Hi everyone and welcome to my Mega Man Network Transmission Any% run! This run simply completes the game as fast as possible and is timed to 55:38 with community timing (first control at first textbox to loss of control at final hit).
I wasn't expecting to improve the record for this category since my last submission in January as I had taken a break from NT for several months this year to work on other projects. Recently submitted this run to some community marathons and needed to derust the game for the last couple of weeks, but my play now is stronger than ever and I've improved my time on three separate runs since the 56:33 due to stronger overall play and a few minor optimizations. With this 55:38, I can safely say I'm done with this category unless a major skip or strat is found as most of the timesave now comes down to luck factors that I am not willing to grind out further, haha.
Quick shoutouts to the following people before we get started on run mechanics:
- mable: The record holder before I came along and a great teacher that helped clarify some mechanics for me when I was starting out, I greatly appreciate her help and old runs!
- doicm: The original 1:06:50 run still lurking around in the threads was one of the first speedruns I watched when I joined the community back in 2013 and still served as a good base for back in the day, he has also been supportive of me and other previous runners in pushing the game farther.
- TeamBN Discord: Big shoutouts to the whole crew for being awesome to chill with and get support from but especially shoutouts to Tterraj42 and lil_fatkid for direct support as they know how brutal this game is to run.
(Most of the remaining comments will be the same from my previous submission as not a whole lot has changed and I want to keep the route documented as well as possible)
Movement, mechanics, and routing:
- Like classic Mega Man games, sliding is pretty much always the fast way of moving horizontally. I want to keep my jumps as short as possible so I can spend more time on the ground sliding unless I need a particular position or setup. Ladder climbing is INCREDIBLY slow in this game and I skip as much of it as possible by jumping up or dropping down as far as possible.
- It is possible to cancel some chip animations by attacking while in the air and landing on the ground. I get immediate control of Mega Man when I do this successfully so it saves a small bit of time everywhere I can do this and is incredibly helpful for optimizing the first half of the game when I'm reliant on chips.
- Corner boosts I didn't really touch on before because they're not used often, but if you jump at the corner of a ceiling or block then you get pushed forward slightly. This mostly comes into play when jumping up past narrow platforms but also has some use in a few other areas (like getting the first TreeBomb in Garden Comp 1 more consistently by pushing towards the KillPlant faster)
- With a bit of testing, I figured out the exact damage formula for the buster:
-- 3 * A * C
-- A = Attack stat for buster
-- C = Charge level, which breaks down to the following:
--- Lemon / no charge, C = 1
--- Half-charge, C = 3
--- Full-charge, C = 6
-- This means we're doing a pitiful 3 damage per normal shot at the beginning of the game and the buster is almost worthless, so we wait until the halfway point of the run to max upgrade our Attack and Charge levels. This allows EXTREMELY fast charge shots that can do 45/90 damage and makes the buster the best overall source of damage in the back half of the run, especially for bosses as the buster will not trigger any flinch animations or counter-attacks for most of them.
- On entering a stage, the game selects 5 of the 20 chips in your folder at random for you to pick from. Reg'ing (presetting one chip in my folder to always appear in the first slot of the custom screen) allows some nice manipulation to get exactly what we need in parts both for movement and for attacking. That being said, Reg'ing does take some time to edit the folder as needed so if I need other chips later in a stage and can get them in my first random draw, that's a pretty significant time save I have no real control over.
- Standby Mode freezes the action and allows you to switch between active chips, this gets toggled a couple of times by accident in this run due to my controller grip but one intentional use is for the Shadow Man fight to pause during his duplication attack and safely figure out where the real one is.
- Text mashing is a bit rough in this game; the optimal way to skip text is by pushing confirm to draw the text out in one frame and then immediately cancel to the next box with shoot. This requires a bit of a thumbroll at a very fast rate to hit the inputs without dropping rhythm, so my text mash varies from "kind of fast" to "zooming fast" depending on how well I can rock back and forth.
- The upgrade route is incredibly tight at this point:
-- I pick up as many MemUps as I reasonably can as not only do I get immediate upgrades to my MP for using chips, the game regens MP at a percentage-based rate and I will recover more when my max is higher; this is needed for a few stages where I just barely have enough MP to use every chip I need.
-- HP Memories are really tight: unlike classic MM games, damage from enemies scales up quite a bit as I progress so I need HP Memories to avoid getting one-shotted by later enemies and take some useful damage boosts. Even still, I only pick up some from Number Man's shop and those on the way of the direct stage route so I'm running pretty low the whole run and can't afford many mistakes (if any in some parts).
