Hi everyone, and welcome to my Doom 64 Watch Me Die Any% run! This run completes the game on Watch Me Die, the hardest difficulty and equivalent of PC Doom's Ultra-Violence, as quickly as possible. This run clocks in at 48:44 RTA timing and 48:40 SDA timing.
Like my Be Gentle notes, I want to give shoutouts to Graviton, Peaches, Garrison, Icy, and WinDEU for their contributions and support. Graviton especially gave me a huge hand in learning this category and all the additional strats needed to finish at all, so huge thanks to him.
Unlike Be Gentle where the run is fairly easy to just complete and most of the time saves come from optimized movement, Watch Me Die is much more difficult to finish and relies heavily on efficient combat to both survive and save time. I take twice as much damage and get half the ammo from pickups so health and ammo management are far more strict and I take several detours for needed pickups that outweigh the time needed to get them. Many more monsters appear on the maps and wrong decisions during fights can result in anywhere from 5-10 seconds lost to instantly dying and ending the run, so I play it safe in a few tricky spots to ensure I have time to react to random monster movement and attacks.
I will copy the tricks and weapons sections out of my BG run notes just for the sake of having them documented again:
Neutral Reset: The D64 engine does not have a hardcoded limit on Doomguy's speed so the only limit is how far I can push the control stick. By holding the control stick all the way down and pushing L+R+Start to lock that position as neutral, letting go of the stick makes the game think I am holding up, and then actually holding up tells the game I'm going twice as up which increases my speed significantly.
Control Mapping: The default controls are quite awful, but thankfully I can remap all the necessary functions to convenient places:
- Use to R
- Strafe Left to C-Left
- Strafe Right to C-Right
- Map to D-Pad Down (just moving it out of the way)
- Run to L
- Backwards to C-Up
I then use a hairband wrapped around my controller to keep L held through the duration of the run and reset my Neutral Reset position more easily for a couple of tricks. Since I cannot move backwards with the stick due to Neutral Reset, I have Backwards mapped to C-Up so I can back up at run speed as needed.
SR40: Strafe-running by holding forward and pushing Strafe Left or Strafe Right to run diagonally.
SR50: Strafe-running by doing above plus holding Strafe On and left or right on the stuck to get a double-strafe, cannot turn while doing this so it is only used a couple of times.
Monster Routing: There are two main reasons I will kill monsters:
- Monsters will block my path at one point or another if I don't kill them
- Killing certain monsters will trigger events that are necessary to advance
Spawn Blocking: Some enemies will spawn in specific spots after activating an event trigger. If I place myself over the spawn point when that happens, the enemy will fail to spawn.
Trigger Skips: Running over a floor trigger at a fast enough speed and good angle can cause the trigger to fail, which can be both good (skipping enemies) or bad (skipping triggers that make floors rise and fall).
Scripts: Some events have timed scripts running and cease when the timer runs out. Because only one script can be active at a time, we can abuse a scripted event in a couple of levels to prevent other scripts from activating during that time.
Key Clipping: Similar to PC Doom games, running into a wall at a high enough speed can partially clip you into the wall for a short period before getting pushed back out. We can use this to our advantage to grab some keys that barely sit out of reach on pedestals and skip some events.
Gate Clipping: If we manage to cause enough lag, the game will fail collision detection for a frame before catching up. By running diagonally at a gate edge and firing the Super Shotgun into a nearby wall, we can get enough speed to push through the fence during that one frame and clip to the other side.
Fist - Short range, never runs out of ammo (obviously) and powers up with a Berserk pickup, almost never used in either speedrun category.
Chainsaw - Slight upgrade to the fist, still never used.
Pistol - Default weapon that does almost no damage, never worth using except for hitting wall switches or waking up monsters in a casual playthrough.
Shotgun - Good for killing Zombiemen, Shotgun Guys, and Imps during the earlygame but is quickly outclassed by the Super Shotgun.
