Baten Kaitos: Origins was released in America in September 2006 as a prequel to Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Origins tells the story of Sagi, Guillo, and Milly and the intense struggle between machines (promachination) and the heart (promagnation). Unlike traditional RPGs, Origins uses a fast-paced card battle system instead of the usual menu-based combat. Despite fairly poor sales, it has since been hailed as "one of the last great gems on the GameCube" and has developed a loyal following.
Best time: 7:59:50 by Matthew 'RingRush' Inamar on 2010-03-15, done in 75 segments.
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Before I go into detail about the run, I'd like to get some thanks out of the way:
Okay, back to Baten Kaitos: Origins. If you're ever tempted to do a run for this game, take my advice: don't. I planned for this to be a fun project on the side, but it ended up consuming most of my free time for about a year. If this wasn't my absolute favorite game, and I didn't enjoy playing it so much, I probably would have cracked.
Despite all the work, this run is not perfect. If I make another BK:O run, it wouldn't be perfect. If anyone made another BK:O run, it wouldn't be perfect. Perfection in this game is impossible- with the way the battle system works, you can always get a bit better. Until you get every card dealt to you in the exact order you want to play them, and have the enemies do the exact moves you need them to do, you aren't perfect. Every fight I've ever seen, from those in my own run, to random videos on Youtube, to crazy Japanese guys exploiting many difficult to obtain magnus, could be improved by a significant amount of time.
That being said, I am still very happy with the results of this run. I feel that all (most) of the battles in this run are quick enough where most players could not match my time, even with the same deck, class, level, quest magnus, and TP goals (I say most, because I still think my Sandfeeder is terrible in retrospect, but whatever, it's one bad fight). Outside of fights, there's the occasional mistake, but overall I feel that I did very well in minimizing them. I doubt fixing all of the small movement/talking/saving mistakes could shave off even thirty seconds from my final time.
However, as Essentia talked about in her FFX run comments, every time you play through a long RPG, you are bound to find new tricks that could have saved time. This run was no exception. The following are a list of things that I only realized I could have done after it was too late:
- I should not have picked up the Fate's Cordial in the Nusakan Thornwood, nor the Cross Sophia in Zaurak 1. I ended up not using either of them, but luckily, they both were on the main path, and cost very little time to grab.
- I should have picked up the Force chest on my second trip to Nunki Valley, rather than my first. Getting it on the first trip meant I had to go out of my way to grab it, and it didn't even save much time in Rodolfo's Mansion.
- I should have picked up the Apsu Sophia while I was collecting Dagroots in the Celestial Tree. It would have made the Shanath and (maybe) Mange-Roches fights go a tad faster, and costs very little time to grab.
- I should have grabbed Fire-Brewed Tea in the Cloud Passage. Getting it would have taken 30 seconds or so, but would have saved time on any battle from Hughes to Baelheit that took multiple THGs/Apothesoses (possibly not Holoholobird). However, it would have left me at Class 7 for the Tarazed fights, which would have added a fair bit of time. Overall, it would have been worth it.
- Late in the run I discovered some tricks to reduce lag, something I hadn't even considered an issue until then. Specifically, I never open my menu until I have been on the screen for at least a few seconds. Additionally, while I only do this once, I start a segment inside the church, rather than just before entering the church, which saves a massive quarter second...
- About a week after this run was over, I discovered another sequence break in the Cloud Passage that saves a few minutes, involving aging Salty Water with Warm Cheers in order to avoid the Cloud Master. Unless you could get extremely lucky and get Fire-Brewed Tea from the coupon you get in Sheratan, this wouldn't save time in a future run.
For a New Game+ run, battles would have very different strategies. Specifically, the use of Berserker's Drink, Tarot Card: Death, Poison Ashes, and (possibly) Harp of Slumber (all obtainable quickly in New Game+), would speed some battles up greatly. Furthermore, in NG+, many items that I obtain (such as 1Bs, 2Bs, and even Icefan/Sigil Cry) can be skipped. I am considering doing a NG+ run in the future (after a significantly sized break), where I'll showcase the various bizarre and creative strategies that will save time. Any future runs should (in my opinion) be done in the NG+ category, since it is faster, easier, and more interesting to watch.
Before I go into segment-specific notes, here are some general notes about speedrunning Baten Kaitos: Origins:
- Time runs -everywhere-: while running, talking, fighting, in the menu, saving, waiting for an area to load, and even while paused. You can't slack off during dialogue or saving, as you can in some other games.
- Depending on the location of a save flower, saving takes roughly five seconds on average. If I feel I can optimize a segment enough without a save flower, I will thus skip it (such as the ones I pass in Segment 5, 8, or 75).
- Most battles are in the 1-3 minute range, so often, going out of the way to grab a useful item (such as from a shop or sidequest) will waste time overall. For instance, I could get Efreeti Saber in Zaurak 2, but the time it would take to switch to my escape deck, go through the ring of enemies, get the card, get out through the ring of enemies, switch back to my boss deck and then substitute the Efreeti Saber in would take 20-30 seconds. Considering that I get Laevateinn the Flameking in four fights, and the Efreeti Saber would only save a few seconds on Shanath, it's not worth it.
