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Video Game / A Link to the Past: Randomizer

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A Link to the Past: Randomizer is a popular ROM hack of the SNES classic A Link to the Past. It can be found here.

The basic "randomizer" alters a) the locations of inventory items and b) which dungeons hold the crystals needed to reach the final boss, Ganon. Not only are items found in different locations (and in a different sequence) in each "seed", but the tools needed to progress in the game also differ. To prevent the randomizer from generating a seed which renders the game unwinnable (such as placing a item in a location which can only be reached with the help of said item), the code has a built-in logic containing various checks and failsafes to ensure that "progressions" can always be obtained in one way or another (unless the player chooses the "no logic" setting - which still almost never results in an unbeatable seed, as long as the player knows the requisite glitches: the Japanese 1.0 release of A Link to the Past that the randomizer uses as its base is extremely broken).



In addition to the basic randomizer, there are many optional settings that allow for randomization of nearly every aspect of the game. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Enemizer: shuffles enemy and boss placement, the number of hits needed to vanquish them, and the strength of enemy attacks
  • Entrance randomizer: shuffles locations in the game, such that a house in Kakariko Village might be the entrance to Ganon's Tower, or linking the Witch's Shop in the Light World to the exact same location in the Dark World. There is an option to vary the extremity of shuffling, with the most extreme (Insanity) decoupling entrances and exits, ex: enter the Palace of Darkness from the normal entrance, go back the way you came, then inexplicably find yourself at a cave entrance on the other side of the map.
  • Pot shuffle: There was at one point an option to shuffle the contents of pots, but it is currently unavailable on the main site. The "unstable" branch of the semi-official door randomizer supports it.
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  • Swordless: one of the toughest seeds. Players must practice fighting bosses whilst under-equipped. Most of the time (emphasis on "most"), players can find ways to bypass the difficulty. For instance, the Hammer hits as hard as the red Tempered Sword Link normally gets.
  • Keysanity: shuffles keys, compasses, maps, and Big Keys throughout the game. A key needed to open the Palace of Darkness may be located in the Eastern Palace or even Kakariko Village. The inventory will helpfully list which keys work in what dungeon.
  • Inverted Mode: swaps the Light World and the Dark World, along with tweaking the overworld a bit; otherwise Link would not be able to access some areas. This mode was not available in conjunction with the Entrance Randomizer until recently.
  • Triforce Hunt: there are a whopping 30 Triforce pieces scattered throughout the game, and the player must find 20 of them and bring them to an NPC in Hyrule Castle's courtyard to win
  • Pedestal: sometimes shortened to "Ped", this mode requires collecting all 3 Pendants in order to pull the Triforce, not the Master Sword, from the pedestal in the Lost Woods. It theoretically has the same upper limits as the Ganon goal (though that's far less likely), but on the other end of the spectrum, you can wind up having three quick dungeon seeds. It's convenient for casual gamers or spectators who don't have a lot of free time. This setting tends to be shorter on average, but it's not beginner-friendly at all. It still rewards quick decision making and routing choices, and might even make them more significant. The big reason we haven't seen a lot of Ped tournaments is that it's a much more volatile format for racing: if paths diverge early on, and one player happens upon a "progression" a few minutes before the other does because they flipped a coin on where to go, the race can end in a blowout very quickly. Ped Goal seeds are more fun to play in small groups of friends, where the stakes are lower.
  • The randomizer also contains many cosmetic options, most notably the ability to select a custom sprite for Link or change the color palette of the game.
  • The latest version of the randomizer has combined popular settings into preset packages. The "Beginner" package is just that; the simplest logic, guaranteed swords, and Standard opening. The most popular setting is "Crosskeys", short for "Crossworld Keysanity", which combines the Crossworld entrance randomizer with Keysanity.

