Hello everyone! Welcome to a brand new series of articles here on Zelda Dungeon which are all about Speedrunning! For almost two decades now, high level players have dedicated themselves to completing video games as quickly as possible. Of course, this being a Zelda site, we’ll focus on the Zelda games and their runners, scientists, and routers. The article will usually be split into different sections, so without further ado, let’s get going!
This section will cover the latest news, new discoveries or routes, or notable records within the past two weeks. Went on holiday and want a quick summary of what you missed? This is the section for you.
Majora’s Mask runner turned scientist Kaztalek (also known as Keeta), released his now yearly LOTAD (Low Optimization Tool Assisted Demonstration). Released on 21st February every year, these usually demonstrate a run with very strict categories, which would usually be impossible for a human to complete. In the past, these runs have completed Majora’s Mask in only 2 pauses, and beaten every boss in Ocarina of Time, in reverse! This year, the run was Majora’s Mask, All Fairy Rewards, No Human in Dungeons, which finished with a time of 2:29:50. A commentated version of the run can be viewed here.
Also this fortnight saw two new Breath of the Wild All Shrines records. Zant posted a time of 8:49:34 in the No amiibo category, while Vark posted a time of 7:46:25 in the amiibo allowed category. Both runs are a big time saves over the previous records, and both runners are looking to push them even further.
A speedrunning charity event took place last week, named “BotW4Love”. The event featured multiple runs, from the standard any% (beat the game as quickly as possible) and All Dungeons (Beat all dungeons then the final boss) to the more unusual categories, such as All Lynels (Defeat All Lynels) and the adorable All Dog Treasures. Also featured was the legendary 100% category, run by SpecsNStats. Including DLC, this came in at a staggering 34:40:49. The event raised over $3000 for charity Change4Love.
Watching speedruns is great and all, but have you ever wanted a piece of the action? Ever watched a trick or glitch and thought “I wish I could do that!” Well, here’s your chance. In each article, I’ll be taking a closer look at the glitches which make Zelda runs so interesting! This week, we’re starting off slow. Well, not really. Kind of the opposite, actually.
The ambition of a speedrun is, obviously, to finish as quickly as possible. So the obvious question is “How can I move as quickly as possible through my game?” You’d be surprised to find that most movement is available at your fingertips straight away. Many runs incorporate rolling, backwalking and side-hopping at some points. Taking Ocarina of Time as an example, backwalking is the fastest standard method of movement, but of course requires the runner to turn around before moving. Rolling and side-hopping are also faster than regular walking and are often used to set up some precious tricks. Other methods are also used, including Shield Surfing (Breath of the Wild), Goron Rolling and Zora Swimming (Majora’s Mask), and Horse Riding (various). In general, where walking normally can be avoided, it will be.
But for those who still crave to go faster, fear not, we cater to you too. Various glitches can be carried out to reach very high speeds. In The Wind Waker HD, a glitch called “Item Sliding” can be used to increase Link’s speed by a huge amount each second (such a huge speed increase that the game crashes after a few seconds). This can be used to travel across dungeon rooms in seconds, and also jump between islands in the overworld (with very careful timing). More importantly, however, by initiating an Item Slide on land, then sliding it into water, the runner can perform a “Superswim“, which involves Link zooming around the Great Sea faster than you can say “Hey! Listen!” It also allows runners to skip the infamous barrier, which surrounds Hyrule Castle, but that sounds like a story for another time.
The original game also features this, however a glitch called “Storage” is used, which changes Link’s direction every frame, decreasing his speed. Once the desired negative speed is reached, the player releases Link to go flying off through the ocean.
The 2D games aren’t exempt from high speed either. A new glitch was recently discovered in the NES version of A Link to the Past, which allows the runner to travel around the overworld at 8x the normal walking speed.
Despite being the newest addition to the franchise, Breath of the Wild has its share of fast travel techniques. The introduction of the run option enforces stamina management, but also allows for a trick called “Whistle Sprinting“. This involves the runner mashing the sprint button whilst holding the whistle button. This results in Link doing an awkward jog without consuming any stamina, which is faster than normal walking, but slightly slower than running.
It also includes a trick which abuses the stasis rune, called “Stasis Launching“. This involves exactly what you might imagine – Link being launched into the air by an object coming out of stasis with high momentum. This can be done with trees, boulders, and crates dropped by amiibo.
Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask also have their unique movement options, namely the “Superslide“, which is composed of a well timed roll and a bomb explosion (or nearby enemy). This is the fastest method of movement in Ocarina of Time, however only allows Link to travel in a straight line. A slightly slower, but controllable glitch, known as an “Extended Superslide“, allows the player to control the direction in which Link moves while sliding. Other variations of this exist, including sliding through water (WESS), or a hyper version using Nayru’s Love (HESS)
This glitch gives its name to a controller position which is now widely used across the Zelda community – ESS Position. This involves the player moving the control stick just slightly, the bare minimum for the game to move Link. This movement is essential in an Extended Superslide, hence the position’s title.
Majora’s Mask also makes use of these techniques, but it includes perhaps the greatest speed-tech of them all – the “Goron Missile“. By abusing the pictobox and Goron Mask, the runner can cause Goron Link to go flying off at an unlimited speed. I can’t do it justice in words, so here’s MM3D runner BenStephens56 skipping the Stone Tower Boss Key using the glitch.
