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Spoiler Which Game Executed It Better?

Which Game Executed it Better?

  • A Link to the Past

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Twilight Princess

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Skyward Sword

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Keep it strong
Mar 17, 2012
Liverpool, England
I personally wouldn't count Agahnim in this group because he wasn't a puppet working for the main villain, he was just an alter-ego of the main villain. Granted, it's a similar concept and I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn that Agahnim inspired Zant or Ghirahim, but that difference puts him out of my choice immediately. So, looking at Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, which game di it best comes down to several factors for me. First of, character. Second, narrative. Third, tension. Personally, Twilight Princess wins out in each one of these catagories.

Looking at character, the crucial difference between Zant and Ghirahim is that Zant has an arc. Zant is different at the end Twilight Princess compared to how he is at the start. When we first learn of him, he is introduced as powerful and imposing. He instantly appears to be a true villain with the power of darkness at his command. We see him killing Hylian soldiers and forcing Zelda to surrender her kingdom. We see him plunge Hyrule into perpetual Twilight and fill it with monsters. Even the camera angles used in cut-scenes featuring Zant are used to make him feel other-worldly and unnatural. A tone is established and he manages to feel like a real threat. Like many villains he is arrogant and egotistical, but his actions are in line with this characteristic because we see that he has basically conquered Hyrule and so can afford to be smug about his powers. His defeat of the Light Spirits and attempt to kill Midna give us clear motive to want him defeated and are used to spur us on and helps drive the narrative. Zant talks about a "God" who granted him his powers, introducing us to the notion that there is another villain behind him. But it goes a little deeper than that. The story isn't a clear cut 'Evil God gave Zant power, Zant went and caused chaos'. Zant has a backstory that makes his involvement in the plot much clearer and more justified. His growing frustrations with how the Royal Family that he served had, as he described it, "resigned itself to this miserable half-existence" between light and dark gave rise to his belief that he should rule the Twili because he could restore them to what he felt was their rightful place. When he found Ganondorf and received his powers, he could make this goal a reality. That is another major plus for Zant over Ghirahim in my view; Zant may be a puppet to Ganondrof but he has his own goal, his own objective and his own motivations. Zant wants the Twili to dominate the world of light as revenge for his people's original banishment. When Ganondorf enters the plot fully, he is taking what Zant had worked to acheive and subverting it to his own whims. This is another distinction between Zant and Ghirahim; Zant is used by Ganondorf and is betrayed (the scene with Zant's neck snapping as Ganondrof dies can be argued to be symbolic of Zant's desire to see his betrayer fail), whereas Ghirahim was simply created to do what Demise wished and nothing more. There's a lot going on under the surface with Zant and his eventual break-down is a brilliant moment, in my honest opinion. We see, extremely clearly, just how Link's repeated resistance has affected him. We have driven the villain to insanity with our defiance and now he is lashing out at us in any way he can. This is the culmination of his arc, as Zant is no longer the calm and ominous figure we were first introduced to, but instead has been reduced to a mess of choatic fury. It shows a change and development, and it gives our actions as players more meaning because we are the ones who have done this to him.