- I need to get to class 7 before the Nasca fight, or I will not be able to perform True Heaven's Glacier (and get the OHKO). This means, for most of the early bosses, I have to make sure to do large relay combos to generate TP. Other than this benchmark, when or if I class up isn't critical, but it does help a bit to do so. In this run, I barely hit class 8 before the last blue flower, which saved some time in the final fights..
- Because I am at low levels, low class, and do not have many magnus (notably 1Bs/2Bs), abusing Sagi's EX-combos is the fastest way I can win fights. Many other videos on YouTube use long relay combos to finish bosses in one single large combo, compared to my 2. However, they have all the time they need to get extra cards, set up a good deck, and level enough so they can do the extra damage. Even without all of these additional preparations, I often surpass the better times on YouTube.
- Whenever possible, I want to keep people alive at the end of battles to make sure they get full experience. If a character dies at the end of approximately two boss fights, they'll fall a level behind everyone else. In this run, each character dies only once, so there is no penalty.
- I cannot Heartwing Dash and change my highlighted quest magnus at the same time. This means I have two options: highlight the proper magnus when I get to the location I need it, or highlight it while running normally. Depending on the situation, either one of these could be faster. Both are used in the run at appropriate points.
- I cannot go back in the run and redo segments. If I try to go back and improve an early segment, the time/stats in the later segments would be inaccurate compared to the improved segments. The only way to fix this would be to redo every segment after the one I improved, something I'm not willing to do.
- This isn't about running Origins in general, but about my specific situation: while recording these segments, I experienced a small amount of input lag from my DVD recorder. After enough practice, I got used to it, but it was still an annoying thing to deal when precision inputs were required.
Without further ado, I'll now go segment by segment explaining the specifics about what I did in this run. Segments marked by a star (*) are ones that contain a fight (two stars means two fights, three stars three fights, etc). I imagine many people will only be watching these segments (though please, don't look at Sandfeeder, I'm still embarrassed about my time on that fight). Segments marked with a plus (+) are ones that I feel are interesting, even if they do not contain a fight. The segments marked with both (*+) means both the battles and the rest of the segment are worth watching.
Segment 1 **
Content: Dark Service HQ
- I name myself 0, because it's the fastest name to enter, and time also ticks on the name select screen.
- I draw three Stale Waters for later, even though I only use one in this segment.
- Both of the battles were good. I've beaten my time on both of the battles seen here, but not by much, and never back-to-back. Fighting is really hard this early in the game, with a small deck, no EX-combos, the ability to discard only one magnus at a time, and very little spirit luck draws.
- Guillo moves completely randomly for this first part of the game, so in addition to manipulating the enemies and my own magnus, I also need to manipulate what his movement.
- I crashed for a bit at the end, costing about a second. You'll notice a lot in the run, that I'm more accepting of small mistakes like this if I have great battles, since the relative time saved in good fights is far greater than the errors outside of fights.
Segment 2 ****+
Content: Emperor's Residence
- My goal was to get all four required battles sub 45. I didn't achieve that, as one fight went slightly over. However, a sub-30 fight only happens about 5% of the time for me, and getting two in the same segment is more luck than I could have ever hoped for. I saved a load of time on the fights, even with the one not-as-good (but still respectable) fourth fight. The second fight could have been sub 40 seconds, had I not moved one space too far and hit Scension early. Oh well.
- As circular as this route seems, it is the fastest way. There are safeguards to make sure nothing gets done out of order here.
- I skip Cliffsunder, which may come as a surprise to some people. This is because all (single target) specials are of comparable strength for a given character at a given level. The only reason I would want to use Cliffsunder over Scension, is if the enemy is significantly weaker to Electricity than it is to Normal. It's still not enough to warrant editing my deck twice and opening the chest.
- I was very nervous at the end, yet I managed to pull off the fast enemy skip. I'm not sure why I risked it and didn't use the safer (but slower) way, but it paid off.
Segment 3 *
Content: Hideous Beast I
- By dodging the guards at the end of the last segment, I end up one level lower than where a normal player would be for this segment. At such a low level, this means my health is around 40% lower than it should be, which is huge.
- "Hideous Beast" sucks, even on a normal playthrough. He's among the few first bosses in gaming that have the potential to kill you. He can do up to 170 damage in one combo (for reference, I have 150 health) and has the power to do 80 damage to both party members at once. It took me a lot of tries just to beat him, let alone fast.
Content: Albali Sandhollow, Rasalas
- I got caught on a rock in Albali, costing about a second and a half. At the time, I didn't realize that this wasted time. I figured that since I had to wait for the bird cycle to reach a certain point anyways, it didn't matter. I learned ten or so segments later that cycles are reset every time you change screens, so that loss actually did hurt me. Had I known about this, I probably would have redone the segment, although 1.5 seconds really isn't much in the scope of an eight hour run.