Super Shotgun - The main workhorse for most of the game, one-shots weaker enemies and creates lag when fired close range at walls (good for a few tricks, bad when fighting).
Chaingun - Rapid-fire weapon that's good for weaker enemies or stunning Lost Souls, used quite a bit more than in Be Gentle since the hitstun is good and we want to conserve plasma cells for stronger groups.
Rocket Launcher - Powerful and fairly quick weapon that's good for handling stronger enemies, difficult to use in close quarters due to the splash damage.
Plasma Gun - Fires rapid bolts of electricity, stronger but slower than the chaingun, generally good but has problems targeting airborne enemies at close range due to the angle the shots get fired.
BFG 9000 - The most powerful weapon in the game with some interesting mechanics. A large plasma ball is fired and the game remembers which angle the shot was fired at. After the ball explodes and does its initial damage, a swarm of invisible tracers fire from Doomguy's position in a cone using the original angle and the current position. Great for crowd control or dealing with Cyberdemons at point blank range.
Unmaker - A strange weapon that fires single lasers and is upgraded with Demon Artifacts from the secret levels. Since we acquire it so late and never get any upgrades, it is useless for a run.
I will do a breakdown of each stage just like Be Gentle, but will also note changes and added strats for Watch Me Die:
1 - Staging Area: This is actually one of the most difficult stages in the run on WMD due to all the added monsters that can snipe or block you. The Blue Key was also moved slightly and requires a switch press, forcing more combat with Zombiemen on the upper floor. I use very specific movements to avoid getting blocked by Pinkies in the last couple of rooms as getting trapped is usually death. Overall, this was a good start to the run with only a few minor bumps and hangups.
2 - The Terraformer: This level is mostly the same up until getting the Yellow Key. Instead of doing the key clip to grab it off the pedestal, I instead fight my way around the room to hit some switches and pick it up normally. This opens up a hidden room with 20 rockets that are extremely useful and worth the detour. The level itself went well until the Yellow Key sequence where I accidentally backed into the teleporter while fighting Imps and had to go back around, costing about 8 seconds. The rest of this level went fine so I let this mistake slide and relied on some more aggressive strats later on to make up for the time loss.
3 - Main Engineering: More enemies make up the monster-based triggers in the Yellow Key room (two Cacodemons, two Nightmare Imps, all Lost Souls), so the room is rerouted to deal with them by grabbing an Invincibility Sphere early on and spawn blocking a Cacodemon. I had a strange instance of a fireball pushing me back into the teleporter but dealt with everything well enough on the upper catwalks. Some sloppy fighting forced me to play a little safe past the Yellow door due to low health but I got the extra rockets quickly and finished out strong, so this was acceptable.
4 - Holding Area: No real changes from Be Gentle, just more monsters and different movements to get around them. I got hung up outside near the Blue Key but this was fine otherwise.
5 - Tech Center: Due to the increased number of Hell Knights, I have setups to avoid or kill each one swiftly. I grab the Soulsphere after the Red Key now because I can easily get caught in the Blue Key crusher or at the end with several Hell Knights blocking the way. Took a bit more damage than I would have liked going into the next level, but my pace was very good here so I can't complain.
6 - Alpha Quadrant: Easily the biggest earlygame run killer due to some very dangerous situations. A detour for rockets and a Megasphere after the Yellow Key spawns several Hell Knights and a Baron and getting trapped is instant death even with 200/200 stats. The pillar room is now far more punishing as three Barons block the path and several Lost Souls roam the room, making for a huge time loss or even death if I fall into the pit. I nailed these sections and played the rest of the stage pretty smooth so even with falling off an elevator a couple of times, this was a very strong stage.
7 - Research Lab: The only changes here are an added Spectre and more trigger-spawn Lost Souls in the Blue Key Room and the Shotgun Guy in the exit room is now a Hell Knight. I pull off a successful trigger skip to avoid the Lost Souls and get around the Hell Knight without a problem for a quick and easy stage.
