|Completion Date||March 10, 2019|
Final time is 1:59:37.
Due to DVD limitations, I paused partway through so I could switch to a different disc. The pause is at 1:22:10 in the video.
Audio commentary will be embedded, though not in the verification copy (I haven't recorded the commentary yet).
NOTE: Feel free to link to this run, but please don't upload the files or any part of them to another site. Directing people here instead of uploading the files elsewhere lets them read the comments, contact me, and see other speed runs. For the same reason, please link to this page and not the files themselves.
I'd like to thank everyone who has posted Rayman 2 timesavers and glitches over the years. Without their help, this run wouldn't be anywhere near as fast.
Thanks to the SDA staff for keeping this great site going.
It's been a long road to sub-2. I started running Rayman 2 in 2007 and finished an any% single-segment run the next year in 2:17:25. The run was pretty clean and I didn't see a whole lot of room for improvement. Even the nearby 2:15 mark seemed impossible to reach; the thought of breaking two hours never crossed my mind. After speed running other games for a while, I returned to Rayman 2 in 2013 to run 100% single-segment. Around this time, I and many other players found all kinds of glitches and strategies to shave off seconds and, in some cases, minutes from the length of the game. Though I was focused on 100%, I did a few casual any% runs just to see what kind of times were possible with the new discoveries. I completed a 2:11:42 in November 2013 and a 2:06:32 in August 2014. With my old 2:17:25 run beaten by a large margin, we wondered how low the time could go, and we even dared to speak of sub-2. But it still seemed like a distant dream that might never become reality.
After a two-year hiatus, I resumed work on my 100% run in March 2017. I had a new goal: to achieve the ultimate duofecta of sub-2:30 100% and sub-2 any%. I didn't know how to do it; I just knew I had to do it. After a few months of intense work on breaking 2:30 100%, I had found the right strategies to get the job done, which I did in December 2017. Completing my 2:29:47 took a huge weight off my shoulders, and I celebrated by taking a break for a while and playing other games. But my task was only half complete. In mid-2018, I started working on any%.
To get past the final lum checkpoint, you need 550 out of 856 available lums (the remainder of the 1000 total lums are after the final checkpoint). 100 lums are in the two optional levels, which are far too slow for any%, so that leaves 756 to choose from. When I did my any% run in 2008, my approach to selecting which 550 lums to collect wasn't very scientific. "These lums seem fast; I'll get them. Those lums seem slow; I won't get them." As a result, I made some suboptimal choices. This time around, I was more careful. While there are quite a few lums that are obviously fast enough to pick up (because there's only one path through an area and the lums are on it) or obviously slow enough to ignore (because they're too far off the path), the choice for many other lums isn't so clear. To create a lum route, I looked at every one of the 756 available lums. If the choice of whether to include it in my route wasn't obvious, I attempted to time how long it would take to pick it up. Timing the lums this way isn't as simple as it might sound. In a room with multiple lums, picking up one lum affects how long it takes to get the others, since some lums are close to each other and some are far apart. As a result, I can't consider the lums individually; I have to take into account the different possible combinations of lums. For example, if a room has five lums, A through E, I might get A, B, and C, or I might get just C, or I might get B, D, and E, and so on. It was a long and often tedious process, but it paid off; by knowing which lums were the fastest, I was able to create a much more refined lum route than the one I used in 2008.
Improving my lum choices would only get me partway to sub-2, though. The many glitches and strategies found since 2013 accounted for the majority of the time saved. For each trick that I considered adding to the run, I had to weigh the amount of time it saved versus its difficulty and the cost of getting it wrong. A player who naively tries to include every trick known to man in a single run will quickly find the task futile; there are simply too many difficult tricks for a runner to get them all right in one run. On the other hand, nobody wants to leave big timesavers on the table when they could be used to bring the time down further. For the most part, this run uses the same glitches as my 100% run, but there are a few that are exclusive to each run. Any% ended up being more glitch-heavy, with a few any%-only glitches that can easily kill the run:
Overall, I'm satisfied with the decisions I made about which tricks to include. Getting them all right in a single run was frustrating, but not infeasible.
