Released in February 2006, Alien Shooter: Vengeance is an aptly-named sequel to Alien Shooter. Featuring an endless horde of monsters to slaughter and a plot insignificant enough not to get in the way of killing, it improved on the original title in many ways. In addition to mindless (and entertaining) violence, it also includes RPG elements to spice the gameplay up.
Best time, normal difficulty: 0:32:19 by Patrik 'Cremator' Salonen on 2009-08-17.
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Throughout the run I found some tricks to make the run faster. Here's a list of what you can do with the game (there are some level-specific tricks, too; I'll list them in the level-specific comments):
- You get three lives at the start of the game and it's easy to get some more (random drops) and since dying teleports you to the latest check point it's a good way to take some short cuts
- In medium difficulty the exploding barrels give you a great speed boost while doing only moderate damage, making them useful at some points. Sadly the ones that explode in green mist do massive damage and do not push you back, so they cannot be abused this way
- The weapon switch trick that comes in a few varieties. The mechanic behind this trick that makes it possible is when you have two weapons of the same class, you can switch back and forth between them by pressing the appropriate keyboard key. Since the switching happens to eliminate the wait time between shots and it reloads the weapon as well, this can be abused to shoot missiles at a much faster rate than usual, for example.
If the weapons are of different size, you're holding the larger one and the inventory is too full to switch the current weapon back to the inventory the current weapon is simply reloaded. This means you can use a better weapon at rapid fire speed (even faster than the normal way) while the weaker weapon isn't used at all. Also, even if the weaker weapon uses different ammo it doesn't matter since it'snever selected. This is why I intentionally fill the inventory with weak items some times during the run. One more thing: If you have the latter setup you can produce inhuman firing rate by simply pressing the appropriate weapon category key and fire button simultaneously. Unfortunately this can't be used if the game is laggy in the slightest, so I can only use it at few specific moments. You'll see the difference.
- You can get a speed boost from walking NPCs by running against them and then running in the opposite direction. I don't think I found any uses for it, but I'm putting it here anyway since it's potentially useful
- Some of the levels/areas aren't sealed well. For example, you can enter the woods in level 7 from the secret place near the police car. It's longer than simply driving, so I didn't use it there. I did, however, find a little short cut in the last few stages ;) You can also exit the game area in level 15's first room, but I didn't manage to find any use for it
- It's possible to shoot through doors & walls with certain types of weapons such as flame throwers and light pistols if you are close enough to the wall. Basically, you need a weapon that shoots from a bit further than where your character is at the time.
The core idea was to boost speed through implants as quickly as possible and abuse the weapon switch trick to the fullest to ignore the enemies in the game. I got pretty damn lucky with the implants until the very last level where I could've used some more speed. I got every skill at the moment I needed them (or earlier), which is great. The run also relies on the fact that menu time (such as shopping) isn't timed, so while I did try my best to be quick about it, it might be possible to get a faster real time run by shopping less especially since I accepted segments where the shopping looks downright ugly, but the in-game times would definitely end up slower in that case anyway.
In the beginning I chose Nina Rossow with the Hypnotist perk, speed +20 & hypnosis +10. I also got an implant which boosts both speed and armor. I chose Nina Rossow specifically because of her high flame/power weapon skills. Her default speed is among the best, but IIRC there were one or two characters who were somewhat faster by default. They, however, lacked the weapon skills necessary later on, and pumping those skills requires even harder luck manipulation than speed alone, would probably require more money and it'd probably end up wasting time due to inadequate armament by level 9 or 10.
Level 1 in 1:09: Nothing special here. I used WASD for moving around so the movement is slightly clunky. I made sure I got a speed boost from the starter implant.
Level 2 in 6:20: Level 2 is the longest and most annoying to optimize level in the whole game. Where do I start? Well, first off, this is one of the stages where the Hypnotist perk is quite the valuable tool; having the skill to basically detonate all nearby spike balls is really useful. I pick up some weapons (a relatively valuable SMG and later on a secondary $290 shotgun) so I can start using the weapon switch trick. I abused the barrels on the way to the electricity switch. I got a bit stuck on my way back, unfortunately.
After getting this far into the level you encounter a series of battles that are, in a sense, timed. The first one is finished once you've killed all spawning enemies (which takes a set amount of time), after which you get to another room with another timed battle, this time ending when the spawning is finished and you're in the close proximity of your fellow soldiers (it might also require emptying the screen from enemies after the spawning has ended, but I'm not too sure about that. However, I am quite sure venturing further into those areas trigger extra spawn points, so I avoid it for the safety's sake). After the second battle you encounter Kate, who greets you and then you proceed to have yet another battle (which started with a lag for some reason, argh. I doubt the game counted that, though). Then it's either to kill a certain amount of enemies or simply wait until the spawn points have run dry. I'm not sure which but I opted to kill as many aliens as I could. As a side effect I run out of ammo in the middle of the horde of enemies... not that it matters much. I kept shooting them instead of going to the med station, and happened to lose a life because I wasn't aware of just how low my health was at that moment. Regardless, even if visiting the med station wouldn't have cost time, dying there didn't cost anything, either, so since this was the by far fastest segment I got I'm not going to let it bother me. In the earlier two fights I decided to get some extra cash and weapons, since it wouldn't cost time and the money proved to be highly necessary in the next few levels.
