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General Tips

Majora's Mask Optimization Tutorial

by Anatomyz

This is a video on some of the little timesavers that are widely used in general gameplay throughout any speedrun of Majora's Mask, some of which may be addressed in other sections on this page.

The video consists of:

  • Advancing through textboxes (1:24)
  • Gameplay Basics (9:20)
  • Item Equips (10:20)
  • Movement Basics (11:40)
  • Using the camera in MM (12:20)
  • Advanced Movement Tech (13:45)
  • Quickdrawing (17:30)
  • Aiming (20:50)
  • Misc. Timesavers (22:30)

HESS/Weirdshot/Megaflip Frames

Link has invulnerability frames ("i-frames") during most of his roll animation, and notably still has i-frames for the first 2 frames following the roll animation (12f and 13f after pressing A to roll), during which he can begin other actions such as ESS turning, backflipping, and using items. These two animation frames are shown in the images below and are known as the "frog frames". Getting hit by a damage source during any of the i-frames will knock Link back at high speed, but getting hit during these specific 2 frames allows the you to use other inputs to preserve or otherwise make use of the high speed:

  • Holding ESS position while getting hit on one of these two frames will preserve the high speed as long as Link is ESS shuffling; targeting during the ensuing ESS shuffle is how to begin a HESS
  • Backflipping or sidehopping while getting hit on one of these two frames will launch Link backwards in a megaflip or megasidehop
  • Holding a direction on the control stick and target while getting hit on one of these two frames will make Link's model distort, and pulling out the bow or the hookshot while his model is distorted is a weirdshot

The table below shows the frog frame along with the frame before and the frame after for reference. One good way to tell these animation frames apart is to look at where Link's right hand is in relation to the shield. Looking at how much of Link is visible beneath the shield can also be helpful, though this looks different during a hover as there is no ground beneath Link.

Invulnerable? Yes
Can input turn/backflip/item? No
Invulnerable? Yes
Can input turn/backflip/item? Yes
Invulnerable? Yes
Can input turn/backflip/item? Yes
Invulnerable? No
Can input turn/backflip/item? Yes

Since HESSes, weirdshots, and megaflips are usually done with bombs, it's useful to know what bomb frames to begin a roll on to make either of the frog frames coincide with the first 2 frames of the bomb's explosion, which is when the bomb deals useful knockback. The chart below depicts every frame between Link pulling a bomb and the bomb exploding, highlighting in red the beginning of the fast flashes and highlighting in green the two frames on which you need to begin a roll to time the bomb's explosion for HESSes, weirdshots, and megaflips. This pair of frames is known generally as "HESS frames."

HESS frames

Explanation by SampleName

This video explains and demonstrates interactions between damage sources and i-frames.

Advancing quick text optimally

Detailed textbox mashing breakdown

by Rylie

This spreadsheet shows the length of each textbox on each version of the game, the type of textbox, and the optimal mashing strategy.

Playing ocarina

It is easy to fail to play songs when trying to go fast because a note will only register if it begins at least 2 frames after the previous note began.


The first time you use any transformation mask, the cutscene won't be skippable if transforming from human. However, if transforming as another form, the cutscene is skippable as normal. For example, right after getting the Zora Mask, it's faster to transform to Deku and then to Zora and skip the cutscene than to transform directly to Zora and have to watch the cutscene.

Pressing any button during any mask transformation cutscene (other than the first time - see above) will end the cutscene early. When transforming to any form other than human, there is a short period where Link stands still before the player regains control. To shorten this period and regain control sooner, hold any non-neutral position on the control stick. If you want to do this while making sure Link doesn't move, hold R as well to bring up the shield.

Rupee count

The actual rupee count at any given time is the number shown in the bottom left corner of the screen, even when the number is rising or falling. The most common way to take advantage of this is to buy 20 bombchus from the bomb shop with as few as 69 rupees. Even though 10 bombchus cost 40 rupees, mashing A to buy a second set of 10 will buy a second set of 10 before the rupee counter has fallen below 40 from the first purchase. This is known as "2 for 1."

However, this property can also be detrimental. For example, when selling gold dust or Chateau Romani in the curiosity shop in order to buy the All Night Mask, you must wait until the rupee counter reaches 500 before being able to buy the mask.

A to climb and B to sink

Normally, Link will run into low walls for a moment before he starts to climb them. Pressing A as soon as Link gets to a wall will cause him to climb instantly. Similarly, when surfacing in water next to land Link can climb onto, pressing A as soon as Link surfaces will make him climb instantly, skipping the surfacing animation. It is also possible to skip the surfacing animation when entering water by timing a B press after entering the water with some downward speed, such as with a sidehop or backflip. See the tutorial below for more details

Goron rolling

Miscellaneous notes:

  • When the control stick is below value 63 per kz, Link will not get spikes; it can be useful to momentarily dip the control stick below 63 to prevent Link from getting spikes while continuing a roll in certain areas
  • If you begin a roll while targeted, you can roll in any direction, but Link will turn to face the targeted direction when the control stick is left at neutral. This is true even with spikes, even though spike rolls normally go straight when the control stick is neutral.

