Released in May 2010, Alpha Protocol was an innovative RPG that mixed traditional RPG elements with the ability to sculpt your character's personality through the many decisions you make. Because of this aspect, different players' experiences with Alpha Protocol can very greatly.
Best Single-segment time with resets on Easy difficulty: 1:33:20 by Frank 'Softman25' Black on 2013-01-12.
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Hello there, and first of all, thank you for taking even a slight interest in this game! Alpha Protocol never received any large granduer attached to it, unlike other games of it's kind. Although if you really think about it, there aren't many. It's a stealth action game in the vein of Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, although with more shooting. The big thing for me was the RPG elements, including a skill system, class system, and robust conversations. Personally, the hook for me when I first played the game was the story. It's in depth and I recommend playing the game "properly" for the full effect. However, none of that rubbish, let's get on with the run!
As with other notes I write, I'll be going level by level, however before that, I'll put some general points out there which pertain to the run as a whole.
- This run is on the Easy difficulty for one reason only, because running past every dude like you're on hot coals is hard enough on Easy. Many times on Easy, and I believe in this run, my HP is taken down to low numbers. On Hard, you take I believe something along the lines of double damage, at least. I haven't tested to be honest, however it's bad. So yeah, Hard runs...not going to happen - from me at least!
- The class selection at the beginning is important. There are multiple reasons for this. I choose Technician for the following reasons. He is the only class who has a Shotgun and Pistol already equipped, and as these are the best choices of weapon for a speedrun, this saves having to equip them. Also, the class starts with EMP charges, the primary way this run is shortened. More on those later. Other classes start with different items. For example, the Soldier has armour which gives 5 more Armor points. (Endurance) But the Techie is best, so there!
- Now, to basic game mechanics. Sprinting is a very fast way to get around, however you have an invisible "Sprint Bar" which depletes quickly. However it seems that a percentage is used by starting to sprint, say 10%. (That's an arbitrary figure by the way!) Therefore, if you start and stop your sprint constantly, you waste all your sprint. Therefore, I try to sprint over long areas where I know I can hold the button down, as opposed to letting go all the time.
- Mini games. This game has god damn mini games. They are all showcased in the Prologue so I will talk about them more in depth there, but they are so god awful. In the prologue they're not so bad, but they get...really bad...really quickly. However, as mentioned earlier you can skip these mini games with the use of an EMP charge. This consumes the charge and requires 1 point in Sabotage. (Using the EMPs to skip mini games is a skill) Without EMPs, I would estimate another 25 minutes would be added onto the final time, as a minimum
- For anyone running this game in the future, if you can't play and record at a smooth 60FPS, don't bother. Don't be dissuaded, but the game will be really crap. Many scenes will be slower in real time, and a few good tricks just don't work because you're going slower. Yeah...bad game is bad in this instance!
- You'll notice I mostly do "Suave" (Left on the dialogue thingy) responses for the game. I will explain that later in the notes. (When it becomes pertinent)
- Shooting is in a way, like Mass Effect 1, in the sense that it's not very accurate. You have to aim, but there's a very good chance your bullet will just...miss. The reason for this is that the game wants you to use "Critical shots" which have 100% accuracy to where you aim, but they take a long time to line up. This is why the shotgun is a great choice, as it is supposed to be inaccurate. The pistol is used for two reasons, the skill "Chain Shot" and its high damage output.
- When it comes down to doors - bashing is faster than opening. However there are two bash animations, a shoulder bash and a kick. The shoulder is performed if moving while the button is pressed, and kick is for standing stationary. The kick is MUCH slower than opening the door normally, and you lose momentum, therefore when bashing doors, I ALWAYS move. The downside to this whole bashing thing is that every bad dude in the area is alerted to your presence. However, there are only a couple of places in the game where this makes things more difficult - in regards to a speedrun at least.
- Bosses are a joke in this game, but we'll deal with those as we come to them.
- The game becomes more difficult as you progress. However, this isn't linked with how much you have completed, it is however how many skill points you spend. Not how many you earn, but spend. Therefore, near the end of the game when I pretty much everything I want, I don't just spam points into stuff I don't need.
That's about all for general comments, so let's get into the level by level comments! The first level is going to be VERY in depth to try give as much info about shooting and point out as many things as possible. I'll write as I go, but hopefully the rest will not be as...wordy. :)
CHARACTER CREATION AND SKILLS:
- My reasons for choosing Technician have already been explained, so yeah, read up!
- My skill choice is primarily focused on three things, knowing where I'm going from here, having Chain Shot 1 for the Prologue, and having Sabotage 1 for EMPs. This point array allows me to then quickly dump 4 points in Technical Aptitude next level up, which is just easy to remember, as I don't use a note sheet. Having points invested into Martial Arts is much more of an insurance policy than anything else. Many times in the game you also NEED to beat up some dudes, so being able to do so efficiently is helpful.
PROLOGUE (Enter the Graybox):
- Firstly, a note about the initial cutscene. As far as I can tell, you are allowed to skip it as soon as the level loads, however this is random, with a margin of error to about 2 seconds. I judge how good (or bad) the skip is by the appearance of the second wheel. (Of the plane) As the wheel is still on screen and no tarmac is showing behind it, it is a "good" run.
- The big joke on my stream while running this game was when the PDA was picked up. The best possible PDA was 29 seconds. (on my splits, which started as soon as I hit "confirm" on the skill screen) 29 PDA's are rare, 30 was average, 31 was meh and 32 was cringeworthy. If I remember correctly, this was a 30 PDA.
