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Heart Container

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"You got a Heart Container! Your maximum life energy is increased by one heart. Your life energy will be totally filled."
— In-game description

Heart Containers, also known as Container Hearts, are recurring items in the Legend of Zelda series. These heart-shaped containers are visual representations of Link's current health. The more Heart Containers Link collects, the more health he will have. The number of Heart Containers Link has reflects the maximum amount of health he can have at one time, traditionally displayed in the upper left corner of the screen. When Link's health is full, the Heart Containers are red. As Link loses health, they lose their color or disappear. In some games, Link can lose quarter hearts or half hearts.

Link usually starts his adventure with three Heart Containers; the limit for how many Heart Containers Link can obtain in all depends on the game, though the most common maximum is twenty. Heart Containers are typically left behind by bosses upon defeat. Link can also "create" Heart Containers by collecting Pieces of Heart; the most common number of Pieces of Heart needed to complete another Heart Container is four, however, exceptions exist. Some games omit Pieces of Heart in favor of completed Heart Containers. Occasionally, Link will need a specific number of Heart Containers to complete certain tasks.

Appearances

The Legend of Zelda

Container Heart

Defeated bosses leave behind Heart Containers, and Link can also find them by completing puzzles. Additionally, in several caves throughout the overworld, an Old Man will offer Link a Heart Container or a Red Potion. Acquiring the White Sword from an Old Man requires Link to have at least 5 Heart Containers, and acquiring the Magical Sword requires 12.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Heart Containers are replaced by a health meter, which measure Link's current health. This meter can be extended by collecting Heart Containers, which are found scattered across Hyrule. Instead of losing whole, half, or quarter hearts, damage simply decreases by varying amounts. By collecting Experience and leveling up, Link can choose to upgrade his defense, which decreases the damage caused by enemy attacks.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Link can collect up to 20 Heart Containers in this game. Link can find them after defeating bosses, and can find one within a chest in the sanctuary. He can also find Pieces of Heart, four of which will combine to form a Heart Container. Link must collect the Heart Containers that defeated bosses leave behind before the Pendant of Virtue or an imprisoned Maiden will appear.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Link can collect up to 14 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains eight from defeated bosses, and can obtain the remaining three by collecting the game's twelve Pieces of Heart.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Heart Container (Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask)

Link can collect up to 20 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains eight from defeated bosses, and can obtain the remaining nine by collecting the game's thirty-six Pieces of Heart.

Link can also enhance his defensive capabilities by visiting the Great Fairy of Courage who resides near Ganon's Castle, which results in halving all damage received and adding of a white outline to the Heart Containers in the heart meter.

The game also marks the first time Heart Containers occasionally appear at the very point of the boss' defeat; for example, the Heart Container received after defeating Volvagia appears exactly where its decapitated head ends up.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Link can collect up to 20 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains four from defeated bosses, and can obtain the remaining thirteen by collecting the game's fifty-two Pieces of Heart.

Link can also enhance his defensive capabilities by visiting the Great Fairy of Courage who resides near Zora Cape, again resulting in halving of all damage received.

In an area of the game called the Secret Shrine, Link can re-battle the first Mini-Bosses from each of the game's four Temples. Each one, however, requires him to have a specific number of Heart Containers; he needs four to battle the Dinolfos, eight to battle the Wizzrobe, twelve to battle the Wart, and sixteen to battle the Garo Master. Defeating all four will yield a Piece of Heart.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

Link can collect up to 14 Heart Containers during a normal game. However, in a Linked Game, Link begins the game with four Heart Containers rather than the standard three, and can receive an additional Heart Container through password swapping, making the new maximum 16.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

Heart Container (Four Swords)

This game is vastly different than most Zelda titles when it comes to Heart Containers. Each Link player starts off with six heart containers, instead of the usual three. Defeating bosses will yield no Heart Containers. Link keeps the Containers only during a stage, and loses them at the beginning of a new stage. Link can find two Heart Containers at the end of every level of every stage before the boss fight.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Link can collect up to 20 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains six from defeated bosses, and can obtain the remaining eleven by collecting the game's Pieces of Heart.

The shape of Heart Containers is slightly more oval than earlier designs; this also applies to Pieces of Heart.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Link starts off with four heart containers instead of three. Like the first Four Swords game, defeating bosses will yield no Heart Containers; Link keeps the Containers only during a stage, and loses them at the beginning of a new stage. Each Heart Container is hidden in a level, not unlike Heart Pieces.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Link can collect up to 20 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains five from defeated bosses, and can obtain eleven more by collecting the game's forty-four Pieces of Heart. The final Heart Container is a secret in the game, obtained through multiple Kinstone fusions.

During the Picori Festival, Pina offers Princess Zelda a heart-shaped stone, which looks identical to a Heart Container, but the player is unable to obtain it.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Heart Container (Twilight Princess)

Link can collect up to 20 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains eight from defeated bosses, and can obtain the remaining nine by collecting the game's forty-five Pieces of Heart; in this game, Link needs five Pieces of Heart to form a full Heart Container.

The shape of Heart Containers, as well as Pieces of Heart, is somewhat similar to those from The Wind Waker; however, instead of being all glass, they consist of a glass container with metal sealing the edges tight.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Heart Container (Phantom Hourglass)

Link can collect up to 16 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains seven from defeated bosses, and can obtain the remaining six through sidequests; no Pieces of Heart exist in this game.

One of those six is notable in the potential to lose any chance of claiming it: if Link fails to get the Heart Container left behind by defeating the Diabolical Cubus Sisters, he will receive it in the mail. But if he refuses it there, he cannot obtain the container for the rest of the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Link can collect up to 16 Heart Containers in this game. He begins with three, obtains five from defeated bosses, and can obtain the remaining eight through sidequests; like Phantom Hourglass, no Pieces of Heart exist in this game.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Heart Container (Skyward Sword)

Link can collect up to 20 Heart Containers in this game. Due to many of the game's enemies dealing one whole heart's worth of damage, Link starts out with six containers as opposed to the traditional three. He can obtain six more containers through defeated bosses, another six from by collecting the game's twenty-four Pieces of Heart, and the last two from Life Medals.

Unlike other Heart Containers from previous 3-D Zelda installments, Heart Containers do not spawn from a boss's remains. Instead, they form from a ball of light in the air. They are also red in appearance, with gold lining making the shape of a smaller heart inside the container.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Similar to A Link to the Past, Link can obtain Heart Containers by defeating bosses and by collecting Pieces of Heart.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

Super Smash Bros. series

Heart Containers appear in the Super Smash Bros. series as healing items. There are a few differences between how much they heal in each game.

  • In the original Super Smash Bros., Heart Containers heal all damage. If a player picks one up, all of his/her damage is decreased all the way to 0%. Its appearance is similar to that of Heart Containers from Ocarina of Time.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee, they heal 100% damage. However, there are three in All Star Mode that heal all damage. As in the first title, their appearance is very similar to the ones found in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, their appearance is based on the Twilight Princess design and still heal 100% damage. In All Star Mode, as well as Boss Battles, they once again heal all damage.
  • In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, their appearance is based on the Skyward Sword design and still heal 100% damage. In All Star Mode, only one appears in the rest area (two if every character has been unlocked), as several different healing items now appear.

Hyrule Warriors

Heart Containers in Hyrule Warriors have the same effect they would in any canon Zelda game. They give characters one more heart, adding to their maximum health. They are found most often hidden on the map and require a certain character to be used. They will always be found in chests. They can be obtained from Legend Mode, Free Mode, or Adventure Mode. Also similar to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, a characters' Heart meter will increase upon reaching a certain level.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.

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