I have stated it several times before but The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past? That’s a very fine game. One of my favourites even. I love it so much that I’ve played through it more times than I can count, resulting in me knowing everything about it. But in recent years, something interesting happened to quite a lot of games, particularly retro games: Randomizers.
As the word implies, a randomizer grabs a game and shuffles around pretty much anything, from enemy and boss locations to items needed for progression. It makes a game you’ve experienced multiple times a completely different journey, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. At this point, I could play a Link to the Past blindfolded and probably still beat it without issue, so I wanted to put my skills to the test. Join me today for a new category of the site where I archive my Twitch streams and describe them in a let’s play format! Remember, you can catch all of my streams live over at Twitch, where I’m usually live at 6 PM UTC. For the full schedule, just check the schedule page or follow me on Twitter.
So… where to start? That was the question that first popped up as I have never played a randomizer before aside from Yoku’s Island Express, but that one was incorporated into the game itself. I was actually completely clueless, so I did the only reasonable thing I could think of: put ”how does one start a Link to the Past randomizer run please help me I have no idea” into the search bar on Google. That probably won’t result in much but if you remove everything around ”Link to the Past randomizer”, the first link that (probably) shows up is ALttPr.com.
This site is awesome. Not only can you start your own playthrough, but it also has Twitch integration so that you can easily see who is currently streaming a Randomizer run. But we’re here for preparation sake so there’s a useful guide on the site. The first step of joining the Discord server is optional but overall not a bad idea as it is quite the active community. But most important is that you have a ROM of the Japanese version. I am of course not going to tell you how to get that ROM since I don’t want the Nintendo police at my door, but I’m also not going to pretend piracy doesn’t exist. Maybe googling ”how does one find a Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce v1.0 ROM please help me I have no idea and I’m sad” will do the job.
This is probably all obvious though–my readers are smart people after all. But this is where the actual preparation starts: generating the game. After getting the ROM, you’ll be brought to a page where you can customize the ROM entirely to your liking. There are presets to choose from, and a lot of individual options such as how difficult you want the randomizer to be with item placement, and what boss you face at the end of a dungeon. Now, I may have been slightly cocky and went with a high difficulty from the get-go even though it was my first randomizer, mostly because I am very experienced with the game. Did that work out? I’m not telling yet. But I figured that since it was my first randomizer, I should go with the following options:
Glitches Required: None. I am not really a fan of using glitches for an actual playthrough, and rather for just messing around.
Item Placement: Advanced. This means that I have to know the game inside and out because I will probably have to check every single chest out there.
Dungeon Item Shuffle: Maps/Compasses. This was actually not my intention as maps and compasses appear outside of dungeons now but oh well!
Accessibility: 100% inventory. I just want to be able to get everything.
Goal: All dungeons, with Ganon’s Tower opening at a random amount of crystals and Ganon himself being beatable after all crystals have been obtained.
For the remainder of the options, I kept it fairly normal as it was my first randomizer run after all. I kept the enemies to where they belong, though I did change up the boss order. No hints which was uhh… probably not the smartest idea but oh well. Oh, and I guess I started with a sword as well, yet again for the reason that it was my first randomizer. I am an expert at a Link to the Past but I didn’t want to torture myself yet.
There are actually far more options in the customizer but yet again, I kept it simple for my first run. But after clicking the generate ROM option, there was one more surprise waiting for me: being able to select what character I want to play as! This is so awesome, the dropdown of characters just kept on going and going with so many varied choices like Yunica Tovah from Ys Origin and several Nintendo characters. I stopped right after seeing the name Marisa Kirisame from the Touhou series though, because she is lowkey one of my favourite characters from that universe and a character that I love in general. With that out of the way, my ROM was prepared and I was ready to start my run after setting up some stream-related things.
As mentioned in the preparation, I decided to skip the introduction through Hyrule Castle. My instinct told me to go to Kakariko Village because a lot of chests are usually found there–especially if you also have bombs. This instinct did not disappoint, as I ended up with the lantern and flute right away. The lantern was especially beneficial as it allows me to go through dark rooms–even if they don’t have bonfires. I learned that from someone else as you almost never end up playing the game without a lantern, but it functions as more than just a tool to light fireplaces. The flute will make travelling around much easier, as I can even reach Death Mountain without having the gauntlets to lift rocks… even though I forgot to play the flute in front of the wind hose. Oops.
I figured that I should slowly make my way to the first dungeon afterwards as that is something I can reach guaranteed; I would only need the bow to make it to the end. The cave behind Sahasrahla gave me the moon pearl which is excellent! While I didn’t have much use for it at that point, getting the moon pearl as soon as possible is definitely not a bad thing since I can then freely move around in the dark world. Talking to the old sage himself, I also learned that the pendants and the crystals are not bound to their original dungeon either, so I wouldn’t have been able to claim an item from him even if I was able to beat the first dungeon.
Speaking of the first dungeon, that’s exactly where I went afterwards. Going through the first half was no problem as expected and it even netted me some nice items such as the ice rod. But unfortunately for me, the bow wasn’t in this dungeon so I had to take my leave and explore the rest of the world. And that dear readers, is when disaster struck.