Unofficial settings

  • A currently-unofficial "multiworld" randomizer for multiple players. The idea is to shuffle items for each player between multiple games: player one's Hammer may be found in player four's Ice Palace, while player three's Bow may be found in player two's Sanctuary. This game mode has its own quirks and takes a while to set up, but once you've gone through the necessary steps, you don't have to repeat them.
  • Also under development, and still very much a work in progress, is an semi-official "door randomizer" which shuffles door transitions, either within or between dungeons (depending on the settings). This mode has a channel on the official randomizer Discord, but is not yet available from the main site. Barring a few bugs the algorithm, which are rare, this mode is beatable. But there are some caveats in the "cross-dungeon" mode: it's generally a bad idea to do certain Sequence Breaks within dungeons (the default settings make it impossible to do so). Seeds still have a high "failure" rate, so it may take a while to generate a game. Players should know about a number of other quirks, hence the readme. If you want to completely microwave your brain, you can also combine this with entrance shuffle, keysanity, retro mode, inverted mode, and the enemizer, amongst other settings—even the pot shuffle! (Widely regarded as the only pot shuffle which isn't a total waste of time. At the moment, though, it only works when playing the "unstable" branch.) This mode is still under active development. All the latest settings (the "unstable" branch) can be found here, and a YouTube demo can be seen here.
  • A "Shopsanity" setting in the door randomizer adds shops to the item pool - shops can have any key item needed for progression, as long as this doesn't break logic. Most items are relatively inexpensive to purchase, in order to prevent rupees from being a barrier to progression; the most expensive items are in the 100-250 range. More info is available here. Note that one needn't enable dungeon door shuffle to use shopsanity, but shopsanity has yet to be added to the main site.
  • An overworld randomizer is currently in very early development. It uses the same mechanics that the door randomizer uses for non-door transitions to shuffle the overworld transitions. There are two major aspects that can be shuffled: overworld layout and overworld tiles. Layout shuffle has three possible settings: vanilla; parallel, in which overworld transitions are shuffled, but light and dark world keep the same layout; and full, in which overworld transitions are shuffled within each world separately. Similarly, there are three settings for tile swap: vanilla; mixed, in which overworld tiles are randomly chosen to become a part of the opposite world; and crossed, in which overworld tiles remain in their respective worlds, but transitions can now be cross-world (e.g., a screen transition can take you from light world to dark world, or vice versa). The readme on the Github contains a visual representation of these settings. There's also an option to keep "similar edges" together (e.g., all three transitions possible to the left of Link's House must go to the same screen) and a "flute shuffle" setting that is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Players should be aware of some major bugs that can render seeds impossible to complete. An example playthrough can be found here.
  • Bomb-only mode, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The player has an infinite number of bombs. Swords have been removed, and most of the player's items don't damage enemies. Enemies and bosses that are normally immune to bombs are now vulnerable to them. Enemies that normally die in one hit to bombs now take the normal amount of damage from them. The player starts with "fighter sword bombs", and can collect bomb upgrades up to "gold sword bombs" (there are actually four upgrades in the pool, but only three of them will affect the player's damage output). It's extremely wacky and a lot of fun. Catch an example playthrough here.
  • Futuro mode, which is the Ocarina of Time to Retro mode's The Legend of Zelda. Bombs and magic cannot be used until the player finds capacity upgrades for them. Bows are not progressive, and a second has been added to the pool; the second turns into an arrow capacity upgrade after the first is found, and silver arrows are a separate item. The Hyrule Castle Dark World portal is available from the start.

Player assistance

The randomizer site itself has a gigantic list of resources; it is highly recommended for new players to peruse this list. This document is specifically aimed at newcomers to the randomizer.

Having a location/item tracker is practically required to avoid getting lost, particularly in the more complicated modes, unless you have an eidetic memory. Even then, the randomizer will seed new progressions that otherwise may not have occurred to you. EmoTracker is a popular one for Windows: it has packages for this and most other popular randomizers (it defaults to installing the Link to the Past package). A list of other trackers can be found here. There is also a web-based tracker for the Super Metroid crossover randomizer here. For more convoluted entrance shuffle settings, it will probably also help to take notes on all the entrances either in a text file or a spreadsheet, just so you don't have to waste valuable time retracing how you got to Dark Death Mountain without the flute, hookshot, gloves, or mirror.


The randomizer is used as the basis for speedrunning tournaments wherein players are given the same seed and face off against each other in races. These races are technically 'fair' as far as RNG is concerned, but since neither player knows in advance where all the progressions are (or even which items are required to win), it boils down to working out the quickest route based on items encountered on the way. Winning requires both intimate knowledge of the game and a degree of luck. Although it's possible to "read" a seed to predict the most likely outcome, the seed may flip the script and place items in a place which is both unlikely and time-consuming to reach. (The worst outcomes are affectionately known as "troll seeds.") For instance, a non-entrance randomizer seed might hide the Mirror on Kholdstare, the Ice Palace boss. Let's say the Mirror is required to enter the Swamp Palace and claim the item needed to climb Ganon's Tower; fighting Kholdstare as soon as possible is more likely to yield a progression and win the race, but it's a huge gamble which hinges on the quality of execution i.e. minimizing deaths.
It has proved popular enough that similar randomizers have been created for:
  • Zelda I. The first of these, created by Fred Coughlin, is available here, and has its own TV Tropes page. This is actually one of the oldest randomizers, dating back to 2015, meaning that it may even predate Link to the Past's. Several other randomizers for Zelda I have since been created. Infinite Hyrule randomizes the Zelda I overworld and acts as a sort of complement to Fred's randomizer (it doesn't randomize dungeons, but it can be used on seeds that have already been randomized with Fred's randomizer). Zelda Reloaded is yet another Zelda I randomizer that can randomize item placement, dungeon layout, the overworld, enemy placement, and numerous other game aspects. A web-based item randomizer is also available; it doesn't yet have as many options as the others, but it's also the only one that isn't currently Windows-exclusive.
  • Zelda II, available here.
  • Link's Awakening, which has not one but two randomizers:
    • One, by Daid, is here.
    • The other, by CrystalSavernote , is here.
  • Ocarina of Time, available here; has its own dedicated article.
  • The Oracle games, available here.
  • The Wind Waker, available here. Also available are a huge array of skins for Link.
  • The Minish Cap, available here.
  • Twilight Princess, available here.
  • Breath of the Wild, available here.

