Game Over, also stylized as Defeat, refers both the mechanic of dying and the menu shown when the player dies and or when they fail their quest in The Legend of Zelda series.
The Legend of Zelda
In The Legend of Zelda, whenever Link's Life is fully depleted, Link begins to spin around in circles before fading away completely. The Game Over screen then appears, giving the player the choice to continue playing or to Save the game and return to the File Select screen. If the player chooses to respawn, Link will start from the Origin if Link died in the Overworld or at the beginning of a Dungeon if he was defeated inside one. The game will also count the number of times that the player has Game Overed.
The Adventure of Link
In The Adventure of Link, the Game Over screen appears whenever Link loses a life. The screen will flash red and Link will turn into a silhouette and then disappear. If Link runs out of all his lives, a different Game Over screen appears, stating that Ganon has returned. The player can choose to respawn at the North Castle or save and return to the Title Screen. If Link dies inside the Great Palace, selecting "Continue" will respawn him at from the entrance to the Great Palace instead of the North Castle. Getting a Game Over resets Link's Experience to zero.
A Link to the Past
In A Link to the Past, the Game Over screen appears when Link's Life Gauge completely runs out. Link will spin in circles and then collapse face-first onto the ground, then being focused to the middle of the screen and disappearing as the words "GAME OVER" appear with a few options for the player. The menu allows the player to Save and continue playing, Save and quit the game, or don't save and respawn from the last saved point. Choosing the respawn will make Link respawn in a predetermined location, depending on where Link Game Overed. If Link died in a Dungeon, he will respawn at the entrance to that Dungeon. Link can avoid a Game Over if he has a Fairy with him, as the Fairy will appear and heal seven Hearts from his Life Gauge after it runs out. If Link died anywhere else in the Light World, he can choose to respawn in Link's House, the Sanctuary, or the Mountain Cave. In the Dark World, Link will respawn atop the Pyramid. The game also counts the number of times that Link has Game Overed and displays them next to the save file after completing the game. During the credits, a breakdown of how many times Link died at various locations in Hyrule is shown.
When Link's Life Gauge is fully depleted in Link's Awakening, Link will spin in circles and fall. The Game Over menu appears and gives the player the options to either Save and continue playing, respawn without Saving, or Saving and quitting to the Title Screen. A secret ending to the game can be earned if Link awakens the Wind Fish without ever getting a Game Over. In Link's Awakening, a winged Marin can be seen flying across the screen. In Link's Awakening DX, Marin's image appears in the sky and then slowly fades, revealing a Seagull. In Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch, it's similar to Link's Awakening DX, although Marin's image is animated briefly to have her close her eyes and shudder slightly in an apparent giggle before fading away.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, Link gets a Game Over after his Life Gauge is fully depleted. He grunts weakly, falling to one knee (both knees in the 3DS remake), before collapsing face-first onto the floor. All other moving objects freeze in place, and the screen darkens so that only Link and Navi are visible as Link collapses. If Link dies from drowning, he chokes and thrashes about before his body goes limp and floats to the surface of the water (if he is wearing the Iron Boots underwater when he drowns, the standard collapsing death animation is used instead). The Game Over menu has the options to either Save the game and respawn, respawn without Saving, or to save and go to the Title Screen. Link can avoid death if he has a Fairy, where after losing all the Hearts in his Life Gauge, he will die as usual, but the Fairy will appear and restore Link's life, saving him from a Game Over.
In Ocarina of Time 3D, the "Game Over" text looks different, featuring simple, white lettering rather than the bolded, fiery text of the original.
In Majora's Mask there are two Game Over scenarios: one when Link's Life Energy depletes fully, which uses the dying animation from Ocarina of Time, and a second where the Moon crashes into Termina. The "Game Over" text does not appear in either scenario.
