Hey there! You like speedrunning? You like flying across large gaps? Have an unexplained hatred of cutscenes triggered by playing the Harp? Then boy do I have an article for you…
Hopefully all of you caught at least some of the Zelda Dungeon Marathon that took place this week! Over the course of the event, we raised $4305 for Extra Life, and even set a World Record! The whole event can be found over on our Twitch channel, as well as the record setting Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition run, which can be found here.
A new cutscene skip has also been found in Skyward Sword. By putting away the Goddess Harp just as the animation of opening a Trial Gate ends, runners can now skip this cutscene, which saves roughly 1:40 throughout the 5 hour run. It doesn’t sound like much, but don’t be surprised if you see several new records set in the coming weeks, as this is the largest skip the game has seen in several years.
Here’s your fun fact for this article – members of the Twilight Princess speedrunning community really love their athletics. Honest! They’ve even gone to the extent of finding a trick in their game called Long Jump Attack. By using the boomerang to lock on to an object, then pulling the sword and jump attacking while the boomerang is over either a void or a surface higher than Link’s current position.
This is used multiple times throughout the run – during the Forest Temple to skip having to acquire the boss key, and in a trick called Gorge Skip, which, as you might have guessed, skips a gorge.
Traditionally, crossing this gorge simply requires the player to warp back to Kakariko village, find a conveniently placed bridge, and warp back. With a well placed Long Jump Attack however, you can find yourself wizzing across the gap faster than Midna can make a rude comment. The set-up for this is particularly tricky, requiring precise positioning on the opposite side of the fence surrounding the gorge, then another precise position in aiming the boomerang, before performing the trick itself.
While the solution to this puzzle doesn’t take particularly long in itself, it also requires the player to complete the Forest Temple and the Faron Twilight, which can now both be skipped.
The glint in the Twilight Princess any% run, however, is a series of sequence breaks called Early Master Sword. No prizes for guessing what the outcome of that is then.
Using Midna’s special attack in Wolf Form will bring Link back to whichever enemy or enemies he has targeted, regardless of the distance between them. Using this mechanic, runners can position a Twilit Messenger in a specific location in Faron Woods, and use the special attack to perform a trick known as a Super Jump. By doing this, Wolf Link attacks the Messenger in such a way that he lands on top of the wall of the “arena”. From here, runners can navigate their way through the out of bounds area to the beginning of the Sacred Grove segment, where they can then receive the Master Sword, and the ability to transform between Human and Wolf form at will.
This trick, while obviously useful for the game’s any% category, posed a rather large dead-end when it came to 100% runs. After performing the sequence break, the chunk of Eldin Bridge could not be warped back into its original location. This meant that the Cave of Trials, which contains 3 Poes that are necessary to meet the category’s requirements, will permanently be blocked by the section of Eldin Bridge. It was later discovered, however, that performing a specific set of actions (namely blowing up the Lanayru rocks before the Lakebed Temple, and then returning later on after beating Goron Mines), that the cutscene would activate, giving access to the Cave of Trials.
Unfortunately, this sequence break is not possible in the HD remake, however the Long Jump Attack exploit is still present. For more information on these glitches and sequence breaks, have a gander here.
Something special for this week’s spotlight, I’m chatting to Eumeus, a Majora’s Mask TASer. TAS stands for Tool Assisted Speedrun, and is used to describe any runs made using external software, which can include frame-by-frame advancing, save states, and other RNG manipulations in order to achieve “The Perfect Run”. I asked them about their experience with the community.
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Eumeus: My main game is Majora’s Mask. I ran 100% for a few years along with occasional other small categories just for random fun. I don’t really do real-time runs anymore as I’ve found that I enjoy TASing more. I’ve been TASing for about 4 years now. I’ve also been interested in TASing some other games. I’d like to try to learn about TASing gamecube games, and I’ve been learning to TAS Super Mario World.
EC: You described yourself as a TASer. Could you give a quick description of what that means, and give us a rundown of any notable TASes you’ve completed?
Eumeus: A TAS is a Tool-Assisted Speedrun. These types of runs are mostly for entertainment value and are not really meant to be compared to a human playing in real-time. They are created by running the game frame-by-frame on an emulator and using savestates in order to achieve “perfection”. Additional tools can also be used such as memory viewing and scripting. For Majora’s Mask, I have a few scripts I use. One is a text script written by a friend that will automatically go through text in the most optimal way possible. The other is a script I wrote that automatically will send off bombchus in many different angles. The most notable TAS I’ve completed was a TAS that I coauthored with omgatree6. We made a Majora’s Mask low% TAS that collected 16 items in 1:59:01.883 by TAS timing and 1:54:42.133 by RTA timing. The TASVideos submission can be found here. I’ve also hosted a Majora’s Mask TAS competition which ran for 10 rounds. This competition was intended to welcome all skill levels. There were several entrants who had no prior TASing experience, and some entrants had years more TASing experience than I do.
EC: You’ve also run Majora’s Mask 100% (and some extension categories). What sets these apart from the game’s any%, which you’ve said you’re not interested in taking seriously?
