Welcome to your bi-weekly update on the world of Zelda speedrunning. We see a return to normal this week, following the excitement of the ZeldaSpeedRun Marathon. Today, we’re talking super speed launching in Breath of the Wild, a change in the Ocarina of Time rules, and, in Glitch Exhibition, we’ll be taking a closer look at the glitches which make A Link to the Past’s true any% category last only 90 seconds.
A new type of stasis launch has been discovered by Breath of the Wild runners. Dubbed the Super Speed Launch, it is, yes, you guessed it, a special type of launch which gives Link a super high speed, even higher than that of a standard launch. The exact cause of the glitch isn’t know as of yet, although it’s believed to stem from pulling the paraglider on a specific frame during a launch. Creating lag is also believed to have an effect on the launch, however research is still continuing. If the trick can be made consistent, it would save around a minute from the any% run, and much more in the longer categories such as All Dungeons and All Main Quests. The Super Speed Launch can be seen in action here.
As I mentioned in an earlier article, the Ocarina of Time (and Majora’s Mask) community were having a discussion regarding the use of third party adapters. The reason for this discussion and possible rule change was a recent route change, which left the Virtual Console version of the game faster than the N64 version. Unfortunately, the Virtual Console has much tighter controls, and a much larger deadzone on the controller. This means pulling off the Extended Super Slide position, crucial for multiple glitches and skips, was much harder. The use of a third party adapter to mimic the controls of the N64 was suggested, and eventually taken to a vote.
Ultimately, the community decided to allow the use of all controller adapters, including ESS adapters. Rules still prevent the use of any controller which adds extra functionality to the game (such as turbo controllers, or controllers which allow inputs to be remapped to different buttons). More information regarding the result of the vote can be found here.
While having a casual glance through the depths of Speedrun.com, you might notice the oddity that is A Link to the Past’s any% category. Or rather, the lack thereof. A No Major Glitches version is available, but the standard, anything goes category can only be found right at the end of the Major Glitches section.
Coming in at 1:31, the category is one of the shortest any% categories in any Zelda title to date, however, unlike Ocarina of Time, the main A Link to the Past any% category bans certain movement glitches and memory manipulation. You see, by performing certain actions, runners can seriously mess up the game’s logic, allowing them to skip huge amounts of the game.
One such action is known as the Exploration Glitch. This enters Link into a special layer which allows him to walk through walls. Only possible in the game’s Underworld, this glitch is caused by triggering an indoor layer transition (like jumping from a ledge) in an unintended manner. This transfers Link into a special layer on the map, which allows him to walk through some collision. Because most underworld rooms are stored on the same map (think of the dungeons of the original Zelda), once in this special layer, the any% runner simply has to walk into the Triforce Room and trigger the final cutscene to complete their run.
It’s not just the layers which give way to huge glitches. Ever heard of the phrase “The walls have ears”? Well, in A Link to the Past, the doors have… problems. One such problem is known as Door Juke.
Normally doors in this game will not allow Link access if he is carrying an item – they simply block his progress like walls. However, by using specific items (such as a well placed Somaria Block), the game will rewrite memory addresses, which alter the contents of the room Link is currently in. This can be used to change chest contents, refill chests (which can be used to regenerate keys) and also allows for another glitch called Wrong Warp (more on that later) to be performed.
Remember we said doors don’t like it when you try to carry items through their screen transition? Well this applies to bottles too. When trying to consume a bottled potion while going through a screen transition (any transition, not just doors), the game’s memory corrupts, in a glitch named Yuzuhara’s Bottle Adventure. While not technically a glitch, it does open the door to many other types of tricks and skips.
For example, if activated in a door, it has a chance of activating Door Warp, a corrupted door transition, which transports a player multiple rooms, or in the wrong direction entirely.
Finally, after performing a Door Juke, some bottomless pits will, instead of dealing damage to Link, transport him to another location. This is known as a Wrong Warp.
