|Completion Date||Sept. 21, 2015|
I also have to give a special shoutout to M1 (http://www.twitch.tv/M1_Account), for collaborating and competing with me during my early days of running this game. I wouldn't have gotten this far without him motivating me to improve.
Like the previous SDA entry, this is a single segment playthrough of NEW GAME mode on Easy Action & Easy Riddle difficulty, no extra options or weapons allowed, with a final time of 36 minutes and 57 seconds in-game time.
The run has changed quite a bit since the previous SDA run of 41:07 (2007). I first started running this game in the summer of 2013, during which I and others discovered a few major improvements over Introverder's old SDA run. Throughout the course of 2 years countless developments were made thanks to numerous people, and the speedrun route became what it is today.
While the base route of the game is mostly the same, there have been lots of both minor and major improvements on movement techniques, general strategies, weapon/ammo choice and IGT optimisation.
Some general changes in this run include:
ｷ Optimisations using strafing and strafing into turns in order to save time (especially with sharp right or left turns)
ｷ Managing inventory and item equips more effectively
ｷ Ampoule usage for unlimited stamina in outdoor segments
ｷ Using the Closer to kill Heather during the dream sequence instead of running to the end
ｷ Skipping the ghostly footsteps segments in the Church via QS/QLing on the spot
ｷ A 1 second time benefit from playing fresh boot (inventory fade-in does not tick the in game timer the very first time it is opened)
ｷ Using "blocking" to override the startup frames needed to aim the shotgun and immediately fire
ｷ Differing weapon choices and strategies for bosses
ｷ IGT reduction methods (see: Amusement Park)
And much more.
But now onto the run itself, with a summarisation of each area:
DREAM SEQUENCE -
Thanks to the fairly recent discovery by Bigmanjapan (http://www.twitch.tv/bigmanjapan) of a method that allows you to be hit by the Closer while on the ground, the best time you can achieve in this section (with good luck) was lowered from 28 seconds to 25. Running to the end of the tracks as seen in Introverder's run takes roughly 46 seconds.
Unfortunately this strategy is a point of many resets during attempts as the Closer's attack patterns are completely random with no way to manipulate them so far. I managed to get a perfect pattern in this run (2 stronger attacks in a row).
When coming out of the elevator to the Otherworld Mall, using strafing saves time again over circle turning. Not much else to say about this section other than everything went exceptionally well, only real time loss was around .5 seconds from being blocked by the Closer on the way back after cracking the Walnut.
BOSS: SPLIT WORM (21s) -
Unfortunately Split Worm's health pool is completely random; luck was not on my side this time and I had to settle for a slower 7 shot fight (6 being the fastest, 8 being the slowest).
I use a strafe turn to grab the nutcracker and leave quicker. Skipping the 2 unnecessary shotgun shells in the same train carriage where the shotgun is saves around 1.5 seconds so I don't bother taking them.
Getting off the train tracks with the dogs can be a pain because the auto-aim "feature" of Easy action difficulty often likes to prevent you from entering doors/interacting with things. Thankfully I managed to get back up on the platform with ease.
The moving train segment was fairly average, sometimes the Big Numb Body can try to attack you which is actually a good thing as you can move around it more easily, it only saves a fraction of a second though.
This segment was pretty uneventful, bar the stupid auto-aim feature of Easy activating at one point and costing me about half a second or less by preventing me from entering a door. Everything went very well besides that, both the room with the hairdryer and the room with the generator (where you use the wine bottle) can be very troublesome, luckily in this attempt they both went ideally.
I actually found a "zip" so to speak that can be performed in the sewers (https://youtu.be/Lb9opPuqgyo), however it ended up taking around the same amount of time as walking to the door or slower and has a chance to fail so I left it out of this run.
HILLTOP CENTER -
The Otherworld portion of Hilltop is where I lost time. I got very unlucky on the spawn pattern of Slurpers in the long corridors. This was pretty much out of my control, it's a source of much randomness and frustration to many who run this game. Thankfully I only got "gatored" once and managed to dodge the others. This knockdown cost me around 3.5 seconds.
If your timing is good and you quick turn the right way (anti-clockwise), you can activate the elevator controls whilst Heather is mid-turning animation. I managed to do this the first time, but not the other two times. It only saves a tiny amount of time though (.2 seconds I'd estimate)
BOSS: MISSIONARY (8s) -
Turning the flashlight off here is pretty crucial to my strategy; I've had the Missionary start sprinting around the roof simply because I forgot to turn it off (this boss is "half-blind" or something to similar effect so it's sensitive to light sources).
I always make sure to get as close as possible to its back so that I can skip a phase of the fight. I'm not entirely sure what influences whether the Missionary dies on the first knockdown, but it has to be down to either where you shoot it from, or the fact I don't let go of aim after knocking it down, walk over until Heather automatically points her weapon down then I fire again.
Big improvement on this fight over the previous SDA run (15s) solely due to the second phase of the fight being skipped.
BROOKHAVEN HOSPITAL -
This is where the second big time loss occurred. Unfortunately when returning through the corridor after receiving the phone call from Leonard, a nurse decided to act out her revenge upon Heather by gunning her down. Like the slurper, this probably also cost 3.5 seconds. This is a rare time loss to have, so I was more than a little frustrated that it happened on such a good run, but again there wasn't really much I could do to prevent this from happening, perhaps my flashlight being off might have prevented it but I don't think so.
The rest of the hospital went pretty fine, my luck on the briefcase "puzzle" was okay, nothing special. In the ideal case you get a code (which is also the time shown on the clock) such as 0100 or 1010 etc. because the briefcase only scrolls one way. I picked up the Submachine Gun in the basement of the hospital and the 1 round of ammunition as it will save me time later on.
Not much to say about the Otherworld Hospital, lots of strafe turns were used to save time here. The only place I really made a mistake was in the room where you get the plastic bag I fumbled a bit with the text prompts, nothing major.
BOSS: LEONARD (9s) -
This part of the game for most runners is one of the most scary experiences. Not because it is spooky however, but because there is a favourable chance this boss can completely ruin your run. What will happen if you are successful is after the first knockdown shot, you will "stunlock" Leonard and he will remain flailing in the water as you shoot him. If it fails he starts swimming around the whole room while invulnerable, wasting a ton of time. Through testing I determined it's largely based on the framerate of the game; if your framerate stays at a stable 60 you should be all good to just hold down fire and lock him in place, but if it shifts around it messes with how quickly you fire the shotgun and/or Leonard's animations.
This recently developed strategy requires you to fire 3 shotgun shots at him before switching to the Submachine Gun to finish him off. You do lose a bit of time switching to the Submachine Gun mid-fight, but it's not any more than a second or so. Overall this strategy ends up saving as much as 5 seconds in some cases, it also looks cool B).
AMUSEMENT PARK -
There is a Closer that loves to block your path by the souvenir shop where the Rollercoaster Key is found. I use a consistent method to get past it by waiting (approximately 1.5 seconds) for it to approach me while looking and listening for the start of its attack, upon which I enter the shop. There's a set path you can take in the shop which will activate the "boxes falling" event a lot quicker. It also allows you to pick up the Ampoule easier (I accidentally missed it on my first pass, but got it on the way out) which remains equipped for later on when it's needed.
Movement up to the rollercoaster controls and on the tracks was very good, saved some time from previous attempts here as I activated the controls without having to go too far into the room.
The Borley Haunted Mansion is an extended section where you spend 2 minutes waiting around listening to an eccentric man talk to you over loudspeaker, quite obviously the greatest part of the run. It's unskippable on New Game which is a shame as it would save quite a fair bit of time if it were able to be skipped like in Extra New Game. My movement in the "maze" at the end of the mansion was very good, only bumped the walls a few times.
Fumbled with my inventory a little when using the chain as I had to re-equip the shotgun, nothing too major.
The carousel section is where I discovered some very big time saves. As it turns out, the end of this section is based on "cycles". The easiest way to explain this is that (from my testing) every 12 seconds there is a check to see if all the horses have been killed and the horses will start moving again. Therefore if you kill every horse just after the point the game checks, you will have to wait another 12 seconds for them to start moving again. This is a pretty big deal as it means if you go very fast on this section you can save 12 whole seconds from a slower attempt.
I was able to accomplish a very fast time in killing the horses using the animation skip trick, which involves blocking as soon as you press aim in order to fire immediately. I was also able to save time by using the Save menu in order to pause the in game timer whilst certain events loaded (start of the horses moving & the Alessa cutscene loading). Overall I probably saved over 20 seconds on this section over the previous SDA run.
BOSS: MEMORY OF ALESSA (47s) -
This fight went exceptionally well, I managed to get a perfect first 3 phases using a combination of the animation skip and aim left strategy. I even managed to avoid the dreaded "running away in circles" that she loves to do during this fight. The only major flaw happened in the final phase of the fight: Unfortunately my first shot whiffed due to the shoddy hit detection in this game and Alessa was able to shoot me, costing me probably 4 seconds or so in total including the missed shot.
47 seconds for this fight is still pretty amazing and is an improvement over the previous SDA fight.
There is a corridor where you would normally have to wait around 15 seconds for bloody footsteps to walk into the painting before you can go move the painting and enter the door behind it. By Quicksaving and Quickloading on the spot you can skip this section, saving you the 15 second wait.
I got hit by the Scraker the first time in this room, but it didn't knock me down so I only lost a second or so on this, and it's relatively unavoidable most of the time. Also of note, the hitboxes of this guy's attacks are absolutely brutal, I've seen myself hit from around 5 feet away from its blade before.
The QS/QL trick is used again for the second door with bloody footsteps, the total time saved with both of these instances is 28 seconds. You have to be careful on the way back through this area as the two Closers sometimes perform a swinging attack with a huge hitbox that can knock Heather down.
Curiously enough the tarot card puzzle isn't actually counted by the in game timer so in theory you could take as much time as you wanted here and not have it count against you.
BOSS: THE GOD (40s) -
At the very start of this fight I ran forward whilst holding the fire button, as the auto aim feature of Easy allows you to aim up and shoot at her just ever so slightly faster. However sometimes this shot can miss her completely (most likely framerate related), so I was taking a bit of a gamble.
The Ampoule picked up earlier remains equipped in the inventory so it can be used here to restore your health when low.
Fight went very well and with a 5 second improvement over the previous SDA run can't complain there.
And with the last shot comes my final time of 36 minutes and 57 seconds!
For me, SDA has always been a place for submitting end products rather than "world records". I'm submitting this run because I've reached a point where improving on this time requires more luck than execution. My execution throughout the run was very solid overall, but I lost time due to tedious random elements that I no longer want to reset over. It's certainly not a perfect run, it can definitely be improved, but I'm very pleased with it.
I hope that in the future people smarter and more skilled than me at the game come along and beat this time, there's definitely a lot more to this game than it first appears, which is what attracted me to it in the first place.
A final thank you again to the community and my fellow runners who have had the same hardships as well as fun with running this game, and to everyone who ever supported me whilst I grinded out runs of this game.
It's been a fun 2 years, if you need to contact me regarding the run, to ask a question or for help with speedrunning this game feel free to message me on Twitch, YouTube, or IRC (I'm usually in #silenthill on the speedrunslive IRC server)