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 1:01:21 by John Nurminen.
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Comments to be added later, just don't know what to write at the moment. Time of the run is 1:01:21
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!
Single-segment with Large-skip glitches: 0:18:57 by Neil Stevens.
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This run has been a long time in coming. Zelda 2 has had a lot going on since 2012, and while SDA has gotten a couple of great submissions, it hasn't gotten the fastest possible run from a new game. I thought SDA deserved one, so I've spent the last 6 months or so trying to make a run good enough for that. In the meantime the record dropped from 19:15 to 18:53, so over these months the standards went up!
The basic techniques in this run have been known for many years, thanks to the TAS community (inzult and others), but most of it couldn't be used in a live run because we needed left + right to skip. Thunderbird (and therefore Thunder and most of the game). But in 2012 Solairflaire came up with a way to fairy out of bounds and skip Thunderbird without left + right. That opened up a whole new route, and the fun began.
Scaryice came up with a theory TAS with help from inzult. Feasel proved it could be done in a real run. And in January of 2013 I devoted myself to actually running the glitched categories. Took the record, went back and forth with Pro_JN to grind the record down. Eventually Simpoldood took the record, then JN took it back at the 18:53 that JN and Simpoldood both have at this writing.
So, this run. My previous best was a 19:13. It should have been sub-19, which was my SDA submission cutoff, but I got terrible encounters. This run, the 18:57, had some bad luck and could have been the record, but play quality wise this was one of my best ever, and in fact my Palace 7 from entry to Dark Link was my best ever, so I'm happy to share it.
What's happening in this run:
We walk left from the start, which allows us to get outside at the same frame every time, one frame faster than if we walk right. That gets us to a specific overworld encounter set that lets us just hold right and walk to Rauru town. The frame-based RNG resets every time we gain control in North Palace at the start, or after an controller 2 Up+A continue, so we can count on the same encounters and townfolk spawns after every Up+A.
Once in Rauru we talk to the healer lady when she is on two specific subpixels, which are one frame windows. I don't get it perfectly clean, but talked to her one frame early the second time, which gave me a second chance to talk to her. costing me 1.4 seconds. That ~1.5 seconds is the most I'll give up here and not reset. Why give up 1.5 seconds this early in the run? Because there's enough resetting come up already.
By talking to the healer lady like that, we glitch her script, and she opens the door in the wrong place. That causes the door that opens to go *nowhere*, which sends us to a fallback place we call Glitch Town. Glitch town is broken, obviously. Doors go nowhere (and therefore *back* to Glitch town). The left-hand exit takes you back where you came from on the overworld, but the right-hand exit is hanging and goes different places, depending on what town you're in.
Some towns send you to places you're stuck in and have to reset, but Rauru happens to take you to King's Tomb, which is handy because this takes us *past* the hammer filters, and lets us go into the hammer area behind Death Mountain via the 'back door'. It's faster, but we're grossly underleveled for this.
The bubbles on the bridge aren't lucky for us, and the hopping guys in the dark after those rock stairs (Megmats) are unlucky, costing a few seconds off of the ideal hammer run, but the hammer run was pretty good.
This is also effectively the "Low%" run of the game, with the absolute minimum items and spells taken. The leveling is important though, and we *need* Magic 3 at the hammer. The way the drops work, the 6th 'big drop' enemy we kill is the red Daira at the hammer, so he has a 50% chance of dropping a 200 Point Bag, the rest of the time dropping a Red Jar. We need the 200 points for Magic 3, so this is the second big reset filter of the run, the glitch at the start being the first.
If we don't get the bag, we have to kill extra enemies later, which triggers *another* 6 drop, *another* 50/50, only that's much later in the run, so we're vastly better off resetting here. That's why I'm willing to give up 1.5 seconds at the start. I'm usually resetting anyway.
After we get the hammer we Up-A to instantly game over and continue back at the north palace. We have to do some housekeeping before we glitch again, as you cannot get spells while the game is scroll locked without left+right. This part went well. I got the trophy, then jump, then the medicine. On the way to Mido town I got the virtually frame-perfect mashing to break both boulders in stride, which got me to the desert square fast enough that I skipped an encounter spawn, saving three seconds.
