Recently I completed a Zelda 1 Swordless Run, on both 1st and 2nd quest. Here is what I learned.
- Pics or it didn’t happen
- Let’s Play Money Making Game!
Early game, money is extremely tight, and extremely needed. The sooner you can earn 10 rupees and start turning that into an income at the money making game, the better. You will need bombs, arrows, a large shield, a candle, money for life potions, blue ring, money for bomb upgrades, and maybe money for keys.
- Save often, reset often
Some dungeons are excruciating without the sword, such as dungeons 5 and 6 (especially dungeon 6). For sanity sake, it’s advisable to save before you enter a dungeon, and if you are going to fail the dungeon, reset and reload. There’s no sense in banging your head.
- Use bombs wisely
Bombs are your most powerful weapon, and an absolute necessary against many enemies. They are also in limited quantity, even with access to shops and money.
One trick you can do is the 10th enemy trick. If you kill 10 enemies without taking damage, AND the 10th enemy is killed with a bomb, it will guaranteed drop another bomb.
- Get the wand asap
Many, many, many enemies cannot be killed until you get the wand, or are made 10x easier. Once you get the wand, it’s almost like having a White Sword, except you still can’t stab Wizzrobes. But it makes taking down Darknuts a bunch easier
- Take dungeons out of order
This goes hand in hand with the above tip. You should plan your dungeon expedition such that it optimizes your route to the Wand. This even includes entering and exiting dungeons once you have that dungeons item.
This also means tackling very hard dungeons as early as possible. For first quest I found it useful to get the master key early, to prevent unnecessary exploration.
Which leads to…
- Take the shortest path through a dungeon
This involves opening a map of a dungeon (seriously, you are playing a swordless run, you aren’t on your first play thru), plotting a path to the dungeon goal (triforce piece, item, or both), and executing.
- Find those heart containers!
Unless you are an expert speed runner (I am not) you will want as many hearts as possible.
- Be slow and diligent
Remember, a swordless run is a challenge. Don’t rush through dungeons. Be patient. With enough time, it can be done.