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The River Zoras, most commonly simply named Zoras, are a hostile aquatic race.
River Zoras are primarily hostile creatures who make their home wherever there is a large body of water. All potential intruders of their domain are bound to find themselves on the receiving end of their trademark spit attack, which can't be blocked by regular shields. Typically, a Zora hides just below the surface of the water until it deems the moment right to attack, at which point they stick their head out and launch a ball of fire towards the intended target. They only stay above surface for a short time, whereupon they repeat their strategy. Most counterattacks thus have to be performed with long-range equipment from the shore at the time of their attack, which can prove to be quite tricky.
Alternatively, if the water is not deep enough to accommodate this strategy, Zoras are known to emerge fully and give chase on foot. They are sufficiently agile on land, but the lack of water to hide in makes them an easy target. However, some Zora specialize in this form of attack. Those are called Geozards and rather than fight barehanded, they approach their target armed with shield and sword. They still utilize their spit attack, but mix it up with considerable skill in sword fighting.
Zora prey on smaller fish for nourishment. The skin of Zoras is scaly and green or blue, rarely red, and their huge, prominently colored maws hold sharp fangs. When not in deep water, they stand upright. One variety is known to switch between standing on two legs and on four legs, but this is not a commonly seen trait of Zoras. Those Zoras also occasionally inhabit desert areas, which again is not common to Zoras. Zoras enjoy their environment damp, sometimes opting to leave the safety of the waters to stroll around on land if the weather is rainy.
In The Legend of Zelda, Zoras occupy all of the three bodies of water around Death Mountain, which consist of a spring-waterfall-river-lake-river course that splits the region in half, a small lake east of it and a much larger lake/sea covering the eastward region. With a handful of exceptions, there is at least one Zora per area. A Zora's spit attack takes away half a heart and can only be blocked by a Magical Shield. Zoras can withstand one blow from a Wooden Sword, and if they can dive before being hit again, they recover from the attack. Otherwise, another hit will do them in, as do single hits with better weaponry.
The behavior of Zoras in The Adventure of Link is rather different from their other appearances. A few turn up on crossings over rivers, but most inhabit caves, deserts and Maze Island on the Eastern continent, far from their usual watery habitats. Zoras have a quadrupedal structure, though they can and will stand on their hind legs. This they combine with their traditional spit attack, mimicking their below-above water strategy with their quadrupedal-bipedal position. Zoras are particularly tough fighters, dealing damage ranging from three bars of a health meter to three-fourth of it depending on the level of their opponent. In addition to having access to equally strong long-range and close combat moves, they themselves can only be harmed through the use of the Fire magic, though this only happens in the international release of the game since they can be harmed with regular sword attacks in the Japanese version. Upon defeat, they yield 50 experience points and once in a while a Red Potion or a 200 Treasure Bag.
In A Link to the Past, the Zoras inhabit the Light World and have made their homes in the east of Hyrule, divided over Lake Hylia and Zora's Lake. Zora's River connects the two, allowing the water to flow from Zora's Lake to Lake Hylia. Zoras are impossible to find within the river if not close to either of the lakes. This seems to be because they have a more sufficient system of travel: Zoras are capable of utilizing Whirlpool Waterways, magic portals that link all of Hyrule's waters.
Zoras reside below the water's surface unless they detect an intruder. As usual, their spit attack is their primary offense. It takes away half a heart standard and cannot not be blocked by the Fighter's Shield. If, however, the water is too shallow, the Zoras opt to emerge fully and attack physically, dealing another standard half a heart worth of damage. If they are defeated, they leave one or more bombs behind.
However, not all Zoras treat outsiders with hostility. A Zora twice the usual size, King Zora, the leader of the Zoras, makes a business out of selling non-Zoras Zora's Flippers for 500 Rupees per set. When Link buys flippers, King Zora is pleased enough to throw in a bonus with the purchase, allowing Link to make use of the Zoras' many Whirlpool Waterways.
River Zoras' counterparts in the Dark World are the Ku. King Zora himself may have his counterpart in the Catfish.
