Monday, December 19, 2016 by theseawolf1

Now with 1000% More Grunting? PERRRRFECT!

It’s getting close to my favorite time of the year: AGDQ Eve! But we’re not there yet so in lieu of a calendar stuffed with chocolates I present to you bundles of speedy joy to happily distract you!

Hark! Hear that screaming? Getting ever closer?! IT’S LIKELY A PERSON SEEKING A DOSE OF THIS END OF YEAR CHEER!!!!

No wait it’s a headless man with bombs. Must’ve gotten out of bounds in Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, a common occurrence I assure you. 'Freezard' & Daniel 'rayvex' Babik deliver a master class in grunting while propelling through most of the game by riding the opposition like a rented mule and being punched through walls like an inverted Kool Aid Man. The improved stage times total up to 0:23:05. This is on the Tourist difficulty, but I think Tourist better describes how the runners make a mockery of programmed boundaries. Kind of like that time I infiltrated a state park at midnight with a camera…probably shouldn’t have put that on the Internet…ANYWAY.

::Stands imperiously on the face of a buffalo, facing backwards, tromping towards the next run.::

Whoooooooa, Stampy! We’re here at lovely Raccoon City for this episode of Resident Evil: HD Remaster, and boy it’s a mess! Thankfully 'Pessimism' has brought a good friend named Jill Valentine, and she’s brought her bottomless rocket launcher to take care of business. Even Barry looks sadly at his beloved magnum, dainty in comparison to the force on display during this New Game+ 1:16:07 on Normal. For a good laugh, watch at the end of the run as the Tyrant does his best Genji impersonation.

::Laments the loss of the old, non-HD blocky graphics. BUT IS SUDDENLY REWARDED WITH MORE BLOCKS THAN HE EVER DREAMED POSSIBLE!!!!!!::

After facing the horror of Kurushi (aka Intelligent Qube), you’ll beg for a non-Euclidean geometry to blast your fragile sanity apart into blissful madness. 'adeyblue' is a much braver soul who not only does the “come get some” emote with his hand at the oncoming horde of crushing blocks, he holds down the button to accelerate them at maximum speed. Kurushi is krushed in 0:18:56. It is an impressive watch to be certain, I dare say a Her-cube-lean effort. I’ll leave this gem from his commentary:

“Stage 7 is home to the least slack space, the hardest / longest puzzle, the hardest puzzle group, and the game's black sense of humour. Due to the size of the puzzles it's entirely possible for the game to start you off on a wave with a puzzle which is impossible to solve in the space you have behind you, even if you have collected a few extra rows.”

::We interrupt the march of the cubes for an announcement from our staff!::

As requested by my commanding officer, I present http://tasvideos.org/3264M.html as the “compulsory TAS viewing of this year.” I warned you about keys, bro! I told ya dog!

Sunday, November 27, 2016 by Worn_Traveler

Remembrance of Things Post

     Theseawolf1 began the last update by listing the things he may be remembered for. My memory of theseawolf1 begins with his submission of The Partyin', er, Guardian Legend years ago. Today's runs also have memories attached to them, some directly by their game, and others by proxy. With Thanksgiving coming up soon, it is good for us to be thankful for our family, friends, abilities, and video games.

     Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was the first Sonic game I ever played. It probably was the first Sega Genesis game I ever played, and it was the first Sega Genesis game I ever owned. I have spent a lot of time casually playing this game and I am thankful that the cart and the Genesis I play it on still works almost 22 years later. Today we have an update to the IL table. 'AlecK47' has taken Casino Night Zone Act 1 from 27 seconds to 25 and utilized a zip that puts new meaning to walking on the ceiling. 0:14:34 is the new table time.

     'ktwo' took a break from Solomon's Key to hit some digital slopes in Amped 2. I had no idea this was a snowboarding game when I chose it for posting but I'm glad I did. It is nice to see something different from time to time. Ktwo has segmented his digital snowboarding career and goes for it all in this 100% run of the European version in 2:44:35. A game of this length certainly requires memorization and a good snowboard. Bundle up and ride down the hills.

     Sometimes we cannot remember things as well as we want to, and if we do remember, we may not be able to make sense of things. Did the event happen? Was it just a dream? Was it in reality, the Matrix, the afterlife, or elsewhere? Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy starts with some questionable memory and goes from "Did I just do that?" to "I did do that!" pretty quickly and things get messy from there. 'gelato' watches and plays through this interactive movie (the game calls itself a movie), playing on Easy mode and attaining the Neutral Ending. There's a lot going on here and I suggest reading the runner's notes. This run clocks in at 3:22:20, putting it around the same running time as Seven Samurai and the 1959 version of Ben-Hur.

Sunday, November 20, 2016 by theseawolf1

Can You Be Dashing in a Game with no Dash Mechanic?

Hey kiddies, theseawolf1 here. Depending on how long you’ve been with SDA, you’ve probably seen me on a meme with TJP about sweaters, literally wearing C-3P0 on a Katamari hat, arguing over chikin sammiches, asking for 80 tacos, ruining a Romscout puzzle race (and paying dearly for it), commenting on games I am bad at, hitting opponents from across a map with a shotgun, quoting about Spencer’s proficiency in wai-fu, losing a race somewhere or generally engaging in word play and puns. Ah, happy days…

Unfortunately for you all, I think they are letting me work on some updates. This means you all get my brand of infotainment! I’ll do my best to take in the breadth of game types and runs coming in to SDA, been around awhile and I intend to hang for at least as much again. Don’t be self-typecast into only watching certain genres; you’ll be surprised how entertaining a randomly presented run can be!

 

Oh yeah, the actual job.

 

First up, we have a series of poor arcade programmers who have given Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy access to things like buckets, hit scan weaponry and foes who wear chaps of questionable coverage and fashion taste. In Vendetta, a kidnapping of one Kate Kutie leads to the ultimate test of quality vs. quantity as 4 knock-off heroes lay into masses of slime balls. In this world, everyone walks right, as to go back left leads to INSTANT DEATH! Boomer tosses out a 0:14:32, Blood knuckles up for a 0:15:18, Sledge pities fools for a duration of 0:15:21 and Hawk applies his forehead directly to the forehead in 0:16:13. All four runs have audio commentary where MURPHAGATOR details abuses in programming, hit detection, character differences, and just how Rude, Kruel, and…uh…whatever the heck Faust is the game can be. Also, it’s got a kickin soundtrack, and a final boss rush to really eat your quarters.

::leaves the town alive, just to annoy the bad guys::

Next up is…oh wait its Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy again playing a rousing game of “Hrrrrk…..HNAH!!,” better known as Mutation Nation, a beat ‘em up of unique design choices in artwork, no superjoy/safety move to get baddies off of you and a super move that requires immobility to charge. The result is a battle requiring expertly timed charges, abuse of the basic attack combo and COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE of what spawns where/when to not be erased instantly. By abusing the few mercies the game offers and utilizing quirks in enemy AI, our red-haired hero pummels all manners of mutant, alien and robot to a suitable boomy/gooey end in 0:21:45. Again, Murph’s got the juicy details in his audio commentary.

::cracks knuckles and points to the final run::

Paul 'The Reverend' Miller seeks fame and fortune in Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire (AGDI remake). A caffeinated yet narcoleptic fellow runs wild, gathers elements and oddities and gets caught up in a war to retake a (seemingly) Arabian city. A mash-up of point and click plus keyboard controls keeps Paul on his toes (fingers?), while running the game at full speed keeps things at a frantic pace for an adventure game. By dint of magic, manipulation, masterful UI work and that CHARMING smile, our hero foils the wannabe Jafar in 0:11:33. No seriously, red cloak, long twirly stache, magic, a forbidden cave, if he had a bird there’d have been a lawsuit.

::looks over his first post, puts hands on hips and smiles::

Saturday, November 5, 2016 by Worn_Traveler

All Hallowed Up

     Hello friends. Some of you know me as Worn_Traveler. Some of you know me as Skullboy. I'm a longtime fan of speedrunning and I'm now giving back to the community by contributing to the front page. Three is a great number for an update and these three runs that will help you get ready for Halloween. From the gory to the goofy (but still gory) and to the peak of isolation, these three runs will make you think twice before opening that door...

    First we have an improvement to the Any% segmented category for F.E.A.R.'Freezard' has taken his old 46:29 on Low difficulty and dropped it down to 0:45:06. The segments are appended to one file so you won't have to download or click a myriad of segments, a scary thought in and of itself. The game alternates between violent and creepy and will have you wondering just what is really going on, if you haven’t played it at least.

    There was a sci-fi film that was released in 1976 called Logan's Run and thanks to 'Miryafa' we can watch Sarah's Run: Escape from Capital Evil in 0:06:40, which has nothing to do with Logan's Run, save for running, though perhaps both are trying to find sanctuary. As of this writing, the game has not been updated from the preview version since 2010 but don't let that stop you from watching or playing this quirky and eerie physics game. If solving puzzles and making walls rotate (or is it Sarah who is rotating?) are of interest to you, check it out.

    Finally, we have a massive undertaking in terms of multiplayer action. Why fight evil alone like in the other games in this update when you can do it with friends? One's chances of survival are increased greatly, right? Years ago 'Kibbo', 'KlVis', 'BoltR', 'finalboss', 'BoltRClone', 'Aphox', Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Mirko Brown, 'Arran' & 'Ewil' joined forces and traveled through time in Serious Sam: The Second Encounter. This exciting multiplayer IL table on Tourist difficulty in 0:48:05 is the result. Watching the runs from multiple viewpoints is highly suggested if you are not familiar with the game but isn’t necessary to enjoy the battle across the ages to gain the Holy Grail and maybe make it back to space.

    Remember, we do like to receive news tips so if you know of anything speedrun related that's going on, please make sure to let us know at https://queue.speeddemosarchive.com/submit_news_tip/. Here's what's coming up:

    If you’re into RPG’s, there’s a Breath of Fire relay coming up on the RPGLimitbreak Twitch channel (https://www.twitch.tv/rpglimitbreak) on November 19-20. There’s also a big Final Fantasy IV 25th anniversary event being planned for as well which is slated for November 26.

    Want to run a game in a low key online marathon? Sign ups for Scrubathon VI are currently up on our forums:https://forum.speeddemosarchive.com/post/scrubathon_vi__submissions_open_dates_december_910__december_171819.html

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Settling on Doom

If you're a fan of the Doom series, you'll be happy to see Doom 64 finally making it on SDA. While the game does have a plot, it probably doesn't matter. Just kill demons stood in your path until none have survived. Phillip 'ZELLLOOO' Shanklin played on the easiest difficulty, Be Gentle!, and wrapped the 32 levels up in a quick 0:32:35, Single Segment.

The Settlers III follows the footsteps of the previous two games, except for one interesting tidbit. Iron and coal are required to produce weapons, but the game's copy protection made it so pirated copies had iron smelters produce pigs instead of iron. I hope the bacon made up for it though. 'Tigger77' improves the first mission by 16 seconds and the 7th mission by 48 seconds, for a total of 1:04 minutes, and a new table time of 2:17:23

Back to shooters, we have a third person shooter to wrap up today. Kane & Lynch: Dead Men follows the footsteps of Kane as he escapes death row thanks to Lynch and a bunch of mercenaries from a gang called The 7. The gang, however, tells Kane they've captured his wife and daughter and will kill them unless he returns the money they think he's stolen from them. Despite never having done so, he does still go on an adventure to get the money back. To help him is Mirko Brown, who beat the game in 1:18:53. If you were wondering, this is indeed the game that had a GameSpot reviewer getting fired over it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016 by IsraeliRD

The Fast and the Completionist

Today's runs are an interesting mixed bag. You can check out an absolutely broken game, a normal speedrun (as "normal" as can be) and one where you get to fully see at least the main chunk of it.

The first run of the day belongs to a game in a well known series about assassinations. Yes, it is indeed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood that kicks things off. There's only one man who could have run it in his own exceptional manner, and today, François 'Fed981' Federspiel does not disappoint. If you're after 100% synchronization, then we have for you a superb 4:05:30 run in 122 segments (combined to 13 parts), availing of the additional ammo from the Da Vinci's Disappearance DLC, despite not playing any of its actual missions. Lush must-read comments are provided.

Where Assassin's Creed used a large number of trusted historical references, there must have been slightly more dubious ones that inspired the puzzles in the graphic adventure game Return to Zork. The game's plot has the player win an all expenses paid holiday to the Valley of the Sparrows, which has, however, fallen under some dark influence and become dysfunctional, with the remaining citizens having frequent nightmares. I should note here that the designers had several goals in mind with this game, one of which was to have multiple ways to solve every last puzzle, and several ways to beat the game in general. Needless to say, 'uematsufreak' tested them all, then going ahead with this Single Segment run at a length of 0:29:33.

The last and the least-related to our shared history, yet the fastest of the lot, is a run for a game pretty well known to our regular readers: Secret of Mana. Showing that he still has no FEAR (heh) is 'Overfiendvip', who set to improve his previous entry in the Über-Large-Skips category for this game. Improving by no less than 10 seconds in an already excellent run, we can now feature his sweet 0:06:37. It will possibly take you longer to read the comments on the gamepage :)

Saturday, September 3, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Rave to Death

If you enjoy rave parties, you should probably not do so next to prisons. According to the events unfolded in Hunter: The Reckoning, it gave rise to the dormant evil that was sealed away a year ago by four people. Said people are now back to destroy that evil before the entire population of Ashcroft is dead. Playing as the Defender is 'Stokesbro' who beats the game in 1:07:29, Single Segment.