- I also got caught on a wall a bit in Rasalas, but this only wasted around half a second. An easily acceptable mistake, considering how hard it is to get through this part without accidently "double-speaking" to anybody (the bane of RPGs).
Content: Lesser Mintaka
- I had some awkward movement at the end, but I still managed to do everything else flawlessly. It was definitely worth it to ignore the Save Flower three minutes in.
Segment 6 *****
Content: Giacomo I
- From now until I hit class 7, I will be TP grinding in my fights, meaning arbitrary long relay combos. In this segment, I just barely got enough TP to get to class 3 before the next bosses. All fights went quickly.
- For this segment, I finally gained control of Guillo. I also gained a third party member, Milly, who I will not be able to control until the third boss.
- The Heartwing exhaustion at the start does not cost any time. In fact, getting it during a screen transition means perfect optimization.
Content: Nusakan Thornwood
- I'm not counting this as a battle segment since I run immediately. I still had to luck manipulate for a quick escape, though.
- The Balloona in the path after going down the beanstalk almost always gets in my way, the only reason this segment took quite a bit of time.
Content: Sheratan I
- This segment is one of the most notoriously boring sections of the game. Skip it for sure, even if you are watching most of my other segments.
- The game does not allow you to multitask on chores, or I'd be doing more than one at a time.
Segment 9 +
Content: Lake Botein
- I marked this segment with a +, because I do quite a few strange tricks, and do one of the only "required" item skips in the game.
- I leave Lake Botein immediately after entering it, costing 10 seconds. However, it skips a 15 second cutscene that teaches me how to jump across pillars.
- While pushing the walls (very obnoxious), I leave the water at a carefully timed point. This allows me to skip grabbing Photosynth Lilys, and also drown shortly after pushing the wall in (I can't die any faster, even though it seems that way). This death-warps me back to the start of Botein, with a near identical time, compared to if I did not drown, but it looks a lot cooler and is easier once you get the timing down.
- I time the left water escape so that I never have to suffer a "I'm beginning to drown" animation. This makes a Photosynth Lily skip undoubtedly faster.
Segment 10 *
Content: Hideous Beast II
- One of many fights, in which I try to kill fast while still getting in a lot of relay combos. Not much to say here.
- I messed up on the save menu after the boss... It wasn't until segment 6x that I could consistently land on "Save" from "Deck" (mostly from scrolling down to "Load" so many times).
Segment 11 *
Content: Machina Arma: Razor I
- Something I forgot to mention before about TP grinding battles: often I'll pick my cards very slowly. This is to give my other characters a chance to recover from being knocked down/cool down time, so they can enter the relay combo.
- Hitting 0s does not mean I'm wasting my time, since it also builds MP and lets me gain more TP.
- I wish I could say I was intoxicated when making this segment...then I would have an excuse for Rasalas. Ah, well, I only lost a second there. This is a fairly common theme in my run, botching the end of a boss segment after a great fight, but not losing enough time to negate the time saved due to luck.
Content: Sandfeeder's Nest
- The bad quest magnus selecting in the last screen actually slowed me down and saved me from colliding with a bird later on. Thus, it did not actually waste any time (but I admit, I didn't realize it at the time I was running this, only after many retries did I finally realize why I couldn't dodge the bird later).
Segment 13 *
- This is my least favorite segment in the entire run, by far. At the time, I thought this was good. I figured that the bosses are getting harder, so it only makes sense that my times would start getting longer. Little did I know that this would be the longest fight in the entire run by 33 seconds, as well be one of three battles in the entire run that is over 4 minutes (the other two being Holoholobird and the Diadem Trio). This fight taking longer than Holoholobird and Verus is pretty pathetic. Yes, Guillo doesn't hit for much damage in this fight. Yes, I needed to grind TP. Yes, I lack any strong EX-combos. There is still no excuse for a fight taking this long.
- On the other hand, everything after the fight went very smoothly. I finally broke my chain of bad post-boss sections. This probably factored a bit into my decision to keep the segment (along with the hilarious ending to the fight). I thought killing it like that meant it was an amazingly executed fight, but now I realize it would have been a lot better to get luckier early on and kill it in a larger combo.
Content: Greater Mintaka
- I disagreed with Sagi twice after the bomb in order to skip helping the victims. Moving fast is more important than helping the injured!
- I exit and re-enter Verus' residence in order to get Geldoblame to the door faster. He walks very slowly, and the cutscene won't start unless he is at the door.
Content: Nihal Desert
- One small mistake on the third screen of the desert, where I fell off the path for a fraction of a second, but it cost a negligible amount of time. This is a pretty boring segment.
- Dialogue was not very good in this run. Maybe I should have redone it, but the time cost was still pretty minimal. My biggest fear was double-talking, which happened far too often if I tried to rush through the dialogue.
