In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, there is not a single cucco in the entire game. The closest thing to a chicken is the seagulls. You know what they do? They fly around and squawk, and follow your boat, and when they eat a Hyoi pear that is being balanced on Link's head they get possessed until Link lets them go. They set the threat meter to absolute zero. Oh no, I hear you crying. The world of Hylian birds has no great heroes to defend their collective honour? Yes, that's true. But suddenly, a new contender has emerged.

New contender? What could it possibly be?

In previous Zelda games, if you provoked a chicken for long enough, they would summon their brethren to attack in an unholy blitzkrieg of bird. When you start a game in Wind Waker, you find yourself in a village called Outset Island. The area is home to a variety of species, including Hylians, seagulls, a Great Fairy, and three pigs. Imagine my glee when I realized what happens when you slice a pig with your sword: it snorts and hops away. Instantly I am reminded of a similar reaction from Ocarina of Time's cucco population. The snorting had been screeching, but the hopping was the same. So I continued to torture this little porkie around the island, not really believing it would attack until *wh-CHA!*. Yes, the game makes an actual whip snap sound at the exact moment that the pig snaps, mentally. The pig begins to flash red and does a few backflips in the air, and then rushes you like a madman. Madpig.

AHHH! ...what then?

If a pig touches you in this angered state, Link is thrown violently to the ground and loses one (1) heart of health. Also, the other two pigs on the island will sense their comrade engaged in battle, and race to the scene to aid the injured one, so keep in mind that if you are being chased by a pig, the two others will be diving off roofs and cliffs onto you. The only way to calm them down is to make them fall into the water or go into a house. There are also three pigs on Windfall Island who adhere to the same rules.

That doesn't seem so bad.

Well I never mentioned the Big Pig. Soon after starting the game you will have to leave your quaint little home on Outset, but before you go you must finish a few tasks. Some of these are necessary, like arming yourself with a deadly blade. Other tasks are more frivolous, like making a bit of pocket money cutting grass or putting pigs in their pen. If, AND ONLY IF, you round up all three pigs before leaving, you will get a small reward, and a big surprise. Later in the game you will find yourself returning to Outset, and you will soon discover that two of the pigs you gathered up for your neighbours have been eaten, and the third has grown up, in a big way. What you thought were three mean-spirited pigs were actually three playful piglets. The highest point on this beast's back is above Link's head, and it's at least five times his weight. The thing shakes the ground when it walks. You can't even lift it until Link finds the Power Bracelets that allow him to lift gigantic stone heads. Anyway, the Pig stays in its pen and cannot leave unless you carry it over, so that limits the danger. It goes without saying that if you provoke this monstrosity, you will pay dearly. This squealing nightmare takes three (3) hearts, and can run just as fast as Link, not to mention the terrifying feeling it gives you, charging panting and stomping like that.

The people at Nintendo sound insane!

The Big Pig is good for some things though. Around Outset are a number of black soil patches. If you scatter bait on top of a patch and drop the Pig onto the bait, he will dig ferociously, and you will be rewarded with some kind of buried treasure. Also, if you're seeking a running-of-the-bulls kind of thrill, you can always anger this earthbound god of pork, run up to the highest point on Outset Island, and soar away safely using the Deku Leaf. (An interesting point to mention is that if you look behind you while gliding, you will note that the Pig has charged right off the edge of the cliff and proceeded to run down the sheer wall in a blatant defiance of both you and physics. Thank God pigs can't fly.)

So Wind Waker doesn't depart from established tradition, but simply tweaks it. It's not Death by Cucco, it's Death by Pig. It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but trust me, when you are running for your life with a tower of flesh-hungry pig inches away from you, and you realize that the constant bleeping you hear indicates Link's health meter has reached its last three hearts, and you remember that three hearts is going to stand up to this deviled ham like a slip of paper can stand up to a swinging sledgehammer with an erupting volcano attached to the head, you will realize that running from a pig is just as - if not more - terrifying than a few sickly chickens bumping into you that can barely keep their feathers from dragging on the ground long enough to attack.