From Zelda Wiki, the Zelda encyclopedia
- This article refers to the traditional means of travel. For warp-based means, see Warping.
In every game from The Legend of Zelda franchise, Link embarks on a journey that takes him through several landmarks, which are usually separated one from another. Because of this, he has to constantly travel from place to place in order to succeed on his quest, and walking (or running) is the most primitive way to do so. However, in various games, there are tools and characters that will help him to navigate through the overworld more quickly, thus improving significantly the pacing of the adventure (and, in some cases, making it possible in the first place).
- Main article: Raft
In the original The Legend of Zelda, Link finds the Raft in Manji (First Quest only, in the Second Quest, it's located in the Snake, notably past the room with the Triforce fragment). When in possession, the raft allows the young hero to travel from a harbor to another, giving him access to a newer area. This is because he's unable to swim in this game, and one of the dungeons is located on an island, so the game would be unbeatable without the item.
- Main article: Pegasus Boots
In A Link to the Past, after Link completes the East Palace and collects the Pendant of Courage, he can visit Sahasrahla to receive the Pegasus Boots, which allow him to run very quickly. This not only shortens the trips through all of Hyrule, but the fact that Link points forward with his sword allows him to attack any enemy who's on his way, and his speed gives him enough force to ambush trees and other objects (which results in getting items).
Pegasus Boots reappear in Link's Awakening, serving the same purpose as they did in A Link to the Past. In Link's Awakening, the Pegasus Boots can be used along with the Roc's Feather to jump even greater distances.
Link's Awakening is also the first game in which Mine Carts appear. Found in dungeons, Link can ride in them to access different parts of the dungeon. Mine Carts also make an appearance in the Oracle series, The Minish Cap, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword.
Ocarina of Time is the first game where Epona makes her appearance. At first, child Link is unable to ride her in the first place, and adult Link still can't until after he rescues her from her imprisonment in Lon Lon Ranch (where, until then, he is supposed to control any horse other than Epona during the training game run by Ingo; the reason for this is because Epona's Song is the only way to motivate Epona to carry a rider onto her, but Ingo was never able to figure this out). Afterwards, Link can play Epona's Song to travel across Hyrule Field, Lake Hylia, Gerudo Valley and Gerudo Fortress with the horse (but nowhere else). The young hero must pay attention to the "carrot" meter when he mounts Epona, however, as it decreases the more times he hits her to move faster (though it tries to recover slowly).
Epona returns in Majora's Mask, where child Link can ride her (but only after rescuing her in Romani Ranch); the mechanics behind her functionality are the same as in Ocarina of Time, and she's required for access to Great Bay and Ikana Canyon. However, her importance is significantly reduced due to the functionality of the Transformation masks. Goron Link is capable of curling at speeds much higher than the horse, to the point that he can pass through otherwise damping roads (like mountain slopes and cliffs); his only requirement is Magic, and enough space to charge his curling ability.
As for the other forms, they can travel through media Epona never could in the first place. Deku Link can use Deku Flowers to fly through the air. Meanwhile, Zora Link can swim through the waters very quickly, and even walk on the bottom. The alternate forms themselves provide the game's most efficient means of navigation.
In the Oracle series, Link does not have the use of Epona as he travels to the lands of Labrynna (Oracle of Ages) and Holodrum (Oracle of Seasons). However, he will encounter three animals companions on his adventures that will help him navigate terrain he could not traverse on his own. These three animals are:
- Ricky - A boxing kangaroo who can use his jumping abilities to jump up onto cliffs and over single holes. While riding in his pouch, Link can navigate rough terrain with ease.
- Dimitri - A friendly Dodongo with powerful swimming abilities. While on Dimitri's back, Link can cross rivers with strong currents and even swim up waterfalls.
- Moosh - A gentle-natured flying bear that can fly for short distances. While on Moosh's back, Link can fly across pitfalls that he could not cross on his own.