-- RegUps increase the default memory used for Reg'ing chips and I need several to preset some of the more costly chips I use. I pick up three so I have 24 and 32 MB at the points I need them most.
-- 8 of the 12 PowerUps are grabbed for powering up the buster, several of these come from a shopping trip at Number Man while the remaining ones I pick up on the way during the first half. Due to needing these PowerUps, some other upgrades, and other chips from Higsby's shop, the money route is tight and there's not much room for missing cash.
- Just like the normal Battle Network games, viruses have a rank system and can give item drops depending on your rank. Fast kills and not taking damage are the main contributors in getting drops (usually that virus's chip, sometimes health) so I approach enemies in ways where I can defeat them as fast and safely as possible to get chips I need later down the road.
- Speaking of tight money routing and enemy rank, bosses also drop different amounts of money based on their rank. This makes fighting bosses extra scary as I need good fights to have money for later or otherwise it can easily be a reset at the halfway point. Even worse is the money can land on the edges of the stage where Mega Man can't reach! I try and keep bosses as centered as possible to make sure this doesn't happen but it's still a tossup if things go out of bounds.
- Fire Man -
Just like the previous run, Sword is regged at the beginning of the game for Fire Man and I get Cannon and V-Gun automatically for the first draw due to the tutorial so I'm ready to go immediately. Cannons are scavenged where convenient as I still need plenty for the earlygame and the MemUp and Heat Armor are grabbed just like before. A bit of timeloss from a few minor mistakes and a two-Fire Arm pattern from Fire Man but overall it's a decent start.
- Guts Man -
I still Reg Cannon for this stage but thankfully need a few less of them for a normal route due to a few optimizations (the beginning of Outer Net looks really cool now!), so this stage is a bit easier on the MP management now. Still no Sword in my initial draw but I do get Wrecker which helps cut down on attack cycles for the boss fight and saves a bit of time over a normal 5 Cannon + 5 Sword strat. The HPMem, MemUp, and PowerUp are all still collected and the stage as a whole goes very well with the only a couple of minor hiccups, so this was a good split overall!
- Quick Man -
Stage order remains the same for this route, so it's off to Bank Comps first to get money for the remaining stages. Reg'd Cannon is still our weapon of choice and only a few extra optimizations can be had if we get lucky in our chip draw, but the best we got out of it was 3-Way to help speed up the boss fight by skipping more cycles. RegUp is grabbed without a hitch, movement through the stage is smooth, and Quick Man gives a really great pattern with many boomerang tosses and few dashes so this level was extremely strong (we're talking a second away from my best split ever in this stage)!
- Needle Man -
The shopping trip is still the same: Buy an Unlocker for the locked PowerUp and enough Heat-Vs to reach 5 copies. The only changed strats are getting an early corner boost at the beginning to help reach the first KillPlant faster for a TreeBomb drop and a Cannon strat to destroy the Fishy by the HPMem I grab. Unfortunately, I just barely miss the Fishy with my second Cannon and also have one of my worse execution-based time losses near the end of Garden 2 when I take a spike hit early. This eliminates the chance to damage boost through the last set of spikes so I have to take it very safe and probably lose about 5 seconds for this mistake, so a bit unfortunate but manageable. Thankfully I get the MemUp at the end fine and also get a good pattern for Needle Man where he doesn't use the invincible desperation attack, so the stage was still acceptable.
- Ice Man -
ElecBldes are still in order for Ice Man so I grab those from the shop before diving into Waterworks. My initial draw for this stage was really nice as I got Shockwave and LilBomb for the Giant Puffy fight and also drew Shotgun to handle the early parts of the stage so this was definitely a better than average start to this long and terrifying level. Movement through the first area was clean and I execute the DoubJump grind perfectly before snagging the HPMem on the way down to the second area. I did not draw Repair in my initial draw nor did I do an early folder edit at the end of area 1 to get another chance for Repair since I already had Shockwave and Lilbomb, so I time my drop into the Yoku block section by using the Shrimpy's bubble as a visual cue and cut out as many blocks as possible before getting the RegUp and other HPMem. Giant Puffy gives me a good overall pattern when splitting up from the Shockwaves and I'm able to clean up most of them with the LilBombs to guarantee as many Bub-V drops as I can get; once the fight is done I finally do my folder edit to place in Bub-V, DoubJump, TreeBomb1, and ElecBlade before Reg'ing the latter and deathwarping back upstairs. Three ElecBldes for Ice end the fight quick with a great pace to make up for Garden's mistakes.
