Version Differences

There are two versions of The Wind Waker typically used for speedrunning: the English version (both NTSC-U and PAL fall in that category) and the Japanese (NTSC-J) version. Besides using two different languages, there are further differences between these two versions of the game that lend themselves to speedrunning, and determine which version of the game is preferable for different kinds of runs.

Text Speed

Of the most noticeable differences between the Japanese & English versions of the game is the difference in text speeds. Due to the use of fewer characters in most all text boxes in the Japanese version, the speed of the Japanese text is recognized as far faster than the English text (a table of comparisons between the time to "complete" common text boxes can be found below). This makes the Japanese version of the game preferred for pretty much every speedrun category.

Data Gathered by darkeye
Comparisons of Common Text Boxes
Scene/Text BoxTime (In Seconds)Notes & Timing Parameters
Introduction Story 2222220 From hitting "Start" on file to the fade-in of Outset.
Aryll Waking Up Link 93996 From fade-in of Outset Island to first gaining control.
Getting Hero's Clothes 477023 From weird fade-in before the cutscene to regaining control. Note that the JPN file used for timing this used NG+ while the English did NG. It is unsure if Link's grandmother says different things depending on what clothes she hands you, so this may still need re-timing.
Getting the Telescope 264115 ---
Watching Helmaroc and Tetra 49490 From losing control with the telescope to regaining it.
Hero's Sword Text 15161From fade-in after Orca battle to regaining control.
Tetra Falling Down + Aryll's Kidnapping + Postman Text 17324572From losing control in forest to regaining it back on the beach of Outset Island.
Hero's Shield Text 38435From fade-in to regaining control.
Setting Sail on the Pirate Ship 86904From talking to Tetra with shield to regaining control.
Niko's Introduction to the Jumping Game 548026---
Niko's Text after Completing the Jumping Game 16248---
Spoils Bag Text and Tetra's Text Afterwards 13196From opening chest to regaining control.
Tetra's Speech before FF1 12014020From losing control in crow's nest to regaining control in FF.
Gossip Stone Text 142814---
Text for Getting the Hero's Sword Back 330JPN is really about a quarter-second faster here.
Intro to Ganon and the KoRL 23629660From opening door in FF to regaining control in Windfall.
Text for Freeing Tingle 537118---
Sail Text 8102---
KoRL Text when you bring him the Sail 9167---
Intro to DRI + Wind Waker Training 719423---
Learning the Wind God's Requiem 496718---
Postman Text 34439---
Long Text with the Chieftan 9713336Includes Delivery Bag Text
Meeting Medli and getting Father's Letter 13196---
Talking with Komali 12120---
Talking with Medli before you Throw Her 306030---
Talking with Medli after you Throw Her 243612Includes bottle text.
Talking with Medli after you free her from the Cell 284315Includes Grappling Hook text.
Din's Pearl CS 11913112From entering warp to regaining control. There might be some NG vs. NG+ differences here, because Valoo in NG (used for timing JPN) speaks normally he speaks Hylian in NG+ (used for timing English).
KoRL text after Din's Pearl 583---
Meeting the Deku Tree 12116746Since Deku Tree speaks Hylian, there might be another NG vs. NG+ difference.
Deku Leaf Text 12175---
Boomerang Text 11176From opening chest to regaining control.
Fairy Text 5105---
Makar Text Before Warp 38468---
Farore's Pearl Text 12414319---
Triforce Charts 87969You collect 7 in chests, 1 on ocean floor.
Greatfish Isle Text 7211341From losing control to regaining it.
KoRL Text at Greatfish 8146---
KoRL's text when you reach Windfall 11209---
Talking to Niko before the 2nd Jumping Game 304616---
Talking to Niko after the 2nd Jumping Game 990---
Bomb Text 436724Including Tetra's text afterwards
KoRL text after bombs 6104---
KoRL text after warp 330---
KoRL text upon reaching Outset 550---
Healing Link's Grandmother with a Fairy 486921---
KoRL text before Jabun 220---
Nayru's Pearl Text 11212715From losing control after breaking the wall to regaining control
KoRL text after ToTG is raised 220---
Learning the Command Melody 35350---
Hero's Bow Text 10155---
TotG text before boss fight 36360---
TotG text after boss fight 41410---
Intro to Hyrule 1401477From ringing the bell to regaining control
KoRL text before you solve the puzzle 81810---
KoRL text after you solve the puzzle 5105---
Master Sword Text 1011010Note that after pulling the Master Sword, the KoRL says something in the JPN version that doesn't appear in the US version. This is reflected in the JPN timing
Cyclos Text 455712From hitting him with the last arrow to regaining control
Wallet Upgrade 1 Text 32386---
Skull Hammer Text 11165---
Text before the bird comes down in FF2 17219220---
Meeting with Ganondorf and Tetra 25529237From hitting loading zone to regaining control
Meeting the King of Hyrule 21329077---
KoRL text after talking to the King 143319---
KoRL text after leaving Hyrule 2 163418---
Fire and Ice Arrow Text 10911910---
Power Bracelet Text 9101---
Iron Boots Text 10122---
Learning the Earth God's Lyric 8110524---
Silver Rupee Text 451---
Reunion with Medli 213312---
Playing the Earth God's Lyric for Medli 17818911---
KoRL's speech outside of Earth Temple 395415---
Small Key Text 4.550.5Timing for one small key
Mirror Shield Text 13163---
End of the Earth Temple 1211309---
Learning the Wind God's Aria 829816---
"Reunion" with Makar 220---
Playing the Wind God's Aria for Makar 72764---
KoRL's speech in front of Wind Temple 22264---
Makar's Text in the cell 550---
Hookshot Text 11154---
End of Wind Temple 12014323Includes the talk between KoRL and the mapfish
Pulling up a Treasure Chart (JP version) 21---- 21Japanese does this 4 times in the run
Ghost Ship Chart Text 10100---
Wallet Upgrade 2 Text 32386---
Chart Deciphering 13215018---
Triforce Pieces 1441440The timing includes all triforce shards: six with one textbox, two with an extra textbox
KoRL's speech before Hyrule 3 526816Timed until regaining control in Hyrule
Ganon's speech before Darknut 34395From losing control to regaining control
Light Arrow Text 11154---
Before Puppet Ganon Fight 12213412From opening door to regaining control
After Puppet Ganon Fight 26282From fade-in to regaining control
Before the final Ganondorf Fight 24126928From loading zone to regaining control
Zelda's texts during the Ganondorf Fight 330All textboxes summed together

