Friday, December 25, 2009 by dex

Three Wise Men

It's that happy time of the year again, folks! Just to remind you, there's the MAGFest 8 in just a few days, complete with the speedrunning marathon for charity. Oh, and it's also the Christmas period. To celebrate that holiday we have 3 new runs.

Let's start off with Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne - because nothing capitalizes on the Christmas spirit better than murder and violence (exhibit number 1: Die Hard). Johannes 'KroKus' Lindell improved 4 times from the individual level table. My old p2c3 was beaten by 2 seconds, so it's 0:00:16 now (and good riddance, my run was actually pretty weak). Johannes also knocked off 4 and 3 seconds from p2c4 (0:00:22) and pro3 (0:00:53), respectively. However, the greatest time gain is without doubt the p3c4 run (Vinnie's Used Car Lot), where sarou's old 4:18 was obliterated by exactly a minute (0:03:18). All those combined are in fact enough to drive the total time under 20 minutes, specifically down to 0:19:52! Good show, good show.

Another game equally famous for its cheery atmosphere perfectly fitting the holidays is Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Thanks to the numerous differences between the PC and PlayStation versions of the game, Luciano 'LucianoRX' Matyak's single-segment of the PC version is significantly shorter than Carcinogen's run, clocking in at 0:49:35. Reasons for the time gain range from mundane - the PC run is on a lower difficulty and not an A-rank run - to more sophisticated, like the ability to skip some animations that are unskippable in the PS version. Those differences of course mean the old run is not obsoleted.

Finally, we have the epic ending to the epic story (and the not so epic update) - Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Defiance does well at wrapping the story up (and at using the characteristic, faux-Shakespearean dialogue), however does so at the grave cost of sacrificing gameplay. It also has what might be one of the worst camera systems ever designed - so bad, you're likely to consider it the real villain after just a few levels. That did not scare away Paweł "carosh" Małczyński, who took it upon himself to prove that you can get through the game with speed and style, and generally succeeded, as shown in this segmented 3:09.

So, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and good Life Day *hurgh* to you all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 by mikwuyma

Charity marathon!

Some of you might have noticed that some SDA members went to a gaming convention last year called MAGFest 7 during New Year's. This year we're doing the same thing and going to this year's event, creatively titled MAGFest 8, from January 1-4 at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

Similar to last year, we'll be doing a video panel, and you can see the list of clips here.

Don't worry, you won't be left out if you can't come to MAGFest, because we will be hosting our charity marathon, Classic Games Done Quick, a 2-day marathon with 72 games mostly on NES, SNES, and Genesis that will be streamed right here on our main page. Like any good marathon, we will be raising money for charity. The charity we're raising money for is CARE, a humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty.

If you want to help us out at SDA, you can get the word out. Go to this topic for more information on how to help us.

Thanks go to Lindsey Layne King, The Speed Gamers' official artist, for creating the great (or as Earthworm Jim would say, "GROOVY!") banners on our marathon page. You can find her work on The Speed Gamers' website and her Youtube channel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009 by Enhasa

Tennis Thumb

This update contains just a single game, but that only means you have some additional time to tune in to TheSpeedGamers' Pokémon charity marathon! Starting at 6PM (CST) Friday, TSG will be catching all 493 Pokémon to benefit Ally's House. Please join them in supporting a good cause. If you're wondering about this plug and what exactly it has to do with SDA, well, you'll know soon enough if you don't already.

As a tennis enthusiast and a sucker for goofy games and ideas, I admittedly might be more interested in Wesley 'SD2' Bester's Mario Tennis: Power Tour speedrun than most viewers. But hopefully you'll dig it too. Although they do like sports, I don't know if the Takahashi brothers (founders of Camelot) ever envisioned that they would one day best be known for Mario sports instead of Shining games or even Golden Sun. Maybe that's why this particular installment is actually a tennis RPG, feeling like an odd combination of Mario Tennis, Golden Sun, and yes, Pokémon. Our latest in SDA's proud tradition of runners named Wesley chooses Clay (the character, not the surface) and aces his way to a single-segment Singles 1:14:55 on Easy. He even provides a handy box score at the end of his comments.

Sunday, December 13, 2009 by Enhasa

Perestroika

Most newly-posted speedruns get to stay on SDA quite a while, but not Richard 'Belmont' Jasionowski's Magician mode 0:22:14 of Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. His predecessor in the category, Wayne 'soteos' Frank, had his run last four years, but Richard 'Belmont' only enjoyed four months before Riku 'Emperor91' Vanhanen came along. If the last name sounds vaguely familiar, that's because Marko 'Master-88' Vanhanen is his brother. Who knows? Maybe there's a 'Godking+94' in the family. In any case, Riku has managed to cut the time down substantially to 0:19:04, while simultaneously cutting 12 segments down to 8. Richard's run already included wall climbing and large boning — it's every bit as humorous and inappropriate as it sounds — so play them side by side to see the optimization differences.

Once upon a time, there was a speedrunner named Andrew Gardikis who was downright ecstatic. He had just finished beating Jim 'vgmrsepitome' Hanson's Rush 'n Attack run in 0:09:53! Or so he thought. After careful timing, it turned out he had only tied Mr. Hanson's time. If you think you know where I'm going with this, I probably just crossed you up; Jim Hanson himself is the one featured in this update, returning to the scene of his first speedrun. The grenades he got in stage five account for five of the twelve seconds saved in this 0:09:41. The other seven come from minor optimizations, which is especially impressive given that Jim nailed his run in only ninety minutes of attempts. Jim is a shrewd man, having set a very manageable personal goal of one run on SDA per year, meaning this one was gravy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 by Enhasa

The Legendary Adventure

Congratulations to Jeff Feasel for winning the 5th SDA tournament! Tied for first place going into the final week, Jeff and 'Baron Dante' finished first and second respectively, with razor-close final scores of 204 to 203. (Yours truly had the most points with 211, but as tourney host, I had the highly unfair advantage of prior experience with all of the selected games.) With a record number of participants and lots of positive feedback, this proved to be the most successful tourney to date. Thanks to all participants and even everyone who just followed along! You guys made all of this possible. Let's keep building a stronger SDA, and with any luck, the next tourney will be even more successful.

Before diving into today's games, I would like to inform you of the next masterpiece from SDA's One Tenor. Mike Uyama had business in the great state of Pennsylvania, so he stopped by to visit Chip 'Breakdown' Vogel. The ensuing Ristar audio commentary was practically inevitable. It's one of my favorite yet, and not all of that is due to the game in question.

My apologies if you were tricked by the title and expected the PS2 game, but today's Rygar speedrun is on the European version of the original NES release. Most runners choose either NTSC or PAL versions of games to run — physical location usually has quite a lot of say in that — but Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen blazes his own trail and tries his hand at both. Spurred by both a bounty and an old rejection, Kristian battles through the game in 0:28:38, over a minute faster than previously done. This joins his 0:24:59 NTSC run, but there are too many minor version differences to fairly compare the two. Don't worry, you still get to use your shield as a weapon in both!

You don't get to use your shield as a weapon in Sonic Adventure, but you do get to use yourself as a weapon, which I guess counts for something. While I'm dispensing version info, today's speedrun is on the DX Director's Cut version for GameCube. That shouldn't be a surprise, really; the Dreamcast gets no love, and all of our other Sonic Adventure runs are on GameCube already. The speedrunner known only as 'Bertin' has shaved two seconds off the time of the shortest category, Super Sonic. His 0:01:52 with deaths replaces a run by Andres 'Mad Andy' Montalbetti, who is perhaps now as mad as ever. The improvement comes from a faster Perfect Chaos fight, which is a bit like saying a Sonic Spinball run was improved by faster pinball sections.

Sunday, December 6, 2009 by LLCoolDave

Now even more free

Speedrunning can be an expensive hobby both in time as well as money commitment. Although capturing technology has become much more affordable recently, runners still had to purchase the games they intend to run. Until now.

I'm very pleased to announce: Speed Demos Archive is now accepting runs on Freeware games. Before we get to the celebration ceremony you may want to have some history on this change. One of the original rules when the site expanded beyond Quake was that games had to be professionally published to be considered for SDA. It made sense at the time to stop poorly made and short games from being submitted. However, this was also about the time that Cave Story was released and showed the world that quality gameplay could be had for free, and since then, several other free games turned out to be well suited for speedruns. At the same time, the videogame industry is changing with a lot of small companies making professional quality titles on a budget and publishing them on their own. And then we have titles such as Dink Smallwood that were once published but have been available for free for over a decade now, but technically still meet the original requirement. To make it simple: There seems to be no reason to exclude some games from SDA for arbitrary reasons, so the decision was made to drop the rule.

So what does that mean for you as a (possible) runner? As long as what you pick qualifies as a game in some way we are likely to accept it now. This includes Flash games as well, although there are still some technical issues with their inconsistent framerates.

The beforementioned celebrations are, of course, three brand new runs on Freeware games. First of all we have Tower of Heaven in 0:02:03. Tower of Heaven is a short platformer that constantly adds more restrictive rules you have to respect (or die). Because a speedrunner doesn't waste time doing silly things such as walking left or touching walls, Maciej 'groobo' Maselewski had no trouble plowing through the game quickly.

Next we have some early holiday spirit with Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa in 0:02:18.14. A parody of the popular Metal Gear series, this game involves sneaking through a building as Santa avoiding children that are up much too late. Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal did a good job optimizing the game, although groobo already pointed out some minor improvements. With a sequel to the game announced for this December you can be sure to see more Christmas espionage on SDA soon.

Lastly we have a very special run on an outstanding game, Iji. Daniel Remar has started working on this game at about the same time SDA has moved beyond Quake, and only finished at the end of 2008, taking longer than many million dollar professional titles. It's an action platformer involving some RPG elements and there's really no way I could describe how great the game is in a single paragraph. If you like games at all (which I know you do if you read this), do yourself a favor and play this. It's just that good. What makes this run special is that it is the first run on SDA by the game's creator. Daniel uses all his detailed knowledge on how the game works and hours of playtesting in order to beat it in an amazing 0:27:18 on normal difficulty. The run is very well optimized and planned and uses some pretty neat small timesavers throughout. There's still plenty more difficulties and game modes left, so I'm sure this is not the last we see of this game on SDA.

Monday, November 30, 2009 by Enhasa

My Heart Will Go On... A Plate!

It's a cruel mockery of the recent Academy Award winning theme song from Titanic. I call it... S.O.S.! Here is a unique game that was a virtual unknown on the SNES but has somehow picked up a small cult following online in recent years. It's a platformer where you rescue passengers from a sinking ship, but Wesley 'Molotov' Corron knows it's every man for himself in the name of speed. So he picks old man Jeffrey, ditches his beloved wife, and makes his escape in a mere 0:03:16. Or does he! You'll have to watch Jeffrey's worst ending to find out. Wesley became bored while waiting for his 0:03:41 Luke run to get verifiers, so here is the result.

Another game with a bad ending, at least for DK fans, is the original Donkey Kong. After his brilliant Donkey Kong Jr. text commentary — oh yeah, and the run was good too — Ray 'Croc-Doc' Cullen has made another house call for its predecessor. Just like last time, Ray bucks the trend and includes entertaining text commentary and informative audio commentary. There's even less of it this time, however, since this run takes only 0:01:05. Previously manning aping the page was Giel Goertz's 0:01:22 on the European version. The only real improvement was one jump on the second stage, but Giel still decided he would rather bow out of the game page.

Last but not least, we have a self-improvement by the famed Mega Man speedrunner, Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson. He has destructed his prior Mega Man 3 Anniversary Collection run by nine million fold. Okay, that's not true at all, but his nickname isn't MilliDestructor7 or anything. I'll save you the math and tell you that his 0:32:42 has fallen thirteen seconds to 0:32:29. Mike estimates that choosing the Anniversary Collection over the NES cartridge saved him about four minutes. If that wasn't helpful enough, he also goes through and details exactly where he gained or lost time compared to his previous run. So read that, if you would.

Thursday, November 26, 2009 by dex

The fast and the 4rious

Coinciding with one of the most important game releases lately, we have a run for Valve's Left 4 Dead. Ignoring that pesky 'cooperation' aspect of the game, Tristan 'Serial Gamer' Languebien proves that if you want a thing done right, do it yourself. Mostly opting for controlling the cute chick (can you blame him?) and killing all the other characters to avoid them getting in the way, Tristan managed to run all the levels in the game alone. It's an individual level run of all 20 levels on the PC version, and the total time combines to 0:45:27. That is not a very long zombie invasion.

Speaking of zombies, there's a game developer named Sigma Team, famed for creating the aptly named Zombie Shooter. To further prove they have a knack for original and mysterious names, they created Alien Shooter: Vengeance (hello, clever segue!). Guessing what that game is about is left as an exercise to the reader. If you're having trouble envisioning what could be its focus, you should watch Patrik 'Cremator' Salonen's segmented run. He doesn't waste time, only the monsters in this 0:32:19 on Normal difficulty. If action game runs keep flowing in at this rate, we'll run out of monsters to destroy soon.

Also of note, Enhasa made a little mistake in the last update. Tales of Vesperia is not actually the first dual-play run - there was Adam 'No1 Inparticular' Young's run in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. (Editor's note: This is what I get for being away on "sabbatical" at that time.) Also, I'm pretty sure there's some sort of capital punishment for the title of this update. Oh well...

Monday, November 16, 2009 by Enhasa

Majora's Mask; Multiplayer Mayhem with Mark, Michael, and Marcus

Are you ready for one of the more highly anticipated speedruns in recent memory? Just your luck, you get two.