- Bright Man -
TreeBomb gets Reg'd for the boss fight and a lucky Bub-V draw helps do the cleanup for enemies in the level, so most of this stage is just movement optimization while grabbing the PowerUps and two HPMems on the way to the boss. Putting Bright Man into the taunt animation with a deliberately missed shot and chaining TreeBombs while it ends is still the fastest strat and it goes well, this stage ended up being a gold split and was incredibly strong!
- Color Man -
No real strat changes for the level, this one still comes down to using Reg'd DoubJump for the early skip and getting the MemUp while using whatever else in my chip draw to get around enemies. I was a little short on Bub-Vs (had 11, want 12+ for boss fight) so I was thankful I got Shotgun in my first draw to have a quick damage source for the Canodumb in Arcade 1 and the boss fight. Color Man has a tweaked strat where we want him to throw the ground ball as much as possible: A fired Bub-V during a jump over the ball can nail him and have him recover fast enough to not do a counter-attack so we can deal with less actions and smooth the fight out. He only does this once unfortunately but the fight went well enough with not having to stop to dodge much, so this stage was great.
- Elec Man -
DoubJump is still the MVP here, some of the platforming was cleaned up from more optimized jumps so I'm very happy with how this stage turned out. I grab the two PowerUps and manage my MP well up to Elec Man's fight, then opt for a 4-TreeBomb strat for safety. The most optimal strat for Elec would be 3 TreeBombs and 2 shot chips that do 50+ damage but this is riskier due to an extra cycle of very random lightning blasts and waiting for an extra 8 MP to use a 4th TreeBomb doesn't take much time, so this was an acceptable trade for me considering the pace of this run. Overall a very good split!
- Shopping & Sword Man -
No real changes here other than relying on damage boosts to tank my way through enemies on the way to Global 3 for the shortcut and back to Number's shop to get my remaining PowerUps. Attack and Charge are maxed out to make the buster useful and we jack out to refill our MP and DoubJump stack before logging back in directly at Global 3. As a note, buying the MemUp now is not required as we have enough MP to get through the next few stages so we can grab it during our shopping trip on the way to Pharaoh's stage if we're lower on cash than usual.
Sword's stage is still a bit nerve-wracking but is overall more consistent for me now so my plays here are generally better. I skip area 1 fine, grab the MemUp in Old 2 without a hitch, and make my way around everything with no real mistakes (even getting around the floor sword hitboxes after the first Swordy2). Sword Man still goes down quick to full charge buster shots, though this time was a bit scary since I got hit twice and almost ate a final slash so I was panicking in the last couple of seconds. He didn't give the invincible attack this time though so this was a slightly faster fight than before and we finish the stage out strong!
- Gravity Man -
Buy Barriers from the shop and jump straight into Strange Grav Area, this stage has a few extra optimizations to skip some cycles in area 1 and hit enemies earlier but I wasn't able to do a couple of them since I didn't draw any shooting chips. Standard strats still suffice to get around everything as I get my final RegUp and another HPMem while collecting M-Cannons from the Canodumbs, then I do my usual folder edit to move HiCannon, M-Cannon, and Barrier in and Reg Barrier to run to the end of the stage. Gravity Man strat is still the same, so I hide behind him and pelt with full charge shots for a pretty fast kill, definitely great execution in this tough stage.
- Star Man -
DoubJump is Reg'd for the area 1 skip and I pray for Heat-V or Bub-V in my draw to handle the Giant Yort in area 2, but unfortunately I didn't draw either and end up having to wait right before then. Since I have to wait slightly for the custom gauge to fill and grab a re-Reg'd Bub-V, I take some safer strats getting around enemies to preserve my HP and grab the HPMems for no real time loss. Giant Yort goes down much more smoothly this time and I get a lucky M-Cannon draw for Star Man; the strat is still use a full charge shot to force Star Arrow and use half charges to try and chain them over and over until he summons star meteors. Thanks to the extra damage from M-Cannon hits and some good luck, I completely skipped the longer star showers that are a pain to avoid so I'm very happy with how this fight went.
- Zero -
Ah Zero, a pain in the butt he still is. I've tested everything I can to try and avoid him using Phantom Zero (the undodgeable 300 damage slash that he can't even be knocked out of) and I've come up with nothing: He can use it from a block no matter the distance, he can use it after a flinch, and he can even just use it from his idle animation, so unfortunately the run is at his mercy if I can continue without much time loss (or continue at all if I get 5+ slashes...). That being said, the stage went well and only a couple minor hiccups with a missed menu and bumping a MegalianW didn't cost much time, so I grab the HPMem and dive into the boss fight. Two Phantom Zeros is not great but acceptable, so I come out of this stage a bit faster than my previous run thanks to much better execution this time around.
