Saturday, December 18, 2010 by Flip

Wow, is it Friday already?

Let's start things off today with one of the more popular XBLA games to date. When Shadow Complex was released in 2009, it had the most successful week of any XBLA title ever to that point. Today Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener has brought this game to its knees. Using all the advanced weaponry and technology that this game has to offer, Jordan blazed through this game in a very impressive 0:14:14.

Next we have the return of everybody's favorite archaeologist/adventurer. Well, possibly second favorite if you want to put Indiana Jones into that category. Regardless, we've got Lara Croft in Tomb Raider III. Today we have the efforts of Ryan 'RadxxRyan' Lawless. Instead of working with the existing segmented category, Ryan has blazed a new trail and given us our first run for this game with glitches. Ryan sprints through this game in 1:27:10, using 31 segments appended to 19 files.

Next up we've got a run of a PS3 exclusive title known for its difficulty- Demon's Souls. From the looks of this video, however, it seems that somebody forgot to tell that to Fred 'Thanatos' Vasquez. Fred collects souls, defeats demons and generally tears through this game in 1:04. Oh yeah, did I mention it's all done in a single segment? Not so tough now, are you?

This next run goes completely outside my realm of comprehension. When I played Trauma Center: New Blood, I was happy to receive an XS ranking on a few of the levels. Our next runner, 'szsk' would surely scoff at my efforts. He not only rips through this game and the extra missions in 2:47:09, but he also earned an XS rank on every level. Again, this incredible feat is made even more amazing by the fact that he did it in a single segment!

Rolling right along, we have a new run to add to the Donkey Kong 64 page, which hasn't been touched in quite some time. Many of you who read the forums will know that in the last year this game has received "the OoT treatment" and has been thoroughly broken and defeated. Today Lloyd 'Manocheese' Palmer gives us his effort in a new category- New Game + with major skips and deaths. Lloyd traverses from Donkey Kong's start to K. Rool's finish in 0:54. This sub-hour run stands beside the 4:26 any% and 9:02 100% runs from 2006. Feel free to watch them side by side and see just how much this game has been picked apart.

We're not done with the Kongs yet, though. We've got new runs to add to the Donkey Kong Country 3 page as well. Austin 'Davis' Hallman has given the page a complete facelift, providing us with three new runs. First he's beaten his own time in the Hard single segment category, bringing the time down from 0:51 to 0:45. He's also brought down his Hard 100% time, from 1:36 to 1:29, using 52 segments. Finally, he's bested the previous Riverside Race time from Brad 'Cyberwrath' Cutler. Austin has brought the time down from 0:00:54.70 to 0:00:52.40.

Keep in mind that our charity marathon, Awesome Games Done Quick, is just 18 days away! We hope you all will join us back on this page then to support the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Be sure to drop by the marathon web page as well!

Monday, December 13, 2010 by Breakdown

No, we're not running 26.2 miles. . .

I find myself writing a paragraph for these updates fairly often recently saying I'm going to keep them short, but in the end they wind up being a similar length to those I've posted in the past. Today I'm going to yet again make this assertion, but this time I will make good on it out of necessity. I have much to do, and less time to do it.

What's got me so busy you ask? I'm sure most of you remember a little charity marathon we threw last year called Classic Games Done Quick. Well, we're doing another one, and all involved are working hard to make sure this one will be bigger and better than the last. We've entitled this year's event Awesome Games Done Quick, and as the name suggests we'll be playing loads of great titles from the 8-bit era all the way up to the current console generation. We've got about one hundred games in our line up this year, and we'll be playing through them non stop for a little over four days straight. All the while we'll be taking donations for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and we have a wide array prizes we'll be giving out to donors over the course of the event. Click the link above for more details and a full schedule, but the most important thing to know is this: on Thursday, January 6th at 4 PM EST we'll be kicking this thing off and the streams will be right here on the SDA front page. Be sure to check it out, at the risk of sounding redundant, it's going to be awesome!

But in the meantime, I'm sure you'd all like some new runs. We've got those. We've got a bunch of them in fact.

It seems fitting to follow up the marathon announcement with a game that was heavily requested during last year's event (and will be featured this year by popular demand). None of us would have guessed it last year, but there is a very solid and vocal fan base for Rocket Knight Adventures, and today that fan base will be receiving a gift from Christopher 'SHADOW JACKY' Chism. Christopher charges to the end of this underappreciated gem of a game in a very impressive 0:28:44 on the game's Easy difficulty setting. Also included is an audio commentary to help clear up the finer points.

Next up we have a run that's not only the first for its game, but the first for its console as well. The TurboGrafx-16, the also ran of the 16-bit console race, has received no attention from SDA members to this point, but that all changes today thanks to Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. The game in question is the TG-16 exclusive The Legendary Axe, and Jeremy hacks and slashes his way through it in a very quick 0:17:55. And seeing as how this is a DK28 run, the fact that there's an audio commentary to go along with this one should be a given.

Keeping with the trend of games getting their inaugural run is the work of Tiago Teixeira. For his first full game SDA run he chose to do the Neo Geo pack in title, Magician Lord. For those familiar with the title the idea of getting through the game quickly and deathless might seem a bit unbelievable, but the proof is now available for download with this 0:15:59 run on the PAL version.

And we've got one last new game hitting the game page today in the N64's Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. Runner Alec 'aleckermit' Aster stepped away from his work on the 3-D Zelda games to try and bring some glitchy goodness to another franchise. Now, this game has yet to broken quite as wide open as Ocarina of Time, but there's bound to be a few head scratching moments for fans of the title in the 10 segments of this 0:51:59 run on Easy difficulty.

While it isn't a new game for out list, I can think of few ways finer to wrap up an update than with a Sattik 'Tiki' Ghosh run of a Mega Man game. Today Tiki adds one more game from the franchise to his resume with the SNES's Mega Man X3. Taking on the any% single segment category, Tiki chops over 2 minutes off of the previous run, finishing with a time of 0:42:23. Also included is an audio commentary, and while it does focus on the run at times, you can be sure to also learn what the different Mavericks are more like than what their names suggest.

Looking this over it seems I failed at brevity yet again. Oh well, maybe next time.

Friday, December 3, 2010 by dex

Not on schedule

Seeing as I've already given you much too long to wait for this update, let me just say, in order: sorry, 6 runs to make up for it just a little bit, let's get started.

And what better way to start than with a run of the sequel-slash-reboot-slash-spiritual successor to Wolfenstein 3D, namely Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Dmitry 'KhanFusion' K. takes a lot of advantage of a feature not present in earlier games from the series - aiming vertically - to frag a lot of unsuspecting Nazis using a variety of weapons I would call not entirely historically accurate. He does not faff around on some puny, easy difficulties, and goes straight for I Am Death Incarnate (I hope I don't need to mention this is the hard difficulty) - a fitting description for someone so efficient at firing lead and other materials at enemies. Go grab the 26 segments of the resulting 0:36:58. Be prepared to see another newly added 'feature' - strafejumping - applied in liberal amounts.

For the next game, some of you might possibly remember seeing a little freeware game called Spelunky on this very page in the past. Obviously, since this is a new game, it can't have been here before. And did I mention I never mistakenly posted a run I shouldn't have posted? *ahem* Anyway, Mark 'ExplodingCabbage' Amery decided to run through this wonderful little game, and in fact liked it so much he re-ran it after another runner shaved two seconds off his time. The result of this competition is the single-segment run as the Spelunker in 0:02:53, a time which surely will be appreciated by anyone who remembers that Spelunky has levels randomly generated, no saves, and is peppered with overall brutality towards the player. And if you don't remember, you can download the game and see it for yourself!

Speaking of brutal freeware games, next up we have a run of Nikujin, a game which does NOT give you any room for error. The very fact of beating it relatively quickly and without deaths is in a huge feat in this game - and according to our runner, Taneli 'Daiz' Vatanen, he was the first one to do so back in the day. But that was not challenging enough for him, so after finding some new speedrunning techniques, he managed to get a single-segment time of 0:03:38. I've played this game a bunch of time ago, and I'm telling you, that is one impressive time.

Still more from Land of the FreeWare, and still leaning towards the no lee-way, brutal side of the platforming genre, we have a run of Jumper: Redux. Charles 'Arcanod' Nannan squeezes extraordinarily much from the one ability Ogmo possesses in this game and jumps his way through the entire game in 0:11:08, single-segment style. This being freeware, if you want to gain extra respect towards this run, I recommend you play the game to see how difficult it can be at normal pace.

As evident by the high participation of our forum members in the last Shooting Game Tournament, there are probably a lot of you out there who have heard of the Touhou series of shoot 'em ups. Yes, the next game is a Touhou game. Kinda. It's actually Koumajou Densetsu, a Castlevania-ish game featuring Touhou characters. You didn't think this was going to be a shmup speedrun, did you? Daniel 'Axel Ryman' Fitzgerald navigates all the stages single-segment style in 0:15:55. He included a bunch of background info on the game in his comments, so no use repeating that here. Go watch the run, it's definitely worth seeing.

Still staying within the platformer genre (but with a twist - this one is a puzzle game!), our final run today is a Trine run. Eirik 'clux' Albrigtsen filled up the New Game Plus easy difficulty IL table, and guides the logical extreme of the classic Wizard + Rogue + Fighter RPG trio on the quest for artifacts. The total time of all the runs in the table is 0:23:31. As with any puzzle game, the solutions get much more awesome when you have speed of execution in mind, so go check it out. Oh, and there are bloopers for this one!

One more thing to note in this update, all fighting game fans will no doubt be interested in the Northeast Championships XI (NEC), a fighting game tournament that will be happening tomorrow and on Sunday. Tune in to http://www.justin.tv/teamsp00ky for coverage. Check out when they will be streaming here.

Once more, sorry for the huge inconvenience.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 by Flip

Dinner and some movies

Getting things started today are a few very fast Castlevania runs by "Aftermath." First, we have an addition to the Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow page, as Aftermath has provided us with a very speedy, menu-laden effort on the Boss Rush mode. Aftermath cruises past all of the game's bosses as Soma in 0:01:17.95. But wait, that's not it for the Dawn of Sorrow page; we've got an improvement to Aftermath's 0:04:09 hard new game + time as well! Although the previous run utilized two segments, the new run clocks in at 0:02:32, using a single segment. If you're expecting to watch Soma navigate the castle and collect abilities the old fashioned way, well, maybe you should think again.

Of course, Aftermath didn't stop there. Why break one DS Castlevania title to pieces when you can break two? I can only assume Aftermath has that very same mindset, because now we have his new game + effort of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin to add to the mix. As you may have suspected, Aftermath rips through this game in a way that haunts the developers' worst nightmares. Using two segments, he reduces this game to rubble in 0:01:57. So, in the time it took you to microwave that TV dinner, Aftermath has terrorized two games and done the boss battles, to boot!

What are you going to watch while you eat that TV dinner, you ask? Well, I recommend some of the wacky warfare provided by Worms 3D. Today, Marius "-M2-" Welle (brother of Michael "Tigger77" Welle, for those interested) gives us his Individual Level table of all 35 missions in Worms 3D. Those of you who have played a Worms game will know what to expect. If you haven't, get ready to watch a lot of explosions and drowning worms as you watch Marius's IL's, totaling an aesthetically pleasing 1:01:01.

Of course, if invertebrate warfare doesn't suit you, you could always try the (slightly) less violent option of observing some puzzle battles. What happens when Capcom decides it's time to cash in on the puzzle game craze? Well we get Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Yeah, that's actually the title. Jeremy "DK28" Doll isn't content to just speedrun this game. He has to go above and beyond and run with three different characters. Jeremy throws punches and drops blocks (that's a good thing in this fighting game) with Ryu, Akuma and Dan just to prove that he dominates this game. Be sure to give the included audio commentary on all three videos a listen as you watch Jeremy's 0:04:40 as Ryu, 0:06:10 as Akuma and 0:04:57 as Dan.

I guess I'm just already in the giving mood of Christmas, because I'm going to tack one more set of runs into this update. The game in question is the wildly popular PSP title Half-Minute Hero. Much like Aftermath and Mr. Doll, Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita is not content to display his skills by providing us with just one run. Instead, he went and ran the 3 second, 30 second, and the 300 second versions of this game. Watch as Kevin burns through these game modes in 0:00:13.03, 0:23:46*** and 0:03:28.50, respectively. Also note that the 3 and 300 runs are single segment, while the 30 run is broken into 26 segments. Don't have time to watch it all tonight? Talk to the time goddess and start things over!

*** This time was erroneously listed as 0:01:42 on the front page earlier but has now been fixed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 by Breakdown

Want to learn how to procrastinate like me? I'll tell you how tomorrow

Apologies for the long delay between updates. I have excuses I could make, but I doubt any of you good people are interested in hearing them, especially considering the time you'd spend reading them would only serve to keep you from downloading some fine new speedruns we're about to unveil that much longer. So let's get to them, shall we?

Double Dragon is one of those series that I feel has been surprisingly underrepresented on the site. Back in the day it was popular enough to spawn a pretty atrocious Saturday morning cartoon and an equally, if not more so awful movie, but to this point it's only produced published runs for two of the games in the franchise, and one of those is a Battletoads crossover. However, there's been a push lately to get more representation for this series on the site, and spearheading that charge today is David Heidman Jr. with the inaugural run for Super Double Dragon. David charges his way through the hordes of bad guys the game throws at him in a very impressive 0:42:03. Also included is an audio commentary, just in case you were curious about the finer points of how to kick and punch your way to victory.

Keeping it rolling with another beat em up run is the efforts of Jeff Feasel on a title we've seen from him before: River City Ransom. While this is his first submitted improvement to his original run, this is actually the second time we've seen a faster time out of Mr. Feasel. Back in January during our charity marathon he had the distinction of being one of the few players to beat a posted run with his live attempt. This was largely due to improved strategies, but due to the nature of the event and only having one shot at it, the amount of risks taken weren't as high as they could've been. While he was encouraged to submit the marathon run despite this fact, Jeff decided instead to put some more time into the title. The result of that time is this truly stellar 0:08:00 on Novice difficulty, a run that definitely doesn't pull any punches (or dash kicks as the case may be).

For our next run we depart from the beat em up genre to a game where the main character is built to be beat up. A crash test dummy doesn't seem like a likely video game hero, but that's exactly what you get in Incredible Crash Dummies. Taking control of the game's fragile protagonist is runner Chris 'Pootrain' Ferguson, and while Chris doesn't get him through the game in one piece, he does keep the core intact on his way to a final time of 0:19:23 on the SNES PAL version.

Rounding out the update today we have a couple games getting individual level runs. First up is the N64 racing game Extreme-G. Runner Wouter M. 'WMJ' Jansen has taken an atypical approach to getting this game on the site. Rather than compiling a set of complete race times for each track he's instead decided to focus on individual lap times. Conventional or not, it's a legitimate approach, and the final time for the table of 0:07:47.26 serves to showcase what's possible for the title, and makes for an entertaining watch to boot.

Wrapping things up today we have several improvements to the IL table for the SNES version of Prince of Persia. Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler turned his attentions back to this title and improved three of his existing IL times. The improvements are as follows: Level 2 down from 0:01:28 to 0:01:24, Level 4 down from 0:01:13 to 0:01:08, and Level 17 down from 0:00:59 to 0:00:57. This brings the total time for the table down to 0:35:25, fast enough to beat the game three times over with room to spare.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 by dex

Speed Hounder

One of the most common characteristics of the first-person shooter games made sometime after 2000AD, besides shooting things, is that they often take place during the second World War. Evidently, this dark time of the world's history is ripe for recreation in the video game medium. And these recreations are ripe for some speed-based gameplay, as proven by runs of games like RtCW, or today's first game, Call Of Duty. Fittingly nicknamed James 'Kubelwagon' Gray decided to run the game on the Greenhorn difficulty - the easiest one, though as I'm sure you know, no difficulty is easy if speed is your primary goal. Mister Gray mows down a lot of Nazis (most of them with their own sub-machine gun) across 31 segments, achieving a total time of 1:43:36. Very nice work, soldier.

