So this is what a post-E3 world looks like huh… Well, once you’ve picked your jaw off the floor, and rehydrated your Ganon-plants, it’s time to delve back into the world of Zelda speedrunning. What have I got in store for you this week? You’ll just have to read on and find out…
Big Zelda news this week? Nope, nothing. Not that I can think of anyway. New game? Nope, don’t think so? Look, unless there’s a HD remake of Triforce Heroes, I’m not interested.
Also this week –
- In the final week of the Legend of Zelda Multi-Category tournament, runner rooslugs came away victorious, after playing against JSR in a best of final. The tournament initially spanned three rounds, each using a different category (Any%, 100%, and Swordless), with the results of each providing the seeding for the final bracket stage.
- With that out of the way, there’s now a Majora’s Mask any% Tournament on the horizon. This looks to be a standard bracket tournament, and there’s already quite a few entrants, so it’s bound to be an exciting watch. You can find out more info about this tournament here.
In this week’s Glitch Exhibition, to celebrate the release date reveal of Link’s Awakening (what, I’m allowed to be excited ok?) we’re taking a closer look at the movement options and optimizations of the original Link’s Awakening.
To start off with, let’s take a look at the base movement values for each type of movement. These are measured in sub-pixels per frame (16 sub-pixels make up a single pixel). The fastest movement option is the Hookshot, travelling at 48 sub-pixels per frame. This is followed by the Pegasus Boots, at 20. Of course, these being items, they’re not available all the time, so what about standard movement options?
Well walking normally is 16, while walking diagonally is 12. These are increased to 20 and 15 respectively when holding a piece of power. Jumping with Roc’s Feather is also 16, so this is usually used for any diagonal movement. Swimming is faster when mashing the A Button (8 to 16), and shielding enemies is slightly faster than walking normally (18).
Another prominent technique within the game is known as Wall Clipping. This allows the player to clip slightly into blocks, which in turn lets Link push blocks in directions which weren’t originally intended. To initiate this glitch, simply walk into the corner of a block. This will have one of two outcomes. If you are aligned with the outside of the block, Link will continue walking, and clip into the block by 1-3 pixels. If you were positioned slightly closer to the middle of the block, Link will go into his pushing animations for a few frames, before aligning and clipping into the block by 2-3 pixels.
The number of pixels Link will clip is dependent on the direction in which he clips into the block. Approaching from the north or south can clip up to 3 pixels, while approaching from east or west can only clip up to 2 pixels.
Finally, there are plenty of other small tips and tricks runners of these games use. For example, a damage boost will increase Link’s speed for a short time, and can also help him jump over small gaps. In the original title, pressing the Select button as Link enters a screen transition will warp him to the same position on the new screen, allowing the game to be completed in under 4 minutes.
Of course, how many of these return in the Switch remake remains to be seen. It’s unlikely that the screen warping glitch will return, as it was already patched in Link’s Awakening DX, but there are still plenty of other exploits to make use of…
We’re travelling back in time for this week’s spotlight, as I have a chat with an A Link to the Past runner and router, Glan.
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself!
Gland: I’m Glan, a speedrunner from Canada. Currently I only run a few games, being A Link to the Past, and Donkey Kong Country 1 and 3. I have plans to learn more soon but can’t find the time (what else is new?). I hold a few records in A Link to the Past, being 100% All Heart Pieces, Max% Rain, and Arrghus RTA. I also briefly held the record for Swordless. I’m pretty knowledgeable about the glitches in the game and have put in work routing many of the major glitches categories, including Swordless, All Bosses Unrestricted, 100%, Max% Rain, and boss RTAs. I’m also fairly notorious for spawning meme categories; give me a goal and a ruleset and I’ll have a route within a few hours (actually running it is a different story though).
EC: How did you first get into speedrunning?
Glan: I’ve always loved retro games growing up, and replayed countless titles from the SNES, N64, PS1, Gamecube, etc. In late 2016/early2017 I discovered the retro gaming side of Twitch and, shortly after, speedrunning. What ultimately got me into A Link to the Past, my first real speedgame, was watching randomizer. Having played the game a few times growing up, I decided it would be fun to try it out myself and I was immediately hooked. I spent a lot of time learning and practicing strats for racing it. The more I focused on learning the execution side of the game, the more speedruns appealed to me. In early 2018 I first tried running No Major Glitches, and soon after that All Dungeons (No EG/DG/WW). Not too long after that I got really burned out on rando and have been focusing mainly on speedrunning ever since.
EC: You focus more on the Major Glitches categories within the game. Is there any particular reason you prefer these runs over the No Major Glitches runs?
Glan: What I really like about major glitch runs is the huge amount of routing options the glitches allow. With no major glitches, you’re more or less funneled down the same path of intended gameplay. The first 6 dungeons have to be done in exactly the same order (Hyrule Castle, Eastern Palace, Desert Palace, Tower of Hera, Agahnim’s Tower, Palace of Darkness), only after that can you have any route divergence (and even then you don’t really). Major glitches allow you to go basically anywhere so you get much more interesting routing. Overall, they streamline runs a lot more. In NMG for instance, after Eastern Palace, you have to run all the way over to Kakariko just for the book, then run all the way back to the desert. With major glitch runs, you still typically need to get the book, but you can leave it for later until you’re rescuing the blacksmith, who is at the same spot as the book but in the dark world, just a mirror use away. You also get to not beat Desert Palace until you’re also beating Misery Mire at the same time, again just a mirror use away. I guess a good way to put it is that glitches make it so that you aren’t required to complete things at specific times, letting you hold off on them until they can be grouped with something else, instead of going to the same area twice.
