The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Wind waker boxart.jpg
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Series The Legend of Zelda
Platform(s) GameCube
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Input methods Gamecube controller
Compatibility 5Stars5.pngEdit rating: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
GameIDs GZLP01, GZLE01
See also...

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Nintendo's thematic action-adventure sequel to Ocarina of Time takes the series back to its more cartoonish roots. Utilizing a completely new look with cel-shaded graphics, the game casts players in the role of a familiar young boy, who sets out to save his kidnapped sister. Gameplay is vintage Zelda, only that the game's overworld is covered by water. Players have to control the direction of the wind to sail across the ocean and find dungeons, towns, and plenty of secrets. A special Game Boy Advance link-up option lets another player join the quest and give hints and assistance via the handheld.


Fire and Heat Effects

In Wind Waker, the various fire and heat effects are glitched, resulting in an odd doubling of portions of the screen exposed to the effect. These fire effects are used in many places, like Dragon Roost Cavern and hanging torches. Dolphin currently does not have a proper solution for this problem. There are workarounds, but all have compromises.

  • The glitches can be fixed by enabling free look and zooming in the camera significantly until the heat effects are behind the camera. This is performed by enabling freelook in the Graphics>Advanced menu, then holding Shift-W to zoom in past the effect. This will effectively fix the heat distortions, and breaks fewer effects in the game then disabling EFB outright; however it can cause other problems such as flickering, and can take some trial and error to position the camera at the ideal spot. Use Shift-R to restore the camera to normal.
  • Checking "EFB Copies - Disable" before running the game will disable the heat effect entirely, and prevent the problem from occuring. Remember to disable it before running the game, otherwise the visuals will become stuck. Disabling EFB Copies also disables several other effects used throughout the game, such as the distance blur and the telescope, but provides a simple way to fix the problem.
  • Setting Action Replay code 003F6B2A 00000000 switches off the fullscreen heat effect in the Dragon Roost areas. (Be sure in the general config page to enable cheats, otherwise this won't work)

See issue 2120, issue 2338, and issue 3971.

Example of the fire effect doubling.


With DSP HLE, sound and music may cut out at various points. This can be fixed with the DSP LLE plug-in.

Distant Areas

Windwaker uses a DOF blurring effect, which scales poorly on resolutions above the GameCube's native 640x528. The most basic option is to set Internal Resolution to "Auto (Multiple of 640x528)" and have "EFB Copies - Virtual" on. The DOF Blur is present, but scaled up to the higher resolution. This is good enough for most. However, there are several options to reduce it further.

  • Use an Internal Resolution that is higher than the window/fullscreen resolution. This means for lower resolutions use Internal Resolution of 2x Native, and higher resolutions will need 3x or 4x Native. This will remove/reduce the DOF blur without breaking anything.
    • EFB Copies - Virtual is required for this to work on the latest revisions.
  • Super Sample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA), combined with an Internal Resolution equal to or greater then the current resolution, will reduce the blur more than any other option available. It will allow for crystal clear distance areas without breaking any effects. Unfortunately, SSAA is very GPU intensive, so this can only be done by those with strong video cards.
    • EFB Copies - Virtual is required for this to work on the latest revisions.
  • Disable EFB copy before running the game.
    • One must either disable EFB copies before running the game, or enable it then stop and restart emulation; otherwise the game's visuals will be stuck.
    • This solves the distant areas problem but breaks characters shadows, screen blurring (when cutting small trees with sword and other things), and causes the pictobox problem. This is not recommended.
  • The d3d11 video back end will produce DOF blur regardless of efb scale. It is therefore advised to use the d3d9 or OpenGL video back ends.
  • Using a custom projection hack of 0.7 to 0.9 (Z-far) will remove the distant blur with no noticable impact on the rest of the game. This should work on all GFX back-ends and is not affected by EFB copy type.

Black Squares in Dragon Roost

  • Use Zelda Twilight Princess Bloom Hack and EFB to RAM or texture enabled.
    • Blur distant images fixed, shadows work, and the fire effect is correct.

Pictobox only shows black images

  • Don't use EFB to texture
    • Photos taken in this mode it will appear black both when taken and when viewed, even if switching to EFB to RAM later the photo will continue to be black.
  • Don't use projection hack and Enable EFB to RAM
    • Pictobox will work perfectly, but bugs with waiting to see the photo continue.
  • Use a projection hack and Enable EFB to RAM
    • It's essential to use a projection hack or problems will occur: blurred distant images and black squares in Dragon Roost. When using a projection hack, photos will appear black at first, but when switching modes to view photos they will appear normally.
  • With r6778 issues with the pictobox should be resolved, as long as "EFB to RAM" is enabled.