To say the next game is inspired by Mega Man would be a gross understatement. Rosenkreuzstilette IS Mega Man. Dash? Check. 8 bosses to choose from? Check. Fighting Bospider? Check. Tons of other things? Check. That being said, it's a very competent and playable clone of Mega Man. I also believe Mega Man had a much lower percentage of little girls being the characters of the game. But I digress. Patrik 'Cremator' Salonen decided to run through it single-segment style. He chose to play as Grolla (a character based on Zero), and managed to get a time of 0:32:59.06, which is actually shorter than a segmented run by 'Preddy'; however, since it's made using a different character, the older run stays on the page. If you like Mega Man game runs, you won't be disappointed watching this gem.

Marko 'Master-88' Vanhanen treats us to two runs on the game holding the title of being probably the least crazy of Hideo Kojima's creations, and one that started his most popular series - Metal Gear. The first run is a self-improvement of 49 seconds to the single-segment run with deaths. The 0:27:57 is definitely a well done and well planned run, but Marko ups the ante by also giving us a deathless run - understandably longer, since you can't use the warping ability deaths give you. This one is also single segment and finishes the game in 0:31:55.

Speaking of Metal Gear games (sorta) and Marko Vanhanen, he also submitted a run of the disowned, North American and European sequel to Metal Gear, Snake's Revenge. It might not be a canon game in the series, but that didn't stop Marko from doing his best on this game too. This, too, is a single-segment run, though the length of the game shows in the final time, which is 0:50:00, a really neat time if I've ever seen one. Go watch the lot of these, because (say it with me!) it looks like TAS!

Saturday, October 16, 2010 by Breakdown

Big day for the NES

Yes, this update is uncharacteristically close to the last one, but we're coming up on a big day for one of the most significant consoles ever produced, and I feel this event deserves some recognition here. October 18th marks the 25th anniversary of the NES's release, and this momentous day just so happens to coincide with SDA getting its 100th NES run. Power Blade in my last update was #99, and we currently have three new ones ready to go, all of which I feel are good candidates for the title of #100. So which one gets the distinction? Personally, I see it as a tie, though if you the viewer want to assign the honor to one game in particular more power to you. So let's see what we've got, shall we?

We're starting things off today with what is considered in some circles as the best RPG to ever grace an 8-bit console. Dragon Warrior 4 makes its first appearance on SDA thanks to the efforts of runner John 'chessjerk' Kearsley IV. Making use of 46 segments, John charges through the game's five chapters in a time of 6:18. This marks the second of the four NES installments of the series to have a place on the SDA game list, and if recent forum activity is any indication, we may be well on our way to seeing runs of the remaining two games. The future seems bright indeed for Dragon Warrior fans.

Now for those of you who felt a little let down by the previous paragraph after the "best RPG to ever grace an 8-bit console" lead in, there's a good chance today's next entry will put that disappointment to rest. Another massively popular NES RPG, the original Final Fantasy makes its first appearance on SDA today. Now those familiar with the game would likely expect this run to feature heavy segmentation, and this is no doubt the approach most would bring to this title, but not runner Benoit Alain. After months of attempts and tweaking his strategies, Benoit was able to get through the game in a single segment with a final time of 3:50.

Now for those of you who don't much care for RPG runs, don't worry, we have something for you too. Two player runs, while generally popular and often requested, are a bit of a rarity on this site, and this is very understandable. A lot of time and effort goes into the typical speedrun, and when you have to add to that the time to get adequate practice, planning, and recording time available around the schedules of two people instead of one it's no wonder most two player projects never see completion. But it's this fact that makes today's run of the classic Bubble Bobble all the more special. The two man team of brothers Andy 'AND4H' and Brandon 'TheFirstKnight' Shute charge through the game making use of warps and sucking up a few deaths on their way to a final "bad" ending time of 0:30:52.

Now I'm sure at least some of you are wondering why I've jumped the gun on the anniversary by two days. The answer is simple, if I had waited I'd be too late to tell you about an event being done in honor of the NES's 25th birthday (and I'm cutting it very close as it is). I'm sure many gaming sites have articles, videos, and top some number lists planned, but one game reviewer has taken a truly monumental task upon himself to mark the occasion. Pat the NES Punk is setting out to play every single NES game ever released, over 750 titles, in a row and all the while taking donations to benefit Child's Play. The event is slated to run about 25 hours, and given that timeframe obviously the focus of each game will be demonstration rather than completion, but this is still a huge undertaking for one gamer, and an excellent chance for you to truly see all of what the NES has to offer. The marathon will begin at 3 PM eastern time and can be viewed on Pat's home site thepunkeffect.com as well as sponsor sites ScrewAttack, Nintendo Age, and RetrowareTV. So swing by your viewing site of choice and watch Pat play 1942, Zombie Nation, and everything in between, and maybe donate a little money to a good cause while you're at it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010 by Flip

Getting back to our roots

Most of you know that Radix's 100% speedrun of Metroid Prime in 1:37 was the run that got console speedrunning started here at SDA. Today, we're getting back to our Metroid roots.

First up is another run of the game that started it all. I'm sure many have wondered if Besmir "Zoid" Sheqi's NTSC any% run of Metroid Prime would ever be bested. When Besmir's run was submitted, out of bounds glitches were not permitted per SDA rules. Now, however, that ban has been lifted and runners are free to use out of bounds glitches and secret worlds to achieve the fastest time. With use of secret worlds, a new route, and better overall execution, Paul "Bartendorsparky" Evans brings us his 1:01 any% effort, in 15 segments.

Moving along, we have the next game in the Metroid Prime series, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Again, the rule change allowing out of bounds glitches has brought us another new run. Former updater Alastair "DJGrenola" Campbell's segmented any% time of 1:38 has been improved by Charles Griffin. After merely 6 months of work, Charles was able to bring the time for this category down to 1:27 in a single segment.

Our next run is both similar and different than the previous two. The game in question is Metroid Fusion. Yes, it's another Metroid game, but this time around there are no out of bounds tricks (or really, hardly any sequence breaks at all). That's right, Kirk "BioSpark" LaBuda has to rely on pure skill and speed to finish this game with as few upgrades as possible. Kirk's 1% single segment 0:49 clocks in a whopping 17 minutes faster than the previous submission by Damien "Dragondarch" Moody.

That's it for Metroid runs for now. Actually, that's it for newer console games, as there are no more ready for update. Now let's get back to our roots with some older games!

Starting things off in my venture into the land of older consoles is an update for the Zelda: Link's Awakening page, which hasn't been touched in quite some time. Michael "Tigger77" Welle has supplied us with a new entry to the page, in the form of his 1:17:39 on the DX version, using 41 segments. Plenty of clever tricks and savewarps can be found in this run. Michael says that he'll have a single segment run finished before the next SDA marathon, so we all have that to look forward to!

Wrapping things up today are a couple of individual level improvements from a man who is no stranger to my updates. Nicholas "Sir VG" Hoppe has improved his times for Stage 1 and Stage 4 of Castlevania: Chronicles. Tighter execution on both stages allowed Nicholas to bring his times down to 0:02:16.0 for Stage 1 and 0:02:38.9 for Stage 4, bringing the total time of the table down to 0:24:12.2.

Sunday, October 10, 2010 by Breakdown

90's Nintendo

It's been a while since there's been any activity on the Bomberman Hero game page. It was way back in 2005 that David 'marshmallow' Gibbons completed his 1:07:00 run for the game, and that mark has stood unchallenged for the last five years. Today, however, we reveal a massive improvement to this run coming to you courtesy of runner Kevin 'neskamikaze' LaLonde. Upping the segment count from the previous run's five to twenty-two allowed for riskier strategies and a higher level of optimization, resulting in a final time of 0:49:29.

It is the general consensus among both attendees and viewers of our last charity marathon that runner Timothy 'tjp7154' Peters's run of the original Donkey Kong Country was one of the highlights of the event. During this run he alluded to the fact that some of the tricks and strategies on display were newly formulated since the publication of his 0:32 any% run currently on the site. Well, now some of these strategies can be seen in an official SDA run. Rather than improving his old run, Timothy has instead opted to crack into a whole new category by using a previously disallowed warp glitch to cut out a chunk of the early game. While there's less of the game to see get wrecked, you can be assured by the final time of 0:23 that what's left is truly a sight to behold.

Next up we have an inaugural run for one of the more obscure titles in the NES library. Power Blade isn't a game you'll see gracing too many "best games on the console" lists, but it's a solid platformer that, like so many others, doesn't get paid much attention by the gaming community at large. Runner 'ktwo', however, has obviously given this game much of his attention as evidenced by the run we're posting today. Played on the PAL version and on expert difficulty, ktwo cruises through this boomerang-chucking adventure in a very quick 0:23:36.

While our next run keeps with the trend of platforming games run on their European versions, this one definitely breaks away from the obscure and underappreciated category. In fact, it's arguably the most popular platformer on its console. The PAL version of Super Mario 64 gets a new run today in the 16 star category. Chopping just shy of two minutes off the incumbent time, runner Philip Jensen make Mario run, jump, and slide backwards at a rate that seems quite unnatural for a plumber on his way to a final time of 0:21:26. This is a solid run, and really serves to bring the PAL category up to par with the current NTSC time. Check it out, it makes for a good watch.

Now I know I've thrown the phrase "highly anticipated" around before in regards to a number of runs, but in the case of today's last run I'm not sure if it's ever been more warranted in my time as an updater. One of the most popular games for speedrunning, and really one of the most popular games period gets an updated run today. I'm talking, of course, about You Have To Burn The Rope. Oh wait, that was last update. Guess my work here is done. Well, I guess after all that build up I can't leave you guys empty handed, so here's a run for some game called The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I know it's hardly a substitute, but it'll have to do. Runner Joseph 'Pokey' Looney shows just how amazingly broken this game has become over the last 12 years, finishing the title that was not too long ago thought amazing to be completed in under five hours in a fraction of that time, clocking in at 1:16:59 in a single segment. For those of you not familiar with all the tricks and glitches contained in the run (and there are a lot of them) be sure to check out the audio commentary, it's sure to shed some light on things.

One last thing of note for you good people today. Next week the guys over at Bonus Stage Marathons are going to be holding their Halloween marathon. For the occasion, they'll be running through as many games from the Resident Evil series as they can within their timeframe and all the while collecting donations for Pet Rescue of Maryland. The event will run from October 14th through the 17th, so go watch them slay a bunch of zombies and whatnot and maybe help out a good cause while you're there.

Monday, October 4, 2010 by dex

Short but sweet

Looking at my own part of the SDA queue, I am afraid I only have rather short runs feasible for update today. Nevertheless, let's try to make the best of it - as it happens, with the 3 new games in this update, we have arrived at another SDA milestone, 600 games with official SDA records! What could be the 600th game? Let's find out!

To start things off, a new run of the classic Black Isle RPG Fallout by a fellow Polish speedrunner, Jakub 'Fex' Surma. Clearly not content with the fact this epic, vast game took a whole 9 minutes to be beaten by the single segment runner, he decided to get the time down further by segmenting and using a couple clever timesavers. This 0:06:54 in 5 segments is sure to impress any Fallout player.

On a different front, we have a run of the wonderful puzzle game, Tag: The Power of Paint. Compared to Portal by some (Valve Corporation reportedly hired the developers to work on Portal 2!), it certainly seems to fit Tristan 'Serial Gamer' Languebien's tastes. For that reason, he decided to do the possiblities the main gameplay mechanic gives to the player in order to blast through it as fast as he possibly can - the result is this 0:05:32. Single-segment, for extra measure, and definitely worth a watch.

Not leaving the freeware land yet. Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal - who you probably already know from his many appearances on this very news page - has made a quick run of the freeware game Penumbra Tech Demo. As boring as the title might sound, the game is actually a pretty competent horror... not that you will see much of it in TheVoid's run, as he uses a gamebreaking trick and then some to finish the game in just 0:00:24. Oh, it's single segment, if you were wondering (you probably weren't).

And now, the 600th game I promised under the headline. It's another really short run by TheVoid, and it's... You Have To Burn The Rope. So much has been said about this run already, even before it ended up on this page, that I feel I can only say this: single-segment, 0:00:33.

Finally, some improvements to Starcraft tables. The original Starcraft table gets an improvement of 1 minute and 35 seconds to the Terran 10 mission (0:06:16), done by Blake 'Spider-Waffle' Piepho. Besides that, Bryan Wilson decided to improve Zerg 10 by 2 whole minutes (0:07:09) and Protoss 07 by 8 seconds (0:01:03). The Starcraft: Brood War table gets almost six minutes of improvement in the form of a better Zerg 10 mission run by 'Hades', in 0:18:28. Very nice indeed.

See you all next time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010 by Flip

You guys are just too good!

I know most of you have seen it, there are currently 48 runs ready for update. So in order to help clear things out, I've taken the initiative to post all 48 runs in one MEGA UPDATE. Just kidding, but really, here's five runs to whet your appetite for excellence.

Let's get things started with a run of an XBLA indie game! That's right, Tom 'slowbro' Batchelor's run of the game World Molder has finally made it to the front page. Using tricks such as the ability to jump up walls and "teleport," Tom gives us individual level runs of all 6 levels and the training course in 0:05:20.

Another run (or set of runs) that has waited far too long to get here are Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's efforts on the IL table for the Dawn of Mana arena bouts. After sitting in Verification Purgatory for over a year, this set of runs has finally made it! Nicholas slashes his way through all 32 arena bouts in 1:23:30. Also, I don't know if anybody else keeps track of this stuff, but I noticed that Sir VG has been in three out of my five total updates since coming on staff. As somebody who has only completed three speedruns ever, I must tip my hat to this fellow!

Another recurring theme in my updates seems to be the replacement of some of the older runs on the site. Today, we visit the Luigi's Mansion page, as 'Survive' has delivered a healthy stomping to David 'marshmallow' Gibbons's 2005 time of 1:33:53 segmented. Survive's run is both single segment and 20 minutes faster, clocking in at 1:13:41.

Moving right along, we arrive at the game page for The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Mike 'TSA' Damiani anticipated that his 2:45:00 from 2005 would be obsoleted in a matter of months. I guess not. Today, however (only 66 months later), Wesley 'SD2' Bester has arrived with his single segment 2:13:19. Some new fancy trick called the 'Ocarina glitch' has allowed Wesley to bring the previous time down by more than 30 minutes! Wesley does mention that his run is certainly beatable, though, so we'll see if it's another 5 years before an improvement is made.

Wrapping things up is a run of the very popular platformer New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Justin 'UCPro' Salamon uses seven segments to race from start to finish in a very impressive 0:25:38. He even goes the whole run without taking damage, just to reinforce the fact that he dominates this game! Personally I'd prefer a little more of the "pick up your friends and throw them into the spikes" action, but I understand, faster is faster.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by Breakdown

Condensed awesome

Lots of runs to post today, and to say some of these are highly anticipated is a bit of an understatement. In light of this, I plan to skip my usual flowery exposition and be quick and to the point with this one. So why am I writing an intro? Good question. On with it.

You know it has to be an impressive set of runs when we're kicking things off with a title as popular and competitive as Mega Man 2. Seth Glass is at it again. Clearly not satisfied with having two spectacular runs on the game page, today he adds a third. Using the zip glitches seen previously, but this time playing on the "Difficult" difficulty, Mr. Glass brings Dr. Wily to justice until Capcom decides to cash in again in a blistering 0:28:57.

One of the aforementioned later cash ins is the subject of our second run today. Sattik 'Tiki' Ghosh has again turned his attentions to the original Mega Man X, this time with an improvement to the 100% category. Besting the previous time held by Freddy 'Frezy_Man' Andersson by close to a minute, Tiki plows through the game in a very quick 0:38:57. Also included is an audio commentary that maybe, just maybe talks about the run a little at some points.

