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Sunday, May 1, 2016 by LotBlind
The Days of Grades
Sunday, April 24, 2016 by LotBlind
Why is 7 afraid of 8?
According to the boards above the tracks, "Mario Kart", as in Mario Kart 8, is one word somehow. Perhaps that's why Jose 'UchihaMadao' Karica felt it imposed on him to do this 1:40:24 in one sitting. Much like if you were to initiate a conversation with me about the most interesting characters in Disney movies since the last millenium, I'm at a loss as to who it is exactly jockeying the runner from easy win to easier win in a setting where the other racers might as well be enjoying their siesta, just periodically issuing mushrooms and thunderclouds down the track to make it look like they're putting in work. She does sound exactly like a female Mario though.
The categories for the run are -- and this might be the last time I'll ever say this -- All Tracks, DLC, Frantic Mode, 200cc, and Hard. I haven't been checking runner bios as of late, but Uchida's YT page looks well-cared for. It's the banner and the playlisting. Whenever you have a runner whose work you're enjoying just look them up here and see if they've given links to streams etc.
Here's a monster improvement for American-Russian Sabre Interactive's best-received shooter TimeShift. Much juice trickles down runner Robin 'Ekelbatzen' Schönborn's arm into the citrus press' juice-containing bit (juice jar?) where a 0:43:06 can be made out amidst the pulp. Running on casual difficulty allows more focus on exploiting eponymous time-bending mechanics to effect various skips, albeit not in every single area. The principle behind most of them is simple: if you can shoot an object to send it flying through the air in an arc, just reverse time and ride it back up leaving you flying in an even higher arc. Or just really far. I think I'll leave the rest of the run's peculiarities for those rearing to take a sip at the lemonade themselves. There might... just... be... an... OOB or two somewhere in there. It's really quite dope whether you have or as you haven't played the game, fast-forwarding the few autoscrollery bits.
Alien vs. Predator is an arcade-only beat'em'up taking place in what was probably meant as San Dorado in Arizona (near Tucson), or for all I know El Dorado in Nevada (near Vegas). The combined sci-fi vista that should rightfully be called AlienS vs. PredatorS vs. People doesn't let you play as the foremost mentioned race unlike the PC game that forces us to include the platform in question in the game page title. As for the 0:27:32 bursting out your virgin chest today, Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy felt a kindred spirit in the Predator warrior out of the four playable characters. Seeing who it's by, you betcha this ugly, sharp-fanged baby comes with audio commentary awaiting your tensed ears on channel 2. Him and his buddies could as well have been spotted converting coins into continues at the local 'cade in '94 when the A Vs. P cabinets first got installed. Continues look like something we've critically outgrown since then.
Wait, isn't that just a marvelous idea? If you can still find gaming arcades somewhere, tell them you wanna do a showcase run for one of their games that they can video or market a bit. Might someone be interested? They could even pay you something I'm sure. Don't tell 'em you'll 1-cc it though :P
If you thought Lolo and Ms. Lolo ever got to enact the staple "you jump in the evildoer's wagon and get ready with your lipstick and hair bow, I'll be finishing with this here cold one and get set for the long haul" narrative only three times, you're dead wrong! If you were shrewd, and looking in the right general direction, you might have spotted them going at it multiple times between 1985 all the way to the year 2000. The series as a whole is known as "Eggerland", which aptly describes the game world in which you're certainly nounifiable as an "egger". Most of them appeared only in Japan or Japan and Europe and ran on PCs or Famicoms.
Still, this here is definitely the same The Adventures of Lolo 2 you "non-international" readers, and certainly le me, might recognize the smell of. The last outing for Lolo 2 on SDA was before the site had turned 1, soooo you'd expect some form of improvement right? That improvement measures around 5:33 and lowers the time to 0:23:41. To manage this, 'DonkeyKongGenius' paid our friends at TASVideos.org a visit and received a detailed guide for how real bots run the game that thankfully behaves deterministically when following a half-step precision plan. So yeah it looks like a TAS now. Let's all press-gang the "genius" to repeat the feat in 1 and 3!