It's the triumphant return of the acclaimed Twilight Princess runner, Daniel 'Jiano' Hart. He's taken on the normal category for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, for which Peter 'pyh189' Yeh's time of 3:37 in 18 segments has stood since the middle of 2005. With the benefit of many new discoveries and Daniel's renowned dedication, it was eventually realized that a high-level run including all the tricks was indeed possible. So it was that this run — originally targeted at two and a half hours — ended up pushing two hours flat, with a final time of 2:03:04. And oh yeah, that's single-segmented. Check it out for yourself and be amazed! It's remarkable that so many advancements could be occurring all at once nearly ten years after its original release, but the Majora's Mask community isn't done yet, and perhaps sub-two hours is in the future.

It's also the triumphant return of 3/4 of the four-piece motley crew that previously speedran Tales of Symphonia. Their breakup was not fueled by drug addiction or solo careers but by Mark 'Peebs97' Peebles and Michael 'Flip714' Dix going off to college during the making of this Tales of Vesperia run, with Marcus 'DaBlueDragoon' Dix and Tyler 'ukm101' McDaniel still in high school. After having to restart the run twice due to unfortunate miscues, with a different lineup each retry, the final roster for this 43-segment New Game Plus 7:34 was just 3M. Once again, the group tag-teamed to write both informative summaries for each segment and some extremely entertaining off-beat comments too. This game isn't even built for dual-play, but Michael decided to play with one controller in each hand anyway. So not only is this a multiplayer run, but SDA's first ever dual-play run as well!

Thursday, November 12, 2009 by Enhasa

Pochi and Nyaa

Two of my favorite speedrunners are back. Jeff Feasel has obsoleted a run by yet another one of my favorite speedrunners, Damien 'Dragondarch' Moody. Since his Legacy of the Wizard 0:30:06, Damien has been derailed by a psychotic and suicidal DVD recorder that ate a couple of his yet-unpublished runs. But that is a story for another time. Today we focus on Jeff and his single-segment 0:28:52. Since the route is mostly unchanged, Jeff's biggest time saver was simply to maximize his chances of getting speed-scroll drops. The super speed is more interesting, more fun to play, and more fun to watch. The Falcom charm shines again.

It's too bad there isn't a character named Nyaa in Sunsoft's Journey to Silius. Yes, I looked. This is even the case in the original Japanese version, Raf World, and in the unreleased prototype that was created before Sunsoft lost the Terminator license for the game. No matter. We'll make due with Jay McCray, the protagonist. Jay is masterfully controlled by 'ktwo', whose run on the European version finishes in just 0:13:48. That's more than enough time to format a floppy disc containing evidence that terrorists were behind an "accident" that destroyed an entire space colony. Don't forget to scroll your screen for advantageous sprite limits!

Saturday, November 7, 2009 by dex

The keeper of tombs

Dungeon Keeper is a Peter Molyneux and Bullfrog classic, and you know that means a lot when said about the man and the company that brought us Syndicate and Populous. Hailed as innovative not only for the compelling gameplay, but also for letting the player be ostensibly evil, it seems to lend well to speedrunning, as proved by Maxime 'zoonel' de Lacheisserie. By mixing good multitasking with thought through planning, he concocted this segmented 1:55:19 for us, undoubtedly letting out a maniacal laughter after the evil ordeal was done. Of course, you could contend whether this act was truly mischievous - after all, what is bad about giving us another good run to watch? It's in 20 segments, by the way.

Shaun 'MMAN' Friend made an improvement to one of his old runs - and by old I do mean old, after all, 2005 was a while ago. It seems it was in dire need of improvement, as the new, 2009 run of Tomb Raider III is over 24 minutes faster. Shaun speeds through the third installment of the series about the Indiana Jones inspired adventurer and her bountiful bosom in 2:04:10. This palpable upgrade is done at a slight price - the number of segments increased from 19 to 27, but that's hardly a crime when the time saved reaches levels this significant. The runner mentions his plan for improving another of his Tomb Raider runs from 2005 - lets hope his work will keep being this entertaining.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 by Enhasa

The Old New Thing

If you build it, they will come. That's the idea behind the new features page anyway. There isn't any new content at the moment, but there are some old classics available. We are working on some more runner interviews and other things. I would like to take the time to remind you that you have one more day to try the unbelievably great week one SDA tourney game: Granada. Now that these tourneys are official, it would be nice to really bump up the level of participation. Thanks.

First off, we have old Sonic the Hedgehog, brought to us by the Awesome Australian himself, Mike 'mike89' McKenzie. He once held the Sonic the Hedgehog record on SDA, and once again he holds the Sonic the Hedgehog record. Particularly clever readers will notice what I did there with the hyperlinks. That's right, Mike did not take back his Genesis Sonic record but instead staked out a new one on the Sega Master System and Game Gear game. This run will look quite different to those of you who have only played the Genesis version. It's also a bit shorter, as demonstrated by Mike's 0:11:08 with deaths. I know I'm highly impressed.

Then we have new Super Mario Bros. Actually, the game is matter-of-factly titled New Super Mario Bros.. But what happens when the game is no longer so new? Will it then be a misnomer? Also, will Nintendo follow up with a Newer Super Mario Bros.? You've got questions; Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener has the answers. Here is a 45-segment 100% 2:26:20 to prove the point, produced naturally on his trusty DS. This uncontroversial work was inspired by a very controversial work by someone else at another site. By the way, Nintendo has already pulled out all the creative stops with the title of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Trust me, Jordan is ready.

Monday, October 26, 2009 by Enhasa

It's on like Donkey Kong

On the SDA forum, we have had several weekly tournaments before, and all were great fun. We've placed an increasing emphasis on the community, and it was recently suggested to me to write more about some community features such as these. So I'm pleased to announce the 5th SDA weekly tourney, beginning as we speak. Since this resides in the Casual Speedrunning board, you can be sure that this is an excellent way to try out some amazing games and compete with fellow speedrunners in a friendly atmosphere. All you have to do is play and post. I hope to see you there!

David 'marshmallow' Gibbons has been under some real fire as of late. Another of his speedruns from 2004 goes down today, as newcomer Austinn 'Davis' Hallman has beaten his Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble Hard 100% in 1:51 by fifteen minutes. Hard mode has one key advantage, incidentally: you start each stage with both monkeys, which saves you the trouble of finding a DK barrel. Whereas David's run uses 11 segments, Austinn's 1:36 uses 58. The astute reader might notice that this equates to one segment per stage. If all this segmentation makes you dizzy, don't worry, Austinn also provides a Hard single-segment any% in 0:51. At SDA, you can have your cake and eat it too.

The other Donkey Kong game in this update is Donkey Kong Jr.. (The first period is part of the game's title, while the second one marks the end of a declarative sentence.) Did you know? This is the only game in history in which Mario is the bad guy. I was overjoyed to learn that this speedrun was done by Ray 'Croc-Doc' Cullen, who delivers with some of his trademarked awesome text commentary — if you want solid information, you'll just have to listen to the audio commentary. Ray chronicles the tale of a wee ape youngling in diapers who is endlessly ravaged by thoughts of revenge. It'll take you longer to read this harrowing tale than it will to watch the run, which clocks in at a svelte 0:01:28.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 by Enhasa

Banjoband

Yep, it's the bear and the bird in their debut game, Banjo-Kazooie. Another of David 'marshmallow' Gibbons's old N64 speedruns has come under duress — it was a good five years while it lasted. Daniel 'Gibbatizer' Gibb has gibbatized David's single-segment 100% 2:55:01, and all that is left standing is his own 2:40:05 in the same category. I don't know exactly what "gibbatizing" entails, but it sure sounds cool. Perhaps it's what Daniel says to a girl after an eventful night together: "You've just been gibbatized!" Or maybe it simply means spending several years to complete a run, while implementing a new route and some nifty tricks.

Today's other featured runner will have to rely solely on his nickname, as 'sinister1' has requested that we remove his true identity from the game page. So all I am at liberty to say is that this man has beaten his own Double Dragon II: The Revenge run. Thirty-nine seconds shorter, and still with deaths, this 0:11:22 is filled with an even larger number of flying knees per second. But that's not all! He brought along a best friend, Joe 'jprophet22' Corbin, and they churned out this two-player 0:12:13, also with deaths. Now, you may be wondering why this run is slower than the other one, but after watching just a bit of the added lag, you'll see.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 by Enhasa

Contraband

I recently learned of a gaming band called Contraband, which is pretty much the greatest name for anything I've ever seen.

Needless to say, this update is dedicated to the popular run 'n gun series. First we have Contra III: The Alien Wars, which has been attacked by more than one runner. Neither of them took down Mike Uyama but instead added new categories. Fresh face Kyle Halversen has a Hard difficulty 0:05:24 with deaths. Percentage-wise, this has to be the run on SDA that cuts the most time through death abuse, and it's all due to a peculiar exploit that will be very familiar to fans of Battle Garegga. News mainstay Jeremy 'DK28' Doll continues his relentless assault with two low% runs: 0:15:59 with deaths and 0:16:11 without. Simple arithmetic will show you that deaths save much less time in this case.

As you can see, low% is a popular Contra category because truly nothing is more manly than taking on hordes of baddies with no shirt and only your trusty peashooter to keep you company. And no man is more manly than the Swede of Speed, Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson! He has improved the low% time previously held by the aforementioned Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. It's a big one too, as 0:12:48 is now 0:11:34. Do you remember the any% Contra audio commentary, produced by a band of merry miscreants? Did you wish sometimes that everyone else would just shut up for a moment so Freddy could actually give insight into the game itself? Too bad, Mike Uyama traveled all the way to Europe just to ruin your day.

Friday, October 16, 2009 by Enhasa

Super Deadly Boy

It's a familiar name with our first run today. Jeremy 'DK28' Doll doesn't play as Donkey Kong this time, but he does play as Little Mac in Super Punch-Out!!!! Jeremy has broken things down into four segments, which means we're getting some pretty optimized stuff as the entire show only lasts 0:03:24.97. Per segment you can call him the One Minute Man. Mr. Doll would like to thank Mrs. Doll for helping him with the Spanish in the audio commentary, which sounds like a sports announcer at ringside. Follow along with the action as opponent after opponent is knocked out faster than he can say "no más!"

Here's another familiar name. Give a warm welcome back to Jeff Feasel! Tom 'rdrunner' Votava's Deadly Towers 0:43:10 was long held to be a speedrun that might stand forever. It wasn't that the run was unbeatably optimized, but rather that the game is considered so bad that nobody would ever want to put in the time or effort or mental status to beat it. I suppose after you've conquered only good games such as Bionic Commando, Gauntlet, Adventures of Lolo, and River City Ransom, you too might give in to your sicker perversions and come away with the long, dark 0:33:56 of the soul.

Let's lighten things up with some Paperboy. Oh wait, this is the most twisted of all today's games. It's the inaugural speedrun for Yadir 'Riskbreaker Y' Osornio, who will soon be a familiar name in the news. Extra! Extra! Read all about how he intentionally crashes his bike, vandalizes homes, and generally acts like an all-around Johnny Knoxville. Yadir brakes for no man, canine, grandma, reaper, or graveling in his 0:10:50. This speedy recklessness is sure to earn him a promotion, demotion, or some other type of motion altogether. Watch the run and see what all the commotion is about.

Sunday, October 11, 2009 by dex

The dark night

The fresh memories of Nigel 'ridd3r' Martin's previous visit here are still lurking in the shadows, and he already has a new run for us. In an almost complete mood change, he went from World Of Goo into the World Of Noir. Max Payne is a game that successfully merged amazing action with a dark and edgy story reminiscent of old noir movies, and made bullet time a widespread addition to games (perhaps too widespread). Mister Martin merges cunning routes and tricks with exceptional execution in a similarly successful manner in this 29 segment 0:29:22 run in New York Minute mode, decimating the old run by nearly ten minutes. Of note: the old New York Minute record was formatted as an Individual Levels table. However, seeing as you can't start the levels with pre-set inventory and health, such a distinction didn't make much sense, and so the IL table is replaced by this segmented run. Since the adventures of the metaphor-loving, revenge-seeking vigilante are bound to be popular, here are the Medium Quality and High Quality torrents.

Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast is one of Bioware's most known RPG games. It's also a game containing a lot of bugs. And if there's anything speedrunners like, it's bugs that dramatically speed gameplay up. With the application of some refinements to the earlier runs, both the single segment and the multi segment categories have been improved. Curiously enough, not by one person - Julien Langer submitted a self improvement to the segmented run on normal difficulty (0:14:36 in 12 segments, knocking off almost 2 minutes), and Benjamin 'Beenman500' Culley applied Julien's tricks in a risky single segment run on the normal difficulty, finished in 0:18:29, 6 minutes better than before. Torrents: segmented, single segment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 by Enhasa

Here's my mega plan

Quick update today with two Mega Man improvements. The first of these doesn't require much explanation. Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson has beaten his own Special Stage time for Mega Man 9. The time has dropped from 0:01:52.40 to 0:01:47.65, bringing the total time down to 0:20:16. Five seconds is nothing to scoff at when the length is under two minutes to begin with.

The second of these would require more explanation, but it was Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk who did this run of Mega Man Maverick Hunter X. So you can just listen to his fabulous audio commentary instead. Gone is his old 0:42:52 in 13 segments from 2006, and in its place is this shiny new 100% 0:37:01 in 15 segments. This is the fourth iteration of this run for Chris, so one could say he is a wily old veteran.

Saturday, October 3, 2009 by Enhasa

Mario the Plumber

Let's say you're Nintendo and you have to come up with the title of a new Mario Kart game for the Wii. There's no greater utilitarian move than to just name it Mario Kart Wii. The F-Zero X speedrunner formerly known as 'PiccoloCube' has changed his handle to 'UchihaSasuke' in the years since. Whatever the case, his real name is Jose Karica, and he is the proud owner of a brand new Normal mode 1:07:38, single-segmented. Sold all your Nintendo consoles and handhelds to buy a Wii, but hunger for some ersatz recreations of arbitrarily-selected older courses? Well then, this is the game and the run for you.