Next up we have yet another one of those games it's a wonder SDA hasn't seen a run of to this point. One of the true classics, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! gets its debut on SDA today courtesy of runner 'sinister1'. Making use of 4 segments, he puts the game's fourteen boxers out cold in a combined in-game time of 0:16:31.72. For those of you who played this game in their younger days and aren't familiar with the speed strategies that have been formulated over the years, it really is quite amazing to see just how quickly some of these guys go down. And if you're wondering just how some of these strategies work, check out the included audio commentary. It covers most of the details very nicely.

Rounding out the update today is the efforts of one of our more prolific runners, Andrew Gardikis. For starters, we have him doing what he's best known for: charging through a Mario game like it's nothing. The victim this time around is Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, though in actuality this is actually the original Famicom Disk System version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (played courtesy of the Wii's Virtual Console) rather than the Super Mario All Stars version better known to those in the States. Andrew plays as Mario and bests his old time for the title by just over 20 seconds, clocking in at 0:08:13.

But andrewg doesn't just run Mario games, oh no, and he proves this further today with a run on one of the more obscure titles in the NES library. Anyone who's played Werewolf: The Last Warrior can tell you that the game is far from easy, but for those whose only experience with the game is watching today's posted run this is not a quality of the game that will be on display. To say Andrew makes this game look easy is an understatement, and he crushes his previous run on this title in the process, chopping over just over four minutes off his old time with his new 0:11:22.

So yeah, five new runs on five awesome games. Assuming any of you bothered to read this far I do encourage everybody to use and seed the provided torrents. I think it's a safe bet that this update is going to give our server a workout. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010 by Flip

Limited time offer

Today we were contacted by ExplodingCabbage and informed that we accidentally posted his Spelunky run. The reason he didn't want it posted is because he has had a new run verified and accepted. If you were able to download it before we took it down, consider it to be a limited release trailer for the "real" run. If you weren't, don't fret, we'll have more runs coming to you before you know it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by dex

Only mostly short

Two out of the three runs in this update are rather short, so starting off with the longest one seems fitting. La-Mulana is a Metroid-esque platformer designed with high difficulty in mind; those features tend to make any playthrough a difficult and long experience. That did not stop Jacob 'UltraJMan' Ritz from attempting (and succeeding in, I might add) a single-segment run of the game. The total time of 2:27:12 should be a good testimony of Jacob's pure speedrunning stamina. This run also includes an audio commentary.

From slightly shorter items in the update, there's a new addition to the Myst page, though it ain't a speedrun of the old and dated version of the famous adventure game. Instead, we are treated to a single-segment of the 2000 remake, realMyst, which features much spiffier graphics than its predecessor. Etienne 'Ethan Wolfcat' Taschereau was the one who decided to tackle the quite different experience the remake offers, and managed to come up with this 0:01:25.

Finally, to round things off, we have a run of a Flash shooter, Starcom. Nathaniel Stalberg decided to segment the short game, in order to squeeze as many seconds as he possibly could from it. Nathaniel manages to overcome the gameplay mechanic dreaded by so many shooter players - inertia - and gets 0:07:46 while at it. It's one neat effort, right there.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 by Flip

Bad day to be Dracula

Kicking off today's vampire-slaying frenzy is an improvement to the Wiiware title, Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. Not even three months ago, front page regular Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe had his 0:20:26 posted of this classic remake. Today, however, that time is brought down by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., who gives us his 0:19:04, also single-segment. Thomas says that his improvement of one minute and twenty two seconds can probably be improved by another twelve seconds or so with tighter execution. Will Sir VG sit on his hands or will he scrape for those 12 seconds and retake what was his? Only time will tell.

Of course, you won't have to wait long if you want to see another run from our very own Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe. In fact, I've got one for you right now. It's time to dust off the Castlevania: Lament of Innocence game page. Prior to today, no new run had graced the page since May/June of 2005, when Damien 'Dragondarch' Moody completed SIX speedruns of this game. Today though, the page no longer belongs to him exclusively, as Nicholas has shattered Damien's best single-segment time of 1:07:12 and brought it down to 0:51:13. Nicholas's improvement of 0:15:59 cuts off a whopping 24% of Damien's 2005 run. Be sure to give the included audio commentary a listen as well!

That's not the only old run being replaced today, oh no. In his comments for Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, SDA Godfather Nolan 'Radix' Pflug said about his single-segment Fighter run "I don't plan to try this again, feel free to beat it yourself!" That was October of 2005. Now, nearly 5 years later, Riku 'Emperor91' Vanhanen has stepped up to the challenge. Through tighter execution and planning, Riku was able to kill Dracula four minutes and twelve seconds faster than Radix, clocking in at 0:32:46.

Wrapping things up today we deter slightly from the norm and look at a game where a vampire does the vampire slaying. In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Alucard, son of Dracula (I see what you did there) goes out in search of an evil vampire hunter, only to end up killing Dracula himself (hey, it's still a Castlevania game). Today's single-segment effort comes to us from Andrew 'romscout' Schroeder. Andrew completes the game in 0:32:57, using a myriad of clever tricks. Audio commentary is included for your listening pleasure as well. Note that the incumbent single-segment run, 0:34:34 by Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk, will remain on the game page because Andrew's run was completed on the Xbox Live Arcade version, not the Playstation version. The XBLA version is tracked separately because of differences in lag and timing. Also of note is the rumored alternate ending in the XBLA version, wherein Alucard discards his daddy-issues and hunts down a far more evil family of vampires- The Cullens.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 by Breakdown

Movin' and shakin'

The cobwebs have certainly grown thick on the Chameleon Twist game page. The two runs we've been featuring for the N64 platformer are among the oldest on the site, dating all the way back to 2004. Today, however, the dust is getting knocked off the page thanks to the efforts of runner Kevin 'neskamikaze' LaLonde. Taking on the any% category, Kevin was able to chop nearly 3 minutes off the nearly 6 year old run, finishing with a time of 0:11:54.

I'm sure everybody remembers from school what the best way to handle the threat of a nuclear explosion is, and that is to destroy absolutely every building you can find as fast as you can. Developer Rare, as a bit of a public service, brought this lesson out of the schools and into the households with their game Blast Corps. And if skill at this game translates to the ability to fend off an impending nuclear holocaust, should such an event occur you definitely want runner Steve Bates on the case. Bringing us two runs for the game today, Steve cruises to an any% completion in 0:28:17, obsoleting the existing PAL version run which was bested by a healthy margin, and also gives us a 100% platinum rank completion in 1:59:00.

Several updates back I posted Daniel 'kareshi' Brown's improvement to his own Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts run. However, what those of you who weren't following his streams earlier this year don't know is that run was actually just one in a multitude of accomplishments he made across the series in the span of several months. During that time he did focus a good deal on the original Ghosts 'n Goblins, and it is the fruit of those labors we are showcasing today. Clocking in 71 seconds faster than his previous effort, kareshi makes his way through both rounds of one of the hardest NES games out there in 0:21:45, no doubt an accomplishment that made the strongth well up inside him.

Finally, we have a game that falls outside of my normal updating range for that newfangled Wii device. The run is by my fellow updater Michael 'Flip' Dix, and rather than post it himself he'd rather have someone else do it, and the reasoning behind this I can understand. I have thought previously about how I would approach updating one of my own runs. Would a modest approach be best, or hype it like there's no tomorrow? I think the ideal approach would be somewhere in the middle, but with something you've put so much work into and are likely proud of it'd be a hard line to walk. Really, it's very much easier to give it to someone less attached to the project and have them hype it for you, so that's just what I'll do. The game is Wario Land: Shake It!, and Flip beats it like it owes him money (pun very much intended) finishing with a time of 1:27:18 across 7 segments. Also be sure to check out the included audio commentary.

Five new runs not enough for you? You want some more? Alright, we can do that. No more runs to post at the moment, but we do have some more content for you fine folks today. It's time to dust off the Features page again. For starters, we have a brand new runner interview featuring Justin 'UCpro' Salamon which was put together by SDA member 'X'. Also, while not strictly new content, we put together links for a couple articles featuring SDA and speedrunning, one from EGM and another from the Escapist. If you haven't seen them yet, they make for good reads.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 by dex

I turned down vodka to post these

Time to try to reclaim my PC territory, aye? And what better way to start doing that than by going with an expansion pack to one of the best FPS games of all time? Thus we (yet again) enter the realm of the invaded Nali home planet in Unreal Mission Pack: Return To Na Pali. Much shorter than the original Unreal, it stood surprisingly long without a run being made by someone. Enter Pavel 'Origeen' Stepanov, who vowed to speedrun his favorite mission pack of his favorite game and fill the hollow, speedrun-shaped hole in our gamelist. The result is this easy difficulty segmented run in 0:22:46, done in 17 segments. This should prove to be a treat to anyone who likes nice boosts using explosive weapons.

Next we have a run on another expansion pack, this time for a relatively recent Peter Molyneux creation, Fable: The Lost Chapters. Maybe not as classic as some of his other creations, but still a commercially successful title. David Arnold (ab)uses the Assassin Rush in order to clear the game in what is a very impressive 1:37 of a game that takes a long time to play through normally. As if that wasn't enough, this achievement is made even more amazing by the fact mister Arnold hasn't used any saves throughout the run, a relatively rare feat for PC creations!

Finally, to round the update off, we have a run on an id Software game. Not Quake, however, no, this one is on a much older release (and you know that says a lot when that is said in comparison with Quake), namely the first in the Commander Keen series. Putting on the trusty football helmet is a newcomer - Joseph 'Tranquilite' Schurig, who decided to demolish his favorite childhood game. He doesn't waste any time in his single-segment adventure and finishes in 0:03:14. As with other id Software runs, it does not disappoint *wink*.

Monday, August 16, 2010 by Flip

Walking a mile in dex's shoes

There's a ton of PC games ready for update, and hardly any Newer Console games by comparison, so today you get PC games from me!

Let's get things started with some controversy. Perhaps you've already guessed that I'm talking about Grand Theft Auto 4, which saw a lot of controversy at its release and even more recently here at the site. GTA 4 is the only game to date which has received a reverification. After the initial reject, the run was resubmitted and subsequently accepted, much to the joy of our runner, known as "SCM." New verifiers praised his shooting skills and execution and insisted that the good outweighed the bad. The availability of a taxi makes this entry in the Grand Theft Auto series less prone to long segments and as a result we have 85 segments of (mostly) illegal shenanigans, amounting to a total time of 4:23.

Next up is a run of a game which seems to be based on the movie "A Bug's Life" but really isn't and just has the same plot. Fire ants have taken over the (insect) world and it's up to you, Rollie the Roly Poly, to defeat them in Bugdom. Bugdom was initially released for Macintosh but Peter "Petrie911" Montag rolls through this game using the Windows version. His single-segment attempt utilizes multiple glitches, some of which are Windows exclusive. The most notable of these is the ability to clip through walls to finish levels much faster than the developers intended. Petrie911 blows through one of his childhood favorites in 0:08:55, which is pretty good, but I still think gasoline is the fastest way to handle a fire ant problem.

Continuing on, we've got some Marble Blast Gold improvements. It's been over a year since any thing new has hit the Marble Blast Gold game page, but don't fret - today we have 21 new Individual Level runs from five different people. Pascal "Xelna" Lafrance, Remy "Dushine" Dushime, KidPlayer44, Henry "Sonic Warrior1" Mullhall, and Ji Hoon "iMacmatician" Chun lend their talents to bring the total time for this game down from 0:15:36.826 to 0:15:14.897, an improvement of 21.929 seconds. Half a minute isn't very long, but considering how optimized all of these levels are, averaging one second of improvement per level is no small feat! Also big thanks to IsraeliRD for encoding these runs, compiling the comments and appending the videos for our viewing pleasure!

Wrapping things up is an interesting run. Way back in 2009, Enhasa used the last week of his SSS tourney on the SDA forum to promote interest in the freeware title, Ganbare Natsuki-san. Just as he wished, cooperative competition amongst forum members pushed this game to its limits and beyond. The collaborative effort from Antti "Baron Dante" Tuomisto, Tiago Teixeira, Giel Goertz, Mark "Exploding Cabbage" Amery, Jeff Feasel, and David "LLCoolDave" Spickermann clears all 50 levels in 0:07:07.17 of hookshot-filled goodness. A number of glitches and tricks are present in the run, including but not limited to abusing the hookshot to rapidly climb walls and managing to seemingly pass through spikes. If Enhasa still visits, and I assume he does, I'm sure he will be proud of their effort.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by Breakdown

Dial-up users rejoice

While the modern trend in cartoons is to have one episode fill an entire half hour, this was not always the case. Many older shows instead opted to fill their timeslots with several shorter episodes, keeping the themes simple and concentrating more on action than deep plot lines, qualities that the speedrunning community can no doubt admire. Fittingly enough, one show that followed this particular formula is the source material for this update's first game: Tom and Jerry. Playing on the SNES version, runner Rob 'Mickey_Mage' Whitener pilots Jerry through the game's four areas and past the machinations of Tom quite skillfully, finishing with a time of 0:12:55, just in time for the first commercial break.

Next up we have a self-improvement from long time SDA member Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk. While his current time for the Mega Man X6 8 boss category has gone unchallenged since he completed the run back in 2007, this fact didn't stop him from setting out to improve his own time. Armed with some different strategies, a modified route, and some newly discovered glitches he was able to do just that, and in convincing fashion. Chopping just shy of 6 minutes off of his old time, Satoryu practically makes a mockery of what is generally considered to be one of the most difficult games in the X series, finishing with a time of 0:23:14 over 15 segments. And for those familiar with his other runs on the site, it should come as no surprise that this one also includes an embedded audio commentary.

Finishing things off today we're giving one of our older individual level tables a massive facelift. It's been quite some time since there has been any updates to the F-Zero X page. In fact, with the exception of a handful of runs for the N64 Disk Drive exclusive expansion tracks none of the runs we've been hosting for the game were created after January of '06. The lack of activity with the game here, however, is not at all indicative of the state of the game's speedrunning community elsewhere on the internet. A multitude of new tricks and tactics have been found for the title in the last four years, and today many of these can now be seen right here. With improvements to 17 of the main game's 24 tracks, runner 'linner' drops the total time of the table by nearly 19 seconds (which for a game that tracks time to the thousandth of a second is quite a feat), bringing it from 0:44:04.834 down to 0:43:46.058. But that's not all we have for you on this title today, oh no. We also have a complete set of PAL version ILs and lap times for your enjoyment, coming to us courtesy of runner Wouter M. 'WMJ' Jansen. For the sake of your scroll wheels I won't list all the individual times here, but I will say the times for the main game's 24 tracks add up to a very quick 0:30:13:011 and the lap times total is a blistering 0:08:19.713. I must say it's great to see such a popular and competitive title get an update of this caliber on SDA, so a special thanks from me to both runners for helping to modernize the videos we're hosting. For everyone else, what are you waiting for? Get downloading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 by Flip

Dial-up users beware

Starting things off today is a run by a man we're all familiar with, Nicholas "Sir VG" Hoppe. His latest victim is the newest installment in Square Enix's Crystal Chronicles series, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. The title may be long, but I assure you, the run is quite a bit shorter than you might expect! Nicholas rolls through this game (literally, there's lots of rolling) in 4:12:55, using 20 segments. The Crystal Chronicles games are not nearly the most popular Final Fantasy titles out there. Unfortunately, Nintendo owners don't have much else to choose from. That's OK, though, since we get a run like this. Now somebody man up (or woman up, I don't care) and tackle the original Crystal Chronicles game!

Our next run adds to the growing list of SDA runs by Japanese runners. Today the runner known simply as "monban" provides us with an addition to the Devil May Cry 4 gamepage. Matt "Alucard" Pine's Single-Segment 1:38:05 is now joined by monban's 1:12:30, using 20 segments. Just over an hour isn't very much time, but don't fret, there's still plenty of pretty boy hacking and slashing to go around!

Wrapping things up is a run from the Gamecube's expansive RPG library. Ok, you got me, it's not expansive at all. Regardless, Matthew "RingRush" Inamar's latest submission is the longest Gamecube RPG speedrun we have currently. His run of Baten Kaitos Origins clocks in at 7:59:50 and uses a whopping 75 segments. If you like watching Sagi, Guillo, and Milly tear enemies and bosses to shreds, then you will enjoy this run immensely.