F.E.A.R. speedruns are a favourite of mine, so it's no surprise I was rather excited seeing F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate turn up in the queue. 'Overfiendvip' brings a big improvement of 3:06 minutes to the previous run, thanks to better movement and some slight route changes. Considering this is a Single Segment run, it is pretty impressive to see it done in 0:49:54, on Low difficulty.

The last run for today is also a big improvement, considering how small the game is and the previous run in question. D.J. 'Akiteru' Rideout is much happier with his 33 seconds improvement to The Lion King as he brings the time down to 0:13:48, in Difficult difficulty.

If you also missed out, moooh has stepped down from his position as SDA's gamepage creator, which means that every gamepage posted here has been done by him. Our gamepage-automation script has given him a hand in recent months, though some gamepages are still made by hand. His five and a half years stretch will not be easily forgotten for he has done a tremendous job! Here at SDA we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

To replace him is LotBlind, who has taken up the offer and is currently busy handling gamepages and is been guided by moooh and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As LotBlind won't do frontpage updates for the near future as he chews through our backlog, you guys are now most unfortunate to have me posting them... again. :)

Edit by LotBlind: POWER OVERWHELMING

Saturday, August 20, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Picking things up

Because we don't have the first game on the site (but we do have the third!), I can't really do much spoilers about Mega Man Battle Network 2. What I can say is that the game's RNG has been ripped apart by 'Keizaron' who manipulates just about everything he can get his hands on. Bosses and foes alike are mowed down thanks to powerful attacks that a normal player may not be able to dish out in such manner. Providing us with a Single Segment, with Resets, 2:11:58 is a RNG-wrecking entertainment.

Long time coming is Zack 'Zallard1' Allard's runs for Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. Mike Tyson is improved by 3 seconds, giving us a run time of 0:02:07, and bringing the table time down to 0:14:02.30. In addition to that, he submitted a Single Segment run that improves the obsoleted run by 27.91 seconds, to 0:15:57.98.

Last one for today is a great improvement to an already outstanding run. If you're still swearing at Dark Souls then it's doing its job to the day, and I suspect that 'CapitaineToinon' dished out more than a few new phrases while improving the previous run by 3:42 minutes, clocking in at 0:21:29, Single Segment with Large Skips and Resets. Turns out the Kiln Skip is still possible, just in a different setup...

Monday, July 18, 2016 by LotBlind

Game Titles Too Braindead to Deserve Better

So these two guys showed up in verification one day: Alien Shooter and Zombie Shooter. I thought: "That's gotta be some über-simple one-screen Flash top-down gun 'em downs both from the same uninspired developer", but they might not be reductible to quite that after all.

Let's tackle them one at a time. Alien Shooter is isometric and in the style of Postal or Crusader. Pretty arcadey with weapon shopping in-between missions. However, it is a full-blown PC CD release. It was created by Russian Sigma Team in 2003, but lacked the sort of oomph graphics-wise to meet the expectations of the day - but that's just left CPU for the aliens themselves... and their viscera (we must study zeir anatomy zo we know whaz ze indivijual jiblets are for and 'ow vital zey were for zem). The green has never glown more gaily, and this is a hella fun snacksized speedrun: just 0:14:03 with you a-beaming all the way. That's 3:56 off the existing run also by Mihail 'horned' Petrov.

I think their humongous counts also explain why they're all so desperate to transmigrate into our world.

How about the other guy then? Zombie Shooter? It's really just another-out-of-many similar Sigma Team action games, but this time, the blood is red... Well, I could leave it at that, but actually, if you were starting to get withdrawal symptoms, there is the option of turning it back green. It's so much of the same, horned's notes have dwindled down into one paragraph. As a speedrun, because you no longer have to kill everything that drools, it necessitates more risky strats, and so death ain' nuddin but a heartbeat away on a few occasions. The final boss, brought to ruin in 0:10:34, will bring back memories of Quake.

Now you know what dem Russkies up to. ;)

Three people verified this run, and they all seemed to think there was no cheating involved. I, however, have reason to suspect the runner may have been using external helpers, such as... The Force... to speed through Tony Hawk's Underground 2 in just 0:07:30. I have only circumstantial evidence, but you'll have to admit, calling oneself 'guywithalightsaber' should at least cock a few eyebrows. It's very nearly - and even the pettiest nitpicking becomes laborous here - a flawlessly executed run judging by both verifier respondage and my own estimations. There's even non-times-wasting schenanigans integrated into the route. If there's ever another submission in this category someone's going to be very confused and refer the runner to TASVideos.org instead.

This next RTS came to the world from a short-lived, highly focused team called Cavedog Entertainment whose star-spangled line-up featured such luminaires as Ron Gilbert (Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island) and Chris Taylor (Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander). September 1997 was bang in the middle of the mouse-and-keyboard-powered early RTS hot streak: after Warcraft II and just before Age of Empires. Total Annihilation sold really well despite the toughest competition. If you remember that silly thread I once started about which genre of games is sans pareil in terms of how they speedrun (which is now an intransitive as well as transitive verb - the pleasure is mine), I did give RTS titles the crown with the caveat that they had to be sufficiently freeform, which TA does at least approximate in places. That's why I never baulk at the traverse of run lengths with these things - 2:36:13 is nothing, and the first 10 missions just went by in flash. May have had something to do with the game being in-game timed which runs much faster...

'kakashi12309' has trodden the expected Individual Levels avenue here. One unique thing about Total Annihilation is the way your base is... mobile. Well that's to say one of your units is the "Commander" who can build structures and whose head acts as the mission win condition in multiplayer matches. Lobbing it off ain't that easy though seeing as this unit has enough health and firepower to parry any scrappy offensives all on its own, breaking no mechanoid sweat. Correctly predicting this getting massively abused is about as meritorious as calling Arizona children would rather take the bus than walk the 40 desert miles to school. The run, which plays through the "Core" campaign on "Hard" manages to showcase many other stratagems as well, such as the recurring "Com-bomb". There is a full, annotated, playlist of these ILs on YouTube at your preference.

I did, BTW, call that the soundtrack was by some bungler called Jeremy Soule. Just for the record. And, for the record, it's within the five earliest recorded orchestral soundtracks for any game. Can you beat that?! Yes, you can by naming one of the other four.

Monday, July 11, 2016 by LotBlind

Don Your VR For This One

Infogrames was a highly expansionist more-is-better sort of game publisher. At their peak they had subsidiaries everywhere and as such got their stamp on a stupidly wide variety of titles across multifarious platforms. That type of company is always headed by businessmen, not creators, and thus you can expect their indirect output to come with some jagged edges and loose bits of string if that's the way to hit Christmas sales on time. As such, it'd strike me (did strike me) a bit odd someone's attention should be caught by airing the name, but it's natural you're reflecting on the few good ones you did play (bad ones you'd have forgotten about), not any of the bollocks getting sold on the basis of licencing - though that's not quite the accurate watershed marker either.

But why have I brought this up? I have an update today that consists of five shortish runs that I've been able to sit through and should be able to speak with some modest authority on. The first ones are 0:32:12 and 0:10:34 long, the latter off a prepared file, for Looney Tunes: Taz Express. It verily bears the Infogrames* possum in the opening titles and it verily counter-exemplifies their grandest moments with scores that could be considered too low to matter. That having been said, I couldn't tell you (well without run comments I couldn't) what exactly was the problem with this '00 N64 title. I don't know and don't really care if the tasmanian devil had starred a prior 3D platformer but his signature, the erratic and destructive whirls, make you think they'd have some potential as a unique mechanic. Apparently they went overboard and made "erratic" completely untractable. Some of the gameplay looks sort of pointless too I'll admit, but the soundtrack and overall feel of the game seem to defy the game's ill repute - if it even really has a repute. I'm on one of my waxing days (waxing in the sense "waxing lyrical" not in the sense "bikini wax") and so should probably just leave it at the mention of whose work the two runs are: it's 'Pottoww', and you should at least see the first level in the plain non-NG+ because the way the first warp is set up and executed is one of the most quaint I've ever seen.

It's not that long ago we paid for tickets onboard the mystery tour 'midst the mystifying mists of Myst. Due to a technical mishap, the cars derailed (read: it was the RealMyst version) and we got ushered away through the led-lit emergency exit. Anticipating dissatisfaction, the astute manager Robert 'Gelly' Gelhar has sent everyone cordial handwritten invitations to be the first to tour the foot-trekking redesign (read: it's still the RealMyst version) of the epoch-spanning experience. Those who assume postures aerodynamic enough to withstand the colossal drag described by a formula whose parameters include the distance covered divided by an alarmingly minor time scalar (that's a significant 4:02 faster too) - my way of saying we're probably outstripping charging sailfish - will be richer of sea-proximating memories as if old scurvied salty dogs, woodland ones as if born on verdant Kashyyk, and those of the underworld as if intimate with the perilous Morian caverns where the mighty Balrog... wants to have a go at you. Much irony is contained within the fact that a good portion of this "freerunning" 0:24:18 we're confined in a rail-bound bathysphere.

This next run for Glover, the game I always read as "glower", may not contain any major skips, but it sure does zounds of minor hops and jumps. It stands out amongst N64 platformers alongside Mario 64 as one of those with memorably unique and skill-capping movement - at least when handling those beach balls. The inevitable overlaps are there: star-shaped screen transitions and the overall look of the graphics for instance. Should've hired a more athletic camera guy cause the view seems to be lagging behind a lot of the time... And doesn't the kid sound exactly like Mickey Mouse when he gives that excited "Whoopie!" at the end of levels?

'Yoshipro' has one-shot many challenging jumps and other tricks to shed off as much as 6:32 down to a 0:28:02. In the game, you're the right hand (in a literal sense) of a wizard whose potions (wait is he actually an alchemist then?) have went completely haywire creating the evil sinister glove Cross-Stitch. Can you find the seven crystals that had to be turned into rubber balls instead and restore both the Crystal Kingdom, and the Crystal Castle's Faustian occupant to a state that may safely be succeeded by a lulling credits sequence? That's the plot. Roll up for the blue juggling chicken!

Whoever wrote the game page blurb for Skyblazer labels the game, unheard of by Mister Me, a cult classic. Moving back from the early console 3D era to 2D reminds me of the stark contrast between late SNES/Genesis (Skyblazer is 1994) eye-candy and the N64/PS1 eye-sore to be very unkind to it. Heyyyyy, there's a surprise commentary track! My Christmas come early except with an average period of what's probably less than one full calendar year. So what's new in the life of Eric 'Omnigamer' Koziel? Bit less laggy. Better riskier zipping. Inarguably cool bosses. Deep-frying yourself once Scottish Mars Bar style. And this 0:25:48! For some reason, the protagonist's mentor, who remains the rather impersonal "Old Man" all the way, has to be visited at every plot exposition junction even after traveling to the far side of the Earth.

Seeing as this rather incidentally turned into a discussion of 3D graphics in video games, It'd be remiss of me not to point you at something to educate yourself by, mainly because this 30-minute epic gives the low-down on the history of 3D in specific, as relates to arcade machines and home computers (to be marketable, consoles could of course not pack that raw technical punch of 4-D Boxing). Man, does early 3D actually look so cool... I love simple graphics. Seriously, some of these games look like they're every bit as perfect as the austerity of VVVVVV or something cel-shaded. Minus the music, which the first ones hardly had. But I understand 100% why this stuff would have drawn crowds and blown minds. To me, it's STILL The Future.

*I should point out they're still with us today - merged with and nameshifted into Atari. Throughout Infogrames' history so many of the games created by companies they'd acquired don't even list Infogrames as their publisher so it's quite difficult to scry what to blame, or indeed credit, them for. Their top-rated game in a user-voted list I saw, from a time when they seemed to have more clear-cut in-house production, was the muchly lauded and innovative Alone in the Dark - a series whose whole genesis should and only can be rightly ascribed to a lone wolf acting of their own initiative (and initially outside working hours) to create the first memorable PC horror adventure utilizing 3D polygonal graphics, Frederic Raynal. If anything Infogrames nearly messed it up by pressing them to hit... yeah we're full circle with this thing... Christmas sales on time. And that's what I remember them for.

Saturday, July 2, 2016 by LotBlind

Asinine Old Journey Fans Wolf Final Steinfuls of Blood

Whoa! That's quite the provocative picture I've just painted there now isn't it?


Well well well. I'm stuck here again aren't I? It's the syndrome I've long (since 2014) been in search of an apt name for. I want to see the run, it's only going to steal me 0:49:43, but I will not be spoiled for the game just in case I'll have crawled up the long and lonely backlog far enough to see this sufficiently well-received 2015 FPS with mine own eyes before I die of my blood getting transfused into a display case of its own at my local equivalent of a Smithsonian exhibition. Of old, that is, - and in this metaphor - critically misplaced blood. Which is what Wolfenstein: The Old Blood might know a thing or two about. Tim 'Judgy' Kedge, now you know why I may have ignored it in verification.

The Old Blood indeed did not rejuvenate the series any, though the blood splatters on your screen may appear freshly let. It was considered slightly atavistic if anything by contrast to The New Order, and I'm sure such remarks are not missing the Nazi effigy at the end of the rifle range for a game that spawned off two DLCs merged and marketed as an entirely new main series title. Still, I want to see how these contemporary shooters fare in competition with the ones I know of days gone by. I'll betcha they're all new-fangled.