A separate ROM hack (found here) combines Link to the Past and Super Metroid. Often referred to as SMZ3 (A Link to the Past is the third Zelda game by release date) or SMLttP, it originally combined code from both this randomizer and the Super Metroid item randomizer, although the code branches have since diverged substantially.note  Items from one game may appear in the other, and there are four gateways between the two games. Several of the features present in the Link to the Past randomizer (such as the entrance randomizer, the Enemizer, and Inverted mode) unfortunately aren't yet implemented in SMZ3; however, Keysanity was implemented in 2021, and developers are apparently working on entrance and enemy randomizers. In any case, many of the tropes native to ALttPR still apply to SMZ3. One particularly cool thing about SMZ3 is that, due to a quirk in the games' memory allocationnote , it can be played on an actual SNES. It was later followed by a Zelda 1 / Metroid multiworld randomizer (which, unfortunately, doesn't work on an actual NES). Now all we need is a Breath of the Wild / Metroid Prime 4 multiworld randomizer.

The randomizer community also has a Discord server, where you can keep up with the latest development and tournament news. Separate Discord servers exist for the SMZ3 randomizer and the SMZ3 multiworld.

As the randomizer is based on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, most tropes that apply to that game will naturally apply to the randomizer as well. To avoid redundancy, only tropes that differ in some way between the randomizer and the original game should be added here.

The randomizer provides examples of:

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  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • The entrance to Ganon's Tower in Inverted Mode is just an ordinary door with no magical barrier protecting it. But for some reason, it still requires a certain number of crystals to open. It's especially irritating considering that once Link has the Crystals and attempts to open the door, it will swing wide open before the Crystal cutscene starts, but Link still has to sit through the long animation before he's permitted to enter. Happily this doesn't happen if the number of crystals required is 0.
    • The original game showed Link playing the flute to call on the bird and chase after Ganon, who flees into the Pyramid. This was already a bit dubious since the scene happens in the Dark World, and the bird only exists in the Light World. Nothing happens if Link selects the flute in the Dark World... outside of this scene. The Randomizer may exacerbate it: Link uses the flute to call on the bird even if he never found either of them in the first place! The probability of Link needing the flute to beat a randomized seed is low.note 
    • While the ultimate goal of defeating Ganon hasn't changed (assuming you're not playing one of the alternate goal game modes), the path to get there is almost guaranteed to be weird, even by video game standards. Why would the blacksmiths be forging Magic Powder? Why is the legendary Master Sword lying on top of a random bookshelf in the library? Why did this merchant just agree to sell Link 300 rupees for the price of 100?
  • Alien Geometries:
    • The entrance randomizer commonly places a particularly large dungeon inside an entrance to a tiny building. "How did Ganon's Tower fit in the bomb hut in southwest Kakariko?" The game isn't spelling it out, but if players want to win (depending upon the settings), they'll usually have to clear the Tower.
    • In the door randomizer, dungeon layouts are virtually certain to be arranged in ways that are physically impossible. The same applies for the overworld layout in the overworld randomizer (with the possible exception of Simple mode).
  • Already Done for You: In Open Mode, Princess Zelda starts the game having already been rescued from Hyrule Castle's dungeon and is hanging out in the Sanctuary. In spite of this, if Link heads down to the dungeon, he'll find all the guards are still there, all the doors are still locked (including Zelda's cell), and the keys to said doors are still being carried by the guards who are now patrolling outside an empty cell block. The only hint that someone has made off with the Princess at all (aside from her absence) is that the entrance to the sewers in the back is unblocked.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In very early versions of the randomizer, finding a sword overwrote Link's current sword. It was entirely possible to find the ultra-powerful Golden Sword in the first chest, only to have it irreversibly replaced by the weak Fighter Sword in the second. Subsequent versions corrected this by making swords "progressive" items: the first sword Link finds will always be the Fighter Sword, the Master Sword comes next, and so on.note 
    • Typically, the game opens the same way as LttP. Which is to say, Link starts with nothing but the clothes on his back. The No Logic setting starts him off with the Pegasus Boots, since that mode heavily relies on glitches, and the Boots make them easier to execute. Sword-Assured mode starts him off with a sword. The Customizer gives players the option of starting with any equipment of their choosing; "Casual Boots", i.e. Link starts his adventure with the Fighter Sword and Pegasus Boots, is a popular preset among racers.
    • Ganon has a line just before his final phase in which he helpfully reveals the location of the Silver Arrows to Link if he haven't found them yet. If Link picked them up already, Ganon shouts, "Oh no, silver, my one true weakness!" instead. Note that unlike most other Zelda games, ALttP does not strictly require the player to possess the Silver Arrows to defeat Ganon; they merely shorten the fight. Without them, the player must strike Ganon with the Master Sword when he is vulnerable between teleports. Accordingly, the Master Sword is absolutely required—except in swordless mode, which demands that the player find the Hammer, at least. The timing for swordless, silverless Ganon is extremely precise, so the Silver Arrows are almost obligatory. Even difficulty modes that normally remove Silver Arrows still allow them if set to swordless.
    • As ironic as it may seem, the randomizer actually does away with some of the RNG reliant features of the original game to save players from wasting time repeating the same mindless tasks over and over again due to bad luck. The Chest Opening Game will hide a progression in one of the first two chests opened, and the Digging Game is guaranteed to yield one within the first 30 digs. In the original, both of these mini-games were completely random.
    • There are also various improvements to the user interface to make navigating the item screen more efficient, such as preventing the Bottle submenu from automatically opening. The optional Quick Swap feature allows the player to scroll between items with the (unused in the vanilla game) L and R buttons, drastically cutting back on menu time with a little practice.
    • Since the randomizer is intended to be used to play through the game multiple times, it gets rid of most of the unskippable cutscenes and dialog boxes from the original game to speed things up.
    • The door randomizer starts players with a "mirror scroll" item that they can use to warp back to the start of dungeons at any time, thus saving players from soft-locking and having to take intentional deaths (or worse, save and quit and then navigate back to the dungeon) when they reach a dead-end, which happens a lot more often in this mode. It does not work on the overworld, however, and will not perform the "mirror erase" block glitch; the player needs the real mirror for either of those.
    • The randomizer lets Link carry up to 9,999 rupees instead of the paltry 999. This is handy for completionists, because purchasing all of the bomb and arrow upgrades alone will set Link back 1,400 rupees. (A fatter wallet allows Link to collect them all in one visit.) Zora charges 500 rupees for a progression item; it costs 110 rupees to get into the Palace of Darkness (or whatever the entrance randomizer replaces it with); the (former) bottle merchant charges 100 rupees; and so on. This all adds up quickly. Players are liable to spend way more than 999 rupees (albeit way fewer than 9,999) to complete the game, and it's nice not to have to worry about Link opening a 300 rupee chest and then throwing the money away because he can't carry any more.