- I do a lot of weird stuff here that doesn't help until later. This includes grabbing three Flame Ices, two Pristine Waters, and a Blaze. The Flame Ices will be used in my second visit to Nunki Valley, the Pristine Waters will be used to upgrade Ice Roue, and make the Diadem Cloud, which the Blaze will also be used for.
Content: More Azha
- God I hate the stupid Azhani trials. They're boring to run, and boring to watch. A few minor mistakes, but nothing worth noting. Definitely skip this segment.
Content: Lava Caves
- Dodging the enemies here was pretty annoying. The Phoelix guarding the chest in the first room was especially uncooperative, getting in my way approximately 75% of the time.
- Other than a very short clip near the end, everything went very smoothly. This was my fastest time in the Lava Caves. I had a lot of runs that got there, but they were all ruined by enemies.
Segment 19 *
- This fight went great. My time was very fast, and I got twice as much TP as my previous best.
- Naos was probably worse than my first practice run. The "drunk" flying near the end is made better by the fact that I didn't catch an edge on the way to or from Ven, which I almost always do. However, missing Thoran really was just pathetic. I've never done that before. Barely any time was lost, it just looks ugly, especially after such an amazingly good and lucky fight.
Segment 20 *
Content: Lord of the Lava Caves I
- Good fight time, good TP, etc. I also managed to completely avoid using healing items.
- As always, minor slip up after the boss, costing about a second. It isn't like I don't practice the end of the segments, I just screw up on them frequently for some reason.
Segment 21 *
Content: Lord of the Lava Caves II
- Pretty much a duplicate of the last segment, only slightly better. No post-boss mistakes.
Segment 22 *
Content: Lord of the Lava Caves III
- Great segment. TP was a bit lower than I would have liked, but I simply make up for it later.
- I say Sheliak as the content, but really this segment is about wrapping up Alfard and heading to Diadem. Put another way: boring, boring, boring, boring.
- Letting the dialogue run cost no time, since I had to finish walking anyways.
Segment 24 *+
Content: Cloud Passage
- The fight when I ride back up on the clouds is unavoidable, no matter what you do. I just run from it, though.
- Foggs (the fat things) SUCK. They constantly block the path, and their tails are often impossible to see beneath the clouds. Many runs early on got cut short because I tried to dodge a Fogg too closely only to run into a battle.
- Speaking of Foggs, I had so many great Fogg dodges in this segment. Right after the escaped fight, it appears I get caught on the ledge and waste time. Well, I do get caught on a ledge, but if you look closely, you can see the Fogg's tail blocking my path until just before I pass by, so no time was lost. The two screens before the penultimate drop both had absolutely amazing dodges: the first had me being chased by multiple enemies and just barely having the Fogg move in time to slip by, the second had me rushing through a rapidly closing gap as the Fogg spread its fat body across the path.
- Considering how difficult it is to dodge all enemies and not make any major mistakes, having such a good battle is amazing. I had a few runs where I got that far, only to have high 1:2x battles. I expected a 1:10 to 1:15 in my accept, nothing as good as a 0:53 (I had never subbed 1 even in practice runs). Also, there was a 50/50 chance I'd get two Foggs in that battle instead of a Fogg and two birds (forgot the name), but I lucked out and got the two Foggs (~400 less combined HP).
- The mirrors have awful controls, I thought they'd be a constant segment killer for sure. Luckily, I found out a way to control them pretty easily. Hold left until the beam stops, then switch over 180 degrees and hold right. You'll continue in the same direction for some bizarre reason.
- If you didn't realize before, this is why I mixed the Blaze and Pristine Water back in Alfard. Had I not started the Diadem Cloud mixture then, I would have to fight three more battles 10 minutes into the segment.
- This entire town has terrible collision and Heartwing detection. In my YouTube comments, I wrote a long paragraph of all the examples. Read there if you want to see just how bad it is.
- The soldiers at the end are in a good position about 1/4 of the time. I got really lucky that this current layout ended up working. The Bunneycat will also randomly block the first chest in the house section, which is an extremely obnoxious way to end a run.
- Finally, the dialogue in this segment is plentiful and annoying. There are many times where you have to pick an alternative option, which is always annoying while mashing. For a complete list of grievances, see my YouTube segment.
- Due to the above three factors, this is probably the most mistake-filled non-battle segment in the run. The missed dialogue in the bar is probably the ugliest error. I tried this one for quite a bit of time and got really frustrated with it. The final result has about 4 seconds of error in a 9 minute segment, which is pretty good, I guess. After a lot of discussion and consulting with others, I decided to accept this.
Segment 26 *
Content: Giacomo II
- Another really great fight. This is the first time I managed to kill the first soldier before he got a chance to attack. The other soldier was a nearly a perfect kill, as well. In addition, nobody died during this first phase of the fight, which only happens about a third of the time. As for Giacomo, I not only took him down fast, but I managed to poison him, which is something that happens rarely, and does a lot of damage. I also managed to barely scrape out enough TP for the big target of class 7. Sagi died, which is unfortunate, but as long as he didn't die any other time in the run there is no loss.
