It’s that time of the week again! Go make your tea or coffee, grab a few biscuits (they’ve gotta be chocolate though), and get settled for your update on the Zelda Speedrunning community over the last fortnight. Today we’re looking at Bomb Hovering, a 2D Zelda tournament, and having a chat with a giant of 3D Zelda speedrunning. So make yourself comfortable, and let’s get started!
The next two months sees a huge Link’s Awakening tournament. Using the 100% No WW/OoB (Wrong Warp/Out of Bounds) rules, runners will be competing against each other in a Swiss-style round through July, then elimination rounds during July to determine the overall winner. All races will be broadcast to the Speedgaming Twitch channel. If you’re interested in watching the best of the best, I’d highly recommend it.
But that’s not all! Want to go further than just watching the best of the best? Registration is still open! Head on over to the Tournament Discord to find out how!
That’s not all the Link’s Awakening news this week. Runner Spiraster released a TAS (Tool Assisted Speedrun) of the game’s Warpless category. These projects use tools such as frame advancing and save states to produce the “perfect run”, which would otherwise be impossible to create. Coming in at a time of 38:25, the run showcased loads of incredible tricks which don’t normally appear in the category. The run can be viewed here.
Ever encountered a difficult boss which, upon failing to overcome time and time again, you’ve resulted to mashing? Because, obviously the faster you hit the button, the faster you’ll swing your sword, right? What if I told you that, in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, a glitch allows you to do just that?
OK, it’s not quite the same. The Infinite Sword Glitch (often referred to as ISG) doesn’t require any mashing, but does activate Link’s sword swing. Infinitely. Every frame after the glitch is activated, Link’s sword will be active with its usual hit box, allowing the player to both wreck absolute havoc upon difficult bosses, and also opens the door into a huge world of other glitches.
To activate the glitch, the player must interrupt a crouch stab (stabbing your sword while defending with a shield) with an action (anything that appears on the A button other than “swing”). This action can be picking up an object, reading a sign, interacting with an NPC etc. If done correctly, Link’s sword will now shimmer, looking a little like a lightsaber. This is a sign that the glitch has been activated successfully.
Another method is to have a bomb’s explosion interrupt the crouch stab. If done correctly, the crouch stab should be interrupted by Link shielding the explosion. After this, the player should return to standing quickly, and the glitch will be active.
Obviously the glitch is useful when fighting bosses, and the effect of this is multiplied by another exploit called the Power Crouch Stab. This is a crouch stab executed while no target is selected. By doing this, these stabs will deal the same amount of damage as the last sword attack. For example, a jump slash with the Kokiri Sword usually deals 2 damage. By using this attack, then performing a Power Crouch Stab, each attack will also deal 2 damage. This works for every attack, from a regular horizontal slash (1 damage) all the way up to a Jump Attack from the Biggoron Sword (8 damage). Attacks dealt with Infinite Sword Glitch active will deal the same damage as the last sword swing, as the glitch requires a Power Crouch Stab to activate. Upon entering a new scene, the damage dealt by this exploit is reset to 1.
The glitch also opens the door to one of the most useful techniques in both games – Bomb Hovering. This allows the player to gain height and distance, over terrain they otherwise wouldn’t be able to cross, such as large pits or lava.
By activating the Infinite Sword Glitch, then shielding a bomb explosion in mid-air, Link will act as if he is grounded, standing on an invisible platform just above the ground. Because Infinite Sword Glitch is active, he cannot fall from this fake ground, so will hover here indefinitely. From this point, the trick can be repeated, allowing Link to traverse even further or higher.
Due to a variance in how bomb explosions work between Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, this trick has different methods of execution in each game.
In Ocarina of Time, the trick can be performed by activating Infinite Sword Glitch, backing Link up to a ledge or small drop and equipping Hover Boots. Upon pulling out a bomb, you’ll notice Link’s breathing animation resets. Watch this closely, and when he starts his second exhale, use your shield to drop the bomb, then immediately back flip. If done correctly, Link should now be standing in midair, where you can now repeat this trick.
The easiest method in Majora’s Mask uses the explosion from a Bombchu. Equip these, then backflip and use one while in mid-air. Straight after pull your shield, and you should hover in the air.
This trick is used extensively in both games, allowing access to Ganon’s Castle without freeing all sages and a huge hover from the outside entrance to the Spirit Temple to the Mirror Shield. In Majora’s Mask, the trick is used to access Great Bay Coast without Epona, and access to the Pirate’s Fortress interior without the hookshot. Variants of the trick can be seen almost everywhere in these games!
This week my featured runner is 3D Zelda Giant, Gymnast86. Listing all of his runs and records would take the rest of the article, so I’ll let him introduce himself.
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Gymnast86: I’m a nineteen-year-old college student who’s been actively speedrunning 3D Zelda games since early 2013. I’ve done speedruns of every single 3D Zelda game and have held records in six different 3D Zelda titles at various points since I began. Currently, I’m focusing on running The Wind Waker HD and Majora’s Mask 3D.
EC: In the past you’ve been very invested in Skyward Sword and The Wind Waker HD. What is it about these games in particular that draws you to them?