    • In entrance randomizer seeds where Link enters a Dark World dungeon (or Light World Dungeon in inverted mode) and doesn't have the Moon Pearl, dying in said dungeon will remove his bunny curse, thereby allowing him to clear it. This will never be required in a no glitches seed, but it's still advantageous, especially in races; however, all "glitches required" settings assume that players are familiar with this technique, and may require it.
  • April Fools' Day: The devs released a festive mode (albeit a few days before the actual holiday) where they add new randomization options that were practically never going to make it in for real but the community asked for it anyways. By default, the game palette and HUD are displayed like the GBA version.
  • Backtracking:
    • Depending on the seed, Link may be required to return several times to the same dungeon or area in order to fully complete it, in the case that an item required to progress further in the dungeon is locked in a location that itself can only be accessed using an item found earlier in the dungeon. This is especially likely in Keysanity mode. Even in seeds where such double-dipping isn't technically necessary, there's still a good chance that a player will nonetheless do a lot of backtracking, simply because they didn't know which items they needed to bring the first time they entered the dungeon. So they end up having to leave to go find said items in different locations before coming back to finish the dungeon.
      • On the extreme side of things, one of the earliest "Customizer" games demonstrated that even with the simpler settings it is still logically possible to be required to travel to the Turtle Rock dungeon (a dungeon that is in a remote location and that is arduous to traverse) a total of five separate times.
    • Depending upon the extremity, entrance shuffle. The path to certain parts of Hyrule can be very convoluted until Link obtains all the tools needed to cross it normally. Insanity entrance shuffle will likely require a chain of doors to reach a remote area of Dark World Death Mountain or Misery Mire unless Link obtains the Titan's Mitts and/or flute. If the Ice Palace entrance is "Bumper Cave Ledge" (or the Light World equivalent in inverted insanity shuffle), Link will probably need to go through several doors to reach those, even with a full inventory! Taking notes is practically mandatory for the more complex settings.
    • The door randomizer can also result in a lot of backtracking, partly because the paths through the dungeons are counterintuitive, but also because the progressions may require it.
  • Bad Santa: The 2018 Christmas Festive Mode features final boss Ganon dressed as Santa Claus and, Grinch-like, attempting to steal Christmas from Hyrule.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: In the 2019 Halloween Festive mode, Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2 drops from the ceiling onto Ganon and takes his place. In the second phase, he is fought with veggies instead of arrows, just like in the NES game.
  • Blatant Item Placement: The randomizer has no concern for in-universe logic in how it places its items, gleefully placing some couch cash in the ancient and legendary Master Sword pedestal or have a random sick kid hand Link a powerful and destructive magic medallion when shown him a bottle. The Customizer lets players invoke this trope intentionally, if so inclined.
  • Boring, but Practical: Finding rupees or bombs in chests certainly isn't as exciting as getting Link's hands on a flashy weapon or progression item, but in the early game, these 'junk' items can be disproportionately useful: they don't require spending money, and many others are locked behind bomb-able walls. Link will probably come across these before he has time stack up on enemy drops or pot contents. This can apply to Heart Pieces and Heart Containers as well, since having a bit of extra health goes a long way if Link needs to dip into some of the harder Dark World dungeons.
  • Boss Banter: Both Blind and Ganon have a few randomized, usually nonsensical lines of dialog at the start of their respective fights, Blind's lines always being puns.
  • Boss Dissonance: The Enemy Randomizer can place late-game Dark World bosses (that are typically tougher) in the Light World dungeons (that are typically easier), or vice versa. The randomization of the regular enemies can also contribute to a disconnect between boss and dungeon difficulty.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Depending on the settings, the Enemy Randomizer may very well cause a type of enemy that's very weak in the base game to become many times tougher than even the toughest normal enemies.
  • Carrying the Weakness: Annoyingly, a boss may drop the weapon it's particularly weak to—after being defeated. If said weapon is the only way to damage the boss, the game's logic wouldn't allow them to be carrying it, since that would render them invincible.
  • Chaos Architecture:
    • The "insanity" setting of the Entrance Randomizer often results in physically impossible layouts, since with the exception of non-dungeon single-entrance locations, the interior and exterior entrances to a cave or building are usually completely decoupled. (There is a chance that they can still lead to the same location, but due to the number of locations in the game, this usually only happens about one to three times per seed.) This means that if Link enters through a door and then immediately turns around and exits through that same door, he may find himself in an entirely different area of the world than the one he entered from. Each entrance and exit will always lead to the same location when Link emerges from a given direction, though; it's just that each doorway is treated as two separate entrances when entered from opposite sides, rather than necessarily being connected to one another.