Oh yeah, and I managed to lose the other shotgun by fiddling with the weapons when I ran out of ammo somehow. I'm not sure what exactly triggers this bug, but I've had it happen to me a few times. I know it's somehow related to screwing around with the weapon changing and possibly inventory space, but that's all. I had to buy a new shotgun in level 3 because of that, bah.
Level 3 in 5:09: I think this is pretty much the only "Go and Kill" type of mission in the game. There's not much else to do to speed things up than kill fast and wait for the spawn points to dry up.
You can go through the bulging door in level 3. I didn't do it in that segment, but I doubt I lost any time because of it due to how the respawning goes on for a while even if the spawn points are not on the screen or I don't kill any enemies for a little while. Also, this way I can see what's happening because the lights turn on.
Level 4 in 2:01: This level was quite straight-forward. I die twice on purpose, since it saves me the trouble of getting back to the center of the room.
Level 5 in 3:24: Level 5 is one of the hardest levels, if not the hardest, to speed run. First off, there are hordes of relatively strong enemies everywhere. Secondly, I picked up an implant that I simply had to make sure it'd give lots of speed while not being too powerful for me to use it (I kinda screwed up with that since I started using it only after reaching the computer room, but it's hard to survive the way back there and due to the danger and the car I wouldn't have benefitted much from using it, so I find it acceptable due to the difficulty involved in this level). The area with the implant and the pass key suffers from playing things a bit safe and I got stuck on a few things, too. So yeah, this segment doesn't look so good, but for a reason.
Did I mention getting such an implant is unlikely to say the least, and that the implant is randomized every time you enter the level? Thirdly, the room after the cannon controls is brutal since I have to leave the cannon as soon as the doors open (which happens after a set amount of kills, measured in XP), making simply running through inconsistent in survival's perspective. I planned on getting an extra life from this level, too, but I scrapped that idea because getting one from level 6 (where I need to use it) is so much easier incorporate to the rest of the run.
Level 6 in 2:04: I found a way to speed up the cutscene where you encounter the enemy commander. :) Getting the extra life went smoothly, too, so I did the two suicides I was planning on. It's one of the reasons I didn't equip the armor until a few levels later. I also buy the laser rifle at the start of the level, which both sped up the level and made it a lot easier to run.
Level 7 in 1:07: The level is probably as simple as it gets, so there isn't much to comment on.
Level 8 in 1:24: You know, this level turned out to be much cleaner than I had thought when I was doing a rough sketch of possible strategies for the run. Of course, the laser rifle helped a lot in this approach. I picked up a Vampir rocket launcher from a secret on the way to finance my equipment later on.
Level 9 in 1:17: Happened to get and extra life, so I picked it up.
Level 10 in 2:04: Having to download the files made this level a bit more annoying to run than most. It worked out pretty well in the end, though. I abused the Mega Health Kit so I could survive the last room without wussing it out. The end was pretty close call, too...
Level 11 in 2:12: If the last level was painful to optimize, this level is even worse. First off, the longest stretch of the level involves piloting a sluggish robot, which can only be sped up, curiously enough, by blowing nearby radioactive tanks, which pushes the robot forward a bit for some inexplicable reason.
There's also a hard trick I did at the very end of the robot part; you can destroy the two generators before getting into the room by shooting into the room in a certain way. I'm not exactly sure what's behind this and I managed to do it only two times while running this level, but it speeds up the robot part immensely, so I just couldn't ignore it. Luckily I got it done and the rest of the segment went well, too. Killing off the robot and carrying off quickly resulted in an odd anomaly. :) For some reason when I get out of the room and run through the corridor I get warped up a bit as a clone... and my previous corpse keeps running for a few seconds and dies with a scream. Spooky!
Yeah, about all those medkits... it may look a bit excessive, but in fact they're a necessity for my strategies later on.
Level 12 in 1:22: Tank? What tank? :P
Level 13 in 0:48: This was a simple & quick level. No shopping, either.
Level 14 in 1:07: I had to sell most of my stuff, including a speed implant, to afford the nuke launcher and the implant skill to use it. It's worth it, though, trust me. I was planning to suicide multiple times (which is why I had so many lives), but it turned out I didn't need to do that more than once since I found out the boss fight skips.
By the way, concerning the endings, I'm 99.9% sure the good ending is a lot faster than the bad one, unless one manages to find a sequence break to skip or reduce the teleporter battle by a lot. Anyway, I went ahead and got the good ending, because, well, it's nicer to see all the levels, right?
Level 15 in 0:44: So the last level ended up being the fastest one. Who would've thought?
I would've included the ending in the run, but the game counts it against me, so I had no choice but to skip it.
At any rate, that's it... Alien Shooter Vengeance in 32:19. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to drop a comment in the verification thread; it's always nice to get some feedback.
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