- While talking with Mina, we encounter the first dialogue...which is all skipped. I'll talk no more on the matter, but yes, all I do with these is lightly mash Left-mouse. The option "Distraction" is chose because...well...it's faster. The options "Improvise" and "Ignore" appear to do the same thing as far as I'm concerned, you have to throw a fire extinguisher at the glass pane, and watch a cutscene while it happens. The second door will open. "Ambush" means you have to wait for the guard to realise you're trying to break out, then come and open BOTH doors...very slow. As you see however, "Distraction" just opens both doors, no cutscenes, no rubbish.
- The first mini game the game shows is the "Bypass". Bypassing is used in the game for two purposes, opening doors with keypads and disabling alarms. It's the second easiest mini game, but becomes quite annoying later in the game, when you have to do it in a shorter time span...and with 10+ things to click...for the purposes of a speedrun, you just have to learn the "easy" patterns. Because yes...there are only so many patterns the game can throw at you.
- The run to the Tranq pistol really shows the difference between sprinting and just running normally.
- Hip fire shooting is rarely done with the pistol for precision - here is one of these cases. You usually just get unlucky and shoot around the guards, at which point they rush you and beat you up, costing time. The first guard I get lucky with, the second guard is unlucky - but his AI just ignores me...I get lucky with the third guard.
- The next room is the hardest in the prologue. If I have less than 85 HP I assume I'm going to die, so going in with less this run...wasn't fun. I get hit once, but a lucky tranq shot and subsequent beat up get me through. As a side note, if the alarm is going off and the two "armoured" dudes come in, the exit door is locked and you have to get rid of them before they open. However the suits...you can ignore them, I only get the first guy because he's ALWAYS annoying. As you saw!
- The lockpick is the second mini game. I have to do it normally, however, if you click fast enough, you can actually glitch the game out, instantly failing the mini game...but the door opens anyway. It's a low (very low) percent trick, and is totally RNG whether it happens or not. Ergo, I'm not fussed that I didn't get it. I'm pretty good with the lock pick anyway, and I do do this one pretty smooth.
- This next section is pretty self explanatory. I try to shoot the first guy as if I can manage the low percent shot (it's luck) the alarm has a chance of not going off. It makes it easier, but I don't gain time...I just have a lower chance of losing time so to speak! I used to go right, however left is a far superior route. In the room with the hack, I use Chain Shot for the first time. Chain Shot essentially slows down time to a crawl and allows you to shoot rounds from your pistol, an amount based on the level of the skill. (You start at 2 - and max out at 6.)
- The hacking is the...WORST DAMN THING EVER THOUGHT OF. Seriously, the god damn...most stupid thing. Essentially, at the top left and right are the two sets of characters you have to find in the sea of moving characters. The set you are looking for will be not changing...but it's so disorienting. Later in the game - it becomes pretty much impossible to do - because you get maybe...15 seconds, and the codes switch after maybe 6. It's stupid. For the sake of a speedrun...THANK GOD I only have to do one. This hack pretty much makes or breaks the prologue. The one in this run is good...but kinda like...above average - not great. It could have been better.
- For the next three minutes or so, it's just cutscenes and arbitrary running around, so grab a drink of water, or whatever your prefered beverage is, and chill! :)
- A note about leveling, I want to have Pistols 4, Tech Aptitude 5 and Martial Arts 4 by the time I finish Saudi. (the first "hub") I can do this in any order in reality, I just do Tech Aptitude first...because I do. Getting each skill before the other has advantages and disadvantages, I choose Tech Aptitude because it gives more bonuses across the board, like quicker First Aid cooldowns etc.
BUG AL SAMAD AIRFIELD (The Assault Rifles we have! They do nothing against Thorton!):
- Just before this mission starts, I switch around my inventory to the desired loadout - 4 EMP charges and 4 First Aid Kits. This will for the most part, refresh itself to that every time, and there is not a single level where I require more than 4 EMPs, therefore this works.
- At the start of the level proper, not setting off the alarm is best. If the alarm goes off, another guard spawns, and he can rush you, melee'ing you, costing time. He generally doesn't, but on the safe side, I try to avoid the alarm!
- That gate - you're supposed to do the Bypass mini game - not with EMPs though!
- This level is a very good example of how the game is played - shotgun a guard to stun him - sprint past. The problem is that sometimes - the shotty "decides" not to stun him - so you put another shell in and that usually does the job. But that's...pretty much the gist of how the game is played.
- I usually get hit a couple of times in this level, so not getting hit was a huge plus. I complete the "Blow up the weapons" objective as it gets a free +1 with Mina, getting more armour faster. (The more rep you have Mina, the bigger bonus you get from her - her bonus being armour points!) It costs about .5 seconds, but it's a safety strat! I also get health from the health box. I usually don't, but this run was going too well and I smelled troll coming up. It actually didn't...but I didn't know that!
- At the top of the tower, if you EMP the computer and the guard is still alive, he will despawn. HOWEVER, if he is anywhere near the computer, the game takes priority for the melee bashing of the guard, as opposed to the EMP - as they share the same control, "E". I therefore use Chain Shot to dispose of him, as it is the fastest method of killing the elite guard. (As a note, there are two guards in this game, normal guards and elite guards. The only real difference is that elites have armour, making them a little harder to kill.)
INTERCEPT NASRI THE ARMS DEALER (Invade someone's home and blow away all his friends):
- Before this mission, I get two points in Pistols, getting one of the most important pistol skills that isn't Chain Shot, Armed and Dangerous. This allows me to carry 100 spare rounds into battle, as opposed to 50. It's worth it.
- This mission starts with dialogue, where you have 4 options. Both "Joking" and "Draw Gun" will both lead you into a firefight - which is bad as you have go an alternate route into the level - as well as fighting the dudes! "Direct" will get you in - however the alarm will be tripped after about 5 seconds, making the level a little harder to get through. "Aggresive" on the other hand gets you in, without an alarm going off - the clear frontrunner of course!
