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The Legend Of Zelda: The 10 Best Ganon & Ganondorfs In The Franchise, Ranked

The evil Ganondorf (or Ganon depending on the game) is the most iconic foe of The Legend Of Zelda series. While there have been other villains, none quite made the same impact as Ganon nor have they had as many reincarnations across the overly convoluted timeline.

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Ganondorf has gone through many revamps and revisions in his quest to conquer Hyrule or destroy Link and Zelda. Some versions are better than others whether it's through their power level, designs, storytelling, or how threatening they are. In some cases, it can be a combination of those aspects.

10 CD-I Ganon (Wand Of Gamelon/Faces Of Evil)

It doesn't help that this version of Ganon is featured in two infamously maligned games for the Phillips CD-I. Even in a better game, this Ganon is considered to be a joke amongst fans; not only is his design laughable but it's impossible to tell what kind of creature Ganon is supposed to be.

In both games, Ganon is a pitiful final boss since all the player needs to do to defeat him is throw an item at him and the game is over. On top of everything are the cutscenes in which Ganon is given a bland villain voice and animation that is questionable at best.

9 The Classic Ganon (The Legend Of Zelda)

There is no dialogue from him, his design is nothing all that special but where the original The Legend Of Zelda for the NES shines with Ganon is his presence. Throughout, dialogue mentions Ganon and those lucky to read the original manual will know that it too mentions Ganon.

The villain's presence is felt throughout the game, building up to the final fight against Ganon. So the big encounter feels more like an event, even though the boss fight itself might not be as challenging these days.

8 The Calamity Ganon (Breath Of The Wild)

In Breath Of The Wild, the Calamity Ganon is built up a lot throughout as this massive destructive force that turned Hyrule into an apocalyptic wasteland. While most fans can thank the Calamity Ganon for providing one of the best versions of Hyrule, he was far from the best villain.

Unlike the NES version, Calamity Ganon doesn't have the same payoff from all the hype. Instead, Calamity Ganon is one of the easiest final bosses to beat and features an overdone design that seems more messy than creative. This is why fans are excited to see Ganondorf return in the anticipated sequel.

7 King Of Evil Ganon (A Link To The Past)

Like most of A Link To The Past, the 16-bit version of Ganon takes everything that made the original NES version hold up so well and enhances it. Ganon in A Link To The Past is given a more difficult boss fight that can still be a challenge for players.

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Ganon's design is mainly the same as his NES and GameBoy counterparts: a large pig-like beast. The 16-bit graphics allowed for a better look at his armored design and give him more powerful abilities including teleportation and summoning Fire Keese. This also marks the first appearance of Ganon's now-iconic trident which he would wield in certain future games.

6 Evil Beast Ganon (Four Swords Adventures)

In the sequel to The Minish Cap, Vaati acts as the main threat throughout but much to the surprise of fans, Ganon made his big return to the 2D games as the true main villain. This Ganon is bigger than every other 2D Ganon at the time with new godlike powers.

Using the Four Swords Adventures gimmick of having four Links, the player has to use them in strategic ways to take down the villain. Of all the boar-like Ganons, this one is one of the more threatening ones due to the ominous atmosphere combined with his darker and demonic design.

5 King Of Thieves Ganondorf (Hyrule Warriors)

Similar to how Link and Impa are portrayed, the Hyrule Warriors version of Ganondorf is a culmination of many versions that have come prior with some new elements. This Ganondorf is a massive muscly warrior with long red locks of hair as if he was about to be portrayed by Jason Momoa, perhaps in one of his best roles to date.

His armor is similar to the Twilight Princess version, his voice is akin to the Ocarina Of Time version, and he even has boar-like Ganon designs that are similar to the past. What makes this Ganondorf stand out is that it is one of the few times where the villain is actually a playable character.

4 Demise (Skyward Sword)

The first Ganon/Ganondorf before he was even named that. For those unaware, Skyward Sword acts as the first game in the official timeline of The Legend Of Zelda. This is where Link first encounters the demon king known as Demise who was trapped as the monster known as the Imprisoned for centuries. With the help of Ghirahim, Demise was restored to his true form: a scaly demon with fiery hair.

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He provides one of the more challenging boss fights but it's with his defeat that the best thing comes about. It was Demise that cursed the timeline, swearing that until the end of time, he will always be reincarnated to destroy Hyrule. This reveals why Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf are stuck in this constant loop throughout time.

3 Great King Of Evil Ganondorf (Ocarina Of Time)

For the first time, Ganondorf made his debut as the green-skinned warrior from the Gerudo Desert. It was also with Ocarina Of Time that the character was portrayed as a menacing presence. With each appearance, Ganondorf displays his power and that he is not a villain to be trifled with.

Where Ganondorf excels the most as a villain is his boss fight. Even with all the upgrades the game offers, Ganondorf can make a player want to throw the controller and that's before he transforms into his boar-like Ganon form for one last encounter that is also a challenge.

2 Puppet Master Ganondorf  (The Wind Waker)

With most versions of Ganondorf, they tend to be very bombastic and like to embrace their evilness with joy, similar to Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars. In The Wind Waker, Ganondorf is much more reserved and quiet: fitting with his design which gives him a majestic warlord aesthetic.

That's not to say he's not a threat, quite the opposite. Not only does he leave an impact with just a few seconds of screentime but he also has two phases. There is his Puppet Ganon form and his normal Ganondorf form, both provide which many fans consider the hardest Ganon boss fight in the series.

1 Dark Lord Ganondorf (Twilight Princess)

It was with Twilight Princess that the series attempted to make The Legend Of Zelda darker and with a more realistic take on Hyrule, despite all the crazy powers and alternate dimensions. As a result, Ganondorf felt more akin to a villain out of The Lord Of The Rings.

His black armor gives him a Darth Vader-esque vibe and while he doesn't have the hardest boss fight, it is a memorable one with Ganondorf's death being an iconic moment in the series. He was darker, more menacing than ever, had no problem slaughtering innocents, and Nintendo didn't shy away from his brutality.

NEXT: 10 Best Water Dungeons In The Legend Of Zelda Games, Ranked By Difficulty

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