertical endurance). In terms of raw power, Ganondorf, along with Bowser is often considered the most powerful character in the game, with slow moves but decent speed for his size. He has superb reach and a melee style of fighting. Though comparatively slow to most characters, particularly those of power in lower tiers, he is not so slow as to render his great strength unusable. Almost every attack in his arsenal (with the exception of his throws) has high power and KO potential, ensuring that if a hit does connect, it will likely knock an opponent near or past one of the blast line when said opponent is at high damage. What Ganondorf is most known for are his very powerful and surprisingly fast aerials (start-up lag wise). He is the only character in Melee to have all five aerials being capable of reliably KOing under 150%. His most known aerial is his down aerial, which is both the most powerful meteor smash and aerial attack in Melee. Despite being a meteor smash, it can star KO the majority of the characters under 100% when grounded. It also works well at setting up combos at low percentages despite its power, especially against the fast fallers. Ganondorf is arguably the character who benefits from L-cancelling the most, as all his aerials have high landing lag, but L-cancelling allows him to fully utilize his aerials without being so punishable. These positive attributes have offered him the position of 14th place on Melee's mid-tier.
As noted earlier, Ganondorf is a clone of Captain Falcon in Melee, with a lot of identical animations and very similar moves, though he does have a few notable differences. Ganondorf is slower but more powerful than Captain Falcon. Ganondorf's neutral attack consists of a single hit instead of being an neutral infinite combo like Captain Falcon's. The most notable difference is that they have different forward aerials, as while Captain Falcon has the Knee Smash, Ganondorf has a downward arcing punch, which has been referred to by fans as the "Skull Crusher". The primary statistical difference between the two is that Ganondorf's forward aerial is not as powerful as the Knee Smash, but it lacks a sourspot and has greater reach. Ganondorf is also heavier, making him more difficult to KO horizontally than Captain Falcon, along with a slower falling speed allowing him to recover farther when coupled with his Wizard's Foot, which gives him an extra midair jump (though Captain Falcon's faster falling speed gives him greater vertical endurance). Ganondorf's neutral aerial, down smash, and up smash are all two hit moves with effects that are the inverse of Falcon's. For example, both hits of his neutral aerial and up smash can KO, while only the second hit of Captain Falcon's same moves has real knockback. Conversely, Ganondorf's down smash's first hit has set knockback that sends opponents behind him to connect the second hit, which can KO, while either hit of Captain Falcon's down smash can reliably KO.
By tradition, Ganondorf as a playable character is featured on his personal three trophies. His normal trophy is acquired by beating the Classic mode with Ganondorf on any difficulty, and his Smash Red and Smash Blue trophies are acquired the same way by beating the Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively.
- Said to be the sole man born to the Gerudo tribe in a hundred years, Ganondorf aspired to conquer the world. He plundered a piece of the sacred Triforce from the Temple of Time when Link pulled the Master Sword from its pedestal. With the Triforce of Power in Ganondorf's possession, Hyrule was plunged into darkness until Link and Zelda defeated the fiend.
- Ganondorf [Smash]
- Since he's slow and can't jump very high, Ganondorf relies mainly on his immense physical strength to overwhelm his enemies. His great weight also makes him a difficult foe to send offscreen. Ganondorf's Warlock Punch is slow but absurdly powerful, and when he strikes with his Gerudo Dragon, enemies rise skyward enveloped in dark flames.
- Ganondorf [Smash]
- Ganondorf's slow speed works against him in single combat, but in melees, his crazy power lets him earn his keep with innumerable KOs. Ganondorf can't strike quickly, but each blow he lands adds up. Ganondorf is at his quickest when he uses the Wizard's Foot, and his Dark Dive blasts foes in a burst of dark energy.
As a playable character
Ganondorf reappears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a playable unlockable character, this time using his Twilight Princess appearance. Some of his attacks have changed from his Melee set and have undergone large aesthetic changes to resemble various hand-to-hand moves he has used in the Zelda franchise, while his other attacks are similar to their Melee counterparts.
In Brawl, his attacks are noticeably more sluggish and have less reach. His jumping ability, walking/dashing speed, and his air speed have also been hindered, which hinders his mobility rather severely. His rolling dodges, once on par with Captain Falcon's (from whom they were inherited), are now slower and gain less distance. His horizontal recovery is worse due to the Wizard's Foot no longer restoring his midair jump. Additionally, many of Ganondorf's attacks were weakened in terms of damage and power. In this game, he has a new side special known as Flame Choke, which involves Ganondorf grabbing an opponent, and then throwing them downward. Flame Choke is faster and less punishable than Gerudo Dragon was and is good for setting up as well, but it deals approximately half the damage and is completely incapable of KOing unlike the Gerudo Dragon. Besides Ganondorf being slower and having less overall power, he was especially hurt by the loss of L-Cancelling, which allowed Ganondorf to utilize his very powerful aerials to their fullest in Melee. These aforementioned negative attributes of Ganondorf has resulted in him holding the reputation for being the lowest ranked character on the tier list, placing 38th (which is an immense drop from being 14th out of 26th in Melee).
