The Complete History of Zelda’s Cucco Attack
Every experienced Zelda player knows Cuccos are experts at revenge.
Every Zelda game is vastly different. It can jump from the nightmarish doomsday of Majora’s Mask to the colorful land of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild, with varying art styles and new themes. In fact, every game that comes out is basically a new era for Nintendo and all of its fans. But one thing has stayed consistent throughout most games, even making it into the masterpiece of BOTW. What is that, you ask? The Cucco attack. Here’s the complete history of The Legend of Zelda‘s famous Cucco attack — all the way from the beginning — because somehow, it intrigues us beyond belief.
In the Beginning: A Link to the Past
If you hate the Cucco attack, you can blame it all on A Link to the Past, the 3rd Zelda game ever made. Released all the way back in 1992, this is officially where the swarm of angry chickens originated from. Players can find them in Kakariko Town, and they also appear as monsters in the Dark World. That’s right: before ALLTP, Cuccos were all innocent and nice. Who knew this would stand the test of time and still be going strong decades later?
Link’s Little Helpers: Twilight Princess
However, not all Zelda games chose to carry on this tradition. One notable exception is Twilight Princess, where the Cuccos go so far as to function as Link’s little helpers. They are almost thankful for Link repeatedly attacking them! When Link whacks them several times, instead of reacting with a revenge-squad behavior, they let him control them for 10 whole seconds.
But the real helper Cucco is Rusl’s Golden Cucco. It has faster flight abilities than normal Cuccos, allowing it to help Link reach the Sacred Grove. Without this one Cucco, Link would have not been able to successfully save Hyrule!
A Replacement: Wind Waker
Cuccos were remarkably absent from the cartoonish 2003 installment, Wind Waker, and replaced by yet another farm animal: pigs. Yes, pigs. The pigs’ behavior is slightly different than the Cuccos, though. Instead of spawning new attackers, the pigs instead summon others nearby to assail Link. They are also relentless; they will not stop chasing Link until he goes to a place where they can’t reach. The most amusing thing? The determined pigs will also destroy all vases, grass, or even enemies in their path. Nothing stands in their way when they get angry!
Lowering the Violence: Link’s Awakening
This lesser-known fact is more commonly known among players of the original Link’s Awakening. You could actually kill Cuccos using Magic Powder or the Magic Rod in the original version. This would end the revenge squad behavior instantly, as this would have likely intimidated the little chickens and scared them away.
However, the 2019 Switch remake of Link’s Awakening erased this satisfying ability. Cuccos became normal NPCs, as they had now turned basically invincible, but they can still be attacked to trigger the swarm to arrive. The mischievous villager girl, Marin, even insists on Link continuing to hit the Cucco in a secret dialogue.
A Tradition Spanning Generations: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild proved the true impact of the Cucco attack by prominently including this generation-spanning tradition. Cuccos can be found in Kakariko Village and, mainly, Hyrule’s stables. However, BOTW’s Cuccos have a subtle difference from the rest of the games: on the first hit, they drop one raw Bird Egg and move on. They only get upset at Link when he continues to attack them.
Considering BOTW’s innovative new freedom, players continue to test out silly new tricks with the ability to carry Cuccos nearly anywhere across the map. One even threw a Cucco into Death Mountain, another brought one to the Calamity Ganon boss fight, and others have even used a Cucco in place of the paraglider to traverse the air. But even with all of this novelty to the infamous Cuccos, BOTW confirms how truly eternal the Cucco attack is: in the midst of a vast new Zelda masterpiece, the message still rings true. Don’t attack the Cuccos, or else!
Sources: Zelda Wiki – Cucco, Zelda Wiki – Pig