There is nothing quite like the ingenuity of speedrunners. On Sunday, a streamer who goes by the handle Savestate beat the entirety of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time within a demo of the game loaded on Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii. In doing so, the streamer found the perfect version of the game to speedrun, and finished it off in under four minutes — half the time of the current world record for the full version of Ocarina.
In case you weren’t familiar with it, Super Smash Bros. Brawl has a series of demos included where you could sample the games its cross-over cast of fighters made famous. Link and the other Zelda characters are represented by a short demo for Ocarina of Time on Nintendo 64. Although that demo puts a five-minute limit on playing the game, that was plenty for Savestate to beat it, making s it turns out, that version of the game on the Japanese version of Brawl was the perfect game for speedrunning. And although it has a five minute time limit, that was plenty for Savestate to beat the game.
Savestate finished an Any% run — completing a game as fast as possible, with bugs and glitches permitted — in just 3 minutes and 41 seconds. For the full version of Ocarina, the Any% world record is 6 minutes, 49 seconds, currently held by PaintSkate8.
The Brawl demo of Ocarina doesn’t start at the very beginning. It starts at the Temple of Time and comes preloaded with some items, like the hookshot. In the run, Savestate starts in the Temple of Time, and backwards jumps through Hyrule Field to the Lost Woods, only to glitch through woods to the end of the game. This video shows their unbelievable run.
The demo’s choice of starting point cuts down a lot of the work at the full game’s beginning. Likewise, giving Link bombs right away also helps, as those are useful for launching Link quickly or exploiting bugs. These and other details make the Brawl demo the ideal version of Ocarina of Time to speedrun.
Speedrunning rules are very specific, and are developed on a game-by-game basis. The most popular speedrun games also have “category extensions,” which reflect the most popular ways to complete the games under certain conditions (100% completion, for example, or acquiring all or none of a certain collectible).
Currently, there’s no category extension for the Brawl demo of Ocarina of Time on SpeedRun.com. It’s arguably an entirely different game, altogether, although there’s no listing for the demo by itself, either.
But it’s still impressive, and it shows just all the fun nooks and crannies people can explore, even decades after a game’s release, in finding newer and faster ways of playing it.
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