As a game developer, Nintendo is a household name, and arguably almost synonymous with video games entirely for their most loyal fans. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is undoubtedly one of their most-loved creations. Its influence reaches across the globe and generations.
The graphics were revolutionary, the plot elements deliciously complex, and the gameplay extremely fun within such a vibrant world. For a story so concerned with the passing of time, its popularity has remained largely undeterred by this in reality.
Love and passion for the game inevitably led to friendly competition, giving rise to the awe-inspiring Ocarina of Time speedruns. Unsurprising for a relatively old title, the number of glitches and exploits in this game is significant.
This has led to some outlandish strategies being employed to reduce gamers’ runtimes to minuscule amounts, both shocking themselves and their audience. One such incredible run is courtesy of Cosmo Wright, and we’ll be getting into this today. Read on to discover what was so special about this speedrun.
What Makes Speedruns so Great?
How great speedruns are is open to interpretation. But even the most casual of gamers often have respect for the skill and dedication that speedrunners must possess. Being able to complete some of these games is no easy feat itself, let alone at record-breaking speeds.
Utilizing every game mechanic and glitch you can discover are paramount to obtaining a competitive time. Hours upon hours of practice go into these runs. They make for not only an incredible personal achievement for the runners themselves, but adrenaline-fuelled entertainment for online viewers.
In the world of YouTube and Twitch, the speedrunning community is established more than ever before. Gamers come together to reminisce about their favorite titles and challenge themselves in new and exciting ways.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Cosmo Wright’s Speedrun
With some context out of the way, let’s talk about Cosmo Wright’s incredible any% speedrun. We’ll cover the highlights, what makes it so great, and what could have been done better.
Ocarina of Time Speedrun Highlights
First, let’s begin with a glance at some of the standout moments from this run.
- Reaches the final stage still in Link’s child form and without the Master Sword or completing any dungeons.
- Took 2 years to optimize the speedrun.
- Used memory hacking software to calculate the exact position to skip the forest section.
- Uses the Chinese version of the game for shorter lag times and length of text displays.
- Lures Gohma to the door perfectly.
What’s So Good About This Run?
All in all, this is an amazing example of a run from the previous world champion, Cosmo Wright. While it’s an outstanding show of gameplay expertise, even more ingenuity and patience went into perfecting it. 2 years of practice went into this spectacular run. Cosmo helped to discover many tricks for finishing the game in less time.
The Technical Precision
For this run, they even used memory hacking software to initially skip the Deku Tree dungeon, calculating Link’s facing direction and position to find the coordinates where to side hop. Cosmo collects a very specific amount of Rupees during the run.
This is just enough needed to buy the Deku Shield and a sufficient number of Deku Sticks. While the Chinese version doesn’t add much difficulty, since reading text is largely unnecessary, figuring out which version has the optimal runtimes is another interestingly elaborate trick up their sleeve.
Perfect Exploitation of the Gohma Glitch
While all the skips and warps utilized are impressive in their own right, the Gohma door trick exploited is particularly noteworthy for its extreme difficulty. The execution must be flawless and frame-perfect. Just before this, the manipulation of the giant spiderwebs is a great touch, as getting the maneuvers right in mid-air is tricky.
It’s also fairly amusing to see the second spiderweb not even being loaded by the console, as well as watching Link effortlessly fall through this hole. Cosmo does an excellent job of pulling all these glitches off, as well as all the sections that follow after.
Flawless Navigation of the Final Castle Area
The final sequence is tense because the void warp is incredibly hard to get right, especially toward the end of a high-pressure run. Not only must the rock be hit at the exactly correct time, the angles after must be perfect or the void warp won’t initiate.
The stress doesn’t end there, however, as the final hallway offers its own challenge. If the player even grazes one of the flaming boulders in this room, the entire game will crash and the run will be over minutes before the end.
Mistakes Were Almost Negligible
In summary, there isn’t too much to complain about with this run. Virtually every sequence is completed with near perfection. If we have to pick one thing, there was a slightly premature pause during the execution of the Mido skip glitch. This led to Cosmo having to re-pause the game a couple of times, adding a few seconds to the runtime.