Quick rolls in sand and snow

In sand or snow, charging a Goron roll with the normal inputs results in lower speeds than usual during the first charging phase. However, adjusting the control stick to the middle of its range for 1f or more during this phase and then bringing it back to the notch increases speed to ~16 for this phase, just like on normal ground. In kz, the stick values that work for quick rolls are ~34 through 53.

Walk before rolling

In most circumstances, it is slightly faster to walk before beginning a roll, as the curling animation keeps Link stationary when done from a standstill. To do this, hold up on the control stick for at least 2f before pressing A to curl.

Zora controls

With a few exceptions, Zora Link will only dive rather than jump when he reaches the edge of a platform if the A button is being held and the platform is over water. When intending to dive, it can be useful to continue holding A after rolling or to begin holding A during a transformation or other action where the A press won't do anything you don't want it to.

Swimming controls have region differences. On the Japanese version, Link will always swim in one direction for the first second or so, while on the English version, he can change direction during this period but cannot aim upwards or downwards. Furthermore, it is possible to use the barrier attack (R) while sinking on the English version but only while swimming on the Japanese version.

Zora transform ledge grab

When transforming from human to Zora in the water, the top of Zora Link's body starts off well above where it normally is when swimming. This makes it possible to grab high ledges from the water that aren't meant to be grabbed. On JP, this requires turning around as shown in the video below because of how transformations work; on English, this can be done facing forward instead.

Jumpslash animation cancels

Normally, Link has an animation of getting back up after jumpslashing as human, Zora, or Fierce Deity. However, rotating the control stick (like for a quickspin) upon landing will cut this animation off, giving control back to the player instantly. Spinning the control stick while Link is in the air does not have this effect.

Landing animation cancels

When landing after falling from a great height, Link normally has a short damage animation before you regain control. To skip this animation, hold target while landing.

Optimal rolls as human

It is faster to time rolls to begin just after Link has begun walking than to chain rolls or mash for them.

Stray fairy collection

When Link opens a stray fairy chest as human, the stray fairy will automatically be collected on the second frame after regaining control of Link. Pulling out the ocarina or transforming on the first frame of control will cause the fairy not to automatically be collected, though it may still coincidentally fly into Link. When Link opens a stray fairy chest as another form, the fairy will not automatically be collected.


Link takes 4 frames to pull out the bow and the hookshot. While targeting, holding R on the fourth frame after pressing the bow or hookshot button will result in Link getting the item into his hand but shielding instead of entering first person. (Starting to hold R earlier works as long as it is still held on the fourth frame.) This can be useful in situations where you need to get one of these items into Link's hands quickly, as in the setup for a weirdshot. This is also useful for getting items into Link's hands in preparation for using them later, as using one of these items takes 4 fewer frames when it's already in Link's hands.

Similarly, holding R on the third frame after pressing B to pull out the sword will quickdraw the sword without slashing it. This does not require targeting.

Holding R on the second frame after pressing B to pull out fins as Zora will quickdraw them without slashing. Pressing B while holding R uses the Zora barrier, which also takes the fins out. Neither of these require targeting.

Fast deathwarp

Typically when Link dies, sad music plays, the screen eventually fades to black, and Link respawns. However, when Link dies while a jingle is still playing from opening a chest, the sad music doesn't play, and the fade to black and respawn come 5.59s sooner (4.95s vs. 10.54s). The most common way to get a fast deathwarp is to drop a bomb near a chest, then open the chest right before the bomb explodes. How close to the end of the bomb's timer the chest must be opened depends on how long the chest contents' text boxes last, with some contents having quick text boxes that make the fast deathwarp lenient and some contents having slow text boxes that make the fast deathwarp precise or even impossible. This can also depend on the language/version being played.

Version differences

The Japanese (JP) and English (Eng) versions of the game are different in several ways, including some core movement mechanics.

  • Zora swimming controls. On JP, Link will always swim in one direction for the first second or so, while on Eng, he can change direction during this period but cannot aim upwards or downwards. Furthermore, it is possible to use the barrier attack (R) while sinking on Eng but only while swimming on JP.

  • Using transformation masks. On both versions, Link faces the camera during transformations. On JP, he continues facing the camera once the player has control again, but on Eng, he reverts to facing the direction he was facing before the transformation. This can affect setups and hovers in particular.

  • Slashing at ledges. On JP, slashing/punching at ledges will consistently prevent Link from falling off, even when wind is blowing like in Snowhead. On Eng, this effect is weakened and works very inconsistently.

  • Power crouchstab. This is only possible on JP; see this page for more information.

  • Megaflips and weirdshots. Both tricks are more prone to crashing on Eng than on JP. See the pages for megaflips and weirdshots for more information.

  • Pirates' Fortress. See notes at the top of the Pirates' Fortress page.

  • Postman minigame. It is significantly harder to get 10.00 on JP than on Eng because 10.00 can be impossible based on the exact timing of the input to start the minigame, but Eng snaps to 10.00 from nearby final times anyway. See this pastebin for more details.

Last updated 04/13/2024 – bewildebeest