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Speedrunners discover way to skip over half of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

I made it over the great divide, now I'm comin' for you.

Speedrunners, more than most people, don't like walls. They stand between a runner and their single-minded goal of making it to the end zone. As a result, the speedrunning community will stop at nothing to find a way to glitch through a barrier, especially one that if overcome would allow you to skip half of a game.

That's been the situation with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker ever since its 2002 release on the Gamecube. Those familiar with Link's aquatic adventure will recall that less than midway through the game you enter a dreamlike castle where a translucent barrier prevents the Hylian hero from walking straight to the final boss, Ganon.

Only now the collective community has unearthed a reliable method to pass through this most hated of barricades, at least in the 2013 HD remake.

Technically this glitch was performed last August by Twitch user LinkOscuro, but no one knew how to recreate it... until now.

As reported by Console Deals, Twitch user Girtana1 managed to perform it last night while using software that marks button inputs. With these details laid bare, others were able to deduce the requirements to pull off this most obscure of tricks.

By doing so, YouTuber Gymnast86 managed to set a new speedrun world record with a time of 3:05:57, nearly a half-hour faster than the previous record-holder Linkus7's 3:35:58 run.

The barrier skip is so useful that even though Gymnast86 was going for an "all dungeons" run, they still shaved approximately 30 minutes from the more lenient "any per cent" world record.

So how does it work? Gymnast86 explained the details in the first video above. It's pretty complicated, but the basic gist is that you allow the barrier to knock Link back, then pull out your Wind Waker as your brief moment of invulnerability comes to a close while pressing against the blockade. This will get you cosmetically through the barrier, but still stuck on the invisible wall just behind it. From there, you need to line up where you're looking so specifically that only about a dozen angles out of 65,000 will work.

Once perfectly positioned, you must pull off an "item slide", a glitch that allows Link to very quickly strafe a great distance. To perform this, you walk forward and pause, while hitting ESS (slightly below the controllers dead zone) down for a second, then tap forward for about half a second on the left control stick. If you've pulled it off correctly you'll strafe to the right through the invisible surface.

Given the incredibly convoluted nature of the glitch (or rather a series of glitches), it's no wonder that it took this long to figure out. Indeed Ocarina of Time speedrunner Narcissa Wright once made a video explaining why this skip is impossible. Though to her credit, she was testing the Gamecube release and as of publishing it remains unclear if the same glitch works in The Wind Waker's original version.

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

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Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.