What kind of party is it? A Mario Party. Who's invited? Everybody! That's right, before Nintendo became the undisputed party game company, they started it all off with the also fittingly-named Mario Party. And unlike WarioWare, these mini-games can be completed at different speeds by different people. Kevin 'neskamikaze' LaLonde took advantage of this circumstance and pumped out a 100% Mini-Game Island run in 0:45:45 and nine segments. Cower in fear as Mr. LaLonde valiantly fights through assorted mini-games in order to set up an ultimate showdown with none other than... Toad.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 by Enhasa

Baby ate my dingoes!

Today is a big day. Two classic but conspicuously missing games receive their first speedruns! The first of these is River City Ransom by Technos — may you rest in peace. Are you a generic enough dude to barf? Find out by watching Jeff Feasel as he explores the nature of the frailty of man by beating upon him with a trash can. Download this cultural artifact, performed single-segment on Novice difficulty, with a speedrunning time of 0:10:30. Considering that the Twin Galaxies time is 0:34:04, and the best on YouTube is 0:15:20, I think it's safe to say this run qualifies as a marked improvement over previously known records.

And then we have the seminal Bonk's Adventure, starring the titular cavebaby who bonks enemies with his massive forehead. PC Engine fans everywhere will be saddened to learn that this is a run on the Game Boy port. Don't put away your winky smiles just yet, because this version displays its own brand of charm. Rob 'Mickey Mage' Whitener is back with a one-minute improvement over a previously rejected run. After adjusting for Super Game Boy usage, this one rescues Princess Za in 0:18:53. Incidentally, I have learned that "za" is not a valid word in Scrabble, but I suppose that's why you need to challenge that sort of thing.

Monday, September 28, 2009 by Enhasa

Mike on the Mic

Whenever Michael Uyama gets together with some friends from SDA, what's bound to happen is that they sit down, pound some beers, and crank out a couple of rollicking audio commentaries. When Mike visited Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson and Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen in Norway this summer, this gathering of beer fans burst into speech and song for Rush 'n Attack, Kung Fu, Duck Tales, and Ninja Gaiden. The new audio has been muxed into the old videos for your convenience.

Mike's only getting warmed up too with the commentating. A beat 'em up aficionado, he was the perfect candidate to run Behemoth's Castle Crashers. This marks the first current-generation speedrun for SDA's most prolific active runner. Mike takes the Blue Knight and puts him through an intensive workout regimen involving lots and lots of steroids and protein sandwiches. Thousands of dead bodies, one beach volleyball match, and 1:14:34 later, he finally gets to kiss the princess. He's in for a real treat. In the meantime, Mike has gotten himself hopelessly addicted to Xbox Live Arcade games, so perhaps we'll be seeing more from him on this platform.

Castle Crashers' title screen bills it as a "four player adventure." Nintendo takes the co-op advertisement a couple of steps further and places it directly in the subtitle of the game itself for The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. Philippe 'Wak' Brisson, who has been making himself comfortable in the news lately, strikes again with a 0:04:09 of Lake Hylia, the first level. This replaces Mike 'TSA' Damiani's 0:04:17 from 2005. I haven't asked him, so I don't know if Philippe just got bored or what, but that's it for now. But this question does lead directly into...

Public service announcement! Do you own that most awesome of games: E.V.O.: Search for Eden? Do you know where your cartridge is? Would you like to see a speedrun of this incredibly underrated gem on SDA? Would you help out a fellow speedrunning enthusiast in need by lending him your cartridge? If you answered yes to all of these questions, please post in this thread and help a brother out. Philippe and I and many others will all thank you dearly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009 by dex

A change of pace

The first thing you usually think when hearing the word 'goo' is 'repulsive'. You couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to one of the most addictive 'indie' games ever made, World of Goo. This one sucks you in and doesn't let you get away like, well, a vat full of goo. Nigel 'ridd3r' Martin abuses the design of the levels in clever and impressive ways in this 0:53:41 single segment run. Featuring out-of-the-box thinking and insane mouse movements even very late into the game, this goodie is bound to be a pleasurable watch, and I've decided to make a torrent for convenience of all slime lovers.

As addictive as WoG is, it rarely creates a dependence as deep as one of Blizzard's masterpieces tends to. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is infamous for drawing the player into it for weeks at a time. Ignoring that sinister capability for possessing humans is Laszlo 'bimanc' Seta, who finished the game in just 1:15:02. It's a segmented run, and the character used to hack and slash through the evil hordes is Assassin. You can grab the Medium Quality and High Quality torrent for what is bound to be an extremely popular run.

Monday, September 21, 2009 by Enhasa

Sierpinski triforce

Sattik 'Tiki' Ghosh, Mega Man runner extraordinaire, still looks up to Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson. Sattik idolizes his game, his name, and his nickname, which is an appropriate moniker given that Mike enjoys destructing Mega Man 9. And now they get to share the same page: Mega Man 3. Mr. Dickson has a single-segment Anniversary Collection run in 0:32:42. This is much lower than Sattik's time, it's true, but the AC version is significantly faster due to eliminated lag, on-the-fly weapon switching, autofire, and a speed slide glitch.

Our other game today is none other than The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Philippe 'Wak' Brisson decided that he'd finally had enough of seeing anyone else's name on the page, so he completes his clean sweep with a single-segment 1:35:45. This bests Mike 'TSA' Damiani's 2005 run by four minutes and two seconds, representing remarkable advancements both in route and quality. It is also a mere six minutes slower than the segmented run. Philippe confirms that, yes, it is nice to have a supportive girlfriend when dealing with speedrunning frustrations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 by Enhasa

Don't call it a comeback

I've been here for years. Apologies from the "prodigal admin." I love to update, but you know how inertia works. Well, I'm going to try and start some positive inertia, and with the increased manpower with the addition of dex to our active staff, we're looking to expand SDA in more community-focused directions with some new features. I'd love to tell you what we're planning, but we're still just floating ideas around at this stage.

We do have a couple of new boards on the forum though. First is the Trading Post, where you can buy, sell, or trade games with trustworthy people without getting ripped off by chain stores or online auction sites. Please check it out! The second addition has been sorely missing since SDA's conception and is what I feel to be the most important initiative possible for long-term site success: Casual Speedrunning. Speedrunning at SDA has developed into an environment where a select few churn out incredible times and the rest just watch and don't really contribute. But speedrunning is fun, and even if you're not the world's greatest, you can still take a favorite game and see how fast you can go through it. After all, isn't that why we all came here in the first place? Share your speedrunning experiences and help strengthen our community.

As for this update, I waited a bit until we had two games ready that I particularly love. The first of these is the highly underappreciated Metal Storm for the NES by Irem. The game's defining feature is the ability to reverse gravity at any time with the push of a button. This is as ahead of its time as you would imagine, and it leads to great speedrunning opportunities. Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler is no stranger to great speedrunning, and if you don't believe me, you can witness this short and sweet 0:12:44, single segment. Ben is working on Expert Mode, which is enough to send pangs of yearning down the metallic spine.

The other game is no real surprise if you know me: Valkyrie Profile. It comes courtesy of Moka (もか), a respected Japanese tri-Ace runner. These games are popular RPGs to run, both on SDA and elsewhere; the segmented B-ending category at Ultima Garden (no videos, alas) is particularly ruthless, with eventual improvements dropping to one mere second each. This speedrun is not nearly on that level of optimization, but I love it just as much. It's a 100% (all dungeons) in 4:29... single-segmented. It's wildly different from all other Valkyrie Profile runs on SDA, because the game gives you the flexibility to skip whatever you want. This fulfills a $50 bounty from me, but I'm upping it to $100 out of guilt since my absence delayed the posting of the run. Sorry, man.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 by dex

The Cool War

The first game today is quite philosophical in nature. It is about the conflict between opposing forces, the clash of good and evil, the rivalry between black and white, the struggle of extremes. Either that, or it's a game for the NES with monochrome character sprites based on a comic strip. This old (and deeply profound) classic is Spy vs. Spy! Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe evaluates the concept of yin and yang in his individual-levels run of this game. The times combine to a total of 0:09:05.

Elsewhere on the NES front, Jeff Feasel crafted a run of The Adventures of Lolo. This run on the first game completes the trilogy of runs for Lolo games on SDA (Lolo 2 and 3 have runs by mister Votava). Picking up lots of hearts and pushing lots of crates, Jeff manages to finish this game in just 0:23:01. Collecting hearts to save a woman, can that be qualified as 'profound' as well?

The NES content of the site has increased significantly in the last 2 weeks, it would seem.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 by dex

Mega-Megalomania

The trend of games with 'Super' in the title continues. This one is even less explicable than its Star Wars predecessor, for it is Super Dodge Ball for the NES. As you see, the system name contains hardly any 'Super' at all. Nevertheless, Jeremy 'DK28' Doll decided it's super enough to make a run on the easy difficulty. It takes him 0:06:46 of smacking the opposing team with balls. And he doesn't take damage himself, either!

You ready to get spooked? Well, if you can get spooked by 2D NES graphics, you might be in for a treat. Apparently, the controls and the hit detection alone can spook you in this game. However, 'ktwo' has a high tolerance for fear and bad programming. So he made a run on the European version of Addams Family (NES), with deaths, in 0:15:11. Then, just to show the game how much he's not afraid of it, he did a run without deaths (European version still) 0:16:46. Now that is insanity!

Sunday, August 30, 2009 by dex

Megalomania

"Bigger is better" is a known saying. Whether it's true is debatable, but the makers of the first game today definitely took that concept to heart. Not content with the flexibility of the numerical system, they decided to use a fictitious number and made Zillion, a game based on and named after an anime series. It definitely doesn't take a zillion seconds for John 'chessjerk' Kearsley IV to finish his bad ending run. In fact, it doesn't even take half an hour: 0:23:16 of single segment action very reminiscent of Impossible Mission is all it takes.

Another aptly named game in this update is Super Star Wars. What exactly makes it super? The gameplay? The characters? The missions? The license? Or perhaps the mundane fact of this being a Super NES game? In any case, Chris 'Pootrain' Ferguson trusts the Force and manages to avoid being killed in this quite difficult rendition of Star Wars: A New Hope. Specifically, he trusts the European version of the Force (and the game). And that is why he doesn't fail, finishing his single segment after just 0:30:36 of lightsaber swinging, jumping and sliding around. And some vehicle sections.

Also, still remember the incredibly useful Knowledge Base? Well, a fresh addition has recently come to life, specifically the SDA Strategy Wiki, a compendium of tricks, tips and strategies for speedrunning different games. As outlined here, you're encouraged to add your own pages or tips to the plethora of existing ones.

Friday, August 28, 2009 by mikwuyma

Blue Suicide Bomber

There have been a couple of complaints on the forum about the lack of features on the site. Well, I'm glad to introduce the first SDA runner interview, with our talented Mega Man runner and teenager extraordinaire, Sattik 'Tiki' Ghosh. The interview contains interesting factoids about Sattik's Indian heritage, his motivations for speedrunning, and most important of all, his phallus-oriented relationship with Mega Man.

WARNING: Ghosh's language when interviewed is just as strong and genitalia-focused as ever, so those of you who are easily offended have been warned.

If that interview isn't enough Sattik for you, then you can enjoy his new Mega Man X run in 33:48, 21 seconds faster than the Swede of Speed's record. Included with the run is audio commentary that Ghosh recorded live as he was doing the run. You can hear about a new Maverick, Ghosh's relationship with the f-word, and complete silence during the final boss fight, proof of how focused Ghosh was during this run. Get the Medium Quality torrent here.

Seth Glass is a name many associate with Mega Man 2, and this next run is no exception. Glass's new run, unlike his previous run, does not employ any zip glitches, which means it's actually 26 seconds slower than his current glitched run, clocking in at 0:29:28. This will probably be popular, so here's another Medium Quality torrent. Zip glitches are now considered a separate category for Mega Man 2 because they change the boss route and save a significant amount of time.

While a 26 second difference might not seem significant enough to warrant separate categories, it's possible to shave more time off the current glitched run. Rumor has it that even sub-28 minutes is possible!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by dex

A Number Of Primes

Most people affiliated with SDA so far had something to do with Metroid. Grenola and Radix had runs. Nate, well I don't have to say anything about his input into metroid2002, do I? It therefore seems fitting to have my first non-Quake update be connected with Metroid. Specifically...

We have a new Frigate Escape run on Metroid Prime. The new run is done on the PAL version by Besmir 'Zoid' Sheqi and is almost two seconds faster than the older run. A palpable improvement, so to speak. The time remaining is 0:04:25.40 - remember that the timer counts down.

That was the starter, now it's time for the main course. It might be a little stale - because it's from 2006 and hasn't been posted yet - but it's still a very edible meal. Cooked by the aforementioned chef Alastair 'DJGrenola' Campbell, it's a brand new addition to the Metroid Prime 2: Echoes menu. This low% time entering secret worlds is 1:55, done in 21 segments. In a true Grenola fashion, he supplied an extensive commentary, this time adding an audio commentary to his already impressively sized comments. Since this is bound to be a tremendously popular piece of Metroid cuisine, I've made a torrent of the Medium Quality, also for convenience when downloading.

Also, I have to mention that Arkarian put in some effort into making a runners list on his website. If you want to check what runs some player did, that's definitely gonna be useful to you before we add this and some other features to the SDA site.

Friday, August 14, 2009 by DJGrenola

Duress

I have been informed by the nice gentleman sitting to my right that he will withdraw the gun from my head if I post five runs today.

SDA already lists an entry for Pokémon Gold, but if you have been waiting to see something on its souped-up Game Boy Color adaptation, today is the day. The great Mike 'mike89' McKenzie powers through Pokémon Crystal in under four hours — 3:52, to be precise — and he does it single-segment, all in one take. "This run goes start-to-finish with one solitary Pokemon doing all the fighting - Feraligatr," boasts Mike in his comments. Anticipating popularity, I am providing a torrent.

