Released in December 1988, The Adventure of Link follows Link on a side-scrolling quest through Hyrule to place six crystals back in their palaces, and eventually wake the sleeping princess Zelda. Highly criticized as being too different from the first Zelda, The Adventure of Link introduced some elements that would be seen in many later Zelda games such as towns and magic, but other things never seen again such as experience points and 1 ups.
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Single-segment 1:07:43 by Kristian Emanuelsen.
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Improving this Zelda II category has been on my radar since doing a sub 58 minute Zelda II speedrun with warps and deaths a year ago, as that run actually had a couple of unwanted deaths in it. An unwanted death doesn't always cost a lot of time, but it just doesn't look good. I believe the two fastest completion categories from a new game file for Zelda II, currently at SDA, complements each other very well. In this particular category here, one death is absolute failure, and up+A warps aren't allowed either. Obviously this category will be slower than the one where warps and deaths are allowed.
I believe I've found a way to make this run category rather manageable without the candle, cross, shield, fire, a few heart containers and the upward thrust. I do use the life spell though, and I collected two additional heart containers in this run. I finished the run with stats 8-8-6, and the magic stat of 8 is really helpful in The Valley of Death, and ditto in The Great Palace, especially as the magic cost of the spell named spell, jump and thunder are greatly reduced. I genuinely believe my new route and levelling is the way to go for this category. I consider my run better in route and levelling than in fighting execution.
I used a different route for this run than previous runner Jon Fessenden. His run was brilliant, but I believe my route is a little faster. From what I've seen of his Zelda II skills, I'm sure he could beat this run if he follows most of the route from it. It sure was great to see some more love for Zelda II. Thanks.
The Valley of Death and the two final boss fights went well in this run as I didn't take any damage there. I'm sure it's doable to push the time under one hour and 7 minutes in this Zelda II category, perhaps even below an hour and 6 minutes. That would take an incredible speedrun though.
Thanks to the SDA crew for their awesome work and for publishing my run and other incredible speedruns.
Coming up now is a rather long and detailed chronological explanation of my run, primarily written for the most dedicated gamers:
1st cave: Not much to say really. I always do this the same way, and I wouldn't have stopped to pick up a points bag drop had I gotten one, as it would trigger a less beneficial random enemy encounter movement pattern on my way to the next cave. Learning how to trigger the most beneficial random enemy encounter patterns and avoid them are key to speedrunning Zelda II, and I still have a lot to learn about it and haven't experimented nearly enough with small stops in movement and exit the sidescroller to enter the overworld at the right time. These things are very difficult to time though.
Tantari Desert cave: Got hit by an octoroc, then failed one jump attack on it while reach the platform. Not ideal, but okay, more importantly I didn't get hit by a random enemy encounter on my way from the cave to Ruto Town.
Ruto Town: Decided to refill life to have the sword beam on the octorocs in the beginning of the next cave. The sword beam makes a difference, especially on the first octoroc which can be killed a little faster, and it is substantial for the remainder of the attack pattern on the octorocs. I prefer to level up life to 2 in Death Mountain for a refill of my life-bar there. Managed to A/B (press A and B simultaniously to instantly change direction walking) at the wizard to save a few frames.
3rd cave: 1. Went well. 2. Killed all four lowder's instead of three to get the points/magic drop from the last lowder instead of from the goryia (equals 20 experience points more). 3. Went well.
Moruge Swamp to Bagu: One random enemy encounter in where I got hit once and wasted a little time there, and one very close shave on the overworld tile of Bagu.
Bridge to Saria Town: Took a hit and lost 10 experience points. I don't usually get hit at this bridge. Subpar.
Saria Town: Good clicks on the mirror and woman, managed to A/B at the wizard and set life spell ready for a select button push when refilling magic. Entered the riverguard room at a good frame to exit on the left side of the door, good click on the corrupt guard.