- If the alarm goes off, you have to face two extra dudes in...inconvienient positions. However the alarm goes off for me in this run, AFTER that position - you'll notice me getting shot in the back - that's the dude spawning!
- Just before entering the palace, you'll notice the dude climbing up the ladder who I shoot. This guy can just...not climb DOWN in the first place, and sometimes you even have 2 dudes on that scaffolding! It's annoying - but this run was good.
- Dropping into the palace, there is a health box just there, but is unnecessary in this run.
- Usually the strat for this part is to run past the dude (who hit me in this run) and bash down the door, knocking the dude who runs through down, and sandwich him between the door and wall, making him a non issue. When I got hit, I got worried that the dude would troll me, however he just...jogged on past. So no worries there!
- I equipped First Aid Kits as a precaution - as I know I can take damage in the near future.
- I EMP open that safe for money in order to have enough cash for buying more EMPs - which you'll see shortly.
- In the doorway after the large weapons room is the first example of shotguns just...not working. Even though the buckshot did plenty of damage, he didn't get stunned and hit me in return. Go figure!
- The final room here is the second room where you have to kill people to progress. The route I take is good, however relies on the third guard I kill to be right there next to me - which in this run he is. Chain shot is then used to dispose of the last two guards. Usually the non-elite that I kill with Chain Shot is up on top of that ledge - however he got down for some reason. The strat I use for Chain Shot accounts for that however and I cap him with ease.
- In dialogue with Nasri I choose to "Arrest". "Extort" gives you $10k (AFAIK) and a negligable discount on some weapons and gadgets. "Shoot" just...shoots him, you get -1 rep with Mina and nothing but a perk...which isn't that hot. "Arrest" gives you $15k, and since I want money more than anything else (for the purchasing of EMPs) I go for this option. On the Alpha Protocol wiki - it says that Arrest gives you $20k, however I found that to be untrue. It is also reasonably quick.
INTERCEPT SHAHEED AND RECOVER MISSILES (Or - how I found a conspracy and became an international superspy):
- Before this mission - I get two points in Martial Arts. This completes what I want to have before the end of Saudi - which this mission is!
- Whereas in "Bug Al Samad Airfield" you can go around the side door, which would be faster, here that route is blocked by boxes, so the front door it is!
- Up the top of the tower, I use Chain shot for the same reason I did in the first mission - those guys need to diappear.
- Upon leaving the tower, the first example of bashing people down with doors is shown. It's effective, and I try to do it as much as possible.
- When going throught the Airplane Graveyard, I try to kill people to prevent the alarm going off. If the alarm does go off, the gate closes and you have to open it. It costs maybe 2 seconds, but going for it isn't hard. Sometimes the alarm will just...go off because it wants to, so if it does go off I'm not fussed. But in this run, it doesn't! So I can't complain.
- In this next section, there are two routes, "left" and "right". If you go left, it leads you through a bunch of bad guys who always smack you around, and although slightly shorter, you have to take care of more bad guys. On the right, it triggers a computer which opens the front gate, which is where I go. The gate itself however - is a funny story. There is a guard who will run out and then run back in - if he makes it in, the gate closes - run over because then you have to go left...which is time. So I equip Chain Shot and blast him down. Sometimes his AI will trip out and will give you enough time to get in...but generally not - so Chain Shot is safer.
- Just after this is the only real sequence break (so to speak) I've found in the game. You see, the ENTIRE building is set to trigger the cutscene, as there are multiple ways in. However in this particular way, there is a door close enough, if I can get through that door on time (which is a very high percent trick, I've failed it once) the cutscene will play in the large room instead of the small one. You're supposed to then go through the big room, fighting the bad guys which were there...but since it's a cutscene, all bad guys despawn! You can't do anything while in cutscene however...but you can casually walk over to where you WILL do actions when the cutscene finishes. Which I promptly do.
- The next section is pretty self explanatory, cutscene followed by some running past dudes, shooting a couple of them.
- This is the first real boss in this game. You blinked - well too bad - you missed it. Chain Shot is pretty much used against every boss...because it's the best. Only thing to note is that when using Chain Shot, the colors go all funny, however if you take damage and then do it, the colors are normal. I mistimed it - and had colors. At this point, I didn't know you could cancel outof Chain Shot, so what I did was line up the Chain shot with the critical hit marker - which only comes up when your crosshair is over an enemy. I could have missed and hit his shoulder or something silly like that, but I don't. It wasn't the fastest fight I've ever done, however it was pretty good, considering the glare.
- The next part is fun. Essentially, you have to pick up three missile launchers and hit with all of them. There is actually a slightly faster three launchers to pick up - but it's very dangerous. Not impossible, but the chances of you dying go up at least fourfold. Therefore for the sake of Single Segment, and the 15 minutes of play before now - I go for the safe route every time. In this run - 3/3 on missiles though, so happy days!
- The next...5 minutes or so is just cutscenes, so grab your beverage!
INTERLUDE 1 (Getting a drink):
- Only really a couple of notes to put down here, first in regards to specialisation, then route.
- I choose the Spy specialisation primarily because it gives me everything I want, which is one thing - full Pistols. Having Chain Shot 6 is essential to a quick kill on the final boss. Having high levels of Chain Shot is essential to quick killing...pretty much every boss! It also allows me to dump points into Martial Arts. In hindsight, I should have picked Operative, which allows you to "tag" three skills to progress faster, which would have been Pistols, Tech Aptitude and Martial Arts. However, in the ENTIRE time I ran this game, I forgot it even existed. It was only about a week after this run when I was watching another run that it was alerted to me. In general, this makes...2 tricks un-doable, however these are not huge, and I'm not fussed about doing the run again for that.