There are a few other methods of movement which warrant mentioning, but aren’t seen nearly as often as those above. Wind Waker HD, Twilight Princess HD and Skyward Sword all contain a trick called “Brakesliding”. This involves our old friend ESS position, and causes Link to lose speed at a minimal rate. It’s a very difficult trick to do in real time, which is why it’s usually reserved for TASes.
Finally an honorable mention to Manual Superswimming, a trick found in Wind Waker HD. This involves exactly the same technique as superswimming in the original version of the game, except the player must input the direction change every frame until they reach the desired speed. Manually. Until recently, it was considered too difficult to include in the run, but the game has become so optimized that it has been adopted into the route.
So, the next time you’re sailing through the Great Sea, or rolling through Hyrule Field, keep an eye out for boys dressed in green breaking all the speed limits. Maybe you could give them a go yourself?
This section will feature a short interview with a prominent (or not so prominent) member of the community. From runners to TASers and everything in between, we’ll chat about their runs of choice, the community and how it affects their view of the game, and anything else that’s relevant at the time. I’ll also provide a link to their social media, so you can check them out for yourselves.
Unfortunately, this week we’re stuck with someone who falls into the “not so prominent” bracket. It’s part-time runner, part-time reporter, Euan Crombie (that’s me).
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Euan: I’m a Scottish student who’s currently studying music. I’ve been part of the Zelda speedrunning community for a little over 8 years now, and I’ve enjoyed watching how (mainly the 3D) games have developed over that time. I’ve recently picked up running myself, although I’m not currently running any Zelda.
EC: What games are you currently running then?
Euan: I run a small Indie 3DS game called Fairune, which I’m currently the any% World Record holder for, and I’m in the middle of routing out and practicing Super Mario Odyssey.
EC: Are you excited about writing for Zelda Dungeon?
Euan: Very! I’m probably more excited about sharing my love for the Zelda community, and bringing a somewhat unique view point to the games. If I can introduce one person to something they’ve never seen before, then I’ve done my job.
EC: Have you ever interviewed yourself before?
Euan: I haven’t, it’s a strange experience.
EC: What’s your favorite Zelda run to watch, and who’s your favorite streamer?
Euan: I’m really into watching Breath of the Wild, All Shrines, amiibo at the moment. It’s a pretty long run but it showcases pretty much all of Breath of the Wild’s best bits. As for streamers, I should probably remain unbiased, but if I mentioned that my only Twitch subscription at the moment is to a Wind Waker HD runner named Gymnast86, that might give you an idea…
EC: And this segment will usually focus on interesting people?
Euan: I hope so.
EC: Finally, if you could only run one game and one category for the rest of time, what would it be?
Euan: That’s a tricky one. I’d probably go with Wind Waker HD, All Dungeons, purely because it’s such an awesome game, but that category cuts out any RNG. Breath of the Wild, All Shrines would probably come a close second.
A lot can happen in 2 weeks. At this point, I’ll list any new records which have been set since the last article was posted. It’ll usually be updated until about two days before the article goes live. If you’re interested by any of these runs, or a run which doesn’t appear on this list, check out the final section of the article.
Legend of Zelda
Second Quest, No Up+A. lackattack – 34:38
The Adventure of Link
100%, All Keys, 1CC (FDS). Pro_JN – 1:15:29.360
A Link to the Past (NES)
Any%. crazyjesse – 36:38
A Link to the Past
Max% Rain. Tojso – 1:32:23
Mirror Shield, No EG/DW/WW. Greenham – 11:38
Four Swords Adventures
Any%. zmaster – 2:04:21
Ocarina of Time
No Wrong Warp. ikswozol – 42:18
All Fairy Rewards. VPP – 1:54:47
100%, Glitchless. Trevperson – 5:50:57
Master Sword, No S+Q. KejsMaster – 20:52
100%. Keitsu – 7:29:51
Wind Waker HD
Early Master Sword. LegendofLinkk – 32:06
All Dungeons. RasenRuns – 2:37:55
Majora’s Mask 3D
Any%. Iwabi – 1:25:40
Breath of the Wild
All Shrines, Original, No amiibo. Zant – 8:54:57
All Shrines, Original, amiibo. Vark – 7:46:25
Great Plateau, 100%, No amiibo. Iden – 35:51
Great Plateau, Any%, No amiibo. Wolhaiksong – 21:45
Fall Off a Cliff and Die, amiibo. BoogieBunny – 3:45.826
Stranded on Eventide Any%. BoogieBunny – 4:05
100%, Ex, No amiibo. SpecsNStats – 34:40:49
Trial of the Sword, Any%, amiibo. Puppet – 41:21
Any%, amiibo. Wolhaiksong – 38:56
The Final Split
That’s just about it from me for this article, there’s just a few things I’d like to add.
Looking for a specific run or category? Let me point you in the direction of speedrun.com . This is a website dedicated to tracking speedruns of all games, but all the Zeldas are present and correct.
If you’ve read anything above that you don’t understand, I highly recommend you check out my Speedrunning Compendium, a collection of speedrunning information I’ve gathered together. It’s a huge work of progress, but I can guarantee it’ll help you understand these articles much better if you have no speedrunning experience. It also contains the current any% record for every Zelda game, so if you’re looking to check for that, you know what to do.
Finally, if all of the above sites fail you, and you still have burning questions about anything speedrunning related, you can comment below, or message my Twitter. I’m always happy to help!
See you in two weeks!
Euan Crombie is the host of Zelda Dungeon’s new bi-weekly Zelda Speedrunning series, Zelda Runners. He can be found on Twitter and is the author of The Speedrunning Compendium. He is machine washable.