Love watching speedruns? Of course you do, why else would you be reading this? Maybe you'd like to see them in the making. SDA member bmn has created a nifty website that shows the streams of all SDA members with the capacity to stream their attempts live. If you love to watch speedruns, or if you love to watch numerous resets, then you will love this site.

CALL TO ACTION: Before any run can show up here on the front page it has to be verified. Currently, there are 42 runs awaiting verification before they can be posted. Do us a favor and check out the Verification Topic in the forum and see if you can help out with verification. All you need is a detailed knowledge of a particular game to be qualified. If you see a run on the list that you can't wait to see, offer to verify to get it to the front page faster!

Saturday, July 31, 2010 by dex

I'm Updating This

No first-person shooter player has to be reminded of the amount of tactical and realistic shooters that are being produced today. The sheer magnitude of the number of games that try to simulate reality has pushed the much simpler, old-fashioned "point at it and then it will maybe die" school of shooter design. One of the first games to really try doing the realistic angle was Project IGI: I'm Going In. Evidently, Jan 'Kwoky' Nêmec and Vaclav 'watch0ut' Vacek preferred the simpler times, as they seem intent on butchering our little trendsetter. Through a combination of balancing on fences, some ridiculous go-through-walls tricks and generally well planned route, our duo made an individual level run on the easy difficulty. Not two player run, no; they simply divided work between themselves, and decided all the runs should be credited to both of them. With that in mind, the total time of their joint effort is 0:40:45. Recommended, if only to see a special forces operative so good, he can phase through walls and ceilings. And that's not the only merit.

Another game that tries to go in a more realistic (well, to an extent possible in a fantasy role-playing game), grittier direction is Dragon Age: Origins. This relatively new game prides itself on the very long gameplay time (advertised to be over 100 hours long). This only serves to make Eli 'Smilge' Chase's endeavour look that much more impressive and insane. Even going under our soft 7 hour limit would probably be considered a huge feat, but Eli goes beyond the impossible and manages to finish the game in less than an hour. To be precise, the time is 0:35:30. This is only a tad over a half percent of the 'intended' length. Oh, sure, it's on easy difficulty, and segmented (33 segments). And it uses many glitches, including some Out Of Bounds magic. Nevertheless, the unexpectedly fast finish is still insane. The run was made on the oldest version of the game to allow more glitches to be used.

Finally, we have a run of the peculiar platformer Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. 'Poesta' has improved his old bad ending run using a plethora of tricks and timesavers found since that run hit the SDA shelves (2007). This run too uses out of bounds tricks in order to help Abe rescue his allies, Mudokons. The run was done using a total of 47 segments. The old 1:52:25 has been improved by over 50 minutes, and thanks to Poesta's cunning tactics, the game is finished in under an hour, specifically in 0:58:17. We can only hope this trend continues, and Poesta will improve this by another 50 minutes in the next 3 years. And on a more serious note, highly outstanding work.

Friday, July 23, 2010 by Breakdown

Just Super

Any time there's a discussion started about difficult Super Nintendo games it's really only a matter of time before somebody mentions Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, and this is deservedly so. There are few games out there that can match its reputation for controller throwing frustration, and it's safe to say that the majority of the people who've played it have never earned the true ending themselves. Even among those who have completed it, there are few who have done it on one credit, and even less that have done it on one life. As for those who have completed the Professional difficulty level without damage at speed, well, that's a very short list indeed. Those familiar with this game's history on the site no doubt already know that Daniel 'kareshi' Brown has already secured himself a spot on this list with his 0:42:05 run several years back. While this run has been heralded as one of the more impressive feats SDA has had available for download, kareshi apparently wasn't quite satisfied and set out to improve it. After a month's worth of effort with the title he was able to do just that, and in convincing fashion. Clocking in over two minutes faster than his previous work, kareshi pilots Arthur through one of the most devious games every created in a remarkable 0:39:41. If you've read everything up to this point do I really need to tell you this is a run worth checking out? Didn't think so.

Another game likely to find its way into the difficult SNES games conversation is Contra III: The Alien Wars. This reputation for difficulty, however, hasn't dissuaded runners from trying to find an assortment of ways to rush through it. Before today we've had four differently categories for the title housed on the game page and today we are seeing an improvement to one and adding yet another both courtesy of runner Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. While first setting out to improve his existing low % with deaths on the game's Easy difficulty setting (which the designers no doubt meant in a comparative sense rather than a statement of fact), he also decided to do a run on the same difficulty where he actually availed himself to the assortment of weapons the game has to offer. Today we're unveiling both of these efforts, with the low % clocking in at 0:15:24 and the any % at 0:12:49. Also, be sure to check out the embedded audio commentaries. While a little less operatic than a certain other audio commentary featured on this game page, they're still quite entertaining and insightful in their own right.

Wrapping things up today we have a fantastic introductory effort for a new runner. It's the first time we've had cause mention the name David Heidman Jr. on the front page, but this is a guy who sure knows how to make a first impression. For his debut effort for the site he's succeeded in accomplishing a remarkable feat: besting Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson in a Contra-series game. The NES's Super C is the subject of the improvement, and while the strategies and button mashing seen in the incumbent run were very impressive indeed, the newcomer was able to actively demonstrate that there's still room for the time to come down on this title. Chopping eight seconds off the current time, David was able to blast his way through this classic in a blistering 0:13:18. A fantastic effort for a first time runner, and if his recent forum activity is any indication it won't be too long before we see more runs from him. Fantastic news to say the least.

One last thing of note, while it was created for our last charity marathon, we have now reactivated and are actively updating out Twitter account. Our very own MercuryZelda has taken the helm for this effort and will be frequently tweeting updates about new runs, SDA member live streams, and other site news. So go ahead and start following us and you'll always be up on the latest from us here at SDA.

Sunday, July 18, 2010 by Flip

Today's number is...

3!

That's right, I've got a trio of games for you tonight that all have to do with the number 3. That's all fine and good, but you're really here to see some runs, so let's get on with it.

Kicking things off tonight is the removal of a run from the site which has been around longer than most of us have been. Star Wars fans, dust off those old Storm Trooper uniforms you never had an excuse to wear, because tonight Michael 'Tigger77' Welle has given us a 22 second improvement to MadAndy's Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike run. The new run clocks in at 0:27:41 and it replaces MadAndy's run from 2005! If you like Star Wars games, flying games, really if you're reading this you should check this run out.

When I tell you that our next run is of a Pokemon game, you will probably expect a lot of segments, a lot of critical hits, and a high level of optimization. If that's the case, then you're right on all 3 accounts! Today newcomer Sam 'Mouldy Cheese' Beekman delivers a run for the glaringly absent 3rd generation of Pokemon games. Sam and his trusty Mudkip (insert Mudkip joke/meme of choice here) power through Pokemon Sapphire in 1:54:21, using 49 segments. It's a great watch, be sure to check it out.

Our final run is the realization of over two years' worth of work, and you can tell by how polished the run is. Today we have a run which completes the Metroid Prime trilogy. That's right, I'm talking about Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. SDA forum veteran Paraxade delivers his very first run in the form of his any% run in 2:09, using 32 segments. Do yourself a favor and download this run and revel in Paraxade's ability to maneuver the sometimes (maybe more than that) temperamental Wii remote with extreme precision. Also be sure to grab the torrents for all 3 runs listed above.

By now you've probably realized that I am in fact neither Breakdown nor dex. I'm Flip and I've been brought onboard to help out with the updating process, particularly with updating newer console games. I'm excited to have this chance to give back to the site which has been my home base on the internet for a few years now. Updates are going to be coming along a bit more frequently now, however not normally as frequently as this update and the one before. Please make sure you see the update below, as there are 5 excellent runs there I wouldn't want you to miss!

Eight runs in two days? What are you doing reading this? Get watching!

Saturday, July 17, 2010 by Breakdown

What You've Been Wishing For

Movie games historically have a pretty bad track record in terms of quality. The overwhelming majority are rushed to coincide with their corresponding film's release date, leaving the player with a barely playable game that maybe, just maybe has a plot line that bears the slightest resemblance to its source material. There is one film company, though, that does a good job breaking this stereotype: Disney. While they have released a few flops over the years, the bulk of their games do well to stick at least recognizably close to the movies, but more importantly, they're generally very fun to play. A shining example of this would be the Genesis version of Disney's Aladdin. The controls are tight, the action and platforming are fun, and the graphics are bright and colorful, definitely not the marks of a game that was rushed out of development. Today, however, marks the first time it can be seen rushed through on SDA. Playing on the game's practice difficulty setting, runner Daniel 'moooh' Wikell charges through everything Agrabah has to throw at him in a very quick 0:16:35 on the PAL version. For those who are interested in the finer points of his strategy and possible topics at the next palace guards' union meeting be sure to check out the embedded audio commentary.

Those familiar with our charity marathon from the start of this year are also likely familiar with the name Mike 'mike89' McKenzie. While probably best remembered at the event for his work on the Sonic series, he also did quite a fine job with another Sega series, cranking out solid live attempts on both Vectorman and Vectorman 2. At some point previous to those live attempts while doing commentary he mentioned that he had a very real chance of beating the current SDA times live. Regrettably this was not to be, but that didn't stop him from continuing to work on both games after the event. Several months down the road he had submissions ready for both, improving the existing times in a convincing fashion. The Brit . . . err, Australian runner brings the time for the original down from 0:14:16 to 0:10:24 and chops over 2 minutes off his own old time on the sequel of 0:13:24 with his new 0:11:14 run, both done on the PAL version. While seeing an improvement live on the marathon feed would've been quite something, these runs should more than make up for any minor disappointments suffered by the viewers back in January.

Last, but most certainly not least, is one of the most highly anticipated runs to hit the site in quite some time. It's been a long time since the name Seth Glass has graced the front page of SDA. For those not in the know, this is the runner who originally brought Mega Man 2 below the 30 minute mark without the use of zip glitches, and produced a stellar run with zips as well. Both runs enjoyed great popularity on the site, but then the runner requested they be taken down in order to provide him with extra motivation to improve them. An unorthodox method to be sure, but you can't argue with results, and we have those results today. It truly gives me great pleasure to present to you today this fantastic 0:27:49 run using zip glitches. Oh, but that's not all. Today also marks the return of Seth's 0:29:28 glitchless run to the site, an excellent alternative for those who prefer their Mega Man not flying across the screen in a wall. Personally, I'd just download both, these runs are truly a joy to watch.

Sunday, July 11, 2010 by dex

Maximum Speed

Many people consider the Alien movies (first two mostly) and the first Predator movie to be the shining examples of good quality action/horror cinema. Unfortunately, the deeper into the series, the worse the movies got, culminating with the Aliens vs. Predator movies, which are... disappointing, to say the least. However, their low quality is even more surprising when one considers that there are several Alien and Predator crossovers that do a really good job of mixing the two extra-terrestrials. One of the most modern and best examples is our first game today, the simply titled Aliens vs. Predator 2. Oskar Angelmark decided to guide the side forgotten from the title and doomed to be prey to the two abominations of nature, and he's not gonna sell his hide that easily. And all this even despite his Marine having to endure the aptly named Hardcore difficulty. Oskar actually managed to improve the old, normal difficulty run (two notches easier than Hardcore, if you're wondering), and not by mere seconds, oh no. The improvement is almost 4 minutes, though the amount of segments has been doubled to achieve that - to 16. This 0:36:09 is a real fine watch, and I fully recommend it. Another glorious day in the Corps, indeed...

Our next game has surprisingly much in common with AvP2. Anyone who has played Crysis can attest that you spend a good chunk of the game pretending to be a human nano-incarnation of the Predator, and after that you fight... well, you probably know the rest by now. Oh, and it's a really pretty game, too. However, Yuri 'xsite' Zarubin clearly isn't on the lush, tropical, computer-generated island to do sight-seeing. Not a stretch to think he doesn't like his little R&R and wants to get over with it as soon as possible - after all, who would feel comfortable on Delta, the highest difficulty level? It would appear Yuri found an unsupported (and unmentioned in the manual), yet present function of the suit. The groundbreaking glitch has to be seen to be believed - let's just say it is quite an impressive sight to behold. So, go fetch this 0:42:14 in 27 segments, and be amazed.

It appears we still stay well within the bounds of games that feature aliens in their plots in significant quantities. This time there are many, many more species of aliens - something to be expected of a licensed Star Wars game. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is the second in the series of RPGs set an even longer time ago. It is also one of the most famous victims of higher-ups meddling with the poor programmers and forcing the game to be rushed out the door. Fortunately, this also has a good side: it provides speedrunners with a huge amount of glitches and bugs to exploit. 'Thinkshooter' decided to find as many of them as he could, and make bloody sure the game is finished as close to perfection as possible. The result is this 1:56:47 in 55 segments, which takes the path of the Light Side. Another huge seal of approval from me for this one.

Finally, to round things off, we depart from the world of alien themed games - though don't let that fool you into thinking nothing supernatural will be taking place. This time we're gonna be meeting some vampires, for the last game today is Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2. This is yet another effort from Oskar Angelmark that happens to land in this update. Mister Angelmark guides Kain, one of the most badass anti-heroes ever, and does it really well, managing to make a game that is often rather tedious (especially when glyph puzzles start popping up) look like a breeze. This 4:05, done in 59 segments, is bound to be a treat to all the LoK fans. Go watch it, it's worth it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010 by Breakdown

Paparazzi Punch

RPGs as a genre have really taken to selling themselves by their length over the years. Go to your local game store and start reading the backs of boxes and you will no doubt find many instances of bold text promising forty, fifty, even sixty hours of gameplay. Now, while your average gamer will likely see these statements as assurance they'll be getting more bang for their buck, the average RPG speedrunner likely sees them as a challenge to prove just how wrong the developers are in their estimates. Rising to just such a challenge today is Japanese runner 'moka' with a run for the Tri-Ace title Infinite Undiscovery. While this game has received some criticism in certain circles for being shorter than your average JRPG these days, I have yet to see anyone bringing that criticism to bear cite a gameplay time as low moka's 2:41:33 on the easy difficulty setting. Oh, and did I mention this was done in a single segment? Shorter than average or not, that is undoubtedly remarkably fast for a modern RPG, so congrats to the runner.

Our next game also falls into the shorter than average category, but those who own it really can't complain given the cheap-as-free price tag. Given out by Nintendo as a free reward to their Club Nintendo Platinum members, Doc Louis's Punch-Out!! finally gave players the chance to go toe to toe with the titular trainer. While the game does provide some good humor for fans of the Punch-Out!! series, if your first exposure to the title is the speedrun we're unveiling today all you'll really see of Doc's arsenal is his ability to block punches with his face. Runner Zack 'zallard1' Allard blazes through the game's three rounds in a single segment, finishing with a combined time of 0:02:14.11. Watching Little Mac tear through his mentor in such an easy fashion really makes you wonder why he listens to anything Doc tells him.

Wrapping things up today is an inaugural run for a survival horror series. For a long time now if fans of the genre wanted to watch a survival horror run they were basically limited to the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series, but thanks to the efforts of runner Daisuke 'Hattori' Hattori their options are now a little broader with the addition of Fatal Frame III: The Tormented to our game list. Playing on the game's Nightmare difficulty setting and making use of 24 segments, Hattori charges through the game's eerie atmosphere without a shred of fear, finishing with a time of 3:08:29. If verifier responses are any indication, this is truly a top-notch run hitting our servers today. Check this one out, you won't be disappointed.