Death Mountain: 1. Good enough for me. 2. Got hit by the goryia, not ideal, I love to have sword beam through the next cave screen. 3. Got hit by the bot, which pushed me down the platform, but passed all the bats later without getting hit, lucky. Levelled up attack and life to 2. Btw the level-up screen pops up almost everywhere around here, and seriously tries to get me off the groove. 4. No troubles. 5. Troubles, but passed through okay considering the circumstances. Axe hits can drain a lot of life, and I somehow managed to avoid the axes. 6. Some hits and life bar depletion, but I thought this difficult screen went well anyway. 7. Got the preferred points bag drop. Levelled attack to 3. Easy screen that went okay, cast life. 8. Level-up screen popped up "everywhere" to try and push me off the groove again. Easy screen that went well. 9. Red daira throwed an axe that hit, but I seized the opportunity to get rid of him quickly without any backtracking. Went really well timewise. 10. Easy screen that went well. 11. Went well. 12. Went well. 13. Got a magic bag from the daira, was probably my preferred choice considering circumstances (to come). Cast Life, got hit by red daira. Okay screen, not ideal. Picked up hammer and backtracked out of there. 12. Good. 11. Cast Life to have sword beam ready for the achemans in screen 9. 10. Good. 9. Good.
Took the Magic Container, then entered and exited a couple of caves to avoid any possible random enemy encounters.
Death Mountain Area cave: Octorocks killed safely in the dark.
Both bridges went well. I seriously didn't want to cast life untill I reached Mido Town (and thankfully, I didn't have to) as I need enough magic left to cast jump to get into the church of Mido Town, and the old woman refilling your magic in Mido Town is positioned after the church, which would then involve some backtracking inside the town.
Graveyard to Moruge Cave: Used hammer on the road block, then unfortunately hit a random enemy encounter as I moved forward too hastely. Avoided a random enemy encounter in the Moruge Swamp. Okay overall.
Moruge Cave: 1. Okay +. 2. Went well. Levelled attack to 4. Picked up the medicine and backtracked out through the cave. 1. Okay, rather difficult screen, and my preferred enemy movement pattern didn't trigger.
Moruge to Mido Town: Great. Avoided the first random enemy encounters, but hit one on the path/road right after smashing the road block with the hammer.
Mido Town: Cast jump and entered the church at an okay frame to exit on the left side of the church door later (one shouldn't enter on the first possible frame, same as the riverguard room in Saria Town, as you won't exit on the left side of the door then, and left is the way to go from there). One stab of air at the downward thrust knight... Refilled magic and cast Life. Set fairy spell ready at the wizard and managed to A/B him again. Nice. I admit these Zelda II town sequences are a bit on the slow side of general speedrunning though.
Road From Mido to Parapa Palace: Sweet road block smash to avoid the enemy encounters, but hit one on the road/path later. Okay. Avoided the possible enemy encounter in Parapa Desert. Good overall.
Parapa Palace: Knew the first large enemy I killed would produce a m/p drop. I was drooling on a magic bag drop as it makes it possible to cast fairy through another door, however if it's a points bag drop I would have to collect another key which would add about 25 seconds. I got the magic bag drop :) but still needed to collect at least another 141 experience points before I placed the crystal. Ideally I would have picked up at least 41 experience points more on my route so far as I could have jumped past the two upcoming Stalfoses. I think my Horsehead fight left a lot to be desired, and the 2nd stalfos fight was sub-par, but okay, it didn't cost too much time.
Road from Parapa to Midero Palace: Avoided the possible random enemy encounter in Parapa Desert, but moved slightly off fastest path to do so. Levelled attack to 5. Chose the safer option and went inside the cave before Midero swamp. The best option would have been to go down a tile avoiding the enemy encounter, the worst scenario would have been to hit the random enemy encounter. I chose the middle way, the safest choice, but then hit an enemy encounter rather quickly in the swamp later. I then went fastest way to the palace and hit another one. Okay.
Midero Palace: Levelled life to 3. I took damage from a falling block and it almost ended in a jump spell and timewasting. A little hesitation when the level screen appeared again. Skipped two p bag drops as I didn't need them. Levelled magic to 2 for another round of fairy spell. Set the p/m bag drop from large enemies to preferred place of drop in the next palace. Safe Helmethead fight, guess it's okay, can't really push him too far to the right either as he'll just stay off screen for a while.
From Midero to Island Palace: Levelled attack to 6. Took damage in each of the first two enemy encounters in the swamp, rather weak stuff I must say. Total of three random encounters. The goryia in the cave hit me a couple of times and depleted my life bar. This sequence didn't go well.