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 by LotBlind
Silent, Buster, and I'll Tell You a Tiny Secret: "Ninja Crusader"'s an Oxymoron
Saturday, April 16, 2016 by IsraeliRD
At night, nobody can hear you scream!
Friday, April 8, 2016 by LotBlind
Just Realized Their Names Are Instruments Durr
Anyway the game plays a lot like its descendants only with up to one computer-aided companion hanging along. In the first moments you're introduced as a showfighter under averse employment of the Dark Lord, who [spoiler]isn't a sweetheart[/spoiler]. After that the game kind of stumbles a bit in preserving the dire atmosphere when one of your ill-fated comrades, lying in a puddle of their own blood croaking their dying words, is called Willy. ("Willy! Willy nooooo!!") In the next unintentionally comical scene the Dark Lord has been told there's a mana tree above a waterfall right next to his own castle and his reply is "How do I get to it? Up the falls?".
Runner 'Crow!', who is improving on his own record in the "warpless" category by 7 minutes and 44 seconds, has used the logical technique of reworking the old notes instead of starting from scratch but didn't highlight what's new so it's up to me to be arsed in this case. Do I strike the kind that's frequently arsed? Like, on the regular? What's really interesting and kind of unusual is there's two different but both competitive builds for your character when running this uncannily Zelda-esque game, one going physical attacks and the other, as seen in Crow!'s 2:03:04, for magic-based offense. I think "holy sword" could imply either.
You traipse into a medieval castle across a creaky drawbridge that starts to hoist itself up as you pass, you enter the first courtyard where a fence so wide-spaced it's pointless erects from the fertile loam on the side, you hop up a thin thin staircase, crack out your whip and let it snap at a sly-looking human skeleton that explodes into a flurry of spinning tibia or possibly femurs and then... then you realize you're not really doing any of this, you're just playing Super Castlevania IV. Or possibly just watching this 0:31:55 submitted by someone called 'Furious Paul'. The verifiers are singing this 3:18-minute improvement's praise in what's at least forte if not fortissimo. I'm left short of breath just from listening. Someone also nominated the run as one of the best they've seen, which is a prerogative you're usually okay to assume.
Expect to see more damage boosts than the career of Steve-O. Expect to see bosses annihilated like matter and antimatter. There's at least one Sonic-esque zip. Oh and that jazzy moonwalking! Truly teh urn right here. Even if you didn't wanna watch-it watch-it, you could use the classic Castlevanian music as a soundtrack to your LAME.
Then there's this 0:52:59. It's for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which apparently is the fourth part in a series of open-world action-adventure games by an American team called Rockstar North... just kidding.
Now, it's been a good long while since I last gave attention to the GTA scene, which it kind of needs to be in my "profession". I really appreciate, and surely I'm speaking for a lot of people, when these popular-game runs surface for us of more casual interest in these immaculate packages with some amount of commentary thrown in. I single out popular games because they tend to attract more runners and time is getting chipped off like a colony of beavers on double espressos (hot coffee anyone?). This is why it doesn't appeal to any of them individually to submit their runs because (and I hypothesize) a) it's going to be old news when it hits OUR headlines and b) it probably feels a bit pretentious in such a setting, and c) you might feel discouraged by seeing even better times up the ladder - but that's just how it goes. Of course WHEN a run's finally knocking on our door doesn't matter at all because if you weren't already following those developments you won't have had it on your mind anyway.
Long story short, the submitter here is 'Mhmd_FVC', whose run is every bit as flawless as the one I hyped above. If you didn't get it already, 0:52:59 is INSANE for a game that only a few years ago (several eons in speedrunning time) could've boasted records like 1:30. Major glitches cut off lots of time, and this new run is done on the Japanese language edition, but sadly there was no explanation about how any of it worked attached to the run. I did find this playlist by the runner which is exactly what I wouldn't have minded seeing pointed at in run comments. Just to further emphasize, this run ALSO rocks socks off in sheer execution and I'm sure that's simply the level it's scaled up to over the course of time.