Journey to Silius was probably named after the utterance: "Silly us for thinking we were making a Terminator game" with the "Journey to" referring the development process up to that point. Because that was their plan, but publisher/co-developer Sunsoft's licence expired mid-way through without them ever reacquiring it. You know the game, reminiscent of Contra and Mega Man, has something going for it as their composer Naoki Kodaka (credited as "Mabochan") of e.g. Blaster Master fame wrote the music for it in the trademark Sunsoft style. Many sound effects even sound borrowed straight from ditto. Dang it, even a few sprites and enemy behaviors are recognizable. We stomp through all of it in 0:10:20 together with 'Zakky the Goatragon' whose time surpasses what you've last seen by 48 seconds - pretty nifty when you think how straightforward things [are made to] look. You don't tend to see bad runs for NES games seeing as either they've been taking a mauling by GENERATIONS of runners or at least whoever's picked one up is likely to have played and run a dozen games before. And with guys like Zakky saying "I have come too far to stop now…" Yeah... Just won't someone sometimes check up on the guy and see he's still on his food and sleep? Any gfs or waifus listening?

As is tradition, we leave the long-arse Japanese RPG for last. Does Final Fantasy IX qualify? These games don't just stress fire safety limits as a huddling throng of marathon-goers packs into the room to testify the crowning of the event; their following also extends to those for whom 40 hours is enough commitment so it's no longer worth switching games before commencing to speedrun one. Carefully orienting himself by the druidic ley lines that mark out the optimal running paths and tethering the Random Number Gods closely to the Idol of Ideal Luck, 'Reverv' makes away with around 30 minutes of run time. The 8:03:07 is one cleft into 61 segments, which in case you were wondering lowers that number by 7. The years count for when the last segmented run was induced is increased by 9. The resets? Over 9000. Read yer comments yer! They're 28 pages long-arse.

Saturday, June 25, 2016 by LotBlind

Teh Urrn is Human

What's immediately appealing about the action RTS Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising is it allows you to redesign the composition of your air- and landborne forces at any time and work the nano reassembly gear onboard your carrier to effect the changes. I believe Gray Goo might have done something similar, but this was back in 2001. Hostile Waters itself took its basic concept from a far older game called Carrier Command (from 1988) but you can't blame Rage Games for lack of original ideas when you've been told about the movements of its narrative. Let them not be purportlessly spoiled though. Commandeering the carrier, we've got a first-timer (a surprising number of runners on the front page are that btw) 'BadJim' giving orders and piloting futuristic vehicles through 21 missions in 2:15:54.

And here's another one with an interesting, unique concept. In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent you do indeed tread a fine line in your double service of the terrorists and counter-terrorists of the near future. It's interesting because it's not just a plot point, but a mechanic that you're constantly being evaluated for. You need to find ways to keep the bomb-happy beatniks trusty enough to let you in on their schemes while avoiding extravagant bloodshed. Not finding that line fine enough for their tastes, 'Deleted User' makes sure to be 100% stealthy while reaching the good ending on "hard" in 1:45:35, but at least they've been modest enough to segment it. This repeat visit by triblast is for the 360 while the last was PC.

You give a speedrunner a rocket launcher and they'll give you a shortcut. Today's rocket launcher shortcuts cut into run time like a hot knife through cerebra. The in-bounds is deemed uninspiring and jejune by Ivan 'ImFuryPro' Saponenko who goes on a 0:35:33 10-segments promenade across sundry locations of magnificently preserved (and explosion-proof) ancient history in what is part of well-preserved First Person Shooter history, Croteam's Serious Sam: The First Encounter. Half-way through there's one of the most extravagant displays of unmitigated butchery where the first 2 minutes are a test of your memory and the rest of accuracy and correct weapon choices. I'd personally not have thought there was going to be time when rockets were the antidote to flying enemies, but when they flock up closely enough... feathers will be ruffled. I almost feel the whole game should have been nothing but that stuff.

I guess I might just shoutout the Russian YT channel ImFuryPro seems to be associated with - I'm seeing normal Let's Plays as well as how to optimize your Fallout IV aside from FPS speedruns, so all existing and prospective comrades and товарищи hark now!

It was supposed to be a huge improvement of more than 20 minutes, but turns out mistakes can be made. This is the rather unfortunate case in The Godfather: The Don's Edition where 'Soliduz Znake' returned with what was supposed to be a better route, execution and RNG. After it passed verification (where all we could see was the improved execution and RNG) and the run was timed, it turns out our friend Soliduz mistakenly forgot to add the last segment's run length of 20+ minutes into his calculations. Oops. Nonetheless he wanted to run to pass onwards so here we are with a royal six seconds' improvement that nudges the run time down to 3:06:56. IT'S AN ALTERNATIVE TAKE OKAY!? Oh well, I think le Znake will be found grinning about it for a while into the future.

 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 by LotBlind

Fox Hawkin' Projections of 6k8 Stardom: "U N 4 SotN Magical, Tony!"

Your prize for decoding that one is another update later on.


The untrained eye couldn't pick up where exactly this Star Fox 64 run can possibly be gaining on the clock to make it 0:22:45 instead of 23:09, unless the lag reduction stuff is new. The untrained eye CAN, though, read the comments whereupon it is written ... wait they're in Japanese.

For 'Hayate1129''s sake I hope they had an autofire controller and were allowed to use it for the hundred thousand boosts. Any devs listening - make it so holding the button down is enough! If you're not Japanese [enough] to be sustained by the kanas and kanjis on the run page, what zallard1, another Star Fox connoisseur, had to say about it in verification serves a very similar purpose. Turns out it is far more subtle than I thought.

I just realized dem Nippon kids are learning a modicum of English from their games when they use English words in their titles. Try holding up two flash cards, one of which has a fox on it and the other with a turtle, and asking them which one's the fox. I guarantee you they might get it right. Or wrong.

U.N. Squadron for the SNES is another shmup and thus complements Star Fox nicely. So well, in fact, that they're being run by the very same guy. One of its predominantly horizontal stages uses parallax effects to create a tunnel in-between layers of clouds which I like. To speed up a shmup, in this case you look for the best aircraft and weapons from the shop and make sure you don't miss any shots on the bosses holding your run hostage, but as you should realize I speak in simplifications and simplifications only. The seven stages of this originally arcade cabinet Capcom title, and one that has a place in many a player's heart judging by various scores and reviews, are lain waste to as the one called Mickey on Easy mode within a time frame of 0:19:32 give or take a few ticks.

I wonder if more platformers and various types of games in general wouldn't benefit from having fighting game combo moves like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night does. It introduces variety without having to map it to dozens of keys and gives you a skill to work on. 'wild mouse' has continued work on his Saturn version Maria skills for nine seconds' worth. Playing as her looks like you're playing NG+ with all her OP spell swag. The phoenix she slaughters along the way is probably not going to rise from the ashes. The medusa will continue life as a perpetually stoned med-sab-usa. (...I think that one deserves a pause...) The magician will never reappear amidst a stunned audience either. Speaking of stunned audiences, you're joining one if you snatch the 0:07:36 today!

To find out what stuff other than Maria was dumped before SotN's first release check out this extensive interview with Koji Igarashi courtesy of Double Fine.

'Fog' is bringing us the rags 2 riches tale of the century... or maybe they just spent years practising alone in their mom's garage going up and down the same crooked-ass leftover piece of copper pipe with the occasional ollie over the floor drain... fulfilling their lifelong dream of professional skatesmanship in what sneakily IS the 8th of the Tony Hawks, Tony Hawk's Project 8 (played on the GameCube). They begin to spread the virus that is their fame from what's presumably their home turf, and end up on the other side of a merry little town from any white teenage wastrel's daydreams while engaged in a continuous riot of balance, speed, height, and rotation making their name mean something big in 0:47:36. I have, believe me or not, given some thought as to whether you could actually get signed that quickly, and I do believe you could. You'd just post a superhot skate reel on reddit or something making sure the big boys are tuned in, and if it's good enough, they'll sure as hell rush to be the first with the "sign-heres".

Saturday, May 28, 2016 by LotBlind

In the Pink to the Max Till You Dead DX

The DX you need to read from right to left for a horribly dead "smiley".


If you think space is dead, you just need to zoom in rather a long way but you'll eventually start making out the strings, or whatever, oscillating, or whatever, and energy being created from nothingness. And particles and antiparticles are there, and think about the Casimir effect and dark matter and neutrinos and... The space around the game page for Dead Space 2 isn't any deader either, now holding a PS3 Survivalist difficulty New Game+ 2:20:36 to keep the others company. 'ModSquad' makes chop meat out of the dead space is crawling with that I'd imagine the series got some kudos for seeing as they do something a bit more interesting with zombies.

The irony about this 0:04:11 for Metal Max Returns is the game is already set in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi scenario. It's already the bad ending, or A bad ending, or... well a bad development for the human race. To add insult to injury, Marcus 'crazedlink00' Duchow takes the defeatist "4th path", throwing in the towel before anything has even gotten underway. It's because they get emotionally scarred in a fight against a dog with a rocket launcher. It's understandable, but a shame, because there's a lot to do and see in the highly open-ended Metal Max RPGs, but no official translations seem to exist, so it's similar to your Star Ocean 1 or Earthbound Zero in that regard.

If you remember that by Einstein's theory of relativity, time and space are inseparable and depend on the observer's location and velocity. Even though we may come together on causality, the exact time intervals between events passing will vary. Now you know why Sonic Adventure DX has a new improvement for the character called "E-102 γ" of negative 03:06 minutes. That or the new system of timing, I don't claim to get those. Off wherever the telescope was installed, we see Nelson 'Sonikkustar' Martinez crossing the finish line after 0:13:08.

The name of Étranges Libellules ('Strange Dragonflies') was borne by a Norwegian (actually French but it sounded a bit obvious) game developer most widely known amongst those who cherish comic and cartoon tie-ins aimed at kids. The very crème of their crop might have been some Asterix frolic. Some years before, they'd composed Pink Panther Pinkadelic Pursuit, an homage to a spin-off character first seen in a 60's US-French crime comedy. The Pink Panther was originally just the personification (iconification?) of a diamond that acted as the central plot engine, and its instantly memorable theme wasn't even going to be the main one at first. This video game counterpart is a quaint 2D-platformer with key hunting starring familiar characters. The Pink 'wesen' downhill-skates it IN GERMAN ACHTUNG in die Rekordzeit of 0:18:04. So international!

Friday, May 20, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Super Meat Grinders

After destroying Rupture Farms, Abe comes back in Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus to grind down Soulstorm Brewery which uses Mudokon bones and tears in order to make their fantastic brew (honestly, give it a go!). Sam 'Samtastic' Locke told us some people didn't like the way he segmented, and he had wrong audio levels throughout anyway, so he re-made the run. Clocking in 0:44:14 and 49 segments, this is an improvement of 13 seconds over his previous run (with 13 less segments), and 1:03 minutes better than Sligfantry's run. Now, to get to the 100% runs...

Playing on PC oftentimes means faster loading times, as seen in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis where the door opening animations or walking down stairs and other bits can barely even play. This helps while making a run because the pace is kept at a high speed and rarely slows down. 'uhTrance' gives us a treat in the form of playing through quite the meaty category, where you fight through every Nemesis encounter. Add to it the Hard difficulty and this Single-Segment run at 0:50:50 is damn impressive.

Appearing on the front page for the third time in as many years is Super Mario 63, a fan-made flash game with too many things to collect, and a super variety of gameplay. 'TheMilkMan47' improves his previous run by 57 seconds, giving us a bite-sized 0:09:00 run. YAHOO!!

Wrapping up this news post is one of our most favourite Super Meat Grinders, that is Super Meat Boy. Ever since he took the thunder from Breakdown, 'vorpal' had practically demolished the any% category for the PC, and has improved his previous run by 1:22 minutes, giving us an insane 0:17:02 run. Watching this run should be done only with the consumption of meat.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 by LotBlind

The Gen-X Neightbors' Gaunt Zombie Kids Let Survive on AMNesty

It's a hard knock life for the Survival Kids, which is NOT an officially sanctioned collective noun for the children starring this shipwrecked reality show. There aren't even a plurality of them on the scene, you choose just one unlucky anklebiter to scrounge and extemporize the means to realize the hopeful title they've been bestowed by an unknown 3rd party. As per Japanese custom, there may never exist a majority of characters in a translated video game whose names are anything normal or sensible. Hence the boy's sensible name Ken being counterbalanced by the girl condemned on the isle in this 0:06:12 being presented as "Mery". The runner tasked with escorting her to safety just went "'MeGotsThis'", and taught her the arts and crafts of surviving by skipping cutscenes, screen warping, and forcing time to progress when it's advantageous to you - this leading her into ending number 1 of many.

The following 1:28:14 has a near non-stop solo audio commentary. Props for that! I wasn't told this by IsraeliRD, who's usually supposed to alert me to such things, but I always hopefully check them anyway. Just to get it outs the ways. Yes Israeli's impossible to work with.

Show me someone less qualified to write about superhero games, and I'll show you a Himalayan troglodyte monk wearing a sleep mask with bananas stuffed in their ears. They do seem all the rage these days, and I've heard lots of the related movies and games aren't all that bad. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse isn't either. After Raven Software got acquired by Activision, the part that didn't either leave to form Human Head Studios (responsible for stuff like Rune and Prey), or get sacked after the least whelming Wolfenstein from 2009, was proven capable of a respectable 4-player heroes and villains smack-about in the Marvel universe. Because it's half RPG, 'wfp' will be underleveled a lot. Because it's half action game (which is the most generic tag we use for games), the character that's fastest is being controlled the most. Because it was rushed, there's glitches. Those are good to have right? Anyway the AC is waiting so, get your VLC player and tune into channel two, or b2.