Due to me not having access to the dark world outside of Death Mountain yet and also not having the book to access the Desert Palace, I checked every single chest that I could remember, but the only items I ended up finding were rupees, arrows and bombs, and… maps and compasses for whatever reason. Apparently, I must have made a mistake with the ROM generating because that was not my intention but oh well.
I was out of options so early on in the game. Putting the item locations on advanced definitely wasn’t my smartest idea, if only for the reason that I wasn’t too familiar with the randomizer concept yet. My only option left was one that I was unsure about due to me skipping the introduction, and that was Hyrule Castle. Since I started at the house, I didn’t know if everything Hyrule Castle related was already done at that point. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t and indeed, this is where the Bow was waiting for me. Stupid Nep.
I made my way back to the first dungeon since I should be able to beat it now. My only obstacle would be the boss because I put that on randomized. This is actually where a meme from the stream started as I decided to predict the bosses from dungeons, with my first guess being Moldorm. It was indeed our favourite worm, and my predictions have been on-point for every dungeon afterwards. There was only one dungeon near the end that I wasn’t able to predict, but that was more ignorant hoping than the prediction being wrong. Anyway, I learned that I’m a clairvoyant now, neat!
Beating Moldorm granted me the zora flippers which gave me a hype moment! Though it didn’t last for long as I realised after that you technically don’t gain that much from having them in the light world as you can only access a small amount of otherwise unreachable places. I ended up being stuck again, but only because I forgot about one major factor: the whirlpools. I rarely use them in the main game, but one of them was exactly what I needed as it gave me access to Zora’s Domain. From here on out, it started looking quite positive as I gained both the gloves and mushroom from behind the waterfall, and the pegasus boots from Zora’s Domain. Also, the Zora king is a scammer who gave me 5 rupees in return for 500. The nerve, tssk tssk.
But yeah, now I truly had access to almost everything as I got the hammer from below the Sanctuary and the hookshot from exchanging the mushroom. I could now access many places in the Dark World, the top of Death Mountain and so many more places. I figured I would go to Death Mountain first since the right half actually has quite a lot of chests, and I thereafter made my way to the Tower of Hera where Koldstare was waiting for me. Usually a boss I wouldn’t have much issue with, but I didn’t have either the fire rod or Bombos Medallion at that point so I had to retreat to the Dark World instead.
Must admit that I was slightly worried about going to the Dark World at first because I didn’t have the Master Sword yet. It was waiting for me on Death Mountain, but I didn’t have the mirror to access it. But everything went quite alright, as I tackled the Dark Palace due to the high amount of chests it has first, then the Gargoyle’s Domain and finally the Skull Woods where I actually found the mirror.
I think it goes without saying but despite my earlier struggles, this Randomizer run was heavily in my favour. I eventually got the Bombos Medallion which allowed me to defeat Kholdstare for good, and he gave me the Titan Mitts so now I could technically do everything I want in the game. The only item I was truly missing to beat the game was the fire rod and silver arrows.
Making my way to Ganon
The Water Palace went down pretty easily, but one item remained absent: the fire rod. I thought I couldn’t beat the Ice Palace without it (which was a grave mistake on my part), so I did a lot of exploring to see what chests I’ve missed. The beginning half of Turtle Rock didn’t have anything and I needed the fire rod there too, so only one true option remained: to check if Ganon’s Tower was open. I set it to random after all, so this was a wild guess. Fortunately for me, it opened after four crystals!
This dungeon was awesome. I knew it had the most chests out of any dungeon by far, but this dungeon alone gave me both the Tempered Sword, and the Golden Sword. Other items included the Book of Mudora finally… even though I already did the second dungeon, but also the mirror shield, the bug-catching net and a serious amount of hearts! …Though still no fire rod, but I was happy regardless.
Funnily enough, despite everything going so well… I really needed that rod. But then, an idea popped up. Kholdstare is weak to the Bombos Medallion. The Bombos Medallion, is fire. What if… Bombos Medallion + ice mummies = success? I went back to the Ice Palace with this weird idea that I’ve never done before and indeed, it worked out! And wouldn’t you know it, the fire rod was a reward from beating the Argos Knights in this dungeon, classic.
At this point, it was just a matter of beating the dungeons and take the fight to Ganon. Both Turtle Rock and Skull Woods fell like domino pieces, though I was unable to open the big chest in Skull Woods for whatever reason. I did have all the items though, so it probably would have been just rupees anyway. I finally went to Ganon after I beat the final two dungeons and that was it. My first Randomizer run was completed!
I think it goes without saying, but I had a serious amount of fun with this Randomizer run. If I didn’t have other stuff to do, I would totally jump into another run straight away, though I’m definitely planning to make it a more frequent occurrence. Once every few months sounds about right. But this definitely also got me excited to try out different randomizers for sure, though I haven’t really decided on what yet aside from Yoku’s Island Express again. So if you have any suggestions on what you would like to see me play, be sure to let me know down below!
A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!