Released in 1992, you play as Spiderman who learns that Arcade has kidnapped the X-Men, so he sets out to resuce them so that in turn they can help him navigate the "Murderworld" and reach a final battle against Arcade.
Best time: 0:28:59 by Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare on 2014-03-21.
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Thanks, as always, to everybody at SDA for everything they do! There's too many of you to list, now. Deal with it. :P
I need to give a HUGE thanks to the TASers of this game, Brandon Evans and jaysmad. That TAS, besides being perhaps the most entertaining SNES TAS, gave me a TON of strategies and routes to help make this run possible in real time. I wouldn't be nearly as fast if it wasn't for them (and the LUA script they made!). Also, big thanks to the Follin brothers for making an amazing soundtrack for this game; it is the main reason I enjoy playing this.
That being said, this is an awful game to run. I absolutely love playing this game, and I will continue to play it casually now and then. However, it is ridiculously dumb to try to optimize. There is so much unintentional RNG in this game that can cost literal minutes. It is unreal. I'll point out what can go wrong when I talk about each stage, but just trust me when I say it is rough.
My times in this game are wildly inconsistent. For reference, my previous best was 48 seconds slower and had a 67-second death. I was unable to even come close to that run, even though it had over a minute to save just from not dying. This run is 48 seconds faster, and STILL has a 25-second death. It is really really strong except for 2-3 levels. This run is obviously improvable, but it'll take one hell of an effort. I think this run had 6 gold splits? My sum of best splits is still like a minute faster.
Anyways, onto some individual level comments:
The goal here is to collect all the homing beacons in the order that the game dictates. Even though it looks like I'm backtracking a lot and using a really unoptimal collection route, this is actually the best way to do it. This is a pretty fun level. If something goes wrong here, it is because I made a mistake. This run was quite solid.
This is where things get interesting. There are a lot of really really picky damage boosts and swings, but fortunately none of them are random. My damage boost at ~2:18 went the wrong direction and I lost a bit of time from having to swing over to the right. I also got stuck on the wall briefly near the end. Aside from that, everything goes according to plan and I end with a strong boss fight.
This level is total shit for speed running, mostly because of the bosses. The stage itself is pretty fun, but the boss fight is a huge asshole. First off, sometimes one of the bosses won't spawn and you'll be unable to complete the level. If you are lucky enough to actually have both bosses spawn, you have to deal with the monstrous RNG of Carnage. Rhino can only be hurt by swinging, but Carnage's web shots interrupt your swings. Carnage is 100% unpredictable, and if you get a bad pattern he can zone you out of swinging for literally 50+ seconds. Also, when the wind is blowing you, it turns you around to move with it...which sometimes makes it impossible to shoot forward. I swung backwards with a swing once because of the wind. You can also get pinned to the wall because the wind prevents you from dropping down or jumping off.
This stage is 14 seconds slower than my best ever, which puts it SOLIDLY above average. I cannot stress enough how random this fight is. Basically anything that doesn't waste 30+ seconds and finishes the level is acceptible for this fight. This fight looks really bad, but at the same time, my best fight ever still looked like shit.
Here we are. We finally get a run past the RNG nightmare that is Spider-Man 2, and we get here. Turns out this boss has just as much RNG. Let me just make a quick list for you:
-Your claw damages Apocalypse for a random number of frames.
-Apocalypse will either counter-attack (ideal) or jump away after being hit.
-Apocalypse does not fear gravity, and will hover in mid-air if he keeps counter-attacking.
-Apocalypse also does not fear floors, and will sometimes fall clear through them when he jumps, softlocking the game.
-Sometimes Apocalypse doesn't show up to the fight at all, softlocking the game.
-If Apocalypse dies off-screen (or if the game is unhappy with you), then the level will not end...softlocking the game.
So there's a wide range of outcomes here. Ideally, Apocalypse will constantly counter-attack, you will get good damage RNG, and he will die in a few seconds. Slightly less good is if he mostly counter-attacks but jumps once or twice. The other outcomes usually make the run unwinnable.
Aside from Apocalypse, this level is a lot of fun to run. Wolverine actually handles pretty well, and his mechanics are simple: the claw does a ton of damage so always use that. If you kill a jack-in-the-box with your fist, he always drops health. This is really handy for refilling to max health before Apocalypse. My run of this stage got the slightly less good Apocalypse pattern, but was still very good overall.
The infamous Juggernaut chase level that ruined so many kids' childhoods. Thankfully, Brandon figured out exactly how this level works so I didn't have to do any real effort with the routing. Basically, Juggernaut starts with 34 health and takes damage from the anvils and 10t weights. If you drop them directly on his head, he takes 4 damage (anvil) or 2 damage (10t weight). If he runs into a dropped weight, he takes 1 damage and slows down briefly. He is also slowed by the bombs on the stage, but doesn't take damage from them. You can only lower his health to 4 before the end of the stage, at which point you have to deliver the last 2 hits with Wolverine's claws.
My route here is not optimal. You can watch the TAS for the optimal route. I let Juggernaut run into 1 bomb I think, and I have him damage boost me through a wall so I don't have to cut it open. If you cut through each of the 4 consecutive walls with 1 air slash and 3 ground slashes, you can get through before Juggernaut reaches you. The window for this is really really tight and it barely saves time, so I opted to not do it.