- Prep and Pharaoh Man -
DoubJump Reg'd and we're off to the Undernet portal for plot, then back up to Number Man to do some shopping before going to Pharaoh's stage. This time around I only buy one HPMem instead of two: I found the extra 20 HP unnecessary to do the damage boosts in the last stage and it's not enough to save myself from death against most enemies at this point, so I pocket the extra 2000z for our final shop trip later in case I get low zenny drops from the upcoming bosses.
Pharaoh's stage is mostly the same as before with trying to avoid as much as I can in area 1 and Barrier pushing through area 2. A couple of unexpected Spooky hits on the first screen dropped my HP really low so I opted to kill the last Ratty3 in Legendary 2 instead of trying to sneak by him (I'd lost two other good runs to him already). Pharaoh fight was mediocre unfortunately due to another bad pattern with Anubis statues but also missing some charge shots so this is a stage that could use some improvement but was still acceptable given the run's pace.
- Shadow Man -
Another level without any real changes, StrArrow gets Reg'd for the big skip in Vacant 2 and the only needed collectible is the final M-Cannon from a Canodumb3. I actually optimize killing this Canodumb over my previous run using a new charge shot approach; unfortunately it doesn't save time here since I didn't draw M-Cannon early and have to wait at the boss portal for the custom gauge to refill anyways. Stage is smooth with no hiccups and Shadow Man goes down to M-Cannon stunlock plus the buster, so the only time loss compared to last run was just from less fortunate luck.
- Endgame -
Nothing quite like testing your luck 50 minutes into a run, eh? The Z-Canon PA (Cannon, HiCannon, and M-Cannon in order) is still by far the best way to get through the endgame boss rush due to its unlimited M-Cannon use and temporary invincibility for a measly 8 MB cost so it's all about setting up for it. There is now a money route developed that gets Z-Canon consistently no matter what the draw is by using MPCharges and low quantity chips to burn through the folder and finishing with a max of 3 FullCusts, but it's quite a bit slower due to editing the folder heavily and needing to grab some extra coins in the last couple of stages so I opt for the usual FstGauge + 5 FullCust strat and pick those up from the shop. Thanks to a bit of extra money leftover and good zenny drops from the last bosses, I also buy a few HalfEnrg chips as backups in case I make a mistake in Undernet and need to recover for damage boosts.
DoubJump is Reg'd one last time to platform our way up to the boss portal with FstGauge used at the beginning of Undernet to fill the gauge before then. Still no Cannon chips in my initial draw so I Reg M-Cannon at the portal and use FullCusts to expand my max chip selection to 10 and dig through the folder as fast as I can. 4 FullCusts used is pretty mediocre luck but better than losing the run to not getting it and I ended up drawing Heat-V and TreeBomb while cycling through, so at least we have an optimal draw going into the boss rush. As before, HP and chips are restored in between each section but MP is not, which is why Z-Canon is so important as we wouldn't have the resources to use M-Cannons by themselves.
- Firewall still goes down quick to Z-Canon, missed a shot on the second opening by aiming too low but barely any time loss from that. It's important to know that Firewall does have some invincibility between hits and a very specific rhythm is used to time the shots, otherwise the shot will just go right through the eye (if this happens you will see blue sparks pop out of the wall).
- Refights were pretty amazing overall, very few execution mistakes and I could have thrown the TreeBomb on Elec Man one cycle sooner but lost count of my buster shots and played it safe.
- Both forms of LifeVirusR are still a joke and these fights were as optimal as they can be. One note on the first phase is standing inside his hitbox is important: Hitting with a buster shot and then immediately trying to Cannon the same spot makes the Cannon not damage for some odd reason (overlap on hitboxes maybe?). By standing inside, we can shoot the buster into one part of the body and let the Cannon hit behind into another part.
As of writing these comments, I am completely satisfied with my work in this category: This is the first 55 this game has seen and most of the timesave I didn't get in the run comes down to 10-second lucky chip draws (my sum of best being 53:50 right now proves this, haha). My execution as a whole was extremely strong and luck was acceptable overall, so until we find some major strat change or skip then I'm leaving this here and moving on to the next category.
Next category? Yes, I am currently routing 100% for NT! It's taking some time figuring out how to collect all permanent upgrades and complete the Library optimally but I'm excited to continue my work on this game, until then take care and thanks for watching!