We can use "Apocalypse" as the lead-in for this one, as in you know it is one whenever you find undeniable veracity in the statement "Zombies Ate My Neighbors". But wait, this time it's more like "Sorry, Zombies Didn't Eat My Neighbors After All, Not Even Old Fat Ed" because these kids have moral fiber. I was worried for a moment the boy's name "Zeke" was going to ruin my only-Japan-does-names-wrong theory, but some real people have been named that. Check out how ridiculously likely you are to turn into a professional athlete if you're one of its bearers.

Hmm... I was saying something about how in some weird parallel with the survivor simulator discussed earlier, the girl is again deemed the stalwardest stewardess on the staying alive plane, and she's hellbent on keeping others that way too. Martin 'Allbeert' M. racked his brains about as hard as his famous namesake, Herr Einnsteein, to insure the trails followed were exclusively the fastest yet safest, the safest yet fastest, not unlike travelling on said plane. It's not a fair comparison, because the run this obsoletes belies an additional high-scoring intention, but 1:28:18 is still just short of 40 minutes off.

Wouldn't ZAMN have been right about Michael Jackson's favourite game actually? I gotta mention this as well... I never realized we're looking at LucasArts as developer here! That would explain level 1B.

Lastly but not leastly, we're being treated to ANOTHER four-man action game, 2014's Gauntlet from Arrowhead, the Swedes behind Magicka. I could rearrange the games in order of increasing maximum player count, but that would create segment discrepancies. Back before the 'Blind became an institution on this sporadically refreshed front page column, there used to be a trend of choosing runs with something shared between them, but that's now considered a little bit tacky. Instead we go by the far more sophisticated thumb-rule of "first 4 from the top". So there, it's a coincidence, not one of my machinations.

v. 1.02 is awfully early into a game's development cycle, yet they'll hawk that debris on the unsuspecting audience like it's a meal ready to serve. Well, that's great because speedrunners, say Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy & Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare here, like it medium rare, nay rare. So long as you let us take it on the road to dissect and analyze in our own, highly experimental kitchen laboratories. According to the expected channel 2 voice-overs, the choice of difficulty ("unfair") was mostly inconsequential, because in 0:46:55:391, you're just not left with all so long for gambolling with the monsters. Allowing yourself and your team-mate to die, however counterintuitive, proved far more meaningful, but you can only find out why by targeting dem links with the dainty cursor of your petite, selective little computer mouse instrument.

Did I mention IsraeliRD does not function? He had one job, that of counting all the updates that have actually been posted so we know where we're at exactly. Instead he herps and he derps and he blows my lofty aspirations down like super-soaking a paper kite. And that's why I can now only congratulate myself, the other posters the site has had, the wiz kids banging it back together after all joints have come apart, all the runners who've submitted runs for posting, and everyone who's still reading about them -- for having reached the thousandth... AND FOURTH OR FIFTH WE'RE NOT EVEN SURE... ever Speed Demos Archive front page update. Send us flowers.

Saturday, May 7, 2016 by LotBlind

Where's a Win Condition?

The shorter your run is the shorter it needs to be. This is the paradox of speedrunning. That is to say, if it's only 0:01:16 in length, it has to not just shine, but as well shimmer, glint, and coruscate in all the colors of rainbows from here to Vinland. Robert 'Gelly' Gelhar took heed of this and conquered Myst's any% category seven seconds faster than previous, but not as fast as the follow-up. If you see what I'm saying. Real Myst is like Myst, a famous progenitor of cinematic puzzle games, but with the camera unhinged (like alighting from a tram) allowing for more intricate routing. It also places a greater emphasis on mouse mechanics, which is something that ups skill caps yet more, which is why the recurrence of improvements is not really any kind of myst-ery.

What is a mystery is what happened to Kris and who exactly is the changeling Lyra? In the wake of Pokémon Silver and Gold there apppeared a relatively tame offshoot called Pokémon Crystal. The target platform was the Game Boy Color and the, by some accounts, scant differences started with the choice of protagonist between the familiar Red and the female, whose name varies between Kris and Crystal. However, she got dumped at a Pokécen somewhere and never made her way back into any later main series installments, which is likely for good seeing as Lyra became her exact double - if not in appearance, certainly by backstory.

So whichever dank oubliette be her wicked fate now, you should realize you've caught a rare one if you give this 3:16 an inspection, for it is verily Kris poking at Poké-stardom tonight. Much like poké-r, Pokémon running entails calculating odds so you know where the edge is you're looking to live on. 'Keizaron' wanted to go vs. Red, which is one of various end goals runners recognize for the game. Now 8 minutes off werster's old time. Audio commentary of sorts to be found here.

It seems our efforts at plying the expansionist trade have been hopelessly ineffective and our whole planet proven a sloth in space-bound propagation; take but a glance at this scientifically accurate simulation of ideal self-elsewherization 'rowrow_' brewed in his petri dish and you'll realize we're behind par by about 4 billion years minus 0:52:50.

There are, however, a few admissions to be made. Firstly, rowrow has simulated a universe where things are characteristically "easy". By current estimates, we might very well be playing on "hard" or "very hard" ourselves. Second of all, some say the Spore model itself has certain caveats when it comes to projecting off it, and that the combinations of biological features and physical laws gleaned in the sample simply fail to concur with those understood by us, suggesting more deviance in initial parameters.

Thirdly, I've been told this is but one of a myriad experiments each leading from the beginnings of life to - or at least some distance towards - the end goal of securing the Staff of Life. The multiverse may well have seen even better and our Adamsian supercomputer is  may not be in the premium crop at all. Frankly, I'd like to place some scrutiny on the possibly quite mal-revered starry staff itself, but apparently, in the larger scheme of things, there doesn't seem to be much else to do.

So my history with Where's an Egg? so far involves getting highly suspicious when the wikipedia search redirected me to an instance I'm mighty familiar with - the capricious and capery, the seditious and savory, the one-of-a-kin homestarrunner.com - and instantly recognizing that a game by that precise name would be exactly up the Brothers' alley-hoo. I then accidentally won at said game in about 60 seconds, by shooting a lady I construed as trying to send me on a pointlessly long Chain of Deals-type inquiry in the suspicious location of Siberia. More than enough to go on. Because the game is of the hint-hunt-find-whodun't type, completion by sheer luck (as per the anecdotal evidence) is not out of the question. Thus the 0:00:00 in which the game timer, indeed, never ticks down once. In Steve 'Elipsis' Barrios's predetermined world, the oviraptor (a merry old granny) was fated to get exposed at the town aquarium. I'm not giving elipsis the patronage of listening to his audio commentary for this cheeky cheeky run. I still require someone to do Peasant Quest and Yon Dungeonman though so get on it!

Sunday, May 1, 2016 by LotBlind

The Days of Grades

The acronym "EGA", given to a certain strain of graphics processors for vintage PCs, stands for - and this is straight from the reference manual titled LotBlind's Liberties - "Enough Good Art". It was very much still the hype in '89 when your fresh Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero (EGA) floppies passed from your titillated palms into the recesses of your neon green backpack. You'd get a 16-color 640x350 picture where any of the 16 colors were swappable with others from a full palette of 64. The most sophisticated software of the era could do that shizzle on the fly. At least that's true of the CGA... which in turn comes from the words "Cringy Graphics Always". I think the CGA was a direct influence to that 80's fashion in general. If you want to learn more about old-timey computing (with less bogus mixed in), 8-bit guy's is a channel I would primarily recommend to you. After finishing this update of course.

So you do indeed want to be a hero? You'd best have trained your dex, cause you're gonna need to type in all the commands with your own ten buttery fingers. Wurn't so with the wuss mode VGA runs we were proffered earlier. Having returned from a later EGA "Quest" with a similar text parser, Paul 'The Reverend' Miller was able to outdo olden records on the fighter (0:05:35) and the thief (0:05:32). The magic user's route is the same as the thief's, but to make him feel a tad bit better, PR utilized his special magecrafts to blast a hole into the fabric of the plot-time-continuum so as to fish forth a time as low as 0:02:09.

As for us, we can use the same plot-time warp point to enter the dimention of DRAGON FIRE! No that's not corny hair metal, it's Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire. Oh wait, looks like Mr. PR made it here before us. What's that he's waving? It's a package that reads "large-skips NG+ in 0:06:06, deliver to SDA please!" Well I'll be damned if it didn't turn out the series' last iteration was about as broo-ken as the first. Although if you have to check a megabyte of links before one of them gives, it's probably not fair to use a word as... judgmental.

As per the runner's words: "It's nice to know that QFG will now has all five games represented on this site.  Now to work on a proper Any%." Sick stuff! Or more like... sic stuff.

The critical reception for the since waning flight sim series' fourth entry, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, was about as roaring as the jet fighters' engines themselves. On the surface, it gives a very peculiar impression of a mash-up between Star Fox and a bona fide balls-to-the-windshield flight sim like what Microsoft's house team had a knack for when I last saw this type of game being sufficiently mainstream to get reviewed alongside the hot stuff. The full Earth-like graphics are what make me feel a little uneasy with the idea of enjoying it as just a piece of airheaded (!) virtual entertainment. My friend 'Tolarus', on the other hand, isn't quite as squeamish, auto-locking on all kinds of airborne and stationary targets for a lengthy 2:19:47 on very easy mode. Make sure you can handle Mach 3 for this one!

If you CAN'T handle Mach 3, I've got just the thing for you. Your lack of safety is being severely compromised by 'adeyblue' exhibiting his niche pastime of deus-ex-machina-ing stranded strangers from candid dangers. That is to say he's been pecking at Air Ranger: Rescue Helicopter, also on the PS2, and proven to himself and everyone else it's possible to complete within 0:31:26. If you're not downing either of the two aerodyne emulators on offer today, you're not into aviation period, because aside from the terrain (or should I say air space) these two are covering, there's basically nothing left but balloons. And what do we know about balloons? That's right: Balloons is for kiddy-winkies! Seriously though, you can still submit balloon simulators too, so long as there's a finish line somewhere beyond that cerulean draw distance horizon.

Sunday, April 24, 2016 by LotBlind

Why is 7 afraid of 8?

Because it's bigger and more badass.


According to the boards above the tracks, "Mario Kart", as in Mario Kart 8, is one word somehow. Perhaps that's why Jose 'UchihaMadao' Karica felt it imposed on him to do this 1:40:24 in one sitting. Much like if you were to initiate a conversation with me about the most interesting characters in Disney movies since the last millenium, I'm at a loss as to who it is exactly jockeying the runner from easy win to easier win in a setting where the other racers might as well be enjoying their siesta, just periodically issuing mushrooms and thunderclouds down the track to make it look like they're putting in work. She does sound exactly like a female Mario though.

The categories for the run are -- and this might be the last time I'll ever say this -- All Tracks, DLC, Frantic Mode, 200cc, and Hard. I haven't been checking runner bios as of late, but Uchida's YT page looks well-cared for. It's the banner and the playlisting. Whenever you have a runner whose work you're enjoying just look them up here and see if they've given links to streams etc.

Here's a monster improvement for American-Russian Sabre Interactive's best-received shooter TimeShift. Much juice trickles down runner Robin 'Ekelbatzen' Schönborn's arm into the citrus press' juice-containing bit (juice jar?) where a 0:43:06 can be made out amidst the pulp. Running on casual difficulty allows more focus on exploiting eponymous time-bending mechanics to effect various skips, albeit not in every single area. The principle behind most of them is simple: if you can shoot an object to send it flying through the air in an arc, just reverse time and ride it back up leaving you flying in an even higher arc. Or just really far. I think I'll leave the rest of the run's peculiarities for those rearing to take a sip at the lemonade themselves. There might... just... be... an... OOB or two somewhere in there. It's really quite dope whether you have or as you haven't played the game, fast-forwarding the few autoscrollery bits.

Alien vs. Predator is an arcade-only beat'em'up taking place in what was probably meant as San Dorado in Arizona (near Tucson), or for all I know El Dorado in Nevada (near Vegas). The combined sci-fi vista that should rightfully be called AlienS vs. PredatorS vs. People doesn't let you play as the foremost mentioned race unlike the PC game that forces us to include the platform in question in the game page title. As for the 0:27:32 bursting out your virgin chest today, Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy felt a kindred spirit in the Predator warrior out of the four playable characters. Seeing who it's by, you betcha this ugly, sharp-fanged baby comes with audio commentary awaiting your tensed ears on channel 2. Him and his buddies could as well have been spotted converting coins into continues at the local 'cade in '94 when the A Vs. P cabinets first got installed. Continues look like something we've critically outgrown since then.

Wait, isn't that just a marvelous idea? If you can still find gaming arcades somewhere, tell them you wanna do a showcase run for one of their games that they can video or market a bit. Might someone be interested? They could even pay you something I'm sure. Don't tell 'em you'll 1-cc it though :P

If you thought Lolo and Ms. Lolo ever got to enact the staple "you jump in the evildoer's wagon and get ready with your lipstick and hair bow, I'll be finishing with this here cold one and get set for the long haul" narrative only three times, you're dead wrong! If you were shrewd, and looking in the right general direction, you might have spotted them going at it multiple times between 1985 all the way to the year 2000. The series as a whole is known as "Eggerland", which aptly describes the game world in which you're certainly nounifiable as an "egger". Most of them appeared only in Japan or Japan and Europe and ran on PCs or Famicoms.

