Submission #2804: Baxter's NES The Legend of Zelda "Swordless Challenge" in 25:13.92

Nintendo Entertainment System
(Submitted: Legend of Zelda)
Swordless Challenge
FCEUX 2.1.4a
Legend of Zelda, The (U) (PRG0).nes
Submitted by Baxter on 8/14/2010 11:39:15 PM
Submission Comments

Legend of Zelda "Swordless" (first quest)

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Abuses programming errors
  • Manipulates luck
  • Uses a game restart sequence
  • No deaths
  • No predefined saves
  • Genre: adventure
  • Emulator: FCEUX 2.1.4a
This is a 86.5 second improvement over jprofit22's published movie.


There are two restrictions that this run follows:
  • Don't pick up the sword until all triforce pieces are collected.
  • Only use the sword during the fight against Ganon.


jprofit22's level order was very solid. I tested some interesting alternatives, but the level order from the previous TAS turned out to be the fastest. There is a big difference though in how money and items that have to be bought are obtained. After the 30 rupees, Link moves on to the secret 100 rupee den in the top right of the map. With the extra money a candle is bought, and bombs are obtained from an enemy using the candle. This saves both the money and the trip needed to buy bombs. It also avoids gambling altogether (gambling costs more time than you might think, as the old man has to recite his text every time you enter his cave). The place where jprofit22 collected the candle in his TAS was also a little offroute, so time was saved there also.
This route change also had some negative effects. Saving puts back the candle in the inventory, which is why I collected the raft before the level 3 triforce piece. After getting the ladder, I do have to save though, which means an extra weapon switch. It also meant that I had killed one enemy more than jprofit22 at the start of the game. Enemy drops depend heavily on the amount of enemies killed, and not having a sword really limits the possibilities of killing extra enemies. I had a little worse randomness than jprofit22 due to having this extra enemy killed and had to get bombs in rooms where no enemies are usually killed twice.
In total, this 'route change' saved about 35 seconds.
The other ~50 seconds come from optimizations throughout the entire run: better manipulation of the enemies, enemy drops, damage boost, avoiding having to switch weapons, bomb management, etc.
I also picked up one heart container. The positive thing is that you are more flexible with your damage boosts, the negative thing is that you have to fill up four hearts every time you get a triforce (the triforce refills it for you, which costs more time than a damage boost would save). For instance, After the reset before getting the level 4 triforce, having an extra heart container was only bad, as I had to pick up an extra heart which I wouldn't have had to if I only had 3 hearts (resetting starts you off with 3 hearts). The added flexibility however payed off in the end, and I do think having it saved time. I however did not pick up a second heart container in level 6 when I had the chance... I think this would have done more harm than good.
If you want to know more about glitches, techniques, randomness, etc, there is a detailed discussion on it in the Second Quest submission text.


I want to both thank and apologize to jprofit22. He did a really good job on his TAS, both the planning and execution. I did not plan on TASing this, but when I checked some possibilities at the start of the run, I was hooked. Zelda is one of my favorite games to TAS, and once I found the semi routechange, I wanted to keep going. I couldn't have completed this TAS so quickly without often looking at jprofit22's TAS.

Flygon: Added YouTube module.

Nach: Accepting as a nice improvement to an existing run.
Last Edited by adelikat on 9/19/2023 2:51 PM
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