Oh also, Obnoxio the clown decided to chase after me on an invisible platform that doesn't exist, throwing pies at me for the entire last stretch of the level. This game is the worst.
Cyclops is pretty fun to use. He can punch bullets, shoot lasers, and dance. Sadly, his levels are awful. This level basically is an autoscroller. I can do very very little to speed this up. I just want to get into the position to spawn the minecarts as early as possible, and then I want to get the quick kill on the sentinel.
The sentinels are weird. IIRC, punching them does 16 damage, and shooting them with the laser does 2 damage, but then heals them 1 HP per frame for a random number of frames...unless you're standing really close or hit them when they raise their arms, in which case it does 27 damage. Collecting the ruby crystal at the end of the stage doubles the damage of the laser for a few shots, so you can actually kill the sentinel with 3 shots of 54 damage. If you are not close enough to get the 54 damage, then you have to wait for him to fly into the air and shoot him when he raises his arm. OH, and sometimes after you kill the sentinel, the exit won't spawn. I've found that keeping him on screen until the 3rd explosion sound usually forces the exit to spawn, but it still will pretty frequently not spawn.
I think I actually had the positioning correct in this fight, so one more shot would've killed him. If I was wrong though, I would've lost a lot more time. So I missed the ideal quick kill, but got the backup strat. Still an OK level overall.
This level is a problem. Cyclops falls through the floors in this stage very very frequently, and I've lost many good runs to this. In this run, though, I blow through the level faster than I ever have. I had a good fight against Master Mold, although I did miss a few shots. This was the best I've ever done in this stage by several seconds.
Storms levels are the worst, hands down. You have to break these reactors to raise the water level so that Storm can get to the exit at the top of the screen. You know, because Storm can't fly. The key to optimizing this level is to make sure the water level is always rising; sometimes this involves just damage boosting through stuff to break reactors sooner and then recover oxygen afterwards. Storm has two powerups: an 8-way lightning that destroys everything it touches in one hit, and a tornado that reflects projectiles. Both are extremely useful. I use the 8-way lightning in this level to abuse collision detection and pass through the boss to the exit. Storm's health is tied to her oxygen meter, which can be refilled by collecting bubbles or just sitting at the surface of the water.
Storm can only have one projectile on screen at a time, and for some reason her rate of fire is limited if she hits an enemy (but not a wall or a doors!). Combine this with the schools of fish that appear and you just have no way to clear them out effectively. Sometimes the reactors become invincible and literally cannot break, which forces a death because you can't reach the top of the level. Other times, the exit won't spawn, so you'll get to the end and just die because there's nowhere to go. On top of all this, sometimes Storm will literally just explode on nothing and die while swimming, ending the run for you.
Anyways, this level went just fine.
Worst level in the entire game. Most difficult, most random, most frustrating. See everything I said above, except now add these Spore Spawn enemies that take a bunch of hits to destroy and deal a ridiculous amount of damage to you. The very beginning of this level is packed full of tons of hazards and enemies with no way to recover health, so I usually die immediately. If I can make it past that, I can usually survive to the boss.
The boss of this stage is really really hard to optimize. It's basically a clock; each of the 10 globes fire at you in clockwise order, and are only vulnerable while they fire or shortly afterwards...or at random intervals. Idk, sometimes I can hit them and sometimes I can't. If you do land a hit, they are vulnerable for several seconds afterwards. You normally have to raise the water level twice to hit all the globes, but we can get away with just raising the water level once and then using the 8-way lightning to break the top 3 globes.
I took it a bit more conservatively this time for the stage itself, but then had a fantastic boss fight. This is the fastest I've ever completed this stage by like 10 seconds. In fact, an average run of this level is usually 30ish seconds behind, just because of the boss fight. This is the main reason I don't want to try to improve this run.
Gambit handles really well in this game, and has the best music of the game (perhaps the best music on the SNES!). I was really nervous going into this level because the run was so strong up to this point and because this is where I died in my previous run. I did end up taking more hits than I would've liked and had some serious brain farts, so I had to grab the B to refill. In the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal, but I just feel really dumb making mistakes in what is probably the easiest level of the game.
Autoscroller! I just take this time to practice my wiggletron and dance a bit to the music. And stand on some invisible platforms and screenwrap a few cards.
The Black Queen is a really really simple fight once you understand her. She won't begin attacking until she is fully on screen, so I can jump up there early and break an entire arm off before that point. I then just time the card special so I am invincible while I break the other arm, and then stunlock her face. It is possible to break both arms simultaneously but again I opted not to do it because it is risky and doesn't save much time.
Everybody, stage 3:
Cyclops did fine.
Wolverine did fine.
Gambit, what the fuck. The collision detection is just so, so wonky. Some of these hits were my fault, but I definitely didn't deserve to die. There are so many things wrong with that death that I won't even bother pointing it out. What a waste of a good run.
Storm did ok. If Storm can beat her stage, then why can't you, Gambit? Piece of shit.
Spider-Man was visibly nervous after seeing what happened to Gambit. This level was a bit sloppy. However, he made up for it with an AMAZING fight against Arcade. This was a really strong fight.
This game is impossible to be consistent at, and even though this has a 25-second death in it, I have lost more than that amount of time in a majority of these levels before. Even with all the bad RNG and the death, this is still a very strong run. I do want to improve it eventually, but I need a very long break from this game right now. It is just way too unpredictable and inconsistent. If anybody tries to improve this, God help you.
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