Texture flickering

  • Sometimes textures such as waves or shadows will flicker at certain camera angles
  • Use r6520 or higher and make sure that Disable Per-Pixel Depth is unticked (off) in the graphics plugin to fix this.

Black/gray screens

  • A black/gray screen crash may occur after certain events in the game. This can be fixed by enabling the "fix item hang" patch in the patches section of game properties (right click the game in the main dolphin window to get to game properties)
  • Be warned however that the fix item hack patch will cause audio issues. Use it only when encountering a black/gray screen crash
  • If you are experiencing the "black screen" crash after cutscenes, manually set the FPS limit to "Auto" or "60". This issue seems to be caused by a rapid FPS jump when the cutscene has finished.

GameBoy Player

Emulation of GameBoy Player doesn't work with this game. It can be enabled in Config → GameCube, but the game will not detect it. (GBA Link is partially emulated since r6059 and requires a dump of GBA BIOS and VBA-M with joy bus options to work).


Only configuration options for the best compatibility where they deviate from defaults are listed.


Config Setting Notes
DSP Emulator Engine LLE Resolves a variety of sound issues

Version Compatibility

The graph below charts the compatibility with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker since Dolphin's 2.0 release, listing revisions only where a compatibility change occurred.

5.0-13163 (current)
2.0 (r5384)
Compatibility can be assumed to align with the indicated revisions. However, compatibility may extend to prior revisions or compatibility gaps may exist within ranges indicated as compatible due to limited testing. Please update as appropriate.


This title has been tested on the environments listed below:

Test Entries
Revision OS Version CPU GPU Result Tester
r5442 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5-480M @ 2.8GHz Intel HD Graphics Works perfectly gameplay-wise at 50 FPS(PAL Version) with some minor graphical glitches. General graphics settings: D3D9,1920x1080,force 16:9. Enhancements: 1x Native IR, 1x SSAA,1x AF, Scaled EFB Copy disabled. DigitalJosee
^2.0 Windows 7 x86 Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 @ 2.66GHz nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS Playable! Sound becomes de-sync'd in some cut-scenes. Occasionally freezes after cut-scenes. Occasionally crashes.
^2.0 Windows 7 x64 Intel Pentium Dual Core @ 2.1GHz ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 Freezes some times. Turning the "safe texture cache" on will fix this Mamid
r6758 Mac OS X 10.6.8 Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.2GHz nVidia GeForce 9400M About 20-30 FPS usually playable. Sometimes, hangs after cut-scenes, but upon restarting emulation, works perfectly. This is less than ideal in some situations- like right before the final battle (Grr...) Areas with few objects run at full speed usually. Dragon Roost flickering is present but doesn't affect emulation speed. Ac
r6800 Windows XP x86 Intel Pentium E2200 @ 2.2GHz Intel G33/G31 Express Family Mostly playable. Title screen, file select, intro cinema and many indoor areas run at the full 30 FPS speed at 480p. At higher resolutions, the game bogs down everywhere. Generally, this game runs at 19-24 FPS at 480p in outdoor areas. Many settings do not affect the framerate at all. No sound issues. Paul Choi
r6800 Windows XP SP3 x86 Intel Atom N270 @ 1.60Ghz Intel GMA 945 (GMA 950) Playable 7-10 FPS. Sound Off for best performance. LORPAL
r6887 Windows Vista x86 Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 @ 2.2GHz ATI Radeon HD 3470M Fully Playable: 30 FPS with DX9 plug-in and OpenCL enabled. BGM is sometimes desynchronized. Windfall Island is a bit slow.
r7309 Linux x86_64 Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 @ 2.13GHz nVidia GeForce 9800 GT Playable most of time at 30 FPS. Continuous graphics corrupts with "heat" effect (lava areas almost unplayable).
r7335 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II 720 BE @ 3.2GHz ATI Radeon HD 4850 Working good at 30 FPS with FPS limiter, without FPS limiter at 45 to 55 FPS. Typical false lava/heat-effect ultramann
r7426 Windows 7 x86 AMD Phenom 9650 @ 2.3GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 260 Playable! Sound becomes de-sync'd in some cut-scenes. Occasionally freezes after cut-scenes. Occasionally crashes. Lendail
r7436 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7-950 @ 3.06GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 460 Playable. Slowdowns in places with more than three NPC's. Black squares on Dragon Roost, seems unfixable. Rare sound artifacts. LimEJET
r7440 Mac OS X 10.6.7 Intel Core i7 @ 2.66GHz nVidia GeForce GT 330M Not playable at all, only culprit is that all of the textures except the sky and the title boat render as black. Cannot see anything when in game FeelGoodChicken
r7473 Windows 7 x86 Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 @ 3GHz nVidia GeForce 9500GT Almost perfect. Occasional slowdowns at huge dungeons and "heat/lava" effect (dropping from 30 FPS to ~25 FPS. Not a big deal though.). No problems with black screens or audio desyncs so far. No freezes and no crashes either. Rafaello Fareday
r7503 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II X6 1100T @ 4GHz ATI Radeon HD 5870 Everything seems to work perfectly. Sound/BGM is fine with HLE. Woraug
r7540 Windows 7 x64 Intel Pentium @ 4.15GHz nVidia GeForce GTS 250 Playable Smooth game play and few graphical glitches. I have played this on a better processor total 6.9GHz (two core) and runs amazingly! Redstorm3265
r7550 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II X4 965 @ 3.4GHz ATI Radeon HD 5770 The Wind Waker runs amazingly better than on the GameCube. The only little glitch: The smokes of every flame makes a little image distortion of the characters or objects near it; it's almost unnoticeable and it's not a really nuisance thing. Not a big deal that you pass almost unaware through. Paulo Milan
r7555 Mac OS X 10.6.7 Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2GHz nVidia GeForce 9400M Playable 30 FPS in most rooms, larger rooms usually reduce FPS by 7-10, while extra visual effects like the heat in dragon roost reduces FPS further, down to usually 14-20. Fix item hang required to keep playing passed first forsaken fortress end, and receiving the Fire and ice arrows from Fairy queen. Crazyants
r7561 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7-950 @ 3.07GHz ATI Radeon HD 5770 Just played the starting area. So far so good. Schala
r7571 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7-720QM @ 2.93GHz ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870 Perfect, no sound issues when priority is set to realtime/high in task manager Cele
r7583 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core 2 Quad @ 3.2GHz nVidia GeForce GTS 250 It's like playing on a GameCube but better! Grab a USB controller and get ready to play for hours! I had a less powerful processor (Single Core @ 4.15) and I was lucky to get %40 anywhere outside but Once I upgraded %100 everywhere! Redstorm3265
r7584 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.8GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 560ti Flawless game play, even with all the graphics options maxed out. Visually its significantly better than on GC with all the graphics options maxed out Chopyhop
r7597 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7-720QM 1.6-2.8GHz ATI Radeon 5870M Almost perfectly playable with recommended options. Sometimes when there is much on the screen or some areas are shown VPS go down to 40, otherwise gameplay is not affected = 50/60 FPS (PAL/NTSC). Flickers in lava levels are looking like screen errors because the seem to be rendered very hard. Thundereus
3.0 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II X4 965 @ 3.4GHz nVidia GeForce GT 220 Runs at 30±3 FPS at 1600x900 with default Dolphin configuration except by setting Internal Resolution to Auto. Only experimented bug yet, fire effects glitches.
r7670 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.2GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 260 With CPU at stock 2.4GHz clock speed, unplayably slow regardless of configuration (constant stuttering, frame rates below 80%). At 3.2GHz OC, max frame rates even in OpenGL mode at 1920x1080 with 3x internal resolution. In retrospect, the GameCube's hardware couldn't do this game justice; when enhanced its graphics are stunning even by today's standards. Sesshy