Below are some level-by-level comments. I won't describe all the little tricks I use, so for the most complete documentation, see the SDA Strategy Wiki. I decided not to do audio commentary this time around since it takes a long time to make and it would probably end up very similar to the commentary for my 100% run.
I copied and pasted a few things from my 100% comments where the same description applies to both runs.
Before starting the game, I change the graphics settings to low resolution, maximum sharpness. This makes the game less laggy, which makes both gameplay and cutscenes quite a bit faster; I'd estimate that it saves roughly five minutes over the course of the run. This is a very easy timesaver that I simply never thought to try when I did my any% run in 2008. I also change the language to Italian, which makes the cutscenes faster. I always had it in the back of my mind that a language other than English might be faster, but in order to see which one was best, I had to go through the painstaking process of timing every cutscene in every language. In the end, Italian turned out to be 3.3 seconds faster than English. It's not much, but every little bit helps.
You can go faster in sliding sections like this by jumping, which I do here.
The Woods of Light
At the beginning of this level, you can skip the Murfy text if you jump just as you land in the trigger zone for the text. This trick, called trigger hopping, can be tough to do, and I didn't get it this time. It only saves a few seconds, though. A bigger timesaver is later in the level, where I jump past the Globox babies to skip a cutscene. Whereas I used a trigger hop to skip this cutscene in my 2008 run, this time around I opted to land outside the trigger zone, then jump over it. The new method is slightly slower, but it's more consistent, which is important when there are so many tough tricks in the run.
The Fairy Glade
In the first room, I use a large timesaver that involves a trick called airswimming. By holding L as you fall on certain corners, you can walk underwater. Then, if you jump up and helicopter right at the surface of the water, you will start swimming in midair, allowing you to skip some of the rooms in this area. It can be tricky to start walking underwater, but I got it very quickly here.
Later on, in the area with a few pirates, I skipped a Murfy text by trigger hopping. I don't manage to skip this text very often, so it was nice to save a few seconds here. In the machine room (where you save Ly), you need to throw the barrels vertically to prevent them from being destroyed by the enemies, but because vertical throws take a while, you want to do as few as possible. I did three vertical throws, which I think is the minimum. The rest of the level went well.
The Marshes of Awakening
Crouching during the waterskiing sections speeds you up, so I crouch most of the time. I stand back up when I need to turn.
The level went smoothly for the most part, but one mistake is worth pointing out. Near the end of the level, there's a big rock with three lums behind it. I think you're supposed to jump on the rock and bounce into the lums, but I've never been consistent with that method, so for 100%, I invented a different technique that I call the rock jump. I move left to right, barely avoiding the rock, then jump. Unfortunately, my timing was off and I missed one of the lums. But the nice thing about any% is that missing a lum is okay; you just have to get another lum later on to make up for it, which costs about 2 seconds. In 100%, missing a lum here would cost about 25 seconds, since I would need to death warp to the start of the room and play through it again.
Everything went well in this fairly easy level. The trickiest part is the last room. After breaking the Teensy's cage with a well-aimed shot, you have a certain amount of time to make it to the top of the room before the Teensy does; take too long and he'll be standing around waiting for you, which costs time. I messed this part up in my 100% run, but I found a better strategy and got it right this time.
The Sanctuary of Water and Ice
After collecting some lums, I use another airswim to get past the large door, which saves lots of time. This airswim is much harder than the one in the Fairy Glade and killed quite a few 100% run attempts. But by the time I started working on any%, I had it down pretty well, so I didn't lose many any% runs here. There's another way to get past the door that involves clipping through a wall and floating past the door, but I've never been able to do that method consistently enough to include it in a run.
The rest of the level went well. In the sliding section, I land sideways after jumping because it seems to preserve your speed better.
The Menhir Hills (part 1)
Another easy level with no notable mistakes.