EC: Having routed parts of the game yourself, do you find it gives you an advantage when you’re actually running? Does having a greater knowledge of the game make you feel more comfortable tackling difficult tricks?
I’ve always found that learning tricks and glitches in speedrunning is easier when I understand why they work. I initially learned glitches for glitched modes of rando, which is more about the theory of what the glitches do rather than the specific applications. This is the basis of my ability to route categories. However this has also let me gain a lot of experience in just using glitches to move around, rather than focusing on specific, memorized sequences of tricks. This lets me look at a run from the perspective of just moving from place to place, rather than as a specific series of tricks, which makes it a lot more comfortable for me to carry out.
EC: If I gave you a goal and a ruleset, how exactly would you go about routing? Is it a case of trial and error to see which methods or routes are faster? Or do you have some procedure that you follow?
Glan: Typically I’ll look at the start of the route first, although this typically writes itself: rescuing Zelda is basically always the first thing, followed by beating Eastern Palace to get the boots, since you want those as soon as possible. (Note that it is possible to complete Eastern before Zelda to get the boots even earlier, though this ends up being slower due to Zelda telling you to come rescue her every minute and a half). Another consideration is that in categories where EG (Exploration Glitch) is allowed, you can get the Cane of Somaria, which is a severely broken item with tons of glitch potential, right after rescuing Zelda, before Eastern, but you might not need it right away and there could be a better option to get it later. If it’s a full-game goal (i.e. beating all dungeons), there ends up being a fair amount of overlap between categories. We have a lot of established strats for completing different dungeons in certain orders, as well as some older obsoleted strats that can be useful again in the right conditions. So generally I’ll start with something established and see if some variations can be faster in the specific circumstance. One of the most important things though is knowing which items will be necessary. Even if you don’t know how the sections will route together, one of the first things to consider is how each section or dungeon will be beaten so you know which items are skippable.. This is of course subject to change when you figure out more of the route, but you want to know what will be required and when. That alone covers a huge part of fitting it all together.
EC: What are your plans for the future speedrunning wise? Would you ever consider running another Zelda title?
Glan: There’s a few categories in A Link to the Past I still want to get better times in, those being All Bosses Unrestricted, All Dungeons (No EG/DG/WW), Any% (No EG/DG/WW), and Low% All Dungeons (Pearl). And of course, classic No Major Glitches; my PB is still fairly high for my skill at the game. Other than A Link to the Past, I’ve had my eye on several games to learn. The big one for me is Donkey Kong Country 2 to finish the trilogy there. I have been wanting to run another Zelda game but not sure which one. Link’s Awakening is appealing to me since it’s not very long (in fact it’s even shorter than A Link to the Past). Oracle of Seasons, Ocarina of Time, and Four Swords Adventures are all games I want to try running at some point.
EC: If you could only run one category of one game for the rest of time, what would it be, and why?
Glan: That’s definitely a tough choice to make. I think it would have to be All Dungeons (No EG/DG/WW) in A Link to the Past. It has a good length (1:15-ish). Unlike the unrestricted ruleset, No EG/DG/WW mostly only allows clipping, which makes the ruleset a good middle ground between No Major Glitches, which is entirely about executing room strats, and unrestricted, which is largely about nailing the glitch skips (i.e. they have more choke points because screwing up the glitches are huge timelosses that often overshadow other execution errors). I generally think of All Dungeons as being the NMG run without the tedious parts, so it’s just overall really fun to run.
You can catch Glan’s runs and routing on their Twitch Channel.
Speedrun.com’s notification system has been down for a few days, so any records noted here may be slightly outdated, and any recent records will not be recorded (they might show up in the next article if we’re lucky).
Legend of Zelda
Second Quest, Extreme Rules. Saver – 1:32:40
Ocarina of Time
No IM/WW. Cma – 1:14:45
Morpha RTA. Confor – 17:10
Dio Baba Grotto Heart Piece. EnNopp112 – 1:31.325
Secret Shrine Heart Piece. EnNopp112 – 30:31.663
Mountain Village Owl Statue. EnNopp112 – 1:57.417
New Game+, Any%, No Portals. Torp – 1:48:59
Forest Temple. mosstkm – 32:41.140
Any%. gymnast86 – 2:17:48
Breath of the Wild
Best Ending, No amiibo. Hotpot – 2:00:43
MSG, Original, Bug Limit. Grega – 3:26:31.410
Any%, amiibo. rasenurns – 28:52
MS, Original. Rakumoca – 37:34.920
100%, Original, Bug Limit. pretends2know – 36:48:36
Any%, No amiibo. sketodara01417 – 28:59.330
AMQ, Original. LouLouCore – 2:55:17
The Final Split
Only one event for you this week, but oh boy is it a biggie…
Summer Games Done Quick 2019 – 23rd June ~ 30th June – Back for its summer marathon, GDQ is a huge charity speedrunning event, held biannually (the sister event taking place in January). The week long marathon covers a massive variety of runs, races, bingos, and other events, and also features plenty of giveaways and donation incentives. You can see the whole schedule here (it alters to your own time zone too!).
And finally this week, have you ever wished you could climb ladders just a little bit faster? Then we may have the answer you’re looking for…
— ぴりかんてん (@SNSKTues) June 14, 2019
That’s all I have for you this week, check back in a couple weeks for a round up of all the Zelda content at Summer Games Done Quick, and of course everything else Zelda speedrunning.
Euan is the host of Zelda Dungeon’s Speedrunning series, Zelda Runners. He can be found on Twitter. The sequel to this Zelda Runners article is now in development.