So, have you ever met tons of people who all want you to go collect things for them so as to receive access to new areas in return?
I couldn't think of how to follow that sentence up so I panicked and started a completely new paragraph instead. Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge is a 2003 handheld platformer textured by a whole lotta trifle-cumulation and minigames as per the SM64 mold. The premise is one of forestalling: not letting series antagonist Gruntilda to separate the verbally merged entity (but a hyphen tells them apart) of Banjo and indeed of Kazooie. In order to prevent preventing Grunty from taking over the world you return back in time yourself and explore a version of it predating what was seen in the 1998 original. It's along those lines anyway.
Hunter 'Blazephlozard' Davidson's routing especially got lauded in verification. It is, after all, a pretty sizable version of the Traveling Salesman's Problem, and because you can then exchange what you've collected for new abilities including such (I'd imagine) that affect your rate of movement, the potential complexity grows and grows. Maybe. Blaze took a game he felt underappreciated and lacking a truly solid run and DIY'd this 0:46:04 himself. Gotta say, if your run is 46 minutes long and your golds sum is 10 seconds faster than your record, it's not a bad record :D
Sunday, April 3, 2016 by LotBlind
Serpent in the Stagnated Paradise Was Lost Until it Finally Red the Postal FAQ
There's a specific subset of the otherwise highly diversified CRPGs ('C' for Computer) that includes titles like Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights where players control an isometric party of adventurers from mellow hearth-side conversations to calculated start-stop combat with hands typically left largely unbound as to which avenues to pursue in which order. It seems weird to name a genre after a platform (why aren't there SNES-RPGs or SMS-RPGs?) and for some time the system you were playing on would have been somewhat interchangeable, but later on a mouse-based complex UI precluded porting thus justifying the term also from the non-historical point of view. Classics like Ultima IV and Sanitarium were expanding narrative into whole new dimensions making the generic high fantasy theme feel critically less stuffy. Those attracted to these games weren't deterred by lower-detail graphics, block-built worlds, or fragmentary voice acting because this allowed the developers to focus on coding in more logic and writing more dialogue.
This is the tradition in whose footprints Serpent in the Staglands sets off wandering. Well I guess you're technically not wandering if you just... Anyway, the game combines elements of Baldur's Gate and Fallout making your character, if not their backstory, a perfectly blank slate. You cannot carve that slate full in just 0:27:51, but you can complete the main quest in a single segment with resets, as proven here by 'Varstilone'. When the game is so open-ended, you know the speedrun will double as the low-level challenge and every fight will be... bestrewn with copious parmesan. Anyone interested in the run might also want to see Matt Barton's interview with the 2-man development team who are actually husband and wife. SHE does the coding btw.
Speedrunning isn't always rosy. Sometimes it can get downright grueling. Sometimes runners will inflict it upon themselves by entering the difficulty selector, tapping down as far as it goes, staring the game straight in the eye saying "I don't care how hideous, unfair and untested it is, I'm not here to have any sort of fun!", and smashing enter with oxen ferocity. When they've been force-fed their swollen and rather prickly egos, they'll close their bloodshot eyes for a minute, run to the first junction they managed to scurry to - with actually positive counts of health and ammunition - within the first 500 or so attempts... and call it segment 1.
Whatever else you do with your FPS, please make there be at least one weapon with perfect accuracy. Having struggled to land badly called-for headshots we have Zach 'Duane Jones' R who wouldn't take "impossible" difficulty to mean something he cannot do in Red Faction, that 2001 scenery destruction simulator of which I can't immediately tell why it received noticeably better reviews on the PS2 than the PC being the platform here (probably the park was less crowded). The game's USP was the Geo-Mod engine that implemented areas possible to be tunneled through along with collapsible structures. This 0:59:15 will discover at least a few exploity uses for it all as well as several other glitches and just plain stupid luck that stupid people will need to finish their stupid runs. Lord knows I'm one... The run comes fully equipped with audio commentary, but it's a separate video right here. Take your pick, miner!