Content: Cloudvents I
- The wind in this segment blows (hahahaha, bad pun). The vents aren't on a simple timer, they are actually controlled by the RNG, which made optimizing this segment really difficult. Vent 1 was perfect, vent 2 was a bit slow, vent 3 was great, and vent 4 was my fastest ever.
- I drop some quest magnus here, because the wind is one of only 2 things in the game that continues while I'm dropping magnus (the other being rain in Matar).
- I do a stupid mistake saving at the end, costing about two seconds.
Segment 28 *
Content: Nasca, Valara, and Heughes
- The order I kill them in is necessary for a speedrun. Heughes deals the most damage, and makes me waste time healing, so he has to die first. Valara should die last, as she has the most health of the three, and also gets more aggressive when her health is low. If anyone of the others are still alive, I won't survive. Nasca, logically, gets placed in the middle.
- The long relay combo was not necessary, since I no longer need to hit class 7. However, I knew I'd be able to get it without her breaking it, and relaying attacks together allows instant-equipping of weapons. Furthermore, this gave me a lot of TP, which ended up being essential to hitting class 8 late in the run, and thus saving time on the final battles.
Segment 29 *
Content: Nasca Arma
- The first of many EX-combo based fights. My entire strategy from here on out will revolve around getting my MP built up as fast as possible, and using an EX-combo.
- It may be possible to manipulate Nasca to not use Plasma Cannon, but I've never had it happen. I built my strategy for this battle under the assumption that he would use it and knock all of my characters into danger. If he ended up not using it, this fight might go down by 30 seconds, but I have no proof it's possible.
Content: Cloudvents II
- Shortest segment in the run. This was mainly split to allow better luck manipulation. I originally planned to get the Bloodstained Crest in this segment, but I got some freak glitch that let me fly right through the wind, saving 6-8 seconds and making me not want to risk ruining the run.
Content: Diadem Wrap-up
- The first vent in the Cloudvents is pretty weird. It always starts blowing right and it always takes a fair amount of time to subside. Unlike in the forward direction, when going in reverse, you can't cross the gap with the vent on. Believe it or not, this is one of the fastest times I've ever got the vent to stop.
- The weird double Heartwing in front of Rodolfo's Mansion actually costs no time, since the cutscene is already activated. I'm not sure why it even happens.
- Finding the best poster route took a lot of timing/trial and error, but this method ended up being the fastest by five seconds.
Content: Nunki Valley I
- Lightbugs have stupid physics, forcing me to get past them in the way I do. Also this segment took quite a bit of enemy manipulation.
Segment 34 *
Content: Rodolfo's Mansion
- This segment was very hard, but I love the end result. The battle was fast (although not my fastest), and the mansion which ruined so many runs was done excellently.
Segment 35 *
Content: Giacomo III
- Nothing much to say, a pretty good fight. There are better and worse fights in this run.
Content: Nunki Valley II
- This segment took an insane amount of enemy manipulation (8 possible enemies can get in my way). On my YouTube version of this segment, you can see me describe all of them in extreme detail.
- I have to grab the Mountain Apples from a weird angle for some reason. I don't necessarily need them now, but they are pretty much essential for Holoholobird.
Segment 37 **
Content: Promachina Heughes and Malpercio's Afterling I
- This is one of the rare segments in the run where I need to do two boss fights consecutively. As a consequence, this is not my best time on the first battle (1:48 is my best), but it's my best time on the second battle by a lot (3:32 was my previous best). Keeping in mind the 1:48 and 3:32 weren't consecutive, this beat my previous best combined time by at least 38 seconds. So much can go wrong in the second fight (I lose frequently), so getting a good time in both is very lucky.
Content: Zaurak Keep I
- Nothing really to say here. The first time I spin the light-thingy has different physics than the other spins, which is why I can move a bit after the second turn.
Content: Sadal Suud Wrap-up
- Don't watch this, it is a boring travel segment. I save here because if I didn't, the game would count the time it takes to swap and read discs onto my final time.
Content: Sfida Crash
- Again, don't watch this. This very short segment is merely setup for the next one, so I don't have to repeat this minute and forty-four seconds every time I attempt the next boss (and trust me, that's quite a lot of times).
Segment 41 *
- One of the hardest bosses in the game, and I beat it at level 19 (some people have trouble in the early 30s, most people are in the mid-late 20s at this point). Being low-leveled hurts quite a bit in this fight, even with Mountain Apples. 1) My defense is low enough that I frequently get knocked down by any 10x combo from chicks, and I get knocked all the way to danger from a 15x combo. 2) My offense is too low to be able to kill the chicks with Blazing Glacial Queen, which is what I usually suggest for this battle. Even if I was high enough, I'd still have to make an extra shop trip for a 2B in Alfard, I'd have to spend time reorganizing my deck with Guillo's specials, and I'd lose a lot of the balance of my deck, since I don't have more 1, 2, and 3s to add in. For speed purposes, even if I could use it, BGQ just doesn't cut it. 3) Getting the mother down requires 3 THGs with a Plasma Blade equipped. If Kusenagi is equipped for just one of those, the bird won't fall (even though it only does about 200 less damage).