For the latter, a cutscene plays that shows the Moon slowly approaching Clock Town as the clouds in the sky spin uncontrollably, before touching down on the tower and spreading a fiery inferno across all reaches of the land. Link is seen standing in a black void against a dark red sky at the horizon, as the fiery shockwave begins to approach him. Link braces himself and is swept away. Afterward, Majora's Mask is shown, followed by someone speaking of Link's "terrible fate" while the Happy Mask Salesman's laugh is heard in the background. The Happy Mask Salesman then saves Link by resetting the three-day cycle, though all progress he made within the doomed cycle is lost.
The 3DS remake adds a passage of text, which reads "And so the angry moon fell from the sky, annihilating this world and its many inhabitants. All items and such gained these last three days are lost."
Oracle of Seasons
In Oracle of Seasons, an instant Game Over occurs if Link gets squashed between the closing walls in two of the rooms in the Ancient Ruins.
Oracle of Ages
The Game Over screen in Oracle of Ages appears whenever Link depletes his Life Energy. An instant Game Over can occur if Link pesters the Great Moblin and his flunkies too many times by destroying the structure that they were attempting to build, where the Great Moblin will finally notice him and lock him inside the shack as the explosive he set goes off, blowing everything up and leaving only rubble. Staying inside the structure while it blows up results in an instant Game Over, which cannot be prevented by a Magic Potion.
In Four Swords, when the Life Gauge of one Link runs out and the group doesn't have enough Rupees to revive him, the group will Game Over. The screen will show only the defeated Link spinning and collapsing, with "Game Over" appearing on screen.
The Wind Waker
When Link's Life Energy is depleted in The Wind Waker, Link will wobble unsteadily and collapse on his back as the Game Over screen appears, the letters falling in place one by one, each letter producing a thud as it lands. The menu allows the player to either quit the game, Save and quit, or respawn. If Link is knocked into Water by the killing blow, he will thrash for air, sink beneath the surface, then slowly resurface face-down and link as the Game Over screen appears. However, should Link run out of time while swimming Link will awaken on the shore of an island if he was close enough after drowning, although he will still die if his Life Energy is at zero.
Link has a slightly different animation should he die on the King of Red Lions; he falls down more gently and remains in a sitting position against the gunwale of the boat, and he does not gasp upon hitting the deck. This animation is more easily seen in the HD remake, as less attacks will knock Link off the boat than in the original.
Four Swords Adventures
A Game Over will occur in Four Swords Adventures if Link's Life Gauge is fully depleted.
The Minish Cap
A Game Over will occur in The Minish Cap if Link's Life Energy is fully depleted, or if the third bell chimes and Vaati drains the Light Force from Princess Zelda while Link battles the Darknuts inside Dark Hyrule Castle.
A Game Over will occur in Twilight Princess if Link's Heart Containers are fully depleted. Upon the last hit, he lets loose a strangled gasp and staggers before he is seen collapsing to the ground accompanied by a mournful choral version of the Hyrule Field theme. If he drowns or dies while in water, his body will float lifelessly to the top of the water. Dying on Epona will result in Link collapsing on her back. Dying in Wolf form will result in Link staggering, before letting out a whine and collapsing to the ground while Midna hovers over him, shaking her head. Interestingly, Midna shares the same disappointed reaction even after Link grows on her.
If Link fails to escape Barnes' Bomb storehouse, a series of explosions will appear onscreen before a final, larger one covers the player's view, revealing the Game Over screen when it fades away.
Should Link fail to extinguish the wagon's fire while escorting Telma, Ilia, and Prince Ralis to Kakariko Village, a quick shot of the burned wagon in a black void with its inhabitants dead is briefly seen before cutting to the Game Over screen.
If Link jumps into Lava while wearing the Zora Armor, if he fails to jump off the Great Hylian Bridge after it catches fire, or if he is hit by his own Cannon, he will lose all his Hearts, but will not get a unique death scene.
