This page is intended to list the various time-saving tricks in Zelda: Link's Awakening.
Because of the nature of this site, we concentrate here on tricks that are nearly impossible to perform in real play, but are useful in the making of tool-assisted speedruns. For most of the tricks, a frame advance
feature in an emulator is a definite must-have.
Add explanations for the following tricks:
- Up/Down with the sword
- Up/Down with the shield
- Up/Down while swimming ("Aquaslide")
Add animated .gifs for the following tricks:
- Superdashing/superjumping, possibly through blocks/fences
- Hookshot jumping
- Glitched arrows and bombs (including double bomb)
Link's normal speed when moving in a single direction is 16 (subpixels/frame). When moving diagonally, this speed is reduced to 12 in both directions of movement. However, diagonally jumping with the feather causes Link to move at the original speed of 16 in both directions. For this reason, jumping diagonally is more efficient than walking diagonally.
After using the hookshot over a pit, there is a 1-frame window when Link can jump before the pit pulls him in (right after the hookshot finishes retracting). The sequence of hookshot-jump can be used repeatedly to cross any pit.
When Link's movement is being stopped for certain actions to take place (such as opening a chest, or viewing a text box), it is possible to move a few pixels (or even open the menu) after activating the action before being stopped completely. It is also possible to move slightly between actions (such as between two text boxes appearing in sequence).
Application: Skip Chest Texts
The text that displays when opening a chest can be skipped by opening and immediately canceling the menu. The optimal time to open the menu is after the item has appeared from the chest for 5 frames.
Application: Skip Boss/Dungeon Texts
Certain bosses have texts that can be skipped by opening and closing the menu on the correct frame. The texts introducing a dungeon can also be skipped; however, this is only useful if you need to switch items, as it takes longer to open and close the menu than to simply see and close the text normally.
Application: Save/Quit to Skip Trading Quest Texts
When Link exchanges an item in the trading quest sequence, he takes a few frames to pick it up and hold it above his head. The game temporarily allows input for 1-2 frames while this occurs. By pressing A/B/Start/Select during this window, you can reach the Save menu and avoid the rest of the item's text by saving and quitting. Link still collects the item in the process.
Skipping the Dog Food Text
This item is a special case because Link can collect it while being very close to a door. Stand near the door and talk to the mini bow-wow when it is close to Link; as Link holds up the dog food, move towards the door. If done correctly, Link will exit the room as he holds up the dog food. This method is faster than the Save/Quit method because it avoids having to skip the game intro and reload the saved game.
Pressing combinations of directions normally impossible on an actual Gameboy confuses the game. Using certain combinations in combination with some items will cause the item to act in an unusual way, sometimes displacing the item's effect far from Link. For simplicity, only button combinations that give abnormal item behavior are listed below.
- U/D: Starts two squares below Link and moves diagonally up/right.
- U/D/L: Moves straight down from Link, slightly faster than usual.
- U/D/L/R: Starts two squares below Link, moves to the right.
- D/L/R: Starts two squares above Link and moves diagonally up/left.
This list indicates where the glitched bomb appears (relative to Link).
- U/D: 4 squares up, 1 right
- U/D/L: 1 square down
- U/D/R: 4 squares up
- U/D/L/R: 2 squares down
- D/L/R: 4 squares left
Pegasus Boots (Superdashing)
The directions given correspond to where Link moves after the boots charge up.
- U/D: Diagonally up/right, very fast
- U/D/L: Diagonally down/right
- U/D/R: Diagonally up/left
- U/D/L/R: Straight up, slowly
- D/L/R: Diagonally up/left, very fast
Since most of these combinations move Link much faster than usual, superdashing should be used as often as possible when traversing the overworld or dungeons. However, sometimes superjumping is more useful (see below).
These directions indicate where the powder appears relative to Link.
- U/D: 6 squares up, 1 left
- U/D/L: 1 square up, 1 right
- U/D/R: 2 squares up, 1 left
- U/D/L/R: 4 squares down
- D/L/R: 2 squares up, 2 right
These combinations can glitch Link through various obstacles if the hookshot catches the wall correctly.
- U/D: Starts 2 squares below Link, moves left
- U/D/L: Starts on Link, moves diagonally, up/right
- U/D/R: Starts on Link, moves diagonally up/left
- U/D/L/R: Starts 2 squares below Link, moves up very slowly. If Link is standing above a one square wide wall, this combination will pull Link down through the wall (Demonstrated in the image to the right).
- D/L/R: Starts 2 squares above Link, moves diagonally down/left
This list describes the movement of the flame from the fire rod.
- U/D: Starts 5 squares below Link, moves diagonally up/right
- U/D/R: Starts 5 squares below Link, moves straight up
- U/D/L/R: Starts 1 square above Link, moves to the right
Up/Down While Holding Items
If you press up/down while carrying an item (such as a pot), the game will think Link is not carrying anything. You can perform other actions without Link throwing the item, as long as Link does not move during the action.
Application: Double Bomb
Pressing up/down while holding a bomb will allow you to place a second bomb. You can then throw the bomb Link is carrying, even though there is already a bomb on the field. This trick is useful for damaging bosses much faster than intended, notably dungeon 5's miniboss and dungeon 6's miniboss and boss.
Application: Jump While Holding an Item
Normally, Link cannot jump while he is holding an item in his hands. However, pressing up/down while holding the item will confuse the game and allow you to jump. This is useful in cases where you need to cross a pit or move diagonally more quickly quickly while holding an item.
After Link has started a superdash (see above), jumping will cause Link to perform a very large jump, though not necessarily in the same direction as the dash. This list shows the direction Link is sent during the jump (only larger-than-normal jumps are shown):
- U/D superdash: Down
- U/D/R: Up and slightly left
- D/L/R: Left
These jumps are extremely useful for maintaining superdash speeds while crossing obstacles such as pits, or simply moving through the overworld more quickly.
Superdashing Through Objects
The down/left/right superdash is unique in that it boosts Link up and right a relatively large distance at it begins. Because of this, it can be used to glitch through certain objects in the game.
Superdashing Through Blocks
If there is a block above Link and another block to the left of Link (but no block diagonally up/left from Link), the down/left/right superdash can be used to glitch up and left through the blocks. Note that the dash must be precise or the blocks will simply eject Link before he glitches through.
Superdashing Through Thin Fences/Doors
If a fence or door is at the very top of the current screen, down/left/right superdashing will glitch Link through the top of the screen and move him to the next room. Since the developers assumed movement through doors and screens was impossible, this trick can often save a lot of time by providing a shortcut in certain areas (such as dungeon 4 and the path to dungeon 8).
Glitching Across Pits
If Link is damaged, he will be boosted away from the source of damage. With the correct setup, Link can be boosted across a pit by an enemy if the enemy damages Link while he is partially inside the pit. If the pit is only one square wide, Link will reach the other side without being pulled back in.
It is possible to cross one-square wide pits from above by centering Link between the two pits and walking down. Note that the trick only works on certain frames because of randomness with pit mechanics.
Glitched Shield Bounce
Pressing up/down with the shield causes the shield's "hitbox" to extend much farther vertically from Link than usual. This can be used to continuously bounce off of an enemy from a distance and give enough momentum to cross a pit.
The keyholes for opening dungeons 1 and 3 are set in blocks that can be accessed from the side. It is possible to activate the keyhole from the side of the block if Link is facing upwards and moving diagonally into the block. For dungeon 3's keyhole, move to either side of the statue, face upwards, and move diagonally down into the statue. If done correctly, Link slowly moves down (while facing up) and activates the keyhole from the side.