Ghirahim, on the other hand, is missing many of those key components. He has no arc, he has no personal motives and he isn't betrayed. There is very little story to Ghirahim and that instantly makes him a much weaker character, in my opinion. When we first meet Ghirahim he is arrogant, insulting and he treats Link as no threat, even stating that he will go easy on him and let him live, albeit, heavily beaten. He speaks about needing to capture Zelda so that he may revive his master and from that point on we know that all of Ghirahim's actions are made in an effort to revive this master, identifying him as a sub-villain as soon as we meet him. He then gets defeated by Link (understandable since he was appearntly going easy on him) and promises to kill him when they next meet. Ghirahim is encountered at the end of the Earth Temple and just after the Lanayru Mines and both times he acts arrogantly, insults Link and treats him as no real threat. His manner is flamboyant but that is not character and it certainly isn't engaging because he never does anything differently and he never follows through on his threats. When we meet him in the Ancient Cistern he may as well not have been there at all because he does exactly the same things he did in the Earth Temple, which is to say nothing. Our next major encounter is at the Fire Sanctuary where he fights Link again. By this point he is still arrogant (despite being constantly thwarted), still insulting (despite never following through on threats) and still treats Link as no threat (despite Link constantly proving his worth as an opponent). He has reneged on his promise to kill Link three times and is defeated once more by Link when they fight for a second time. And yet he still acts as if his superiority over Link is a natural constant. I understand that egotism and arrogance are his characteristics but there's a total lack of any sort of development and as a direct result he is simply not engaging or interesting. No matter how often he waggles his tongue or suddenly starts shouting, with no development of his charater there is no reason to care about or pay attention to him. We eventually learn that his master is a demon called Demise, an entity we have already defeated multiple times by the point at which we learn its name, and Ghirahim is basically absent until the very end, when he finally kidnaps Zelda. This was his entire goal throughout the entire game, and he acheives it not through ingenuity or force, but by hiding behind a pillar and popping out all of a sudden. It demeans him, as all of his power and supposed initiative was ultimately not used to acheive his goal. When Link prepares to battle him for the final time, Ghirahim still behaves arrogantly, still insults Link and still considers him no threat. Right up to the moment Demise is revived, Ghirahim remains exactly the same as he was when we first ever met him. Then Demise pulls a sword from him while he laughs with glee at his master's resurrection and is then absorbed into the blade, fulfilling his final purpose. There's no element of betrayal since Ghirahim knew that he would become a blade once Demise returned. He is actually pleased about it. Ghirahim is less of a puppet than Zant because he actually isn't being used. He existed entirely to return Demise's power. There is no story to him, no character and no development. He is nothing but an object, a tool of Demise, not a puppet.

In terms of narrative, Twilight Princess wins out for me too. As stated above, Zant has a character and a story. He develops and is connected to the events taking place within the world. The idea of a sub-villain is planted much later in the story but this allows for Zant to be a major threat for the majority, and rightly so. Learning that our apparent villain is not the main villain too early weakens the sub-villain's stature and diminishes their threat. It works well in Twilight Princess because the main villain is Ganondorf, a character we already know a lot about from Ocarina of Time. I understand that Ganondorf's supposed sudden appearance in the story is a negative point from many players but there is nothing to be gained from introducing him earlier. Introducing him earlier would weaken Zant as a character and also waste time establishing Ganondorf's character because we are already aware of it from Ocarina of Time. He's an evil, manipulative sorceror who sees personal power above all else. Got it. There's no need to spend unneccesary time explaining that because we already know it. The betrayal angle, which is what truly makes Zant a puppet, adds depth to the villain dynamic as it paints Ganondorf as a true villain and adds an element of tragedy to Zant because he was deceived and saw his desires swept aside. There's a lot to engage with and we learn more about the kind of man Ganondorf is by seeing him use a puppet instead of gettign directly involved like he did in Ocarina of Time.

