YouTuber MagicScrumpy outlines the exploit in the video above, explaining how players can manipulate the system’s sprite limit to complete The Legend of Zelda faster than was previously thought possible.
Speedrunner and glitch hunter Sockfolder was the first to discover the game-ending exploit, which takes advantage of the properties of one specific screen in The Legend of Zelda‘s overworld. It turns out that the original version stores player names in memory at all times and entering a precise sequence of characters on the game’s file selection screen can lead to beneficial glitches at a later point in the quest.
After inputting the required characters and retrieving the whistle item from the second dungeon during the second quest, players must trek toward Hyrule’s graveyard to activate the glitch. After touching nearby gravestones and overloading the sprite limit with an army of summoned ghosts, players will then need to use the whistle during a specific gameplay frame, which can be traced using the game’s background music.
If the trick is performed correctly, players will instantly warp to the final room of the game, skipping all previous dungeons and the final encounter with Ganon. Touching Zelda then plays the game’s ending sequence, making it possible to achieve a completion time under three minutes.
Note, however, that the glitch showcased in MagicScrumpy’s video only applies to the original Famicom Disk System version of Zelda no Densetsu. Cartridge versions for either the Famicom or the NES will not produce the desired results.
MagicScrumpy also notes that the glitch only applies to The Legend of Zelda‘s second quest, as the staircase needed to perform the glitch does not exist in the game’s first quest. The Legend of Zelda‘s remixed second quest can be easily unlocked by inputting the name “ZELDA” on the file selection screen, as demonstrated above.
Previous versions of the glitch resulted in tool-assisted speedruns for The Legend of Zelda that clocked in at just over three minutes. The revised glitch showcased above could potentially lead to new world records in the months ahead.