Another popular series frequently associated with Nintendo hardware is the ghoulish Castlevania. Wayne 'soteos' Frank was until today the Magician mode record holder of Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, but his long-standing run from 2005 has finally been visited by Death. The new Lord of the Castle is Richard 'Belmont' Jasionowski, who cuts the old time listed in this category for this GBA game almost in half — from 0:41:14 down to just 0:22:14 in 12 segments. Since there are twelve files to download, I made a torrent of the medium quality encode of this run, too.

Another fantasy-themed run from 2005 also bites the dust in this update. Tom 'rdrunner' Votava is the victim this time, as his run on NES Gauntlet falls foul of a faster contribution from Jeff Feasel. Like Tom, Jeff exploits the predictability of the Vault code to avoid having to collect the clues normally required to open it. Jeff's 0:17:51 as Elf is over two minutes faster than its predecessor, which has to be worth a watch.

Japanese action RPG series Ys may remain largely undiscovered by most Western gamers, but that has not stopped it from achieving a cult following amongst some. The situation regarding remakes of the Ys games is rather confusing, but the 9-segment run provided here by Jeff 'Korzic' David on Ys Eternal: Ancient Ys Vanished Omen (Ys I) was performed on the Ys I&II Complete edition, and on Easy difficulty, in a time of 0:38:35.

I apologise to Nathaniel Stalberg, whose run of Ambrosia Software's Escape Velocity Nova has been in the queue for a while, having been completed at the start of March. Nathaniel tackles the Pirate storyline and uses 40 segments in this luck-manipulating quest for glory, zipping around the Milky Way in just 0:14:31.

You can put that gun away now, Sir.

Thursday, August 6, 2009 by DJGrenola

Me Again

So, dear reader, I would like to introduce to you the concept of a "run bomb". This refers to a situation where, upon inspection of a single entry in the SDA queue, I discover that there are actually multiple runs lurking within. If more than one such "run bomb" should occur in a single update — well, grown men have been known to cry.

Before the infamous WoW claimed the social lives of so many young, promising individuals, there were some other, less societally dangerous Warcraft games. Our attention today turns to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, which is the subject of a run by the rather strangely monickered Philipp 'Stupid' H.

Wait, though — this is a "run bomb", so Philipp actually has five runs for you on the various campaign modes offered by this title. All campaigns were played on hard mode, so quickly: 2-segment Prologue in 0:08:14; 9-segment Human in 1:01:35; 8-segment Undead in 1:08:30; 8-segment Orc in 0:54:22; and 7-segment Night Elf in 1:21:37. Full details are on the game page, of course.

Psygnosis' early Wipeout games will always be quite dear to my heart, with their pulsating soundtracks, futuristic design and high-speed visuals. Many is the guilty hour I spent zooming smoothly round curves when I should have been studying the results of Fourier, Maxwell, Karnaugh and Faraday.

Of course, since only about three Europeans in total bought a Nintendo 64, my experiences had always been limited to the PlayStation releases of this popular racing game. Now, Wouter M. 'WMJ' Jansen has arrived to educate me, serving up lap records on the seven tracks of Wipeout 64. The details are all on the page, but you can also grab a ZIP file of the high quality encodes from all seven tracks here (40 MB). Other qualities may be found in the usual place.

Friday, July 31, 2009 by DJGrenola

Cameo Appearance

This place hasn't changed too much in the eighteen months since I last posted an SDA update, although I don't particularly like the new carpets or the fuzzy dice. I'd like to thank nate for the very sweet eulogy (January 28, 2008), and Enhasa for all his hard work, for hard work it is. No, I'm afraid I don't plan on making a habit of this.

Now, let's see some action. I am adding four new games to the game list on this sunny summer afternoon.

Long-time SDA forum lurker Paul 'Lag.Com' Davies opens an account on Arcomage, the standalone PC adaptation of the Might & Magic card-based tavern minigame. Paul gives us a pair of runs depicting two ways of winning this game: a Destruction victory in 0:00:20, and a Building victory in 0:00:24. These runs are very short indeed, but the times seem to mirror the fact of life that it is easier to destroy things than it is to create them.

The first part of Robert Zemeckis' time-travelling trilogy is a film well-loved by many, me included. Unfortunately, I suspect that the NES adaptation of Back to the Future is rather less roundly revered by people than its silver screen counterpart. Anyway, Ray 'Croc-Doc' Cullen is the man playing his Gibson behind his head this time — he sends Marty home in 0:17:11.

Robbie 'lightningx' Shintaku, meanwhile, gives us a 37-segment treatment of PC hack-and-slash RPG Dungeon Siege, which was released back in 2002. "The most frustrating thing about running this game was the camera," explains Robbie in his comments. This is not the first time I have read such an opinion in the comments for a speed run, nor will it be the last. He also declares that this run "was an experiment to see if the game could be completed in seven hours or less". Robbie did very well, then, since he stormed through in just 2:38 on Easy difficulty.

Lastly, Jason 'honorableJay' Feeney dashes through another video game comic book adaptation in the form of X-Men for the Genesis. Jason uses Nightcrawler for much of the run, but you can read his run comments to learn why this mutant is generally superior for speed purposes (or just listen to the audio commentary). Six months of courageous effort on Jason's part have been condensed down to a mere 0:08:46, so you'd better appreciate it.

Friday, July 24, 2009 by Radix

A smashing good time

A few short runs to hopefully tide you over until a better update(r) comes along.

On Super Smash Bros for N64, Jeremy 'DK28' Doll improved both of his previous times. The time with deaths drops to 0:03:01, an improvement of 15 seconds. The time without any deaths drops to 0:03:09, an improvement of 17 seconds.

On Super Smash Bros Melee for GameCube, we now have two runs on Classic Mode. Philippe 'Wak' Brisson finished in 39.74 seconds using a sleeping Pokémon. No, not Snorlax - it's Jigglypuff. Andrew 'Pokemonmaster888' D. used Ganondorf for an even faster time of 32.77 seconds.

On Super Smash Bros Brawl for Wii, there is a new category for "100 man melee 2 player". Only one player is credited though, because apparently Adam 'No1 Inparticular' Young has no problem controlling two pikachus at once. After a mere 0:01:14.68, all 100 opponents go flying off the screen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 by Radix

Take three down, pass them around

The first run today is a rare breed: a single-segment run on a PC game. Featuring the favorite protagonist of all the balding, middle aged men, more commonly known as Mr. Fifteenth Prime Number, this Hitman: Blood Money single-segment run on Rookie difficulty by Mark 'ExplodingCabbage' Amery in 0:24:07 shows just what would happen if The Professional lacked the patience to be a professional at all. Mr. Amery (no word on which prime number that is) also seems to be a cunning hitman in real life, for this run was actually made in order to beat a run that he verified, marking this likely the first time such drastic measures were taken in order to keep the standards up. Talk about efficient quality control!

Next up is a tile swapper run on Panel de Pon Tetris Attack for Super Nintendo. The time of 0:05:12 is by someone who apparently has very mean parents and called him Darkwing Duck. This is one minute and 7 seconds faster than the time from 2007.

If you play North & South, you might learn a little history about the U.S - or you might blink and miss the game. The previous run from January was on "level 1" AI difficulty and finished in a mere one minute and one second. Daniel 'Kareshi' Brown has done "level 2" and "level 3" as well. Level 2 is only 0:00:56 and three is 0:00:50. I'm not sure why these apparently higher numbered levels are faster without obsoleting the lower levels, and the "comments" from the runner certainly dont explain either.

Friday, July 10, 2009 by Radix

I Am Not Enhasa, Either

We have another run from our Norwegian NES runner, Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen. Kristian improved Rygar, a game that has nothing to do with Ligers, though it does feature a villain named Ligar. Kristian says this game is a top 10 NES game, which is probably why he took it upon himself to improve his 25:59 by a minute with this 0:24:59.

Next we have three wicked runs of two bodacious action games.

When people think NES, they might not think Kid Niki: Radical Ninja, but that's because they've never played this warped game! The game has Marcel Marceau lookalikes constantly chasing you, and an old man who drops F bombs, what's not to like?

Jim Hanson wields Niki's mullet with expert precision and destroys that tard, the stone wizard, in 0:11:39. Jim said that his goal is to get at least one run posted on SDA a year, and with this run he succeeds. Atta boy, Hanson!

The next two runs might not have the word radical in the title, but that doesn't make them any less so.

First is Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson's 40-second improvement of Jim Hanson's Super C. Freddy furiously mashes and destroys everything in a fractions of a second to accomplish his 0:13:26.

Hanson's response: No Mullets? Doesn't count. Kid Niki is the truth. While Probotector 2 might not have Bill and Lance, that doesn't mean Marko 'Master-88' Vanhanen's 14-second improvement is bogus. His 0:16:44 still features the same gnarly shooting action, just with robots instead of humans.

P.S. Marko would like to say that all three of these runs "look like TAS".

The preceding was actually written by Mike Uyama, who is currently traveling through Europe. Could you tell?

Now for one more run in this update, since we're having a bit of a summer drought. Jeremy 'DK28' Doll did a run to finally bring Super Castlevania IV into the Archive's game list. His initial submission for this game was rejected but the end result is a much better run I'm sure. Its time is 0:39:17.

Saturday, June 27, 2009 by Enhasa

Hors d'œuvre

Ok, there's been a change in plans. Nate will be gone the first week of July, and Mike will be gone during most of July, so it wouldn't be prudent at all to clear out the queue. That being said, I didn't want to bail before I even started, so here's one daily update.

When Daniel 'Jiano' Hart provided SDA its inaugural The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess speedruns, they were met with widespread adoration and pretty much scared off potential challengers. So it was up to him to incorporate new developments and modernize the page, leading to this barrier-smashing 3:56 on the speedrun-friendlier GameCube version. That's 51 minutes faster than before. How many segments? Oh, just one. Since you must realize how infeasible it is for everything to go perfectly, I'm sure you'll understand some of the later parts of the run.

Our Zelda II: The Adventure of Link page has a fair number of categories, and Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen's goal is apparently to take over every last one of them. Today this is manifested with two runs: a single-segment 0:59:43 and a New Game Plus 0:41:10, replacing Tommy Montgomery's 0:41:49 in this category. Both new speedruns feature Up+A warping and shortcut deaths. Ever the speedrunner, Kristian optimized the writing of his comments by reusing much of the text. I don't know what Kristian is up to right now, but maybe Chip 'Breakdown' Vogel ought to watch his back.

Today proves that Zelda speedrunners sure know how to stick to their games and not settle for less. Our last example is Philippe 'Wak' Brisson's 1:29:48 of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It joins Mike 'TSA' Damiani's old single-segment 1:39:47 from 2005, so it may not sound like much, but really it is. Philippe squeezes every last drop out of the 17 segments, and he even highlights the particularly difficult sections so you can play along at home. Philippe's next move is to take sole ownership of the page by "crushing" the time of TSA and everyone else.

Friday, June 26, 2009 by Enhasa

Amuse-bouche

I started this update before I knew dex was planning one, but there's no need to hold back. In fact, I'm vowing to update each and every day until the queue is cleared. Now, let's whet your appetite.

Scenes from a memory. Joe Stanski is back with a new run. Of course, this means Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The total individual-levels time is now 0:15:33, the result of a single new level run. This level is Metropolis 2, which plummets from 0:01:01 all the way down to 0:00:14. If you assume that a 77% reduction wouldn't occur unless there was a new glitch, you would be correct. Stanski is working on a 100% run, whereas Fritz Lang is not working on Metropolis 2 for many reasons, least of all because he's long dead.

Fritz Lang is considered the foremost pioneer of film noir, which segues directly to Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. This is yet another singleton individual level. This six-seconds-faster 0:00:35 for "Return to Funhouse, as Mona" is an odd case. James Staff made this run back in 2007 but only bothered to submit it two years later. The mode for the 0:21:01 IL category is New York Minute, Easy, which means that due to time bonuses, what you see is not necessarily what you get. This is analogous to the recently posted Marble Blast, which has now been mentioned two updates in a row for no particular reason.

Here is an even odder case. 悟 '蛍火' 鈴木, also known as Satoru 'Hotarubi' Suzuki, is well-regarded as the world's top Super Metroid player, whose single-segment 0:32 brought him endless acclaim. Last year, he submitted another astounding single-segment run, this time a low% in 0:44. Soon it was all ready to go up, except he hadn't submitted any comments. This typically wouldn't be much of a problem, but due to the language barrier and other factors, he never replied with them. After finding out that his run was available on YouTube (albeit extremely well-hidden), I joked that we should just use his YouTube comments in lieu of a response. After a while, this became a serious suggestion, so take a look at the page to see the outcome.

Friday, June 12, 2009 by Enhasa

Cleanup

After breaking the minute barrier in his first Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares speedrun, Robert 'DrRob' D'Ascoli is back to give a rediagnosis. Now he has broken the 40-second mark with this single-segment 0:00:39. As before, Robert pulls out all the stops, leveraging the game's high degree of customizability. Hence the galaxy is small, the race is custom, the difficulty is easy, and the domination is swift. In what is a growing trend, Robert also assembled a bloopers file, and yes, for a run of this length, the bloopers are longer than the run itself. Robert is conducting some friendly intergame record sparring with North & South's Daniel 'Kareshi' Brown, so we'll reexamine this in the days ahead.

Tony 'ZenicReverie' Foster gets his first publication, for Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. This one's a doozy. It replaces Ben 'Mkt2015' Fichter's eight-segment 2:20:03. So naturally, there is a good deal of excitement for Mr. Foster's single-segment 1:40:11, almost a full forty minutes faster. Pretty impressive for someone who apparently never owned the game before January and never played it before March. There are some new shortcuts, but overall the biggest change in this run is a more optimized route with far less time wasted while orb collecting. In his comments from 2005, Ben asserted that "less than two hours isn't possible." Impossible is nothing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 by Enhasa

AAA

I'm terribly sorry for the delay. It seemed like each night there was a new issue popping up. Regardless, I'll try not to make a habit of it.

