The most bizarre Zelda mods

Leave it to gamers to make things weird.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild might be the Nintendo Switch's flagship title, but the Switch isn't the only console that's hosting Link's latest adventure. The Wii U, Nintendo's ill-fated follow-up to the massively successful Wii, also received a version of Breath of the Wild. While you can't take the Wii U with you on the go—at least, not without some effort—that last-generation release has a few benefits. Mainly, it's very, very easy to hack.

Nobody's cracked the Switch yet, but it's open season on Wii U games, especially since there's a fully-functional Wii U emulator out there if you know where to find it. That's made it easy for fans to bend Breath of the Wild to their whims, and results are…well, let's just say they aren't pretty.

Waluigi

Case in point: Hyrule quickly transforms from a land filled with adventure and mystery into the setting of a screwball comedy when you replace its stoic hero, Link, with Luigi's cackling doppelganger, Waluigi.

This isn't the first time Waluigi and Link have crossed paths, of course—they're both competitors in Mario Kart 8—but there's something undeniably hilarious (and slightly unsettling) about seeing Link's graceful sword strikes being executed by the lanky, long-limbed Mario Bros. knockoff. Thanks to Waluigi's giant head and permanent scowl, stabbing moblins takes an an entirely more sinister air, while the absence of Waluigi-specific sound clips (Waluigi still grunts and groans in Link's high-pitched voice) makes it all the stranger.

It gets worse. In a recent update, the modder behind "Breath of the Wah'ld" added Wario's face as one of Waluigi's shield. As a result, it looks like Waluigi is toting around the severed head of his yellow-clad counterpart, using it to deflect sword blows and incoming arrows. Even for The Legend of Zelda, that's dark.

Woody and Buzz Lightyear

When Pixar Studios released Toy Story in 1995, the company's employees probably had no idea they'd be contributing to one of the funniest and most popular memes of all time—heck, back then, nobody even knew what a "meme" was—and they certainly had no clue that they were bringing one of Hyrule's legendary warriors to life. But here we are in 2017, and not only is the stuffed cowboy the basis of internet-fueled nightmares, but he's galavanting around Breath of the Wild, too, thanks to a mod that replaces Link with Andy's favorite plaything.

But while WilianZilv's Woody mod is fun on its own, it becomes a work of genius when it's paired with a separate add-on that transforms Link's paraglider into Woody's best bud, Buzz Lightyear. Together, the two Toy Story stars fly to infinity and beyond—or at least Hyrule Castle—every time Woody leaps into the air. Buzz's triumphant grin as he helps his companion glide around Necula and the Great Plateau is sure to bring a smile to your face. Trust us, you ain't never had a friend like this one.

Sanic

Woody isn't the only meme to make its way into Breath of the Wild. Sanic, the malformed fan-art character that's come to define an entire subset of Sonic the Hedgehog fandom, is part of the fun, too. As anyone who's been around gaming culture for a while knows, Sanic sprung to life via YouTube, where one well-meaning but artistically impaired fan uploaded a video showing others how to draw Sonic the Hedgehog. The end result wasn't pretty, and gave rise to whole cottage industry of crappy Sonic-inspired art—allegedly, DeviantArt hosts over 3,300 pictures tagged with "Sanic," representing various reinterpretations of Sonic drawn by amateur artists.

Sanic's Breath of the Wild appearance, which is as clumsy-looking and stiff as you'd expect (the poor guy's limbs don't even bend), isn't Sonic's first foray into Zelda's world, either. In 2013, YouTuber Vinesauce uploaded a video called "The Legend of Sanic: Ocarina of Fast," which replaced The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Link with Sega's hedgehog mascot. It's funny and a little broken and serves as an excellent harbinger of what was yet to come, although in that case, the character still looked like Sonic. When it comes to Breath of the Wild's version, we can't say the same thing.

Sonic Man

If replacing Link with crappy Sonic the Hedgehog fan art isn't working for you, maybe turning Link into the kind of guy who makes crappy Sonic the Hedgehog fan art will. The Breath of the Wild "Sonic Man" mod replaces the hero of legend's tunic, pants, and headgear with blue jeans, a Sonic the Hedgehog t-shirt, and a hat that doubles as budget Sonic the Hedgehog cosplay.

There's no good reason for anyone to make this mod, but we're glad they did all the same. We can totally imagine Link retiring to his cottage at the end of a hard day of adventuring, browsing FanFiction.net and doodling designs of his original character (or OC, for those in the know), "Link the Hedgehog." He probably loves Sonic Mania, is cautiously optimistic about Sonic Forces, and dreams of the day when Sega will finally make a proper video game spinoff of the Sonic the Hedgehog Saturday morning cartoon, known better to fans as "Sonic SatAM." Hey, at least he's not alone.