The Cave of Bad Dreams
One of my favorite tricks is in the Hall of Doors right before the Cave of Bad Dreams. By moving the selection lum back and forth, you can make Rayman run across the bridge, delaying him. This allows you to get the selection lum far enough ahead that you can skip jumping on the lilypads.
The Cave of Bad Dreams is by far the hardest level in the run. Most of the difficulty comes from a glitch I use to skip the boss battle, but before I get there, there are plenty of other tough sections. In the miniboss fight, the positions of the enemies are random. If you're lucky, they'll spawn in such a way that you can fight two at once by shooting at them alternately. In this run, I had no such luck and was only able to fight one at a time. Also, one of them retreated underground for a few seconds, slowing the fight down some more.
On my way to the orange orb, I use another cool timesaver. After entering the trigger zone for the first of two moving platforms, I stand still for a few seconds. At this time, the first platform is moving, but the second platform isn't. When I get to the first platform, it's ready to leave, so I don't have to wait for it. If I hadn't stood still earlier, I would've had to stand still waiting for the first platform to move anyway, but I would have been inside the trigger zone for the second platform while I did, causing me to miss the second platform's first cycle. Thus, by standing still before activating the second platform, I can get to it on its first cycle.
The orbs are pretty annoying. If you're not careful about where you walk, the camera can get into very inconvenient positions, making it easy to throw the orbs the wrong way. With the orange orb, I take a moment to go into first-person mode and aim my next throw carefully in order to avoid a run-ending glitch where the orb falls and respawns endlessly. Throwing the orbs onto the pedestals is also a pain; the orange orb likes to auto-aim at the blue pedestal, which wastes time. Fortunately, my orb handling was textbook in this run.
I use a glitch to skip the boss battle. I need to die for the glitch to work, so I fall into the thorns deliberately. Then, I need to lure one of the skulls to a position close enough to the end of the level. Finally, I grab the edge of the skull at the same time the skull is disappearing. This warps me directly above the skull. From there, I can float to the end of the level. The timing for grabbing the skull is quite precise. To grab it at the right time, I wait until the skull starts shaking (indicating that it will disappear soon), then do two short hops and one full jump. This method is the most consistent one I've found after a lot of experimentation, but it still only works a fraction of the time. If I get it wrong, I lose 30 seconds, which deals a serious blow to the run. I've lost many good runs to this trick, but since it saves a minute, it's definitely worth doing.
After getting the Life Potion, I use a strange glitch to get back to the portal a little faster. If you hold up on the control stick throughout the entire cutscene, you'll fall through the floor afterward.
The Menhir Hills (part 2)
This level went fine until the last room. I let a walking shell see me, then got some lums in a cage. While I was getting the lums in the cage, the walking shell was running toward me, tiring itself out. I intended to drop down near the shell, but I landed on the shell instead, which destroyed it. So, I had to wait for another shell.
Another tough level. I use quite a few time-saving tricks here. First, after freeing Globox, I fire shots at the pole and knock it down from the wrong side. Sometimes the pole doesn't fall down even if it looks like your shots are going the right way, but I knocked it down quickly this time.
After I get the shot upgrade, I use a damage boost to get over the laser fence and skip fighting the pirate. It's possible to use a damage boost from the ship's cannonballs, but it's pretty tough and I didn't get it right this time. So, I used a damage boost from the pirate instead. Fortunately, I got it right on my first try.
If you skip destroying the laser fence, Globox does not follow you to the next room, so you are forced to skip hiding in the bush. I do so by taking advantage of the way the door works. Once it starts opening, it won't start closing until it is all the way open. So, once the door is closed, I back up to make it start opening, then immediately run forward to get through it before it closes again. This trick may not look hard, but the timing is pretty tight. It took me a few tries, but that's not terrible. After getting through the door and breaking the cage, I leave the room momentarily to unload the Teensy. This causes the portal to appear immediately, so I don't have to wait for the Teensy to open it. However, I have to be careful when I'm leaving the room because the door can close behind me. To avoid getting locked out, I manipulate the opening and closing of the door the same way I did to get through it in the first place.