- In regards to route, I do Moscow > Rome > Taipai. The primary reason I do Moscow first, is one particular level, the Embassy...we'll get to it. Rome is next as I don't want to be forced to keep doing Suave responses forever. Taipai is last because...it's most redundant and doesn't really have anything in it which makes me want to do it first. Doing Rome first actually saves about 7 seconds, in one particular cutscene. However, this also means I had to pick Operatve (which I didn't know about because I'm a dumbass) and would have to be more badass for the Embassy - because it would be harder...that's the hardest part for me!
- During this, as I levelled up in the previous mission, I acquire two points in Pistols, which gets me Chain Shot 2 (required for a mission coming up) and Toughness 1, which nets me 25 extra HP. In the entire run, I will get Toughness 3, which gets me a total of 50 extra HP. The problem is that any more health/useful upgrades under Toughness are WAY up the tree, and I don't have that many points to burn!
CONTACT GRIGORI THE INFORMANT (Having a polite and civilised chat):
- There really aren't many notes, I just spent a really long time on the subtitle joke and wanted to put it in. Essentially, I just take the quickest route out of the conversation, which is actually smashing his head into the bar, then a bottle over his head. This annoys him but it's really a non-issue.
ASSAULT LAZO'S YACHT AND RETRIEVE DATA (Interupting Lazo...):
- The key to doing this level quickly is just, optimised movement - up to Lazo at least. Lazo has a "Boss HP meter" but has just as much health as an elite guard. If you get lucky, Lazo will come out and you can perform a takedown on him, an instant kill. However, I've never pulled it off myself in a run.
- Getting out of downstairs is hard, and ends many runs. If the guards form a wall of flesh, they will beat you, and shotgun you to death. Getting blocked once and hit once was one of the best runs I've had.
- This boss fight is why I required Chain Shot 2. Chain Shot 1 just doesn't insta kill the boss, and that's no good! I've missed too many times to count, and I really rush the shots, so I do that little run up first to ensure accuracy. If I miss even a single bullet, or hit the shoulder, run over, it costs way too much time to kill her normally.
- Execute is chosen because...well...quick! The reperucssions are overrated, and it really doesn't matter anyway.
INTERCEPT SURKOV AT US EMBASSY (F*** Marines, F*** the VCI, F*** this mission):
- Before this mission starts, I go to my emails, and download all the money I have stored there. Yes...download money. I then proceed to buy up to 32 EMPS...at which point I realise I wanted 35. Yeah, it's a slip, I'll admit that freely. This amount of EMPs pretty much means I never buy a thing ever again. I then equip more EMPs, to bring my total to 6. The reason for this is peculiar, but I'll try to explain it. Essentially, if you use 2 EMPs, that slot becomes empty, and will refill at the end of the mission. But if I accidentally collect a grenade or other gadget...it fills the slot. The problem isn't that...the problem is that I probably won't notice, then the next time I have to use more than 2 EMPs in a mission (about...an hour in the run) - I'm screwed. So that's very much an insurance policy, and for a damn good reason. I've lost about - 3 "teh urns" just by having EMPs troll my ass.
- Another fun fact is that with every other mission, you can mash away at the left mouse to skip as much dialogue as possible - but whatever you do - DON'T DO IT ON THIS MISSION. If you go frame by frame, you'll notice the devs decided to have Thorton actually...there before the game loads in. (This frame is just after the AP logo comes in the bottom right of the screen) This is the ONLY level where this happens. However, if you mash the mouse button, you skip the cutscene that's coming up...but the game thinks there's going to be a cutscene...but there was one...essentially it just get's confused and craps its pants. You can get an aiming reticle, but can't move, can't get sound...the game has crashed. The last 35 minutes of your run - gone. So yeah - I warned you!
- Usually what you would do on this mission if playing casually is sneak in by going a long way around, or smooth talking the Marine at the front door. If you don't piss of Grigori, you can just do one line of dialogue to get past the dudes, and they aren't badass Marines, just normal guards. However these Marines require a 40 second cutscene to smooth talk. It's worth having them on your side...but the shoot the "real" bad guys one way or the other! So I just put a shell near him to skip the cutscene and rush past them.
- Until the elevator, self explanatory.
- When exiting the elevator, I don't sprint. The reason for that is that if you sprint into the explosion, you take a truck load of damage. Fun! It also makes the next section pretty much...impossible. Running through that turret room is what I usually do. However, the first smartarse guard decided to block my way. I didn't want to stand in the doorway and get popped by the turret, so I fell back a little bit and shot him, clearing the path. The Marine decided to rush me and then hit me, but it's fine overall. The Marines there also despawn after talking to Surkov.
- Until getting outside, this mission becomes the hardest section of the run. Dying here is almost expected, if you rush through. This is why I do Moscow first, it's easier, and I'd prefer to lose less progress. Up the ladder and around the corner, I save Chain Shot here for the next secion. The main reason all these guys are so deadly is that they all have shotguns, all have backup, and are all happy to hit and stun you. If you get stunned by one, you still take full damage, so three shotguns are now trained on you! So this is really the only place in the game where I take SERIOUS caution and kill everyone. My health gets dangerously low, but thankfully I had First Aid equipped. In the next turret room, I used to shoot the turret with Chain Shot, however it's actually better to just shoot the dudes and leg it through.
- In the next section, I run through the door and reload. Now, there's a reason for this. If you don't reload, when you run through there are three dudes that you have to get past. The problem is that one of them ALWAYS rushes you, which then gets you shot by the other two, who are wielding shotguns. However reloading the checkpoint (which is right there) despawns them and makes this section easy. In theory, if I had a strat for getting past them, I'd use it, but there really is none. If you go left down the hallway, there's a turret which shreds you, and you still have to deal with the dudes! (For the sake of explaining - the three dudes are in the room with the upturned desk, as you can see, not much room to manoeuvre) Reloading your save also has other effects. It refreshes your cooldowns on abilities and gadgets, allowing, if needed, another First Aid or Chain Shot. Also, while the load is occuring, your armour regenerates, and your sprint bar also comes back a little.