Now enter Final Fight for the Arcade, the collection for which looks lacking one or two character categories. We get one step closer to rounding it off with proliferating Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy who mistakenly chose an inferior character (Guy) for his run but thought "what the heck!" and made it his new record-setting 0:23:03. Inferior in the sense that Murph couldn't quite squeeze Cody's time out of this Guy guy despite the run looking damn-near flawless.
As you know if you're a regular reader, this is the game whose arcade cabinet allowed you to despawn your adversaries much more readily than the other consoles that saw the title, at least the GBA. As for other insights, get it straight from the horse's mouth (what?), the horse here being represented by the merry band congregated around the mic for the audio commentary track. You'll learn how to score attack the game as well as time attack. You'll learn how to survive the perils of rampant fire. You'll get the low-down on the fabled "ass-smash" technique of yore. It's just much better than anything I could come up with. I feel like they're having too much fun though. We gotta make up a rule against that.
1:18:50 is awfully long for a segmented FPS run! Even on the "very hard" setting. You got me right, you're being doled out a second helping of boom-tiddle-tiddle-bang today, but this time it's something you're not likely to want to bring up around the dinner table, not even when there's no-one else around. By the 10-minute mark the protagonist, who's just awoken from coma and needs to regain his bearings, has seen wild dogs savaging the townsfolk, witnessed an animal rights activist being buried in elephant poo, and met up with a guy called "Wise Wang". It's the video game equivalent of South Park with [numerically] less funny voices. There's something not-run-of-the-mill about the real-life premise of Postal 2: Paradise Lost too, which is that it's an expansion from last year for a game that released in 2003. The only thing developer Running With Scissors did in-between was the first expansion to Postal 2 and some Linux conversions, hence the joke about coming to after a 12-year coma.
To get back on the run for a minute, looks like Nikita 'NWill' Abramov wasn't able to glitch his way out the cutscenes though a few other seams do get torn. This makes the whole video a lot longer than 1:18 hours because the in-game speedrun timer, which testifies for RWS's appreciation for our refined art, pauses for their duration. The game is interesting in the sense that it plays out in a single contiguous fleshed-out location, as did the "mother game", like some kind of smallish sandbox you move both back and forth inside. The series also isn't quite as random as, say, Goat Simulator, because it clearly has a continuity with characters and story and you may well pick up some social commentary vibes if you want. So with the intact cutscenes this should make a good watch for FPS fans who play for the story more so than the action (Kappa) despite the average pace being on the sluggy side. Or if you just want to weird yourself out some.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 by LotBlind
Blasting Through the Darkness
Monday, March 14, 2016 by LotBlind
Awake from the Dream about Awaking from the Dream Also
In the treasure trove world of Lara Croft, precise acrobatics are precise...ly what makes life worthwhile! From China, where lust for all-power (the noun from "all-powerful") proved the doom of some hapless Italian chap, she engages her next destination in the Bering Sea: a small island harboring a non-secret Soviet project to unearth an evil artifact as they would. I say "non-secret" because their facilities bear their insignia on every other square inch of metal and other slow-to-degrade materials. I'm also not entirely convinced we've avoided violating timelines (isn't Tomb Raider II modern-day?) within or without the franchise if Lara was a full-grown woman back in or before 1991 where this presumably is taking place, unless the operatives within the base are all just feeling a bit nostalgic.
Since this is the inaugural entry for this Tomb Raider II expansion that only appeared on the PC, it's fitting 'RadxxRyan' has went "all secrets" (which is the de facto 100% for these games) and "glitchless" so as to give us the proper wall to wall. Its duration is 0:31:53. Then, as an after-dinner mint, you can see the bonus unlockable level pulled off in show style - because it's in Vegas - under the same stipulations right here.