In Mido I get downstab, then Fairy, and when the pop up comes for Fairy I select Fairy then up-a, this saves time having to re-select it to fairy to take the North Palace Magic Container. With that gotten, it's time to break the game fully.
We go *back* to Rauru to glitch again. This is the third big reset filter in the game, because it's the same double frame perfect trick, only 8 minutes into the run, *after* a 50/50 shot and a good amount of execution. I got a clean glitch, and now the *luck* part of the run begins.
Well, first I enter the door 5 more times after the initial entry into the glitched door. What this does, is it smashes the door entry stack in the programming, overwriting other memory, related to Link's position. This glitches the graphics, as the game is confused a bit. We call this mode "Scroll Lock." It lets us get the "Barrier Skip" into Palace 7 without placing all 6 gems, as well as to skip the raft, as well as to warp straight to Palace 7. It's the magic thing that lets us skip everything but Thunder, and so with the Thunderbird skip, that's how we've gone from a barely sub-hour Zelda 2 to a sub-20.
Once you're down low enough time-wise in Zelda 2, the difference between a good run and a great run is in random encounter luck. Get the right spawns and random movements (the enemies 3/4 of the time follow a set pattern, with their movements determined by their positions relative to Link, and 1/4 of the time move randomly), and you're good. On the way to Palace 2, to get the Glove, I did not get good luck. It could have been worse (and was in my old best run), but at this point I was getting worried.
With the Glove gotten, we now need to go get the Magic Container by Spectacle Rock. We didn't get it before because now when we get it, we're going to do magic. The encounter between Palace 2 and Saria Town again weren't great, but weren't terrible, so we were still in position for the run. Death Mountain went okay, no bot trolling or anything. The little blue guys, Bots, are the most random enemies in the game, and can hop into you like *crazy*.
Something you see in Death mountain often, but throughout the run in Scroll Lock, is walking right, then left. This confuses the game somehow, and makes the left-hand exit turn into the right-hand exit, so we end up wrong warping a bit.
Through death mountain we get the container, and thanks to the glitch, we wrong warp out of the cave. It turns out you can only wrong warp within the same "map" in the game. and it turns out that Death Mountain and Maze Island are on the same map in the game code. So, we get to skip the raft.
It's great too because we need this magic container anyway. We get that, and we get the one great stroke of luck in the run. Zero encounters between Maze Island and the cave, perfect spawns. That's 6-8 seconds saved, since usually you get two encounters there and lose time depending on Tektite trolling.
We wrong warp again at this cave, and end up at Kasuto Swamp. This is where we grind, because we need Magic 5. Magic 5 + 7 Magic Containers is enough to cast Fairy twice and Jump once, which we must do in order to execute the Thunderbird skip later.
We grab two point bags, and kill 4 orange lizalfos, becuase at 150xp they're the best enemies to grind on. We kill the one Red we do because he's right against a rock and relatively quick to kill. I got a bit of bad luck here, with one swamp encounter and one Big red encounter, when I only want Small orange encounters. That right there, those two events, cost me the record.
Apart from that the grind went well enough, I killed what I needed to, taking no hits, and getting back to the cave. We grab the 500 points there, to avoid a 6 drop and a 50/50 shot, then kill one last enemy on the way to the Great Palace to take Magic 5. The blue lizalfos takes 19 hits. But I made it with no damage.
The route inside Palace 7 is actually almost the same as the unglitched route. We're just grossly underleveled, and do get to skip a few enemies. The room with the blocks and the dragon heads (Ras) was one of my very best executions in a run. That last hit to stun him on the way out of the room scared me though. If I miss that I miss sub-19.
The hardest room in the run is the one with the blocks and the Blue bird knight, aka Fokka (a name I was careful not to say in any of my GDQ marathon commentaries, for obvious reasons). Not only do you have to do two clean executions of the double block break jump, to wedge the sword between two blocks, break them, and get lifted into the gap. But you also have to get past the Fokka. Touching his body is instant death at 4 hearts and Life 2, costing 10+ seconds. Two deaths mean the run can't be completed without trying the whole Great Palace over again. So this room *must* be done cleanly. I executed and I got a good beam sword pattern. Whew.