- If I actually turned left, instead of straight, there is actually a safer route, but I never knew about it until...you guessed it, about a week after the run was complete. However, the route I use is executed reasonably well in this run. I have never had a run where the guys on the stairs trolled me, so it was expected. I actually got off easy that time.
- The "protect" as it's called isn't based on time, it's based on getting 8 kills. Guards replace themselves instantly, so standing there and switching sides to use Chain Shot is helpful in keeping on going! In this run, Chain Shot trolled me a little, and I also failed a little at aiming, which didn't help. But my saves were pretty good. Using the pistol to spam is shown off here, and it is very effective. Martial Arts is combined in there for maximum effect. Out of 10, I'd have to give myself a 6.5 for this. Passable, good even, but not great.
- In the ending dialogue, the old strategy was to disarm Surkov and shoot him in the kneecap, skipping the next mission, where you see Surkov in his office and get information. If you disarm/shoot, he gives you the information here. However, it's an unskippable cutscene for no real reason, and it's long...as in long. It's hilarious, but that doesn't help me get a better time. It's quicker to just get him to put down the gun and invite you to his office.
CONTACT SURKOV IN HIS OFFICE (Hi, actually I don't want to be here):
- This dialogue always made me laugh. The first option you get...let's you just say "I actually don't want to talk to you, send me the info on PDA", and Surkov just says OK.
CONTACT STEVEN HECK (This - this is Dry Cleaning solution! Oh the candy dish! That's where I left my keys!):
- OK, there's really no notes here...but Steven Heck is easily...the greatest god damn character in this game. I mean, if I was to keep doing runs, I would have to make a new category, "Any% with all Heck Dialogue". I mean, he makes references to CIA ops which actually existed (according to Wiki) and Deus Ex. He's also hilarious.
- The reason I do this mission is to unlock gear from Heck, which includes intel, which includes a little bit of spiked cocaine for the next mission, the final Moscow mission...
ASSAULT BRAYKO'S MANSION (Yippe Kay-ey):
- Before this mission, I go to the clearinghouse, sell a Golden Assault Rifle which I received in Saudi Arabia, which gives me enough money to buy the spiked cocaine for this mission.
- The start of this mission used to be different. I would get on the sniper rifle and pop three guys who used to hit me all the time. I realised however that this was stupid and time consuming, so I now just don't. Knocking down the guy who used to hit me was time consuming.
- Once inside the mansion, you have a choice whether to go after Brayko, Data or both, because I'm a techie. However obviously, going for both is just stupid...
- In the arcade room, I used to think you had to kill everyone, like in the dialogue. However, this is actually a lie as I found out...about a week after the run. However in killing everyone, I think I did a pretty good job. Many times, bad guys can get loose and run back for cover, and it sucks. This time, two did, one I didn't notice. I had to Chain Shot him.
- The bedroom is always hard to get to, and I almost died here, saved by the First Aid. I got hit and was at the mercy of the guns, which was the primary killer there. The formation the elites go in out of the bedroom is the real problem, but I got lucky this time, sneaking through a gap. This is also a good time to talk about First Aid. Essentially, it heals a certain amount, but this amount is actually more than my MaxHP, because my points in Tech Aptitude. However, if you take damage while the heal is occuring, you notice my health still goes up by a lot, essentially I get extra health to burn - which in rooms like this, is brilliant.
- Once downstairs, I go out the door, and this is another time when it's, one the other or both. "Ruthless" is actually just code for "get the Data", there's really no difference. Albatross is faster here, and faster because of a cutscene skip later in the game.
- In the Albatross room, Chain shot is a good thing to use, but that would require drawing the pistol, which takes a while. I also get a good rhythm for killing the bad guys, which doesn't usually happen!
- Albatross is really an asshole - so I blow his brains out. This skips the conversation you would have if you free him, and also skips a cutscene later, I'll mention it when it comes around! The bonuses you get from saving him are just...not worth the time is costs.
- I actually should have used a First Aid before the boss room, I took a beating...but I got lucky and didn't get hit - which helped.
- Brayko is easily the second best character behind Heck, simply because he's so over the top. I aimed at first and hit Q because I thought I had the pistol equipped...but the game decided to equip my shotgun...stupid thing. The cutscene shows him actually snorting cocaine, at which point he becomes invulnrable...unless you buy the spiked cocaine from Heck...which I do. This allows me to do chip damage with the pistol and shotgun as we dance around. When he gets out of cocaine mode - every other time he goes up on the balcony where I took cover from. But this time for whatever reason, he spawned behind me. It was peculiar...I didn't lose any time though.
- Again, Brayko is executed because the bonus from leaving him alive is...actually kickass - but useless for a speedrun. You get $75k and his sound system, which plays the song you hear during the boss fight. The catch is that it's only in Moscow...which sucks...but whatever. Obviously useless for a speedrun, but cool. Nonetheless, he leaves the fight with one less life.
INTERLUDE 2 (Return of the Interlude):
- Another few minutes of cutscenes. The action begins again at about 45 minutes.
- Before the Rome cutscene, I have skill points to spend. I acquire Chain Shot 3 (which gives me 5 shots!) and Toughness 3, giving me a total of 50 bonus HP. Chain Shot is for obvious reasons, and Toughness is just...great in general.
- In the NSA mission which is contained in this interlude, Execute is used because again, there's no reason not to, and it's quickest!
INTERCEPT JIBRIL AL BARA AT CHATEAU (Obligatory point and click shooting level):
- This level is...unique in the sense that you can play it one handed - and in runs I generally did. You only need the mouse, for the entire level.