- Killing the first set of chicks is essential to preventing Angelic Song. All enemies appear to have MP just as characters do, and the chicks need an attack or two to build up enough MP for that obnoxious 1000 HP healing move. In addition, killing the chicks simply makes it a lot easier to survive, since those things can do up to 500 damage and put me in danger.
Content: Holoholo Jungle I
- Nothing interesting happens here, no mistakes were made.
Content: Komo Mai I
- There are a lot of potential run-enders in this segment. See my YouTube comments for a full list. I managed to avoid them all, with only a mess-up while saving at the end, which cost me a third of a second.
Content: Holoholo Jungle II
- It's faster to change my active quest magnus while walking here, but I need to do it at the last minute in order to manipulate my shot to miss the Holoholo Chick. Everything went fine.
Content: Komo Mai II
- Like the last visit to Komo Mai, this is a very technical section. No mistakes besides some awkward flying, which costs no noticeable amount of time.
Content: Holoholo Jungle III
- Bland and boring. If you're watching all of these segments, I'm sure you're bored of the Holoholo Jungle by now.
Content: Celestial Tree I
- The last few segments were pretty boring, but this is the worst of them, being almost all dialogue. I lost maybe a tenth of a second catching an edge on the way back to the Celestial Tree, but had much better button mashing than previous attempts.
Content: Celestial Tree II
- I was SO close to skipping waiting for one of the enemies, but I just barely am not able to do it. I have to split the Dagroot collecting in half, because this place is teeming with enemies that I need to dodge and manipulate.
Content: Celestial Tree III
- Enemy manipulating here was insanely frustrating. Specifically, various ones on the second screen. Everything ended up fine, though.
Segment 50 *
Content: Malpercio's Afterling II and Zaurak Keep II
- I need to get in two THGs and some excess damage before his second posture shift. This is much easier said than done (his next attack would have been PS, by the way).
- In addition to my fastest boss time, this was by far my best Zaurak (the only one without a significant mistake). I'm very happy that I did well on both parts of this complex segment.
Segment 51 *
- This was a great battle, and I managed to do enough excess damage to kill him in only three THGs. Near the end, I also correctly predict who to use my potion on to avoid death, which is always cool looking.
- I buy an Attack Aura II so I need one less THG on this boss, and the one in five segments.
Content: Battlefields of Atria
- As anybody who has played this area knows, it takes insane luck to get through without getting hit by enemies/ice arrows. This is a short segment, yet it was certainly an annoying one.
Segment 53 *
Content: Machina Arma: Razor II
- A good fight, even though I lost a bit of time at the end. I do manage to show a weird glitch, though. For some reason, the programmers don't put a results screen after this fight, so I can't see my time to compare.
Content: Celestial Tree IV
- This segment took me a while and is super inconsequential. Both stops I did in the Celestial Tree wasted no time since I had to wait for enemy cycles anyways.
Content: Anuenue Wrap-up
- Like all wrap-up sections, this is just a bland travel segment. I waste ten seconds saving where I do, but it removes four minutes of cutscene from the next segment, which is very much needed...
Segment 56 *
- This segment took quite a long time. Not only do I have to slug through 7 minutes of button mashing before every attempt (would be 11 if I didn't waste time last segment), but Guillo has the potential to kill me in just one (1) combo. This was my only sub-3 fight in two weeks of attempts. I actually didn't do nearly as well as I have on other fights, but his pattern was so good that it didn't matter.
- Why is this fight so hard? To begin, Heavenlapse is extremely overpowered, and he luckily did not use it this time (which is probably why I won so fast). It can hit up to 2700 damage on its own, and I have 3168 combined HP. If everybody isn't at full HP, I usually die. Add a combo to the start, doing 500-1200 damage, and it instantly kills my whole party no matter what. Fellstar Gleam is also very deadly (instantly killing whoever it targets), but it has two positives. First of all, it burns Guillos MP to help prevent a Heavenlapse. Secondly, it is awesome (FLY! FLAIL! AND SLAUGHTER!). Unfortunately, the game glitched in this run and he only said "fly". Even Guillo's normal combos can OHKO someone on occasion. He rarely does minor damage.
Content: Heart to Heart
- Nothing to see here but dialogue and menu-work. It is purely a setup segment, since the next segment is pretty long.
Segment 58 **
Content: Vega Building Site and Shanath
- Incomplete Vega went well. Whenever I go slow in the airpods, it is intentional in order to avoid enemies. Some of those enemies have very weird hitboxes, such as the one before the Shanath battle, which will only activate a battle when it is about 5 enemy-lengths away from you. I grab the Spark Shrooms in the way I do to minimize waiting for enemies.
