The Legend of Zelda
- 1 Version differences
- 2 Categories
- 3 Game Mechanics and Glitches
- 4 Fighting Bosses
- 5 Beginning Advice
- 6 More advanced routes
- 7 Maps
- 8 Records
- 9 Randomizer!
- 10 Tools
- 11 History
Get to Zelda as fast as you can.
As there are no known means of getting to Zelda without defeating Gannon and taking the Triforce, and there are no known means of getting into Level 9 without all of the Triforce pieces, this means one must complete every dungeon. Items needed: Wooden Sword, Bombs, Bow, Candle, Raft, Ladder, Recorder, Bait, Arrows, Silver Arrows. Items acquired for maximum speed in current routing: Heart containers, Magic Sword.
This is a challenge category. One plays the game according to the Any% rules, with two changes: No sword is allowed, and the run ends upon reaching Gannon and holding up the Triforce. Gannon cannot be killed without a sword, unlike other enemies who can be killed with Bombs, Boomerang, Arrows, Candles, or the Wand. See The Legend of Zelda/Swordless Route for information on a way to run this category.
This category is not really run by anyone, because it is not clearly defined. However the most popular definition (run by Darkwing Duck as dumb%, and by Harold Rhea as 100%) requires:
- 13 heart containers (for 16 total)
- Power Bracelet
- Magic Sword
- Both bomb upgrades
- Magic Boomerang
- Red Candle
- Magic Key
- Silver Arrows
- Red Ring
Items that are infinitely obtainable and consumable (such as the Bait, Red Potion, Blue Potion, Rupees, Magic Shield, keys other than the Magic Key, or the Bombs themselves) or are replaced (such as the Wooden Boomerang, the Wooden Sword, the White Sword, the Blue Ring, keys other than the Magic Key, and the Blue Candle) are not required.
Game Mechanics and Glitches
The 'screen scroll' trick is useful for getting over overworld obstacles, as well as for clipping through blocks in dungeons. That means you get to some stairs without killing all the enemies first! Here's a graphic with some pointers:
Since the above chart was made, an alternate way of clipping through a block has been discovered by はる＠よつば. First, you get onto the pixel as in the above picture, with the top of Link's head lined up with the flat part of the block. Then, instead of doing a single-frame tap, slash the sword and press right or left. The sword slash, done correctly, will prevent you from moving. You will get the same effect as the single frame tap, so if you're positioned right, you will turn around. After the sword slash, walk through the block. This trick only works with block clips, not overworld scrolls or ladder clips.
Here's an additional quick demonstration of the pixels for the "reverse" clip:
The enemy drops are not random. Whether they do drop an item is random, but when they do drop, here's what they'll be. The counter starts at 0, and goes up by 1 every time you kill (most) enemies. Chart via Baxter at TASVideos:
However there are also the consecutive kill counters. Kill 10 enemies without getting hit (by an enemy, even a non-damaging bubble, or by the whirlwind from the recorder) and you'll get a forced, guaranteed 5 rupee drop from the next enemy that drops items (not in the X group). Kill the 10th enemy with a bomb instead, and instead of a 5 rupee you'll get a forced, guaranteed bomb drop!
Kill 16 enemies in a row and you get a fairy drop forced, but only if the 16th enemy is capable of dropping an item (not in the X group).
Note that if the 10th enemy does not drop items (in the X group), then killing that enemy with a bomb means the next drop that does happen will be a bomb. Killing that 10th enemy with the sword or any thing else will mean the next drop will be a rupee, even if you kill the next-dropping enemy with a bomb. It's the actual 10th enemy kill that counts, not the succeeding enemy that drops items.
However if the 16th enemy does not drop items, the fairy drop will be skipped entirely, and another one will not happen unless you get hit and the counters reset.
In some rooms that drop an item (such as the 5-Stalfos room in Level 1 that gives a key at the end), one enemy will act like it was holding the drop like a stalfos with a visible key, or a gibdo with a visible bomb. As a result, that enemy will never drop anything, and it will be able to store a forced drop and/or bypass a fairy drop, just like enemies that never drop items.
Note that splitting a Zol into two Gels, or splitting a Vire into two Keese, will not count as a kill or a consecutive kill. Killing one of those split Gels or Keese will not count as a kill for drops, but will count as a consecutive kill. Yes, there are some circumstances that are an exception to this. If the Zol/Vire is trapped against a barrier, it can sometimes trigger an extra 'kill' that way. A kill sound in place of a split sound is a hint to when this might happen.
Further note: Multiple simultaneous kills will not take you past 10 on the consecutive kill counter, per Darkwing Duck. If they would take you past 10 they leave you at 10 instead.
Advanced strategies: If a forced bomb/rupee or forced fairy drops, the consecutive counter for bombs/rupees is reset, but not the counter for fairies. So no matter how many hits you get on Manhandla with one well-placed bomb, the 10 count is reset after defeating him. The same is true of Dodongo. Likewise with a "Hippo Fairy" (going into a Patra with 7 on the consecutive counters, so that the Patra's center will be kill #16 and get a fairy), the bomb/rupee count resets to 0. Credit to Khananaphone for this discovery.