Island Palace: I'm not levelling up magic in this palace, and on the 5th attempt i finally got a magic bag from the statue. Weak, but typical Zelda II punishment for subpar gaming. My lifebar was down, but I definitely wasn't casting life then backtracking for another of those magic bags from the ironknuckle statue, no way. At least my lifebar wasn't drained enough to start that terrible beeping sound... Rest of the palace went well enough. Levelled life to 4. I had set up the p/m bag drop to drop in the screen with the raft, so that if I got a magic bag drop, I could cast jump then take the magic bag, and quickly cast fairy. I would then have another fairy spell available (collecting a small blue magic bag drop from the bots along the way). I got a points bag drop, which is okay as long as I get a magic bag and not a red ironknuckle at the first attempt when I slash the gargoyle by the elevator later. Getting a red ironknuckle in the gargoyle head is mighty close to disaster, as I would have to exit and backtrack to try again, or go collect the key up the elevator. I got the magic bag on the first attempt (third jump though...), thankfully. The boss fight was decent.
From Island Palace to Maze Palace: I avoided the possible enemy encounter on the island, and I usually hit one, I believe it mostly depends on how you time your exit from the palace with the final jump out of there. Levelled attack to 7. Played it very safe with the boomerang and lowder there. Didn't want to get hit, really wanted the sword beam in the later cave with the achemans, and to use fairy on the upcoming magic container, and especially containing sword beam and full life for the orange moa at the Maze Island entrance, as experience points gathering is mighty case sensitive around here. Entered King's Tomb to avoid enemy encounters. Used raft, then got hit by an enemy encounter, but only on the path/road. Unfortunately I took a hit from the acheman in the cave, then hit an enemy encounter just before the bridge to Maze Palace. It's really helpful with full life and the sword beam at the entrance of Maze Palace, so I cast life, no time for the fairy spell though it would have been a second or two faster.
Coming up is definitely the most tricky and complex levelling part of the run, as my stats were 7-2-4, but when I leave the Maze Palace later I will have 8-4-4. The magic level ups are case sensitive, and should be levelled at the right place at the right time (when magic boost is needed the most). According to my calculations I should enter the Maze Palace with at least 260 experience points for the levelling to be fool proof, so I kill some orange moas with the sword beam at the entrance (7 in attack is needed for a one hit kill on the orange moas). Got a magic bag drop that I didn't pick up or need, would obviously have preferred a p bag.
1st visit Maze Palace: The blue stalfos guarding the points bag jumped out quickly, good. Didn't level up magic there, needed to wait until at least one fairy spell had been cast, the life stat choice of 5 is reached at 800 experience points, and I'll level up magic to 3 then. Got a magic bag drop in the critical screen with the magic boots, which meant I could cast jump then take the magic bag and cast fairy while magic refills enough for another fairy spell through the next door. If I had gotten a p bag drop, I would have slashed the p bag, cast the fairy spell quickly before the level screen appeared, then levelled up magic to 3. If everything had failed with the p/m bag death count, I would have killed the blue ironknuckle, then cast fairy before the level screen pops up, then levelled magic to 3. I encountered a bit of trouble getting past the blue ironknuckle which wasn't good.
Maze Palace to Darunia: Levelled magic to 3 after killing the lizalfos guarding the child. Wouldn't have killed the lizalfos had I gotten a p bag in the Maze Palace as I need to reach the 800 experience points mark again inside the Maze Palace later at just the right place and time to level up magic to 4. Chose not to cast fairy to pick up the child (chose life spell at Maze Palace entrance, and would have needed to refill magic in Darunia otherwise). Got the worst first random enemy encounter pattern in the forest (over, under and to the left), and just took the hit. Tried to stay at plains or desert tiles when random enemy encounters spawned as they'll appear further from Link than when triggering when standing in forest terrain. Got hit by an enemy encounter in the desert. Then managed to skip both "forced" enemy tiles by crashing into random enemy encounters at the tiles. Good. Ideally I wanted to reach the Maze Palace on my second visit with something between 795 and 799 in experience points not needing to backtrack in the palace later (790 to 794 is great too if my small enemy kill count is less than 4, everything between 725 and 790 is okay, less than 724 is really bad, and already exceeded 800 points before the first red ironknuckle in the palace is disastrous). I'm going to need all the magic refills I can get inside the palace to be able to use fairy through doors and not spend time collecting additional keys. So you'll see me doing a few things in the sidescrolling fighting sequences between Darunia Town and the Maze Palace that would probably seem a little odd for the less knowledgable Zelda II player.