    • As one might imagine, the door randomizer very seldom results in physically consistent layouts. If lobby shuffle is not enabled, then the entrances of dungeons will be the same rooms as they are in the vanilla game; apart from that, all bets are off. A couple of early demonstrations of this can be found here (door shuffle seed starts at around 38 minutes the into video after a roughly five-minute introduction, and ends just after the 3-hour mark) and here (door shuffle seed starts at around 3:20 into the video). A particularly amusing combination is when a door leads to another door on the opposite side of the same room, which can happen with any room that has a 2x2 "super-tile" (like the big chest room in Swamp Palace; the door randomizer currently only shuffles super-tiles); because a door can only lead to a door facing the opposite direction, these "wrap-around" doors happen fairly often. Staircases can also get shuffled in strange ways. Owing to the way the randomizer works, the map is also only useful as a tally of what rooms a player has visited (and not even as that for players who haven't already memorized the original dungeon layouts, or at least aren't willing to look them up); it is unable to tell you how those rooms actually fit together, which gives the door randomizer a larger puzzle-solving aspect than usual.
  • Credits Gag: The updated end credits.
    • For example, the Fairy bottle will be listed as, "and the captive", "hostage for sale", "fairy dust and shrooms", and so on. Pay special attention to what Zora, Sick Kid, and Flute Boy have to say.
    • Since Sahasrahla's name is difficult to pronounce or spell correctly, and since the original game doesn't even spell his name correctly in the end credits, the randomizer's end credits choose one of several misspelled names for him. (The original game usually spells his name Sahasrahla, but the ending sequence spells it Sahasralah.)
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: It's sometimes advantageous to commit suicide during a (non-door randomizer) race if Link doesn't have Escape Rope i.e. the mirror, since death deposits Link at the door he used to enter the dungeon, which can be faster than backtracking. In the door randomizer, this is rarely necessary, since the Mirror Scroll performs the same function in dungeons before Link collects the mirror, in order to prevent soft locks. In some cases, it may still be advantageous to kill oneself in Dark World dungeons before Link collects the Moon Pearl, due to the "bunny revival" glitch (saving and continuing from a dungeon will restore Link to his normal form). Note that logic will never require this unless glitches are selected as part of the logic, and races rarely, if ever, use glitches as part of the logic; however, it can still be advantageous to find items out of logic.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: If Link doesn't find a sword in the early game, getting the Hammer is as good or better. The Hammer has an awkward delay, though, and the hitbox is strange, so players who never tried using it on enemies may need time to get used to it. Mastering it can be a huge help in the randomizer.
  • Drought Level of Doom:
    • There's nothing stopping the randomizer from placing multiple Sword upgrades, Bow + Silver Arrows, or other powerful late game weapons right at the start of the game, allowing the player to plow through early game mobs with ease. But they may find themselves in a situation where their weapon which is far from optimal, e.g. having to rely on carefully-timed bomb throws. A single miss means they won't have enough bombs to finish off the boss, forcing them to reload a save.
    • The Ice Palace is as delightful as ever. There's a specific door (the one between the cross-shaped room and the spike room with the chest) which Link has to avoid opening unless he has the Cane of Somaria, since the boss inside might be carrying a small key. Opening the wrong door will exhaust his supply of keys and render the dungeon unwinnable without the Cane. This seemingly happens seemingly nine times out of ten, since there are a colossal number of locked doors. It's possible to complete the level later, but given a choice, players don't want to "double dip", especially during a race.
  • Early Game Hell:
    • In Standard mode, Link is guaranteed to receive a weapon from his uncle before fighting any enemies, but Open and Inverted modes make no such promises. As of v31, there's an option to place a sword on Link's starting equipment (assured setting).
    • In several game modes, players will be unable to complete some of the the easier dungeons in the game such as the Eastern Palace or the Palace of Darkness until they acquire the bow, which may not occur into relatively late in the game; this is virtually guaranteed in such cases. (The Enemizer may alter which dungeons, if any, will require the bow to complete.) Also, Inverted mode is created with the explicit intention of this: the player starts in the much harder Dark World and will not gain access to the Light World until much later, meaning that the player will need to explore the harder areas of the game first.
    • Mechanically the dark rooms work the same as in the original, but unlike LttP, the randomizer may allow the player to enter said dark rooms before finding the Lamp, which normally provides the player with a small cone of vision through the darkness. The logic is designed to never require the player to enter a dark room without the means to make the darkness visible, but a common method of sequence breaking, dubbed "Dark Room Navigation", is to memorize the layout of these rooms so that a player can get through them despite being essentially blind. This can be made easier by some items that emit visual effects that are visible through the dark (most notably a charged sword attack) that the player can make use of to keep track of their own character's position if nothing else. There are guides to the dark room layouts such as this one that can also help a lot.
  • Easter Egg: Half the fun of selecting different character sprites for the randomizer is discovering what their bunny form is. For instance, Esper Mode Terra from Final Fantasy VI turns into her human form, while Ultros from the same game turns into his sidekick Chupon. People familiar with the source material should get a kick out of discovering these.
  • Empty Room Until the Trap: The Enemy Randomizer may result in rooms that usually contain fully visible enemies having been replaced by enemies that are initially hidden and only show themselves when the player comes close. Of course, an experienced player will have memorized which rooms are supposed to contain enemies, so they are unlikely to be taken completely by surprise at hidden enemies suddenly popping up in a seemingly empty room.
  • Exact Words / Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The April Fools 2021 mode added an option to download the vanilla rom of the game. Turns out it's literally just a screen with the color vanilla.