This means that if you get a forced fairy drop, the next consecutive bomb/rupee kill will not be at 20. It will be at 26. So bomb/rupee drops work in one of two methods:
- 10, (Fairy at 16), 26, 36, 46...
- 10, (Skip fairy at 16 by killing non-dropping enemy), 20, 30, 40...
Credit to Darkwing Duck for this discovery.
The recorder loops you through all the dungeons you've gotten the Triforce in, sequentially, according to the direction link is facing. It has an internal counter that starts at 1. Every time you blow the recorder in a place where the whirlwind would appear (that is, in most overworld screens, but not all), the counter changes according to the direction Link is facing. If Link is facing right or up, then the counter goes up one. If Link is facing down or left, then the counter goes down one.
Note that this counter does not reset during the run.
For example, hold your right foot turnwise to the out. If Link is facing where your toes point cross-wise, then the count will be cremented.
OK, never mind that. Let's say Link has completed dungeons 1, 3, 4, and 5. If Link blows the whistle once facing down. Link will then be taken to level 5, because the count started at one, and then looped around to 5.
Let's say link then blows the whistle 3 more times while facing down. The count will go 4, 3, 1, skipping 2 since the player has not completed 2 yet, and Link will be taken to 1.
So let's go back to the first example. Link just completed Level 5, and blows the whistle twice. Once facing down, once facing right. The counter will go from 1 to 5, and then back from 5 to 1, taking Link to Level 1. This is a technique used in record runs.
Whether a Darknut blocks a bomb's explosion with its shield is determined by two things. First, the direction Link is facing when he lays the bomb. Second, the direction the Darknut is facing when the explosion hits him. If Link's position when laying the bomb is facing the direction the Darknut is looking when the bomb goes off, the bomb won't work.
Here is a graphic by Lackattack24.
Note that bombs do not check to see if a hole should be opened whenever a shutter is opening or closing. Beware of that.
Free Locked Door
If you enter a dungeon and the first room has a locked door on top then you can leave and immediately reenter to unlock that door for free!
Walking through enemies
If an enemy has just been hit, then Link can temporarily walk through that enemy without damage or knockback. However the enemy itself must not be knocked back or split in order for that to work. So this doesn't work against Zols or Vires. Striking a Darknut's shield also prevents this from working (however Darknuts do not suffer knockback unless struck in the back).
To avoid the enemy being knocked back, the enemy must be moving between tiles.
Link normally stops walking temporarily when using the sword. Exceptions to this are while stepping onto the ladder (useful in 7 after the hungry Goriya, and in 1 to steal the key from the Stalfos after the Gels), and when stepping into a door (useful in 9 when skipping the first Patra).
Walking through Patras is a special case. It turns out that the orbiting eyes of the Patra don't actually exist hitbox-wise right away. This gives you time to walk through them. This is important for being able to actually skip the first Patra in level 9, when going toward the Old Man who talks about the Next Room. It's also great for trying to skip the second Patra, on the way back from the Silver Arrows, going toward Gannon.
Note that when walking through that first Patra, there's a trick to it. You can't just walk through the door. You have to hesitate after unlocking the door, before going through, and stabbing your way through the eye that will otherwise hit you.
Skipping the second Patra going toward the Silver Arrows is a matter of getting a good pattern of movement, and getting your block clip quickly and accurately.
Sadly the Patra before Gannon cannot be skipped with present knowledge.
Additionally, in Level 9 there's a special "reverse" block clip that's very useful to get done quickly, to get out of the wizzrobe room immediately south of the Silver Arrows. It's in theory a standard block clip, but it's coming from the opposite direction most runners do a block clip from, and it's under immense time pressure.
Here's a video of the Patra skips and the reverse clip in level 9, from LackAttack24's 29:56 then-WR run.
Only possible in the 1.0 FDS version? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iGwBE4aAzU
Darkwing Duck's Impromptu Guide
Old, but this is an incredibly informative video.
Zelda for Mortals
Also old, but here is the Presjpolk followup for beginners
Also see the Zelda Any%s Beginner Route link for a video by Jkoper
Beginner Any% Route
Rather than duplicate their work, I'll just link you to the Zelda Any%s Blue Ring Route
More advanced routes
This route benefits from the "screen scroll" but does not strictly require it. You're strongly advised at least to do the wrap into level 5, and the wrap past the lost woods, even if you don't do any others. The most important block clip you'll want to start doing is the one on the way to the Recorder.
This route is the one that got to sub-30.
This alternate route makes more advanced use of the screen scroll than the old record route, but has the benefit over the old record route in that it puts the player under less rupee pressure, as the Blue Candle is not bought. It's theoretically slower than either of the record routes, though.
Routing in this game is constantly updating these days, as people try more ideas. Ategenos is also trying to document some at his site Zelda Any Percents.
There's also Saver's route tracking maps.
The instructions above assume you know the overworld map, as well as where to get everything inside the dungeons themselves. For maps see NESMaps.com, including dungeon maps and a fully annotated overworld map.
Practice Hack in development. Shows drop counters. Later may give other useful information.
Hitbox visualization script 1.1 by Fiskbit
AI target viewer by Fiskbit (in the form of an IPS patch from the PRG0 ROM)