Also of note for the days to come, the guys over at Bonus Stage Marathons are at it again this weekend. They'll be hosting a 72 hour marathon starting Thursday at 7 PM EST in which they'll be trying to play through as many games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series as possible and raising as much money as they can for the Baltimore Humane Society. While this group has no direct affiliation with SDA, this does not change the fact that there have been very large number of Sonic games released since his debut back in the 90s, so if these guys are to make it through the entire catalogue in 3 days time they'll have to be playing with some purpose. So stop by their stream to see how they do, and offer some moral, and possibly financial support while you're at it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 by dex

You Are In An SDA Update, Max

The first game today is one that I have a personal attachment to, the 2001 action hit Max Payne. While the noir-themed story is one of the strengths of the game, sometimes all you want to do is shoot bad guys and speed through everything else - precisely the attitude Nigel 'ridd3r' Martin took in his self-improvement of his Dead On Arrival single segment run (except he also speeded through the whole 'shooting bad guys' part). As you might recall, the old run was already insanely well done, especially considering the SS status so rarely seen among PC game runs. However, Mr. Martin didn't like the fact it included a death, so he decided to get through it once more - and squeezed in over 21 minutes of improvements in addition to going through the game deathless. I'm sure I don't have to pump the people that watched the old run any further, so without further ado, here's the 1:01:08. Oh, and it has audio commentary too! Huge congratulations to the runner for persistence - the run took 1998 tries to finish, and you can even see some of the more spectacular failures in the bloopers file. This one gets my personal seal of approval.

Our next run is also one done on a third-person perspective game, though this time said game is much more stealth oriented. Michael 'Tigger77' Welle decided to improve some old Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory individual level runs on the Expert difficulty - and by 'some', I mean 'all'. Tigger77's mastery of this game must be very high indeed, for his improvement of Sam Fisher's adventures in all ten missions totals 15 minutes and 13 seconds, yielding a time of 1:01:21. You can find the per-level rundown of the times on the game page. The runs were done on the PC version of the game, and are definitely a very enjoyable watch, so go fetch them.

Monday, June 21, 2010 by Breakdown

Glitching and Garbage Blocks

I must admit that I personally don't get the appeal of running puzzle games. I can see the appeal of playing them to death, sure, but putting together a first class run for such a title is a daunting task indeed. Most games in the genre are mostly (if not completely) random, requiring a healthy dose of luck for fast times. Though luck alone isn't nearly enough, as even when the ideal situations present themselves it still falls to the player to take full advantage, and there are few types of games where an optimal result demands the same kind of precision from start to finish as your typical puzzler. For these reasons I feel safe in saying I will never personally produce a run on a puzzle game, so it's fortunate there's people out there like runner Craig 'cyghfer' Gordon, because runs of these games do truly make for a great watch. For his first submission to the site Craig set out to improve the time for Tetris Attack versus mode's very hard difficulty setting. The resulting run comfortably beats the existing mark of 0:05:12, clocking in at 0:04:19. This run also includes an embedded audio commentary for your listening pleasure.

Next we have a run for yet another one of those games I feel has been criminally overlooked previously by the speedrunning community. While fairly popular back when it was released, Wizards & Warriors is one of the many games of the NES era to fall into obscurity over the years, but here today it gets a taste of the limelight once more thanks to the efforts of runner Aleksi 'Bablo' Kanerva. Making use of a glitch that lets him completely bypass the game's last few stages, Aleksi tears through the original installment of this largely forgotten series in a very quick 0:13:05. Once you see this particular glitch in action it should be clear this qualifies as a major break, and as such will be tracked as a separate category, so should someone in the future want to go toe to toe with Malkil the door's still wide open.

But the first game in the series isn't the only one where the programmers let a huge, game breaking glitch slip into the final product. The sequel, Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors 2, also contains a trick to completely bypass the intentions of the programmers as evidenced in today's final run. Runner Marko 'Master-88' Vanhanen is the first runner in quite a long time to make a serious attempt at this notoriously difficult title, and while the glitch he employs to keep his elemental spell and magic power at the end of each stage does mitigate that difficulty to an extent, the game is still hardly a walk in the park. Through practice, perseverance, and a little bit of luck he was able to blaze his way through the game's five stages in a time of 0:10:56 with deaths. Again, this particular glitch merits its own category, so Tom Votava's existing run produced way back in 2004 still has a home on the site.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 by Breakdown

Why So Serious, Dood?

There have only been a handful of games released in recent years that have had as much hype around them as Batman: Arkham Asylum. Announced while The Dark Knight was still fresh in everyone's mind and having a unique plot that prominently featured the Joker was probably enough by itself to sell at least a million copies. Throw in lots of other big name villains and you have some very tasty icing on an already good-looking cake. But really, the game lets you run around and kick ass as Batman, what more do you need? Whether or not this game managed to live up to the massive hype is a matter for debate, but even for those out there who don't believe it did, it will be hard to deny that the speedrun we're unveiling for it today makes for an entertaining watch. Runner Steven 'Master ZED' Ellis blazes through the game's easy difficulty level in a single segment, finishing with a time of 2:07:40.

Our second run today offers two things that have been fairly common sights on the front page as of late: a Castlevania game, and a Sir VG run. Yes, Nicholas Hoppe is at it again, this time around charging his way through the WiiWare title Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. Playing single segment and taking control of Christopher Belmont (who really sets himself apart from the rest of the Belmonts featured in Castlevania games over the years with the amazingly unique trait of being named Christopher), Sir VG cruises through the game's branching paths and familiar enemies with purpose, finishing the game's easy difficulty in a time of 0:20:26.

Finishing things off today we have our first run for the Disgaea series, though the game in question is probably not the first one most people think of when they hear the series mentioned. Undoubtedly, the entry of a platformer into the SRPG franchise came as a bit of a surprise to fans, but that was exactly what they got with the PSP's Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? Since its release this game has garnered a reputation for difficulty, but despite this runner Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita truly makes even the game's hard difficulty setting look easy in this fantastic set of individual level runs. The level times are as follows:

The total time for the table is 0:16:22.41, and features not a single demonic penguin death. Considering the designers saw fit to give the player 1000 lives to work with over the course of the game, this is quite an impressive feat indeed.

Sunday, June 13, 2010 by Breakdown

Save The Animals, Put Them To Work

It's been quite some time since we've seen a new run for one of our more popular titles, Super Metroid. Ever since Hotarubi brought his highly praised (and deservedly so) 0:32 any% run onto the scene several years ago competition on the title seemed to dry up. Undoubtedly, his efforts are a hard act to follow, but today I have the pleasure of unveiling a new run for the game that is definitely worthy of going up alongside the fantastic runs we already have. Runner Christopher Hill has obviously put a lot of time and energy into his work on the PAL version of the game, and the first result of these efforts we get to see is an any% run clocking in at 0:34. This is truly a fantastic effort from a new runner, and recent forum activity shows that he's not done by a long shot, so fans of the title likely have more good things to look forward to.

Next up we have something for all the Pokémon fans out there. Runner Stephen 'Toothache' Stafford chose quite a massive project for his first full game run. Simply finding a quick and efficient way through the main story of the Gamecube's Pokémon Colosseum would have been quite an undertaking, but he decided to take things one step further and go for 100% snags as well. Considering he dubbed his own test run of over 10 hours "pretty fast" it's really quite remarkable he was able to bring his final time down as low as 7:17. There's obviously a lot of optimization to be found in the 33 segments he used, so be ready to see just how quickly you can catch them all with a little concentrated effort.

Finishing things off today we have a two man effort on an individual levels table several years in the making. Runners Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe and 'Persona' have pooled their best efforts over the years for the Time Attack mode in Castlevania Chronicles. The times are as follows:

This gives us a total time for the table of 0:24:14.7. And while it took quite some time for many of these levels to get to SDA, I'm sure you will agree that it was well worth the wait.

Also of note at this time is that our friends over at The Speed Gamers are currently in the middle of yet another marathon. This time they're playing through as many Mario games as they can get their hands on and raising money for the autism charity ACT Today. As of this posting they are about 48 hours deep into a week long event, so there's still plenty of action to see. While they may not burn through their games with the same fervor you see displayed at SDA, they do put on quite a show and are offering a multitude of prizes and have several special guests and events scheduled over the course of the week. So go check it out and maybe give a little money to a good cause while you're at it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010 by Breakdown

Fire and Octane

For starters today we have an improvement for Mario Kart Wii, though those who play the game for speed no doubt find the title to be a bit of a misnomer. Sure it features the gang from the Mario games, and it is undoubtedly a game released for the Wii, but with the introduction of bikes to the series anyone playing for top times and using a kart is just asking to get beat. Fully embracing the era of bike racing in kart games is runner Jose 'UchihaSasuke' Karica who is offering an improvement to his previous run of the game. Still played single segment, this time around he's upped the difficulty to hard mode, but despite this added hardship he was still able to obsolete his old time by just shy of 30 seconds, finishing with a time of 1:07:09.

Next up we have a new run for the Mega Man series with a somewhat unique twist to it. As followers of the site no doubt already know, we have a ton of Mega Man runs available for download, and one thing all these runs have in common is that they all have the player controlling either the Blue Bomber himself or one of the other hero characters introduced over the course of the series. Today, however, thanks to a feature in the PSP's Mega Man Powered Up it's one of the robot masters who gets his day in the sun. Piloted by runner Michael 'MAS8705' Solseth, Fire Man gets his chance to play the hero, and while he doesn't quite stack up to the likes of Mega Man and Proto Man he does show he's got what it takes to get the job done efficiently. Michael gets the once-villain through the game and achieves the good ending with a time of 0:26:07.69.

Finishing off today's update is a significant improvement to a run I personally thought was pretty solid to begin with. It's been quite some time since a serious attempt has been made at the original Castlevania. In fact, the run we've been hosting has stood for over four years and has received much praise in that time. You will note, however, the use of the past tense in that last sentence, as today we present an improvement to this long-standing run. Runner Aleksi 'Bablo' Kanerva took it upon himself to push this game closer to its limits, and by changing some strategies, tightening the execution, and forcing a few lucky breaks along the way he was able to chop nearly a minute off the incumbent time, bringing it down from 0:13:13 to 0:12:21. While it should go without saying, fans of the game and the old run should rush to check this one out. It truly is quite a treat.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 by Breakdown

Sneak, Swing, Smash

Starting things off today is another one of those games I feel has been a notable omission from our collection to this point. Metal Gear as a series has been shown a lot of love from the speedrunning community over the years, but the same cannot be said for the game Metal Gear itself. While a few have started attempts at a run of the original, a finished product had never made its way onto the site, until today that is. Playing on the NES version of the game, runner Marko 'Master-88' Vanhanen provides us with a single segment run with deaths clocking in at 0:28:46. Described by the runner himself as using a route that "looks a little bit like TAS" you can be sure he made Solid Snake appear true to his reputation for resourcefulness and efficiency.

And for the second update in a row our first runner is also our second. Master-88 is at it again with another run for a classic NES title. The game in question keeps with the military theme set by Metal Gear, but rather than overhead maps he's now guiding his character through a platformer filled with spike pits and tall towers. Pretty standard fare for a sidescroller, but made much more interesting when the player is deprived of a jump button. Yes, we have a new run today for Bionic Commando. Going up alongside Jeff Feasel's any% run is Master-88's new 100% effort, collecting every weapon, item, armor, and translator the game has to offer in 0:26:57. Fans of the game will no doubt enjoy seeing the game's many optional levels blazed through and those less familiar with the title still get to see the Hitler look-a-like's head explode at the end. Everybody wins with this run.

Wrapping things up today we have an inaugural run for a superhero title. The Genesis version of The Incredible Hulk offers an interesting gameplay feature in that the titular character can actually revert to his mild-mannered alter ego, the brilliant scientist Bruce Banner. Now this might actually be useful if the game were subtitled something like "The Dastardly Differential Equations," but fortunately for your entertainment purposes such is not the case. The developers did, however, also include a feature on the other end of the spectrum where the Hulk can be even more superhumanly strong and fast, and it is this state you will see a lot of in runner Troy 'Hellfire7777777' Spence's run of the game. Playing on Arcade difficulty he pilots the big green behemoth through in a time of 0:19:35.

Monday, May 17, 2010 by Breakdown

Stop Me If You've Heard This One

A bikini-clad zombie slayer, a vampire hunter, and a robot walk into a bar. . .

First up we have a run for a game that doesn't put on airs. With a title like Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers you'd expect to get a game that has scantily clad women slicing up hordes of zombies, and that is exactly the experience that it delivers. No lengthy exposition scenes, no moral choice system, no bizarre mini games that have nothing to do with the plot. Just hordes of the shambling undead, crazy acrobatic swordplay, and over the top outfits. For its debut on SDA we have runs for two different characters courtesy of Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe. Playing on the game's easy difficulty for both runs, Nicholas hacks and slashes his way to a time of 0:23:16 for Aya and 0:16:46 for Saki.

But Sir VG's skill at killing hordes of the undead with female characters isn't limited to just one game, oh no. He's also providing us today with a run of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood which prominently features the game's secret character, Maria (though that Richter guy does see a little screen time too). Unlike his previous 100% effort, in this run he simply strives to complete the game in as direct a fashion as possible, and accomplishes just that in 0:23:31.

People watch these speedruns for a variety of reasons. Some know whatever game they're watching inside and out and want to judge for themselves how good the run is, some might barely know the game at all and just like watching skillful play regardless of their own familiarity with it, and some like to see a game that frustrated them to no end as a player get its ass handed to it. For me, today's final run falls into that third category. Robo Warrior is a game I owned when I was younger, and one of the few that, despite putting many hours into it, I was never able to beat. Fortunately, this is a problem not shared by runner John 'chessjerk' Kearsley IV. Making the best of the game's random factors and having a solid plan for everything else, he was able to charge through the game with a final time of 0:36:12. And while I doubt it was a motivating factor for him, I would like to personally thank the runner for getting a little revenge for my childhood.

Friday, May 7, 2010 by dex

Speed Demons Archive

Two updates ago Breakdown mentioned the power update themes have to both the viewers of the main page and the updaters of the main page alike. Unfortunately, now I am the one distressed by the lack of any conceivable theme linking the runs available for me to update. In fact, I'd venture to guess that it would be a legendarily difficult challenge to find 3 PC games so different from each other.

Of course, that little inconvenience can't and won't stop me from giving you another batch of runs to enjoy. The first upstanding gentleman to provide us with speedrunning material to savor today is Eli 'Smilge' Chase, who decided to improve his earlier run of the isometric perspective RPG many would agree to be BioWare's best to date (I certainly would), Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. And improve it, he did, managing to somehow come up with over 18 minutes of timesavers in what was already a well run game. The new time of 0:23:09 was achieved using 26 segments, which is nine more than what was previously needed, but considering the improvement comes close to bordering on halving the earlier time, I think we can let that little 'transgression' slide. Check it out, it's great (if that wasn't evident already).

It seems the famous female adventurer, one Lara Croft, is making many frequent appearances on the main page lately - clear evidence how crowded the Tomb Raider speedrunning community is. This time we follow her hasty exploits in Tomb Raider: Legend, thanks to Jarek 'j.calling.2bad' Hanzelka's speedrun on the hard mode of the game. Even though the hard mode run by Shaun Friend is slower than Jarek's creation, it will continue to stay up on the page (am I the only one noticing the accidental innuendo in this paragraph?). Why is that, you ask? The reason is simple, Jarek's run uses an airwalking glitch, which lets him cut off insane amounts of time. The advantage this glitch brings is significant enough to warrant a new category. In any case, the new run uses the glitch and 24 segments to bring the time down to 0:37:32. Good show, good show. (late note: it appears I forgot to mention this run includes an audio commentary - all the more reason you should go download it. Sorry for the omission.)

Finally, as a sort of a dessert, to follow the isometric RPG and TPP platformer, we have an FPS run. As it usually is the case with desserts, it's quite short, but also very tasty. Albin 'quadrazid' Sigby and Daniel 'rayv3x' Babik made a Half-Life Hazard Course run to tease your palate. The run is segmented (8 segments, to be exact), and manages to beat the single segment run by 9 seconds. The time is 0:02:45, and while 9 seconds better than the single segment doesn't sound breath-taking, I assure you the SS time is rather optimised, which makes the improvement that much more impressive. HLSP Bunny and scripts were used.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 by Breakdown

Run Bomb II: The Revenge

Former SDA updater extraordinaire DJGrenola at one point in his tenure documented a phenomenon he called the run bomb. For the uninitiated, a run bomb is when one harmless enough looking entry in the queue contains a multitude of runs. Now, in my time in this position I have encountered several games with multiple runs already, but this is the first time I feel safe in saying I have encountered the run bomb myself, and I'm sure as you read on you will (or if your eyes have already been attracted to the links below, already do) agree.