  • Fake Ultimate Mook: Depending upon the settings, the Enemy Randomizer may give weak stats to a huge, scary-looking enemy.
  • Fetch Quest: Sometimes Link gets an item he can easily do without, but merely having it puts other locations "in logic", potentially forcing him to go "check" them. This is less of an issue when randomizing ALttP by itself; the seed judges what you do and don't need. But in tandem with Super Metroid, a game which is full of items that Samus can skip, it's a huge problem. For instance, if players have the Gravity Suit and Space Jump, then they won't be happy to see the Grapple Beam; Samus doesn't need it to win, but it places Shaktool in logic, and that's one of the longest checks in the game!
  • Fridge Logic: Ganon may provide an In-Universe example in some seeds: "If we're not meant to have midnight snacks, then why is there a light in the fridge?" This may be meant as a reference to this exact trope.
  • Golden Snitch:
    • If he's lucky enough to find the Bow and Silver Arrows early in the seed, Link can kill most enemies and bosses with ease, and of the bosses that are immune to arrows (Moldorm, Mothula, Blind, Kholdstare), Moldorm and Blind don't pose a challenge to a seasoned player. Vitreous takes eleven Silver Arrows to kill: one for each small eye, and then two for the big one. Each Armos Knight dies to one silver arrow, as does each Lanmola (though targeting Lanmolas is no mean feat). The Helmasaur King, once his mask has been removed, dies to a single silver arrow. So does Arrghus after all of the Arrgi (polyps) have been killed. They might die even quicker if it didn't take so long to enchant a Silver Arrow and fire one. Toss in the Golden Sword, and many bosses go down with little to no effort.
    • "Blind Pedestal Pull." The Pedestal containing the Master Sword in the Vanilla version contains a random item here. The odds are against it containing an important progression item, but it does happen sometimes (known as a “pedestal seed“). If the player has the Book of Mudora, they can translate the front of the pedestal in order to learn what it actually contains. However, if a player doesn’t have the Book, then they may make the incredibly rash decision to hunt down all three Pendants and “pull” the item within. This is known as a Blind Pedestal Pull. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it's a highly-anticipated moment for race-watchers, since a runner may attempt the pull as some sort of Hail Mary. Players can go from being dead-last to being in the lead very quickly. You can also come up with some pretty evil scenarios. "Couch Cash" (twenty rupees). Finding the Book inside the pedestal would be the absolute worst. Finding the Lamp in the pedestal would be incredibly frustrating if players don't know how to navigate all of the pitch-black rooms in the Crystal dungeons. There have also been races where two runners have agreed ahead of time to execute a Blind Pedestal Pull.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Nightmare preset, which is every setting (except for required glitches) set to maximum.
  • Hints Are for Losers: The Telepathy Tiles that were used to communicate with Sahasrahla. Some new hints are present here. Others are just there to waste your time. The completely meaningless hints have green text and a trolly Link face on them. They say things like "There's always money in the banana stand" or "10th enemy has the bomb". Pay no further attention to these. Hints can be disabled entirely when selecting the difficulty.
  • Holiday Mode: The developers have released multiple special holiday modes for the randomizer, available for limited times during holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. These modes tend to contain many cosmetic changes such as custom holiday-themed sprites, different color palettes and season-appropriate music, along with some gameplay alterations.
  • Infallible Babble:
    • The (non-joke) hint tiles added in v.30 always provide accurate information on the whereabouts of various items, even if they're sometimes a bit cryptic and unspecific.
    • One of the best things about watching tournaments is seeing the different messages runners get when translating tablets with the Book, especially if they can't actually unlock the pedestal yet. There are some messages you don't want to see, especially on the pedestal:
      You've chosen the archer class (Bow)
      Save the duck and fly to freedom! (Flute)
      Only couch cash here, move along. (20 rupees)
      This is a paradox (Book of Mudora)
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: In the original game, the shovel mostly exists so the player can dig up the flute, and once you do so, you lose the shovel. In the randomizer, you still get the random check at the flute dig spot, but you also get to keep the shovel after digging up that item, so you can use the shovel for random digs at many spots throughout both worlds. Sometimes this will enable you to dig up magic, arrows, or bombs outside a difficult, remote dungeon (e.g., Ganon's Tower) if you take an unfortunate death and have run out of a needed item, thus saving you minutes' worth of backtracking.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: By default, major items cannot be locked behind themselves, but minor ones like dungeon keys can, making it relatively common for e.g. the Swamp Palace Big Key (which is not required to reach the boss and complete the dungeon) to be locked in the Big Chest, which requires the Big Key to open.
  • Level Editor: The official randomizer website features the Customizer, which lets the user design their own handcrafted version of the game using the same variables as the randomizer itself.
  • No Final Boss for You: If the game goal has been set to either Master Sword Pedestal or Triforce Pieces, Link won't have to fight Ganon to complete the game. In fact, Ganon can't be harmed in these settings, and he'll mock Link for trying.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: With over 200 unique item locations to check and dozens of unique items to find, many of which unlock other locations, it's easy to lose track of Link's immediate destination. Keeping track of a) which locations he hasn't checked for and b) which locations they open open is essential for a good run, particularly in Keysanity and the Entrance Randomizer. Third-party item trackers are a godsend to help combat this, especially those that highlight locations Link currently has access to.
  • One Size Fits All: The blue and red mails (and the starter green mail seen in Link's inventory) all have the same sprites as in the original game regardless of what character sprite you're using. In spite of this they all fit just fine on any one of the selectable player sprites, regardless of size, shape or number of limbs. Same goes for the Pegasus Boots, which apparently can be worn and used even by character sprites who lack feet.