Gymnast86: Skyward Sword and Wind Waker are my two favorite 3D Zelda games. Casually, I’m very drawn to their art style and atmosphere, but they’re also unique speedruns within the Zelda series. Skyward Sword doesn’t have as many game breaking glitches as most other Zelda titles, so we go through almost the entire game during the run. The motion-controlled movement and combat, along with the five-hour length of the run make it a lot more challenging than most people may think. That isn’t to say that the controls are bad, I quite like the controls. But getting good at combat and movement with the motion controls requires a lot more time and patience than simply pressing a series of buttons. As for Wind Waker HD, I began speedrunning that game the day after it came out. I enjoyed it since the general movement and controls felt nicely streamlined compared to the original title on the GameCube. Even though the game wasn’t that good from a speedrunning perspective, I still enjoyed running it, and I still run it almost five years later (of course it’s much more broken now).
EC: You also recently released a Twilight Princess TAS (Tool Assisted Speedrun). Is TASing something you’d like to do more of in the future?
Gymnast86: TASing is definitely something I want to do more of. The main issue with TASing, however, is that it’s very time consuming. The Twilight Princess TAS took a few hundred hours of work to complete and it was very hard to stay motivated at times. Since there are already completed TASes for The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, the next game I would like to try would be Skyward Sword. I and another speedrunner named Venick had plans to eventually start working on a Skyward Sword TAS together, but the tools that we would need for TASing that game don’t exist (motion controls are a lot more complicated than buttons). We are in talks with a Dolphin developer to try and make them happen though.
EC: Having run pretty much every 3D Zelda game, you’re clearly drawn to them over the 2D entries. Why is this?
Gymnast86: I generally get more enjoyment out of playing the 3D games over the classic/2D games. That’s really all it is.
EC: Would you ever consider running a 2D Zelda game?
Gymnast86: Probably not; the closest I can see myself going 2D would be games like Spirit Tracks, Phantom Hourglass, or A Link Between Worlds (which aren’t 2D).
EC: Over the years you’ve made some considerable progress in multiple titles, including the first sub-5 Skyward Sword any% run, and discovering Morth Hover, which cuts out a huge RNG component in the last minutes of a Wind Waker HD run. What would you say your greatest achievement in the speedrunning community is?
Gymnast86: My biggest achievement would probably be the stream I did on January 20th of this year, where I showed off the newest full game Twilight Princess TAS, and then after that surprised everyone with a dramatic speech and reveal of the Morth Hover. Normally I would have told everyone about the Morth Hover right after I figured it out, but since the TAS reveal was happening in a few days I decided to wait and reveal it a live audience because I knew it would get an amazing live reaction out of the viewers. Sure enough, the chat reached levels of hype I’d never seen in my stream before.
EC: If you could only run one category of one game for the rest of time, what would it be, and why?
Gymnast86: I think the only category that could probably never get boring to run would be Ocarina of Time 3D 100%. As much as I love both Wind Waker/HD and Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time 3D 100% is probably the best speedrun category I’ve ever gone through myself. The category also has potential to grow more so than shorter categories or 100% categories in other games I would think.
Round – Up
Breath of the Wild falls out of fashion this week. Don’t worry, runners are just taking an opportunity to test out some new stasis tricks. Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition also released this week. It’s technically a new game, so runs and records will start appearing in this section from the next article. Who knows, maybe I could be typing your name next time?
Legend of Zelda
Swordless, Low%, First Quest. 4iSteven – 44:13
Swordless, Low%, Second Quest. Redbirdgrad – 1:03:12
Minimal B Usage, First Quest. 4iSteven – 46:18
The Wand of Gamelon
100%. Grumpmeister – 39:44
A Link to the Past
Major Glitches, Beat Ganon. poor_little_pinkus – 11:26
Link’s Awakening DX
100%, No WW/OoB. Noadkajoo – 1:20:52
Ocarina of Time
No IM/WW. Marco – 1:14:51
Low% (15 item). Tinper – 6:11:37
Reverse Dungeon Order, Dungeon Pixie Squad. Probably Butter – 4:14:17
any%, DSi Solo. golderzoa – 22:58
Din’s Pearl. Trogww – 29:13
Four Swords Adventure
any%. zmaster91 – 2:03:39
300R Run. Skyreon – 9:04
Ocarina of Time 3D Master Quest
Glitchless. Dabombster – 3:46:34
any%. Jamama92 – 35:16
Twilight Princess HD
Bug Limit, Master Sword. TyloxS – 2:38:08
All Mirror Shards. Jacquaid – 3:53:04
All Dungeons. Jacquaid – 4:35:26
Hyrule Warriors Legends
All Base Levels. gamebrain1 – 3:01:56
Breath of the Wild
All Koroks, No amiibo. littledrummer7 – 22:41:24
any%, amiibo. rasenurns – 38:38
All Quests, No amiibo, Extended. lepelog – 17:03:56
The Final Split
Just about all we have time for this week. But, as usual, here’s some fantastic events to keep you ticking over until I’m back.
No Reset x Dreamhack Austin 2018 – 1st June ~ 3rd June – A French/English marathon which raises money for various charities.
Power Up with Pride 2018 – 1st June ~ 3rd June – Marathon raising money and awareness of LGBTQ+ which features yet another Link to the Past randomizer run, and any% races of the original Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II.
A Race Against Time: Tokyo Drift – 1st June ~ 4th June – Collection of racing games. Sorry Zelda fans, not even Mario Kart 8 features in this marathon, but if you’re looking for a literal definition of going fast, this is it.
That’s all I’ve got! As usual, feel free to send any questions my way via Twitter, through the comment section below, or through the very fancy new Discord Tag I’m including in the signature. This week’s Glitch Exhibition is a little tougher than most, so let me know if you have any questions on it. Until next time!
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 firmly believes Toon Link deserves an Oscar more than Leonardo DiCaprio.