First up today is a fan favorite: Grand Theft Auto III. The best time, 1:22:31, was once held by Andre 'l2ebel' Bodmer. Mihail 'SCM' Suraev captured it last year with his 1:16:12. Today Andre 'l2ebel' Bodmer does a bit of recapturing with his latest effort, a shiny 1:14:31. The number of segments has increased from the traditional three to four this time. If you don't want to be spoiled as to why, don't read the comments before watching, try to somehow ignore segment lengths while watching, and you probably shouldn't turn on the included subtitle commentary either. That all sounds rather drastic; I wouldn't bother.

Great things are happening as SDA expands its global reach. We welcome 川元 'Hikari' 英則, whose name is romanized as Hidenori 'Hikari' Kawamoto. He has a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater European Extreme mode run with Kerotan rank, joining Merlin 'Take-Chan' Medau's European Extreme run with Fox Hound rank. I'm still trying to figure out why the Japanese comments contain English words such as "youtube" and "chaff grenade" that the English comments do not, but I suppose that's why we provide both. Hidenori's speedrun lasts 1:41:38, 15 minutes and 44 seconds longer than Merlin's, but hey, who can resist those frogs? Waka-waka all day, baby.

This next speedrun is quite the improvement. Back in 2005, James 'Brown Bomber' Bunkley completed a run of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door in 7:11. Although this game will run happily at 60 Hz even in PAL regions, Mark Wong's recorder wasn't especially fond of this idea, so the perfectly valid 50 Hz was chosen instead. There are a multitude of factors that mean a straight time conversion wouldn't do the run much justice, so suffice it to say that Mark's 7:07 (bloopers) is substantially faster in play, if not in video length. The segment count has gone from 16 to 32, an exact doubling. We can assure you this is true in any region.

I didn't expect to see the first SDA update with two Japanese runners this early in my tenure, but these are the times we live in. It's for the Wii debut of arguably the only series truly to utilize the Wii remote effectively: Trauma Center: Second Opinion. It appears now is the time to mention that our long-standing rule requiring full names of runners has been rescinded and is now just a recommendation. I recall that the original rationale was to bolster legitimacy in SDA's infancy, but we're doing pretty well, and at this point, what is more "legitimate" than showcasing the best runs? 'szsk' and his single-segment Normal mode 1:24:18 would have to agree. His patients? Maybe not so much.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 by Enhasa

Latin Square

Not quite ready to return to normalcy, let's tackle an array of speedruns today.

Even after all these years, Metroid Prime is a game that never quits. Runners may quit, as Stefan 'Mister Shin' van Dijke says he will now that we've posted his final runs: single-segment 1:16 and low% 1:26, both on the European version. Saying farewell are Besmir 'Zoid' Sheqi's single-segment 1:17 and William 'pirate109' Tansley's low% 1:48. Stefan's low% was started four long years ago, and in his comments you can see the progression of the 21 segments over time. The end result is a bit like Frankenstein's monster; the first four segments are taken from Stefan's any% 1:09, and the last four segments were encoded differently after he redid them to save a minute. Of course, the beauty lies within.

When it comes to appearing in the news recently, Justin 'Ucpro' Salamon is a pro. Today the selected game is Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. As far as I know, he doesn't have anything against fluffy kittens, but that didn't stop him from obsoleting Erik 'fluffy kitten' Beisick's 19-segment 100% Hard 2:38:07 from 2006. Justin's version saves almost fourteen minutes, sporting a time of 2:24:24. As with Stefan's segmented run, the theme of Justin's 22-segment run is a severe underestimation of the time and effort involved. Although, the exact same sentiment is held for his single-segment 100% Easy 2:34:15 with deaths, what Justin calls his "miracle run." The SDA: where miraculous happens.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 by Enhasa

505

Observant viewers have no doubt noticed that we've been sitting at 499 unique games on SDA. Since 500 is divisible by 100 and thus somehow special, there has been some discussion about which game would receive the honors. To those of you playing the speculation game, you just got punked. Just like execution by firing squad, where one gun has a blank cartridge, you will never know which game was really 500th. Or in a more positive light, you get to choose your favorite!

Let's get started with this massive retro update. First is the game that some of us on staff wanted to make 500th as a practical joke. To our chagrin, we decided that the world wasn't capable of handling our awesome idea. It's Macaulay Culkin and he's Home Alone. With its trap-based gameplay involving dogs, a giant clover, and a little chinchilla, it would not be a 100% fabrication (only 99%) to call this game a proto-Kagero. Who is man enough to run this game? None other than Justin 'UCpro' Salamon. His self-described "nearly flawless" 0:12:54 is built on iterative planning and a very lucky final boss fight. Jump along with Justin to the beat of the music.

Since Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is a remake of Rondo of Blood, Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk was dubious that his speedrun would be a candidate for 500. But hey, if Konami thinks that a game is new enough to deserve a new name, that's good enough for a new game page for us. So along with Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's 100% 0:40:10 of the original, we now also have Chris's single-segment Good Ending 0:17:44 with deaths. Anyone who knows how Chris Kirk rolls will not be surprised to learn that his trademark audio commentary is included. This run is made possible by Maria Renard and the PSP 3000, which in fact is not a vacuum cleaner.

Speaking of Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe, he surmised that perhaps his Easy mode Dawn of Mana run would be 500th, since it had gone the longest since acceptance without yet being published. This would make sense, but there was a hold-up with the runs of the arena bouts. In the end, though, the rising sun of mana waits for no one. What you see today is a nine-segment run through this chronologically first installment in 2:32:37. I thought Seiken Densetsu was a wildly popular series, but this run took an embarrassingly long time to get verifiers and be accepted. As always, if you could help us out with verifying any runs for games that you know well, we would greatly appreciate it.

Continuing right along, we have a run that someone not on staff knew would be part of this 500 update. That's because Marcus 'Preddy' Göhlert specifically asked us when his run of Mega Man V would be going up. We don't blame him though; impatience is a virtue for a speedrunner. This virtue is put to good use in this ten-segment 0:47:15. This game is relatively unique for a Game Boy Mega Man title, but I don't feel like saying the same thing in two places, so just read the introduction on the game page. Starting his own tradition that began with Rosenkreuzstilette, Marcus has audio commentary this time for an actual Mega Man game. His text comments are pretty sweet-looking too.

Now it's time for the run that probably most deserved to be 500th, that is, if we were really serious fellows to begin with. Here is a full set of world records for Marble Blast Gold, a bundled favorite. Whether it's Marble Madness, Super Monkey Ball, Ballance, Switchball, or whatever, ball-rolling games are prime targets for amazing speedruns. Pascal 'Xelna' Lafrance, Remy 'Dushine' Dushime, and Matan 'IsraeliRD' Weissman do not disappoint. Since each of these individual levels are so short, they decided to append them by course. So that's what you'll get when you download their combined-total 0:15:36.826. They also deliver game replays and some bloopers. Have fun.

Last but not least, we have a run from a guy who probably doesn't care if his game is 500th or not, who doesn't care that his run isn't under a minute long, and who also doesn't care if you think his run is stupid or not. He's wanted to do this since 2006. It's Samuel 'Arkarian' Groves running the game that was always the big elephant in the middle of the room: Myst. Many have offered this game as providing maybe the shortest possible run for SDA, but I guess those people need to get a clue. At any rate, Samuel's single-segment 0:01:16 features some furious mousy action. He calculated total clicks required to finish the game, so we can safely say his effective APM is over 100.

Saturday, May 23, 2009 by Enhasa

Duckhunt

Here's something you don't see every day: relatively quick self-improvements. André Göhlsch starts us off with improvements to four of his PS2 individual levels of Manhunt 2. This is his second set of such improvements, and we hope and suspect that he's not done yet! Safe House was improved by two seconds down to 0:00:43, Bees' Honey Pot by five seconds down to 0:01:55, Assassination by thirty seconds down to 0:02:51, and Most Wanted by four seconds down to 0:03:18. Do the math and that's a total of 41 seconds of improvement, which matches the total individual-levels time falling from 0:51:51 down to 0:51:10. Don't you just love it when the math works out?

When Giel 'ZaibirQuild' Goertz was last seen speedrunning Duck Tales, he was bewildering audiences everywhere with the moon stage glitch. Since then, the art of Duck Tales has evolved, and that glitch is no longer necessary. That's because there's an even faster moon stage glitch now. Fans of crazy-looking glitches might pine for the old one — the new glitch looks a bit pedestrian in comparison — but speed is speed. Though don't be fooled into thinking that the thirty seconds of improvement of this European Difficult 0:08:14 all come from this new glitch. For one thing, the final pogo wasn't the very definition of schadenfreude this time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 by Enhasa

Grave Robber

I'd just like to start off by letting the conspiracy theorists know that we really didn't plan to have two Tomb Raider games in this update. The second of today's speedruns was originally going to go up last update, but it turned out at the last minute that it wasn't quite ready.

After the series was rebooted with Tomb Raider: Legend, the next logical step for Eidos was to milk the original game with a high-budget remake. And thus begat Tomb Raider: Anniversary. So it was that on the 14th of February, 2009, Janusz 'jardart' Rosenow finished his Easy difficulty run. The time on the clock said 0:41:42, but that's not the time you see here today. Janusz combined three of his previous segments into one improved segment, for a new total of 19, so the real time is 0:39:40. If you've only played the original game, this entire run will look rather foreign to you, but even if you have, all this airwalking and shake-shake and other mischief making should still astound you.

Anniversary came chronologically before Legend, but the latest game, Tomb Raider: Underworld, decided to restore some normalcy to the timeline by actually being the latest in the series. Less than a week after Janusz did his Anniversary run, Jarek 'j.calling.2bad' Hanzelka completed a run of his own for Underworld. It utilizes a mammoth skip discovered by Tl2ophy that cuts out half of the game. The strategies from numerous contributers enabled Jarek to tear right through in just 0:25:26 and 12 segments on Master Survivalist difficulty. Thank the developers for being completely oblivious to all the glitches in their game, never once addressing them.

Monday, May 18, 2009 by Enhasa

Zeroth index

Time for a few quick runs. More to come soon.

Half-Life full game runs don't seem to be getting as much action recently, but this doesn't preclude other modes from getting their due. So today we have Mikael 'Zhouy' Mårtensson's Boot Camp speedrun of Half-Life: Opposing Force in 0:09:36 with eight segments. Along with Portal, Half-Life is also given the grandfather clause with respect to script usage, so don't be caught unaware. There's not much for me to say here, so just watch and you can see it all for your own self.

The next run is Andrew 'spidey-widey' Brockmann in a return performance of Metroid: Zero Mission. Last time, he destroyed the segmented any% category by making a faster single-segment run. Today he creates. Here is his three-segment 0:27:40, which has its highlights and its lowlights. You might ask, "Why three segments? Is there even a point?" Hey, it's 62 seconds faster. Don't mess. These skips don't skip themselves. This energy doesn't refill itself. Samus doesn't take off her suit herself. Or does she?

Thursday, May 14, 2009 by Enhasa

Slacker

Giel 'ZaibirQuild' Goertz may be some things, but he is definitely not a slacker. Look no further than this update for proof. As always, Giel puts his trusty NES through the paces.

Our first new game courtesy of Giel is the NES port of the arcade classic, Donkey Kong. Back in 2005, Philippe 'Suzaku' Henry did a run of the Donkey Kong remake for Game Boy, but the two versions are radically different. This would explain why this run is over an hour faster, at 0:01:22 on the European version. You might be tempted to think this is a pretty cut-and-dry run, but Giel uses a nifty trick on the first level. If you haven't seen this trick before, it will most likely surprise you, so prepare to be surprised! Although, I just ruined some of the surprise by alerting you to it, silly me.

Giel Goertz continues his update dominance with Kirby's Adventure. Both of Giel's runs in this update are the "original" versions of games that were missing on SDA but already had runs of their remakes. Once again, you can't compare the new with the old, this time Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's run of Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. Giel's is a single-segment European 0:41:40, abusing the UFO glitch. If you've played this game and know how good the UFO is, how good do you think a permanent UFO would be? Yeah, pretty good. The door is open for a run without the UFO glitch, though, so step right up.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 by Enhasa

Dazed and Confused

Let's continue with our recent spate of short speedruns. After Arc System Works prompted fans to ask "WHY?" by creating Guilty Gear 2, a non-fighting game, Konami decided to join in on the action by creating Castlevania Judgment, a fighting game. The initial shock and gnashing of teeth only intensified after the game's release. No better way to vent than to watch Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's minute-busting 0:00:59.58 as Trevor, featuring ruthless luck and efficiency. True, it was on Easy difficulty with one-round matches — a consequence of a curious lack of separate scoreboards — but in this case I'd say that only makes things more amusing.

It's well documented how Ashley of Resident Evil 4 tends to act like a space cadet. So I'm sure today's new runner, Robert 'Sunblade' Brandl, is thankful that he only had to worry about Ada. Robert's run is for the European Wii version of Assignment Ada mode in 0:05:48. The extremely observant will notice that Greg Innes's 0:06:31 of the same category on the Gamecube version has been replaced, even though Krauser is noticably easier on the Wii. This is because the quality of play is still higher, of course. Regardless, if you'd like to see obsoleted runs be given their due on the game pages, know that we at SDA agree and are planning to do something about it this summer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 by Enhasa

Clueless

I guess we should start with our more normal submission first. DS recording is a pain, but Zack 'DSGamer3002' Mintzer's pain is your gain. (The first 3001 DSGamers weren't manly enough for DS recording, you see.) Two years after his 13-segment Metroid Prime: Hunters in 1:20:35, Zack has returned to the scene of the crime with a 1:16:33 and a 100% 1:22:57. Both are in 12 segments. Those capable of basic mathematical comparisons will notice that the 100% run is almost as fast as the previous any% run. Those capable of empathy will feel a twinge of sadness around segment 10. Take good care of that electric sheep!

