Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #303: Arc's FDS Legend of Zelda 2 in 53:58.62

Console: Famicom Disk System
Game name: Legend of Zelda 2
Game version: Japan
ROM filename: Legend of Zelda 2 - Link no Bouken, The.fds
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 53:58.62
FrameCount: 194317
Re-record count: 16495
Author's real name: Jeff C
Author's nickname: Arc
Submitter: Arc
Submitted at: 2004-09-02 16:43:34
Text last edited at: 2012-01-29 01:48:56
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (8458 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

General Information


Before getting downstab, my fighting technique against shieldless, large enemies is to crouch & stab immediately followed by a jump & stab. This is a different style from what is seen in Boco's and Palatinum's movies. At the first large enemy that I fought, I tried 5 or 6 different fighting techniques, and this one gave the lowest frame count.

With downstab, enemies (usually Iron Knuckles) can be hit in open spaces 1 or 2 times without slowing down. In areas with low ceilings, Link can downstab every other frame theoretically, but often it is necessary to wait another frame so that Link doesn't fall off the enemy. Against bosses, downstabbing is more difficult because they move differently and there is no ceiling.


Fairies can only go through locked doors if Link has 0 keys. Otherwise they will use the key.

Whether going up or down, fairies can get off an elevator quicker than Link's normal form.


Every 6th large and 6th small enemy will drop either a magic jar or P-Bag. The 6 count has to be accurately planned out (I have done this.)


Link's timing is the source of much randomness in the game. The blocks that fall in some palaces are determined by the timing of Link's entry to the room. The Stalfos' jumping and sword swinging is effected by timing. Dripping devices are determined by Link's timing right before the device enters the screen. (I had to manipulate one to drip an enemy on the first drop.)

On the overworld, only some enemy formations are effected by Link's timing. There are others that will appear in the same formation at a determined time even if Link does not move. This is why all timeattack attempts have had problems manipulating the second fixed battle square on the way to the Great Palace.

However, what an enemy drops (in the 6-Count) is based on what position they are at when the fatal blow is delivered.

Improvement to Boco's Movie

This movie is better than Boco's because a) it uses a restart sequence b) it uses better routes c) it is played more precisely.

I estimate that the improvement for each category is:
~100 seconds improved by using a restart sequence
~95 seconds improved by better routes
~130 seconds improved solely by more precise play

(Simplified) progression of improvement:

Last Death Mountain cave entry: 30.45 sec
Water of Life cave entry: 71.72 sec
1st Palace exit: 109.87 sec
2nd Palace exit: 158.76 sec
3rd Palace exit: 163.93 sec
4th Palace exit: 260.60 sec
5th Palace exit: 277.87 sec
6th Palace exit: 305.02 sec
Great Palace entry: 311.10 sec
Thunderbird entry: 320.45 sec
End: 324.78 sec

Important Japan-to-USA Changes


The Japanese game for FDS is called The Legend of Zelda 2 - Link no Bouken. The American game is called Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

Leveling Up

In Link no Bouken, when you reach the next point level, you can choose any of the 3 categories. This allows the possibility to get Attack to level 8 quickly. However, when you lose all of your lives or use the game restart sequence, all of your levels even out to whatever your lowest level is. For example, if your levels are 7-1-1 when picking up Magic Container 6 and you use the game restart sequence, your levels will become 1-1-1. This is why in Death Mountain I must level to 3-3-3 despite that improving Life is otherwise unnecessary in the timeattack. The benefits of using the game restart sequence easily outweigh the time lost for the 3 levels that are wasted (2 levels for balancing in Death Mountain and 1 lost after level 1. Each level up takes approximately 3.07 seconds.)

In The Adventure of Link, levels aren't lost if they are unbalanced upon restarting, but they require more points to attain. Also, there is the option of declining the level up in order to use the points for something else. In Link no Bouken, you cannot cancel the level up.

Item Pickup

Fairies cannot pick up items. (Different from USA version.) Link must stab an item to pick it up; he does not grab it like in the US version.


Elevators move significantly slower in the Japanese version than in the US version.

Palace Layouts

Palace 4 has a dripping device in the room before Carock. The small magic jar that I get here from the bot must be acquired earlier in the US version, because the dripping device is absent from this room in the US version.


In Palace 5 there is a boss fight with Horsehead at the fake wall. In the US version, a blue Iron Knuckle guards this spot.

Also in Palace 5, the end boss is a more difficult version of Helmethead. In the US version, Gooma is here.

In Palace 6, the dragon looks less intimidating and moves differently than that in the US version. The Japanese dragon rises up into the curtains and then retreats (if you let him. :P) The US dragon doesn't rise as high and will pause. Also there is a thin platform on the left side of the room in the Japanese version that is absent in the US version.


The 'WAIT' screen appears when Link enters palaces, towns, or new areas. There were somewhere around 36 instances of the 'WAIT' screen; each time it takes about 4 seconds.

Minor Things

Palaces 1-6 are only white or green. In the US version they use different wall sprites and are much more colorful.

Overworld enemies are different looking. Stronger enemies are blue, weaker enemies are gold, and fairies are red. There are a few other minor graphical differences, like the animated water.

Some enemies' experience points are different.

Some sounds are different even when emulated correctly.

Route Information

Overworld / Fixed Battle Squares

Any indirect movement or stopping in the overworld is necessary to avoid random battles and/or to make them occur on the fixed battle squares.

Palace 1

Getting the 2 keys in palace 1 may look dorky, but it's about 30 seconds faster than getting them in palace 2. Despite that someone tells Link to 'use keys in palaces they are found in,' keys work in other palaces.

Palace 4

It is always a mistake to leave the palace after getting the boots. Here I not only didn't leave the palace, but I didn't need to go up to the statue in order to get the red magic jar refill.

Great Palace

The ceiling-walking route is about 12 seconds faster than the traditional route. The only issue with it is that Link must have level 8 magic to use fairy, jump, and thunder without refilling.

Programming Errors & Oddities


Moving downward in elevators doesn't act the same way as moving upward.

When moving downward, Link refuses to walk left or right. I attack the wall to bounce Link where I want him to be. Link can get off of the elevator once his shield is underneath the ceiling.

When moving upward, Link is able to walk left or right. When getting off the elevator, his feet do not have to be at floor level; he can enter slightly under the floor.


In the correct position, when Link stops a downstab attack it will do another attack on an enemy. An example of this is in the first room of palace 5. This tactic is used on the bosses as well.


The game does have occasional problems with slowdown that need to be minimized.

Collision Detection

Although there are many little programming errors in this game, the collision detection is mostly very well done. There are only two major exceptions to this:
  1. Underneath the small floating skulls, Link can be damaged when he isn't visually touching the skull.
  2. Dark Link still makes very little sense to me.


Post on the forum if you have questions.

The river devil eats those who are weak.

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