- To explain things more in depth, this is some kind of party, and the guy we're looking for, Al-Bara is here with a bunch of people. What you're supposed to do is identify them using the scope of the rifle, which transmits the image to Mina. The problem is that this takes a long time, and Mina actually tells you about every person's life god damn story...Fortunately you don't actually...have to do this. As you see in the run, you can just shoot everyone and you advance anyway, with no penalty applied.
- There are really only a couple more things to say. In the first two sections, you have to take everyone out, whereas the third is just shooting Al Bara. In each section, guards will only go one way to escape, so you work from that way, and back, to avoid guards escaping and well...ending the run. The first section they go up, the second they go right.
- Once you start firing in any section, a timer starts as to when you advance. This timer is to see whether you killed everyone, if you didn't, at the end of the timer, your character will panic and the mission will have been failed. The timer is the time is would take the furthest guard to reach the exit. I therefore just screw around until the time runs out, by shooting lamps etc.
- As you notice when I'm using it, the rifle has a very slippery scope, this primarily comes into play in the last section, where the distance of the shot is insane, you can't be precise at that distance. I therefore take a very careful shot, seeing as I was 45 minutes in, and was playing really well to this point, I didn't want one click of the mouse to ruin everything! I'll agree that the shot was slow, but it was also safe.
MEET HALBECH INFORMANT (Enter the gravelly old guy):
- In this cutscene, we meet Conrad Marburg. In the general notes, I mentioned about suave responses - this is who it was in aid of. In a few levels time, I will have a boss fight with him, which is in two sections. If you annoy him enough (as in this dialogue) and have given mostly suave responses for most of the game, he will continue to fight you in the second section of the fight. If not, he just runs away. Due to a couple of cutscenes you must watch if you do not kill him, it costs a mild amount of time to kill him in the boss fight, but overall, approximately 3-4 minutes is saved.
- Marburg is very adverse to suave responses, so I continue to give them.
INVESTIGATE MARBURG'S VILLA (House of the Narcissist):
- The level begins with me getting out of a dialogue. There is no benefit to wasting time with him in here, so I don't!
- The beginning of the level requires me to use only Martial Arts, a key reason as to why I wanted a few points in it. This fight goes well.
- I choose Mina as a handler because of extra armour, which is obviously useful.
- The bash on the door knocks down the guard, if I just go, the guard always hits you, which costs more time, and also costs health.
- After the bust room, I lag into the door and fumble the bash. This isn't so bad, because it demonstrates the "kick" bash, and why I don't use it on purpose!
- I kill the sniper on the window because if you don't...he does huge damage.
- I was actually very worried when I went outside, I usually go out there with almost full health, and a First Aid to use, but I had to use one first and put it on cooldown. I got extremely lucky however, and the elite guards decided to pause their AI and not come through the door instantly, like they usually do. I also completed the perk "Tough as Nails" which restores some Endurance. This was not planned, but worked heavily in my favour. I may have died if that perk did not complete.
- Upon going into the games room, I knew I wasn't in a good state, and getting a shotgun to the face didn't help. I got the health box although I usually don't because well...I really needed it for safety.
- Outside again, where guards are in that fountain is random. Sometimes they are all in the center and I go left, or vice versa. This time I got lucky and they were not in stupid positions.
INVESTIGATE RUINS TRANSMISSION (Picking up Curses - saved for later):
- This level for the most part is standard. Nothing out of the ordinary.
- In the catacombs, the game's camera always jitters around for me, so I can't dodge getting hit, it's also just hard in general.
- The end of this mission is most interesting. It's another section where it's not based on time, but how many enemies you kill. Once the dialogue stops, that's when the "challenge" begins. The one advantage you have is that enemies ALWAYS spawn in the same order - so you can just know exactly when they come around...and pop them in order. I always fall behind because...it's almost impossible not to, but I do a damn good job at staying on pace.
INVESTIGATE DELIVERY AT WAREHOUSE (There was a man! Thornton!):
- Before this level, I get two levels of Tech Aptitude and one Martial Arts. Martial Arts gets me the next level of Strike Combo, extending my melee power further. Tech Aptitude however gets me what I'm now dubbing the "Boss Killer". It's a skill called "Brilliance" and what it does is refresh cooldowns on all of your skills. Including Chain Shot...which slaughters enough as it stands...but in the late game, bosses take a little more damage...but now you can smash them again! At Chain Shot 4, you can fire a total of 12 bullets at someone's head...kills anything in the game.
- This level is really short and really sweet. There's really nothing to say about it, you just run past everyone, except the Russian who bursts through the window, and the suit in the computer room.
INTERCEPT MARBURG AT MUSEUM OF ART (The worst terrorist attack in the world):
- Before the level, there is a cutscene with Madison, who I haven't talked about in these notes before. Essentially, this cutscene changes depending on how much rep you have with her. If you have low rep. she will pull out a taser and zap you. With neutral rep, she scolds you for having shootouts and nothing really happens. With high rep - like in this run - you have the option of having...relations with her, or just leaving her. This creates the fastest response, as this whole cutscene is skipped. You still have to talk with her about the museum, but it's a lot quicker.
- The start of this level is just standard run and gun.
- Having the alarm go off is usually a very bad thing, as the two elites in the hallway won't be there with no alarm. I didn't get trolled that hard though, so I'm not fussed all that much!
- At the top of the stair case, there is the second and final re-load of the game. (I also get points in pistols - just to progress the skill) Usually, you would have to listen to Marburg go on and on about how he has both Madison hostage, and will set off bombs, and how they're in different wings of the museum. The problem is that I already know all that crap and just want to go kill him. Reloading the save stops him from talking more and just opens the doors. It costs some time but less than if he talked!