Skyward Sword lacks this level of engagement. One of the first things we learn about Ghirahim is that he has a master, so right away a lot of his threat is diminished because we know a more powerful villain will eventually show up and take his place. His lack of development combined with the fact that he doesn't actually do anything in the story except chase Zelda very ineffectively leads to a story in which the villain may as well not be present. He gives us no reason to stand against him and, indeed, Link spends the entire game trying to find Zelda and not even considering Ghirahim a priority of any kind. If Link doesn't think it's important to get rid of him then why should we? Another major point against Skyward Sword for me was the fact that repetition of the bosses hurt the narrative. We defeat Ghirahim and his monsters several times without him ever considering Link to be a worthy opponent. Zant's snap to insanity was a result of Link's opposition, but Ghirahim just basically ignores it all right the way through. We never see our actions impact on Ghirahim as a character so we can't effectively engage with him as a villain because it's like he's not even there. By the time Demise appears we have defeated him three times already. While he was in a different form during those fights it was still him as an entity and it makes him a very disappointing figure at the very end. Why should we feel threatened by a demon that we've already defeated numerous times before in gradually more powerful forms? A big mistake Skyward Sword made was not showing us what the world looked like immediately after Demise had been sealed. While it's true we travelled back to that period fo time, the one small area we could enter looked exactly the same as it did in Link's present. We never saw what Demise or his army of demons had done to the world that was apparently so devastating a Goddess sent the human population to live in the sky for thousands of years to escape it. While Zant is plunging the world into Twilight and conquering a nation and Ganondorf is killing Sages and possessing the Princess, Ghirahim is failing to capture a sixteen year old girl and Demise is busy getting defeated everytime he stand up. The Zant/Ganondorf dynamic has a story behind it, it has characters behind it and it has development. The Ghirahim/Demise dynamic has nothing because neither of them actually do anything and never develop as characters and their threat is eliminated almost as soon as they first appear.

Tension more or less encompasses many of the points I have already made. In Twilight Princess Zant is given an air of power by the fact that we see him perform his villainy and we see the effects it has on the world of light. Indeed, even Link is victim to those effects at times. We see him try to murder Midna in an unneccesarily cruel manner, which is a part of character development. He probably could have just hit her with some kind of energy attack but he wanted her to suffer. His method of execution informs us of his character, it shows us that he is cruel and without mercy, and those traits help add tension because we are made painfully aware that our villain is ruthless. Ganondorf in turn is demonstrated to be incredibly powerful, even managing to survive an execution. His betrayal of Zant shows that he is concerned only with his own desires and views all others as pawns on his game board, a characteristic which appears again when we uses the Princess herself to try and kill Link. Twilight Princess builds and develops its villains to make them a real threat and give us a real motivation to stop them. This is where the tension and drama of the story comes from.

Skyward Sword does almost nothing to achieve tension or drama. Ghirahim has no development and never engages in the story in a meaningful or even significant way. He is defeated multiple times throughout the adventure which makes him seem weak and in the end he relies not on his powers or abilities but on a simplistic, almost childish, trick of hiding just out of view before running forward and snatching Zelda. He doesn't do anything and we never see that he has any impact on events or the world around us so why care about him at all? He may as well have not been there because it didn't make a difference when he was. Demise is handled even more poorly. His general presence is introduced incredibly early (which makes Ghirahim even less of a threat, as stated above) and he is, in one form, defeated multiple times as well, ven before he gets an actual name. We never get to see him do anything excpet walk up a hill and have a sword fight with Link and we never get to see what he did to the world before his imprisonmnet. Nothing is done to build up a present threat for Demise. We are simply told that he is evil and that he tried to destory the world of Hylia. That's it. If we don't see the villains do something or we don't see the results of their villainy we have no reason to care about them or why we need to stop them. Going off Skyward Sword, all Ghirahim was guilty of was chasing a young girl and all Demise was guilty of was causing Impa to worry about the temple ruins. They didn't do anything so there was no reason to care about either of them.

At the end of it, I look at Twilight Princess and see a game which understands the basics of story-telling. It shows us why our villains need to be stopped. It shows us why our villains do what they do. It has the villains put our hero through trials and present obstacles to him. It is also the only one of the three poll options in which there truly is a puppet. Skyward Sword never gives us any reason to fear or even just care about our villains. We don't see them do bad things. We don't see people suffer because of them. We defeat them numerous times throughout the course of the adventure and they never develop as characters or as plot elements. There's no engagement with them and their only reason for doing what they do is because they are evil demons and that's the full scope of 'depth' they have attributed to them.

Twilight Princess executed it better.


The Fierce Deity
Jan 16, 2013
Inside the Moon
It should be noted, in short, that Ghirahim was always seen as a secondary villain due to his talkin about ressurecting his master from fairly early on. I can't remember if it was in Skyview or the Temple of Time.