- Shanath went very well. I need to do excess damage in order to kill him in the second fight, which is why I do a few more attacks at the end and an Ascension in the middle. Milly dying after the first fight is completely irrelevant, since you don't gain experience then.
- My only mistake was a half-second hitch getting into the airpod immediately following the boss fight, which is great for a >10 minute segment.
Content: Sheratan II
- Boring dialogue segment, don't watch.
Content: Matar Highlands
- Since Matar is governed by rain cycles, as long as I get to the proper lily pad before the rain, I cannot lose time. I take advantage of this by beginning to make the Hero's License.
Segment 61 *
- I fly around before the battle, since entering it with the proper heart wing exhaustion level raises my MP at the start. I stop fiddling with my cards during Apotheoses to try to slightly reduce lag (not sure if it helps or not, but in this case no harm in doing it). Everyone survives, and the fight is fast. Nothing to complain about.
Content: Sheratan III
- Nothing notable here, just curing Gena and preparing to go to Nekkar. This is probably my best "boring" segment in the run, probably because it is so short that I could hyper-optimize it.
Content: Nekkar Quietlands
- This segment was probably the hardest enemy manipulating in the run. Getting through the penultimate screen of Nekkar unscathed took a full two weeks to do (and you can see I barely manage to dodge both the hidden pit and the slave balloona at the same time). I can get past the Armored Mite on the same screen maybe once every three hours.
Segment 64 *
- My Attack Aura II from the previous segment let me kill this boss with a Godling's Rapture + Apotheosis instead of two Apotheoses, saving an MP burst and the cooldown time afterwards. The fight went well, although Milly died (which ended up making no difference in the run, since she never died again).
Content: Algorab Village
- Basic travel segment, with three minor places I could screw up that I don't feel like going into (check my YouTube comments if you're really curious). Everything was done well.
Content: Seginus (Place)
- The walls here are very easy to get stuck on, and the enemies are huge. Luckily, I made it through unscathed.
Segment 67 *
Content: Seginus (Boss)
- This fight is really, really good. The fastest boss in the run. Heavenlapse managed to kill nobody, which usually doesn't happen. Furthermore, I got in the kill before Seginus got off his second attack. An Attack Aura II'd Apotheosis just barely isn't enough to defeat him, so I'm lucky I got in enough excess damage without Vajra the Indestructible. Furthermore, TP is actually a concern in this fight, for the first time since Diadem. In order to hit class 8 (which speeds things up a bit), I needed to have exactly the number of combos shown in this run. Dropping just one attack would put me under the lower bound for classing up. I need to hit it now, since after the next fight, there are no more Blue Flowers.
- After the fight, I was super nervous. Getting down the staircases without clipping an edge is actually quite difficult, and even after practice, I only get it about half the time. Luckily, I got down without a 3-4 second costing stair miss....only to waste about a second getting into the save flower. But one second is a minor loss considering how good the battle is.
Content: Tarazed Preparation
- This is a boring segment, skip it. It's all about preparing for Tarazed ? namely getting Mountain Apples and watching the variety of necessary cutscenes.
- Nothing special here. I buy auras in preparation for Tarazed, do the elevator subquest, and head through Vega. No mistakes.
Segment 70 +
Content: Tarazed I
- The menu part at the start of this segment really exemplifies how much I improved over the course of this run. Seriously, go back and watch my first menu selection in Segment 1, it's at least twice as slow as this. This is easily the best menu work of the run.
- So yeah, this was a great run. Out of the eleven enemies that can get in my way, only one did. Most of my escalator rooms were good, and those tend to be very difficult to get a good angle on. I hold all my Heartwing Dashes well, ending in the orange on most screens. I successfully navigated the Heartwing Maze quickly. The one flaw in this run is in saving at the end, but that only cost me a second.
Segment 71 ***
Content: Tarazed II
- The fights here were beyond exceptional. For the three main fights, my goal was sub 2:50 combined. I got 2:34. My second best over the three weeks I attempted this was 3:01. All three of my fights were probably in the top 10% of runs. In addition, my escape battle was the second fastest possible, only a 10% chance of getting better than it.
- Looking in detail at the fights, you'll see how insane they really are. For instance, in the first fight, I luck out and have the foe knock Milly over, so I don't have to sit through her attack (yet still maintain the MP gained from it), saving 3-5 seconds. Guillo only gets knocked down once, and even then I managed to have a very fast fight. I'd say about 40% of my fights are 1:10+, 20% from 1:00 to 1:10, 20% from :56 to :59, and 10% from :54 down.
- Even everything outside the battles was great. I got caught on no edges and made no noticeable mistakes. I did have a bit of a good luck/bad luck moment after the third fight: what I usually do is slip through the small gap between the Machina and table, but about a third of the time I fail the trick and get caught in a fight, ruining the run. I am always super nervous about this part, so to have the Machina move right (closing the gap) and forcing me to take the long way around was actually a bit of a relief, even if it cost 1-2 seconds.