Overall, english is about 18 minutes slower than japanese on text alone. But it saves several minutes back from the shorter triforce quest and better rupee farming spots.

The fastest language behind japanese is italian.

Bomb Differences

Bombs behave a little bit differently between game versions. On the Japanese/NTSC-J version hitting the button you have bombs equipped to while holding a bomb will make Link place the bomb down as if you hit R. On the English/NTSC-U version (and European/PAL?) of the game the button you have bombs equipped to will cause Link to throw a bomb as if you hit A. On the Japanese version you can not equip and unequip Iron Boots while holding a bomb. On the English and European versions you can.

Item Locations

Also important to recognize in TWW is that the placement of some treasure chests is different in Japanese than in English. This commonly involves moving heart pieces to different locations and replacing the contents of the chests that contained heart pieces on the English version with rupees. Additionally, the denominations of some rupees located in pots, etc. have also been changed:

  1. Heart piece 44 (located at the end of the Savage Labyrinth on U) is moved to the chest underneath Grandma's house on JPN (whereas this chest contains an orange rupee on U), thereby replacing the heart piece at the end of the Savage Labyrinth with a yellow rupee.
  2. Heart piece 32 (which you get from Sam after decorating Windfall with 14 trade items on U) is replaced with a gift of 100 rupees. On JPN, this heart piece is move to one of the small islands around Forest Haven (where treasure chart 3 is on U).
  3. Heart piece 39 (which is in the translucent treasure chest revealed by lighting the Windfall lighthouse on U) is moved to the center of Horseshoe Island on JPN (where treasure chart 28 is on U).
  4. The pot that can be revealed by using a Tingle Bomb contains a red rupee on JPN instead of the orange rupee on U.
  5. Triforce Chart 5 is no longer obtained from sinking the golden ship of the shore of Needle Rock on JPN (see below for details).

Triforce Chart 5

As mentioned above, Triforce Chart 5 is no longer obtained from the Golden Ship at Needle Rock on Japanese. Instead you pull up Treasure Chart 16, which sends you:

  1. To Shark Island where you get Treasure Chart 28
  2. Then to Needle Rock where you get Treasure Chart 3
  3. Then to Eastern Fairy Island where you get Treasure Chart 40
  4. And finally, to Headstone where you get Triforce Chart 5

This required moving the locations of these treasure charts from there locations on U, on which:

  • 16 is at Seven-Star Isle on a watch tower after killing all the Wizzrobes (replaced with chests containing a red rupee, golden feather, and a deku baba seed on JPN).
  • 28 is at the center of Horseshoe Island.
  • 3 is at one of the small islands around Forest Haven.
  • 40 is at Southern Fairy Island on a watch tower after destroying all the cannons on the platforms (replaced by a gold feather on JPN).