8 - Final Outpost: More enemies in the first room, but the rest of the level is skipped anyways so the changes are minor. I had bad movement activating the elevator and setting up the gate clip here was really horrible, up to 15 easy seconds can be saved.
9 - Even Simpler: If there were any doubts about going out of my way to pick up extra rockets, this stage should prove they're well worth it. Many more Mancubi, Hell Knights, and Barons must all die to raise the exit so I take very specific paths to grab pickups and avoid losing track of enemies along the route. I got the spawn block on the Baron wave, killed all needed enemies quick, and left with decent health so this was a very solid level.
10 - The Bleeding: The hidden MegaArmor is grabbed since I won't get a refill until Map 12 and 11 is extremely dangerous. I also pick up the extra cells hidden near the Yellow Key as energy is at a premium in WMD and I need as much as I can get for Plasma Gun and BFG uses throughout the rest of the run. This was solid overall, I got lucky and skipped an extra trigger by the Yellow Key so additional Lost Souls did not spawn and the Spectres in the basement cooperated well enough to spawn block a Mancubus when I picked up the BFG.
11 - Terror Core: A very dangerous level on WMD due to the lack of recovery pickups and lots of close-range fighting. The WMD route is adjusted to deal with the large number of monster-based triggers and avoid having to chase stray enemies down. This stage went well until near the end when I take a lot of damage after grabbing the Red Key, I picked up the backup Berserk as a health boost since the last Shotgun Guys could easily snipe me to death. Waiting in the room with the Rocket Launcher drags the Barons in the final hallway to the corner and usually lets me run right by without fighting, so it's well worth doing. Would've been happier with less sloppy movement and not having to pick up the Berserk but considering how difficult this map is, it was acceptable.
12 - Altar of Pain: Not much changes here in WMD, just have to grab the Soulsphere at the beginning and clear out a few more enemies with rockets so I don't get blocked on the big jump. It's business as usual otherwise, and aside from getting scratched by a Hell Knight a couple of times this was good.
13 - Dark Citadel: Another very difficult level that ends runs often, I take some steps to mitigate health loss and prevent enemies from blocking paths (early Invincibility for the dart room, sniping out the Arachnotrons). After getting through the basement library and grabbing the Red Key, I make a needed detour for a Megasphere and BFG as 200/200 stats are almost required to get through the next map consistently. I had a couple of scares due to bad monster luck almost ruining the run but played it out fine and got to the exit with the full 200/200 so good enough.
14 - Eye of the Storm: All of the Hell Knights are now Barons on WMD and many more Arachnotrons lurk on the first floor, so combat in this section is a little more careful to conserve health and ammo. I also pick up more cells from a secret after opening the Blue Gate as I use 4-5 BFG shots in the castle depending on monster movement. I got pretty crummy luck through the entire level and could save at least 10 seconds with better monster movement but I'll take surviving at the end with 2 HP on this map any day.
15 - Dark Entries: Due to my low health and tons of extra enemies, I pick up some backup supplies and take a safer strat for the switch press area, luring most of the enemies to one end of the platform so I can run up the other stairs instead of trying to run past everything in one swoop. The final run after the Red Key is grabbed is also played a little safer with a BFG shot on the Barons since I've lost too many runs to getting trapped there. The exit room also now has two Barons, making it nearly impossible to run in immediately like Be Gentle, so I lure them out before running inside. More aggressive strats can save around 10 seconds but this was a good execution of the level considering the strats I chose.
16 - Blood Keep: A large amount of Nightmare Imps and Cacodemons added to this stage like to chase you around the entire level and block passages if left alive, so I clear out what I can on my way to the first couple of keys. The rest of the level is about the same as BG except for grabbing an ammo cache in the past the Blue door. I had to pick up some backup health due to getting scratched by a Baron but otherwise the level was very good.