With all the blatant misuse of the term metagaming these days, it's time for our own bona fide example. There's been somewhat of an informal contest recently in trying to get the fastest run, not for any particular game, but for all games on SDA. Short runs have been made for North & South, Master of Orion II, and Myst, but Wesley 'Molotov' Corron drops the hammer with his run of Clue in 0:00:03. That's right, three seconds. If there is a safe record on all of SDA, this is surely it. Not displaying much in the way of gaming skill but certainly novelty, Wesley pushes the envelope with this run. Now reach inside and find out who did it.

Friday, May 8, 2009 by Enhasa

Wheelz of Steel

All these years, our most glaring Nintendo omission has probably been the venerated Super Mario Kart. Jeremy 'DK28' Doll continues his quest to use Donkey Kong to speedrun every game humanly apely possible. Here, DK is even clearly top-tier. Jeremy split his run by cup, so we've got Mushroom Cup in 0:05:34.69, Flower Cup in 0:06:40.00, Star Cup in 0:06:43.33, and Special Cup in 0:06:33.00. These videos show off some neat tricks and shortcuts, but none of the broken two-second lap stuff falls in this particular category. The top SMK players in the world have their minds set on adding a lot to this game page, so please stay tuned for more racing action!

Now it's time for some original Baldur's Gate. If you're looking for the existing Normal difficulty runs by Julien Langer, those are on the page for Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast. Today's Hard difficulty run by newcomer Benjamin 'beenman500' Culley does not use the expansion. It's in 0:21:31 and eight segments using the very multi-class Fighter/Mage/Thief. I know Radix has wanted a run sans expansion for years now, so if he still cares, today he gets his wish. Farewell, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere and Garan's Dimension Door scroll. Now show me how you feel.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 by Enhasa

FIFO

Let's start at the beginning with some FPS runs. Maciej 'groobo' Maselewski has demolished his old Low difficulty F.E.A.R. speedrun. Why? Because he's groobo, and because he can. So the number of segments is raised from 35 to 75, and the time is lowered from 1:06:56 way down to 0:55:59. Maciej hates writing comments, but he still documented all the major exploits, so there's really nothing left for me to say about the run. Oh, it does contain his favorite sequence break ever, which I'm sure is worth something. Like Maciej with his comments, I'm not going to proofread this either. I'm just lazy though.

We've long had a run for Thief: Deadly Shadows, so it's about time we get one for the influential first installment, Thief: The Dark Project. The category is an individual-levels run in 0:34:59, each level starting with the highest amount of money possible carried over from the previous level. These stages were tag-teamed by Harri 'Rogston' Väisänen and Esa 'SaunaChum' Kivirinta. Harri did Lord Bafford's Manor, Break from Cragscleft Prison, Down in the Bonehoard, Assassins, The Sword, The Haunted Cathedral, and Into the Maw of Chaos. Esa did The Lost City, Undercover, Return to the Cathedral, Escape!, and Strange Bedfellows. Both did very well.

Saturday, May 2, 2009 by Enhasa

Max chain

We already had a single-segment Mega Man 9 run on SDA, but now we also have an individual-levels run. In the pantheon of Mega Man 9 gods, Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson rules over all. Such is the reverence that others hold for him that, to my knowledge, even the legendarily immature teenager Sattik 'Tiki' Ghosh has not yet dared to make a crack on his name. Mr. Dickson's run was delayed several times because he kept on improving his own world records. Eventually, he rested, settling on this world record box set of 0:20:21. Oh, it's good.

We already had an individual-levels Max Payne run on SDA, but now we also have a single-segment run. This game is so noir, even the difficulty names sound like stage names. Nigel 'ridd3r' Martin chose to run the Dead on Arrival difficulty after finding the treasures of King Nole. His 1:22:32 contains one accidental death costing eight seconds, but Nigel kept it since it was still faster overall than his deathless attempts. If you have something against constant rolling, killing guys for time, and other New York Minute mode tricks, you'll likely prefer this run. Don't forget to bring your external audio commentary!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 by Enhasa

My kingdom for a heart!

One of the more commonly requested games gets its long-awaited run today. Asa 'spikevegeta' Tims adds to his Kingdom Hearts II mastery with some Kingdom Hearts mastery. Speedrunning this game takes longer than the four-and-a-half hours it takes to run the sequel, so his final time comes in at a healthy 5:49, using 25 segments. Watch it and find out for yourself how much of that is spent in the Gummi Ship. Asa invites others to beat his run, as "all I ever wanted in the first place was to see this game have a speed run on the site." A noble man through and through.

Our other speedrun is for Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The inspiration for this run came from Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols. Keith 'The Quiet Man' Skomorowski took this idea and, well, ran with it. The result is a single-segment 1:29:05 as Riku. Keith is not a Sora fan, so don't expect a Sora run from him in the future. Japanophiles should also note that the US version is a lot more difficult. Since the card system was later discarded, the enduring legacy of this game was opening the path for increasingly ridiculous titles: Kingdom Hearts coded, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. I wish I was making this up.

Saturday, April 25, 2009 by Enhasa

RIP Pavarotti

What do you get when you take two Germans, a GameCube, and a stealth-based game? Well, in this case, you get a two-player run of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. The PC version of this game already has an individual-levels run, but the GameCube version is drastically different. Contrast Mathew 'kakomu' Thompson's PC individual-levels run on Expert in 1:16:34 with today's individual-levels 0:20:23 by Michael 'Tigger77' Welle and Thomas 'TT99' Tewes. To summarize the two versions, the PC version has a Lighthouse, Penthouse, and Bathhouse, while the GameCube version has an Internet Cafe and Server Room. James Bond turns Swordfish!

Not that I should be one to talk, but Mike Uyama has been conspicuously absent from the news page for over a year. It's hard to believe in this day and age that he still holds the second largest number of runs on the site — newbies would never guess that Tom 'rdrunner' Votava is first — but there's that whole SDA thing to contend with, after all. Mike has been working on Contra III: The Alien Wars for over two years, but once you watch this unbelievable 0:14:59, over a minute faster than Josh 'LigerOfFortune' Styger's already well-received 0:16:07, you'll understand. Mike finally gets to showcase his vocal range on a run of his own this time, and the early reviews are his best yet.

Have a listen at Contra and Dark Castle for the rest of the Michael Uyama masterwork series.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Enhasa

Nin-ten-do!

Jeremy 'DK28' Doll returns to his old stomping grounds, Super Smash Bros. His objective was to obsolete his Very Easy 0:03:28 with deaths from last year. Given that you're reading this right now, it should come as no surprise that he managed this. Oh boy, did he ever. In the same category, Jeremy has lowered his time all the way down to 0:03:16. Not one to rest on his laurels, he has also produced a deathless run in 0:03:26, which you will notice beats the old deathful run by a couple seconds. And believe me, nobody is more appreciative of the lack of suicide than the ape himself.

One of the questions we get from time to time, depending on how long the asker has been around, is either "What happened to the old 70-star run?" or "Why don't you guys have a 70-star run?" Well, the answer is that the runner requested that we take down his run. The answer to the next question is that we can only speculate. The answer to the question that nobody ever asked is "now." Kind of. Since Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener works with the DS version of Super Mario 64, what you're getting is actually an 80-star run, done in 1:27:36 with twelve segments. The answer to the question that hasn't been asked yet is "the HQ version includes both screens."

On the other hand, the answer to the overarching question at SDA is "because of the efforts of people like Jeremy Doll and Jordan Greener."

Saturday, April 18, 2009 by Enhasa

Fight for Your Right

Here is SDA's first WiiWare exclusive, widely considered one of the best on Nintendo's service. It's LostWinds, a platformer in which the player controls the wind in order to find other winds that are presumably lost. Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe got things started with an informal single-segment 0:33, but Justin 'Ucpro' Salamon soon devised a "lift trick" that could be used for large sequence breaks. Justin uses these to great effect in this 18-segment 0:21 and this single-segment 0:22. That the single-segment run is only a minute slower is rather impressive for a first publication.

Let's get this party started. It's gonna be a Monster Party, so tell all your friends. If you haven't heard of this relatively obscure NES platformer, you owe it to yourself to view this run and witness some of the most bizarre enemies in any game. What kind of twisted individual would attempt to run such a twisted game? Why, none other than Daniel 'Kareshi' Brown, of course! He fights past dogs with human heads, giant posteriors sticking out of the ground, and onion rings to reach a time of 0:16:33. Daniel also made sure to cut off recording the ending precisely at a cliffhanger moment. What an evil genius!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by Enhasa

One Hot Minute

There can be only one Supreme Master. To become the best, one must beat the best. Such is the wisdom that emanates from the new challenger, 'sinister1'. And so Jeremy 'DK28' Doll's 0:13:51 of Double Dragon II: The Revenge falls down and sinister1's 0:12:01 rises up. Sinister1 relates his motivation for this speedrun as such: "if I can play this good drunk imagine what I can do sober!" The Legend of Drunken Master! This monstrous improvement incorporates many new strategies, which you can hear in the audio commentary. Was he drunk while recording the commentary? Inquiring minds want to know!

I don't want you to spend more time reading this than watching the run, so we present a new master of luck manipulation, Robert 'DrRob' D'Ascoli, and his record-setting Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares in a mere 0:00:59. You heard right.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 by Enhasa

A Steven Spielberg production

Sorry to keep you waiting. I wanted to update Friday night, but my Internet connection has been out since early Friday morning. To do this update, I drove to school and incidentally picked up a citation for speeding, just for you. Enjoy.

Today's first new run is for Sonic Heroes, which came after the death of Sega's hardware ventures. Produced by new runner Christopher 'SHADOW JACKY' Chism, this single-segment Team Sonic 1:11:14 is every bit as ALL CAPS and IN YOUR FACE as Chris Chism's nickname. I'm not sure who wrote the blurb for this game page — which was originally twice as long and twice as enthusiastic before editing — but I doubt it was Chris, who says "This game is bad, I mean REALLY bad." Truly, he deserves credit simply for dealing with all the glitches in the game. Just like Mike 'mike89' McKenzie deserves credit just for "being awesome."

Given its popularity, it is a bit surprising that we've never had any Medal of Honor runs on SDA... until now. You can thank another first-time runner, the ever helpful Carsten 'djcj' Janssen. He chose to run the third game in the series, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. As opposed to Sonic Heroes, I do know with 100% certainty who wrote our blurb for this game, heh. All kidding aside, Carsten has both an Easy difficulty run through the game in 1:15:39 using 64 segments and a Training Course run in 0:02:25 using 6. Carsten is German, so if you speak German too, you can read his comments auf Deutsch. Now wouldn't it be great if someone finally made an Axis Assault sort of game?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 by Enhasa

Doujin by gaijin

The audio commentary just keeps on flowing, as today's runs also include commentary tracks.

One of the myths some people have about SDA is that we don't accept runs of "independent" games. Hopefully, this will dispel that notion. Marcus 'Preddy' Göhlert's first run is for a Japanese doujin (or hobbyist) game with an outlandishly German title: Rosenkreuzstilette. If you like Mega Man, you owe it to yourself to check out this run; as you will see, this game takes more than a little inspiration from the popular series. Marcus breaks down the game by stage and uses ten segments for a total time of 0:35:40.81. He is also planning to do a run of the sequel, the even more ridiculously named Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, once it is released later this year.

Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler is back already! Today he brings with him, not one, but two speedruns of the beloved Blaster Master for NES. Death can be used in this game as a shortcut, so Ben figured that instead of deciding one way or another, he would just make both runs. This led to the incredible 0:36:59 with deaths and the 0:42:27 deathless that you see today. The SDA game pages say goodbye to the brother tandem of Megafrost and Gigafrost, as David T. 'Megafrost' Kraft's 0:44:09 is now replaced. Mr. Cutler is utterly devoted to your entertainment, as he has also cooked up a bloopers reel just for you, the viewer. Don't say we don't love you.

Friday, April 3, 2009 by Enhasa

Jurassic Park is frightening in the dark

All the dinosaurs are running wild. And it's up to Grant to tour the island and do various tasks in the name of science. With this premise, new runner Daniel 'moooh' Wikell makes a difficult game look not so difficult. His single-segment Grant run on Hard of the European version of Jurassic Park finishes in just 0:12:04. This goes up next to Adrian 'InsipidMuckyWater' Feiertag's 0:03:33 single-segment Raptor run from 2005. The Grant category was a long time coming, since his scenario is much more painful and involved. Daniel has provided some fun stats at the end of his comments, as well as some audio commentary, that illustrate this fact.

Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk redid his Mega Man X8 100% run, also from 2005, and the time saved was tremendous. You might be astounded to learn that 2:36 in 25 segments has transmogrified into 1:29 in 17. Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, it would be prudent to mention that the 100% planning for this game has changed from some mandatory convoluted mess into the game's own definition of 100%. Runner and watcher alike can rejoice. There were a bunch of other strategy changes too, though, including a Rasetsusen glitch involving the classic Mega Man runner "claw" grip. You can hear all about these and more by listening to the audio commentary.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 by Enhasa

There's an old saying in Tennessee

Kari 'Essentia' Johnson has done what was once considered impossible. Radix used to give Final Fantasy X as an example of a game that was considered "too long" for SDA. We've never actually rejected a run for length, so we don't know the number of hours that would qualify, or even if such a limit would really exist if push came to shove, but we do know that a new bar has been set: 10:25. This New Game Plus in 53 segments, by our resident "Destroyer of Final Fantasies," is SDA's first in the realm of double-digit hours. Mrs. Johnson explains that only two boss fights are substantially different in a New Game Plus run, but as all good speedrunners know, every bit counts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009 by Enhasa

Individuality

Somewhat amazingly, we haven't had a single individual level published all year thus far. Today that all changes in a big way, with individual-levels runs for two new games.