A few rooms after this are pretty straightforward. The last Blue Fokka can troll and kill you. It's uncommon but it can happen. He could have hit me with his sword beam there, which isn't instant death but is a slowdown. However I jumped perfectly (not trivial due to the glitching making the floor steps invisible), dodged it, and didn't take a hit. One key moment of good execution in the run.
After that we go down to the room with Lava and Bots, and we take an intentional death, because we need to refill our magic for the Thunderbird skip. Then we have to get *past* those Bots on pedestals. This is a nerve wracking room, because again, Bots are random and can easily jump into you, knock you into the lava, and ruin a good run. It's happened, on possible sub-19 runs, too. So I take that room slightly cautiously. Slightly. I went for it on the first one, but the second one was *so* perfectly positioned to knock me off it looked suicidal to just go for it. The third one already suicided so we were through.
Next we walk under Boss Bot (the giant blue guy) because the glitch has shifted our position. I then queue up Jump because it's time for the Thunderbird skip. On the bridge at a specific position, I jump out of bounds, and cast fairy. Fairying out of bounds lets us go through a wrong exit, similar to the right hand exit of Glitch town, and the many right-hand exits I take in scroll lock.
This lands us on the ceiling above the room before Thunderbird. We then walk right a bit (fail to walk right and you'll get taken back to the start of palace 7! Run over!), and fairy out of bounds again. This takes us to the top of the far right hand side of Thunderbird's room, and we can walk straight right to Dark Link.
Dark Link is a luckfest. He can cost 5, 10 seconds just by jumping into you a lot or worse, jumping back and waiting. He did one jump back, no waits, and one jump into me, so it was good enough.
And that's the run. Thanks to everyone listed above, the Zelda 2 Crew, my stream regulars, and the SDA volunteer staff.
"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!
"New Game +" with Large-skip glitches in 0:09:42 by Phil 'inzult' M.
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Zelda II is a game where you have to go around and collect a lot of stuff, deal with a lot of enemies and bosses, manage your experience and magic the whole time, and maybe if you're good at it, it takes like an hour.
If you beat the game, you're allowed to start over with the spells, levels, and sword techniques you had previously collected. If you use glitches, you don't have to do much collecting, or deal with many enemies or bosses. It takes less than 10 minutes.
So really, a run of this category isn't much like Zelda 2 at all.
I'll start with the glitches.
There are two things to point out about the main glitch going on throughout the run. First there's the healer glitch, when you talk to a townsperson pacing in front of a house on 2 specific frames, the AI script gets confused and they will open a door in the wall instead of the normal door. When you go inside, the game doesn't know where to put you and defaults to map 0. Next, the game is also tracking whether or not you're in a house, and adds some number into some memory address for that. There happens to be another door on map 0 that takes you back to map 0. So whenever you go into that, it adds to the house memory address again. If you go into enough doors, it overflows into some other address related to Link's position. So the game thinks you're further to the right than you actually are, and the screen won't scroll left normally. This is called scroll lock. In that state, you can use unintended exits which allow you to wrong warp all over the place.
The other big glitch in the run, which appears twice near the end, is that if you cast fairy while Link is off the top of the screen, the game will make you fall. This is useful because you spawn on the top of the room you end up in instead of at the side. Doing it in the two locations I do in this run allows you to spawn at the top right of thunderbird's room, bypassing him completely.
On to the route!
The bare minimum stuff you need to get through the final palace is the Handy Glove and downstab (to break blocks), fairy and jump (to skip thunderbird) and level 6 magic (to cast the spells). NewGame+ allows you to start with the spells, levels and downstab. I also have more levels and upstab because it helps.
So the route is: achieve the healer glitch, wrong warp as close to palace 2 as possible, collect the glove, work your way to the hammer which allows you to wrong warp to east Hyrule, work your way to the great palace, win. In a lot of ways there's not much going on in this run, but all that does is magnify the importance of doing what's in there well.
