Zelda Runners – GDQ Recap
Posted on September 08 2020 by Doug Kwiecinski
Welcome back to Zelda Runners, your glimpse into the world of Zelda speedrunning. Recently, the speedrunning world was treated to the semi-annual Games Done Quick event. Speedrunners from around the world gathered together to showcase their skills while raising money for Doctors Without Borders. This year’s summer event featured five different Zelda titles, each of them being broken in their own way. With titles spanning 29 years, we were able to see a true evolution in Zelda games. Without further ado, let’s see how each of them played out.
Recaps Done Quick
The first Zelda game to be featured in the marathon was Nintendo’s second Zelda offering, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Played by Enchantressofnumbers, this run was unique in that she was fighting all the bosses in reverse order. This category is especially challenging, considering many late bosses are fought at low levels.
Throughout the run, she made use of several glitches, one in particular known as a wrong warp. Wrong warping allows you to scroll the enemy screens to the right, then exit to the left. When entering areas such as caves or bridges, this would normally take you back to the entrance. Using these glitches, however, the game advances Link forward, thus allowing you to skip several dangerous sections in the game.
The rest of the run is as the name implies. Your first boss fight is against the notorious Thunderbird. Already a challenge when you progress the game properly, at low levels a win requires 32 hits, while two attacks against you is enough to kill you. The game then progresses through the other seven dungeons in reverse order, killing each of those bosses. Dark Link is still the final boss, and Enchantressofnumbers executes beautifully, finishing the game with a time of 50:59.600.
Gymnast86 brought us the second Zelda run of the marathon, playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. Already a beautiful game, the speedrun is truly an impressive feat. Of course, there are several techniques and glitches that are used to tear through the game.
One such glitch is known as the Epona Dive. An out of bounds glitch, the glitch is executed if you have a half bottle of lantern oil available. While riding Epona, travel north over Eldin Bridge. If your lantern has a bit less than half oil, Epona can ride off the cliff, you fill your lantern, and you can travel out of bounds. This saves needing to have bombs to enter the Lanayru Twilight region. There are several similar clips such as this that save dozens of minutes during the run.
Gymnast86 showcased intimate knowledge of the game through the entire run, including skipping the Big Key in Lakebed Temple. The remainder of the run was relatively smooth, and ended with a time of 3:22:06. Gymnast does carry the world record in the category at 3:15:48, and is worth checking out for all his Zelda content.
Link’s first handheld adventure in Link’s Awakening was the next run of the marathon. Runner mghtymth showcased one of the staples of my childhood in a warpless run. In the original Game boy release, as you transition the map in either the overworld or a dungeon, you can press select to cause Link to warp from one end of the screen to the other. This allows for fast travel and a much easier time in dungeons like Eagle Tower. Warpless removes this possibility, but that doesn’t mean the game can’t still be run very quickly.
While you’re not allowed to warp, there are certain tricks that you can use to make travel easier. Clipping into walls is one such example. In the caves leading to Eagle Tower, there is a cave with a rather large pit that is meant to be crossed with the hookshot. Instead, by item manipulation and entering the save menu, you can clip into the walls, transition the screen, and jump from a usually impossible ledge.
Additionally, inside Eagle Tower, mghtymth eliminates the need for the iron ball. A carefully placed bomb as the screen transitions to a room with a pillar will trigger the pillar to collapse. This saves several minutes of back tracking and removes the iron ball puzzle. As a child, I remember struggling with this dungeon, carrying the ball from room to room. Removing this sequence makes one of the most intricate dungeons a total breeze.
In the end, mghtymth finished the run at 52:22, about 3 minutes faster than his estimated time. After the release of Link’s Awakening on Switch last year, it’s nice to see the classic Link’s Awakening get some love. Any fans of this game ought to check out the run, as it is very approachable for newer runners.
The series took a very special turn with the next featured run, as Raikaru and WoodenBarrel played a cooperative Ocarina of Time Randomizer. A randomizer takes all the items and assets in a game and shuffles them around the map.
A co-op randomizer is unique in that both players are playing the same seed, trying to finish as quickly as possible. They chat and share information with each other, such as item locations and required dungeons. Instead of racing against each other, they race against the clock to try and have the lowest combined time. This is especially helpful in dungeons so each player can skip unnecessary chests. No need for a map or compass in this playthrough, just get the keys and go!
Raikaru and Woodenbarrel often play together in randomizer tournaments, so they have a familiarity with each other. Together, they powered through the randomizer with a time of 3:01:47. With the Ocarina of Time randomizer, you definitely get your money’s worth in gameplay. While randomizers can be complicated monsters at first glance, we do break it down for you in our Randomizer Thoughts articles, so make sure to check those out!
We come to present day with the final Zelda speedrun of the marathon, with Limcube showcasing Breath of the Wild. This run is unique compared to most speedruns. In most runs, your goal is to complete the game as quickly as possible. In the case of Breath of the Wild, that would be when you hit Dark Beast Ganon with the final arrow. Limcube showed off a more lighthearted category known as All Dog Treasures.
For the uninitiated, in many of the locales of Breath of the Wild, you’ll find a dog outside one of the buildings. If you give the dog three pieces of food, be it fruit or meat, the dog will lead you to a treasure. Around Hyrule, you’ll find 14 of these dogs. They’ll eat the treats you offer then walk over to a treasure chest you have to pull out of the ground with your magnesis upgrade. Inside, you’ll find various treasures, from powered arrows to silver rupees. As soon as you open the 14th treasure, your run is finished!
Since some of the upgrades, specifically magnesis, are required, the run takes a bit longer than other speedruns of the game. Limcube showed incredible mastery and finished the run at 1:28:15. You can’t pet the doggos, but you can claim their treasure!
Let’s take a quick look at some top other top level runs in the Zelda universe:
The Legend of Zelda
Second Quest: KHANanaphone – 32:21 (World Record)
A Link to the Past
Master Sword: RealAlphaGamer – 21:37 (World Record)
Ocarina of Time
Any%: Savestate – 7:19.716 (World Record)
100%: srm – 3:28:57 (World Record)
Wind Waker HD
All Dungeons: Linkus7 – 2:19:02 (World Record)
The Final Split
Keeping up with Mases’ progress in A Link to the Past, he recently posted a new PB of 1:44:58. Excellent progress in the game, and well worth noting.
As always, keep it here for all your speedrun news. We’ll see you next time on Zelda Runners.