- The proximity mine section is pretty much the most pathetic thing ever. I don't even really sprint...I just kind of jog past them all. The turrets at the end of the room are...annoying, but you can just sprint past and take minimal damage.
- Disarming the bombs is easy - but you have to make sure the bad guys aren't near you - otherwise, like before, melee-ing them takes precedence over the EMP use.
- The Marburg fight is pretty pathetic - I run up for accuracy and just blast him with Chain Shot.
- In the dialogue, if you don't use Taunt, he just buggers off, which I don't want - but this time, it's fight on!
- The first use of Brilliance is contained here, it refreshes the cooldown for Chain Shot and allows me too kill him outright.
- A note about the pistol he drops - you would think that being a "unique" "boss pistol" it would be really good or something...it's not...it sucks worse than the pistol you start with! (Which also sucks - so that's saying something!)
QUICK NOTE: You'll notice that before going to Taipai, I wait a long time before going to the mission screen in order to switch. You can actually go to the mission screen as soon as the screen fades in - however if you don't wait long enough...the game crashes. I don't know why for sure, but I believe that it's because the game tries to load the Rome safehouse, while trying to load the Taipai safehouse...and it just shoots it's own kneecaps out. I had at least 2-3 "teh urns" just break down here because of the crash. I actually thought at first that it was Fraps, but it wasn't!
INVESTIGATE DATA TRAIL AT WAREHOUSE (The return of G22):
- The start of this mission has two choices, you can go right down the elevator, or left down stairs. (Just as a point of interest, if the alarm goes off, you can't ride the elevator) I go right, down the elevator, it skips two guards who often melee you. It's been theorised that left is faster, but I disagree personally, simply because of two points. Firstly, there's a guard who always melee's you, and secondly, you have to use your sprint bar there to make it faster, whereas you have a full sprint bar coming out of the elevator.
- Downstairs when planting the three bugs, it's worth noting that there is a clearinghouse purchase you can make, like Heck's Spiked Cocaine, which allows you to only place one bug. The reason this is slightly slower is that you would have to make a seperate trip to the clearinghouse. However if a new strat were invented where you already went to said clearinghouse, it would be worth getting it. In regards to this run, I fumble the last bug a little, and before even entering the room actually go the wrong way...oops!
- On the roof, I use Chain Shot to take out the machine gunner. I always find that he rips me to shreds, others have found him harmless. Chain Shotting him costs a little bit of time, but for obvious reasons, makes the chances of dying 0.
- At the end of this mission, you would normally have to watch a cutscene with Albatross - the guy we shot in Brayko's mansion...but obviously because he's a dead duck, you don't have to watch the cutscene! And it's a long one!
RETREIVE NSB DATA FROM GRAND HOTEL (Do you like TV cooking shows?):
- Since this mission features Steven Heck, it's automatically amazing - just saying.
- The gimmick with this level is that all the security guards are off limits for killing. You can kill them, but you get -1 rep with Mina. However, before the end of Taipai, I actually want to have neutral rep with Mina - and I currently have... alot. However, if I get rid of my rep, I get less armour, so I want to lower rep...but not too much. Later I really blow it all away.
- Downstairs with all the suits, these guys are also off limits. However I equip Tranq rounds, which actually do count as just knock outs, I just Chain Shot them all. Except one who's hiding...I gun him down though for minimal time loss. I fumble the door getting out of the room...
- In regards to the exit - I found after the run that you can just run to the "real" exit at first, not having to waste time going to the "fake" exit. Would maybe save...10-15 seconds.
INTERCEPT ASSASSINATION PLANS (Took the midnight train going anyyyy-where!):
- At the beginning of the mission, you can jump down the ladder and go around - however it is faster to wait for the doors to open and then run through them.
- The most of this level is standard fare, until I drop down onto the pipe. It turns out that you can just run along the catwalk, which would probably save maybe 10 seconds because of how god awfully slow you climb ladders.
- The security guards give you -1 each time you kill one of them, and that amount of kills (with Chain Shot) brings me back to "neutral" rep with Mina, for the purposes of what I want to do.
- At the end of the mission, you can either shoot this guy, and flip the switch next to him, or you can turn around, EMP a door and run through. The EMP door seems to have a longer cutscene though - so I go forward.
QUICK NOTE: In the cutscene where you have to choose between saving the "Assassination" or "Riots" data, I choose Riots. The reason is that a little later, there are some unskipable cutscenes, and their length is dependant on which you choose. Obviously, if you hadn't already figured it out, Riots is the quicker of the two.
CONTACT PRESIDENT SUNG (Having a chat):
- There are no notes for the level, but before the dialogue, I do some levelling. I get one point in Toughness and one in Martial Arts. At this point, there's really no reason for either, but I kinda had points to burn. Both are always good in any situation.
STOP OMEN DENG AT MEMORIAL RALLY (Trying to save Lard on Guns)
- WARNING - I suggest you mute this video until the subtitles for " " disappear. The game has a glitch in it where the game bumps to max volume for a couple of lines...it just...deafens. After I cross the bridge, it's safe to unmute.
- Most of this level up to the clearing of the front gate is standard. Once I have to clear the gate, it's a job for Chain Shot. The rurrest here dictate that I have to play it safe. If I get melee-ed here, the chances of me dying go up tenfold. Having a First Aid helps though!
- In regards to HP, this was on of the best runs I'd ever had. Running past the turrets was actually easy for once. I pop First Aid and equip more for safety, because Deng has trolled before.
- Going through the scaffolding is actually a very tough bit, mainly because you don't get much room to move around and dodge. Enemies played nice in general though, so I can't complain.
- The Omen Deng fight is interesting. He starts out totally invisible and unfindable, he will then reveal himself - anywhere in the room. His dialogue however does give him away, thank god for wearing headphones! I got up, Chain Shot > Brilliance...but then I realise I spammed bullets and only had 4 in the clip left, so I quickly reload then do the second Chain Shot. It wasn't the best Deng fight ever, but I didn't lose any serious time.