In Link's Awakening, the Zoras live primarily in Martha's Bay, but some can be found in the Bay's upper river and the actual bays of Koholint Island. Zoras remain submerged until they detect an intruder, whom they exclusively try to attack with their spit attack. It takes away half a heart normally and a quarter of a heart if the intruder is equipped with a Guardian Acorn or the Blue Clothes. It can only be blocked with a Mirror Shield. If anyone is to swim into them, they also deal half a heart worth of damage.
One peaceful Zora has taken up residence in Animal Village in secret. They live in the northeastward house, invisible from others. When Link acquires the Magnifying Lens, he investigates the house once more and is able to see the Zora living there. The Zora assures him they mean no harm, at which point the Photographer enters and insists he snaps a picture to commemorate the discovery. Once the Photographer leaves, the Zora gives Link information on "someone like [him]" at Toronbo Shores in return for keeping quiet about his existence.
Both Holodrum and Labrynna are host to river Zoras in Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages. In Holodrum, they live in the waters of North Horon and Holodrum Plain. In Labrynna, they live in the waters of Talus Peaks in both ages, but only in the past do they live at Rolling Ridge Base, since the base has dried up in the present age. Their reaction to trespassers is the same as in Hyrule; they preferably send a ball of fire worth half a heart in the offender's direction, but can also deal that amount of damage physically. Their spit attack can't be blocked by the Wooden Shield, but stronger shields do offer protection. On top of that, the Blue Holy Ring specifically protects its wearer against river Zoras' fireballs.
Two items related to the river Zoras exist in both lands, both bestowing Zora qualities on its users. Zora's Flippers are an item that allows the wearer to swim and dive shortly. In Holodrum, they are in the possession of the Master Diver, who hands them out to people who have proven themselves to be worthy to become his apprentice, but in Labrynna, they are inventions of Cheval and a pair of them can be found with his tomb in the present age. The other item, the Zora Ring is best used in conjunction with the flippers. It grants its wearer the ability to breathe underwater and thus dive indefinitely.
Labrynna is also home to the friendly Sea Zora race and as such is one of only two known places where both races live. This appears to be because the two races don't get along well.
The Zora of A Link Between Worlds closely resemble those of A Link to the Past. Most of the Zora found in Hyrule's rivers are enemies, but those in Zora's Domain are not. Oren is the queen of the Zora and one of the seven Sages. Oren explains why most of the Zora encountered in the game are hostile once she returns to her normal form. The reason is that the Zora consider the river their territory, and although she tells them to get along with humans, she admits that they don't really listen to her. An early quest involved Link retrieving her Smooth Gem and receiving the Zora's Flippers in return.
In Four Swords Adventures, two types of river Zoras live in Hyrule, one green with two eyes, and another blue and one-eyed. The blue Zora appears to be based on the Zora sprite from the first game, while its single eye might come from the Kus from A Link to the Past. Blue Zoras appear to vastly outnumber the green variety.
Blue Zoras inhabit Lake Hylia, The Coast, The Swamp and the river near Kakariko Village. In most regions, they are hostile and both their spit attack and physical strength are good to deal half a heart of damage. The fireballs can be blocked with an average shield, though. Within The Swamp, Zoras refrain from attacking. Instead, they hide under lily pads and only occasionally come to the surface. Anyone standing on one of the lily pads they've hidden under at that time will be launched up high into the air.
In addition to the mostly hostile blue Zoras, the Links also encounter one friendly green Zora. During their time in Kakariko Village, they stumble across a Zora who lives in the pond north of the village. The Zora is hungry, but can't catch the fishes himself. The four Links help to feed him quickly, and in return, he rewards them with 100 gems and another Heart Container.
Earlier, the Links met what then appeared to be two Zoras, but was in fact one shape changed, split Queen of Fairies. They meet the first of these Zoras when they free her from her cell in the castle of Hyrule. She begs them to bring her to her counterpart who was locked up in the other side of the castle. The Links fulfill her request and bring the two Zoras to the gate, where they merged into their one, true form again.
River Zoras do not return in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, but the enemy Geozards resemble them. Geozards always come out of the water and are armed with swords and shields. In Phantom Hourglass, they breathe fireballs like River Zoras. They fight similarly to Darknuts in earlier games.
In Spirit Tracks, there is a red variety known as Geozard Chief that breathes fireballs instead. Link requires his partner Phantom Zelda to distract the Geozard Chief while he attacks from behind.