Beast Ganon also appears as Ganondorf's Final Smash. Once the Smash Ball is retrieved and activated by the player, Ganondorf immediately transforms into the Twilight Princess rendition of Beast Ganon. In beast form, he stomps his front legs on the ground, immobilizing any foes in his wake, pounding them down into the earth, making them unable to perform any actions. The beast then charges straightforward into the direction he was last facing when the Final Smash was activated.
- A man who wants to use the power of the Triforce to conquer the world. In Twilight Princess, he gives strength to the Twilight King, Zant, and tries to change the land into a world of darkness. He possesses Zelda, transforms into a magical beast, and attacks Link. In the end, however, Link deals him a finishing blow and defeats him.
- (N64) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- (Wii) Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Ganondorf (Wind Waker)
- The king of evil. Ganondorf aims to collect the Triforce pieces and rule the world. Already in possession of the Triforce of Power, he secures Zelda and her Triforce of Wisdom, thus luring Link to his castle. However, he is ultimately defeated by Zelda's Light Arrows and Link's Master Sword.
- (GCN) Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
|Name||Image||Artwork from||Effect in The Subspace Emissary||Characters|
|Ganondorf||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time||Darkness Attack +29||Ganondorf|
|Ganondorf||The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker||Darkness Attack +33||Ganondorf|
As a playable character
Ganondorf reappears as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, being an unlockable character in the 3DS version, but a starter in the Wii U version. He reuses his Twilight Princess appearance, but with his glowing chest wound from that game clearly visible and a more tattered cape. His moveset appears to be similar to its Brawl incarnation, though he now has a set of custom special moves that are completely different from Captain Falcon's.
Ganondorf saw a slight rise in tier list placement for SSB4, now ranking 53rd out of 55 characters (being tied with Zelda). He still retains his trademark extreme power, granting him a powerful punish game. He also benefits from the removal of chain grabbing, meaning he can no longer be a victim of such, and the removal of hitstun cancelling gives Ganondorf some combo capability. The new shield mechanics introduced in updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1 also enhances his already superb shield-breaking power, as well as make his more heavy-hitlag moves safer on shield. Nonetheless, Ganondorf's slow speed, susceptibility to combos, vulnerability to projectile camping, and terrible recovery options remain prominent. While some custom moves grant him better recovery and approach options, custom moves are currently banned in tournaments, leaving Ganondorf with only his default options. Although he received some buffs in the transition from Brawl to SSB4, as well as gained many more buffs in game updates, his glaring flaws remain. When this is coupled with the aforementioned custom moves ban, he is mainly seen as a non-viable pick for high-level play, though he still has a few dedicated players, some of whom even use him as a singular main.
- The King of Evil that awaits Link at the end of most of his adventures. Ganondorf possesses the Triforce of Power. In Smash Bros., he makes up for his low speed with devastating power. The strength of his blows can knock back most opponents. Get close with a dash attack, and pummel your foes!
- (N64) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (11/1998)
- (Wii) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (11/2006)
- Ganondorf (Alt.)
- Being the powerhouse that he is, the King of Evil is a great choice for free-for-alls. His Warlock Punch delivers a thunderous, dark-energy-fueled blow from his left hand. Unfortunately, left-handed dark-energy-fueled blows take some time to charge. You can turn to face someone as they cowardly try to hit you from behind.
- (N64) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (11/1998)
- (Wii) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (11/2006)
- Ganondorf (Ocarina of Time)
- The Great King of Evil who plots to steal the Triforce from the Sacred Realm and rule Hyrule. When Link reveals the secret entrance to the Sacred Realm, Ganondorf gains entry and acquires the Triforce of Power. With it literally in hand, his only concern is Link and Zelda stopping him.
As a playable character
- Ganondorf returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as with all previous playable characters. His appearance is now based on his design in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the first time since Melee. Ganondorf has received new smash attacks which use his sword from the Space World 2000 tech demo, and his Final Smash transforms him into Ganon as seen in Ocarina of Time as well. Like each of his previous appearances in the series (except for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U), he is an unlockable character. Additionally, Ganon appears as a boss in Classic Mode.
