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The Only Legend Of Zelda Enemy That Appears In Every Game

While "The Legend of Zelda" may not have the most well-known enemies in Nintendo lore — nothing could possibly beat Mario's Goombas and Koopas, for instance — that's not to say that the beloved action-adventure series doesn't have its fair share of mainstay foes. Even fans who have only played one or two titles in the series can likely identify a Moblin or an Octorok, thanks to how ubiquitous these enemies are throughout the series, not to mention their striking designs. Many of the enemies from Link's earliest adventures on the Nintendo Entertainment System still regularly appear in modern entries today, making them just as much of a part of the overall brand as the Master Sword or the Triforce.

With how often the same enemies in Link's rogues' gallery show up, it may be surprising to hear that just about every single "The Legend of Zelda" enemy doesn't actually make an appearance in every game. Some particularly iconic creatures, such as the ultra-powerful Lynel, actually seem to be mostly limited to certain strands of the Zelda timeline. Even poor old Ganon himself, the supposed main antagonist of the series, is completely absent for more than a few entries in the franchise (probably to give the poor guy a break after appearing as the villain in those embarrassing Phillips CD-i games). All in all, there's only one type of enemy that has been present and accounted for in every single mainline "The Legend of Zelda" title since the original game.

Stals have haunted every mainline Zelda game

The only enemy that appears in every "The Legend of Zelda" game is more of a race than a singular entity. The Stal, skeletal creatures that often attack Link in dark dungeons and the dead of night, have a presence in every title. While Stalfos — undead Hyrulean soldiers — are the most common variations, a vast array of creatures fall under the "Stal" category, including Stalhounds, Staldras, and the Stallord. As the official "The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia" reads: "If a monster carries the name 'Stal,' it is undead and often little more than shambling bones."

Every mainline "The Legend of Zelda" game, from the 1986 original up to 2017's "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," contains at least one Stal-type enemy. Stalfos themselves can be found in every title apart from "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords," which features Stalchildren, and "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," which instead includes Stalkoblins, Stalmoblins, and Stalizalfos.

A couple of Link's other recurring foes get close to appearing in all of the games, though they're generally missing from one or two titles. For example, Keese, the bat-like creatures that terrorize players from above, appear in all titles except "Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link," while the rock-spitting Octoroks appear in every game except for "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess." But Stals have real staying power.

Some players can't get enough of those creepy Stal

In the end, the only enemy type with a perfect "The Legend of Zelda" attendance record is the Stal. This makes a lot of sense, especially when one looks at the broader "Legend of Zelda" timeline. The series is split into several different eras, with different versions of Link (or his descendants/ancestors) serving as an eternal force of good. What better villain to face a never-ending lineage of heroes than the undead? Who's to say some of the Stal didn't fight one of Link's ancestors when they were alive, only to rise from the grave and face off against another version of Hyrule's hero centuries down the line? Of course, the developers may have also included them because they look so darn creepy and cool.

Whatever the reason for their constant presence in the series, the Stal have certainly captured the imagination of players, who continue to debate their feelings about the enemy faction. Some fans have argued that the series has relied too heavily on the Stal, while some want to see a whole "Zelda" game devoted to skeletal and zombified enemies. Others can't seem to get enough of the skeletal baddies and want to add more of them to the series, like one fan who found a way to mod the size of Stal gangs in "Breath of the Wild." 

Love them or hate them, Stal-type creatures are a fixture in the "Legend of Zelda" series, and they'll likely remain that way for as long as there's a Master Sword to wield and a Tri-Force to assemble.