The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past speedrun categories explained

Kenneth Williams • September 5, 07:54

Nintendo’s most iconic adventure series is famous for its insane speedrunning community. A Link to the Past is no exception.

The Legends of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the third installment of the Legend of Zelda series. It was originally released in 1991 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System but has since been ported to Game Boy, Wii virtual console, and Switch. While Ocarina of Time gets the most speedrunning attention, diligent Link to the Past fans have finished the game in just over 11 minutes. 

The three major categories for Link to the Past speedrunning each have their own unique ruleset. Here are the No Major Glitches, Restricted Glitches, and Glitch rulesets explained for Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. 

The Any% No Major Glitches category is the most popular version of Link to the Past speedrunning. Players must navigate through the game as normal, completing the major dungeons and squaring off against Ganon. True to its name, No Major Glitches runs can’t employ techniques like clipping out of bounds or abusing the game engine.

The current record holder for Link to the Past with no major glitches is Edwwwward from Germany. The Twitch streamer achieved a record time of 1:23:03. He also holds the record for fastest Master Sword at just over 21 minutes. Xelna’s 100% Link to the Past NMG speedrun record isn’t too much longer at 1:41:18.

The Major Glitches speedrun variant for Link to the Past has a surprisingly brief ruleset. Players are allowed to use a movement glitch to force Link outside of the intended movement boundaries. This rule also prohibits the use of level warps and other truly game-breaking strategies. 

Walking wherever you want is just as useful as it sounds. fsg from Sweden has the fastest Any% Link to the Past Minor Glitches speedrun at 25:35. That’s almost an hour shaved off the glitchless run. It notably doesn’t actually shed that much time off the 100% category. Almost all the game’s collectibles are understandably within the normally navigable boundary. Lui from Mexico rules the niche category with 1:28:44.

The special rules above are meant to nudge the runners towards actually playing the game, collecting loot, and defeating bosses in a reasonable order. That concept flies out of the window for Link to the Past Major Glitches. The record run for Any% consists of Link jumping off a cliff before running across the screen in a loop, then turning invisible and teleporting to the final dungeon. 

The two major subcategories for major glitched Link to the Past speedruns are Defeat Ganon and Any%. The first still requires players to complete the final fight of the game. The record is held by a Norwegian gamer named poor_little_pinkus at 11:06.

That may seem super short but the Any% major glitches category is the absolute fastest Link to the Past speedrun. French Zelda fan Lomiig set a time of just one minute and 31 seconds, a record that’s gone unchallenged since 2017.

There are a few more interesting runs that Link to the Past speedrunners have developed over the years.

The first is Swordless, where players use any glitches to beat the game without ever collecting a sword. This humorous run was famously performed by Andy at Summer Games Done Quick 2017. American ChexHuman achieved a time of 55:59 to establish a Swordless word record.

Chexhuman also holds the record for another obscure Link to the Past speedrun contest. As expected, this run is one of the absolute glitchiest of them all. Chex accomplished the tall order of beginning with Ganon and ending on the Armor Knights in 59:24. The rematches in Ganon’s Tower can be skipped so this category doesn’t start off with a boss rush inside of a boss rush.

Legend of Zelda speedrunners are so in tune with the game that many attempt to speedrun blindfolded. Dutch streamer katun24 accomplished his run in just under three minutes.

American runner mooglemod accomplished a similar feat by completing the game with only one hand. He defeated Ganon with major glitches or a second thumb in 1:35:21. Nobody has contributed a record for a one-handed blindfolded Link to the Past speedrun yet.

The final crazy Link to the Past speedrun category uses a fan-made script to convert the game into a two-player adventure. The two players can accomplish separate objectives in real-time, allowing skilled Zelda speedrunners to divide and conquer. The duo record-holders for Major Glitchless co-op Link to the Past speedrunning are Fricker22 and bydey. After countless runs, they achieved the best time of 55:35.

article-img

What you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online in 2021

Steven Rondina • August 12, 05:47
article-img

We explain all the different types of Minecraft speedruns

Kenneth Williams • August 12, 19:59
article-img

Are Pokemon Red and Blue about to arrive on Nintendo Switch?

Steven Rondina • September 3, 14:48
article-img

When is the 4K Nintendo Switch getting released?

Olivia Richman • October 1, 23:02
article-img

Two ways to set up Minecraft speedrun timers for free

Kenneth Williams • October 5, 12:46
article-img

Here’s every Operation Riptide skin and how to get them

Kenneth Williams • September 22, 00:47