Together, these glitches form the latter half of the “any% (No EG/DG/WW)” titles, DW standing for Door Glitches, an umbrella term for Door Juke and Door Warp.
You’ll notice a distinct lack of applications listed for these tricks. This is because the sheer number of uses each of these glitches could have is overwhelming, not to mention that they can be stacked for even more results. If I were to try and list them all we’d be here until the next article, and I’m sure none of us want that. Thankfully, the A Link to the Past community have already compiled this information into a handy guide, which can be found here.
This week’s spotlight is a Breath of the Wild runner. Specializing in some of the longer categories, JKTKops had a chat with me about his experiences with the game.
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
JKTKops: I’m an 18 year old high school senior. I’ve been into watching speedruns for about as long as I can remember, back in the good old days of un-optimized Ocarina of Time any%. I didn’t start speedrunning myself until a couple of years ago (I don’t remember exactly), with the any% category of a game called Hack ‘n’ Slash. It’s a Zelda-like puzzle game focused around coding, and the any% is basically a giant setup for a “hack” – except because the game lets you edit its code as part of a core mechanic, it’s not really a hack. It’s more of a wrong warp, except it’s supposed to happen. That’s the best way I can explain it.
Since then I’ve also run Portal 2 any%, Aperture Tag any% (neither of which with very good times), tried to learn Undertale but lost interest, and then picked up Breath of the Wild. In Breath of the Wild, I run (prepare for a list) All Dungeons, Master Sword and Dungeons, Master Sword RTA, All Main Quests, All Shrines, All Shrines Extended, and of course the greatest meme category All Kass Quests.
EC: You’re a relative newcomer to the Zelda community, what made you try out running Breath of the Wild, and why did you start with such a long category?
JKTKops: I played Breath of the Wild casually and knew immediately that I didn’t want to have to stop playing it. I see speedrunning as a way of (among other things) adding replayability to a game. It certainly isn’t the best speed game, but it’s also much better than most people think. It’s also easier to get into than a lot of speed games; the only major tricks are various types of stasis launches and some shrines skips. A category like All Dungeons that doesn’t do shrines is really easy to get into using a horse-focused route. At the same time, it offers a ton of room for optimizations and small time saves that still separate “merely” experienced runners from the best runners.
I started with All Main Quests because the route at the time wasn’t particularly difficult, as well as it being longer, made it a pretty good starting category. Longer categories are less punishing in general because you don’t have to play as precisely to get times that are still good. My times weren’t good anyway, but that’s besides the point.
As for why I moved into focusing my time on All Shrines / All Shrines Extended, I primarily wanted to do categories that see more of the game, but are still a manageable length. It’s hard to find time for 9 or 12 hour runs, so in my other time, I still run Master Sword RTA, All Dungeons, Master Sword and Dungeons, etc. My more recent focus however was in routing and running All Shrines Extended because it was essentially (with only a single run) an untouched category and I was really interested in routing it.
EC: Are there any parts of the All Shrines run you absolutely dread (or look forward to)?
JKTKops: Dread: Shora Hah (Blue Flame). Most of the run is about equal in interest or like how “cool” a skip is. I guess for Extended I look forward to the Flying Machine segment (to show that off) and then for both Original and Extended, the launch off of Mt. Lanayru into Hateno Village is really cool (credits to Zant for finding it).
EC: Do you prefer running categories with only 3 or 4 times on the leaderboard? Obviously there’s less competition, but sometimes having a “rival” to run against can help push both runners to be better.
JKTKops: I prefer running categories I think are fun or funny. I’m already pushing myself to improve all of my times and I think most other runners would say the same. I did the All Kass Quests run because I thought the category was funny, and I run All Shrines because I think lots of shrine skips are really cool and the category is fun.
EC: What’s it like being a newcomer in such a big community?
