Not every Legend of Zelda
guarantees some hot steamy Redead action. Most people see this as a good thing, but it can't be denied that these creatures are one of Nintendo's best ideas for enemies, perfect for setting a mood of horror. Their first appearance was in Ocarina of Time
, Zelda's debut on the N64
. They would have been encountered first when young Link found himself in the Kakariko Village
graveyard. Inside the the royal family tomb was the Sun Song
, small pools of toxic water, and 2 redeads. Being in a tomb, you are automatically creeped out. As soon as you see two brownish wrinkled corpses standing straight up with looks of terror and anguish permanently etched onto their eyeless faces, you start questioning the lighthearted nature of the game. As you get closer, you become more curious at what they are. They don't move around at all at first, which is odd for a video game villain. Get close enough and they slowly look up, trudge toward you and SHRIEK LIKE HELL
. It will be years before you can sleep without hearing it, too. As soon as the sound inspires shivers to run along your spine like you're a treadmill, Link freezes, and little black bars are added to the screen
as the game gives off a more cinematic vibe. Link can't move, I'm sorry to say, so you might as well stop struggling and accept your fate. The redead will approach you, hop onto your back, wrap its long bony legs around you, and hump ferociously. I don't work for Nintendo
, and I don't know why they thought humping looks like brain-eating, but its a well-known fact that redeads hump. Watch out!
Since you get the Sun Song in the tomb, and the whole room is dimly lit, it's not difficult to reason that redeads have some issues with light. Just play the Sun Song on your ocarina, and they become paralysed themselves, turning bright white. As soon as the white fades they become active again so be sure to kill them or flee before that happens.
Redeads can be found in dark, foreboding places where they are essential for providing unease. A simple suggestion that a redead could be around the corner could make a young gamer think twice about turning it. If you wanted to find one for personal reasons, look beneath the Kakariko well, in the Hyrule Market during Ganon's reign, in Ganon's Tower or in the Shadow Temple.
The next Legend of Zelda was Majora's Mask and sure enough, they stuck with the redeads. This time there was a twist though: the gibdo! Previous Zelda games, including the very first one, had enemies called gibdos which were essentially mummies. In the region of Ikana, Link encounters a very odd situation. A huge phonograph speaker is attached to a house, and four gibdos are circling the building (though they are certainly taking their sweet time with it). If Link goes near the house, a gibdo will shriek like a redead, and yes, hump like a redead given the opportunity. Shot with a fire arrow, the gibdo's bandages will disintegrate, revealing A REDEAD.
When Link manages to restore the river flow, the water-powered Music Box-House turns on, and a very strange song kills the gibdos. Inside the basement of the house is a hideous half-man, half-gibdo who bursts out of a wardrobe trying to eat/hump Link. When forced to listen to a stirring rendition of the Song of Healing, he regains his humanity (if not his dignity) and mends his relationship with his young daughter who had been working so hard to save her mutant father. He gives you the Gibdo Mask, allowing you to talk to gibdos and also look scary. What you won't realize until you enter Ikana Castle is that wearing the mask in the presence of redeads will cause them to dance like freaks. They don't attack you, but I would rather they didn't do ballet pirouettes either. Creepy.
The Nintendo 64 days were over. A new Zelda hit shelves: Wind Waker. Initially there was an avalanche of controversy over the new cel-shaded "Celda", but eventually whoever was questioning the kiddie look realized that it was much more stylish, and probably closer to what Miyamoto had envisioned years before. Beloved enemies and characters like the Moblins and Ganondorf returned, oddly proportioned and brightly coloured. Nintendo was big on spirals this year too; there were spirals everywhere. Still, with all these delightful adjustments, the redead's trademark slouch and immobility was immediately recognizable. Wind Waker's new style had swept the redead up with it, I believe for the better. The redead was remade as a voodoo-styled dark green-blue, with a huge head, tattooed face, large golden earrings, and an angular bony body. At closer inspection (bad idea), its head snapped up, its gaping mouth forced itself wider, and it screamed, worse than ever before. It was now akin to what you would hear if you closed a creaking door on a trumpeting elephant's head at a brutally slowly rate. The actual attack looks much less like humping now, plus you can have tons of fun with the redead if it doesn't know you're there. Most Zelda enemies will attack when provoked from afar, but the redead is apparently too engrained in its corpsey lifestyle to move around much. You can shoot it in the face with arrows or boomerang it and all it does is look up to glance at you before drooping its head again.
Since the announcements of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, fans are eagerly gleaning any info they can, and it seems redeads could possibly be in both. Since Phantom Hourglass recycles the Wind Waker style, it's very likely that we will recognize redeads if we see them, but the closest thing we have in Twilight Princess is emaciated, brownish-yellow hominids that float around grinning. Who knows whether this is the newest incarnation of the classical redead, or whether Nintendo has decided to go another route with creeping the bajeezus out of Link. In either case, for now I will sit back and await the reinvention of the undead humping masses.