Darunia: Skipped the upward thrust. Failed to A/B at the wizard. Set up the fairy spell for later.
Darunia to Maze Palace: Failed the first random enemy encounter hit to skip the "forced" tile, but succeeded with the second one. Avoided damage by the bubbles. Okay. Chased the "elusive" fairy in the forest, got hit by an enemy instead, not good. Tried to collect the ideal amount of experience points for the Maze Palace entrance (795-799). My brain was definitely overheating in the final forest enemy encounter before the 2nd visit to Maze Palace.
2nd visit to Maze Palace. Okay, entered with 794 experience points. Should be good? Yes, but no. No life level up afforded anywhere in this palace, so I cast life, and then needed a magic bag at the ironknuckle statue. Got the magic bag at the 2nd attempt, nice. Cast fairy spell and got through the first door. Then cast the jump spell. Yeah, fortunately it's possible to slash away one of those blocks without the upward thrust, but you need to use the jump spell to do so. Collected the key, then went down to kill the red ironknuckle and levelled up magic to 4, which of course refills the magic bar completely. I then needed to exceed 1200 experience points before placing the crystal, to level attack to 8. That's why I chose the key room straight to the left. Plenty of experience points and a key. For some reason doomknockers (and blue ironknuckles) don't add to your large enemy death count, concerning p/m bag drops. So I exited that room with 694 experience points, full magic and a key in hand, enough for casting 1 fairy spell and 1 reflect spell. I still needed 206 experience points + Carock for 300. So killing two blue myu's and the two red ironknuckles should add enough if I stay clear of the moblins (deducting points at hits), right? Wrong, my small enemy death count was at 4, so the second blue myu spawned a blue magic bag when killed. 699 experience points then. Still needed 201 more + Carock. The backtracking I was working so hard to avoid needed to be done, I had to kill at least one additional blue stalfos knight. I killed both to be sure since I was kind of unsure on my large enemy death count. It seemed a good idea too since I got a magic bag drop on the last ironknuckle. I then had enough magic to cast both life and reflect. I actually needed to cast life to survive, as Carock decided to entertain me with one of his more deadly and timeconsuming patterns when positioned in the right corner.
Maze Palace to Ocean Palace: Levelled attack to 8. Picked up the heart container in the water, which would be the first thing to go if I were to skip something more to improve this run.
Ocean Palace: Wasted a little time at the beginning with the four ropes. Could have taken damage at the skulls while fairy to save a little time. First red ironknuckle fight was subpar, second one was okay. Took damage on a mago on my way to the flute, on my way back I did a good job not to take damage. Decided to cast life to be certain to survive one hit from Gooma. The boss fight was subpar, very bad first half, but good second half.
Ocean Palace to New Kasuto Town: Didn't manage to skip the first "forced" enemy encounter with the boulder lizalfoses. It was mighty close though, must have been around a millisecond late for the enemy that hit me to move differently. This depends a lot on the final jump out of the palace and frame of entering into the overworld map. Levelled magic to 7 and eventually life to 6. Went to the bridge then back to trigger the first random enemy encounter pattern in the forest/swamp at a much later tile, also at a swamp tile, where the random enemies spawn further from Link and therefore are a lot easier to dodge. Chances are great to hit only one random enemy before the cave this way, while if I skip the visit to the bridge, chances are I'll hit three random enemies on my way to to the cave. Needed to pass the 2500 experience points mark before placing the crystal in the next palace. I wanted to level up magic to 8.
New Kasuto Town: A/B'ed the wizard where I set up the spell spell.
New Kasuto to Three Eye Palace: Got a points bag from the lizalfos in the cave and then had more than enough experience points, and almost escaped an unwanted enemy encounter in the forest, but it wasn't to be. Picked up the heart container in the desert and then escaped an enemy encounter near Triple Eye Rock instead.