Sparking the fuse today is a run from SDA regular Andrew Gardikis, owner of some of the more high profile runs we have on the site. So what did he choose for his next project? None other the massively popular NES title Pro Wrestling. Who doesn't remember performing knee drops from the top rope with Star Man, chomping on their opponent's head with Amazon, or unleashing the fury of the Back Brain Kick with Fighter Hayabusa? Likely, it's most of you who don't remember, which is a shame really as this was a great title back when it came out. But one thing which should be a given is that with andrewg at the controls the time of 0:06:00 is very close to the limits of what's possible for this title.

And for the meat of the update we have SquareEnix yet again proving that their fantasies aren't always final. As the name implies, the Wiiware title Final Fantasy IV: The After Years takes place a few years down the line in the same world as Final Fantasy IV, giving players a chance to revisit familiar locales and characters as well as some new ones. In addition to a new main storyline, many of the characters are given their own scenarios as well to help further the plot, and it is around these scenarios that the first batch of runs for this game revolves. For starters, runner Thomas L. Mallory Jr. offers up segmented runs for every single character specific scenario the game has to offer. The details are as follows:

And if that weren't enough to keep fans of this title busy, we do also have a single segment effort of Edge's tale performed by Patrick 'messenger' McElwee clocking in just a couple minutes behind the segmented run at 0:28 with an embedded audio commentary included. With all this attention paid to this game by the speedrunning community, the only question that remains is who is going to tackle the full game run? Whoever it may be, these runs certainly lay the ground work for them very nicely.

While on the the subject of Final Fantasy, it seems a truly fitting time to unveil our newest piece of non-speedrun content. With runs on three games in the series under her belt, Kari 'Essentia' Johnson has amassed quite the fan base around the site as well as the title of "The Destroyer of Final Fantasies." Now, those who may be curious can gain a little insight on how she got into speedrunning, her thoughts on her own runs, and other interesting tidbits of information through this interview.

And as long as I'm knocking the dust off our Features page I may as well announce a few other additions to it. First off, this page will now become the permanent home of the link to our collection of videos from our charity marathon Classic Games Done Quick. Also, while its inclusion on this page is more for archival purposes down the line, it is certainly worth mentioning here that it is once again tournament time on the SDA forums. Longtime SDA member mike89 is playing host to the 6th SDA Tournament which will feature five games over the course of five weeks, with each playing week focusing on either speed, score, or survival. As of this posting the third week has just begun, but there was no formal registration and anyone is welcome to join at any time. While there is a competitive element (I mean, it is a tournament after all) the focus of these is more on discovering new games and having a good time. So come check it out, I personally guarantee a good time or your money back!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 by Breakdown

Stupid FIFO

People seem to like it when these updates have themes to them, and given that it's a little to my chagrin that the order the runs currently available to me were produced make it so I'm deprived of two sets of very easy themes. So what's the theme of this update then? Why, the fact that these two runs deprived me of the opportunity to write back to back updates with themes I didn't need to think about at all (which is a pretty noteworthy thread tying them together if you ask me). And the fact that they're both runs for Nintendo handhelds, mostly the former reason though.

I have some fond memories of playing Final Fight in the arcade. Some friends and I would huddle over our respective joysticks and charge through the game with what we believed to be the undeniably best strategy possible: $10 worth of quarters and no regard for our own safety. At that time if you'd have tried to tell me skill could be applied to such a game I wouldn't have believed you, and I would have balked at the notion of getting through it without dying. Currently, I don't see the feat being quite nearly as ludicrous, but it's still quite impressive to see Jeremy 'DK28' Doll perform it at speed. Playing on the GBA's port of the game entitled Final Fight One, Jeremy pilots Alpha Cody through the game's very easy difficulty in a speedy 0:21:39. Now, I'm sure some of you watching will have questions about what's going on, and foremost among them will likely be what would possess a man to eat a turkey he found in the remains of a chandelier that had just fallen from the ceiling. Answers to this and other puzzlers are addressed in the embedded audio commentary.

And our next run deals with what everybody associates with a bunch of guys punching their way through members of a street gang one by one: vampire hunters. Yep, that's an obvious and not at all random progression. OK, granted it makes no sense, but this fact doesn't take anything away from the newest edition to our Nintendo DS run catalogue. Runner 'Serris' incorporated a couple glitches and some extensive planning into his normal mode run of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. The final result is a time of 0:57:25 in 29 segments and makes for a very entertaining and, thanks in no small part to his recording rig, surprisingly good looking run (which when you consider that this is not just a DS game, but also one that requires some touch screen inputs, is higher praise than it initially seems).

Saturday, April 17, 2010 by dex

Run Payload Enabled

Sincere apologies for the delay, purely my fault you had to wait this long for an update. In my defense, I was swamped with work; let's hope that won't happen again, eh? Now, with that out of the way, time for what you were actually waiting for - brand new additions to our catalogue!

The first run today is another installment of the adventures of everyone's favourite female Archaeologist Who Would Undoubtedly Lose The Job In Real Life, this time in a quasi-expansion pack for the third game in the Tomb Raider franchise, Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artefact. Familiar to those that follow the Tomb Raider speedrunning attempts should be the runner, Shaun 'MMAN' Friend, who decided to run the pack after running the original game. However, contrary to that original run, this time he uses the full potential the glitches in the game offer in order to speed through the expansion levels in just 0:16:31. Since the whole pack is so short, MMAN only needed 6 segments to complete it. Very nicely done!

It would seem Jānis 'Pendrokar' Lukss has acquired powers unavailable to mere mortals, as evidenced by him giving us another amazing run after his mind-blowing Morrowind playthrough. This time he blitzed through the third-person triple perspective game with real-time strategy elements, Giants: Citizen Kabuto. Pendrokar shows no mercy to the game and plows through the 34 segments using a huge amount of various boosts, tricks and glitches, finishing the stories of all three characters in just 1:21:35, a time that (according to his comments) surprised even him. It remains to be seen if he'll continue to submit quality runs at this frequency.

Finally, to round the update off, we have a run of a Tom Clancy game. Of course, since many a game bears his name, that's not really saying much. Right now we focus on the third worldwide release in the Rainbow Six series, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield. The game focuses mostly on meticulous planning and careful, tactically sound attacks, but runner going by the name of 'Berry' only takes the first one under advisement. Specifically, he plans the routes of his teammates so as to wreak havoc in the ranks of the terrorists as fast as possible, and does so very well, since this 15 segment run on the easiest, recruit difficulty is only 0:11:37. A pretty short time to end a terrorist crisis, don't you think? Of course, such a low time first required a lot of failures, and Berry provided us with a bloopers reel, as well.

Saturday, April 3, 2010 by Breakdown

Segmented Sequels

Starting things off today we have a familiar face with a run on a familiar franchise. While far from Nintendo's most popular series, the Kirby games are far from obscure, and from the perspective of a speedrunner the wide array of ability choices available in these titles makes guiding the cutesy puffball with an insatiable appetite efficiently through the stages an interesting problem. No stranger to this particular brand of planning is Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe who has previously had two runs from the series posted, and has now come back for more. This time around he's set his sights on the Super Nintendo's Kirby's Dream Land 3. Split up into 22 segments, Kirby once again saves the world of Pop Star in 1:36:23.

On the subject of familiar faces, I think there are few among the SDA faithful who aren't familiar with the name Nolan 'Radix' Pflug. For those of you not in the know, Radix is the founder of SDA and the one responsible for the site's move from Quake only to all games about 6 years ago. He also produced a fair number of runs himself, and while probably best known for his often referenced yet long since obsoleted Metroid Prime 100% in 1:37 (+1), several of his runs have endured for years on the game list. Today, that number decreases by one. Pikmin 2 is the subject of a massive improvement courtesy of runner Charles Griffin. Through the use of more streamlined strategies and tighter execution Charles was able to chop over 2 hours off the incumbent run, finishing with the best ending in a time of 3:10 over 128 segments. These have been combined into 8 files, one for each game day, for easy downloading.

Finally, a series that has been notably missing from the game list gets its first run on the site. While RPGs are far from the most common games picked up by speedrunners we do have a fairly healthy stock of runs for the genre on the site. Earthbound? Got it. Chrono Trigger? Got that too. Final Fantasy? Got a bunch of them. But before now we've been lacking a run from the series that paved the way for the JRPG as we know it today. That, however, all changes today thanks to the efforts of a runner known by the screen name 'Darkwing Duck'. Careful planning and a healthy dose of luck went into his run for the American release of the Dragon Quest series' third installment, or more succinctly put Dragon Warrior 3. Making use of 12 segments he makes his way through a game notorious for requiring heavy amounts of grinding in an impressive 5:14. If you can't tell, I'm very happy personally to see this series finally have a home on the site, so a special thanks from me to the runner, and hopefully we'll see some other installments in the not too distant future.

And for those of you all set to start downloading the new Dragon Warrior run, you may be interested to hear about an upcoming event. Starting on April 8th the group Bonus Stage Marathons will be attempting to run through all eight games in the main Dragon Quest series in a 72 hour period, and while they're at it they'll be collecting donations for the charity Frisky's Wildlife Sanctuary. While this event is in no way affiliated with SDA, those familiar with this series will recognize that if they are to meet their time goal it will require some truly speedy play. So check it out, see how they do, and donate some money to a good cause while you're at it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010 by Breakdown

Save The Animals, Put Them To Work

It's been quite some time since we've seen a new run for one of our more popular titles, Super Metroid. Ever since Hotarubi brought his highly praised (and deservedly so) 0:32 any% run onto the scene several years ago competition on the title seemed to dry up. Undoubtedly, his efforts are a hard act to follow, but today I have the pleasure of unveiling a new run for the game that is definitely worthy of going up alongside the fantastic runs we already have. Runner Christopher Hill has obviously put a lot of time and energy into his work on the PAL version of the game, and the first result of these efforts we get to see is an any% run clocking in at 0:34. This is truly a fantastic effort from a new runner, and recent forum activity shows that he's not done by a long shot, so fans of the title likely have more good things to look forward to.

Next up we have something for all the Pokémon fans out there. Runner Stephen 'Toothache' Stafford chose quite a massive project for his first full game run. Simply finding a quick and efficient way through the main story of the Gamecube's Pokémon Colosseum would have been quite an undertaking, but he decided to take things one step further and go for 100% snags as well. Considering he dubbed his own test run of over 10 hours "pretty fast" it's really quite remarkable he was able to bring his final time down as low as 7:17. There's obviously a lot of optimization to be found in the 33 segments he used, so be ready to see just how quickly you can catch them all with a little concentrated effort.

Finishing things off today we have a two man effort on an individual levels table several years in the making. Runners Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe and 'Persona' have pooled their best efforts over the years for the Time Attack mode in Castlevania Chronicles. The times are as follows:

This gives us a total time for the table of 0:24:14.7. And while it took quite some time for many of these levels to get to SDA, I'm sure you will agree that it was well worth the wait.

Also of note at this time is that our friends over at The Speed Gamers are currently in the middle of yet another marathon. This time they're playing through as many Mario games as they can get their hands on and raising money for the autism charity ACT Today. As of this posting they are about 48 hours deep into a week long event, so there's still plenty of action to see. While they may not burn through their games with the same fervor you see displayed at SDA, they do put on quite a show and are offering a multitude of prizes and have several special guests and events scheduled over the course of the week. So go check it out and maybe give a little money to a good cause while you're at it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010 by Breakdown

Fire and Octane

For starters today we have an improvement for Mario Kart Wii, though those who play the game for speed no doubt find the title to be a bit of a misnomer. Sure it features the gang from the Mario games, and it is undoubtedly a game released for the Wii, but with the introduction of bikes to the series anyone playing for top times and using a kart is just asking to get beat. Fully embracing the era of bike racing in kart games is runner Jose 'UchihaSasuke' Karica who is offering an improvement to his previous run of the game. Still played single segment, this time around he's upped the difficulty to hard mode, but despite this added hardship he was still able to obsolete his old time by just shy of 30 seconds, finishing with a time of 1:07:09.

Next up we have a new run for the Mega Man series with a somewhat unique twist to it. As followers of the site no doubt already know, we have a ton of Mega Man runs available for download, and one thing all these runs have in common is that they all have the player controlling either the Blue Bomber himself or one of the other hero characters introduced over the course of the series. Today, however, thanks to a feature in the PSP's Mega Man Powered Up it's one of the robot masters who gets his day in the sun. Piloted by runner Michael 'MAS8705' Solseth, Fire Man gets his chance to play the hero, and while he doesn't quite stack up to the likes of Mega Man and Proto Man he does show he's got what it takes to get the job done efficiently. Michael gets the once-villain through the game and achieves the good ending with a time of 0:26:07.69.

Finishing off today's update is a significant improvement to a run I personally thought was pretty solid to begin with. It's been quite some time since a serious attempt has been made at the original Castlevania. In fact, the run we've been hosting has stood for over four years and has received much praise in that time. You will note, however, the use of the past tense in that last sentence, as today we present an improvement to this long-standing run. Runner Aleksi 'Bablo' Kanerva took it upon himself to push this game closer to its limits, and by changing some strategies, tightening the execution, and forcing a few lucky breaks along the way he was able to chop nearly a minute off the incumbent time, bringing it down from 0:13:13 to 0:12:21. While it should go without saying, fans of the game and the old run should rush to check this one out. It truly is quite a treat.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 by Breakdown

Sneak, Swing, Smash

Starting things off today is another one of those games I feel has been a notable omission from our collection to this point. Metal Gear as a series has been shown a lot of love from the speedrunning community over the years, but the same cannot be said for the game Metal Gear itself. While a few have started attempts at a run of the original, a finished product had never made its way onto the site, until today that is. Playing on the NES version of the game, runner Marko 'Master-88' Vanhanen provides us with a single segment run with deaths clocking in at 0:28:46. Described by the runner himself as using a route that "looks a little bit like TAS" you can be sure he made Solid Snake appear true to his reputation for resourcefulness and efficiency.

And for the second update in a row our first runner is also our second. Master-88 is at it again with another run for a classic NES title. The game in question keeps with the military theme set by Metal Gear, but rather than overhead maps he's now guiding his character through a platformer filled with spike pits and tall towers. Pretty standard fare for a sidescroller, but made much more interesting when the player is deprived of a jump button. Yes, we have a new run today for Bionic Commando. Going up alongside Jeff Feasel's any% run is Master-88's new 100% effort, collecting every weapon, item, armor, and translator the game has to offer in 0:26:57. Fans of the game will no doubt enjoy seeing the game's many optional levels blazed through and those less familiar with the title still get to see the Hitler look-a-like's head explode at the end. Everybody wins with this run.

Wrapping things up today we have an inaugural run for a superhero title. The Genesis version of The Incredible Hulk offers an interesting gameplay feature in that the titular character can actually revert to his mild-mannered alter ego, the brilliant scientist Bruce Banner. Now this might actually be useful if the game were subtitled something like "The Dastardly Differential Equations," but fortunately for your entertainment purposes such is not the case. The developers did, however, also include a feature on the other end of the spectrum where the Hulk can be even more superhumanly strong and fast, and it is this state you will see a lot of in runner Troy 'Hellfire7777777' Spence's run of the game. Playing on Arcade difficulty he pilots the big green behemoth through in a time of 0:19:35.

Monday, May 17, 2010 by Breakdown

Stop Me If You've Heard This One

A bikini-clad zombie slayer, a vampire hunter, and a robot walk into a bar. . .