Although the world record has since been beaten many times, mostly due to the discovery of an even more insane game-ending glitch, Cosmo put a seriously admirable amount of time into perfecting this run and held the record for a long time after.
Tricks That Were Used
Many tricks and glitches were used in this speedrun, the most obvious being the skip to the final dungeon. However, all are intriguing on their own and very complex to execute properly. A list of these glitches follows:
- Mido skip – uses inputs such as pausing and re-pausing while side hopping to skip past Mido without obtaining the Deku Sword first.
- Wrong warp – skips to the final dungeon after defeating the first boss through some difficult maneuvers, avoiding the official warp.
- Void warp – By rolling into a rock at a specific frame and angle during the final escape scene, the player can fall through the floor and skip to the final room.
- Infinite sword glitch (ISG) – A crouch stab is interrupted on a specific frame by talking, lifting something, or reading something. This activates a permanent hitbox for continuous, fast damage.
- Ocarina Items – By releasing some bottled bugs, performing a backflip then pressing the bottle button, any item can be played like the ocarina. This is used to avoid being teleported before using the wrong warp glitch.
The History of Ocarina of Time Speedruns
The history of Ocarina of Time speedruns is an intriguing one. As a game heavily based on concepts of time, both time passing and time travel, there’s an unavoidable sense of irony around the development of speedruns for the game.
Years of hard work went into optimizing each speedrun method, only to be replaced by a superior method upon the discovery of another odd glitch. This often felt to the gamers like taking another step backward to take a giant leap forward once again.
At the start of Ocarina of Time speedruns, gamers were only aiming to complete the game in less than 5 hours. Virtually no glitches were known about. Players didn’t even know how to skip the infamously monotonous and time-consuming monologues given by the wise owl Kaepora Gaebora. As time went on, more bugs within the game’s code were found.
Revving Up the Runs
In 2007, the bottle glitch was uncovered, which allowed Link to manipulate the inventory to obtain the final spirit and shadow medallions earlier than expected. In 2008, a glitch to skip through the door of time was unearthed, which meant the game could be completed without entering any of the dungeons that adult Link is supposed to, bypassing the need for a medallion collection.
This was enough of a revelation, but in 2012, the wrong warp glitch made its debut. This allowed players to skip to various points in the game, but most importantly, the final area.
Due to the final area being stored in memory adjacent to the Deku Tree’s basement, gamers can perform a complicated maneuver to skip through essentially the entire game. Speedruns boomed in this period, with shorter times than ever imagined previously.
Fast forward to the present day, and we’re seeing awe-inspiring runs that are ridiculously brief. Think somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes. Adding to the insanity, these involve not only avoiding almost all of the dungeons but even the final boss fight.
One second, Link is jumping and skipping maniacally in the forest. The next, he’s having his final conversation with Zelda somewhere in the sky.
The absurdity of Ocarina of Time speedruns is almost as iconic and timeless as the beloved title itself. If you’re interested to see how the competition shapes up today, you can view the current world record by Murph_E here.
Some Extra Info About Cosmo Wright
This player is one of the most prolific in the Zelda speedrunning scene. This isn’t only for breaking records but for helping to uncover glitches and optimize specs to a great extent rarely seen. Their speedrun journey began in 2006, and their first Ocarina of Time world record was accomplished in 2014.
This record was held until 2015. The run in question here currently places 18th in the leaderboards. But considering there are newer game-breaking glitches to play with, this is still an amazing achievement. Previously held records include those for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Paper Mario, and Castlevania 64.
Ocarina of Time is considered one of the best video games ever created, let alone one of the best in the series. Thought of as a rare gem to retro gamers and new players alike, the title offers countless hours of fun to both casual gamers and competitive speedrunners.
The abundance of glitches is part of the unique beauty of such a classic title. The eager adoption of new glitches, flying in the face of years of practice, is a testament to the persistence and devotion of the speedrunners involved. It’ll be an exciting development if these already insane times can be reduced even further.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Embody Me/Shutterstock.com.