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Shout Out / Hollow Knight

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Hollow Knight has its fair share of pop culture references to other video game or anime titles, whether by blatant references or subtle expies.


  • False Knight is likely a nod to Makaku from Gunnm, a similarly insane, man-faced maggot who takes over the body of a heavily armored champion. They both hide their parasite heads under helmets with giant, curved horns.
  • Quite a few of Hollow Knight's critters (many of which are undead due to the plague) look like hollows from Bleach, not least the vessels themselves, which are creatures of supposed emptiness with pale, bony masks covering their heads.
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  • Midwife bears an uncanny resemblance to No-Face from Spirited Away.
  • Waldie, one of the spirits in the Glade of Hope claims to "bear a dark soul and a tendency to go berserk in battle". He also thinks that "you wouldn't have the guts to face [him] anyways".
  • Grubberfly's Elegy, which makes you shoot Sword Beams from your nail but only while at full health, is a pretty plain reference to The Legend of Zelda, in which Link can do the same in some games. If you equip both Grubberfly's Elegy and Fury of the Fallen, you also gain access to a Peril Beam, only usable when you have one health left. An identical power was available in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, by equipping the Peril Ring.
  • There are some shout-outs to Castlevania:
    • Grimm's fire bat attack and flame pillar attack clearly mimic two of Dracula's most famous attacks, especially the "hellfire" attack where he opens his cloak to launch the projectiles.
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    • Grimm's backdash move is also another Castlevania reference - It's like a sped-up version of Alucard's backdash!
    • One of the ghost bosses, No-Eyes, uses attacks that look and move almost exactly like Medusa Heads.
    • Galien's main method of attack by spinning his Sinister Scythe and turning it into a Pinball Projectile is reminiscent to the Grim Reaper / Death boss fights. Galien can also spawn miniature spinning blades just like Death.
  • There are also some shout-outs to Metroid:
    • Uumuu is awfully familiar to the Metroids, as is its background music.
    • The fossil of the bug whom you get the Shade Cloak in the Abyss visually resembles the Chozo Statues in Super Metroid.
  • Several mechanics, story points characters are comparable to the Dark Souls games and their related titles:
    • The dark atmosphere in general, and the setting where you explore a ruined kingdom. The background history and lore are not told directly, but by Story Breadcrumbs instead.
    • When you die in a Souls-like game, you lose some precious resources and must backtrack your way to where you died just to recover them. In Hollow Knight, this is similar as you lose all Geo when you die, and must return to the same spot and kill your leftover Shade to recover them.
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    • The Hollow Knight bears more than a few similarities to two separate characters from Dark Souls I: Artorias and Gwyn.
      • With Artorias they share the status of a hero fallen to the force they were meant to oppose, a BFS wielded with one hand while the other is injured (or missing in the Hollow Knight's case), and a fighting style that channels the force they were corrupted with.
      • Meanwhile, like Gwyn they sacrificed themselves to protect their world, is the Final Boss who the player aims to replace in their duties, and is in a rather sorry state when encountered.
    • The Watcher Knights are expies of the Abyss Watchers. Though mercifully, the last one will not get supercharged.
    • When Hornet assists you in the True Ending, she yells something that sounds suspiciously like "Git Gud!" Considering the difficulty of the boss you are about to face, this may not be a coincidence.
    • At the 24:15 timestamp of this video with Team Cherry, Ari mentions that the Soul mechanic in this game is somehow based on the health mechanic from Bloodborne - When you hit an enemy in that game, you regain a bit of health. Here, you can regain soul by hitting enemies, and you can use that soul gauge to manually restore health.
      • In fact, the game's entire premise is reminiscent of Bloodborne, since Hallownest is infested with monsters that are the victims of a mysterious, deadly disease.
  • The Dashmaster charm's appearance and color scheme resembles Sans from Undertale.
  • From a Reddit AMA and in certain interviews, Team Cherry mentioned that Hallownest was created as an inverse of the world tree setting in Faxanadu, one of the games that served as an inspiration when they made Hollow Knight.
  • The Radiance is very reminiscent of the final form of Lumine. Both are true final bosses after besting an infected swordsman, both are angelic in appearance and fought against a cloudy yellow background, and both rely on screen-filling light-beam attacks. Even Team Cherry has stated that Mega Man X8 is another inspiration for Hollow Knight.
  • The Crystal Crawlers uses the same crawling sound as the Gold Skultullas in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • The Baldur enemy is often found guarding certain passages; for example, the way to Greenpath is initially gated off by a Baldur. You could even say they are... Baldur's Gate!
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