Although this level is pretty easy, I do use several tricks. At the beginning, I fire a well-placed shot at a switch to skip swimming through the first underwater area. It's easy to get zapped by the pirate and lose a few seconds while doing this trick, but I avoided his attack. Shortly thereafter, another well-placed shot allows me to skip some jumping and climbing. Then, after the first screen fade, I clip through a tree to get out of bounds. I had a little trouble getting through the tree. Once I'm out of bounds, I shoot a switch to disable the lasers, then walk underwater to the end of the area.
The Sanctuary of Stone and Fire
A hard level with a few tough tricks in it. I skip the miniboss by using a trick called wall jumping, which lets you jump a little higher than usual. Before the jump, I pause and change the graphics to high resolution, which causes more lag and makes the trick easier. The trick can be a big time-waster; sometimes I just keep jumping at the wall over and over again without getting up. This time, I was fortunate enough to get up almost immediately. After the trick, I switch back to low resolution to reduce lag.
After the orange orb room, I knocked the plum toward me and tried to fall onto it. Sadly, Rayman didn't want to land on the plum, preferring to take a swim in the lava at the cost of 15 seconds. This is one of those things that goes right 999 times of out 1000, and the 1000th time just happened to be during this run. Even simple parts of the game are never 100% consistent.
In the Umber room, I use a damage boost from the shadow fuzzballs to reach the upper level. The timing can be tricky and the fuzzballs sometimes don't cooperate, but I pulled the trick off perfectly here, which was a relief after I messed up landing on the plum a moment before. Once I'm on the upper level, I stand on top of one of the tallest platforms to activate an invisible checkpoint, then throw the blue orb onto the pedestal. Because you typically can't access the blue orb without placing the orange orb, the game only requires the blue orb. So, as soon as the blue orb is in place, Umber starts moving (though the cutscene doesn't play properly). Since I activated the invisible checkpoint, I can death warp to the upper level, then float over to Umber.
Although the death in the plum hallway was ugly, I largely compensated for it with near-perfect execution of the glitches, so the level was actually pretty decent overall.
The Echoing Caves
At the beginning of the level, I switch to high resolution to increase lag, then clip through the door to skip the entire first area and save a few minutes. I was fortunate to get through the door so quickly; this trick can take a while and it even cost me sub-2 once.
I had a little trouble with one of the cages, but other than that, the rest of the level was fine. In the last room, I death warp after freeing the Teensy to make the portal appear immediately. This trick is similar to the one I use in the Canopy.
In the comments for my 2008 run, I said this was the hardest level in the game. But the level has gotten much easier for me with practice and the many tricks found in the other levels have made them harder, so this is now one of the easier levels. I stumbled a bit while climbing up the tower, but the level as a whole went fine. At the top of the tower, I went a little out of my way to grab a lum. I grabbed this lum to make up for the one I missed in the Marshes of Awakening.
The Top of the World
Another easy level. Every time you kill one of the barrel pirates, there's a text that takes a couple seconds, so I don't kill any of them. After freeing the Teensy, I use the same handy trick I used in the Echoing Caves: death warp to make the portal appear immediately.
The Sanctuary of Rock and Lava
There are a few nice timesavers in this level. By carefully bouncing shots off of walls, I break the first two cages faster than usual. Afterward, in the moving platform section, I make the platform start moving, then collect the lums while it's moving. The platform moves slowly enough that you have to wait for it no matter what, so it makes sense to use some of that time to collect lums rather than going out of your way to collect them before activating the platform.
I pause partway through the level, since I can only fit two hours of footage on a DVD at standard recording quality. Although I use a DVD recorder with a hard drive and can thus record the whole run as one video, I have to split the video up to transfer it to my computer, so I pause rather than having a split during gameplay.