  • Poison Mushroom: The Enemizer cam randomize enemy damage values so thoroughly, they may actually do more damage against the Blue or Red mails than the Green Mail. In such a case, collecting these "upgrades" is a disadvantage: there's no way of knowing without picking them up, and once they're picked up, they can't be dropped.
  • Pungeon Master: Almost every randomized line Blind gets is a pun. Ganon has quite a few of these as well, though not as frequently; sometimes he will drop a pop culture reference.
  • Recurring Boss: Depending on the settings. In addition to the boss rush in Ganon's Tower, the Enemy Randomizer may spawn the same boss multiple times in different dungeons. In theory, Link might kill a particular boss thirteen times in one seed, as unlikely as that is.
  • Retraux: Retro Mode uses rupees as arrows, just like in the original NES Zelda which the mode is based on.
  • Reward from Nowhere: The somewhat logical context of some of the original game's item locations are often lost during randomization. For example: finding an old book on a bookshelf makes sense but finding the legendary Master Sword there makes less so. Finding a lonely Mushroom on the forest floor is nothing strange but finding the Big Key to Ganon's Tower in the same spot can make one question how responsible the dark lord really is with his stuff.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: The Enemy Randomizer has options to randomize enemy health and/or damage. Enemies may go down in one hit from any given weapons, while simultaneously dealing enough damage to one-shot the player at full health (provided they haven't yet maxed out Link's heart containers).
  • Sequence Breaking: Aside from the fact that the randomizer inherently breaks the sequence of the original game, it's actually possible to sequence break the randomizer itself by circumventing the built-in logic it operates by. This is usually accomplished by exploiting glitches to get to areas Link normally can't reach without a tool. If Link glitches his way to an item before the game expects it (i.e. it's "not in logic"), experts will be able to deduce the locations of other items. If Link uses the glitch known as "fake flippers" to swim without the help of flippers, he may theoretically find the Hammer. The real flippers can't possibly be in a location which requires the hammer to reach, since according to the logic, he would've had to find the flippers before the hammer.
  • Sidequest: Occasionally you will end up in a situation where you either already have all items needed to beat the game (commonly referred to as "Go-Mode") or at least know where all items you need are located, in which case checking any other remaining item location is unnecessary. But even then, sometimes it can be worth it to go slightly out of your way for the off chance of finding an extra item that, strictly speaking, isn't required, but would nonetheless be very helpful. This most commonly happens while in search of the Silver Arrows, which greatly speed up several boss fights, especially the fight against Ganon. It may also involve finding the 3rd or 4th Sword upgrade, 1/2 Magic (effectively doubling Link's Magic Meter), or maybe a defense buff like the Blue or Red Mail.
  • Silliness Switch:
    • The randomizer has a wide variety of custom character sprites to choose from, some sillier than others. The option to change the game's color palette often leads to ridiculous color combinations. Custom music packs can replace the game's vanilla music with music from other games, TV shows and movies, or acapella covers.
    • The April Fools' Day 2021 holiday adds in a ton of extra silly things such as rendering Link upside down and to really wreak havoc on the music such as: altering where tracks play, their tempo and/or the segments of each song.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • Out of the two types of Boss Prizes, Crystals and Pendants, only the Crystals are guaranteed to be required to finish the game under normal rules. As such it's often the case that one or more of the three Pendant bosses are skippable. The Green Pendant may be required if Sahasrahla holds a required item, and if the Pedestal should happen to contain a required item then all three Pendants will be required. However, even if the Pendants themselves aren't required there's always the possibility that one or more of the Pendant bosses will drop a required item along with their Pendant, thus making them non-skippable anyway.
    • The first encounter with Agahnim is often skippable, since he doesn't carry any Crystal or Pendant, but may be required if there's a progression in the Lumberjack Cave, or if there's no other way to get Dark World access. It is also possible for the Moon Pearl to be found on the Pyramid in such seeds. Twitch chat pretty much lives in hope of the elusive Agahnim or pedestal-required seed.
    • The rematch with Armos in the basement of Ganon's Tower can also be skipped if the Big Key doesn't happen to be locked behind it, making it one of the three bosses that can potentially be skipped under normal rules and without Sequence Breaking.
    • It's possible to use the hover glitch to skip the Moldorm rematch if Link has the Boots. This isn't considered a major glitch, so it's allowed in most tournaments if players can pull it off without a turbo controller. However, that takes some skill.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In SMZ 3, defeating Mother Brain before Ganon prevents Zebes from blowing up.
  • Take That, Audience!: April Fools 2021's new festive mode adds dumb things under a category called Objectively Better Optional Extras, which were suggested by the community that the devs felt like would be too irritating in any seed, i.e. shuffling the turtle rock pegs or randomizing where flute locations take you. The game is also displayed like its GBA counterpart due to constant wanting for that version to be randomized. The note at the end of the description of the page is also signed by "- The ALTTP Randomizer Discord #suggestions Channel" instead of the actual devs.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: With custom sprites like Bowser or Ganondorf, you can have them and Ganon fight each other.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Crowd Control gives viewers a degree of control over your gameplay, most often in exchange for donations. They may be nice and help you, or (much more commonly) waste your time with inverted controls, swarms of chickens, ice physics, critical health status, or even sudden death. Usually timed at the least opportune moments, such as when fighting Kholdstare, Ganon, Vitreous, or some other irritating boss which took an eternity to reach. Viewers will frequently show mercy by sending a streamer Bombs when the seed demands them, if only because topping off your bomb supply is tedious.
  • Waxing Lyrical:


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