Three Eye Palace: Started out discouraging as the first wizzrobe blocked my path (and another wizzrobe kind of blocked me off later too). The blue ironknuckle miniboss was dispatched of quickly, if stabbed before he hits the ground after leaving his horse, one stab will do. Since I skip the magic cross and got the magic key in Kasuto, this palace is really easy. My execution of it wasn't very good though. Got hit early by Barba, and had to go three rounds with it, which is usually okay. But considering the Barba pattern that triggered I should have managed with only two rounds.
Bridges to Old Kasuto Town and Valley of Death/Path of Fire: Cast fairy then levelled magic to 8. The bridges went well.
The Valley of Death: Went really well, didn't take damage without the candle and magic cross! Why would anyone want to bring them there anyway??? Yes, it is possible :)
The Great Palace: Magic is always low after The Valley of Death, and should be conserved wisely in here. Got past the first firebird without taking damage using the jump spell. Then later got a points bag from the blue purple bot... But more importantly I got a magic bag and not a red dreadhawk from the dreadhawk statue on my first attempt. Skipped a dreadhawk statue with a possible magic bag drop as it's a little tricky without the upward thrust. I'm not saying it's a worse strat to take this drop than the previous one I fetched though, but it should obviously be one or the other, and there's a firebird to pass between them, my magic was also really really low when entering the first dreadhawk statue room. Got past the first blue dreadhawk quickly using jump, then took way too much damage from a firebird and cast the costly life spell. Then, by the natural laws of Zelda II, the upcoming blue dreadhawk came at me really fast to deal me some birdy punishment, and it was either kill or backtrack, and I chose to kill while taking some damage in the process. I was then rewarded for the kill with a magic bag on my first attempt from the dreadhawk statue again.
The two dreadhawk statues saved me a lot of time in the palace. It might be possible to time the magic bag drop with exiting the elevator to the left at the right frame and executing the jump and slash consistently, and setting up the jump spell in a previous screen for a select push in the dreadhawk staue room, but I don't have control of that. I chose not to cast the life spell in the 2nd dreadhawk statue room as I wouldn't afford fairy, jump, reflect and thunder in one go, you need a completely full magic bar to do that. But it certainly added time refilling my life at the fairy instead. The root cause/real culprit was the unnecessary damage taken from the firebird earlier imho.
The Thunderbird fight went really well, the Dark Link fight perhaps even better. I didn't take any damage in the final boss fights, so in hindsight it's easy to say I didn't actually need to refill my life at the fairy. It would have been suicidal tactics skipping a life refill at the end of the palace, in a run category where a single death equals total failure, imho though. Perhaps the best option would have been to cast life in the dreadhawk statue room and then used the jump spell instead of fairy to pass the final firebird and skip the fairy life refill, but I had just had a recent bad experience with passing a firebird with the jump spell in mind, and the final firebird is definitely more difficult to pass using the jump spell without taking damage.
Single-segment with Up+A Warping and deaths: 0:57:43 by Kristian Emanuelsen.
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This run category is Zelda II at its fastest without major glitches, playing from a newly created game file. You are allowed to use the warp trick back to The North Palace start point, which involves pressing up+A simultanously on controller 2 after bringing up the spell screen with the start button on controller 1, and then choosing the continue option. This gives you 3 lives again, but you also lose your excess experience points. You also have the freedom to abuse death, which can save some time, e.g. at the palace items, which are usually positioned at dead ends in the palaces. Instead of backtracking from the position of the item, you intentionally take damge to die near the dead end as quickly as possible after picking up the item, being transported back to where you entered the room. This also applies for the hammer item. But perhaps the most important thing about the death abuse is that dying refills your magicbar, enabling the use of more fairy spells through palace doors. You can skip more keys that way.
I aim for fastest time in this run, not best style. I skip the following helpful things in the game to save time: Candle, magic key, cross, shield, life, fire, spell, three heart containers, the upward thrust and plenty of palace keys.