Beneath the Sanctuary of Rock and Lava
In the first part of the level, I'm careful to keep my golden fists so that I can break the floor in one hit. The level as a whole is pretty easy and went well. During the mask cutscene, I briefly paused to check my lum count. I had 524, which is what I expected. If I'm missing a lum, I need to know so I can get an extra one in Tomb of the Ancients, which is the last level before the final lum checkpoint.
Tomb of the Ancients
In the part near the beginning where the spider is chasing me, I run forward for a while, then turn around and run back. Running forward to a certain point registers the switch in the room as a target for your fist, which allows you to shoot it without dropping into the pit. Later, in the room with three sunken platforms, I use a damage boost to cross a gap, which lets me skip raising the middle platform. It's possible to clear the gap without a damage boost, but it's quite a bit harder. This harder technique was known when I did my 2008 run, but I decided not to use it. Since then, it was discovered that shooting after taking a hit in midair lets you regain control of Rayman immediately, which lets you get across this gap pretty easily. You can use the same technique to get over the third gap in the room without raising the platform, but since it's much harder there and saves less time, I don't do it.
In the Clark battle, if you miss a shot or take a hit from Clark, it can throw off the timing of the switches and cost quite a bit of time. But the battle went very well in this run.
The Iron Mountains
This is one of the hardest levels in the run and is probably the most frustrating, since it's near the end of the game and you can lose a lot of time from factors that are difficult to control.
In the laser room near the beginning, I shoot a switch to disable one of the electric fences, then fall through a gap in the remaining fence. This trick might look tough, but it's actually pretty easy. The pirates in the next few rooms are dangerous because some of them can give you a game over in one hit with their drill attacks. Also, I want to avoid taking too many hits so that I can preserve my golden fists for the Prison Ship. I only took one hit, which is good.
The biggest mistake of the run came at the end of the walking shell section. You have to jump to a metal platform, then jump from there to the exit. The problem is that when you're on the metal platform, sometimes the walking shell will explode and kill you for no apparent reason. I've spent many hours practicing this jump and have yet to find a consistent way to avoid dying. This unpredictable explosion cost me sub-2:30 once or twice when I was working on 100%, and now it cost me 27 seconds in any%. Rayman 2 is a cruel mistress.
The rest of the level is easy and went well. Saving the babies is boring, but you still have to pay attention; if you bump against the wall too much, the ship will explode. I don't think I've ever done that in a run, though.
The Prison Ship
In 100%, the sliding section is very dangerous because it's so easy to miss a lum. But in any%, I've already passed the final lum checkpoint, so I can just ignore all the lums and go straight to the end. You can save a little time by jumping to speed up, but it makes Rayman more difficult to control. I would rather not take the risk of dying so late in the run, so I don't jump much.
Keeping the golden fist until the pirate battle helps me kill him faster. I lost some time because the pirate decided to jump to inconvenient positions, but the battle wasn't bad. After killing him, I take damage from his flame attack, which lets me skip the "Yeah" text that normally plays. Overall, the level was pretty clean.
The Crow's Nest
At the beginning of Razorbeard's first form, I hold right so that I can land the first hit quickly. The rest of the first form was a little bit slow; sometimes he shoots the bombs at you faster, but I'm not sure why. In the second form, I take advantage of an easter egg: hold A and B while flying into the circle at the top of the arena and you'll enter a secret tunnel. Once you're through the tunnel, you'll have infinite ammo, which saves time. It's possible to finish the second form in one fewer cycle by dealing extra damage to Razorbeard while he's in the lava, but I haven't found a consistent way to do it.
Final time: 1:59:37
I'm very satisfied with how the run turned out. There were mistakes, of course, but for every part that went wrong, there were many tough parts that went right. Overall, the run is somewhat less optimized than my 2:29:47 100% run; the 2-hour mark in any% has a little more room for error than the 2:30 mark in 100%. Sub-1:59 is well within the realm of possibility and I haven't ruled out trying for it some day, but for now, there are plenty of other games I'd like to play.
Thanks for watching the run. Let me know what you think of it. To learn more about Rayman 2 glitches and strategies, check out the SDA Strategy Wiki.