Ganondorf's strengths and weaknesses have both become more potent, solidifying his status as a glass cannon. His absurdly high damage output has been further increased, which is especially notable with moves like Dark Dive and Wizard's Foot. Most of his attacks are also faster, have longer range (most obviously shown with his new sword-based smash attacks), or sport additional utility, and he also benefits from universal mobility improvements. However, Dark Dive and Flame Choke are easier to escape, Ganoncide now KOs Ganondorf first, and his already poor out of shield options have been worsened by the increase in shield drop frames, while universally higher traction makes it harder for Ganondorf to safely pressure shields himself. Despite initially positive reception, Ganondorf is generally agreed to once again be low- or bottom-tier like in Brawl and Smash 4, though he has seen greater success than in either previous installment.
- Alongside Bowser, Ganondorf is the first playable main villain to appear in the Super Smash Bros.-series.
- In Brawl, Ganondorf has his design from Twilight Princess, but lacks his glowing chest wound (except in Beast Ganon Form). He regains this wound in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
- Ganondorf is the only clone of a character from a different universe. He is a clone of Captain Falcon from F-Zero with both of them sharing very identical moves.
- Ganondorf is the only Zelda character to lack projectiles and is not a form of another Zelda character.
- While performing his Down Taunt, Ganondorf pulls out the execution sword he stole in Twilight Princess from the ancient sages. Although it is inaccessible as a fighting tool in-game, hacking the game would provide a mock means of doing so.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an entity called Calamity Ganon appears. He wishes to destroy the planet, though Ganondorf himself only wants to take it over. They both appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though Ganondorf himself is playable while Calamity Ganon is only a spirit.
- In Melee and Brawl, Ganondorf has been shown with a sword of some type at least once, though he can never use it to attack. In Melee, he "uses" the sword seen in the SpaceWorld 2000 GameCube Tech Demo in a fight against Link. It appears in one of his victory poses, on his Smash Blue trophy, and on the "Challenger Approaching!" screen. In Brawl, his down taunt sees him unsheath and then re-sheath the Sword of Sages he stole in Twilight Princess.
- In Super Smash Bros. 4, a custom variation of Warlock Punch called Warlock Blade allows Ganondorf to perform a reverse gripped thrust with the Sword of Sages instead of throwing a punch, making it the first instance of Ganondorf doing such in the Super Smash Bros. series. In Ultimate, Ganondorf uses his Space World 2000 sword as an actual in-game weapon, wielding it for all his smash attacks.
- Not counting Kirby, who can copy Egg Lay, Chomp, King Dedede's Inhale and Blunderbuss, Ganondorf is the only character who has more than one command grabs in a single game, being Flame Choke and Dark Dive in all of his appearances except Melee, where Gerudo Dragon appears in the place of the former.
- Ganondorf and Sheik both made their playable debuts in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Coincidentally, both made their playable debuts outside of Super Smash Bros. in Hyrule Warriors.
- Piranha Plant also made its playable debut in Smash before becoming a playable character in Dr. Mario World.
- Ganondorf is the only Zelda character to lack projectiles.
- Ganondorf is the only clone to not be from the same universe as the character his moveset is based on.
- Jigglypuff also had a parent clone in Kirby, but it has been completely de-cloned since Melee.
- He is also the only clone not to share the name of any of his special moves with his base fighter.
- Ganondorf and Ike are the only characters in the Super Smash Bros. franchise to revert back to an earlier design used for their debut appearance in a later installment.
- Ganondorf is the only clone fighter from Zelda not to be based on Link.
- Ganondorf is technically the only playable The Legend of Zelda character to be the same character throughout the franchise. Despite featuring a different design in Twilight Princess, Ganondorf is nevertheless the one and the same from Ocarina of Time after being imprisoned following Link traveling back in time to warn Zelda of his crimes. Comparatively, the different versions of Link and Zelda (including Young Link, Toon Link, and Sheik) featured throughout the series are separate people.
- None of Ganondorf's unlock battles take place on a stage from the game his design is based on. In Melee and Brawl, his unlock battle is set in their respective Final Destinations. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (which features his Twilight Princess appearance), he is fought on Gerudo Valley, a stage from Ocarina of Time, and in Ultimate (which features his Ocarina of Time appearance), he is fought on Bridge of Eldin, a Twilight Princess stage. This makes Ganondorf the only Legend of Zelda series character in Smash Bros. with this distinction.
- Ganondorf’s voice actor in Melee and Ultimate Takashi Nagasako also voices Donkey Kong outside of the Super Smash Bros. series.
- Ganondorf is the only The Legend of Zelda character to revert to a previous iteration/design used in a Super Smash Bros. game, reverting to his Ocarina of Time iteration used in Melee after using his Twilight Princess design in Brawl and Smash 4.
- Ganondorf is the only Zelda character that neither has any alternate versions of himself represented as separate fighters, nor is himself an alternate version of another fighter, as Young Link and Toon Link are different incarnations of Link; and Sheik is an alter ego of Zelda.
- Zeldapedia's article on Ganondorf