First up we have a run for a game that doesn't put on airs. With a title like Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers you'd expect to get a game that has scantily clad women slicing up hordes of zombies, and that is exactly the experience that it delivers. No lengthy exposition scenes, no moral choice system, no bizarre mini games that have nothing to do with the plot. Just hordes of the shambling undead, crazy acrobatic swordplay, and over the top outfits. For its debut on SDA we have runs for two different characters courtesy of Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe. Playing on the game's easy difficulty for both runs, Nicholas hacks and slashes his way to a time of 0:23:16 for Aya and 0:16:46 for Saki.

But Sir VG's skill at killing hordes of the undead with female characters isn't limited to just one game, oh no. He's also providing us today with a run of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood which prominently features the game's secret character, Maria (though that Richter guy does see a little screen time too). Unlike his previous 100% effort, in this run he simply strives to complete the game in as direct a fashion as possible, and accomplishes just that in 0:23:31.

People watch these speedruns for a variety of reasons. Some know whatever game they're watching inside and out and want to judge for themselves how good the run is, some might barely know the game at all and just like watching skillful play regardless of their own familiarity with it, and some like to see a game that frustrated them to no end as a player get its ass handed to it. For me, today's final run falls into that third category. Robo Warrior is a game I owned when I was younger, and one of the few that, despite putting many hours into it, I was never able to beat. Fortunately, this is a problem not shared by runner John 'chessjerk' Kearsley IV. Making the best of the game's random factors and having a solid plan for everything else, he was able to charge through the game with a final time of 0:36:12. And while I doubt it was a motivating factor for him, I would like to personally thank the runner for getting a little revenge for my childhood.

Friday, May 7, 2010 by dex

Speed Demons Archive

Two updates ago Breakdown mentioned the power update themes have to both the viewers of the main page and the updaters of the main page alike. Unfortunately, now I am the one distressed by the lack of any conceivable theme linking the runs available for me to update. In fact, I'd venture to guess that it would be a legendarily difficult challenge to find 3 PC games so different from each other.

Of course, that little inconvenience can't and won't stop me from giving you another batch of runs to enjoy. The first upstanding gentleman to provide us with speedrunning material to savor today is Eli 'Smilge' Chase, who decided to improve his earlier run of the isometric perspective RPG many would agree to be BioWare's best to date (I certainly would), Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. And improve it, he did, managing to somehow come up with over 18 minutes of timesavers in what was already a well run game. The new time of 0:23:09 was achieved using 26 segments, which is nine more than what was previously needed, but considering the improvement comes close to bordering on halving the earlier time, I think we can let that little 'transgression' slide. Check it out, it's great (if that wasn't evident already).

It seems the famous female adventurer, one Lara Croft, is making many frequent appearances on the main page lately - clear evidence how crowded the Tomb Raider speedrunning community is. This time we follow her hasty exploits in Tomb Raider: Legend, thanks to Jarek 'j.calling.2bad' Hanzelka's speedrun on the hard mode of the game. Even though the hard mode run by Shaun Friend is slower than Jarek's creation, it will continue to stay up on the page (am I the only one noticing the accidental innuendo in this paragraph?). Why is that, you ask? The reason is simple, Jarek's run uses an airwalking glitch, which lets him cut off insane amounts of time. The advantage this glitch brings is significant enough to warrant a new category. In any case, the new run uses the glitch and 24 segments to bring the time down to 0:37:32. Good show, good show. (late note: it appears I forgot to mention this run includes an audio commentary - all the more reason you should go download it. Sorry for the omission.)

Finally, as a sort of a dessert, to follow the isometric RPG and TPP platformer, we have an FPS run. As it usually is the case with desserts, it's quite short, but also very tasty. Albin 'quadrazid' Sigby and Daniel 'rayv3x' Babik made a Half-Life Hazard Course run to tease your palate. The run is segmented (8 segments, to be exact), and manages to beat the single segment run by 9 seconds. The time is 0:02:45, and while 9 seconds better than the single segment doesn't sound breath-taking, I assure you the SS time is rather optimised, which makes the improvement that much more impressive. HLSP Bunny and scripts were used.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 by Breakdown

Run Bomb II: The Revenge

Former SDA updater extraordinaire DJGrenola at one point in his tenure documented a phenomenon he called the run bomb. For the uninitiated, a run bomb is when one harmless enough looking entry in the queue contains a multitude of runs. Now, in my time in this position I have encountered several games with multiple runs already, but this is the first time I feel safe in saying I have encountered the run bomb myself, and I'm sure as you read on you will (or if your eyes have already been attracted to the links below, already do) agree.

Sparking the fuse today is a run from SDA regular Andrew Gardikis, owner of some of the more high profile runs we have on the site. So what did he choose for his next project? None other the massively popular NES title Pro Wrestling. Who doesn't remember performing knee drops from the top rope with Star Man, chomping on their opponent's head with Amazon, or unleashing the fury of the Back Brain Kick with Fighter Hayabusa? Likely, it's most of you who don't remember, which is a shame really as this was a great title back when it came out. But one thing which should be a given is that with andrewg at the controls the time of 0:06:00 is very close to the limits of what's possible for this title.

And for the meat of the update we have SquareEnix yet again proving that their fantasies aren't always final. As the name implies, the Wiiware title Final Fantasy IV: The After Years takes place a few years down the line in the same world as Final Fantasy IV, giving players a chance to revisit familiar locales and characters as well as some new ones. In addition to a new main storyline, many of the characters are given their own scenarios as well to help further the plot, and it is around these scenarios that the first batch of runs for this game revolves. For starters, runner Thomas L. Mallory Jr. offers up segmented runs for every single character specific scenario the game has to offer. The details are as follows:

And if that weren't enough to keep fans of this title busy, we do also have a single segment effort of Edge's tale performed by Patrick 'messenger' McElwee clocking in just a couple minutes behind the segmented run at 0:28 with an embedded audio commentary included. With all this attention paid to this game by the speedrunning community, the only question that remains is who is going to tackle the full game run? Whoever it may be, these runs certainly lay the ground work for them very nicely.

While on the the subject of Final Fantasy, it seems a truly fitting time to unveil our newest piece of non-speedrun content. With runs on three games in the series under her belt, Kari 'Essentia' Johnson has amassed quite the fan base around the site as well as the title of "The Destroyer of Final Fantasies." Now, those who may be curious can gain a little insight on how she got into speedrunning, her thoughts on her own runs, and other interesting tidbits of information through this interview.

And as long as I'm knocking the dust off our Features page I may as well announce a few other additions to it. First off, this page will now become the permanent home of the link to our collection of videos from our charity marathon Classic Games Done Quick. Also, while its inclusion on this page is more for archival purposes down the line, it is certainly worth mentioning here that it is once again tournament time on the SDA forums. Longtime SDA member mike89 is playing host to the 6th SDA Tournament which will feature five games over the course of five weeks, with each playing week focusing on either speed, score, or survival. As of this posting the third week has just begun, but there was no formal registration and anyone is welcome to join at any time. While there is a competitive element (I mean, it is a tournament after all) the focus of these is more on discovering new games and having a good time. So come check it out, I personally guarantee a good time or your money back!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 by Breakdown

Stupid FIFO

People seem to like it when these updates have themes to them, and given that it's a little to my chagrin that the order the runs currently available to me were produced make it so I'm deprived of two sets of very easy themes. So what's the theme of this update then? Why, the fact that these two runs deprived me of the opportunity to write back to back updates with themes I didn't need to think about at all (which is a pretty noteworthy thread tying them together if you ask me). And the fact that they're both runs for Nintendo handhelds, mostly the former reason though.

I have some fond memories of playing Final Fight in the arcade. Some friends and I would huddle over our respective joysticks and charge through the game with what we believed to be the undeniably best strategy possible: $10 worth of quarters and no regard for our own safety. At that time if you'd have tried to tell me skill could be applied to such a game I wouldn't have believed you, and I would have balked at the notion of getting through it without dying. Currently, I don't see the feat being quite nearly as ludicrous, but it's still quite impressive to see Jeremy 'DK28' Doll perform it at speed. Playing on the GBA's port of the game entitled Final Fight One, Jeremy pilots Alpha Cody through the game's very easy difficulty in a speedy 0:21:39. Now, I'm sure some of you watching will have questions about what's going on, and foremost among them will likely be what would possess a man to eat a turkey he found in the remains of a chandelier that had just fallen from the ceiling. Answers to this and other puzzlers are addressed in the embedded audio commentary.

And our next run deals with what everybody associates with a bunch of guys punching their way through members of a street gang one by one: vampire hunters. Yep, that's an obvious and not at all random progression. OK, granted it makes no sense, but this fact doesn't take anything away from the newest edition to our Nintendo DS run catalogue. Runner 'Serris' incorporated a couple glitches and some extensive planning into his normal mode run of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. The final result is a time of 0:57:25 in 29 segments and makes for a very entertaining and, thanks in no small part to his recording rig, surprisingly good looking run (which when you consider that this is not just a DS game, but also one that requires some touch screen inputs, is higher praise than it initially seems).

Saturday, April 17, 2010 by dex

Run Payload Enabled

Sincere apologies for the delay, purely my fault you had to wait this long for an update. In my defense, I was swamped with work; let's hope that won't happen again, eh? Now, with that out of the way, time for what you were actually waiting for - brand new additions to our catalogue!

The first run today is another installment of the adventures of everyone's favourite female Archaeologist Who Would Undoubtedly Lose The Job In Real Life, this time in a quasi-expansion pack for the third game in the Tomb Raider franchise, Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artefact. Familiar to those that follow the Tomb Raider speedrunning attempts should be the runner, Shaun 'MMAN' Friend, who decided to run the pack after running the original game. However, contrary to that original run, this time he uses the full potential the glitches in the game offer in order to speed through the expansion levels in just 0:16:31. Since the whole pack is so short, MMAN only needed 6 segments to complete it. Very nicely done!

It would seem Jānis 'Pendrokar' Lukss has acquired powers unavailable to mere mortals, as evidenced by him giving us another amazing run after his mind-blowing Morrowind playthrough. This time he blitzed through the third-person triple perspective game with real-time strategy elements, Giants: Citizen Kabuto. Pendrokar shows no mercy to the game and plows through the 34 segments using a huge amount of various boosts, tricks and glitches, finishing the stories of all three characters in just 1:21:35, a time that (according to his comments) surprised even him. It remains to be seen if he'll continue to submit quality runs at this frequency.

Finally, to round the update off, we have a run of a Tom Clancy game. Of course, since many a game bears his name, that's not really saying much. Right now we focus on the third worldwide release in the Rainbow Six series, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield. The game focuses mostly on meticulous planning and careful, tactically sound attacks, but runner going by the name of 'Berry' only takes the first one under advisement. Specifically, he plans the routes of his teammates so as to wreak havoc in the ranks of the terrorists as fast as possible, and does so very well, since this 15 segment run on the easiest, recruit difficulty is only 0:11:37. A pretty short time to end a terrorist crisis, don't you think? Of course, such a low time first required a lot of failures, and Berry provided us with a bloopers reel, as well.

Saturday, April 3, 2010 by Breakdown

Segmented Sequels

Starting things off today we have a familiar face with a run on a familiar franchise. While far from Nintendo's most popular series, the Kirby games are far from obscure, and from the perspective of a speedrunner the wide array of ability choices available in these titles makes guiding the cutesy puffball with an insatiable appetite efficiently through the stages an interesting problem. No stranger to this particular brand of planning is Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe who has previously had two runs from the series posted, and has now come back for more. This time around he's set his sights on the Super Nintendo's Kirby's Dream Land 3. Split up into 22 segments, Kirby once again saves the world of Pop Star in 1:36:23.

On the subject of familiar faces, I think there are few among the SDA faithful who aren't familiar with the name Nolan 'Radix' Pflug. For those of you not in the know, Radix is the founder of SDA and the one responsible for the site's move from Quake only to all games about 6 years ago. He also produced a fair number of runs himself, and while probably best known for his often referenced yet long since obsoleted Metroid Prime 100% in 1:37 (+1), several of his runs have endured for years on the game list. Today, that number decreases by one. Pikmin 2 is the subject of a massive improvement courtesy of runner Charles Griffin. Through the use of more streamlined strategies and tighter execution Charles was able to chop over 2 hours off the incumbent run, finishing with the best ending in a time of 3:10 over 128 segments. These have been combined into 8 files, one for each game day, for easy downloading.

Finally, a series that has been notably missing from the game list gets its first run on the site. While RPGs are far from the most common games picked up by speedrunners we do have a fairly healthy stock of runs for the genre on the site. Earthbound? Got it. Chrono Trigger? Got that too. Final Fantasy? Got a bunch of them. But before now we've been lacking a run from the series that paved the way for the JRPG as we know it today. That, however, all changes today thanks to the efforts of a runner known by the screen name 'Darkwing Duck'. Careful planning and a healthy dose of luck went into his run for the American release of the Dragon Quest series' third installment, or more succinctly put Dragon Warrior 3. Making use of 12 segments he makes his way through a game notorious for requiring heavy amounts of grinding in an impressive 5:14. If you can't tell, I'm very happy personally to see this series finally have a home on the site, so a special thanks from me to the runner, and hopefully we'll see some other installments in the not too distant future.

And for those of you all set to start downloading the new Dragon Warrior run, you may be interested to hear about an upcoming event. Starting on April 8th the group Bonus Stage Marathons will be attempting to run through all eight games in the main Dragon Quest series in a 72 hour period, and while they're at it they'll be collecting donations for the charity Frisky's Wildlife Sanctuary. While this event is in no way affiliated with SDA, those familiar with this series will recognize that if they are to meet their time goal it will require some truly speedy play. So check it out, see how they do, and donate some money to a good cause while you're at it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 by Breakdown

Not All Who Wander. . .

Kicking this update off is a run that obsoletes one of the older runs on the site. It was back in October of 2005 that Astra Piper recorded her Luigi run of the SNES version of Super Mario Bros. 2, and I don't mean that palette swap of Yume Koujou Doki Doki Panic. No, I mean the real Super Mario Bros. 2, more commonly know under the moniker of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Now, about four and a half years later, this category is seeing an improvement. Brandon 'Grimslade' Coker took up the challenge of running the game initially deemed too hard for American gamers and the product of his efforts is a deathless run from 1-1 to D-4 in 0:16:38, just shy of 50 seconds faster than the old run.

Next up we have an entry from a runner who has been a regular on the news page as of late. Justin 'UCPro' Salamon is at it again, this time with a return to his speedrunning roots with an improvement to his first published run. The game in question is the WiiWare title LostWinds, and by cleaning up a few minor mistakes in the first publication and the discovery of a new sequence break he was able to shatter his old segmented time of 0:21 with his new 0:18 run in 17 segments. This one got rave reviews from the verifiers, so for all you fans of the game out there this is one definitely not to miss.

And it's another familiar face that rounds out today's update. While it's been a while since his last submission, those who've followed the site for any appreciable amount of time should be familiar with the name Andrew Gardikis. Today he makes his triumphant return to the front page with an improvement to one of his existing Excitebike ILs: Track 1 in 0:00:43.69 to be precise. This brings the total time for the table down to 0:04:08.85. Really only so much to say about this one. I mean, it's an andrewg run, and the fact that the name is synonymous with quality is a fact that shouldn't be lost on anyone.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 by Breakdown

Real Men Wear Green

Inspired in part by dex's last news post as well as by today's first run, I think I'm going to take a little time out to reminisce on how I first came to SDA and started speedrunning. There's really only so much to say about how I found the site. I got linked to the NES TMNT run on some forum, was thoroughly impressed, and thought to myself "I can do that." I thought long and hard about a game I both knew very well and liked enough to play to death (which is sage advice for those of you who are considering taking up the hobby) and settled on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. After a short period of time looking for strats around the internet I found this site, registered for the forums, and a few months later had completed a deathless run of the game with no Up+A warping in 1:17.15. That was about 3 and half years ago, and that run has gone unchallenged in that time, until now that is. Driven either by a burning desire to have sole ownership of the game page or just a love of the game that borders on the fanatical, Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelson has successfully set the bar higher for this category. By skipping a few of the items I deemed necessary he has chopped a significant chunk off my old time. And while I plan to take care in throwing out superlatives in these updates, I will say that for me this 1:13:05 is one of the most entertaining runs I've seen hit the site in quite a while. If you have so much as a passing interest in this game check this one out, it's awesome.

