Submission #3497: Bobmario511's GB The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "All Instruments" in 13:49.33

Console Game Boy Emulator VBA
Game Version USA v1.0 Frame Count 49760
ROM Filename Legend of Zelda, The - Link's Awakening (U) (V1.0) [!].gb Frame Rate 60
Branch All Instruments Rerecord Count 20749
Unknown Authors Bobmario511
Game The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Submitted by Bobmario511 on 3/18/2012 11:13:31 PM

Submission Comments

Huge thanks for Brandon for taking the time to encode this run with such detail!


This run aims to collect all 8 instruments and complete the game as fast as possible. By all instruments, this run aims to have all 8 instruments registered where if you were to pause the game would acknowledge that they have been obtained. In many of the levels this is why I take staircases that would appear to loose time. When you initially warp into a level, say warping from level 1 to level 2, the objects in level 2 will all be the same as level 1 unless you reload the level, hence the staircase. Obtaining the instruments from each dungeon is one of the primary goals for this game in general, so I feel a glitched category showing off tricks not seen in other runs and just showing how broken screen warping really is makes this an interesting run.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: VisualBoyAdvance re-recording 19.3
  • Collects all instruments
  • Abuses glitches
  • Manipulates luck
  • Takes damage to save time
If you are lost by the screen warping, this page has detailed maps of each level and explains how they are connected. Basically, all of the dungeon maps are connected, as well as several other maps.

Tricks Used

Screen warping:

This is the most abused glitch in this run. It allows Link to warp from one side of the screen to the other. Using maps, one can plan a rather complex looking route in order to warp to the desired locations. There are also several other factors to consider when screen warping. There is first frame warping (usually the fastest), second frame warping (faster in certain situation to clear out lag) and third frame warping (rarely used but it positions Link further from the side of the screen he is warping to which is sometimes useful). By testing each of these warping methods you can find which create the least amount of lag and then handle that.

Screen warping sprites:

While screen warping, the current sprites on screen are often carried over. The most useful aspects of this trick can be seen picking up the second instrument and picking up the key for level 7.

Up/down/left/right + A or B combos:

This allows link to do a variety of glitchy things. The most notable use in this is picking up the sword with this trick. It can also be used for effects like turning link dark or making his sword look strange. Additionally it allows Link’s shield to have a glitchy look sometimes and allows him to shield off of enemies that are further away and save some frames.

Corner boosting:

When you walk past a corner you can walk into one to boost Link forwards slightly. This is used very often to save time.

Entering a door from the back:

By entering a door from the back by screen warping or the doghouse trick it is possible to make the game load a completely different map with odd physics. This was used in level 7 so I could walk through walls and save some time.

Text skipping:

By bringing up the save menu during transitions involving text, it can be used to skip it. Saving and resetting after doing this also can skip the text as well as change links location.

Enemy manipulation:

Link’s movement, use of shield, and when his sword are swung can all help manipulate enemies behavior such as the sand worm, the nightmare boss, or even small enemies to damage boost off of.

Damage boost:

By getting hit by an enemy at the right time, it can push Link forward at higher speeds for a short time.

Opening keydoors from behind:

The keyholes opened in this run have a larger range of where they can be opened besides just in the front, like behind and to the sides. This is used to open level 1 and 7.

Here is a basic summary of my route:

-Got the sword first as I planned on using it a few times in my route and it needs to be obtained at some point to defeat the final boss.
-Got the key to the first dungeon so after completing it, I could re-enter it. If I didn't I would have to face an annoying owl cut scene.
-After warping from Dungeon 1 to 2, I had to reload the dungeon by going downstairs so the instrument would show up. This is done in all of the direct temple warps.
-Instead of completing the 4th dungeon, I warped to dungeon 5 and warped back to complete dungeon 4 after words. This allowed me to skip the Flippers and made it so the ghost wouldn't appear and not let me enter Dungeon 5.
-Quickly able to enter dungeon 6 since the nearby cave is right next to the dungeon map.
-Opened Dungeon 7 so Link could move after completing it.
-Used a "reverse stair" glitch that made it so when link went up the stairs in dungeon 7, the physics were messed up and link can go through walls.
-Warped to level 8, got the instrument, and defeated the boss.

Stage by stage comments:

Note: These improvements are based off an older run I never submitted. For the sake of showing improvements I will compare where frames are saved.

Up to the first reset

+7 frames (7 saved) Reduced lag.

Up to the second reset

+2 frames (9 saved) Reduced lag.

Entering level 1

+1 frame (10 saved) Better movement.

Completing level 1

+3 frames (13 saved) Not pausing to skip level entrance title in level 1 saves 3 frames. Later I had 14 total saved but lost 1 from lag in final room

Entering level 2

+9 frames (22 saved) Shielding off the first 2 enemies saved 2 frames, but for some reason it made it so I lost one while trying to enter the stairwell.