Rupee Differences

In many places, the NTSC/PAL version contains more rupees than the original JP version. Here are a few exemples:

  • There are no rupees or drops inside the pillars in Overlook and Stonewatcher on the JP version (there are many in the ENG version)
  • There are no pots in the final rooms of Overlook, Stonewatcher, Islet of Steel and Bird's Peak Rock on the JP version. Pots with rupees and drops exist on the ENG version.
  • The secret "bottomless" pot that can be revealed with a tingle bomb on Outset Island contains 100 rupees on the ENG version, but only 20 on the JP version.
  • In the 30th floor of Savage Labyrinth, there are 2 rupee pots on the JP version for a total of 202 rupees. On the ENG version, there are 3 pots for a total of 303 rupees.

Gossip Stone Text Skip in FF1

In the Japanese version, the trigger for the Gossip Stone cutscene in Forsaken Fortress 1 is much smaller, allowing you to simply sidehop over it. A different skip must be performed in order to skip the Gossip Stone on the English version. For more information, go here.

Tower Skip in FF1

On the japanese version, it is possible to trigger the cutscene of the searchlight bokoblin spotting you without climbing the ladder. This does not work on subsequent versions.

Battleship minigame

The battleship minigame on Windfall is very different between the two versions. On the japanese version, you are hunting ships, whereas on the english version you are hunting squids. The Salvatore voice acting is also different.

Auction NPC Bids

NPCs will stop bidding when the bid reaches 990 rupees or higher on the NTSC-U and PAL versions. On the JP versions they will still bid up to 997 rupees, which can cause some glitchy behaviours since you are able to bid more than 999 rupees.

Beedle on Dragon Roost Island

On the japanese version, Beedle's ship starts by sailing around the back side of Dragon Roost Island first. On other versions, he starts by sailing around the front side.

Salvage Cruising

The Salvage Cruising glitch only works on the japanese version. On the other versions you come to a halt when you fish up a treasure.

Hyrule Block Puzzle

On the japanese version, it is possible to solve the puzzle with one block and reloading the area several times. This does not work in subsequent versions.

KoRL Text in the Master Sword Chamber

After pulling the Master Sword inside the Chamber, there is an extra text on the Japanese version.

Getting on Railing Behind Hyrule Castle and the Hyrule Barrier

The invisible walls above the railing are much shorter on the Japanese version, allowing you to simply sidehop and leaf in order to get on the railing. This allows you to Skip the Barrier Breaking cutscene. It is still possible to get on the railing on the English version; however, it is much more difficult and would not save time in a speedrun.

The Hyrule Barrier Breaking Cutscene is also different. On the japanese version, it is simply triggered by going near the barrier after dispatching the Hyrule 3 electrical barrier. It also starts with a fadeout. On the other versions, the barrier must be struck with Link's Fully Charged Master Sword (which adds a requirement), and there is no fadeout.

Fire Mountain and Ice Ring

In NTSC and PAL, entering Fire Mountain or Ice Ring without shooting a fire or ice arrow to the island will cause you to immediately void-out. This is not the case in the japanese version, which means skipping the Fire and Ice Arrows is Japanese only. See the bow skip page for more information.

Flight Control Platform

In Japanese version, the Flight Control Platform minigame puts you in layer 1 after playing it. This can be useful in order to obtain the Skull Hammer after performing the Early Master Sword Sequence Break and leaving Hyrule via the Tower of Gods portal. This layer glitch was patched in both NTSC and PAL, resulting in obtaining the Hammer after doing EMS being impossible without performing Barrier Skip.

Earth Temple Chest behind Destructible Walls

On the japanese version, the chest behind destructible walls in Earth Temple is a big chest containing a joy pendant. On any other version, this is a small chest containing a joy pendant.

Earth Temple Wall to Stalfos Crypt

On every version that is not the japanese version, entering the big key chest room will set the wall to the stalfos crypt room as being broken.

Earth Temple Boss Door

The collision for the Earth Temple Boss Door is different in JP compared to NTSC/PAL, and as such the boss key skip with chest storage works differently.

Spring Jumps

Springs will make Link jump barely faster on the English version compared to the Japanese. This makes Spring Jump Storages work slightly differently.

Wind Temple Third Room

In the third room of the Wind Temple, where there is a huge gate blocking the way that must normally be flipped by blowing the leaf, there are two extra switches on the english version. These switches also flip the gate when stepping onto them. These do not exist on the japanese version.

Makar Kidnapping

On the japanese version, it is possible to pause the game between getting control of Link back and Makar getting caught by floormasters. This allows for savewarping to skip the Makar kidnapping. This does not work in other versions.

DYN Memory Leak

The memory leak in DYN used for the Actor Unloading glitch only works on the Japanese version.

Door Fadeouts

On the japanese version, the door fadeout has some unique properties that make Door Cancel tricks easier than on the english version: Things such as invisible chests and fire effects can be seen despite the dark (or white) screen. On the english version, nothing can be seen at all.

Last updated 01/05/2023 – azer67