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
It should be noted, in short, that Ghirahim was always seen as a secondary villain due to his talkin about ressurecting his master from fairly early on. I can't remember if it was in Skyview or the Temple of Time.

It was in the Earth Temple. The fact that Ghirahim was established as a secondary villain early on prevented him from being ruined. Unlike Zant who was built up as the main villain until the halfway point.

Random Person

Just Some Random Person
Feb 6, 2010
I would actually say ST did it best, but between these three *WARNING COP-OUT ANSWER APPROACHING* I actually have a hard time choosing. ALttP did the best by making Agahnim seem like the actual threat, but Ganondorf had practically no warning before he Randomly showed up. Twilight Princess had a great intro to Zant and enough clues to Ganondorf that it's visible that it's hinting to Ganondorf being the actual villain, but the way Zant was handled once he was confronted was extremely poor and out of character. SS gave a (even though I hate his Personality) decent character with Ghirahim and clearly set up for a more powerful boss, but imo Ghirahim never really presents himself as a threat and Demise even less so considering how short he was present and how little he did.

Each of the three can learn something from the other, but they all seem to have equal enough faults in this regards. *coughcopoutcough*


Flamey-o, Hotman!
Aug 29, 2011
Halfway There
I vote for Skyward Sword. First because I thought Ghirahim just had a great character (as opposed to Zant , whose character went out the window when Ganon showed up). Second, it was made painfully clear that he was trying to capture Zelda in order to resurrect his master. Demise wasn't just put in as a "Oh, and by the way, there's this other guy too. . . ." You were constantly fighting him, trying to hold him back while simultaneously trying to keep Ghirahim from using Zelda to resurrect him.

Ghirahim's actions were invariably tied to Demise, which is where Twilight Princess failed. Zant was always portrayed as this mysterious, dark entity whose motives where unknown. All you know is: this guy hurt my home and kidnapped my friends. I don't know why he's doing this, but I'm gonna stop him. And it was perfect. At the end, Ganondorf was introduced, and Zant's character completely fell apart. He went from a mysterious entity for some reason bent on covering the land in Twilight and holding it's princess captive . . . to some guy who's just doing what his master told him to. So much of the game centered around this evil being that when there's this change Ganondorf being the villain, it doesn't have much value. So much of it is centered around Midna's world that Ganondorf seems out of place. Once you beat Zant, there was an air of "Well I beat the only one that was my reason for setting out on this journey, I achieve what I wanted to achieve, and the world is safe." We basically lose the main villain, as opposed to having a plot twist, when Ganondorf becomes central to the story. If Ganondorf had been introduced earlier and his motives at least hinted at, it would have been infinitely better.

So in general, in SS Demise was the main villain and Ghirahim was the sub-villain. In TP, Zant was the main villain and Ganon was the final boss.
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Rock and roll will never die
Jun 15, 2012
London, United Kingdom
It was close between ALttP and SS but I went with SS. Ghiarhim was awesome as a sub-villain because he was so twisted, and he was a nice little opener to the route of all the evil. I also liked the added character to it that was the fact he was the antithesis of Fi.


Gardener of Elysium
Jan 21, 2013
Academia de Hyrule
I vote for Skyward Sword. As Cfrock notes, overall Zant and Ganondorf in Twilight Princess are better villains than Ghirahim and Demise in Skyward Sword. But despite being better villains, the master-servant villain relationship was executed better in Skyward Sword.