And for all you Zelda fans out there, we've got one more for you. It would seem that Link is a Hylian very mindful of his future. He knows that this hero business isn't something that'll last forever, and when the bubble bursts on it he wants to be sure he has something to fall back on, so he took the time to learn a trade. What trade you might ask? Why, the noble profession of goat herding of course. Yeah, I kind of doubt that's the motivation behind the goat herding mini game in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but if it were, as long as Link had Justin 'UCPro' Salamon on hand to coach him he would have a long, stable career in front of him long after the princesses of the world stopped needing saving. All the goats go from loose in the field to in the barn in a very quick 0:00:15.43.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by dex

The Steed, The Shadow, The Serpent

I hope you'll forgive a little bit of personal rambling, because (in no small part due to the first run today) I feel an irresistible urge to tell something about the way I got to know SDA. To keep a really short story even shorter, I discovered it in 2004, but only dropped by once or twice, thinking "yeah, this is kinda neat", then largely forgetting about its existence. In my defense, I was still young and stupid back then. In any case, the 'breakthrough' happened when I saw a run of one of my favorite games - Morrowind. It being a game of huge proportions, I didn't consider it remotely possible to beat it in less than 15 minutes. Ever since seeing that run, I was hooked. So, why am I telling you this? Because the old, 14 minute and 26 seconds single segment run that impressed me so much, AND the 7:30 segmented that followed shortly thereafter have both been demolished by Janis 'Pendrokar' Lukss' new single segment. Using a bug present in version 1.0 of the game and a plethora of different tricks, he managed to get the time down to 0:04:19. Yes, you didn't misread, 4 minutes and 19 seconds. As impressive as the time itself sounds, it pales in comparison to the video of the whole ordeal. I personally recommend this one.

Speaking of my favorite games... Harri 'Rogston' Väisänen and Esa 'SaunaChum' Kivirinta keep on chipping away seconds in Thief: The Dark Project, a game that encourages the player to patiently hide in the shadows and evade encounter, ideally not having the enemies notice anything is amiss. The duo of speedrunning taffers evidently doesn't subscribe to this philosophy, instead opting for a quicker approach - namely, to do everything they have to do and get out fast enough to avoid registering to the senses of the guards. 7 levels in total have been improved, and a new run (the training level) joins the level table. As usual, these are money runs. There's too many of them to list here (our master thieves have really done a lot of good work), but you can get all ILs here. Curiously, the new total time (0:35:41) is 40 seconds longer than the time before the improvements were uploaded - but before you start wondering how that's possible, let me remind you about the Training run (which adds over a minute and a half to the timer).

Lastly, in a fortunate coincidence that lets me pretend this update has at least a partial theme, we have a new run for another stealth-based game, Hitman: Blood Money. It's an individual level run, as well! Mark 'ExplodingCabbage' Amery has made a New Game+ run, and before you ask, yes, there was a run for this game before - one done by mister Amery, in fact - but he asked for it to be replaced by this new run. ExplodingCabbage switches the Rookie difficulty from the old run to Pro - the hardest of the four difficulties. Using every little timesaver he could think of and straining agent 47 to the limit, he finishes all 13 levels in 0:22:44. Check them out, they're really entertaining.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 by Breakdown

A Bunch of Restless Guys

I've been around this site for quite some time, and in that time I feel I've been exposed to a lot of what SDA has to offer. I've watched a bunch of runs, submitted a few of my own, taken part in forum activities, and attended live SDA events. But today's update marks a first for me in my stay here: my first obsoletion. For the first time in just over three years, my run for the criminally underappreciated NES title Faxanadu no longer has a home on the game list. Replacing it is Rhett 'ShinerCCC' Dobson's debut effort for the site. Through the use of a glitch from the TAS and a much tighter and more difficult route he produced a significant improvement from my old 0:36:24 run with a very solid 0:30:14. If you're curious about some of the finer points of the improvement be sure to check out the included audio commentary. And now that it's happened, I have to say getting obsoleted isn't so bad, especially when it's a great run like this one replacing your old effort. Congrats man.

Next up we have a run on another NES game that too often gets lost in the shuffle. When people talk about 8-bit Konami games it's usually games like Castlevania, Contra, or Gradius that get mentioned, with next to no attention paid to a great little game by the name of Jackal. While somewhat obscure, this game does have its fans, one of whom is Marko "Master-88" Vanhanen. Motivated to see this game have its place on SDA, the Finnish runner persevered through the game's several random elements and performed some tight maneuvering in the production of his "no upgrades with deaths" run. Getting a time as low as his 0:08:54 with only grenades is quite an impressive feat, and I definitely suggest checking this one out.

Lastly, after two less than mainstream games, we finish with the amazingly popular Mega Man 9. Those familiar with this game's history on SDA are no doubt also familiar with the name Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson. He's been the sole owner of the IL records for this title, and while that isn't changing with this update, three of our hosted videos are. The improvements are as follows: Galaxy Man down from 0:01:38.41 to 0:01:38.11, Splash Woman down from 0:01:32.86 to 0:01:31.91, and Wily Castle 2 down from 0:01:56.85 to 0:01:54.43. These runs bring the total time of the table down three seconds to 0:20:13. To the uninitiated viewer 3 seconds over 3 runs might not sound like a lot, but if you watch the runs the level of optimization in them is plain to see. Check these ones out, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 by Breakdown

3 in 1

First up today is an inaugural run for a title from the Nintendo DS. Metroidvanias have historically been riddled with game-breaking glitches, and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is no exception to this trend. Runner James 'Aftermath' Downing took full advantage of this fact in the production of his hard difficulty new game + run with major skips in two segments. While the name of the category is quite lengthy, the run itself clocks in at a very quick 0:04:09, and for those of you who spend those four minutes staring quizzically at the screen wondering what exactly is going on, don't fret. Included is an embedded audio commentary to help clear up the finer points.

Next up we have a shining example of a game being beaten far faster than its developers ever intended. If you happen to find yourself a complete, in box copy of Ogre Battle 64 and check out the list of selling points on the back you'll see that it promises "over 50 hours of gameplay." This may hold true for a first time player, but certainly not for the likes of Ben 'simmeh' Boven. Through the utilization of an item duplication glitch and some solid strategies along the way, Ben decimates the developers' estimate, finishing the game in 4:24 using six segments. This one also comes with audio commentary for your listening pleasure.

Now I know some of you are looking at the title of today's update and thinking that three games in one update really isn't anything all that special, and you're definitely right on that point. However, when one of those games has three different full game runs being posted it's definitely a noteworthy occurrence. Such is the case today for Mega Man Zero. In the span of a month Youri 'Elpis TK31' Landweer both improved his own hard difficulty with mission skips run from 0:11:19 down to 0:10:31 and completed runs for two new categories, namely hard difficulty with deaths in 0:22:59 and an ultimate mode run in 0:09:05. No audio commentary for this batch, but you can check the game page for some . . . interesting written comments.

And while this is old news to the forum regulars, it should be mentioned for those of you who don't frequent our fine message boards that we now have the entirety of the footage from our charity marathon available for download. Anything you may have missed or moments you'd like to experience again can now be immortalized on your hard drive. Just head to the schedule page for the links.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 by Breakdown

The Doctor Is In

First up today we have a run for a new category on Trauma Center: Second Opinion. Japanese runner 'szsk' is no stranger to this game. He previously published a normal mode SS run, and while that run is very impressive in its own right, today's offering represents the completion of a much larger task. For this run he's set the sight of his Wii-mote on hard difficulty and completes every mission available in the game, leaving all his patients GUILT free with perfect XS ranks throughout. In short, 100% completion. Oh, and did I mention this was done in a single segment? Completed in 2:34:03, this is one not to miss.

Keeping with the medical theme, we have a new record in an old category for Dr. Mario 64. Kari 'Essentia' Johnson has had sole ownership of the page for quite some time, but no longer. Kevin 'neskamikaze' LaLonde has offered up a new run for the "Classic mode with deaths" category, topping the old mark of 0:38:50 from 2006 with a very quick 0:37:02. To cite our recent marathon, I think many of the viewers (myself included) were very surprised just how entertaining watching a run of this game can be. Check this one out; it's definitely worth the watch.

Last, but certainly not least, is one of the most anticipated runs to come to the site in quite some time. Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson is a man who needs no introduction. One of our most prolific runners, he bolsters his own reputation for excellence today with an improvement of one of the more hotly contested titles we have to offer. You may have heard of it, a little game called Super Mario Bros. 3. After logging literal thousands of attempts, the Swede of Speed was able to comfortably beat Andrew Gardikis's time of 0:11:01 with a truly stellar 0:10:48. I think it's safe to say this game has been pushed pretty close to its limits, but the runner himself admits there's still seconds to be squeezed out of it. The only question is who is going to rise to that challenge?

Sunday, January 31, 2010 by Breakdown

Wait, I have to do this again?

Apologies for the delay on this second update of mine, and since it's a little later than I originally intended I'm upping the usual serving size for this one. Yes, the added run is entirely because of me feeling guilty about making you good people wait 10 whole days between updates and nothing at all to do with the fact that we have quite the backlog right now. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The first run on the menu today is an improvement over a longstanding run on the game list. Zack 'zallard1' Allard is new to SDA, but no stranger to high level play on Star Fox 64. An accomplished high score player, he recently turned his efforts to speedrunning the game. Through the use of a few new strategies and the tightening of some old ones, he was able to take down the old mark of 0:25:45 for the "with deaths" category set by Brett 'Psonar' Ables back in 2006. The time of the new run is a very quick 0:25:16, which he achieved by trusting his instincts and using the boost to get through.

Next up is a new addition to the site also coming from the N64. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is a great example of one developer improving on the work of another. The first Star Wars game for the N64, Shadows of the Empire, was produced by LucasArts and is generally considered a fairly poor third person action title with two fantastically fun flying levels. About two years later along comes developer Factor 5 with this game consisting solely of flying levels and critics and players alike adored it. One such player is runner Evan K. N. Jankowski who today provides us with a single segment run with deaths clocking in at 1:01:17.

Last, but certainly not least, we have a run of a game that truly changed the face of its franchise. To call Star Fox Adventures a departure from the previous games in the series doesn't really begin to describe just how amazingly different this title is from the ones that came before it. Taking place outside of an Arwing for the bulk of the game, the series moved here from straight up space shooter to a style more similar to that of the 3-D Zelda titles. Whether this was a good move for the series or not is a matter for debate, but what is certain is that runner Justin 'UCpro' Salamon has put this game through its paces. Making use of 100 segments, Justin saves the aptly named Dinosaur Planet in a speedy 4:46. 100 files is a lot, so we have torrents available for the medium and high quality versions for easy downloading.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 by Breakdown

"Hold on to your butts."

Hello SDA viewers. I'm Breakdown and I'll be your updater today, and if you're reading this it means I managed to not break the framework of the site getting this thing posted. But yeah, I'm the new guy on staff. I've been hanging around the site for years now and have been given the opportunity to give a little back, and intend to do so with pride. My only hope is that I can keep the quality of these front page updates up to the standards set by those who have come before me. I truly have some large shoes to fill.

But enough about me, you're here to see some runs, right?

The title of today's update serves the dual purpose of expressing my fear of my technical ineptitude being put on display for all to see as well as quoting one of the more memorable lines from the movie on which today's first game is based. As with most wildly successful movies, Jurassic Park has been ported to just about every console imaginable in nearly every gameplay style imaginable. Really the only thread tying them all together is that each features a variety of dinosaurs that you need to blast your way through in some form or fashion. Today's offering is on the SNES version of the game, which has no shortage of dino blasting, but also has a focus on exploration and item collection to advance the plot. The three man team of Patrick 'ev0lution' Seibert , Frank 'Nokia3311' Jahn, and Nicolas 'ZdadrDeM' Grosmann make their way through this single player adventure in a very efficient 1:02:36 on the PAL version. Sure it doesn't have the length of a Spielberg film or a Crichton novel, but this run is an excellent example of how less can indeed be more.

Vagrant Story is generally heralded as one of the more innovative games Squaresoft ever produced. Lauded by some and reviled by others, it features a deep combat system and an intricate item crafting mechanic. Love it or hate it, though, there is no denying that Yadir 'Riskbreaker Y' Osornio annihilated it, cruising through the game using 13 segments and finishing in just under 2 hours (1:59 to be exact).

Also of note is that we have more videos from our wildly successful Charity Marathon ("Classic Games Done Quick") up and ready for download, commentary included. We currently have up through Strider on the second day ready to go. You can find the links on the schedule page, and keep an eye on that page because there's more on the way.

Saturday, January 9, 2010 by dex

Almost A Clone

Hundreds of Star Wars games have been released since the franchise began its existence in 1977, an overwhelming majority of them not very enjoyable. However, our new star (pardon the pun), Star Wars: Republic Commando, is one of the more notable exceptions, partly due to the fact it puts the old adage 'if you want to have something done right, do it with 3 copies of yourself' to the test by making you the leader of a clone squad. '-Arcadian-' doesn't seem to like being a clone too much, because he's trying to get through the whole experience as fast as possible in this Easy run of Geonosis, finishing in 0:35:41. To compensate for the player character's lack of Force abilities, he used 15 segments, in addition to his own Jedi-like reflexes.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is a game that needs no introduction. What definitely needs introduction, on the other hand, is the absolutely insane improvement of the Assassin run by the absolutely crazy Sören 'FraGFroG' Heinrich. Drawing on sinister powers that shouldn't be named, he managed to save over 16 minutes and actually bring this epic game under the magical 1 hour threshold. This 0:58:52 in 33 segments is so crazy, you're really gonna think Sören is possessed. Which actually might not be that far off from the truth: this game is infamous for drawing players in for good, and 'FraGFroG' couldn't evade this mysterious power and had to also make another run. Virtually identical to that 58:52, it abuses a death in the last segment to save a pretty palpable amount of time - 24 seconds, to be exact (0:58:28). Go check it out.

Monday, January 4, 2010 by nate

Charity marathon conclusion

Our Charity Marathon ("Classic Games Done Quick") is now over. We got off to a slow start, but we made up for it: we ran 67 games in just over 55 hours and collected over $10,000 from over 450 people for CARE (and we are still accepting donations for the next few hours). We usually had at least 1,000 viewers on our streams. That's not bad for our first shot at this! There is already talk of another marathon, but nothing is concrete yet, so keep dropping by SDA to stay informed.

Much of the marathon (both game and commentary streams) is already available for viewing on our ustream page. Higher quality versions (with both streams in one video and without problems with sprites disappearing, for example) will follow soon. Right now as I type this I'm burning all 55 hours of video from Mike Uyama's DVD recorder in 2-hour chunks, then copying those DVDs to my laptop's hard drive in preparation for combining with the Flash Media-encoded commentary stream. Syncing the two streams will be the real hard part, but I don't anticipate that will take me more than a few days. Keep checking back, and you'll see that nice version of the marathon available for download here soon. Otherwise, if you don't want to wait, just hit the ustream recordings.

We'd like to thank all our runners and mods, the MAGfest staff, CARE for being willing to try us out, and especially TheSpeedGamers for taking us under their wing for our first run through this charity marathon game they built completely from scratch. You should know that there would have been no Classic Games Done Quick if not for your vision.

Here's to another record-breaking year!

Friday, January 1, 2010 by nate

Last-minute charity marathon promotion

Our Charity Marathon ("Classic Games Done Quick") begins tonight at 6 pm Eastern Standard Time (US)! Please tune in and donate to support CARE's mission to combat world poverty! (The live stream will be embedded right on this very page starting later today.)

If you want to help beyond just donating, you can spam the link to our promo video. (Or, you can download a higher quality version if you want to upload it to your own account somewhere.)

See you tonight!

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