r7688 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core I3-380M @ 2.53GHz ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 Excellent, some issues with fog (a little slower than other places) and some sound issues Kidpaddle59
r7688 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 @ 2.88GHz ATI Radeon HD 5850 Perfectly playable with DX11 plugin, at 4x native resolution with x8 Anti-Alias samples and x16 Anisotropic filtering samples. No bugs/glitches and runs at a stable framerate. ImpishRazor
r7689 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5-480M @ 2.67GHz nVidia GeForce 310M The game runs most of time at 30 FPS (sometimes in wide places or scenes with too much effects, it goes down to around 23 FPS). Almost perfect playable, but to reach a smooth play anti-aliasing can't be turned on. The fix item hang patch is needed to skip occasional black screens. To keep the audio working, the HLE DSP has to be used. Colorado Guilherme
^3.0 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom X4 9650 @ 2.3 GHz AMD Radeon HD 6850 Game runs great,some slows to minimum of 22 FPS, res 1440X900 with configuration on that page. Aldaris
^3.0 Windows XP x86 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ @ 2.2GHz ATI Radeon X1600 After overclocking my CPU - a little bit - the game is more or less playable in DirectX9-Mode (19-26 FPS outdoors) at lowest settings (no anti-aliasing, almost all speed-hacks activated), though the framerate occasionally drops to ~16 FPS. Played the game for some hours now and only had one random crash. Also I don't need to check "fix item hang" to avoid black screens after video sequences (though Audio Throttle is enabled) dEnigma
^3.0 Windows 7 x86 AMD Turion II @ 2.2GHz Good. The game crash before some animations. Solution GAMEBOOSTER and turn off your antivirus. Ragen
^3.0 Linux x86_64 Mint Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.13GHz nVidia GeForce GT 430 Fully playable at 100% / 30 FPS with 1x native resolution. Most (>95%) areas playable at full speed with 2x resolution. Heat glitches occur, but can be worked around with the "free camera" hack. No crashes. Sound is almost perfect. Note: The game is totally unplayable (<10 FPS) on the same computer when using a x86 OS. scummos
^3.0 Mac OS 10.7.3 Intel Core i5 @ 2.5GHz AMD Radeon HD 6630M Fully playable at full speed. Internal resolution at 2x native (1280x1056) and fullscreen resolution at 1920x1080. No glitches when playing at normal aspect ratio, but there are some pop-in issues at the edges when playing with the wide screen hack enabled. Otherwise flawless, and this game scales and runs beautifully.
^3.0 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 @ 2.5GHz AMD Radeon HD 6630MB Fully playable at full speed. Internal resolution at 2x native (1280x1056) and fullscreen resolution at 1920x1080. No glitches when playing at normal aspect ratio, but there are some pop-in issues at the edges when playing with the wide screen hack enabled. Otherwise flawless, and this game scales and runs beautifully.
r7719 Windows Vista x64 AMD Phenom II X4 840 @ 3.2GHz ATI Radeon HD 5700 30 FPS, 95-100% speed. Runs beautifully in terms of gameplay and graphics. Sound occasionally turns off except for link's footstep sfx. Simply unticking "Enable DTK Music" in the DSP menu will fix this. Sealion
r7719 Windows 7 x86 Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 @ 3GHz nVidia GeForce 8800 GT Perfectly, 100% with DX9 : 720p,16/9e Hack, with internal resolution 4x, anisotropic 16x, anti-aliasing 0x Sanitarium026
r7719 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.2GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Almost perfect. DX9/DX11 in 1920x1080 fullscreen with 16/9 hack @ 4x Native. 2x AA is the best option for this game, although higher AA settings did not affect performance. Perfect 30 FPS at all times. Heat/Fire glitches have still not been rectified, occasional audio crackles/beeps. Using widescreen hack results in minor pop up issues on the sides of the screen extended by the hack. This is normal for a 4:3 native game. "Fix Item Hang" patch is no longer needed. Helvetica
^r7714 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i3-370M @ 2.4GHz AMD Radeon HD 6370M Fully playable: No slowdowns, no known glitches.
3.0-145 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.3GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Perfect at 1920*1080p, with 3D11, Anti-aliasing 4x (quality 16), Internal Resolution 4x (maximum), anisotropic 16x (maximum), 16/9 hack; =30 FPS Sanitarium026
3.0-153 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II X4 955Be @ 4GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Perfect MAXED OUT at 1920*1080p, with OpenGL / 3D9 / 3D11, Anti-aliasing 8x, Anisotropic 16x, Internal Resolution 4x, 16/9 hack. Doom
3.0-371 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5-2500 @ 3.8GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 460 Runs at 30 FPS constant, fully playable. General settings: 1900x1200, D3D9, 16:9. Enhancements: 2x Native IR, 9x SSAA, 16x AF, check Scaled EFB Copy. Hacks: check Ignore Format Changes, Fast Mipmaps and OpenMP Texture Decoder. EFB Copies Texture and Disable External Frame Buffer. Advanced: Check Enable Progressive Scan, Crop and Widescreen Hack. Use AR code above to disable heat effect glitch. Flame glitch still there, not gamebreaking in the least. Little bit of DOF blur, very unnoticeable. penguinswithpie
3.0-415 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7-2600K @ 3.4GHz AMD Radeon HD 6970 Works perfectly gameplay-wise at 30 FPS with some minor graphical glitches. General graphics settings: D3D9, 1680x1050, force 16:9. Enhancements: 2x Native IR, 4x SSAA, 16x AF, Scaled EFB Copy enabled. Hacks: Ignore Format Changes, EFB Copies enabled with RAM selected and Enable Cache on to get DOF blur to work, External Frame Buffer enabled with Virtual selected, Fast Mipmaps enabled, Disable Per-Pixel Depth disabled to remove flickering glitches, OpenMP Texture Decoder enabled. Advanced: Enable Progressive Scan and Crop. AR code to disable full-screen heat effect glitch used. Noted issues: Smaller flames still produce doubling glitch, pictograph lags when taking images, Octoroks are weirdly colored. Riagu
3.0-600 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7-2760QM @ 2.20GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 560m Perfect FPS with Auto Internal res, No AA, and Recommended settings from the Wiki article. However, There is a fatal bug in the Wind Temple. When Makar starts telling you to use your Hookshot on his trees, It keeps repeating no matter how many times you try to exit the dialog, making it impossible to continue. Phazon Lord

Gameplay Videos

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