Link will encounter all three animal companions on his adventures; they are all needed to progress further in the game. Depending on how he obtained the Strange Flute, Link will befriend one of the three animals and obtain their flute, which allows the young hero to call upon his animal friend whenever he is needed. As the game progresses, however, Link will obtain items that give him ability to jump, fly, and swim; thus the animal companions no longer need to be relied on for accomplishing these tasks. These items are the Roc's Feather, Roc's Cape, and the Zora Flippers, respectively. Much like the Pegasus Boots of Link's Awakening, Pegasus Seeds can be used to boost Link's speed for a certain period of time, and can be used in combination with the Roc's Feather (or the Roc's Cape in Seasons) to achieve greater distances while jumping.
In Oracle of Ages, before Link obtains the Mermaid Suit that allows him to swim in deep waters, Link must use the Raft made by Rafton to travel to the secluded Crescent Island. The raft is made with the waterproof Cheval Rope found in Cheval's Tomb.
In both The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass, the overworld shows a drastic change since the earlier games in the series, becoming water-based instead of land-based. Because Link is unable to swim for too long in the former (and at all in the latter), he needs a vehicle in order to navigate from one island to another. In The Wind Waker, the King of Red Lions becomes vital for this purpose, but only after the young hero purchases a sail from Zunari in Windfall Island. Once he gets the Wind Waker, he'll also be able to change the direction of the wind, giving him total freedom through the Great Sea.
In Phantom Hourglass, the S.S. Linebeck has no initial restrictions at all, and as soon as Link embarks upon it, he can travel with an infinite number of degrees of freedom through the World of the Ocean King, as he can draw any trajectory on the map for the ship to move according to it.
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In Four Swords Adventures, the Links can ride four identical Eponas by finding carrots. The Eponas will allow the Links to jump over fences and run over enemies, but they will only last for a short time before disappearing. In addition, the Links can find Pegasus Boots, which will allow them to dash quickly.
In addition to Epona, who makes a return once again and can be used at first during the game's introductory stage in Ordona Province, and for the rest of the game since the removal of twilight in Eldin Province, there are other motion options. Wolf Link is the first and most prominent, as he can perform dashes while he runs, easing the navigation through the provinces of Hyrule that are initially affected by the influence of the Twilight Realm; also, with the help of Midna, he can make several consecutive leaps through steep spots to reach higher places. Wolf Link is also the only form who can walk through ropes, and navigate across the darkened fog in the Palace of Twilight.
The remaining two alternatives are somewhat less effective. There is a Kargarok in Lake Hylia who takes Wolf Link with it as long as Midna has it under her domain; this creature can be controlled with the Control Stick, and is called for a mandatory travel during the influence of the Twilight, then for a mandatory light tear hunt during the same period, and finally for an optional minigame when Lanayru Province is purged from darkness. After these moments, the Kargarok is no longer useful for the young hero, as it won't move from this territory, and no other playable Kargarok will appear anywhere on Hyrule.
The last means is by far the least efficient. The Spinner allows Link to cross quicksands and fragile terrain, but only for a limited period of time. The reason for this is because the item loses its momentum if it's not being used within the metallic rails in some walls, where it indeed takes Link to newer places at reasonable speeds.
- Main article: Spirit Train
Like the Great Sea and the World of the Ocean King, New Hyrule cannot be explored on foot. Instead, Link must rely on the Spirit Train in order to move from one station to another, and he can only drive the train through the available Spirit Tracks. Link can adjust the speed of the train anytime, as well as the trajectory. The advantage of this is that he can transport characters and delivery items with him to the proper destinations. The disadvantage of this, however, is that Link must obey the signals placed in the tracks when having passengers, and avoid being hit by enemies when transporting items (which are vulnerable to all attacks).
- Main article: Loftwing
In a new form of transportation, Link must fly his Loftwing to different islands in the sky. As the story progresses, new holes appear in the cloud barrier, allowing him to drop through to the Faron Woods, Eldin Volcano, and Lanayru desert. Enemies may appear and shoot rocks or charge at Link's Loftwing, so he must charge at them using a normal charge or a Spiral Charge. When in the Skyloft, Link must use a dock to jump and call his Loftwing, otherwise he will fall and need rescue from a Skyloft knight.
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