The first of these is Prince of Persia. I know just leaving it at that would be ambiguous, as Ubisoft seems determined on milking this cow dry, so I'll have to add that this is the SNES version. "Sweet! Does this mean that we finally have a run on the original Prince of Persia?" Well, yes and no. The SNES port is indeed based off the original Apple II release, but it's souped up, with twenty stages to go along with updated sound and graphics. This run in a combined time of 0:35:36 is the first publication for Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler, a man who is quickly making a name for himself. Come and relive the classic with us.

Our other new game is the westernized Capcom game Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. You know it's westernized when it features space marines and giant insectoid aliens. Laszlo Seta decided that this would be a good target for his second run on SDA. So he fired up his trusty PC, set the difficulty to Easy, and churned out these eleven missions in a total of 0:41:27. I hope you like ice! Laszlo goes to camp and brings along his faithful grapple hook. Capcom has announced that they are working with Warner Bros. on a film adaptation of Lost Planet, but you can see more action and less talking if you watch this speedrun.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 by Enhasa

It's my duty to please that booty

Both of the runs in this update are from new runners, so congratulations and good work, guys!

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare gets a new run. Last year, Andrew Mills completed an individual-levels run of the Xbox 360 version all by himself, with a final combined time of 1:55:53. As with many FPS games, PC runners want to try speedrunning using fancy keyboard-and-mouse arcane technology that console runners cannot hope to comprehend. Sami 'nego' Reinikainen is one such person, and the product of his precision is this Regular difficulty 1:38:59 in 48 segments. Join one man as he revels in his triumph over the wicked autosave system, fighting the good fight for speedrunners everywhere.

One of the lesser known PC games by the famed Westwood Studios is Nox, a game that enters a tie with Ico and Gun as the shortest game titles on SDA: a meaningless record that will likely stand until one day someone decides to run D. Anders 'Pjoxt' Örndahl plays as the Wizard and thus gets an ending where the evil super-busty sorceress/supervillainess/final boss actually turns out to be an amnesiac but grateful ingenue. That's not bad at all for only 0:43:21 of work and 12 segments. I guess parallel universes also have the concept of continuously reloading. Who knew?

Sunday, March 22, 2009 by Enhasa

"Name something that never changes"

Survey says...

That's right. Today we have the first speedrun for an immensely popular title: The Elder Scrolls V — err, Fallout 3! Those of you who thirst for blood and violence would probably do well to look somewhere else, but if you enjoy quiet walks on the beach and scenic vistas, this may be just the run for you. Isaac 'error1' Wehmanen wanted to watch a Fallout 3 run, so the only viable solution was to create one himself, resulting in this 24-segment 0:30:09. Although this speedrun doesn't have much in the way of combat, it does feature some nifty sequence breaks, as well as useful audio commentary. We'll be looking forward to whatever Isaac decides he absolutely must watch next.

We might as well start calling Giel 'ZaibirQuild' Goertz the Duck King. Last month, he cannonballed onto SDA with a European-version Duck Tales run on Difficult mode in 0:08:44. To contrast, Giel completes Duck Tales 2 in 0:19:16, as it is both longer and less breakable. But don't fret; this run contains your 100% recommended daily allowance of the cane-bouncing action we know you depend on. This time, Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson is safe from Giel's fury, as the old European-version Easy 0:11:40 is still up on the page. Giel has written a lovely narrative of Scrooge McDuck and his adventures, so be sure to read it at your pleasure.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 by dex

Running Late

Phew, we've had quite a stream of updates recently, so this update is: 1) big, 2) late, and 3) the first in the series we'll have soon. You're not here to read my rambling, so let's get to the videos.

There was yet another contest on SDAQuake, this time e3m6 the Long Way. And not just long, but also slow. Or, at the very least, slower than usual. Why is that? Because the Easy Run category had a true plot twist - keyboard only demos, just like people were speedrunning back in the ice age. The contested categories (Nightmare run and the already mentioned Easy Run) were swiped by Jaakko 'NahkahiiR' Alakopsa. Vids: Easy Run in 00:00:52 - MQ, HQ; Nightmare Run in 00:00:48 - MQ, HQ.

In the land of the normal demos, we've had quite a few good ones, so they're coming right up in no particular order:

And finally, the Oldie of the Update. Since there's already a lot of material for you to watch, this one's short but contains a super-sweet trick. The Grizzly Grotto (e1m4) Nightmare Run in 00:00:18 by Jozsef Szalontai (yes, the maker of JoeQuake): MQ, HQ, IQ.

Like I said, more updates coming reasonably soon, since we still have a backlog of 2 updates to capture videos from. If you don't want to wait, check out the Quake part of the site.

Monday, March 16, 2009 by Enhasa

High Speed

Some thought this day would never come, yet others knew and felt a twinge of sadness. Scott 'sdkess' Kessler has a well-earned reputation as one of the best gamers around, but today he is obsoleted off SDA completely — the knockout punch thrown by newcomer Jeff Feasel. Bionic Commando is coming, so get your grapple hooks ready! Scott's run from 2004 finished in 0:18:20, while Jeff's is in just 0:17:37. Neither one used the A+B+Start level exit, so maybe the next run will address this omission. I would like to add that Jeff Feasel owes me a new pair of pants since I soiled mine while watching this run.

Years ago, we used to host Halo speedruns here on SDA. Our table soon became horribly outdated, so we started linking to High Speed Halo for a while before eventually removing the page altogether. Since then, some have professed surprise upon learning we don't have any Halo on SDA. Be surprised no more. The Halo 2 Done Segmented team has joined forces and compiled this Legendary difficulty run in 1:30:29 with audio commentary. We would like to thank Bungie for treating the speedrunning community with a great deal of respect, something that cannot be said for certain other developers. Now, let's see about getting runs for those other games.

Saturday, March 14, 2009 by Enhasa

Super

I'm comin' with the U-Haul.

Be on the lookout for Marko 'Master-88' Vanhanen. His first publication arrives today with a run of Probotector 2, the European version of Super C. His time is 0:16:58, which is six seconds faster than his previous submission that didn't make it to SDA. I'm not entirely sure how this compares with the existing runs: 0:14:06 by Jim 'vgmrsepitome' Hanson and 0:16:32 low% by Ray 'Croc-Doc' Cullen. Suffice it to say, though, all three runs are amazing and well worth your time. Let's hear it for perfect spread rhythm. Everyone loves the spread rhythm.

I hope you like cutscenes! Today's other run is also from a new runner. Say hello to Tyler 'Thiradell' Wishall. His 1:52:35 of Super Mario Sunshine in nine segments replaces Peter 'Dragorn' Branam-Lefkove's 1:59:49 from 2004. Tyler is on his own throne, the boss like King Koopa. In his comments, Peter said "Well, this is the only speed run of this movie available, so it should, hopefully, provide some entertainment until something better comes along." It took over four years, but I guess good things come to those who wait. Like mmm... leftovers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009 by Enhasa

Run of the Year

I know the traffic statistics. I know how these things work. Please don't just ignore these speedruns or any others simply because you've never heard of the games in question. Try watching these videos, or better yet, try playing the games themselves. Mike and I were discussing what we each personally thought was the "run of the year" so far, and we narrowed it down to the two runs in this update. This was before 0:03:12 Diablo, so I might have to rethink this topic, but trust me, these runs are top notch.

Cobra Triangle is similar to last update's Snake Rattle 'n' Roll in that both were products of vintage Rare's unapologetic stance towards spanking little kids. As our blurb for the game will tell you, it can be described somewhat as a cross between R.C. Pro-Am and Gradius. It sounds tough to manage, and it is, but 'ktwo' has succeeded wildly with this 0:12:18 on the European version. ktwo submitted an earlier version but obsoleted it before it was even published. This iteration mainly has better luck on the crab boss. Yes, as gamers we have always had giant enemy crabs.

If you have never played Ristar, play it immediately, then repent and supplicate yourself before Sega Corporation. Your weakness in their time of dire need, overlooking gems such as Ristar in favor of inferior games, has contributed to the current state of sorry affairs. And once you're done with all of this, please watch this fantastic 0:28:47. The man who produced this work of art is one of the most awesome people I know, and his name is Chip 'Breakdown' Vogel. Chip runs superb games such as Faxanadu, looks like a roadie, and is highly adept at swinging: all great news for the ladies in the audience.

Sunday, March 8, 2009 by Enhasa

Rolling along

Marc J. 'Emptyeye' Dziezynski has seen many of his runs fall under assault in recent times, and it's true, Rygar really is the most famous game left. Mr. Dziezynski's 0:30:30 from 2005 has the oldest-produced audio commentary of any run on the site, although it wasn't on SDA itself until much later. Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen is rapidly expanding his roost, and today he comes through with a much speedier 0:25:59, exhibiting faster leveling, a new route, and better execution. Nevertheless, some verifiers thought that perhaps there was a bit too much leveling, so Marc is eyeing this run to see if he can take it back. In the meantime, watch your back, Willow!

We'll be revisiting this topic soon, but it's worth emphasizing for you whippersnappers: back in the day, Rare wasn't focused on making accessible, friendly games. No, their goal was to give you a virtual kick in the gonads with each fiendish creation. Such is the case with Snake Rattle 'n' Roll, an isometric torture machine of doom. Giel 'ZaibirQuild' Goertz, the mastermind behind last month's Duck Tales run, is the man brave enough to engineer this 0:07:12 on the European version. Watch as Mr. Goertz warps from stage to stage, climbs the Stairway to Hell, and sets the table for Snakes in Space, the sequel that never was.

Thursday, March 5, 2009 by Enhasa

Get Hype

It's the 5th of March, which means that Resident Evil 5 was released in Japan today. What better way to celebrate than by looking back with a couple of Resident Evil 4 speedruns?

It seems appropriate, then, to start off with a run on Biohazard 4, the Japanese version of Resident Evil 4. The runner is You-Hei "Cab" Muro, who is Japanese. MT and Catz recently finished translating all of our documents into Japanese; hopefully in the future we will only increase the number of runs we receive from all parts of the world. This run is on The Another Order, also known as Separate Ways, and finishes in 0:27:53 using five segments. You can read the comments translated into English or in the original Japanese if you know how.

The other run is on the normal game, without special weapons. Derek Taylor has run the European version on Normal mode in 1:50:53. This replaces the previous run in 2:06:24 by Tim Bright. Derek's run cuts the number of segments down from 19 to 17 and scores one for the Europeans. Read up for details on new glitches and skips, perhaps after watching the video. I don't really want to be the one to spoil some of these for you. Now, who's ready for some African zombies? Maybe at SDA our goal should be to expand global reach faster than Resident Evil does.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 by Enhasa

Hidden and Dangerous

Not just hidden, not just dangerous, but hidden and dangerous. That's Pete 'Thinkshooter' Howard. Fresh off his Knights of the Old Republic speedrun, Pete next decided to aim for a different type of run with a tactical shooter. The game in question is Illusion Softworks' Hidden & Dangerous 2: a game so hidden and so dangerous that you aren't even allowed to co-op with friends in campaign mode. Fortunately, Mr. Howard has no need for teammates, whether controlled by humans or computer. This fact is made clear with his Lone Wolf time in 1:19:28, done in 72 segments on Hard mode.

Do you know what else is hidden and dangerous? Why, that would be ninjas, of course! And there is no ninja more hidden or dangerous than Ryu Hayabusa. This is his (side) story. For quite a while, Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen has held the record on SDA for Shadow Warriors, the European version of Ninja Gaiden. After growing bored with simply improving his own time, Kristian obtained an NTSC system and set about conquering Josh 'LigerOfFortune' Styger's time of 0:12:53. As you can see with this 0:12:44, he succeeded handily. Don't worry, 6-2 damage boost, you will live on in our hearts and minds.

Sunday, March 1, 2009 by Enhasa

Gruefood

Last update's 0:03:12 Diablo was an especially short speedrun, but this next run has now claimed the record for the fastest full-game completion on all of SDA. It will in fact take you more time to read the hilarious comments than it will to actually watch the video. Let's just say that this North & South run, in stark contrast to his Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts run, is not Daniel 'Kareshi' Brown's magnum opus. It is, however, a perversely entertaining run, similar to the previous shortest SDA run and cult favorite, Dark Castle. This type of speedrun should be cherished, not shunned. To call Daniel's run a-laugh-a-minute would be a gross underselling, since after all, it only lasts for 0:01:01.

Let out a rebel yell and prepare for more hot metal warfare with MechWarrior 3. Janis 'Pendrokar' Lukss was last seen hijacking a mech in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. With this run, he travels back in time to the series' most famous episode, revisiting the terrible AI so you don't have to. What followed was his 20-segment 0:42:53 on High difficulty. Janis's setups demonstrate a mad dedication to speed that may astound you, and they allowed him to produce times much faster than previously thought feasible. Let's wait and see what he has in store for us in the future, whether MechWarrior or something else.

Thursday, February 26, 2009 by Enhasa

El Diablo

We've had the largest influx of runs in SDA history in recent days, so fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

Maciej 'groobo' Maselewski is considered by many to be possibly the most flexible, dedicated, talented gamer at SDA, and his Diablo speedrun in 0:06:07 was likely his most famous achievement. Little did the world know that he was cooking up a new recipe to almost halve the time. Be sure to take out insurance on your face, because your head might explode after watching this new run in 0:03:12. Maciej plays as the sorcerer as he did in 2007, but cuts the segments from 40 down to 27. If you thought this game couldn't be broken any further, get ready for a new set of glitches, including negative health.