In Twilight Princess, the manner in which Zant and Ganondorf are set up as villains is less than desirable. You, the player, are led to believe that Zant is the main villain until you learn that he is not, and instead Ganondorf is the main villain. You see Zant as a villain with a very main-villain goal- to take over and rule Hyrule and the Twilight Realm. Then it is revealed that these are not his ambitions, but another's, and that you expected to transfer what seemed to be Zant's goals and apply them to Ganondorf. Ghirahim however, does not seek to take over or rule anything. All he wants is to capture Zelda and revive his master. He has no other ambitions that distract you from thinking that he is more than a servant. The transfer of primary antagonist is nearly seamless, especially in the end, after you have beaten Demise in the present, only to have Ghirahim capture Zelda and revive Demise in the past. Then you see a villain who is not a threat that needs to be eliminated because of his goal of taking over, as Demise is, but a threat that needs to be eliminated because he will lead to a greater threat that has a goal of taking over(Demise).


Jul 1, 2012
It was in the Earth Temple. The fact that Ghirahim was established as a secondary villain early on prevented him from being ruined. Unlike Zant who was built up as the main villain until the halfway point.

I would have to disagree with this, Zant's purpose was to initially be the main villain, there were hints here and there but Zant was still very much the main antagonist though a good chunk of the plot. I would argue to an extent that Zant for a period of time was the best villain to grace the series. If it's one thing that Twilight Princess it was building up this fear and mystique around Zant, I don't think I've ever felt that fear factor coming from a villain before. His presence when we encountered him, his seemingly unknown and unstoppable power even the sound effects and music that followed his presence.

Now if it's one thing that Twilight Princess did wrong it was decreasing his presence in the second half of the game, of course he did briefly appear but the momentum was generally lost. The reveal that Ganondorf was present, as stated by the Sages, was probably the cause for this. Now may people see the "freak out" by Zant as basically destroying his character, in fact I think it didn't help very opposite. Zant was built so much as a threat from early on that it was only necessary to bring his character down to earth, so to say. During his death it was kind of like he passed on the touch to Ganondorf, now the true mastermind behind the evils going on.

The way I see Zant was that he was built up for the purpose of building Ganondorf up. The story kept Ganondorf's presence obscure because they wanted to still keep that surprise element and a plot twist generally to add to the narrative. If they would have revealed his presence right away then we would have had no surprise element nor would have Zant had the same impact. I feel that Zant could have been more active during the second half of the game to build momentum of his presence but overall I felt it was executed rather well contrary to many popular opinions. Ganondorf needed no build up really, Zant provided this through his build up alone, the game toned him down gradually before making him go literally insane. Then of course Ganondorf is the main villain and I felt even though his presence wasn't felt throughout a lot of the game Zant's great character gave me enough of an initiative to see Ganondorf as a threat. The fact that Ganondorf had this threat was enough for me to come to the conclusion that not only was his role as a villain successful but so was the role that Zant played.


Twilit wildcat: Aerofelis
Voted for SS. In TP, it looked like Zant was the main villain until after Arbiters Grounds, where as in SS, it was made obvious from the beginning that Ghirahim wasn't the head honcho. Zant did mention power he got from a god, but that wasn't enough to imply that he had someone else pulling his strings. It didn't scream Ganondorf to me, but that might just be because I played TP before OoT...

It felt like they were just writing the story as it went, and somebody just randomly decided to throw Dorfy Dorf in. SS seemed more planned out. The only similarity between the two is that the sidekick had much more screen time than his boss. Evil leaders in Zelda are lazy, lol...they let their minions do all the work and only confront Link themselves when there is no other option.

LttP...hardly compares. You never see Agahnim until you fight him. I forget he even exists, he doesn't show up and taunt you and sick his monster friends on you like Zant and Ghirahim do. All the bosses up to that point are just random monsters that live in that area. But I might be wrong, I haven't completed it.


i luv u
Dec 17, 2011
I say ALttP still does it best, but Skyward Sword really fights for that first position too. Both had really great twists. In ALttP, it came as a complete shock that Agahnim was actually Ganon's alter ego. Such a cool concept! Of course, it's so cool that it can't really be done again because it'd feel waaay to "been there, done that". But still, pulling that off from the Dark World..... gotta give Ganon some props. TP kinda just copied that, but instead of being an alter ego taking over the kingdom, he was his own character.