The Buster Sword and the Keyblade

Link has a lot in common with Cloud Strife and Sora. All of those characters roam around big, dangerous worlds, fighting off monsters and trying to save their respective worlds from the forces of evil. Each one has a signature weapon, too. Link wields the Master Sword, Sora smacks foes with the Keyblade, and Cloud's oversized Buster Sword is almost as famous as he is.

While an official crossover between The Legend of Zelda and the shared Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts universes may not ever happen, mods will bring you the next best thing. No, Link can't fight Sephiroth or slay classic Disney villains—well, not yet, anyway—but he can dip into his fellow heroes' arsenals and borrow their biggest, baddest weapons. Thanks to modders, you can replace Hyrule's Royal Claymore and Solider's Broadsword with the Buster Sword and the Keyblade, respectively (although, as one commenter notes, Link holds the latter upside down). We're hoping that he gets to ride a chocobo next—with the appropriate musical accompaniment, of course. Those big yellow birds just aren't the same without it.

Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, and Dragon Ball Z

Square Enix's franchises aren't the only games that've been forced into an involuntary Zelda crossover by modders. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Minecraft, and Dragon Ball Z have been, too (yes, Dragon Ball Z is better known as an anime and manga series, but Dragon Ball Fighting Z is one of the most anticipated video games in recent memory, so we think it counts). Thanks to hacks, you can jack horses as San Andreas resident Carl "CJ" Johnson, boost Goku's power levels by completing Breath of the Wild's shrines, and delve into Hyrule's depths as Steve, Minecraft's default hero.

Thankfully, those heroes won't have to tackle Breath of the Wild's challenges with their bare hands. While Grand Theft Auto's deadly arsenal has yet to make its way into the latest Legend of Zelda adventure, Minecraft's Diamond Sword and Dragon Ball's Power Pole are both options for would-be adventurers (Goku can slide around on a crude recreation of his Nimbus Cloud, too). Be sure to pick them up—after all, as everyone knows, it's dangerous to go alone.

SpongeBob SquarePants

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea, is yellow and porous, and is really good at blocking attacks from angry Bokoblins? Why, SpongeBob SquarePants, of course! We're not sure why Hefty, a key member of the Breath of the Wild modding community, decided to make Nickelodeon's eternally popular mascot into one of Link's many shields, but we're glad he did. There's something sadistically delightful about watching Link grab SpongeBob off of his back and thrust the little yellow goofball right into harm's way. At the very least, it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "arrow sponge."

Just make sure you don't use this mod around kids, because Breath of the Wild's combat can be quick, brutal, and unforgiving, and we're guessing that watching a beloved cartoon character get pummeled with swords, spears, and axes until he shatters is going to be a little traumatic. On the other hand, SpongeBob keeps smiling through the whole thing, so who knows? Maybe he doesn't mind at all.

Shrek

The Hinox is one of Breath of the Wild's most fearsome beasts. These large beasts prowl Hyrule's overworld, patrolling pre-set areas and chucking trees at unsuspecting adventurers. If you run into a Hinox unprepared, you're going to die. Period. You don't even have a chance.

Still, it could be worse: it could be Shrek. This mod replaces the hulking Hinox with a gargantuan recreation of DreamWorks' ugly fairytale protagonist—and unlike the real Shrek, Breath of the Wild's version really is a monster at heart. He will wreck you for absolutely no reason. The Hinox might be intimidating, but watching DreamWorks' not-so-friendly ogre loom over Hyrule's chosen hero, knowing that Link is just a few seconds away from death, isn't just the most terrifying sight in Breath of the Wild—it's one of the scariest things that's ever appeared in any video game.

Thomas the Tank Engine

It's hard to keep a good mod down. In 2013, modders unleashed the "Really Useful Dragons" mod on the world, which replaced Skyrim's fearsome dragons with the beloved British television star Thomas the Tank Engine. The surreal mod was an instant hit—at the time of writing, "Really Useful Dragons" has been downloaded almost 50,000 times—and it's not slowing down anytime soon.

Naturally, Thomas the Tank Engine has popped up in a number of other unofficial modifications since then. Breath of the Wild is no exception. Hefty's mod doesn't replace Breath of the Wild's dragons, however (the game has three of 'em)—it takes the place of the game's rare Giant Horses, mounts that are exclusive to Hyrule's Taobab Grassland. That removes the comedy that results from swapping out a dangerous, majestic beast with a smiling locomotive, but has an even better side effect: in Breath of the Wild, you can actually ride Thomas. That's as it should be. After all, trains are a mode of transportation. If they don't take you from place to place, what's the point?