It's quite the shame SDA was initially selective about the genres allowed to embellish the Halls of Hustle (Gallery of Gallops?). There's nothing wrong with sites dedicated to accommodating a single strain of runs, but is it just the European in me wishing to see them all united under one banner? NOW things are different of course but I find runners understandably indifferent to re-doing the classics that got filed away on adventure-speedruns.com between 2006 and whenever our site opened that particular entrance. This should only be interpreted as sentimental drivel, however, because new titles and series are always showing up to thaw our frozen hearts and oil our rusted minds.
Speaking of, Awakening: The Dreamless Castle from 2010 represents an already-long-running series by oddball developer Big Fish Games (strictly speaking Big Fish Studios) whose massive oeuvre is centered around casual and mobile gaming, which is probably why it's so massive. It's the first of seven such titles heavy in sundry puzzles and lush hand-painted panoramas that will elicit the same dazzled wonderment the Kyrandia series did in those who share my memories of it. RNG is ever-present and fast solutions require unfloundering mouse usage, hence the segmented-ness of the 0:25:32 by Michael 'arglefumph' Gray of Nancy Drew fame. In verification he said something about doing some pirate game next... but I really don't know what he meant. STILL... be hype!
Finally, here's another game you're likely not to have heard of: l'Abbaye des Morts offers a retro style platforming experience in the vein of Manic Miner and other ZX Spectrum classics. For the lot of you for whom those words might as well have been written in Arabic, I'll proffer that you're a defenseless monk being ferreted out during a religious purge that actually occurred in history in the 1200s. No that's not the plot of Manic Miner... but the idea of being somewhat clueless in this otherworldly maze you're exploring with a short inscription underneath informing each room is carried over verbatim. And everything kills you. Kills you dead. It's so retro someone even ported the game, sans music, over TO the platform it harked back to.
Because you've given a number of lives to work with, from lives there follow death warps, and from death warps there follow faster speedruns. This one's by 'wōn' who brings the narrative to its macabre denouement in but a 0:03:30. Probably divine guidance. Or game knowledge.
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 by LotBlind
If You Try Forcing the Link Enough, a Totally Smashing Creative Assembly of Words Will Fall Out
17 years ago, in January of 1999, one of Nintendo's innovations broke through and became one of their better-selling franchises. Yup, it's the first of the bunch, Super Smash Bros. that steps in through the gates of glory today for not the first time obviously. We welcome Captain Falcon, whose forehead glisteneth not after just 0:03:13 (in-game time) of focused dishing out of best-suited abilities. Following suit after previous runs, Jeremy 'DK28' Doll continues the "very easy" rampage in Classic mode. An audio commentary spreading some game knowledge was recorded so look for it in on track two. Do we have Falcon Punch you ask? Yes, I believe we do have Falcon Punch.
DYK?: HAL Laboratory whose work the Smash series is is the same one behind Kirby and the Mother (Earthbound) games. Not a connection I had learned to make.
Onto a second Smash Bros title. I hate to say it, but it seems consoles are about as much hassle today as they specifically were meant to let you avoid back in the day. I'm not in the newer consoles business much myself but from what I've heard the underhanded patching nightmare, as experienced by Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener, isn't the only quandary arising from industry standard protocols on the consoles these days, although I appreciate speedrunners aren't a major cliantele, and that automatic patching is not where the dilemma lies for most. In order to realize his outlandish run-through of Super Smash Brothers for Wii U, "Glink" had to disconnect the Wii U from the network completely after fortuitously catching a glimpse about a new patch the bugger would have instantly downloaded had he not been vigilant.
In any case this fiercely convoluted category name - "Classic Mewtwo Intensity 0.0 Custom Moveset Glitched" - springs from a peculiarity of the 1.06 version where Mewtwo... seems to have went wrong somehow. I think Ness' forlorn "No, no, no, no!" is the most summary encapsulation of the inordinate amounts of pwning face you're about to witness if you get yourself a copy of this 0:00:22.92 smack fairy visit today.