- Many places were potential run ruiners. The escalators are, as always, a massive pain. In pretty much any room, I could fail my Heartwing Dashes, and get stuck in exhaustion. If I mash too fast after the floor collapses in Block B, I'll get a "walking while talking" glitch that prevents me from exiting the room. It's really easy to get stuck on an edge in a few places, especially the falling block room. The Heartwing Maze is easy to mess up in. If I go too fast I make the wrong dialogue choices at the window. And of course, those awful battles caused restart after restart. The fact that everything and the battles went well really cements this as one of the best segments in the run.
Segment 72 **
- This fight is really incredible. My strategy requires using Warriors Scarf-2-3/Flameking-1-2-3-Scension-Ascension. This method, if I can get dealt the right cards, is much more efficient and much less risky than any other I've found (my previous method required I get to lv 4 and use TGR)
- For the second phase, I was amazed he died after The Apotheosis. Usually he takes an Apotheosis, plus a 1-2-3-Scension-Ascension. However, I was able to do enough strong combos with Guillo and Milly to skip that completely, saving a lot of time.
- I lose about ten seconds saving here instead of at the bottom of Tarazeds Core. However, at the start of the next segment I have to fight a Cicada Golem, which has the potential to kill me and is tricky to optimize. The time lost from having to add that to the segment and optimize it, as well survive the entire core with no mistakes is far more than 10 seconds.
Segment 73 *
Content: Tarazed's Core
- A time of 40 seconds on the Cicada Golem is mind-blowing. I predicted an absolute minimum of 42, my second best time was 48. The enemies all have very short attack chains, Milly gets knocked down to prevent watching her attack, and everything just goes in my favor.
- The rest of the segment is pretty scary. The first enemy can catch me in a fight sometimes, and he almost did here. In the third room of the core, the first enemy will sometimes decide to chase me, in which case I can't dodge both it and the second enemy. The third enemy, the Lyacon, is a very difficult dodge. I tend to get it a quarter of the time. It's so easy for him to spot you as you try to come around and cut you off before you can get all the way past him. The enemy in the last room can occasionally be troublesome, too. Luckily, everything went without a hitch. Maybe a second lost total due to being overcautious (which is far less than the time saved from the great fight).
Segment 74 *
- This fight went so nicely in terms of luck. This fight, more than any other in the game, relies on getting quick draws of the cards I need, as well cooperative enemy patterns. All of my discard cycles were fast. Sometimes it takes me 20-30 seconds to get the cards I need.
- Round 1: I need to do a short MP building combo with Warriors Scarf, then 0, 1(B), 1+, 2(B), 2+, 3(B) with Milly, switch targets, and do a 0, 1B, 2B, 3B, 4, 5, 6 with Guillo. If the Milly combo is missing even one card, I won't be able to finish off the non-targeted Machinanguis with Guillo's specials.
- Round 2: Unlike the last round, I need to kill with a large Milly combo, or I won't have enough MP for the immediate start of round 3. 0, 1, 2, 3B, 4, 5 with Sagi and 0, 1(B), 1+, 2(B), 2+, 3(B) with Milly or 0, 1(B), 2(B), 3, 4, 5 with Sagi and 0, 1, 1+, 2B, 2+, 3(B) with Milly are enough to kill the tentacle. Note how in this round alone, I've had to draw four weapons. Combined with three from the last round, and three for the final round, that's a total of ten weapons. Getting ten weapons in a quick fashion is one of the reasons this fight takes such an insane amount of luck.
- Round 3: I must IMMEDIATELY start off with 0, 1B, 2B, 3B, 4, 5, 6 with Guillo to kill off all the tentacles. I then usually follow with a short scarfed combo with Sagi to build MP, and a long Milly combo to build MP. Things went very different from usual here. Normally, I hit Verus with the scarfed combo, but this time I decided to relay it in for the ~2 second saving instant equip of the scarf. Now, Sagi's EX combo is not an OHKO on Verus...it usually leaves him with about 30 health left. Losing the extra damage from the weak combo, I need to make sure Verus attacks instead of recharges so Milly can get in some damage. Unfortunately he recharges, but Milly's MP builder OHKOs the new tentacle, costing no time. Then, in my final combo with Sagi, I happened to critical one of the early hits (which is extremely rare), meaning I got my OHKO without any extra damage. The perfect lucky end to an extremely lucky fight.
Content: Escaping Tarazed and Ending
- Nothing much to say here, it isn't a difficult segment. I barely pull out a sub 8-hour run, thanks to a random skipable cutscene immediately following the credits (the only one of its kind since the intro).
- The Geldoblame scene autoplays, so I can't speed through the dialogue there like usual.
*pant* Okay, I probably shouldn't have said this much. I'm already at 8,900 words. I need to end comments soon or THAT JOKE becomes applicable. So, once again, thanks to everyone who helped, supported, and watched this run.
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