How Speedrunners Completely Broke Zelda: Majora’s Mask

How Speedrunners Completely Broke Zelda: Majora’s Mask
When you play The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, either casually or as a seasoned speedrunner, it’s always a race against the clock. With only three in-game days, players need to spend their time wisely to complete its long list of quests, and even more so for speedrunners who need to get as much progress as possible out of each cycle to land a competitive time.Earlier this year, that meant collecting the four boss remains and defeating Majora in a little less than an hour. But, as of this month, most of what previously wetn into a run became unnecessary thanks to the realization of a long sought after trick: the Moon Warp.

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Moon Warp, as anyone who has played Majora’s Mask might suspect, allows players to warp directly to the moon and confront Majora without visiting any of the four dungeons. It’s an impressive trick that brought along an equally impressive new achievement: the first-ever sub-30 minute Majora’s Mask speedrun, courtesy of longtime Majora’s Mask speedrunner and world record holder Dennis “EnNopp112” Haugen. We spoke to EnNopp to learn a little more about this mind-blowing new trick and where he sees Majora’s Mask speedrunning going from here.

EnNopp, who had previously run games like Super Mario 64 and World of Warcraft, started speedrunning Majora’s Mask in 2012 and it only took about three months for him to attain his first world record in the 100% category with a time of 5 hours, 53 minutes, and 59 seconds (seven years later, his current 100% world record is 4:35:30). He would quickly take the Any% category by storm as well, locking down the world record for it a few months later with a time of 1 hour and 42 minutes. “Since then (over 2500 days) I’ve only not had the record for 588 days” EnNopp told IGN, referencing the world record history page.His dominance over the Any% category includes a long lull from 2018 to 2019 in which the record hung around 1 hour and 15 minutes. This time was eventually shattered thanks to a new glitch, Debug Menu, which allowed EnNopp to attain the first sub-hour Any% speedrun. Along with Debug came hopes that glitch hunters finally had the tools to make Moon Warp a reality, and many theories were floating around on how to do it. Unfortunately, none of these theories came to fruition. “There were some hypotheses for wrong warping to the moon but there was always one tiny detail that would make it not work,” says EnNopp, “We were never sure if it would ever be possible to skip the boss remains.”

One month ago, the community’s dream was finally realized when the first Moon Warp was executed thanks to a new glitch called Stale Reference Manipulation (or SRM), and although both glitches are only a month old they already have quite the history. “SRM was found in October, and the Moon Warp application of it was found one month later. (The original) Moon Warp uses an owl statue and a rupee, but a faster route was found a week later using a guard and a pot,” says EnNopp, crediting a wide variety of glitch hunters and speedrunners including GlitchesAndStuff, Fasch, Exodus, Fig, MrCheeze, FullGrownGaming, Imbued, Gigopler, and Sva16162. “You can definitely say that it has been a community effort in working out the Moon Warps.”So let’s get down to the topic at hand: how exactly does the Moon Warp work? EnNopp does his best to explain:

“Stale Reference Manipulation is a glitch that lets us edit an actor’s memory address by using another actor. An actor is pretty much anything that isn’t just map geometry. So we use the memory address for the rupee’s position to change the owl statue’s memory address. This lets us change the part of the address that says which map should be loaded after loading an owl save. It works the same way with the pot. We use the memory address for the pot’s position to change the guard’s memory address in such a way so that instead of being thrown out to the Deku Palace entrance as normal, we instead appear on the moon.”

For anyone not intimately familiar with these mechanics, it probably sounds like black magic, but EnNopp ensures us it isn’t as complex as it sounds (in a run at least). “It is very simple to execute in a run thanks to consistent setups that we use which will ensure that the pot’s position will be perfect for giving us the desired Moon Warp.” Good to know!

“If we could somehow become human Link in first cycle, then we could potentially beat the game in somewhere around 15-20 minutes.” – Dennis ‘EnNopp112’ Haugen

Sub-30 minutes is already an impressive completion time for an epic adventure that would take most players around 30 hours, but a game with this level of popularity will no doubt be pushed even further. Ennopp believes the secret to an even lower time will be finding a way to skip the Deku Scrub cycle at the beginning of the game.

“There is one huge thing that could still be found, and that is if we could become human Link in first cycle. Right now, the first 3-day cycle has to be played out as normal being stuck as Deku Link, and it takes about 22 minutes to play through,” explains EnNopp, “If we could somehow become human Link in first cycle, then we could potentially beat the game in somewhere around 15-20 minutes.” This would bring it in-line with the insanely short Ocarina of Time Any% speedrun, a feat that would have been inconceivable just months ago.

But until then, EnNopp is happy with his latest personal best (and current world record) of 28 minutes and 17 seconds. “My goal was to get under 28:20 which I did just a few days ago!” he says, “I have a new project that I’m dedicating my full time into, which is to start speedrunning Ocarina of Time 100%. But if someone beats my time then I would have to come back to Majora’s Mask and try to reclaim the world record.”To see more speedruns from EnNopp, check out his Twitch and YouTube. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Sam Steward is freelancer for IGN who covers all things speedrunning! Make sure to follow him on Twitter here.

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