I'm especially happy about my avoidance of random enemy encounters on the overworld map in this run. The route and levelling are also very good, but I believe my fighting execution leaves a lot to be desired. I take too much damage throughout, and coupled with unwanted deaths, one in Death Mountain, one on my way to Darunia Town and one in The Great Palace, I'm still not sure it's wise to publish this run, as the time of sub 58 minutes simply sounds better than how this run actually looks visually. At least that's how it seems to me. I remember also being very surprised at how good the time ended up being when recording this speedrun. I didn't expect it to be sub 58 minutes, and hadn't watched my timer since somewhere around the 4th palace, and could barely believe my own eyes really. There's definitely room for improvement in this one, but it's also the most difficult speedrun category for Zelda II imho.
Thanks to Rodrigo Lopes for being such an inspirational Zelda II competitor.
Thanks to the SDA crew for their awesome work and for publishing this run and other incredible speedruns.
European version single-segment with Up+A Warping and deaths in 1:05:00 by Kristian Emanuelsen.
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Zelda II is my favorite NES-game and because of nostalgia it's also my all-time favorite game. This game had everything I wanted from a videogame at the time of release. I hadn't played The Legend of Zelda (which is also a great game and a difficult one, but very different and not as technical), which was probably an advantage. Zelda II gets a lot of unfair stick. Those who haven't played The Great Palace with the revolutionary AI of the Dreadhawks there shouldn't criticise the game IMHO. But I am the first to admit that a speed run of this game contains too much fairy-casting through locked doors. Though a speed run without it would be even longer and this speed run is over 1 hour long...
The Zelda II European Version is modified, meaning that movement on the overworld-map is 5/6 speed compared to the American Version, but the sidescroller-scenes are almost as fast.
This run is exactly as minimalistic as my previous run: I skip the spells: Shield, Life, Fire and Spell. I skip the items: Candle, Cross and Magickey. And I skip three Life-containers (it's possible to skip four).
Speedrunning Zelda II takes a long time and can be quite frustrating. I'm not sure this run is better fighting-wise than my previous 1:06:17 run, but it's certainly more clever and faster. By changing around on my route and level-up system I decrease the luck needed when it comes to magic-potion/experience-bag droppings.
For those who aren't as familiar with the game as me, I will try to explain how the magic-potion/experience-bag dropping system works: After killing 5 'big enemies' you will have a 50/50 chance of either a magic-potion (refills your magic) or an experience-bag (200 experience points) at the drop of the next 'big enemy' killed. (Bosses, Blue Ironknuckle and Red Lizalfos don't count). E.g.: I kill 5 Orange Moas ('big enemy') at the entrance of Maze Island Palace (4th) to set me up for a magic-potion (refilling my magic to cast Fairy-spells through locked doors, saving time skipping keys) inside the palace at the first Red Ironknuckle. It will save me two lives and a lot of time. Fingers crossed for not getting an experience-bag there...
I get maximum luck on magic-potion/experience-bag droppings in my run:
A magic-potion in Parapa-Palace (saves one life - 1 extra Fairy-spell needed).
An experience-bag in Midero-Palace (1 of 2 needed to level-up).
An experience-bag in the Island-Palace (needed to save time, not killing an extra Blue Ironknuckle for level-up).
A magic-potion in Maze Island Palace (needed to save two lives and a lot of time: 2 extra Fairy-spells needed).
A magic-potion in Three Eye Palace (saves one life: 1 extra Fairy-spell needed).
Here's my thoughts on how the key areas of the game were done in the run:
Really hope you enjoy this run!
"New Game +" with Up+A Warping and deaths in 0:41:10 by Kristian Emanuelsen.
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This game is just so freakin' awesome! The 2D-fighting engine in this game is just too masterful. Mixed in with some clever RPG and adventuregame elements, man... Now, what can I say about this run? It's obviously one of many fun ways to play Zelda II, starting off from a completed file, totally overpowered, smashing everything in your way, hahaha! Man... okay, okay, about this run: Death Mountain not the fastest, but I make up for it with no random enemy encounters on my way there. A few minor problems here and there. I die once unwanted in The Great Palace. Sub 41 minutes is very doable.
Tommy "tmont" Montgomery for his Zelda II NG+ run at SDA which I learned from and enjoyed. Well played, hope you'll watch my run one day, a comeback to the crazy world of speedrunning would be highly appreciated.
The SDA-crew for downloading, transferring, uploading, and all that other important stuff that makes this run possible for others to enjoy.