- It's worth noting that Deng's unique shotgun is another case of the unique weapon being just...suck. I therefore continue to use the default.
INTERMISSION 3 (Intermission: Revolution):
- Another few minutes of cutscenes...Thank god for Thorton joking with getting the point and all..it's unskippable as well!
- When Taipai fades out, we go to talking to Mina. (After Leland) This is the Neutral rep conversation with her, and it is the fastest of the three. There's nothing to really say...it's just fastest.
- After that, we sneak into Graybox and go back to the present. Leland then talks and talks...and here's where everything comes together. During the run, I've been sweet talking Leland, so he currently likes me. I also killed Marburg, his Security Chief. Essentially, he offers me a job, I accept. This skips the cutscene with Marburg (because he's dead) and instead of fighting Leland at the end (which is followed by a huge ass cutscene) you fight Westridge, the dude from the beginning in the training. He's an easier fight and you can get out of the dialogue quickly by just shooting him. Overall, joining Leland saves about 2 minutes.
GRAYBOX 2 (Return to the Graybox) (Facility):
- Before we start, I'm splitting this into two sections, as the level is in two sections as well.
- So, Steven Heck releases us with the ghost of ass kickings yet to come, and we set off. The guards outside the elevator always troll me, and this was the first time that they didn't!
- Just outside of the elevator, you can actually turn right and go talk to Parker, some dude we've not met in this run. But this is time consuming and does nothing in this run. In a casual run though, it's a nice thing to do.
- In the section that's starting to flood, I use Chain Shot on a turret and a manned turret. Although it's possible to run past them, this run was going way too well, and I thought that clearing them would be much safer, which it is.
- In the room with the bombs, all you have to do is go disable the turrets and go kill Parker. Parker is a pushover, so nothing hard there. The guards in the middle of the room sometimes focus on you and not Heck, which causes problems, but this time - luck prevailed!
GRAYBOX 3 (The Run takes Vengeance!) (Outside):
- OK - I won't lie, after about 1 hour 35 minutes of beautiful play, everything starts going downhill here. I mean...dear god, I almost started crying...
- The fight with Sean Darcy...who we've never met in this run...is actually pretty good. I use my standard strat - which went off without a hitch. Perfect fight actually! So yes - I was pretty hype right now.
- OK, the fight with the helicopter is...the worst damn thing ever. Before strats were found, it was the most feared thing in my run, and having less than 3 deaths was considered good. However, it was figured that the heli has weak points...but they are hidden in images from the beginning of the game...you wouldn't have believed it...but yeah. So essentially, the weak points are the rotors (which have a hitbox smaller than a gnat) the fuel tank (which is really hard to discern) and the missile launchers. (which are also really hard to target) Essentially, I find it best to just kinda shoot...generally at the side of the chopper. THE PROBLEM IS WHEN YOU MISS...TWICE. The hits I actually landed were perfect hits. Assuming no misses - it was a perfect fight! But...there were misses, and they were bad. I guess I just panicked, because this was the first time I got to the heli with a run this good!
- I used Brilliance in order to regain Chain Shot for a second use. The scene outside near the heli with all the dudes is only really problematic because of the turrets. To be honest, I was actually afraid of dying here, but my First Aid came through.
THE FINAL BOSS (Prison, or I kill you here):
- LYK DIS IF U CRI ERRY TIME.
- OK, the general strat is to equip Steel Core rounds (done) and then wait for Westridge to turn TO YOU, so that you shoot him, and not the armour plates. The problem is that I was still really antsy from the helicopter...So I missed one bullet - throwing everything out. Again however...the problem isn't missing, because I have Brilliance to fall back on...THE PROBLEM IS BEING SO ANTSY THAT YOU MISS AGAIN WITH ALL SIX ROUNDS. I mean seriously, how in the crap is it possible? Essentially, I was just a centimetre too far to the bottom right, and all six rounds hit the plating. This is just called #dumbass. I just lined up a crit and finished him. The problem is that the run overall was too good...But this fight really did make me cry. It's bad, I mean like...30 seconds worth of bad.
- Execute Westridge, get out of conversation quickly. Last character action is "Agree" with Leland. I let the cutscene play out because it's pretty neat. If you hit the other one, you have to do other crap...but the short end of the stick, we're done!
CONLCLUSION (Only about 10,000 words later)
Seriously, I really hope that you enjoyed watching this run as much as I enjoyed running it. It's a little depressing that the finale was as shite as it was, but I really can't complain too much, considering the quality of the rest of the run. I would say that using the latest and most optimal strats and (sigh) not failing in the finally, this run could come about a minute and a half lower. The problem is that right now, I have no drive for it...anyway, time for shoutouts, because I really need to!
- NMS - Assume that any time I mention a strat, he figured it out. Just assume that every time. If I said "it was figured out", it was him. If I say "we figured out", it was him. The only real strats that are "mine" so to speak are the lockpick glitch and the cutscene shenannigans in the climax for Saudi. And hell, this badass probably found them first. So yeah, full props to him, who will also probably obsolete this run once he can. He also made sure I didn't kick by fixing my bugs and everything...I mean this guy!
- SDA - for just...being here. Seriously, you can just do your normal stuff and be kickass.
- TheLongshotLegend, for doing the rejected run of this. It lay a foundation for this run, and actually let me know that it was possible to run!
- TheSovietWarlord, for posting strats and crap in the thread.
- Anyone else who posted in the thread!
- Anyone who watched my stream, or came on Skype while I was running the game, made learning more enjoyable!
Again, a final thanks for watching and reading, hopefully I'll see you soon, I stream over on twitch nightly! (At the moment)
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