There is also one intentional death in the run, at the hammer. If you take a death here you will respawn at the left side of the room. This is important because you can't walk back to the left due to scroll lock, you'll just wrong warp somewhere in the middle of Death Mountain and it wastes a ton of time.
Another important thing to understand is encounters.
Each encounter costs you a little more than 2 seconds. Ideally you get none, but that simply isn't going to happen. You can reset forever, it just won't happen.
But understanding how they work helps. There are two types of overworld encounter spawns that can happen. One spawn is based on steps, one on time. If you line up your 16th step to happen on a path, no step spawn will happen for that cycle. The first timer spawn always happens ~3 seconds after appearing on the overworld. The next one will take a lot longer, depending on where the first one happened. Significant for this run is the forest (~8.5 seconds) and the swamp/grass (~11 seconds).
The way the encounters move is also somewhat predictable. If they are in line with you, or close to in line, they will move towards you. They move in the x direction first, so if you are moving left or right and they are right above or below you, they will tend to keep moving left or right. If they are not in line with you, they will move in a random direction. Periodically, however, encounters will take 4 random steps. So it's useful to be mindful of when the unpredictable times are going to happen. In a speedrun, when you're usually reaching the same place at the same time, you can get used to when this is going to happen.
Faries always move in a random direction and as such are not predictable. Faries suck.
They encounters only move every 16 frames, so occasionally they will not move immediately and that sometimes allows you to sneak past them.
And now the run!
I could go room-by-room but I'll just highlight a couple of things. In general the idea is to walk a bit to the right, then go left and end up somewhere else.
I burn off some steps after warping to Bagu's hut so that no spawns happen on the first leg of the swamp. This is very helpful because it eliminates a lot of headaches dealing with trying to dodge encounters while walking at half speed and nowhere really to go. A couple of steps away from palace 2, I find myself in a situation where I'm going to get an encounter no matter what. I make a split-second decision to walk up and this gives me a small encounter. If I had pressed left instead I would have gotten a large encounter, which contains an octorok. You need to pick up 6 small enemy kills in order to get a blue jar to drop later on. Usually it's not too important since there are plenty of opportunities to pick up kills in time, but in this case it comes back to bite me later.
Walking out of palace 2 I get reasonably good spawns, even though some of them took random steps towards me to mess me up. I wind up with 3 encounters before the bridge. The swamp is a mean place, and for my money, 3 encounters is acceptable.
After the bridge I hit an encounter. I consider this a mistake because I certainly could have dodged it. But the pace I was on was good, so I continued on.
During the hammer run, I am shorter on kills than usual. Typically you pick up a couple of octoroks in the swamp. I like for the ache right before the hammer cave proper to be the drop. So I shift to plan B, which is to get to 4 kills, spawn 2 megmats and get the drop there. I missed the megmats with my first 2 attacks, accidentally spawn the 3rd and take unintended damage. This plan wastes a bit of time by default since turning around for kills is slightly slower than picking them up in front of you, and flailing around like an idiot on top of that costs a bit more. Otherwise, all damage is intended and this section of the game goes acceptably.
On the way to the great palace, I get 1 encounter. This is common, but 0 is sometimes possible here. 2 is also pretty common, so I feel 1 is still solid.
The great palace went very well. A few less-than-optimal moments but I never hit any of the invisible walls, the damage I accidentally take isn't a big hindrance, and all together maybe only 1-2 seconds are lost in the whole thing.
Dark Link tried to steal the run from me with murder, but for what I was given, the fight went well.
So I think a run with no mistakes at all could be a bit less than 9:38. A run with godly encounter spawns could break 9:30. But in general I am very happy with how this turned out, 9:45 was my upper limit for what I considered good enough for submission since a run with that time would need very solid play with no big mistakes. And besides, I am seriously burned out on attempts so for now, this is The Run.
Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who plays Zelda 2. You're the reason I still play it too. Also sorry I wrote so many words, guys.
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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