Still, this here is definitely the same The Adventures of Lolo 2 you "non-international" readers, and certainly le me, might recognize the smell of. The last outing for Lolo 2 on SDA was before the site had turned 1, soooo you'd expect some form of improvement right? That improvement measures around 5:33 and lowers the time to 0:23:41. To manage this, 'DonkeyKongGenius' paid our friends at TASVideos.org a visit and received a detailed guide for how real bots run the game that thankfully behaves deterministically when following a half-step precision plan. So yeah it looks like a TAS now. Let's all press-gang the "genius" to repeat the feat in 1 and 3!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 by LotBlind

Silent, Buster, and I'll Tell You a Tiny Secret: "Ninja Crusader"'s an Oxymoron

After you've seen this 0:04:46 through Ninja Crusaders (Ninja Gaiden Gaiden), you will be left mulling over the question "how in the name can this be a 1:05 improvement?!" It looks so simple and easy. Looks can deceive though, especially when we consider the ninjas. This may be the run that has the largest percentage of frames holding down right even amongst all the pancake "NESformers". It's inanely precise, the runner 'WhiteHat94' estimating it could only be frames faster.

The next improvement comes in from 'Crow!', again. He put his mind on a game he already held an SDA record for, Secret of Mana, that is unusual for having actual competition in the goofy "one-P-two-C's" category. He didn't have any friends or extra controllers though, so it's a solitary escapade lasting much longer than if he did but it's still 19:03 better than what it was, down to a 2:57:21.

Those wishing to hear rather than read the rotund notes may see the fully narrated Twitch highlight here. Also we should all think that I summoned this run into existence by invoking it in my last update.

Like in the world of children, in the world of Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!, the porkies always get picked on. They've got a rigged wheel'o'fortune that always stops on his mug and then he always gets to be the one to do the minigame - one that gets abruptly interrupted (something like Lucy with Charlie Brown) before it's even become apparent what its ostensible rules were. The rabbit gets all the real action. D.J. 'Akiteru' Rideout can't look himself in the mirror but can boast a 0:07:32 on the Japanese version. Well worth the trade.

If I ever get confused which one Silent Hill 3 is, remind me it's "the one where you fight an incomplete, playful anatomy mannequin that can't decide if it's a biped or a quadruped". That or the word "deivomous". Abigail Lee runs through mists, malls, hospitals, subways, museums and things, away from bad dreams on easy mode in an improvement of 4 and 10 in basically world-recordey 0:36:57. Up to you whether this game or Blood had the better Dark Carnival.

Saturday, April 16, 2016 by IsraeliRD

At night, nobody can hear you scream!

Despite making a censored version of Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, the game was still refused classification and effectively banned in Australia. They probably would not have liked the original Uncut and Uncensored! edition of the game where the fun never stops. Runner Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko skips every cutscene he can and plays the mini-games very quick-- I'm sorry, he actually wimps out every single one of them. Somehow it is still fine and he beats the game in 0:29:26, Single Segment.

After surviving the events of the Ishimura, Isaac finds himself in an asylum on the Sprawl, now sporting almost no population figures thanks to the Necromorph outbreak, to which Isaac is awaken to. Not the best way to wake up, I suppose, but that's how Dead Space 2 begins. Sahail 'Jehuty' Niemeyer is a familiar name in the Dead Space series, and honestly he doesn't let go with that near-perfect aim. Always a pleasure to watch, and this Hardcore Single Segment run in 2:08:42 is no different.

Onto the Individual Levels now, I have three of them for you in two games. The first is Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, a game with sometimes too much RNG. Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare revisits the original levels as Simon, running in Hard difficulty in New Game Plus settings. Chapter 2 has been improved by 0.22 seconds and Chapter 5 by 0.49 seconds, and the table time is now 0:07:36.56. In addition to that, he also ran the DLC levels, including two very long ones where he settled with 'good RNG/play/some frame-perfect tricks', to bring us a new table running at 0:14:36.77, also on Hard/New Game Plus.

Lastly we have Alien Swarm, which I thought the runs we had were impressive. Maik 'Onin' Biekart decided that the levels were not broken enough, and to make amends he now returns with an insane 90 seconds improvement, totalling a new table time of 0:10:53. The improvements are to three levels as follows: Landing Bay in 1:04 (previously 1:10), Cargo Elevator in 0:56 (previously 2:06) and Timor Station in 2:49 (previously 3:03).

Friday, April 8, 2016 by LotBlind

Just Realized Their Names Are Instruments Durr

I think we haven't been confused enough by names translated (more like reimagined) from Japanese as of late. Squaresoft's Game Boy Final Fantasy Adventure from 1991 is, first off, a Mana game. Like Secret of Mana. This can be fathomed - it started as a spinoff to an already-popular series, was then made into an independent series at which point the whole thing got renamed. Its Japanese release saw light as "Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden". I.e. 'Biopsy Folklore: Final Fantasy Foreign Telegram' or 'Holy Sword Story: Final Fantasy Tale' as an alternative reading. In Europe it released as Mystic Quest (before any "Fantasies" had come out in Europe) and is NOT Final Fantasy Mystic Quest for the SNES. Final Fantasy Adventure also had a remake in 2003 called Sword of Mana with all the vestiges from FF removed.

Anyway the game plays a lot like its descendants only with up to one computer-aided companion hanging along. In the first moments you're introduced as a showfighter under averse employment of the Dark Lord, who [spoiler]isn't a sweetheart[/spoiler]. After that the game kind of stumbles a bit in preserving the dire atmosphere when one of your ill-fated comrades, lying in a puddle of their own blood croaking their dying words, is called Willy. ("Willy! Willy nooooo!!") In the next unintentionally comical scene the Dark Lord has been told there's a mana tree above a waterfall right next to his own castle and his reply is "How do I get to it? Up the falls?".

Runner 'Crow!', who is improving on his own record in the "warpless" category by 7 minutes and 44 seconds, has used the logical technique of reworking the old notes instead of starting from scratch but didn't highlight what's new so it's up to me to be arsed in this case. Do I strike the kind that's frequently arsed? Like, on the regular? What's really interesting and kind of unusual is there's two different but both competitive builds for your character when running this uncannily Zelda-esque game, one going physical attacks and the other, as seen in Crow!'s 2:03:04, for magic-based offense. I think "holy sword" could imply either.

You traipse into a medieval castle across a creaky drawbridge that starts to hoist itself up as you pass, you enter the first courtyard where a fence so wide-spaced it's pointless erects from the fertile loam on the side, you hop up a thin thin staircase, crack out your whip and let it snap at a sly-looking human skeleton that explodes into a flurry of spinning tibia or possibly femurs and then... then you realize you're not really doing any of this, you're just playing Super Castlevania IV. Or possibly just watching this 0:31:55 submitted by someone called 'Furious Paul'. The verifiers are singing this 3:18-minute improvement's praise in what's at least forte if not fortissimo. I'm left short of breath just from listening. Someone also nominated the run as one of the best they've seen, which is a prerogative you're usually okay to assume.

Expect to see more damage boosts than the career of Steve-O. Expect to see bosses annihilated like matter and antimatter. There's at least one Sonic-esque zip. Oh and that jazzy moonwalking! Truly teh urn right here. Even if you didn't wanna watch-it watch-it, you could use the classic Castlevanian music as a soundtrack to your LAME.

Then there's this 0:52:59. It's for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which apparently is the fourth part in a series of open-world action-adventure games by an American team called Rockstar North... just kidding.

Now, it's been a good long while since I last gave attention to the GTA scene, which it kind of needs to be in my "profession". I really appreciate, and surely I'm speaking for a lot of people, when these popular-game runs surface for us of more casual interest in these immaculate packages with some amount of commentary thrown in. I single out popular games because they tend to attract more runners and time is getting chipped off like a colony of beavers on double espressos (hot coffee anyone?). This is why it doesn't appeal to any of them individually to submit their runs because (and I hypothesize) a) it's going to be old news when it hits OUR headlines and b) it probably feels a bit pretentious in such a setting, and c) you might feel discouraged by seeing even better times up the ladder - but that's just how it goes. Of course WHEN a run's finally knocking on our door doesn't matter at all because if you weren't already following those developments you won't have had it on your mind anyway.

Long story short, the submitter here is 'Mhmd_FVC', whose run is every bit as flawless as the one I hyped above. If you didn't get it already, 0:52:59 is INSANE for a game that only a few years ago (several eons in speedrunning time) could've boasted records like 1:30. Major glitches cut off lots of time, and this new run is done on the Japanese language edition, but sadly there was no explanation about how any of it worked attached to the run. I did find this playlist by the runner which is exactly what I wouldn't have minded seeing pointed at in run comments. Just to further emphasize, this run ALSO rocks socks off in sheer execution and I'm sure that's simply the level it's scaled up to over the course of time.

So, have you ever met tons of people who all want you to go collect things for them so as to receive access to new areas in return?

I couldn't think of how to follow that sentence up so I panicked and started a completely new paragraph instead. Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge is a 2003 handheld platformer textured by a whole lotta trifle-cumulation and minigames as per the SM64 mold. The premise is one of forestalling: not letting series antagonist Gruntilda to separate the verbally merged entity (but a hyphen tells them apart) of Banjo and indeed of Kazooie. In order to prevent preventing Grunty from taking over the world you return back in time yourself and explore a version of it predating what was seen in the 1998 original. It's along those lines anyway.

Hunter 'Blazephlozard' Davidson's routing especially got lauded in verification. It is, after all, a pretty sizable version of the Traveling Salesman's Problem, and because you can then exchange what you've collected for new abilities including such (I'd imagine) that affect your rate of movement, the potential complexity grows and grows. Maybe. Blaze took a game he felt underappreciated and lacking a truly solid run and DIY'd this 0:46:04 himself. Gotta say, if your run is 46 minutes long and your golds sum is 10 seconds faster than your record, it's not a bad record :D

Sunday, April 3, 2016 by LotBlind

Serpent in the Stagnated Paradise Was Lost Until it Finally Red the Postal FAQ

...and was able to get its parcel through to Peter Jackson. Here's that FAQ.


There's a specific subset of the otherwise highly diversified CRPGs ('C' for Computer) that includes titles like Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights where players control an isometric party of adventurers from mellow hearth-side conversations to calculated start-stop combat with hands typically left largely unbound as to which avenues to pursue in which order. It seems weird to name a genre after a platform (why aren't there SNES-RPGs or SMS-RPGs?) and for some time the system you were playing on would have been somewhat interchangeable, but later on a mouse-based complex UI precluded porting thus justifying the term also from the non-historical point of view. Classics like Ultima IV and Sanitarium were expanding narrative into whole new dimensions making the generic high fantasy theme feel critically less stuffy. Those attracted to these games weren't deterred by lower-detail graphics, block-built worlds, or fragmentary voice acting because this allowed the developers to focus on coding in more logic and writing more dialogue.

This is the tradition in whose footprints Serpent in the Staglands sets off wandering. Well I guess you're technically not wandering if you just... Anyway, the game combines elements of Baldur's Gate and Fallout making your character, if not their backstory, a perfectly blank slate. You cannot carve that slate full in just 0:27:51, but you can complete the main quest in a single segment with resets, as proven here by 'Varstilone'. When the game is so open-ended, you know the speedrun will double as the low-level challenge and every fight will be... bestrewn with copious parmesan. Anyone interested in the run might also want to see Matt Barton's interview with the 2-man development team who are actually husband and wife. SHE does the coding btw.

Speedrunning isn't always rosy. Sometimes it can get downright grueling. Sometimes runners will inflict it upon themselves by entering the difficulty selector, tapping down as far as it goes, staring the game straight in the eye saying "I don't care how hideous, unfair and untested it is, I'm not here to have any sort of fun!", and smashing enter with oxen ferocity. When they've been force-fed their swollen and rather prickly egos, they'll close their bloodshot eyes for a minute, run to the first junction they managed to scurry to - with actually positive counts of health and ammunition - within the first 500 or so attempts... and call it segment 1.

Whatever else you do with your FPS, please make there be at least one weapon with perfect accuracy. Having struggled to land badly called-for headshots we have Zach 'Duane Jones' R who wouldn't take "impossible" difficulty to mean something he cannot do in Red Faction, that 2001 scenery destruction simulator of which I can't immediately tell why it received noticeably better reviews on the PS2 than the PC being the platform here (probably the park was less crowded). The game's USP was the Geo-Mod engine that implemented areas possible to be tunneled through along with collapsible structures. This 0:59:15 will discover at least a few exploity uses for it all as well as several other glitches and just plain stupid luck that stupid people will need to finish their stupid runs. Lord knows I'm one... The run comes fully equipped with audio commentary, but it's a separate video right here. Take your pick, miner!

Now enter Final Fight for the Arcade, the collection for which looks lacking one or two character categories. We get one step closer to rounding it off with proliferating Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy who mistakenly chose an inferior character (Guy) for his run but thought "what the heck!" and made it his new record-setting 0:23:03. Inferior in the sense that Murph couldn't quite squeeze Cody's time out of this Guy guy despite the run looking damn-near flawless.