With SS, you know the entire time that there are two villains, and you spend the entirety of the game wondering if The Imprisoned is really the second one because it looks like an oversized, angry potato. So the big twist at the end is finding out that while Ghirahim IS a tool of the larger villain (like Zant was), he wasn't being toyed with. He was important, and finding out what he was came as a huge shock.

Both ALttP and SS did the double-villain thing very well, but I just find the idea of an alter ego really cool. It makes me wonder how similar AND different Ganon and Agahnim would be if they were brought to life in a game of today's in-game character-definition standards.


Jan 10, 2011
On the midnight Spirit Train going anywhere
I would have to disagree with this, Zant's purpose was to initially be the main villain

In all reality, Ghirahim was the main villain. He was the one doing all the work to revive Demise, which shows just how dedicated he was to serving his master. You could say this make's Demise's appearance at the tail end of the game too sudden, but Demise had a presence the entire time -- literally since the first cutscene -- as The Imprisoned and through Ghirahim's constant references. He had a buildup, and a damn good one at that.

But, before I get off on a tangent, again, Ghirahim was the main villain of the game. The baton was merely handed to a higher authority at the end.


Twilit wildcat: Aerofelis
With SS, you know the entire time that there are two villains, and you spend the entirety of the game wondering if The Imprisoned is really the second one because it looks like an oversized, angry potato.
I think he looks more like what you would get if you put the contents of a litter box under radioactive energy for 100 years :lol: Hah, potato...that's hysterical. His new nickname is Evil Tater.
Apr 12, 2013
Definitely not Twilight Princess. Ganondorf was revealed out of nowhere half way through the game without any real buildup. Zant was pushed to the side soon afterwards in terms of importance. Furthermore, his back story, motivation and relationship with Ganondorf all felt rushed and contrived to me. This really was a shame, since Zant definitely had a lot of potential as a villain. He had many unique and interesting qualities that set him apart from other Zelda villains. Nintendo at least tried to give him a profound back story, and his corruption by an evil "God" could have worked a lot better if the influence was more discreet.

As the game stands however, neither Zant or Ganondorf was given sufficient development or screen time, in my opinion. Heck, Link doesn't even meet Ganondorf until right before the final battle. Because of this, it never felt like there was any real villain/hero connection between Link, Midna and Ganondorf. Their relationship was a product of plot convenience, rather than individual character motivations built over the course of the game. Based off of this, I think it isn't absurd to assume that Ganondorf was tacked onto Twiilight Princess late in the game's development because the developers wanted it to be an even bigger Ocarina of Time rehash than it already was.

Granted, Ganondorf stealing the show from a another villain isn't exactly something Twilight Princess started. There's a reason why the Hijacked by Ganon trope exists after all. But his appearance has never felt as forced as it did in Twiilight Princess. Meanwhile, Zant, who could of been an interesting villain on his own, suffered severe villain decay after falling in Ganondorf's over-sized shadow.


Anyway, I have to give my vote to Ghirahim/Demise. Agahnim was pretty generic as far as evil wizards go and the characterization wasn't exactly the strong suit of video games in the SNES era. Even if Ghirahim didn't have much of a back story, he more than made up for it with his villainous flair and general badass fabulous-ness.

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Sir Quaffler

May we meet again
...well don't I feel like an idiot. I always thought Agahnim was just Ganon in human form...

Anyways my vote goes to Skyward Sword. It does proper foreshadowing of the main villain (it's literally the first thing you see in the game) while also developing the henchman well, with a proper climax at the end to boot.

My problem with the way TP did it isn't that Ganondorf was added too late, it's that he was added at all. I honestly think he ruined TP; even though his end fight was admittedly pretty ****ing epic, his absence beforehand deflated the game like no other and he took the wind out of Zant's sails. If it had just been Zant the entire time with some weird magic and have the final fight be against some frothing lunatic, that would have been best.

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