The genesis of Spartan: Total Warrior is fairly interesting and worth recounting: developer Creative Assembly had prior to Spartan always been known for unraveling historically accurate battle scenes where thousands of units would clash whether for Caesar, Napoleon, or one of their buddies. However, these fights would be overseen from a lofty airborne perspective. When they wanted to try their hand at converting the idea to the consoles of the time, the PS2 pertaining to this 2:19:06 I saw already in verification, they soon found it was impossible due to sheer memory limitations. In the end they'd still managed to turn up with a game sporting the most impressive crowd scenes on that generation of consoles where your player agency had been limited to etching your zorro marks all across the enemy battlers as just a mug in the mob. This was enough for 'Soliduz Znake' who went far and beyond to deliver the people of Greece from bad bad Romans in the time I rather awkwardly already mentioned.
Thinking of how the pun in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is more than likely lost on the Japanese, you shouldn't gawk at what its sub-title was for them: Triforce of the Gods. Seriously, stop gawking! So it's ma homeboy Zlenka at it again, and we are indeed doing this run in that onoraburu ranguwiiduzu ofu ze Faaru Iisutsu (= in Japanese). I wonder if the few native "Nihon-jins" who do frequent our lovely but decidedly Western oasis of goal-oriented (gold-oriented, as in gold splits) fast LPs see the recent trend, led to by a global rules revision, of ordering Japanese cartridges that yield us systematically better finishing times, as simply a nod towards that bristling creative force their gaming companies foster amongst hard-working hirelings in search of new advancements in the medium? Cause I know I would. But then I'm incredibly self-centered.
Looks like we're taking necessary detours to meet the 100% criteria, which are conveniently cited right on the game page: "getting all items on the subscreen, all heart pieces, and max level of equipment except the bomb and arrow upgrades". The same game page is telling me (but will no longer be telling you) that the last 100% submission was 10 minutes 19 seconds slower. 'Xelna''s rather laconic written commentary "track" gives you what the highlights were even if you have no time to stay for the entire 1:42:24.
These few Nintendo-heavy updates made me think a thing I saw on Jimquisition was relevant enough to share with you. Here's the thread.
Saturday, March 5, 2016 by LotBlind
There's Always a Reason, They're Always in Season
a) a 1:29 improvement over Darkwing Duck's previous SDA record from just 3 years back
b) 4 seconds below a round figure
Conclusions I'd like to be able to draw: there's gotta have been new skips found since; the runner is through with the game for now. However, there have NOT been any new skips. It's just sh*t getting intense down the coliseum as of late. Take a brief look at this page here and I need not say more. Un-amazingly the very same guy who submitted this run, 'LackAttack24', holds the top of the leaderboard there. I feel you should be awarded even more points for SDA accepts...
"If it bleeds, we can kill it". "Kill" is not something you could say in a family-friendly Nintendo game back in 1991, even if said game was about a maniacal killing MACHINE called "The Predator". Instead, the blurb reterms that "destroy". I'd have went with "bandage" or "test for diabetes". 'Slaughterhouserock' takes A. Blacknegro's (literally what "Schwartzenegger" means: Go Austria!) bulging physique and completes this not entirely popular NES shoot-at-things game in a time of 0:17:22. The run looks like Rambo getting bitch-slapped by audacious animals every-the-wheres during his usual morning hike through endless reaches of untamed wilderness. Because this game has not been seen before on SDA, I guess this is a pre-dat-or for any and all future runs.
I can't think of a time when I've been left feeling more hoodwinked by a run claiming it's multiplayer than this: it just so happens in Super Mario Kart, if you choose 2p mode and leave the other controller on the sofa until you've finished, by thumbing in the 2nd player's forfeit during the race end cinematics, you skip about 5 seconds of them. You also get less obstacles on the course - possibly because they had to slim the CPU load a bit, or maybe they just felt having a human opponent was challenging enough. This 0:20:25.91 is the run that taught me the Bowser music from I Wanna Be the Guy is the final race theme from this game. 'KVD' tells us he's "honoured and thrilled" to have been inducted. Well, we'll be honored [because I default to US spelling] and thrilled if you submit another one!