17 - Watch Your Step: More detours added here, this time opening up secret areas with a Megasphere and Invincibility Sphere for use during the arena section. The invincibility is absolutely critical for killing the Cyberdemons quickly and safely and the Megasphere helps with the beginning of the next stage so the trip taken around the back areas are worth it. More enemies are added to the monster triggers during the arena fight so I only try and kill what is necessary and pray good monster movement will spawn block enemies on the Arachnotron and Mancubus wave. I accidentally kill two extra Pinkies during the arena waves (only the left one on each corner I shoot at needs to die) and a BFG shot was eaten by shoddy pillar geometry but overall the level was very strong.
18 - Spawned Fear: Only major route change here is a different route through the back courtyard, I open the Megasphere secret up first and then work clockwise around the room to clear out enemies and hit switches instead of going straight to the switch with Lost Soul and Pain Elemental spawns. The end of the Yellow Key sequence wasn't so hot with getting blocked on a jump and having a Pain Elemental straight in my way after the elevator so a good chunk of time could be saved here.
19 - The Spiral: Just more enemies here and more rockets to grab, same otherwise. I got blocked several times by both ground and airborne enemies so at least 7 seconds can be saved.
20 - Breakdown: Again, not many changes outside of more monsters to kill. Even without great grouping on the Pinkies after grabbing the Red Key, this was a gold split so it really speaks to how well the map went.
21 - Pitfalls: Despite the high armor going into this map, I grab the hidden MegaArmor anyways as I want to clear out soldiers that will block my path to the exit later. The seemingly random BFG shot on the set of Barons after picking up the Invincibility is a safeguard in case they decide to follow me all the way back to the teleporter when I try to come back at the end, having them weakened means I can kill two or three at once later instead of getting blocked and mostly likely killed. I had a small hangup late in the level while heading to the Red Key but the execution was good and enemies cooperated pretty well so I got out quick.
22 - Burnt Offerings: More Arachnotrons past the Blue door make activating the dart trap extremely risky, so I clear out one of them and hit the hidden switch to make it safe in exchange for a few seconds, a trade well worth making at this point in the run. I had some problems with Spectres trapping me after the Yellow Key but was able to get out and manipulate the Hell Knights against the wall, allowing me to immediately run down the stairs without getting blocked. This level was admittedly a bit sloppy but at least I kept enough health and rockets for the next stage.
23 - Unholy Temple: Many more enemies need to be killed for the monster triggers so I use my rockets where I can in close quarters. Unfortunately, this is the worst stage in the run due to missing all three chances at skipping the Yellow Key trap, forcing me to fight several Cacodemons to get back into the castle, and sloppy fighting in the back half of the stage. Up to 30 seconds could be saved from these mistakes, so I relied on some pretty aggressive fighting in the next two maps to make up the time loss.
24 - No Escape: Three Cyberdemons and no invincibility makes for a really rough stage on WMD. I clear out as many enemies as I can at the beginning without triggering other monsters so I can avoid getting trapped or sniped while fighting the Cyberdemons as a direct rocket hit is pretty much instant death. Thankfully I got spectacular luck on them and killed them all quick with plenty of cells left for the last level.
28 - The Absolution: Nothing different here, just mistakes are more punishing due to taking higher damage. Cleaned up the arena nice and easy and set up a quick kill on the Motherdemon to finish the run strong.
Despite some rough stretches here and there, this is a strong run. Watch Me Die is extremely difficult and filled with tons of RNG and a high level of execution, so I'm pleased to get a good run in this category finally. Without any major mistakes and only a handful of small ones, we think the absolute limit for this category will be sub-46 minutes but sub-47 is more reasonable as a long-term goal due to the RNG and small movement losses here and there over the course of the run. I'll keep grinding at this category until I've hit at least sub-47 but this will do for now. I hope you enjoyed watching this run as much as I enjoyed making it!