A Game Over will occur in Phantom Hourglass if Link loses all his hearts. When this happens, the music stops and everything freezes, Link gasps and falls on his back as the camera slowly zooms out while the Game Over music plays. If Link or Gongoron dies inside the Goron Temple, the one not being controlled at the time will be seen dying before the Game Over screen appears. If the SS Linebeck's heart containers are fully depleted, Linebeck will announce that they are sinking and the ship will mostly sink into the sea. If Link has any objects in his hands at the time of death, it will stay in the spot Link was holding it at, making it appear to levitate in the air.
A Game Over will occur in Spirit Tracks if Link loses all his hearts, or if the Spirit Train takes too much damage, in which it bursts into flames as Zelda as Zelda shouts Link's name. If Link is carrying a passenger and crashes the train, the passenger is the one who says something rather than Zelda. The Game Over screen is shared with Phantom Hourglass'; however, the music is different. The words 'Game Over' also fall between two wisps of smoke.
A Game Over will occur in Skyward Sword if Link's hearts run out, in which he will react in several ways depending on how he died. If he was launched from the front, he will attempt to stand up off his back before expiring and vice versa. If Link is hit by a Sky Octorok or a tornado, the camera will focus on him falling before cutting to the Game Over screen. Link also has an animation for drowning, but should he drown while crawling through a tunnel, he will use his "Launched from behind" animation instead.
Instant Game Overs include if Link is run over by the Boulder inside the Earth Temple, if Link is touched by lava near the Mysterious Crystals inside the Fire Sanctuary, if Link is crushed by the statue in the Ancient Cistern after obtaining the Blessed Idol, or if Link allows The Imprisoned to destroy the Sealed Temple by reaching the top of the Sealed Grounds. The former two events yield no unique cinematic but in the case of the Ancient Cistern statue, Link is heard screaming as the statue lands on and crushes him and for The Imprisoned, it advances towards the Old Woman while roaring, who despairs that it is too late and all is lost before the screen fades to black.
A Link Between Worlds
A Game Over will occur in A Link Between Worlds if Link's heart meter runs out. He will spin around and subsequently fall to the ground, similarly to A Link to the Past, before the screen fades to black and the words 'Game Over' appear. If Link was renting any tools from Ravio, they will appear beside him before Sheerow grabs them and flies away.
Link will respawn in Ravio's Shop, unless the Game Over occurs in a dungeon, in which case the option will be presented to spawn in said dungeon or inside his house. Death in Lorule that occurs before Link has traveled back to Hyrule via a Fissure will result in Link respawning inside the blacksmith's house.
Because Sheerow collects Link's Items and forces him to buy them again, and because Ravio asks him if he is all right afterwards, it is implied that running out of hearts does not cause Link to die in this game; rather, Ravio (in Hyrule) or the Blacksmith (in Lorule) drag Link back to their respective Houses upon his defeat.
Tri Force Heroes
A Game Over occurs in Tri Force Heroes when the Links have run out of Fairies and deplete their Heart or fail at a Drablands Challenge. Failing a time-based Challenge leads to a Game Over regardless of how many Fairies remain. However, a Game Over in Tri Force Heroes is functionally the same as when a Level is completed; no penalty is accrued and the amount of Game Overs is not recorded. Any accumulated Rupees and screenshots taken with the Camera are kept, progress is saved automatically, and the Links return to the lobby in Hytopia Castle. A disconnection from a Multiplayer game is handled in the same manner, except the "Game Over" text and accompanying music do not appear.
Breath of the Wild
In Breath of the Wild, a Game Over will occur when Link runs out of hearts. If he is hit by a strong enough attack, his body will ragdoll before the Game Over screen appears. If he is hit by a weak attack, he goes through a prerendered animation of him stumbling before he collapses.
Getting a Game Over presents the options to either continue the game from the most recent save, or to quit and return to the main menu. The 'Game Over' text will usually appear in red, however it can appear in blue or yellow if Link dies as a result of drowning or freezing or if Link dies from an electricity-based source, respectively.