European version "New Game +" with Up+A Warping and deaths in 0:44:52 by Kristian Emanuelsen.
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NG+ is an amusing way to speedrun Zelda II IMHO. The strength-advantage gives you the opportunity to defeat some of the bosses, e.g. Gooma, with more daring fighting-strategies. And most importantly, you don't have the frustrating NG-Death Mountain problem of a 35 %? chance of getting through with the hammer, even though you fight perfectly (gathering enough experience to level up attack to 4).
I consider this run to be even more lucky than my NG-run, as I have very few random-encounters. The run through Death Mountain isn't optimal, but I'm happy with everything else in this run (as far as I remember). I hope you find this run entertaining!
100% Single-segment in 1:15:22 by Travis Hofman.
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Thanks to the SDA staff for making SDA an awesome place. So far, I've done three different speed runs for SDA. The first was submitted when Mike Uyama headed things. The second was submitted when Flip was just about to take over and he was my contact. This one was submitted a few months after Puwexil started doing the submission process.3 different runs, 3 different contacts, hmmm.
I'd also like to thank the guys running The Sunday Sequence Break. They mentioned my run on one show and after I sent the run to one of them, they showed some clips from the run on a later show even though it broke from their policy of only plugging a run once. Thanks.
This run was done on the Wii VC. There is only one thing I know that was fixed in that version. If you level at the same time as leaving area in the NES version, the game freezes. In the Wii VC one, it doesn't. All the flashing was also removed when you cast/acquire spells and beat bosses. Other than those changes, I haven't noticed any differences between this and the NES one.
Things start out pretty well for me. The one encounter I had on the way to the first Heart Container south of Palace 1 was pretty typical. The bubble encounters could have gone a tad better, but they were good enough. I usually hit an encounter going back up that tiny path back to Palace 1. It's rare that I don't.
During and after Palace 1 up to the end of Death Mountain, things went pretty well. Death Mountain had a couple bumps, but nothing too major really, though overall it could have been better. What happens right after Death Mountain, that was ... just bad gameplay. After what happens on the bridge and in the Medicine cave, I decided this run was going to be just practice. Needing to cast Life and then not getting a red potion drop was bad. Little did I know that this was going to have the best second half of the game I've ever had.
Palace 2 goes pretty smoothly. That casting of life near the Glove was unnecessary. I show a different strategy on Helmethead than what I've seen in the past. Ideally, I would have not gotten hit and right after I knocked his second helmet off I would have jackhammered his head again. Would have saved another second or two, plus it looks cool killing him before his second helmet hits the ground.
That drop right before Palace 3 was planned. It was either the Blue Goriya or the Blue Stalfos. 70 xp is better than 30. I would have preferred a 200 P-bag though and gotten a red potion from the statue at the start of Palace 3. No such luck though. It's possible to make it so the Blue Goriya and other enemies in that part of the cave don't appear if you get the Heart Container near Palace 2 after finishing Palace 2. That would have messed with my drops though.
I go straight to the raft and level up there by jackhammering the Blue Ironknuckle to death. Getting five hits in with left handed button mashing is pretty tough actually. I've failed to pull it off plenty of times. I hit the head left of the elevator afterwards hoping for an Ironknuckle. No such luck this time. Yes, an Ironknuckle can appear from that head. Screw logic, this is a Zelda game. For whatever reason, I was thinking I needed to be at 250 xp when I hit the elevator, which would have been true if I got that Ironknuckle instead of a potion bottle. Rebonack (the boss) could have easily gone better. I don't jackhammer him at the beginning because whenever I did, I fell through him and got hit. I'm certain if it was timed right, one wouldn't go through him though. I was going to cast shield for the boss out of habit, but stop myself.
I kill everything I can while going to Palace 4. I need xp to level magic right before getting the boots. I end up at 0 when I get the boots. Even afterwards, I need even more xp so I hit the statue on the way out and actually get an Ironknuckle. I probably couldn't kill him that quickly again if I tried. I take the forced encounters near Darunia instead of skipping them for more xp.
The return trip to Palace 4 goes near perfectly, except for grabbing the P-bag and a couple hits, and those encounters that never happen if I destroy any forests. It doesn't really matter which key you get. The one on top of the elevator is closer in the room with the key, but the elevator room is a tad longer, but has no drop. If I had gotten a potion bottle from the Ironknuckle, I would have gotten the one on top. I think it's about a second faster.
