Everyone loves Zelda! In fact, asking a large chunk of gamers “what’s your favorite video game of all time” will yield many answers, but The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one I hear quite often. Standing as one of the classics on the SNES (it’ll be included in the upcoming SNES Classic), A Link to the Past can be a bit tough for some. Our runner, Andy, will up the difficulty just a bit by completing the game without picking up the sword. Not to worry, there’s plenty of glitches at his disposal to make his trip easier. Kicking off the collection of Zelda runs at SGDQ 2017 with A Link to the Past was a smart choice.
Game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Category: All Dungeons (Swordless)
Let the Games Begin
As Andy kicks off the run, he immediately clips through the first wall. Then, by clipping through another area, he’s able to enter Hyrule castle’s dungeon. This introduction area is pretty standard, and there’s no real insane glitches yet. Since clipping is used quite often in this run, it’s important to explain how they work. Clipping through walls mainly has to do with how the hitboxes of the walls are placed. By moving link on a certain pixel inside a diagonal wall block, he can push himself out of bounds. Then, he can push himself upwards or downwards while out of bounds. Since Andy is unaffected by the enemies and items in the rooms, he can easily pass underneath them when needed.
Using clipping quite liberally, he clears Eastern Palace. Leading up to this point, Andy mainly uses the bow and arrow for his damage output. Keep in mind, there’s no sword, so all of his attacks will have to be with items. From here, Andy needs a bottle and a net. He quickly gets both items and then moves onto the next dungeon. Whenever Andy finds himself in an open area, he usually uses the speed boots to dash across the screen.
Around this point, Andy activates a pretty funny glitch where he dies on a specific tile while in water, and revives with a fairy. This causes Link to get stuck in the swimming animation, seemingly breast-stroking through solid ground. I’m not sure if it’s for show or a specific reason, as he never really explains why. Nevertheless, it’s a funny looking glitch.
Death Mountain Dive
Now, Andy needs to head towards Death Mountain. By clipping through a wall and moving in a precise fashion while the screen tries to transition, he is able to access Death Mountain quickly. Using the hookshot to clip off bottom of Death Mountain, Andy confuses the game into think he’s moving down. However, he moves all over the glitched screen and uses the mirror item, enters a doorway that loads a new zone, and intentionally dies. For those who have played A Link to the Past, you’ll know that the game is separated into two versions of the same world, the light and dark versions. By doing this glitch, Andy forces the game into a hybrid state of the two.
Dying spawns Andy by Link’s house. Luckily, he’s headed to a warp point in Hyrule Castle’s courtyard nearby. This wrong warps him to the silver arrow fairy fountain where he picks up both the arrows and a green potion. Outside of the fairy fountain, Andy uses green potion to activate a glitch that increases his rupees up to 999. By using a green potion on the same frame as a screen transition combined with the other glitches present, a tile that has an infinite spawning blue rupee is accessible.
A Link to the Bird
With a healthy supply of rupees, Andy heads off to collect the bird companion who lets you teleport around the map. Since he doesn’t have Titans Mitt, an item required to access the area, he clips around the blockage to get the bird. Additionally, he grabs another bottle off a nearby NPC. Then, he visits the Witch’s Hut to purchase a blue potion and a green potion.
From here, Andy heads to Thieves’ Town. Inside, he clips through a railing allowing him to grab the boss key early. Unfortunately, Andy takes an unexpected death from a bomb prompting a pretty funny response from the donation reader. Throughout the entire run, the commentators and runner are having a great time joking with each other. I greatly enjoy runners who have the ability to laugh at themselves and not take anything too seriously. Despite the unintended death, Andy takes down the dungeon boss using the fire rod.
Due to the death, Andy has to reactivate the game’s glitched light/dark world state before heading towards the Skull Woods. Next, Andy performs a glitch known as the “door juke”. As a rule, you can’t go through doorways while you’re holding something over your head. It’s simply not something A Link to the Past allows the player to due. Not planning on following the rules, Andy uses a glitch to pick up an item while in a doorway, and it causes the game to load a different room over the current one. While in this glitched state, Andy is easily able to grab the Big Key item, and then unlock a big chest.