Game of Thrones

Like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Game of Thrones is an epic fantasy adventure full of magic and weird creatures—it's just got characters that are a little bit harder to root for. Compared to the rest of Westeros' scheming citizens, however, Jon Snow, the secret heir to the Targaryen empire, is a relatively decent guy. That makes him arguably the best George R. R. Martin-based replacement for Link. Modder ZombieAlie must agree, because his mod transports Jon from Winterfell to Hyrule, with all of the outcast Stark's most notable features—including those flowing locks—intact.

If you use an amiibo to summon Wolf Link, you can even pretend that Link's canine form is actually Ghost, Jon Snow's trusty direwolf. Squint, and the Silver Moblins look kind of like a Legend of Zelda take on Game of Thrones' White Walkers. Sadly, that's as accurate as the Jon Snow mod gets. Jon's Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw, has yet to make its Breath of the Wild appearance, while the model uses all of Link's existing animations, making it impossible for Jon to bend the knee.

The Witcher

Link might be one of the most popular video game personalities of all time, but he's not exactly the most masculine character in Nintendo's stable. His voice is thin and high-pitched. He's often mistaken by casual fans for Zelda, the princess he's usually charged with saving. When Breath of the Wild made its trailer-only debut at E3 2014, many fans thought that, this time around, he might actually be a girl.

You'd never make that mistake with Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher series' medieval Ghostbuster. For better or worse, when Geralt isn't busy murdering monsters, he's busy doing, well, manly things. He drinks. He swears. He sleeps with anything that moves and has lady parts—and both of those qualifications are more like guidelines than rules.

If you want Breath of the Wild's Link to be a little more macho, modders have you covered. The so-called "Link of Rivia Armor" doesn't just give Link Geralt-style duds, it also bleaches his hair white and makes his eyes a catlike yellow, just like a real Witcher. Just don't go looking for any unicorns—those remain exclusive to The Witcher's Continent, thank goodness.

The classic soundtrack

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is full of references to past Zelda games, but it's very much its own adventure. There's the wide-open world, which recalls the first The Legend of Zelda game, but gives players even more freedom than the NES classic. There's the cooking system, which encourages you to collect everything you can and mix it all together in one of Hyrule's cooking pots. Lengthy dungeons are replaced with bite-sized shrines, while weapons fall apart after repeated use.

Most of these changes are for the better, but if you miss some of that old-school Zelda charm, you can use mods to help ease your pain. The "Classic Zelda Music Pack" replaces some of Breath of the Wild's brand new tunes with tracks from The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Ocarina of Time. With the mod installed, you'll hear the older tracks when you travel to locations like recur throughout the series like Kakariko Village, Zora's Domain, and the various Fairy Springs. The" Classic Zelda Music Pack" doesn't dramatically change Breath of the Wild, but it's a nice change of pace for the nostalgia-minded Zelda fan all the same.

The Accio Master Code

Complete and utter chaos. That's what you get with the Accio Master Code, a hack that lets Breath of the Wild players spawn any object in the game, any time they please. The possibilities are endless. Want to create a storm that drops bananas everywhere? Go ahead. Want to fill Link's wallet and turn him into a millionaire? Too bad. Thanks to the Accio Master Code, we know he can only carry 999,999 Rupees at a time.

But you can use the Accio Master Code to create an infinite number of pigeons, put together a whole army of Guardians, murder an infinite number of enemies, or get the Master Sword before Link, well, actually gets the Master Sword. The Accio Master Code completely and utterly breaks the game, but if you've somehow managed to do everything that Breath of the Wild offers, the hack will keep it fresh and interesting more or less forever.

Cappy

When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launched in March 2017, it seemed like a shoo-in for Game of the Year—but now we're not so sure. See, Super Mario Odyssey, which features the only Nintendo franchise more popular than The Legend of Zelda, launched just seven months later. It's the biggest, wildest, weirdest, and most open Super Mario game yet. Suddenly, Breath of the Wild's chances of securing 2017's top prize seem slim.

But there's a solution: put Super Mario Odyssey in Breath of the Wild. That's what one modder tried to do, anyway, by giving Link his very own edition of Cappy, the sentient hat Mario wears in Super Mario Odyssey. Unlike Odyssey's version of Cappy, Link can't toss the hat around or use it to possess enemies or other objects, but the headgear does give him a big, luxurious, Mario-style moustache, so at least the modding community has its priorities straight.