This category, known by many as "Magic%", involves 'beating the game' by performing specific actions that allow a glitched version of the menu to be accessed from the Cannon Travel outside Potos by landing a frame-perfect input exactly nine frames after the "barreled!" status message disappears. The original and completely accidental discovery of the glitched menu by bjw made this category possible, and thanks to the efforts of HHS and others, this category was proven to be humanly possible.
The reason I use the Japanese version of the game, also known as "Seiken Densetsu 2", is because it is faster than the English version for this category for a couple of reasons. To give some approximate figures, the Japanese version saves 5s on the introductory cutscene (waterfall included - although this is not part of the SDA timing of this run), 3s on the sword cutscene, 3s on the cutscene before Mantis Ant, 3s on the cutscene after Mantis Ant, and 0.5s on the glitched menu prompt, but loses 0.5s on Dyluck's soldier's dialogue and 4s on the Neko sequence primarily because Japanese has more sluggish menus. The Japanese version can also save a few seconds on the glitched menu inputs because the series of inputs performed to access The End screen are able to be performed faster than those on English.
The first three minutes of the run basically involves mashing through some text and performing some dashes. All of the face buttons and both of the trigger buttons can be used to mash through text. The text in the introductory cutscene (before the waterfall) and the sword cutscene progresses automatically, so mashing is not performed there.
It is best to go down stairs by moving off of their sides instead of moving directly down their steps. Moving directly down their steps will cause you to step down each stair, whereas moving off of the side will skip that.
Sometimes, the Rabite that spawns along the narrow path leading to the exit of the first Rabite area will not spawn, which saves around a second.
I made two obvious movement errors on my way to Potos involving a Rabite and some stairs that cost a little over a second combined.
Mantis Ant fight details:
- Mantis Ant has 150 health.
- When you swing with full stamina, the game will determine whether you roll high (18) or roll low (14). Rolling low more than three times during the fight will make Mantis Ant require an additional (tenth) hit to kill. A crit can also roll high (36) or low (28). Each crit you receive will save around two seconds; however, crits are around a 2% chance per swing, so even receiving one during the fight in a speedrun is unlikely.
- If you swing too early, then you won't swing with full stamina as it won't have refilled in time from the previous swing, and if you swing too late, then you can be blocked or you can be struck before unleashing the swing.
- If Mantis Ant puts his guard is up, he cannot be damaged, and can sometimes attack immediately out of a guard animation. Depending on the circumstances and how long he guards for, a guard can waste up to three seconds.
- It helps to stand away from him whenever possible because not only is he more likely to guard the closer you are to him, but if you are in close proximity of him, the game causes you to have a ~50% chance to stab him instead of slash him. Stabs have a slower animation, making it almost guaranteed that, unless you block his incoming attack, that you will not be able to damage him with your stab attack before taking damage.
In general, the game plan with Mantis Ant is to slash as soon as your stamina is full while staying at the appropriate distance away from him. If you dodge any of his attacks, you can move left to try to drag him left before your next attack. This will give you more space behind you in case he continues to move forward during the fight. If you get backed against the wall, you may receive stab animations and possibly have him guard, which you want to avoid.
As unlikely as crits may be, I managed to receive one in this run, which helped counteract the time loss from the mistakes I made earlier.
After being banished from Potos, some glitched menu setup is performed involving Neko and the second soldier of Dyluck's army. Along the way, a few Lullabud despawns are attempted, which helps maximize dash efficiency.
At Neko's shop, the blat glitch, also known as the money glitch, is performed to be able to afford a barrel, which costs a steep 900 GP.
The steps for the blat glitch, as shown during the run, are as follows:
- Purchase 1x Candy and 1x Chocolate from Neko, then exit Neko's menus.
- Open the inventory and shift the cursor onto Chocolate, then close the menu.
- Sell the Chocolate and Candy back to Neko, then open Neko's buy menu and close it.
- Open Neko's sell menu again, this time selling the "Chocolate" (which is actually now "Blat") once.
- Purchase 1x Barrel from Neko, then exit Neko's menus.
Afterward, more setup for the glitched menu is performed by opening the save game menu via Neko. The game does not have to be saved; the menu merely needs to be accessed once. During many of these dialog confirmations, A ("yes") or B ("no") can be held as the text is appearing to instantaneously confirm one of the choices.
Next, I visit a soldier of Dyluck's army. Speaking to the soldier causes the Cannon Travel service to charge money. This means that, when I speak to the Cannon Traveler at the end, its first bit of dialogue will prompt the smaller text box to appear - the one that normally shows how much gold you have - which is another requirement for accessing the glitched menu. I try to dash as close to the Rabite as possible without touching it when I dash towards the army's location.
Despawning the first Lullabud is guaranteed with the dash performed after leaving the army's location. The second is a bit less common, and seems to be primarily determined by my vertical positioning as I dash towards its location. Basically, I try to dash as close to the Mushboom as possible when I pass by for a better chance at the despawn. In the event the second Lullabud spawns (which it did), I simply bait out an attack from it and keep going. It's very minor.
To access the glitched menu, I use the barrel I purchased on myself and then attempt to speak to the Cannon Traveler exactly nine frames after the "Barreled!" message disappears. As a visual cue, I watch the barrel's shaking animation to have an idea of when to perform the input. The barrel has two different shaking animations that it can perform, and I have about a second after realizing which of the two it is to prepare myself for timing the input accordingly.
I wait until the "Barrel" text appears before using it. If I did not do this, then if I managed to hit the input, I would be given a different version of the menu than what is used to access "The End", effectively ending the run.
Once the glitched menu is accessed, the inputs performed to produce "The End" screen are Left x1, B x1, Left x1, B x1, Left x1, B x1, Left x1, B x1, Left x26, B x1. Every first and second Left input of a series causes the game to pause for close to a second, meaning that the ones which do not lag are the last 24 Left inputs of the series of 26. Because of this, I can mash those inputs as quickly as I reasonably can.
I believe it is humanly possible to improve this run by around a second if a Mantis Ant crit does not occur, but up to 3s if one would occur.
I hope you found enjoyment from this ridiculous run.
Thanks to Yagamoth and StingerPA for helping me learn how to play, bjw for discovering the glitch this category revolves around, HHS for his tool-assisted work, and those who watched during the streams of attempts.
bjw discovery - https://www.twitch.tv/bjw/v/47511917
HHS TAS - http://tasvideos.org/2739M.html
Technical information - http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=425&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=648
More of the above - https://forum.speeddemosarchive.com/post/secret_of_mana_1021.html
Even more of the above - http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/588646-secret-of-mana/69150657?page=16