As you know if you're a regular reader, this is the game whose arcade cabinet allowed you to despawn your adversaries much more readily than the other consoles that saw the title, at least the GBA. As for other insights, get it straight from the horse's mouth (what?), the horse here being represented by the merry band congregated around the mic for the audio commentary track. You'll learn how to score attack the game as well as time attack. You'll learn how to survive the perils of rampant fire. You'll get the low-down on the fabled "ass-smash" technique of yore. It's just much better than anything I could come up with. I feel like they're having too much fun though. We gotta make up a rule against that.

1:18:50 is awfully long for a segmented FPS run! Even on the "very hard" setting. You got me right, you're being doled out a second helping of boom-tiddle-tiddle-bang today, but this time it's something you're not likely to want to bring up around the dinner table, not even when there's no-one else around. By the 10-minute mark the protagonist, who's just awoken from coma and needs to regain his bearings, has seen wild dogs savaging the townsfolk, witnessed an animal rights activist being buried in elephant poo, and met up with a guy called "Wise Wang". It's the video game equivalent of South Park with [numerically] less funny voices. There's something not-run-of-the-mill about the real-life premise of Postal 2: Paradise Lost too, which is that it's an expansion from last year for a game that released in 2003. The only thing developer Running With Scissors did in-between was the first expansion to Postal 2 and some Linux conversions, hence the joke about coming to after a 12-year coma.

To get back on the run for a minute, looks like Nikita 'NWill' Abramov wasn't able to glitch his way out the cutscenes though a few other seams do get torn. This makes the whole video a lot longer than 1:18 hours because the in-game speedrun timer, which testifies for RWS's appreciation for our refined art, pauses for their duration. The game is interesting in the sense that it plays out in a single contiguous fleshed-out location, as did the "mother game", like some kind of smallish sandbox you move both back and forth inside. The series also isn't quite as random as, say, Goat Simulator, because it clearly has a continuity with characters and story and you may well pick up some social commentary vibes if you want. So with the intact cutscenes this should make a good watch for FPS fans who play for the story more so than the action (Kappa) despite the average pace being on the sluggy side. Or if you just want to weird yourself out some.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 by LotBlind

Blasting Through the Darkness

Sooooo SDA may just have broken down a little bit last week. The dynamic duo of radical Radix and plainly named nate took their godlike powers and transferred both the site and the IRC over to pastures greener and hopefully less error-prone. The new IRC channel is #sda on Quakenet. With site functionality restored (all hail our benevolent overlords!), it's time to return to updating the front page.

Bad news first, eh? There's a grating background drone left from recording in this new low-time dash down the frog hole in Yoshiaki Iwata et al's classic Blaster Master. You may have to lower the volume a bit to compensate. Good news is it cuts off over a minute from the obsoletee which should more than justify getting involved in it. It occured to me today that the more famous the game, the wilder the verifier crowd will go (and go they went) because of two things: one - it always takes chops to play on the level required; two - they'll actually have an appreciation of how precise and difficult everything is, not like patzers of my kind. It's us you gotta butter up with self-aggrandizing run comments.

One thing that makes running hardware-pushing games like Blaster Master fun is the lag: yeah I said that - because this gives you an extra thing to keep you engaged, trying to land every shot as early as you can. If you miss, doesn't matter all that much. Well, it's gotta be more fun than RNG! This run is in the "deaths" category and was submitted by 'ShiningDragoon' who says he specifically wanted a big time save before sending it out. It shaped up into a blazin' 0:31:46. BTW, if you really strain your ears you can make out a subtle music glitch in area 7.

It may not have been Simba's pride yet in The Lion King, the original, but I'm sure Simba's proud all the same! And the pride is proud too. On "difficult" mode this SNES game deflates your damage output or possibly inflates enemy health and I recall it proving prodigiously challenging to get past all the devious obstacles as a kiddo just on easy (circle of life? more like circle of strife! and misery!). Our second man of the day D.J. 'Akiteru' Rideout takes a load of TAS strategies and gets the finish line ahead of existing SDA runs regardless of category with time to spare. The improvement from the old hard mode run is 40 seconds into a 0:14:21 and everyone gave positive respondage, so what're you waiting for?

What you're waiting for is some trivia. First thing that caught my eye doing my usual rounds was that the Disney music was arranged (or probably just digitized) by Frank Clepacki who I recognized as the main Westwood music man. Then I saw Westwood was actually the developer too. This was highly surprising seeing the company had broken to fame with mostly RPGs and dungeon crawlers, adventure games and perhaps most iconically, Dune II and the Command & Conquer series. I guess they were just such a go-to high-visibility quality-assuring player back in 1994, several years before any major North-American AAA gaming corporations starting with the word that refers to being operated by a running current assumed control.

I could say other interesting things about Lion King, but I shan't, because gluttony is a SiN, though the second least-worrisome one according to Dante. This FPS from 1998 used the Quake II engine that seemed to see use with multiple shooters that sort of fell under the radar more so than other contemporaries - sometimes, as with Sin and Daikatana, owing all too much to a buggy experience out the box. Many of those games having been patched into consummation are now mewling for my attention on my undoubtably-overambitious backlog, Sin ever more so after reading about its near-future dystopian setting with some resemblance to Deus Ex.

Soldiering (officering?) on after initial rejection, 'nobody_important' packs the wicked affair in with this 0:39:24. "Officer" is indeed the level of difficulty here and the run was done in 28 segments, each more klutch than the next. The run also comes with AC. Audio commentary that is. I always go "Yay!" for those. I even more so than before want to play this now so I can watch the run without spoilers... if the runner takes 40 minutes surely a guy called "LotBlind" can blind it out in something like 45.

I've now literally d/l'd and started playing SiN, which is less dangerous than it sounds because it's not like some JRPG. A first person shooter of SiN's era you expect to rapidly save-scum through if nothing else. Before I get too sucked into it though (and I think I've already found sources of improvement :P), I should introduce you to another who definitely shouldn't get sucked in at all in her latest SDA adventure, Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness. Wow, I'll bet a few psychoanalysts would like to lay hands on her after that... if you sea what I mean! Michael 'arglefumph' Gray scores a two-in-two (worth 3 points) with this peril-filled maritime voyage that unexpectedly takes place, for the majority, on dry albeit frozen and slippery land. Not one but two runs passed verification not long ago, so the score has been settled on both "Amateur Sleuth" (0:33:38) and "Master Sleuth" (0:33:37). Just like the vikings settled Iceland. They ALSO had to solve lots of logic puzzles although I think most of them involved brewery, vintnery, and distillations. Argle segmented these runs to ensure the barman gets his order right every time.

Monday, March 14, 2016 by LotBlind

Awake from the Dream about Awaking from the Dream Also

If I for some God-forsaken reason had a Megaman-related nightmare one night, I think it might take the form of this 0:18:47 through Mega Man II for the Game Boy. I'm sure I'm going to be repeating the same points over and over with every GB submission ever destined in one of my posts, but... it's all just so terribly off by that same dreamlike tendency. With this game in particular, you just about recognize musical themes but they sound as if they didn't want exact reproductions for fear of lawsuits or something. It's an official Capcom commission though so what gives? The game also recycles most of its other material from two existing installments anyway, from II and III. Prepare to turn down the volume for this aurally grating run by Daniel 'Tremane' Schwab, but otherwise it will remind you of the other games in the series: there's a boss AI abuse thing, and a screen wrap effect that are both used for the first time, which along with many optimizations brings the old time down by 1:20 minutes.

In the treasure trove world of Lara Croft, precise acrobatics are precise...ly what makes life worthwhile! From China, where lust for all-power (the noun from "all-powerful") proved the doom of some hapless Italian chap, she engages her next destination in the Bering Sea: a small island harboring a non-secret Soviet project to unearth an evil artifact as they would. I say "non-secret" because their facilities bear their insignia on every other square inch of metal and other slow-to-degrade materials. I'm also not entirely convinced we've avoided violating timelines (isn't Tomb Raider II modern-day?) within or without the franchise if Lara was a full-grown woman back in or before 1991 where this presumably is taking place, unless the operatives within the base are all just feeling a bit nostalgic.

Since this is the inaugural entry for this Tomb Raider II expansion that only appeared on the PC, it's fitting 'RadxxRyan' has went "all secrets" (which is the de facto 100% for these games) and "glitchless" so as to give us the proper wall to wall. Its duration is 0:31:53. Then, as an after-dinner mint, you can see the bonus unlockable level pulled off in show style - because it's in Vegas - under the same stipulations right here.

It's quite the shame SDA was initially selective about the genres allowed to embellish the Halls of Hustle (Gallery of Gallops?). There's nothing wrong with sites dedicated to accommodating a single strain of runs, but is it just the European in me wishing to see them all united under one banner? NOW things are different of course but I find runners understandably indifferent to re-doing the classics that got filed away on adventure-speedruns.com between 2006 and whenever our site opened that particular entrance. This should only be interpreted as sentimental drivel, however, because new titles and series are always showing up to thaw our frozen hearts and oil our rusted minds.

Speaking of, Awakening: The Dreamless Castle from 2010 represents an already-long-running series by oddball developer Big Fish Games (strictly speaking Big Fish Studios) whose massive oeuvre is centered around casual and mobile gaming, which is probably why it's so massive. It's the first of seven such titles heavy in sundry puzzles and lush hand-painted panoramas that will elicit the same dazzled wonderment the Kyrandia series did in those who share my memories of it. RNG is ever-present and fast solutions require unfloundering mouse usage, hence the segmented-ness of the 0:25:32 by Michael 'arglefumph' Gray of Nancy Drew fame. In verification he said something about doing some pirate game next... but I really don't know what he meant. STILL... be hype!

Finally, here's another game you're likely not to have heard of: l'Abbaye des Morts offers a retro style platforming experience in the vein of Manic Miner and other ZX Spectrum classics. For the lot of you for whom those words might as well have been written in Arabic, I'll proffer that you're a defenseless monk being ferreted out during a religious purge that actually occurred in history in the 1200s. No that's not the plot of Manic Miner... but the idea of being somewhat clueless in this otherworldly maze you're exploring with a short inscription underneath informing each room is carried over verbatim. And everything kills you. Kills you dead. It's so retro someone even ported the game, sans music, over TO the platform it harked back to.

Because you've given a number of lives to work with, from lives there follow death warps, and from death warps there follow faster speedruns. This one's by 'wōn' who brings the narrative to its macabre denouement in but a 0:03:30. Probably divine guidance. Or game knowledge.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 by LotBlind

If You Try Forcing the Link Enough, a Totally Smashing Creative Assembly of Words Will Fall Out

Someone quickly do a new Fallout run to justify the headline. Well technically in Smash Bros you fall out of the arena...

17 years ago, in January of 1999, one of Nintendo's innovations broke through and became one of their better-selling franchises. Yup, it's the first of the bunch, Super Smash Bros. that steps in through the gates of glory today for not the first time obviously. We welcome Captain Falcon, whose forehead glisteneth not after just 0:03:13 (in-game time) of focused dishing out of best-suited abilities. Following suit after previous runs, Jeremy 'DK28' Doll continues the "very easy" rampage in Classic mode. An audio commentary spreading some game knowledge was recorded so look for it in on track two. Do we have Falcon Punch you ask? Yes, I believe we do have Falcon Punch.

DYK?: HAL Laboratory whose work the Smash series is is the same one behind Kirby and the Mother (Earthbound) games. Not a connection I had learned to make.

Onto a second Smash Bros title. I hate to say it, but it seems consoles are about as much hassle today as they specifically were meant to let you avoid back in the day. I'm not in the newer consoles business much myself but from what I've heard the underhanded patching nightmare, as experienced by Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener, isn't the only quandary arising from industry standard protocols on the consoles these days, although I appreciate speedrunners aren't a major cliantele, and that automatic patching is not where the dilemma lies for most. In order to realize his outlandish run-through of Super Smash Brothers for Wii U, "Glink" had to disconnect the Wii U from the network completely after fortuitously catching a glimpse about a new patch the bugger would have instantly downloaded had he not been vigilant.

In any case this fiercely convoluted category name - "Classic Mewtwo Intensity 0.0 Custom Moveset Glitched" - springs from a peculiarity of the 1.06 version where Mewtwo... seems to have went wrong somehow. I think Ness' forlorn "No, no, no, no!" is the most summary encapsulation of the inordinate amounts of pwning face you're about to witness if you get yourself a copy of this 0:00:22.92 smack fairy visit today.

The genesis of Spartan: Total Warrior is fairly interesting and worth recounting: developer Creative Assembly had prior to Spartan always been known for unraveling historically accurate battle scenes where thousands of units would clash whether for Caesar, Napoleon, or one of their buddies. However, these fights would be overseen from a lofty airborne perspective. When they wanted to try their hand at converting the idea to the consoles of the time, the PS2 pertaining to this 2:19:06 I saw already in verification, they soon found it was impossible due to sheer memory limitations. In the end they'd still managed to turn up with a game sporting the most impressive crowd scenes on that generation of consoles where your player agency had been limited to etching your zorro marks all across the enemy battlers as just a mug in the mob. This was enough for 'Soliduz Znake' who went far and beyond to deliver the people of Greece from bad bad Romans in the time I rather awkwardly already mentioned.

Thinking of how the pun in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is more than likely lost on the Japanese, you shouldn't gawk at what its sub-title was for them: Triforce of the Gods. Seriously, stop gawking! So it's ma homeboy Zlenka at it again, and we are indeed doing this run in that onoraburu ranguwiiduzu ofu ze Faaru Iisutsu (= in Japanese). I wonder if the few native "Nihon-jins" who do frequent our lovely but decidedly Western oasis of goal-oriented (gold-oriented, as in gold splits) fast LPs see the recent trend, led to by a global rules revision, of ordering Japanese cartridges that yield us systematically better finishing times, as simply a nod towards that bristling creative force their gaming companies foster amongst hard-working hirelings in search of new advancements in the medium? Cause I know I would. But then I'm incredibly self-centered.

Looks like we're taking necessary detours to meet the 100% criteria, which are conveniently cited right on the game page: "getting all items on the subscreen, all heart pieces, and max level of equipment except the bomb and arrow upgrades". The same game page is telling me (but will no longer be telling you) that the last 100% submission was 10 minutes 19 seconds slower. 'Xelna''s rather laconic written commentary "track" gives you what the highlights were even if you have no time to stay for the entire 1:42:24.

These few Nintendo-heavy updates made me think a thing I saw on Jimquisition was relevant enough to share with you. Here's the thread.

Saturday, March 5, 2016 by LotBlind

There's Always a Reason, They're Always in Season

"Well, quitting this game doesn't last long, does it?" quips the Mike 'mike89' McKenzie and whacks his latest opus, an 0:11:40 for Sonic the Hedgehog, on the tidy front desk at the International Sonic Speedrunning Bureau, which happens to have a branch right here on SDA. Though Mike is probably one of the best-recognized names when it comes to those classic Sonics for multiple marathon appearances and... Australians are a bit rare (?), the video you should already be downloading should be thought of as the pinnacle of the iceberg that needs most its mass to lie underwater in order to achieve its majestic stature. This is an aspect well covered by the run notes themselves.

"It's a good thing nobody likes Marble Zone, because it barely exists any more." The download should be finishing about noowwww. I'm not even going to tell you by how much it improves on the last SDA record because MRRYAAAGGHH!

I believe we established last time the hero[ine] in The Legend of Zelda is Zlenka, the androgynous Polish Green Goblin-wannabe. Because the game is fairly well-known, let's just focus on the run time for a minute. 0:29:56 is...

a) a 1:29 improvement over Darkwing Duck's previous SDA record from just 3 years back
b) 4 seconds below a round figure

Conclusions I'd like to be able to draw: there's gotta have been new skips found since; the runner is through with the game for now. However, there have NOT been any new skips. It's just sh*t getting intense down the coliseum as of late. Take a brief look at this page here and I need not say more. Un-amazingly the very same guy who submitted this run, 'LackAttack24', holds the top of the leaderboard there. I feel you should be awarded even more points for SDA accepts...

"If it bleeds, we can kill it". "Kill" is not something you could say in a family-friendly Nintendo game back in 1991, even if said game was about a maniacal killing MACHINE called "The Predator". Instead, the blurb reterms that "destroy". I'd have went with "bandage" or "test for diabetes". 'Slaughterhouserock' takes A. Blacknegro's (literally what "Schwartzenegger" means: Go Austria!) bulging physique and completes this not entirely popular NES shoot-at-things game in a time of 0:17:22. The run looks like Rambo getting bitch-slapped by audacious animals every-the-wheres during his usual morning hike through endless reaches of untamed wilderness. Because this game has not been seen before on SDA, I guess this is a pre-dat-or for any and all future runs.

I can't think of a time when I've been left feeling more hoodwinked by a run claiming it's multiplayer than this: it just so happens in Super Mario Kart, if you choose 2p mode and leave the other controller on the sofa until you've finished, by thumbing in the 2nd player's forfeit during the race end cinematics, you skip about 5 seconds of them. You also get less obstacles on the course - possibly because they had to slim the CPU load a bit, or maybe they just felt having a human opponent was challenging enough. This 0:20:25.91 is the run that taught me the Bowser music from I Wanna Be the Guy is the final race theme from this game. 'KVD' tells us he's "honoured and thrilled" to have been inducted. Well, we'll be honored [because I default to US spelling] and thrilled if you submit another one!

Monday, February 29, 2016 by LotBlind

Fox Hunter Superstar Dies Before His Time

^^ I bet it's still a thing in the Britain.

If time as a psychological phenomenon is born of memories and as a physical phenomenon is synonymous with changes of configuration, to say the era of dinosaurs was experienced in a "The Land Before Time" isn't quite correct. If you mean no calenders then sure. The 2001 GBA release does poorly in the few reviews people wrote about it pointing at generic levels that are also too challenging for the target audience. 'CardsOfTheHeart' proves he's no pansy by hopping across all kinds of unnatural platforms in ways dinosaur legs shouldn't furnish whatsoever, although I think one of the characters is a duck. This run that introduces another game into the collection only lasts 0:09:47 but contains at least one frame-perfect trick and isn't quite as arid as you're suspecting. Well, technically the desert levels are, and even more so. One part has the runner hiding from falling boulders behind an outcrop in one of those blessed pinnacles of artful game design: the safe autoscroller. Trivia: the game was picked up for someone else to run in a Mystery Race at SpeedRunsLive, but after finding the first glitch, couldn't be parted ways with so easily.

Star Fox 64 never played a big role (hee hee) in my life but it surely does in Zack 'Zallard1' Allard's. Spending most of their time pitted inside the badly-romanized-though-infringement-avoiding "Arwing" doing what aren't actually barrel rolls (those go round in a massive corkscrew), our top ace finishes every mission in expert mode within 1:18:51 for the new 100% SDA record. The trick you're looking at is an aileron roll named after the part in the wings that you can tip so as to cause the drag to inflict a non-symmetric force on the wings making the plane bank. See, that's why the unyieldingly hopeful leporid called Peppy keeps asking you to do something actually impressive... Well, I guess improving the record by a full 6 minutes is impressive enough in a game that's large parts autoscroller... but that just shows you how little I actually know what I'm talking about: in order to complete a 100% expert run you don't just finish every mission in a flying ice sculpture, but also are required to get all the medals for each of them, which can only happen if you shoot lots of ducks super-fast and none of your allies die. You also have to have been prudent with your routing. Anyway, "Where LotBlind's ramblings end, the run comments start" as they say. As I say.

NES shmup Super Spy Hunter is one of those action-packed instant good mood inducers that the NES "got" and got lots OF. Those distinctive 8-bit sounds are simply some of the most iconic for gaming ever. New kids don't see more realistic doesn't mean more interesting, and this can surely be said of the instruments employed by gaming composers: the kind of experimentation inherent in tweaking sine waves to sound like... something is kinda out the picture now unless you really have your mind set on doing something unique. I also feel the composers back then used to have better training on average, seeing as they couldn't have come from the non-existing gaming industry itself. Another thing this game has going for it is the unusual effect created by the shifting sprites when the road you're speeding down curves, similar to the tunnel escape sequence in FFVI. While the run might look pretty self-propulsed (to find a synonym for autoscrollery), you actually do have control over how fast the level progresses. Even outside pedals impinging on metals, plenty of time is saved by being mindful of lag sources, by which we mean destroying them on sight. Or before. Oh yes, the runner here is 'Zakky the Goatragon' and the 6 levels are cleared in 0:26:05.

Somehow this title won GOTY of some gaming magazine called CRASH in 1990. It just outstripped Rainbow Islands and NARC (all three by the same company) in the poll. I suspect it was the ZX Spectrum or Amiga version people were thinking of because the NES one was still under works by Ocean, that hyper-active licence hack developer that somehow pushed out several dozen games across various platforms every year between around '85 and '98 until forced to sell out to Infogrames. These games include multiple you'd recognize from the "Awful Games" segments at the 'thons, but many of them also met high praise, sometimes even the very same ones! The reason I sound incredulous about RoboCop 2 deserving first place on any platform in the year given is simply because it looks a bit generic, even for the times. And it's pretty short though it's said it's tough to beat. I think we can see why the same magazine received most votes for "lack of software" as the worst thing about the year. You as Robocop have a quota to stem 60% of the violent crime in the area and to destroy 61% of all the nukes. Apparently this is perfect efficiency: the other 40% have to be left loose to spread the word. Aaaannd everyone knows 39% of all atomic devices are duds. The elated-to-move-on runner 'WhiteHat94', whose name seems to keep popping up, starts our game page for Robocop 2 with a 0:11:57.

Monday, February 22, 2016 by LotBlind

Lay Six Tons of Manna Inter the Galactic Baking Oven

No, you're not going to find the words "baking oven" in any of the titles of the games today. I was stuck bad. :/ Is it my fault?

"Casual" is both the difficulty setting for the first run of tonight AND the air surrounding the two guys, 'TaktikalZef' & 'Ozu', who took it upon themselves to extend the Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 game page into a new category: co-op on the Xbox360. 1:09:04 seemed an awful lot quicker than the 1:48 Individual Levels table for the PS3 (which I reckoned was the closest comparison) and so it was to no surprise when I found out about multiple glitches and exploits the multiplayer mode in the unpatched 360 version sports. When I say multiple I mean there's a lot of them, compared to other runs of this game at least. These flashbangin' thugs are breaching every rule and safety limit to make things go swiftly, if not logically. I swear some of those deaths were on purpose too... Anyway run notes are exuberantly detailed.

What's this about Vegas 1 being run co-op next WINK WINK? Maybe we'll all finally get to see the first Vegas next. Not sure if Vegases get better or worse with each repeat.

But wait we're not actually done with this! I stand corrected on the PS3 version time, because it's been lowered by another minute for a 1:47:35 by our regular, 'Soliduz Znake'. I seem to have partaken in the verification (we're starting to get confused with this game) so I can aver they're good! The improvements are for missions titled Old Vegas, down 16 seconds to a 14:51, and Theater - 43 seconds to a 20:46. The game affords more and more risky strategies to be attempted approaching zero success rate, so this might well not be the end of it.

It seems a lot to cut off a third from an existing run in the same category but not so much if said run is from 2006. Game's called Zen: Intergalactic Ninja and it's an NES platformer. Zen, its protagonist, was born in a test tube, got shot into space as a wee toddler, was taught The Ways by the serene Omnians, and can EAT WITH HIS MIND. Dylan 'Jorf' Beauchamp passes a sword through many deserving victims to achieve zen-vana in no time. Well, more like in a time of 0:12:30. Don't try to watch the runs side by side, their routes diverge instantly. Even if you sync them on a spot, it'll still feel like they're doing different levels :P

Did you know? One of the 5 composers was Kouzou Nakamura who did the soundtracks for TMNT I-IV. This is because people recur.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the only wholly new inductee in this litter. I knew nada about it, udda dan it's anudda piece o noddle fodda fo yo mudda an yo brodda fo da brain an fo a bidda bedder budder... I'm sorry I temporarily lost my mind there. It's fo da... umm for the DS and mobiles and represents puzzle adventuring. It was Japanese RPG developer Level-5's (best known for the recent Ni No Kuni) first fully independent production and it - along with the entire series - was well-received with over 4 million units sold worldwide. One of those units went to 'Mindez'. They did the right thing and solved it in a neat 1:26:26. As Layton and his companion Luke approach mysterious St. Mystere somewhere in somewhere, we are disclosed that the two are after the unclaimed inheritance of a local Baron. The opals go to whoever solves a particularly knotty teaser involving a golden apple. They work their way towards this end goal by taming a variety of cranial conundrums along the way.

After the initial shock about how Bart Simpson was voiced by a woman, I've been envenomed by the fact men never seem to be slated as females. Well, maybe it's payback from Ancient Greece... In case you didn't guess it (she's in every game you've ever played), Lani Minella does Luke's American voice, but because "I don't understand what they're saying", you can you choose British English at which point it's a different woman, Maria Darling. This is, apparently, a widespread phenomenon. It's also why we can't have nice things. JUST PICK ONE YOU NIMWITS/MORONS!

Alright, let's break this one off with the legacy-upholding Legend of Mana. I found it tough to get into a lot of the PSX era JRPGs myself, but I wouldn't scoff at someone inviting me over to play this one: the advancements in hardware capacity weren't dumped into any form of primitive 3D instead beautifying hand-painted sprites yet further in this series celebrated for its artwork. There are, as expected, multiple branches of the main story to explore but the overabundance of sub-plots was also the game's Achilles' heel for many critics. Regardless, I'd imagine the speedrunners, including Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe, would have received the challenge of routing it with zeal. The Dragon scenario is now 4 minutes faster, down to 1:45 in-game time.

I'd like to extend a warm thank you to everyone who's been participating in verifications as of late! The threads themselves tend to be pretty focused and so we don't necessarily learn much of each other there but having basic people checking them is vital so advanced people like me can continue writing unrestrained bull (!) as we do very much enjoy to do.

Thursday, February 18, 2016 by IsraeliRD

The Sole Hunter

It is pretty easy to note that Wolfenstein (2009) should have appeared in the last update, but I decided not to. The plot for said game is something along the lines of "kill Nazis, save the world". Though thanks to the sequel we know the second part hasn't happened, we do get to see Zach 'Duane Jones' R hold the lines just a bit longer for us. Said run clocks in at 1:12:38 on the Uber difficulty, and is composed of 31 segments.

Turning out attention to home-grown terrorism, we have an update to Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Runner 'Deleted User' complains that this port to the PC is extremely terrible, and very glitchy. Somehow he hasn't played the PC port for Arkham Knight. While his recent Homesick run was recorded in 4K, this one is *only* in 1440p. Anyway, this update runs in at 1:34:42, which is 7:38 minutes faster, and uses 72 segments, 34 less than the previous one.

Somehow still having eras where jumping into haystacks is normal human behaviour, making its way to the site is Assassin's Creed: Unity. Longtime series runner François 'Fed981' Federspiel takes us to Paris during the French Revolution (not a very romantic place to go to), and also ends up climbing the Eiffel Tower during the Nazi occupation, where jumping into haystacks at least isn't a thing... yet. Completing it in 46 segments, the final time is 2:30:28.

Monday, February 15, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Zombification

The first game in today's update would have had nothing to do with the title, if it wasn't for the run having deaths in it, so the fact that Faith from Mirror's Edge comes back to life makes her, by technicality, a zombie. A very fast one too, so you don't want to meet her on the Zombie Apocalypse. I just noticed that we have a run with deaths and resets, and one for resets only; and thanks to 'Req' we get a run for deaths only, on Easy difficulty clocking in at 0:37:01, single segment.

Time to flip the table, and see some blues blasting zombies. If you're familiar with Biohazard 2 then you don't need any more lame jokes, so let's get to it. 'guitarjunky' chose the PC as the platform to play on (faster load times = faster kills per minute?), and beats the game in 0:49:39 as Leon A, Single Segment.

The last game probably has zombies in it, but thanks to Wikipedia having little information on it, you will have to find out yourself by watching the speedrun. BloodRayne: Betrayal is the third game in the main series, this time taking place as a 2D game over the previous 3D entries. Helping vampire hunter femme Rayne is 'Thaan', who flies (literally at parts) through the game and beats anything that is thrown at him in 0:56:21, played on New Game Plus and single segment.

Friday, February 12, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Sequels, Remakes and Inspirations

Riven is the sequel to Myst, and its storyline is also set immediately after the events of Myst. After rescuing his sons, Artus now asks you to free his wife from his power-hungry father, Gehn. 'frenzied_coder' travels throughout the world of Riven and gets the best ending in this swift 0:08:42.

It was teased as 'Coming Soon!' since Abe's Oddysee and at long last it arrived! Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! is... Abe's Oddysee, slightly bigger. It has 299 Mudokon slaves to free (RuptureFarms grew a bit), and overall it looks new and tasty (sorry not sorry). Needless to say Sam 'Samtastic' Locke is a master at this series, so it is unsurprising to see the finish time at 0:22:16, on the Hard difficulty using deaths and resets, but still single segment.

Inspired by the Infinity Engine and game series Baldur's Gate among others, Pillars of Eternity is a diverse and excellent RPG with the classic isometric view. Running on the Unity engine, it has less glitches than the Infinity Engine, yet it didn't stop 'Jiseed' from beating it in 0:24:35, single segment using the Easy difficulty with Large Skips and Resets. The comments provided explain the run in great detail.

Saturday, February 6, 2016 by LotBlind

Home on the Safari

Have you ever tried to eat an entire banana in one go? That banana is the analogy of Town & Country Surf Designs 2: Thrilla's Surfari and you trying to chomp through that whole title without pausing or wondering why. And that's precisely how to speedrun. That link was contrived, but I think 'WhiteHat94' at least gets it! I introduced the game (that we abbreviated to Town & Country II: Thrilla's Surfari) in what I see was my very first update as a surprisingly varied NES platformer involving a 90's-type gorilla (the Home & Country company's mascot) going ape over surfing and skating. Imagine that, a gorilla going ape. To achieve a 0:14:15, WhiteHat found some additional seams with tears large enough for a full-grown primate to slide through. Hence the minute and 15 off.

From Gorillas to developer Guerrilla Games. I know this guy 'Soliduz Znake' well enough to let slip I wasn't exactly thrilled when the first things I learned about Killzone 2 - and I wasn't surprised with such a... vulgar and humorless name - were cover-based shooting and code named weapons. Yes, it's a realistic shooter. Not being a critic whose job entails wading through as many games fitting that description as you wade through Japanese at an onsen, I was full happy to give the game a chance. Speedruns often change the gameplay anyway. The amount of sole hero these games want you to feel is as contrary to the idea of a trained military as a harpoon is to wildlife protection. Or is that just the easiest difficulty setting manifesting itself? The damage spatters on the screen amount to more than 15 litres of blood over the course of the 1:57:27 run but nothing can stop a white guy.

I think Doom fans will find this amusing.

If I tell you this game appeared just 9 months ago and the run oozed its way through the creaky SDA machine having probably been available for posting some 15-30 days ago, you'll know the game is neither lengthy nor especially complex. Homesick is more of an atmosphere piece with a slow, sullen progression. Gameplay is unremarkable with a few simple puzzles strewn about, but clearly that's not the point. If the run time came to anything shorter than 0:10:26, you couldn't make out the story at all. And that's what this genre is called according to the reviewer at Kill Screen, a story exploration game. It must have made an impression on 'Deleted User' or why else would he have went back for the snack-sized speed-run-through? This run is in 4k XQ (lolQ) if you plez.

BTW, the timer's queue is empty so you need to send in more PC runs quickly to get him off his laurels.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 by LotBlind

The Silence of the Hills

With all of the Mario games out there, please excuse me for thinking I'd already written about Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars in the none-too-distant past. Seeing the old run was from 2011 I became mighty confused AND baffled until concluding '0xwas' has handed over a wholly different assignment for us to correct and assess. Not that there's much to correct in this 2:38:01 which obsoletes the preceding by some 20 minutes. The game was also run in the AGDQ of '13 which is the one I reviewed in its entirety over the course of rather a long time (worth!). If you have a game you run that was played during AGDQ '13 and you haven't gotten round to submitting it our way yet, know that if you do, I might pick it up and mention that it was played that year. LITERALLY no other difference.

But not to leave you in suspense with the run itself, I'd have to know a bit more about it.

***

Okay okay, now that I know a bit more about it:
-the game has an active scene in Japan where the runner harks from (I'd love to see a chart of nationalities represented amongst SDA users and runners!)
-the Japanese version, which he had, is about 10 minutes faster, so 10 minutes-ish is also the real improvement
-no dropping of super jumps happened, which is probably really prolike.

Arigatou gozaimasu!

Speaking of Japan, looks like all the games I elected for today are from thereabouts. Take Silent Hill 2 for instance. Another, more defining defining quality it has is it's Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's favourite game or close to it. He's a critic so he should know. The run inherits part of ITS definition from the runner being none other than Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko who slams this dunk with even more style than the previous time he did the same category (PC, on normal), shaving off just under a minute to bring about a 0:43:23. I'm scanning the largely unaltered run notes to see what's new: apparently you rotate to cancel dialogs faster. I think Andrew must have been doing a really great job, because the game itself keeps telling him he's saved it from being forgotten about by the speedrunning universe.

Hideo Kojima was really in the zone (in the end zone?) when tasked with producing the non-HD original of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner HD back in 2003, in times before Konami's great swoop. In his vision, left undiscovered by the broad audience, the player was given more weapons to toy with with less non-combat gameplay to detract from the straightforward 3D-shooter experience where mechs battle each other over... well my eyes can't seem to focus on the plot synopsis on Wiki, it's that elusive and unnecessarily complicated. Another trademark of Japanese imports, the sub-par English script and voice acting ("Pay attention to your back, too.") will set you either in tears or in guffaws according on your natural inclinations. I've no doubt 'AllTheHighwinds' is nodding his head. I always feel guilty if I've been unable to say a few words about the run's gameplay. With games in 3D, and especially when the play area extends along the Z-axis, it's considerably more difficult to follow all events. Let's just say stuff gets targeted and swatted down like a photonic fence powered by cold fusion. 0:59:34 is seven minutes off the previous too with changes in strategy here and there. Played on normal with vanilla Jehuty on the PS3 (or possibly 360 because you don't deserve to know).

Friday, January 22, 2016 by LotBlind

Fantasize About Being Kula Than the Blue Bomber

The Blue Bomber is back! Wait, the "Azure Striker" is back! That's what he was always called right? Azure Striker Gunvolt, the "ring-any-bells?" 2-year-old series from Inti Creates (makers of the Mega Man Zero games, Mega Man 9 and 10, Shantae and other similar franchises) replaces robot masters with "Adepts" and one evil corporation with another. It does also explore a remixed combat system that forces you to first tag enemies, then use another ability to actually berid of them. A high emphasis is placed on skilful play with a score multiplier ticking up every time you've been cool.

Availing himself only of a few automatically acquired bolts and eschewing the upgrades system entirely, Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener does the maximum of hop-hopping, dash-dashing and walljump-walljumping to bag the bad ending within an in-game time of 0:49:13 motivated by jpop and anime and Japan in general. Played on the 3DS.

Also exuding eastern esthetics, it's Epic Battle Fantasy 2, one of seven (give or take) currently existing entries into the flash JRPG series borne in 2009 (give or take) by Matt Roszak alias Kupo Gaming. I say "give or take" because there were a few games that foreboded the progressively more well-defined series proper. In the second game the format is still one fight followed by another with some softcore... umm... level-upping taking place every here and again. We see 'Crow!' take down a tankier than average tank on "epic" difficulty within just 0:22:16.

If you don't think the aforementioned game is a show of high craftsmanship, you first need to see one of the author's older works and I think you'll find things have moved in a rather agreeable direction since then! Honestly, though, there's a hand-made feel through most of the game and it's quite funny at times.

Verifier respondage got me extra hyped for this next one: "a very impressive achievement and a role model submission" I read. The first word in Kula World isn't just "more cool": 'kula' is Swedish for 'ball'. The development team WAS Swedish so we may assume that's a pretty solid theory. I don't know what the most direct predecessors for this type of ball roll simulator are aside from Marble Madness. It predates [Super] Monkey Ball by three whole years you see, and is more puzzle and less arcade. Maybe it IS one of those venerable granddaddy trailblazers! If that is the case, 'adeyblue' is surely honoring its stately dignity. 157 levels divided by 0:38:37 means just short of 15 seconds per level. There's 15 levels per world. MORE ADEYBLUE SPEEDRUNS CONFIRMED! Give the audio commentary a listen to hear what those blue and purple pills do, and why Adey thinks he made a mistake when choosing this as his first speedrun...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 by LotBlind

Beat'em'up to the Punch

...or they'll beat YOU up with THEIR punches instead.

Beat'em'ups were one of the essential genres of the arcade era. Something arcade machines could portray that home console publishers wanted censored was graphic violence and mature themes in general. Thus Battletoads Arcade is the Battletoads where you drill and decapitate things. Don't get me wrong, it's not Mortal Kombat! It's corny, it's cartooney, it's fine! The point I was making is when no-stranger-to-the-genre Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare takes each of the boys in turn on a walk through the six arduous levels, Pimple (0:40:22) goes hard, Rash (0:40:20) goes hard, and Zits (0:39:38)... is all out of fly-paper. All the runs come with audio commentary on track 2 that I recommend despite PJ himself being awfully quiet.

Oh, did I say they go "hard"? My bad, they go "hardest". Here's a few words from the verifiers:

-"Getting 1cc's on this game is idiotic, and doing it on hardest is even more idiotic. All these runs are stupid as hell. I'm not really sure whats wrong with PJ to make him do this."

-"Still can't believe what PJ has done. I mean one of the bossfights on this difficulty is literally designed to be impossible (so they could get more coins from you)."

I gotta add I wasn't going to but just couldn't stop watching one of these ridiculous runs through.

Here's a game series named after the last few minutes of gameplay... Final Fight. The original Capcom title was released for the arcade in 1989 and had a Game Boy Advance port in 1994 amongst others. This was called Final Fight One, took its graphics from the earlier SNES port but returns a cut stage and supports more enemies on screen. I don't think this changes also-no-stranger-to-the-genre Jeremy 'DK28' Doll's modus operandi at all: you just want to assist everyone onto the same side of the screen so you can start infinity-ing their multicolored health bars away in an orderly fashion. You also devour all food sighted in trash cans, barrels and cardboard boxes cluttering Metro City, and realize collecting weapons can only ever hurt your Damage-Per-Second.

The last time DK ran Final Fight, the runs were on "very easy", so it's very easy to assume running on "very hard" was... very hard? It's also a little bit hard to make out the run commentary but it's there so just crank the volume!

Alpha Cody
0:31:09
Alpha Guy
0:39:06
Haggar
0:38:19

I actually also have a run for the aforementioned arcade version of Final Fight, this time by also-also-no-stranger-to-the-genre Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy. The version differences may be seen in your increased chances of despawning enemies just by jumping/backflipping the scene, the two female bad guys (bad girls?) Roxy and Poison, the graffiti in the open-air bathroom shack and the usage of the non-kosher phrase "OH! MY GOD!!". 0:22:53 is the time elapsed when Murph decided to do just one casual attempt one morning before work playing Cody. The runner's understanding of the value of keeping the combo running extends to keeping our audio commentary combo running through the entire update. Check it out for more detailed insights!

I wanted to think the name of Final Fight: Streetwise referred to the fact that you're generally always moving along the road left-to-right in beat'em'ups, not across it: Street-wise, that is. Sadly, this PS2 title bursts my bubble bursting Metro City into freely explorable 3D. It stars Kyle Travers, the brother of Cody from the first game but features the other main characters too.

The again present audio commentary with the same runner, Murphagator, and friends on track 2 of the 1:01:55 tells you more than you need to know. Just realize it's not at all a bad watch despite its terrible ratings. Vice versa. In large part because enemy names look completely randomly generated. Again, I saw the whole thing instead of just spot samples.

Moral of the story? Audio commentaries retain customer interest.

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