This next run has been in the works for quite some time now, and the teeming masses just can't take it any more. It's an obsessive-compulsive run for an obsessive-compulsive game: 100% Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. Alan 'Siyko' Burnett relives his sorceress-playing days and adds this 100% to his any% run from 2005. His final result is 4:22, which means you could watch Maciej's run 81 times in the time it would take you to watch Alan's run, and you would still have some time left over at the end to pass out on the floor. Alan was kind enough to include audio commentary, so put it to good use. Think of it as a spoonful of sugar.

Thursday, February 19, 2009 by Enhasa

I'm coming back again

Today we have two speedruns in additional categories for existing games.

The first of these is for Mega Man Zero. Technically, it's Rockman Zero, as new runner Youri 'Elpis TK31' Landweer has run the Japanese version. Youri isn't Japanese, though. He's Dutch, just like the esteemed McBAIN of bygone days. Mr. Landweer did his single-segment run on Hard, finishing in 0:11:19. This sounds like a tremendous time, and it is, but it isn't comparable to Mike Uyama's time of 0:34:03. Mike got S-ranks on every stage, whereas Youri doesn't even play every stage; instead, he gives up (when applicable) and moves on to the next stage. Youri is also working on an all-missions run, but please don't let that deter you from watching this one.

Then we have the curious case of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, a game that could have stood to use a little more Voodoo instead of those other songs. Mathias 'Butt3rs' Hoiss provides us with this speedrun, which took longer to go through the system than would normally seem possible. There were many long delays such as the verifiers taking a long time to respond, Mathias himself taking a long time to respond, and so forth. Anyway, this is a single-segment 2:55:45 on Easy, and it goes up alongside Derek 'SnapDragon' Kisman's 100% single-segment on Hard in 3:19 from 2005. Hey, it's an odd-numbered year, so maybe someone else is making a run at this very moment.

Friday, February 13, 2009 by Enhasa

EarthBound Avatar

Gather 'round and I will tell you young'uns a tale about Uncle Radix. Once upon a time, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and a man named Nolan 'Radix' Pflug roamed the forum, all animated avatars cowered in fear. They were peaceful creatures and wanted nothing more than to loop endlessly all day. Unfortunately, the mere sight of them sickened Radix, and as a skilled hunter bred on Quake, he shot them all down like varmints. This persecution continued until one day, a now-forgotten forum member known only as HeroPenguin arrived with his pet, an animated EarthBound avatar. They say that Radix's heart grew three sizes that day. The avatar was just so adorable that he immediately rescinded his existing policy, and these days as we all know, animated avatars can be found mingling freely with their static brethren.

It's not often that you can get an EarthBound fan to admit that the game has a "curiously devoted" cult following. It's precisely because of this status that the following run has had such a long-awaited but difficult path. Back in 2006, Evil_Ninja submitted a segmented run in 5:48. With Mike taking over the judge duties, it became one of SDA's first prominent rejections. At first, millions wailed and gnashed their teeth, but once the run was made public, consensus abruptly shifted to "yeah, actually that run really could be a lot better." Some tried to construct a revision, but in the end the victor was newcomer Greg '_sdfg' Singer and his 42-segment 4:13. As you will soon notice, Greg didn't skimp on either text or audio commentary. Turn this one up to eleven.

It seems that the runs in this update have rather long histories. The EarthBound run rose like the firebird, while this one had an extended stint in speedrun purgatory. A mere two weeks after the release of Avatar: The Last Airbender in 2006, Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe submitted a speedrun. This caused a small controversy as it was seen as possibly a bit of a rush job, so Mike delayed it for a short while. The next hurdle was that most people at SDA had not played the game, so it became one of the oldest and longest-standing runs needing verification. After all of that, this 6-segment 1:05:09 stood the test of time and probably set some unfortunate record for longest time from creation to publication. Given the West-imitates-East nature of Avatar itself, it's only fitting that Nicholas decided to compose his comments in haiku form.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 by Enhasa

I got 99 problems

But SDA ain't one.

Giel 'ZaibirQuild' Goertz has accomplished a feat that nobody has ever managed before and possibly nobody will ever manage again. What exactly did he do? Thanks for asking. With his 0:08:44 of Duck Tales, Mr. Goertz has obsoleted not one, not two, but three separate runs, all by the legendary Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson. It's safe to say that this European version run on Difficult is top-notch. The biggest change is the exploitation of a crazy moon stage glitch, which will surely befuddle you if you've never seen it before. Remember, if you just can't get enough cane-bouncing love, stay tuned to SDA for the action-packed sequel!

Here's another gigantic improvement for you. It's from that cool and helpful dude, Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal. Last year, he helped Mirko Brown a lot with his Age of Empires III speedrun in 2:09:39. A year later, Bart takes on that Easy mode run, with the same 24 segments, and beats the game in 1:31:52. No one was as surprised at the amount of time saved as Bart himself. Apart from a higher level of optimization, he came up with some new strategies and tricks such as skipping victory speeches. If only someone could figure out how to do this in real life...

Friday, February 6, 2009 by dex

And the winner is...

A really small update today, so small that there's no Oldie of the Update, in fact. There's been a contest on SDAQuake recently, and I took the liberty of capping the winning demos, since they are a delightful watch.

The contest, fittingly named 'Oh God my head', took place on a map called ynogA eruzA - a cunning name for what is Azure Agony (e4m7) turned upside down. All four single-player categories, here they come:

Like I said, short, but sweet. A bigger release is coming up in the near future, we just need to finish up some work on it, which could take a short while. I assure it is worth the wait, though, so stay tuned.

Monday, February 2, 2009 by Enhasa

Same as the old boss

I normally wouldn't bring this up, but I'm a fan of historical humor. If you are too, look back at the update from October 9, 2007, then look at the game pages for the three new runs today and the two runs from last update. No prize if you can spot the correlation in all five.

The first of today's new games is Double Dragon II: The Revenge. For the longest time, many NES enthusiasts held that the most glaring omission from SDA's coverage of NES games was any installment from the Double Dragon beat 'em up series. This deficiency has been corrected by the hard-at-work Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. He didn't let a rejection of his almost eighteen-minute run faze him, and so his vicious improvement arrives today. Having shed almost four minutes, this Supreme Master run goes up as 0:13:51. Come watch the man known as the Supreme Master of the Flying Knee.

Our next new game is from a new runner, who makes an extremely impressive entrance with his speedrun today. Although we haven't had any Fire Emblem runs posted since — you guessed it — October 2007, with the release of this Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn run we yet again have more Fire Emblem games on SDA than released in North America. Thank Eric 'Vykan12' Grosse and his 3:13:38 run on Normal for that. Eric splits the run into 91 segments, and once you have a taste, you will know where they all went. Fess up: you love dissertation-length comments, so start reading!

And then we have Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues. Once upon a time, someone inexplicably made a genuinely good Jurassic Park game, and this run 'n gun just happens to be it. Amusingly, TCC has nothing to do with either The Lost World or Jurassic Park; on the contrary, it was developed by Ocean as a sequel to their first Jurassic Park game, which sucked raptor eggs. Our new contributer today is Vincent 'Captain' Russo, who completes this mission in 0:41:12. Watch out, ladies! This military man comes equipped with a tranquilizer gun, a sense of humor, and a very large PDA, and he's not afraid to use them.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 by Enhasa

A History of Red

Pokémon Red was one of the original pair of games that started it all, and it was also the only one not to have a color identity crisis. Ben 'Cygnus' Goldberg has been hard at work in the lab for years, and now he has concocted the final mixture, a speedrun in under two hours. The exact time is 1:59 in 34 segments, so he just barely got it in there. This is ten minutes faster than Ben's former run from 2007, which was done in 41 segments. This time, instead of Charmander as his starter, he chose Squirtle. Quite frankly, I think this joke sells itself.

The second game in this update is a remake of the first one. That would be Pokémon FireRed, not some newfangled Pokémon Red HD Remix. As before, the runner is Darren 'Ultimate Darius' Cornell, but this time he tackles a different category: Elite Four Round 2. The run is single-segment and clocks in at 5:16. Compared to the normal run, this one utilizes the same basic concepts but with different catches. Mr. Cornell had completed earlier a run in 5:46 that he attempted to submit, but unfortunately his DVD recorder had mangled the disc. Given the end result, maybe that was a blessing in disguise.

Monday, January 26, 2009 by Enhasa

Fly the friendly skies

When Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's Ace Combat 04 speedrun went up on SDA, I said to watch out for an upcoming Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War run. If you followed this directive, your patience is now rewarded. Nicholas made his run single-segment on Very Easy, just like the Ace Combat 04 run, and completes the game in 1:20:38. There is no previous run to compare this with, but since the Ace Combat 04 run was in 2:29:30, I suppose you can compare the two games. This one has less cruft and also apparently mission 15 is to kill Hitler. With this speedrun, Mr. Hoppe asserts his stranglehold on the beginning of the alphabetized game list. Go watch ActRaiser!

Saturday, January 24, 2009 by Enhasa

The Big N

Due to the site's origins, in the early days of modern SDA there was an incredible bias towards making GameCube and especially Nintendo 64 runs. It's time to relive those bygone days as both of the runs in this update are for N64.

Today's first speedrun has had a long and tortuous path. Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe has wanted to get a Henry run of Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, the official Castlevania 64 mulligan, onto SDA for years now. Back then, main game runs had to be completed before any special mode runs could be tackled. Once that restriction was removed, Nicholas's next problem was that Persona — a man famous for combo videos and a personal friend of mine — stood in the way with his faster run from May 2004. But Nicholas persevered and now he is triumphant with this well-executed single-segment 0:17:37.

It does seem a bit strange that after all this time, the only Goemon game we have on SDA is Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon. But since we're getting a new run today, we'll take it. Kyle 'NoiseCrash' Duffy, the artist formerly known as batman9502, has returned with a big improvement to a run from 2004. If the already overwhelming zaniness of Goemon, Impact, and friends wasn't enough for you, maybe Kyle's audio commentary will work nicely. This is a 100% run in 13 segments, and it finishes in 2:47:01. To compare, Wouter Jansen's run was in 9 segments and took 3:46 — perhaps that old run could be rechristened Wouter Goes Fortune Dolls.

Thursday, January 22, 2009 by Enhasa

The Forever Woman

Today's first new game was once strongly tied to Tomb Raider, although I hardly remember being able to ride a dragon in that series. In any case, now we have a speedrun of Drakan: Order of the Flame. Playing on Medium, David 'atomicJo' Joassard gets through the game in 0:57:07. Let's all give this new runner a welcome hand. The download is as one file, but David used 21 segments for his run. Some of these segments were caused by the game's propensity to crash at specific places. This also dictated launching in developer mode, which automatically set the difficulty as well. Truly, his hands were tied.

The other new game is our first in the interesting series, Mega Man Battle Network. Naturally, by the time we got to it, Capcom had already milked this new franchise dry. Still, this run of Mega Man Battle Network 3 is minty-fresh. Daniel 'Cromarty' Enright brings the menthol with his 3:34 on the Blue version, recorded as 93 segments fused into 8 files. This version features a robot master named Bowl Man, which would be more than enough reason to choose it. Also I promise I am not making this up and that there really is a Bowl Man in this game. I dare you to watch this run if you don't believe me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 by Enhasa

Nation of Millions

Although Sid Meier got the lion's share of fame, Brian Reynolds was the lead designer behind some of Meier's most famous games, such as Civilization II, Colonization, and Alpha Centauri. He took this strategy game expertise and formed a company whose first product was Rise of Nations, a real-time strategy game with heavy turn-based strategy influences. One strategy for speedrunning this, which hasn't worked quite as well throughout the history of the real world, is to rely on French military successes. But that is just what Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols has done with his single-segment run on Easiest in 0:41:40. Get your Likely Asked Questions ready, because Alex has already thought to answer them! Also get your headphones ready, well, if you like audio commentary.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 by Enhasa

Intermezzo

Sorry for the delay! I think we were all still recovering from the SDA get-together. In other news, we've had some people express their desire for even more torrents. So from now on, I'll try to include at least one torrent for each newly posted speedrun. This means that I will stop specifying which runs have torrents, because obviously they all will.

Today we're returning with a smash. That's Super Smash Bros., the first in the series, for N64. Our inaugural run for this game is a 0:03:28 on Very Easy, achieved by the fast-rising Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. Given his nickname, it should probably come as no surprise that Jeremy used Donkey Kong. As DK is no slouch in the first Smash game, Jeremy makes a good comparison between Donkey Kong here and Zangief in the original Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. Who knows? Maybe in the next Smash installment, DK will be reborn as a top-tier character like Zangief in Street Fighter IV.

This update also marks the return of Eli 'Smilge' Chase. His latest run crowns him as a true Baldur's Gate dominator. The game this time is Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, the expansion to Shadows of Amn. Eli's time is an incredible 0:36:52, done in 15 segments. For reference, Dominic 'DAMURDOC' Legault's prior run was done in 1:09:32 with 5 segments. Mr. Chase starts off as an elf sorcerer — you actually need to fight more than a couple people in this game — and ends up as the new Lord of Murder. Given the ruthless efficiency of this run, this title seems only fitting.

Sunday, January 4, 2009 by dex

Get Me Videos, Stat

This update runs a little late, and I'm sure you're craving some speedrunning videos, so I'll get to them right away. A coop on an id map, a madcoop (to give you a feel of how that works), and an optimal demo.

Custom maps:

Oldie of the Update! We're going for something different today: I present to you, an Easy 100% project through all of Quake in 0:33:33 - 'Quake done 100% Quick Lite 2' (something akin to a segmented run), featuring too many people to mention, and you can find it on archive.org. To give you a foretaste of one of the finest Quake Done Quick endeavours, I've capped the e4m8 demo by (Déja vu?) Peter Horvath. There are a lot of demos of similar quality in the project, but that one has a lot of great grenade boosts, so check it out: MQ, HQ, IQ.

Drop by the Quake part of the site for 11 demos in the latest update. And stay tuned, something cool will be coming out in the near feature...

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