Completing level 2

+4 frames (26 saved) After exiting, I tried a variety of different methods and eventually saved 4 extra frames. This was one of those weird lag moments. At first I grabbed the instrument the same way as I did in my initial run but for whatever reason it caused 4 frames of lag. After that I delayed a screen warp and got to the instrument a frame or so later, however I regained 2 lost frames from lag loss or something making a total of 2 gained here...very weird... As a side note it was faster warping in with the enemy. Also, I went back to hex some stuff and saved 2 frames doing nothing…yay for lag randomness.

Entering level 3

+6 frames (32 saved) Pausing was one frame faster then the text in this case

Completing level 3

+0 frames (32 saved) I actually got the instrument a few frames faster than my previous run but I lost frames due to some frame rule

Entering level 4

+76 frames (108 saved) I saved 17 frames getting to the desert worm and 10 frames after the fight. When I warped to the entrance to level 4 I saved 49 frames off better movement and lag management.

Entering and completing level 5

+16 frames (124 saved) Not skipping the text is 1 frame faster. With that I saved 16 frames of lag and from optimization.

Entering level 4

+16 frames (140 saved) Better lag optimization here.

Completing level 4

+29 frames (169 saved) Shield boosting saved a lot of time. I could have damage boosted, but saving that ½ a heart for the final boss saves more time.

Entering level 6

+3 frames (172 saved) Added a corner boost.

Completing level 6

+1 frame (173 saved)

Entering level 7

+8 frames (181 saved) This part was painful. Lost 2 from lag getting inside of the tunnel for the first time. It is possible to save a few frames my manipulating the bomb-dropping enemy into throwing a bomb in a favorable location, but doing so would leave me at lower health which would result in more frames being lost during the final boss. I saved those 2 lost frames plus 4 frames while getting the key. Lastly saved 4 frames opening level 7.

Completing level 7

+8 frames (189 saved) Saved 4 frames getting to the staircase. Boosting off the enemy saved 4 frames.

Entering and completing level 8

+11 frames (200 saved) Saved 3frames using a shield boost. Going to the menu is 1 frame faster than the text. Saved 8 more getting the drum

Nightmare boss

+70 frames (270 saved) I lost 3 frames to lag when the ghost form was defeated compared to my any% fight (swinging the sword around didn’t cause the lag). It was possible to save 1 frame by taking damage but taking damage later saves more time. The Ganon form was painful. With that being said, I happened to save 6 frames here making this fight 3 frames faster than my any% and 70 over my last instrument run. As a side note it is possible to manipulate the last form so you don’t take damage climbing the stairs, but it takes a lot of extra time to set up.

Possible improvements:

I did my best to optimize movement and lag so there isn’t much room for improvement there. Swordless link informed me of a trick after I completed this run that can save 1 frame on the way to the final boss (by entering a screen at a diagonal angle so when link walks back down to warp he is closer to the loading point), but it threw off the randomness of the fight and I lost more time. It might also be possible to apply this trick in different areas in the run saving a few frames here and there. If a few route for this is ever made it should be looked into. Also, because I improved the fight by 3 frames and I know of a few other small improvements, I’m going to start looking into the any% run again soon.
Otherwise, the main way this could possibly be improved is with a different route. I’ve seen several other all instrument runs that use completely different routes; however this route is faster than them by a few minutes. Perhaps incorporating elements from each could save time. Also perhaps using the doghouse glitch or other warps that take you to the weird map could lead to a few instruments faster.
Suggested screen shots: 10331, 15554, 23248, 33471, 35207, 36107, 37975, 48012

Nach: I really liked this run. The route was nice, and there were some great moments, such as walking along the walls between rooms. Unfortunately, this run isn't really all that special.
A TAS should really be about standing out, and that usually means wild exploiting of glitches in a game. The select glitch in this game is well known, and easy to do on an actual gameboy. Players of this game have gone around the game doing some pretty crazy stuff for years, and YouTube is filled with many videos showing some of those things off. This TAS doesn't do much to distinguish itself.
We have a TAS which uses the select glitch to beat the game as fast as possible. This isn't it. The goal here is to collect all instruments, why? The Wind Fish needs more than just those 8 to awaken, you have to actually learn the Song of Awakening too. In terms of in game usage, these instruments aren't even used. If the goal is to collect tricky items, why not get all the weaponry, complete the trading game, get the boomerang, learn the three songs, upgrade the six items you can upgrade and so on?
I'd welcome a TAS which aims for some definition of maximum item collection (we can skip chests and dungeon specific items). Also, since this game is so rich in glitches, including some truly spectacular crazy things you can do with the select glitch along with some others, I'd accept a nice hour long playaround which just went absolutely crazy.
Please don't be discouraged I'd love to see a TAS here along these lines. Just something which has more variety, a better objective, and one that is a lot more interesting to those who know what this game is really capable of. I'd be happy to help you come up with some wild ideas if you need them. But for now, I'm going to reject this.

Last Edited by Brandon on 4/10/2012 8:14:51 AM
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