Eumeus: Majora’s Mask 100% was my main category. I enjoyed it because there was a lot of content in the run, a lot of unique routing challenges, and in-game time management. The category extensions were mostly just small runs that were fun to spend a couple days on. As for any%, it doesn’t really interest me as it is a fairly short run and is fairly cutscene-heavy and has a lot of luck. Any% also doesn’t really have any unique tricks and has basically no ingame-time management.
EC: Last year you ran a Majora’s Mask TAS competition, which involved completing certain tasks within the game while adhering to certain restrictions. Do you think these competitions are a good way to keep the community active and prevent the game becoming stale?
Eumeus: It may help a little, but I think that mostly comes down to people’s passion for the game. I think the TAS competitions are a good way to get people interested in TASing, which can definitely provide some variety, especially for people who mainly do RTA runs.
5) Do you think the vast array of knowledge being a TASer of a game brings gives you an advantage in Real Time Attack runs?
Eumeus: I think TASing definitely gives an advantage for RTA. TASing helps to build a strong understanding of the game’s physics. It can also help people better understand the conditions required to make certain tricks work. For instance, I was able to use TAS tools to aid my understanding of some boss key skips that I used to fail often, and it helped me with some jumps in other games. TASing can also help for discovering new tricks. For instance, I made a TAS to get the gold dust bottle from winning the goron race, and I theorized a very difficult way to skip climbing the ladder on the way to get goron mask. I was able to make it work, but it was too difficult to do in real-time. About a year later, a few people in the community managed to find a method to do this that was viable and consistent for RTA runs.
EC: If you could only run (or TAS) one category of one game for the rest of time, what would it be, and why?
Eumeus: I would probably go for All Fairy Rewards in Majora’s Mask. I think I’d go for TASing it because I think the category has a lot of potential to look very cool if it were heavily optimized. I think the dungeons in Majora’s Mask are some of the best in the Zelda series, and All Fairy Rewards is a category that involves going into every dungeon and actually traversing it. This is very important as most categories are only concerned with reaching the boss, but there is a lot more to the temples in Majora’s Mask than just reaching the boss. The most notable example is Great Bay Temple. The inner rooms of this temple have a very unique design and are really interesting and challenging to go through quickly, but most categories just skip to the temple boss without even opening the first door in the dungeon.
Eumeus can be found on their Twitch channel.
Extreme Rules. kingdahl – 2:27:10
First Quest, Max Keys. rooslugs – 47:32
First Quest, Traditional Dungeon Order, Glitchless. Eunos – 33:03
Any%, No OoB, 1CC. Antii85 – 59:36
100%. zfg – 4:03:24
Jump Off The Watch Tower And Die (JOTWAD). Zudu – 3:25
Go Home and Die%. Zudu – 8:18
Blue%. Mr_ZG – 1:49:02
Ocarina of Time: Master Quest
Child Dungeons. MasterMonk1991 – 33:52
No IM/WW. MasterMonk1991 – 1:19:52
Bug Limit. bann_jpn – 2:42:40
Bunny Hood. 95Shade – 4:20.767
Bottle Contents ~ Fairy. Cannibalx6 – 4:27
Bottle Contents ~ Bug. Cannibalx6 – 4:08
Bottle Contents ~ Fish. Cannibalx6 – 4:16
Bottle Contents ~ Green Potion. Cannibalx6 – 4:23
Bottle Contents ~ Milk. Cannibalx6 – 5:14
Bottle Contents ~ Hot Spring Water. Cannibalx6 – 8:08
Low%. Demon9 – 4:19:45
any%. keitsu – 4:55:52
All Levels, Singleplayer. koopary – 2:19:51
Twilight Princess HD
All Mirror Shards. Jacquaid – 3:46:36
All Dungeons. Jacquaid – 4:28:23
any%, No amiibo. Wolhaiksong – 38:28
All Towers, Flying Machine, amiibo. Iden – 1:16:19.067
Die, Fall Off a Cliff, No amiibo. Iden – 3:22.867
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
NG+, Co-Op, All Levels. Locke + KevinORourke -5:08:06
NG+, Co-OP, Main Story. Locke + KevinORourke – 3:08:09
The Final Split
That’s almost all from me this week, but fear not! Here’s some speedrunning events to keep you going until we meet again.
European Speedrunning Assembly – 22nd July ~ 29th July – Spread over 2 streams, Europe’s biggest speedrunning event is happening right now! Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker are all featuring, so make sure you catch them!
The 12 Hour Challenge #7 – 27th July ~ 30th July – Ever wanted to learn how to speedrun? Wanted to learn a specific game, but never had the chance or motivation? The 12 hour challenge is a community event, which encourages people to pick up runs they’ve never considered before, and also gives potential new runners a way in to their game’s community.
Midwest Speedfest – 3rd August ~ 6th August – Raising money for suicide awareness charity SAVE, this marathon opens with a Link’s Awakening 100% Reverse Boss Order run (just slips off the tongue doesn’t it), and features a Wind Waker HD All Dungeons run later in the week.
And with that, I’m off to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts….who am I kidding, back to the Twitch streams for me!
Euan Crombie is the host of Zelda Dungeon’s bi-weekly Zelda Speedrunning series, Zelda Runners. He can be found on Twitter and Discord (Euan Crombie#9657), and he’ll be travelling over 800 miles in the course of a week when you read this.