Artwork of a Stalfos
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda|
|Attack method||Sword or Club strike|
|Effective weapon(s)||Sword, Bombs|
|Spoils||Hearts, Rupees, Magic, etc.|
Stalfos are animated skeleton creatures from The Legend of Zelda series of video games from Nintendo. They appear in a majority of the games, with their appearance usually altered from game to game.
In The Legend of Zelda, Stalfos appear in Level 1 and Level 7 of the First Quest. In the Second Quest, they will attack Link with Sword Beams and appear in Level 1, Level 3, and Level 8.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Stalfos attack by throwing their body parts at Link. They appear as white, red, and blue. Captain Stalfos will throw their heads at Link, but they are all Stalfos are vulnerable to the Bow. Though the Boomerang is effective against Stalfos, they will instantly die if a jar is thrown at them.
Stalfos appear as enemies in many temples, as well as other locations. Stalfos are frequently battled in pairs in Ocarnia of Time. Sometimes in the two-on-one battles, Link must defeat both Stalfos within a certain amount of time of each other. If Link defeats one but fails to defeat the second within the time limit, the first Stalfos will be revived and must be defeated again. Not all double Stalfos battles are like this, however. Stalfos have two attack patterns. The first has a Stalfos raising its sword to damage Link for one heart. These attacks can be avoided either by hitting a Stalfos while it strikes, or by blocking its attack with a shield. The other attack pattern consists of jumping and if it connects with Link, he loses two hearts. During this, Link can damage a Stalfos' backside if he dodges the jump attack. In a certain room of the Shadow Temple, it is possible to knock a Stalfos off of the ledge, ending the battle very quickly. The nature of Stalfos is explained in Ocarina of Time. Fado, a Kokiri girl who Link meets in the Lost Woods as an adult, tells Link that those without a fairy become Stalfos if they lose their way in the woods, suggesting that some of the Stalfos that Link battles are travelers that were lost. According to Fado, Grog got lost in the Lost Woods and became a Stalfos. Also, when fighting two or more Stalfos, while Link is is Z-Targeting one of them, the other(s) will patiently wait until Link defeats the Z-Targeted Stalfos.
Stalfos rarely appear in the Great Sea, but they make quite a number of appearances during Link's quest to reassemble the Triforce of Courage and they are the mini-bosses in the Earth Temple. They are larger than their previous appearances, and are a lot slower. They hobble around on short legs while swinging around spiked clubs, and they wield the maces inexpertly and spin violently across the room while using them, often almost losing their balance. When Link slashes one enough times, or plants a Bomb near a Stalfos, their bodies shatter and their heads leap around the room. In order to keep them from reassembling their bodies, Link must destroy their heads. It is also possible to cut them in half, causing the torso to run away from Link, and the lower half trying to kick Link. Taking a Stalfos' mace when it is in a shattered state causes the Stalfos to pull off its left arm and use it as a weapon until it retrieves its mace. The easiest method to destroy a Stalfos is to throw a bomb in front of them, then lure them over it. When it explodes, Link should quickly L-Target the head and stun it using the boomerang, or a shockwave from the Skull Hammer, then run over to the head and smash it with said hammer. Link is unlikely to take any damage using this method, and he will destroy the Stalfos very quickly, as opposed to the longer battle using the sword.
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Stalfos are somewhat rare. They are first encountered in the Arbiter's Grounds, and later appear in the Cave of Ordeals, Hyrule Castle, and other areas. They have an appearance similar to their Ocarina of Time counterparts, but are harder to kill and require a different method, as well as being able to perform overhead jumps on Link. After attacking a Stalfos a certain amount of times, it will fall apart. However, it will revive itself if Link doesn't destroy it with either an explosive weapon or the Ball in achain in time.
Stalfos in Skyward Sword are described by Fi as former Knights who have developed higher combat skills after dying. They wield two swords at a time, allowing them more protection while in a defensive stance. Link must act quickly to strike the opening they make from the correct angle before their stance changes again. They will raise their swords to strike twice in quick succession. Their skill in fighting and relatively high stamina have influenced developers to make them mini-bosses more than once in the game.
Stalfos are skeletal beings, often hostile, they can wield swords and shields, spiked clubs, even throw their own bones. Sometimes, they wear light armor, usually shoulder and chest plating. Notably in some instalments, even if they're completely beaten apart with all of their bones lying seperated all over the ground, it may take further action to guarantee that they are truly destroyed, else they will soon rise again. This further action may include bombing the bone pile, striking the still active head, or simply destroying all Stalfos in the room. Stalfos also use advanced fighting techniques, as opposed to mindless aggression.