Palace 5 is by far the best run through I ever had. In fact, most of the palaces themselves were better than any other run I did before this one. Xp isn't an issue here the way I level. Being able to cast fairy twice is more important than increasing attack. Increasing attack would have made the two Red Ironknuckles and Gooma (the boss) slightly faster to kill. That's it. The few hits I do take before the boss I blame on randomness. My strategy for Gooma I wouldn't recommend for any%, even though it's faster than what I've seen anywhere on the web except for the TAS. There's a reason I cast Shield for that fight. Plenty of deaths happened here.
I get Fire now because I didn't get it on the way to Palace 4. I don't think it matters much when it's actually acquired.
Palace 6 goes incredibly smoothly. For 100%, I consider this the easiest palace in the game. I was hoping for an Ironknuckle from the drop spot after the Cross, a potion bottle works but is unnecessary. Downstabbing Barba is risky, but oh so fast and cool. Doing the jackhammer isn't recommended because falling through him is death, and there's a good chance it'll happen. I decided on this strategy after noticing that he kept popping up on the right for me. I think this has to do with getting in there quickly and turning left. I believe that his AI is set for him to appear behind you. The decision seems to be made while he's rearing his ugly head, or in the case of the fight just starting, while you're waiting for him to appear. I don't know for a fact if any of that is true though. Or, it could just be I cast Jump when I did. When I did other things, he appeared randomly. I only know that when I did the same thing, he appeared in the same place.
I chose my level up strategy mostly for leveling magic at the end of the Valley of Death. This allows me to enter the Great Palace with full magic while making the Valley of Death relatively easy.
I opted to take the TAS route through the Great Temple instead of the normal way. This decision was made because I had a run I was thinking I wasn't going to be improved by a whole lot. Plus it looks cool, and that's as important as being fast in a speed run. Figuring out how to do it without full life and the starting position were the trickiest parts of learning the trick. It skips 2 or 3 rooms total compared to the normal way too, so it has the potential to be faster. I don't think I was significantly faster this time compared to what I've seen done by other runners though. I did take a little extra time to set it up. After I got the TAS skip on the first try, I looked at my time and realized this was going to be a personal best, even if I did die. I almost had Thunderbird killed by the third pass. Missing that one attack screwed that over though. I get to say this though: NO HIT THUNDERBIRD! I was nervous enough at this point I cast Shield against Dark Link. I didn't want to risk death at this point, even though I had plenty of health. I also do a graphical glitch after Dark Link dies. I use the Jump spell because I'm used to not having enough magic to cast anything else. I usually got magic at either of the other drop spots.
In case anyone is wondering, my previous best was about 1:16:32. This run, 1:15:18 by my timing, was over a minute faster.
This run isn't without faults so it's time to talk improvements. Doing Death Mountain before Parapa Palace is obvious. This is a little over a minute, possibly more. If I take my best splits for the route I took, there is about 1 minute of improvements. All of which is in west Hyrule between the end of Palace 1 and the end of Palace 2, so Death Mountain.
There is also 30 seconds of improvement in Palace 6 (Three-Eye Rock), but that requires doing the Fairy Glitch and clipping on top of the ceiling. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipYzI9KWLs0 for a video about how to get on top. It's frame perfect though. If you go to the right side after getting on top of the ceiling just before the screen transition, jump off the top of the screen and cast fairy, you warp yourself to the right side of the next room. You'll still be on the ceiling and you can do it again and one more time placing you at the top right of the room you need to fairy across. You would want to manipulate for a drop from the Stalfos in the next room so you could finish the palace quickly though. I would say this is probably something nobody will do in a real time speed run, but I've seen plenty of examples on SDA to know that it'll be done someday. I've had the opportunity to do it a few times while I was doing attempts, but that Stalfos didn't want to give a red potion bottle.
There are also small improvements, like not getting hit and avoiding unwanted encounters, scattered around. Total, I think there's probably 3 minutes that could be cut off this time, plus or minus a random amount because of the RNG of speed running. Or somebody that can come up with new tricks could possibly cut a lot more off.
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