JKTKops: There are certainly cliques and subgroups among the members which have already developed as well as some schisms over issues that I wasn’t around to witness and therefore don’t understand. I don’t think it’s necessarily difficult to pick up on what those are and avoid them, but becoming part of the “group” can be difficult. It never helps that speedrunning is an extremely practice-oriented hobby, so those who have been around the game for longer are better. Likewise, I’m aware that I’m on the lower tiers, so it definitely leads to a sort of “them vs me” mentality, instead of an “us” mentality, pretty often. That said, I’m in speedrunning for the self-improvement side, beating my own times and goals, so I don’t feel like I need to compete with everyone else on their level and I never see a problem with asking for help.
EC: Do you plan on moving on to any other categories or games in the future?
JKTKops: I’d like to learn any% at some point, and I’d also like to try the Extended versions of the categories that I don’t already. I might also try more extension categories like All Towers or Best Ending, but that’s not something I’d focus a lot of time into developing. As far as other games go, my console selection isn’t great so it doesn’t seem too likely. The only other Zelda game I could really see myself running is Wind Waker HD. Outside of Zelda games, nothing has caught my eye yet, but that doesn’t mean nothing will!
EC: If you could only run one category of one game for the rest of time, what would it be, and why?
JKTKops: I think I’m gonna go with Ocarina of Time 100%. Not that I’ve done it before, but I’ve previously been interested in Ocarina of Time and, if I can only run one category, hundo does the most of the game. I’d choose that game in particular because something is always changing, so it would stay fresh. Dry repetition gets boring. That said, who knows how long I’ll be running anyway? Lots of runners eventually leave a community due to changes in real life circumstances etc. If I knew in advance that I may not be running so long, I would probably pick a different game/category, but I don’t know which.
Due to a mistake made on my part, a few runs submitted earlier in the week weren’t recorded for this article. From the runs which were recorded, a large insurgence of the lesser seen categories was seen across the board.
Legend of Zelda
any%, No Up+A, First Quest. JSR – 29:39
Co-op, Second Quest. Kababesh + Kingdahl – 24:44
any%, FC. RandomEffekt – 29:47
Swordless, RDO, First Quest. kingdahl – 47:17
A Link to the Past (GBA)
Master Sword. Poopfeast – 20:33
100%. Poopfeast – 1:34:12
any% (No EG/DG/WW), Major Glitches. Saucyhorse67 – 2:40
Ocarina of Time
All Cows. AntiLink – 47:07
Ocarina of Time Master Quest
Wind Waker HD
Din’s Pearl. Ian_Miles29 – 25:37
Majora’s Mask 3D
any%. Iwabi74 – 1:25:06
All Masks. Iwabi74 – 2:35:26
No Wrong Warp. LegendofZeldaLF – 1:57:02
Twilight Princess HD
All Mirror Shards. Bruggles – 6:17:28
Breath of the Wild
All Dungeons, Original, No amiibo. trogle – 2:04:27
Death%, Ice Water, No amiibo. Iden – 3:54
All Main Quests, Original, No amiibo. Twik – 3:37:17
Master Sword RTA, No amiibo. Zdi – 2:08:55
The Final Split
After the excitement of the last few weeks, you’ll be glad to know that the upcoming fortnight is a little lighter on the speedrunning events.
Southeastern Speedrunners for St Jude – 5th May – A short, one day event raising money as part of a global fundraising campaign to end childhood cancer. The event opens with a Legend of Zelda second quest run, and also features a No Major Glitches Link to the Past run.
RPG Limit Break – 13th May ~ 20th May – Like the name suggests, a full week of RPG speedruns. As you might imagine, a severe lacking of Zelda titles, but this is the place to be for fans of RPGs.
Next Level Speedrun Showcase – 19th May ~ 21st May – Held in the Next Level store in New Jersey, this event has a grand finale of The Legend of Zelda and A Link to the Past.
That’s all from me this week. I’ll be back in a few weeks with even more news, glitches and interviews. In the meantime, if you have any questions, fire them in the direction of my Twitter. Until then, have fun!
Euan Crombie is the host of Zelda Dungeon’s bi-weekly Zelda Speedrunning series, Zelda Runners. He can be found on Twitter and will make it to Rank X Rainmaker if it kills him.