If the base game has been updated or The Master Trials DLC is installed and enabling the Hero's Path Mode, it will display areas where Link has died with a red cross and "R.I.P." text when hovered over. Reaching a death marker while viewing Link's journey results in an impact noise and the sound of Link falling into an abyss as his marker disappears, before it swiftly reappears where he respawned. In all versions of the game, the "R.I.P." marker will permanently appear on the map where Link last died; a new marker replacing the old with each death.
When a warrior loses all of their health in battle, they will scream and fall to the floor as the word "Defeat" appears in purple writing. A remix of the game over music from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask will play during this. This screen can be skipped with the + button. The player can then choose to continue from their last save point (or restart the whole battle in Adventure Mode). Interestingly, the character being controlled is seen breathing after being defeated, implying that they are not dead but their forces simply had to withdraw due to being unable to take on the mission without them able to fight. If a vital character that isn't playable is forced to flee, this can cost the battle. The player can also lose if a mission-critical base is taken over by enemy forces. In Legend/Free mode, a support character will lament this before the screen appears.
|Names in Other Regions|
|This table was generated using translation pages.|
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- During the fight against Ganondorf or Ganon in Ocarina of Time, if the player ever Game Overs, they have technically acquired one of the game's endings, which leads into the "Downfall Timeline." However, there is no unique cutscene or cinematic for this. This makes Ocarina of Time's Game Over screen the only one in The Legend of Zelda series to be considered Canon.
- The Game Over/communications error screens in Four Swords are reminiscent of that found in the EarthBound series, where each respective protagonist appears in a dark void under a spotlight.
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (The Legend of Zelda)
- ↑ "GAME OVER
RETURN OF GANON" — N/A (The Adventure of Link)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (A Link to the Past)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Link's Awakening)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Link's Awakening DX)
- ↑ "Game Over" — N/A (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Ocarina of Time)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Ocarina of Time 3D)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (A Link to the Past)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Oracle of Seasons)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Oracle of Ages)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Four Swords)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (The Wind Waker)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Four Swords Adventures)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (The Minish Cap)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Twilight Princess)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Phantom Hourglass)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Spirit Tracks)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- ↑ "Game Over" — N/A (Skyward Sword HD)
- ↑ "GAME OVER" — N/A (A Link Between Worlds)
- ↑ "Game Over" — N/A (Tri Force Heroes)
- ↑ "Game Over" — N/A (Breath of the Wild)
- ↑ 
- ↑ "Defeat" — N/A (Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition)
- ↑ "Save And Continue
Save And Quit
Do Not Save And Continue" — Game Over (A Link to the Past)
- Incomplete Oracle of Seasons sections
- Incomplete Four Swords sections
- Incomplete Four Swords Adventures sections
- Incomplete Hyrule Warriors sections
- Mechanics in The Legend of Zelda
- Mechanics in The Adventure of Link
- Mechanics in A Link to the Past
- Mechanics in Link's Awakening
- Mechanics in Link's Awakening DX
- Mechanics in Link's Awakening (Nintendo Switch)
- Mechanics in Ocarina of Time
- Mechanics in Ocarina of Time 3D
- Mechanics in Majora's Mask
- Mechanics in Majora's Mask 3D
- Mechanics in Oracle of Seasons
- Mechanics in Oracle of Ages
- Mechanics in Four Swords
- Mechanics in The Wind Waker
- Mechanics in The Wind Waker HD
- Mechanics in Four Swords Adventures
- Mechanics in The Minish Cap
- Mechanics in Twilight Princess
- Mechanics in Twilight Princess HD
- Mechanics in Phantom Hourglass
- Mechanics in Spirit Tracks
- Mechanics in Skyward Sword
- Mechanics in Skyward Sword HD
- Mechanics in A Link Between Worlds
- Mechanics in Tri Force Heroes
- Mechanics in Breath of the Wild
- Mechanics in Hyrule Warriors
- Mechanics in Hyrule Warriors Legends
- Mechanics in Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
- Mechanics in Cadence of Hyrule
- Mechanics in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity