About a month and a half ago, I got my first PB in this game, which was an 18:06. It was pretty cringeworthy, chock-full of the silliest mistakes imaginable. But now, about 500 attempts later, I got a 10:53 - my sub-11 goal has finally been achieved!
This was ran on the Sega Smash Pack II (PC) version of the game. I had previously streamed attempts on the Steam version, but the streaming was generating so much lag in the game, that I decided to run offline, and with the version I was most comfortable with.
And now for some level notes!
Scene 1: Geronimo
All photons collected boiiii
Scene 2: Night in the Swamp
Would have been a perfect level had the last spider not spawned so far to the right. A little more to the left and I could have damage-boosted past him, but no worries; only lost about a second from that.
Scene 3: Bog Jam
Good level. Kind of an annoying one though, because the branches are actually much harder to land on than it may look.
Scene 4: In Blackest Night
Almost got a super quick kill here, but I missed missed the last head on the fourth jet boost. Although it's a small time loss, I'm happy with the result because I took no damage.
Scene 5: Fired
One of the smoothest scene 5's I've ever had. I take a lot of intentional damage here jumping over lava, because who wants to wait for platforms? :P It's important to note that right before each time I land on the lava, I do a backwards shot to turn the character sprite backwards. Since lava always damage-boosts you in the opposite direction Vectorman is facing, this strat gives a forward boost 100% of the time. It is also important to note that I got excellent RNG here, ending the level with four hit points.
Scene 6: Magma P.I.
More annoying jumps here, a bit like scene 3. Not much to say, was pretty much ideal.
Scene 7: Turn up the Heat
For some inexplicable reason, I erroneously thought I could get another hit in on the boss before he descended into the next pool of lava, so I had to wait around an extra two seconds for the boss to reappear. An unfortunate mistake, but by no means a bad one.
Scene 8: Orbot Express
The goal of these skating levels is to just charge through them while taking as little damage as possible. Since I lost three hit points on the last boss, I decided to play it risky and do a ton of unreliable strats, such as diagonal-shooting the second flying caterpillar thing, and narrowly avoiding acid bombs dropped by other enemies. Very good level.
Scene 9: Dirty Job
Not much to comment on, besides one jump which I don't know how I missed for a small time loss. However, since the rest of the level was pretty much spot-on, the final time was about average.
Scene 10: Vectorman 1 2 3
Excellent level. The jumps past the flying caterpillars at the bottom of the level are actually quite hard to execute without being knocked back to a significant degree, so I'm very happy with this.
Scene 11: I Can Dig It
Probably can't be improved without implementing some crazy TAS strats.
Scene 12: Rollerderby
The easiest of the skating levels. You may have noticed that in these stages, whenever I am airborne, I spam a bunch of photon shots. Well, for some reason, this actually increases your midair speed a lot, even though it may not make any sense as to why.
Scene 13: Mist Chances
Ugh, I absolutely hate the two beetles at the bottom of this level. The way I get past them here is probably the most reliable, even though it looks like it wastes a lot of time. This is actually the only place I know of where the game will sometimes not show your jet boost sprites. Even though you can hear the audio for it, the jets won't appear nor do any damage. If this happens, the beetles will absolutely screw you up, leading to a huge time loss. Later on, I somehow completely miss an easy jump, leading to a two-second time loss.
Scene 14: Cave Fear
There have been a couple sloppy mistakes up to this point in the run, totalling up to about 10 seconds of losses, but this level had god-like RNG. The enemies are placed in the most absolute incovenient places here, but they were so tolerable this time around. To describe how evil the RNG can be sometimes, I entered this level with 5 HP; there's a possibility I could lose all of that before I finish this scene. So the fact that this level actually looked like a cakewalk simply amazes me. Easily saved 4 or 5 seconds here.
Scene 15: Dreamsnake
I hate this boss. It's extremely hard to predict because nearly everything it does is RNG-determined. And forget about a 1-cycle boss here, because that'll only happen like 5% of the time. Well... I don't know how, but I got the 1-cycle! Now, depending on how quickly the second cycle would have started, this 1-cycle saves a good 3-5 seconds.
Scene 16: Recycle or Die
Was very happy to pull off the difficult jump off the platform past the shooting caterpillar early in the level. Gained about a second there. But, that gain was lost when one of my jumps later in the level went a little too far and got knocked back by a beetle. Lost about a second from that, but still a good level.
Scene 17: The Shadow Nose
OH MY GOD the RNG here is absolutely ridiculous sometimes. To climb to the boss at the top of the level, you have to shoot through a whole bunch of bricks, such that you can jump up there in a timely manner. Well, this section is not at all like the block-climbing section in Scene 9. There, the blocks are destroyed very predictably. But here, whenever you shoot a block, a whole bunch of blocks surrounding the one that you just shot COULD break; it's RNG determined. And then, those blocks surrounding the blocks which exploded after shooting a block they were surrounding also have a chance of blowing up. So, you basically have some gigantic chain reaction going on in these sections, where it's nearly impossible to predict where it's safe (and optimal) to jump to. Long story short, I had pretty good RNG here. Yeah, I had to lose a little bit of time jumping to break blocks in the way I wanted, but this section could easily be much worse.
And now for the actual boss. Well, I only 1-cycle this guy about 10% of the time, and I ALMOST did it here. I think I missed it by one jet hit. A 1-cycle would have shaved off about 5 seconds from the time I got, but my performance here was about average, so I'm good with that.
Scene 18: Shout and Twist
HOLY HELL. About 75% of the attempts which make it past Scene 7 end here. This has literally been the bane of my existence, no matter what strat I use to beat it. But here, I absolutely killed the level in a whopping 38 seconds, the best I've ever done. The reason this is so hard is because of the strat I use, which saves about 30 seconds over the next best RTA method. So basically, I have to go for it. The strat involves using two Tornado morphs to just fly over the entire level. Seems easy, until one reaslizes that in order to jump as high and fall as slow as necessary, you have to mash the C button at about 10-11 times per second. Now, this sort of thing usually isn't a problem for me, as I can mash up to 13 times a second, but the nerves are a big problem. See if I'm on good pace at this point, my hands just begin to shake uncontrollably, causing me to button-mash really badly, and almost inevitably fail. It's disgusting to see a run fail in this kind of manner. But for some reason, I just absolutely nailed it this time, better than even every one of my practice attempts. It may not look like it, but to me it was god-like to finally see this level succeed in such a surprising manner. For more in-depth details on this strat, I made a guide for how to carry out Tornado Skip: http://www.speedrun.com/vman2/guide/ua1r8
Scene 19: Tank You
Everything went exactly according to plan, even with my heart pounding out of my chest after the last level :P
Scene 20: Tank Patrol
Eh, could have been a bit better had I gotten better health drops. The more health I have, the riskier damage boosts I'll take, but since none of the enemies were giving me health, I attempted very few.
Scene 21: Bad Eggs
Well done, as usual. No trolly RNG either as one bad egg spawn might have ended the sub-11 pace.
Scene 22: Queen for a Day
WOW. JUST.... WOW. What the hell was with me getting amazing times on all the hard levels in this run? This is seriously the hardest boss in the game and I killed it so fast. I had some good strats here, including shooting a photon each time I landed on the first phase, and a relatively continuous diagonal stream of photons on the second and third phases. The latter strat really has you risk death here if the Queen can hit you a lot. Luckily though, her aim this time around was pretty terrible, and I was able to shoot her out really fast.
All thanks go out to mmbossman and Cpadolf0 for their TASes which I implemented some strats from into this run, and to mike89, for both his TAS and RTA runs. Sub-11 would not have been possible without them, or anybody else who has contributed knowledge of this game to the speedrunning community.
Enjoy the run!