Using the flute item that he grabbed earlier, Andy causes the game to absolutely freak out. While the game is in this nearly broken state, Andy is able to run around unlocking some doors that normally take time and items to access. This section makes a lot of the later dungeons much easier, as he won’t have to collect the Boss Key for some. With his work in the glitchy area finished, Andy heads back into the Skull Woods area to complete the dungeon. Inside, he does a similar glitch to the door juke. This freaks out the game even harder, but allows him to access the boss room quicker. Here, he fights Mothula, who gives Andy some trouble. Nevertheless, he annihilates the boss.
Before heading to the next dungeon, the Palace of Darkness, Andy goes back to the Witch’s Hut to grab two green potions. Once inside the Palace of Darkness, Andy grabs the hammer item by using a bomb’s explosion pushback to cross a void. Then, he performs the “YBA glitch”. This skips him to the boss, whom he easily defeats.
As if he hasn’t glitched enough, Andy pulls of the most complicated glitch of the run. This glitch works by dying and falling through a hole on the same frame. This lets Andy fall under the map and activate a bunch of other glitches. The technology and explanation behind this glitch is very complex, and for someone who knows a lot of Zelda speed running terms, I barely understand it.
While in this glitched state, Andy uses a screen transition in Hyrule Castle to confuse the game into thinking he’s in Misery Mire, a later dungeon. Due to the active glitches, none of the dungeon’s sprites are loaded in. Andy quickly fixes this so the dungeon boss, Vitreous, can spawn. Vitreous can be pretty difficult, but Andy wipes him up without taking a single hit by using the silver arrows.
Coming out of Misery Mire, Andy quickly warps to the Desert Palace. Here, he grabs the Power Glove for a later boss. Then, he travels to a cave near Lake Hylia and grabs the ice rod. From here, he heads towards Tower of Herra. Andy uses another clip to get there quickly, and then clips through the wall in the first room of the dungeon. He gets to the boss in under 15 seconds, and quickly defeats him using the hammer.
Right from The Tower of Herra, Andy uses a large clip glitch to travel to Turtle Rock, the next dungeon. Once again, Andy makes a beeline for the boss, Trinex, who he easily takes down. After these two quick boss fights, we return to Death Mountain and clip off it again. This time, Andy winds up in Zora’s Domain where he grabs an item. Then, he returns to Death Mountain and clips off it yet again, but in a different spot. This lands him inside Ganon’s Tower. Instead of clipping through the walls like normal, Andy uses the mirror item on a conveyor belt which messes with link’s momentum, forcing him into he wall. Navigating through the walls, Andy winds up in a fight with Agahnim, the main villain of the game. Andy uses his trusty net to fight him off, reflecting Agahnim’s orbs of power back at him.
The End Approaches
After finishing up the first fight with Agahnim, Andy performs another clip through a railing. This enters him into another fight with Agahnim, where Andy uses the net again to finish him for good. With just the Swamp Palace and Ice Palace remaining, Andy heads towards the swamp. The Swamp Palace is considered one of the toughest dungeons in the run, mainly because the dungeon features only a few glitches and has to be played normally. The boss fight is particularly tense, but Andy prevails without worry.
Since Andy doesn’t have the Titans Mitt, which is required to enter the Ice Palace normally, he does a huge clip to enter it. The Ice Palace does feature a few clips, but is mostly navigated as intended. The boss, Kholdstare, is quickly taken down using the hammer. In a particularly nail-biting moment, Andy gets damaged down to two hearts and almost gets killed. Having completed all the dungeons, there’s only one more clip before the final boss.
Andy performs this clip in a cave with a bit of difficulty, and approaches the end of the game to fight Ganon. However, before even seeing Ganon, he clips through a wall and ends up in the final room with the triforce, completing the game in a stunningly glitchy fashion.
That’s all for A Link to the Past, but definitely not for SGDQ 2017! We’ll have more coverage as the event continues, so don’t forget to check back in for your favorites. If you’d like to watch the entirety of Andy’s run, you can check it out at the here. I highly suggest giving it a view as the couch, runner, and donation reader had a ton of fun with it and provided some hefty laughs.