Released in 2008, Bionic Commando: Rearmed is a remake of the original NES Bionic Commando. Leaving the storyline and level design intact, Grin opted to focus on ruining the fluid grappling mechanics that the series is known for, at which they were immensely successful. Despite this, Spencer is still able to endure the questionable soundtrack and explod Master D's head.
Best time: Single-segment 0:18:22 by Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare on 2014-12-07.
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This game sucks.
Shoutouts to Pasky for encoding this run and everybody at SDA for keeping the site rolling so we have a stable place to upload high quality videos and hang out. Big thanks to BagtheTea for the support and strategy development, and to Kennyman for getting me into this game. I think Greenalink initially found the Albatross gas/laser room skips, so big thanks to him too! Lastly, thanks to Shiden for finding a consistent "setup" for the barrier skip which finally made this run possible.
So BCR is a "remake" of the original Bionic Commando for NES. They replaced the fluid mechanics of the NES version with some wonky-ass ragdoll physics engine that only works at like 400fps, and then completely ruined the soundtrack. The grapple is super stiff and really awkward to control. Your movement options are incredibly limited in this version because you don't have nearly as much control with the grab-release "hop" that is in most of the other BC games. On top of that, sometimes your grapple doesn't interact with 1-tile thick platforms and will simply pass through them. Grabbing ceilings is also particularly problematic because the grapple will refuse to stick sometimes. It is a very frustrating game to play.
The one thing they didn't screw up, though, are the weapons. They actually did a really good job of balancing the old and new weapons, which was a major problem in the NES version. There are 6 weapons in this game and they are all incredibly useful. In this run, I only get three of those weapons.
This category is only possible on PC. The barrier skip doesn't work on console at all. The barrier skip is a really awkward "mechanic" that relies on just completely breaking the physics engine by lowering the framerate. To get it to work, you have to run the game with vsync enabled so it actually runs at 60fps instead of 400fps, and then you have to lower the resolution and framerate as much as your PC/graphics card will allow. You need the framerate to drop below 60fps for the trick to work. For my setup, 800x600 resolution and 56Hz works really well. Note that I am not tampering with the game in any way. The resolution and framerate changes are option within the game menu itself, and Vsync is just used to get the game to run at the framerate it says it is running at. Anyways, with these settings and proper positioning, you can grab the barrier in area 3 and just pull yourself on top of it instead of having to break it with the power claw. This allows us to skip areas 5 and 6 entirely! The main issue with this skip is that I won't have the rocket launcher for any of the very lengthy boss fights in this game, so I have to use pistol and hope for good mashing. I also switch the resolution back to 1080p after I get the skip so that the mechanics are playable for the rest of the game. It costs like 10 seconds to do so, but I easily make up that 10 seconds by being able to play the game.
I'll briefly talk about truck behavior here, too. The trucks in this game are 100% fixed. There are 5 trucks which each have a set spawn position and route. If you hold a direction on the map while the map loads, all of the trucks will reset to their starting positions. If you do this on one of the areas where the truck spawns (3, 4, 8, 18, or 10) then you instantly get into an encounter with the truck. If you wait for the map to load, the trucks will stay on their old positions. By abusing the truck resets, I can skip every single truck encounter except for 1. The truck in area 10 cannot be skipped, so I force the encounter as early as possible with the early move, then quit out and reload (which despawns the truck). This is the fastest way to deal with it. I also enter and exit area 1 at the very beginning of the run to reset the position of the area 4 truck. It is slightly faster than burning time moving between areas 1 and 13.
There are several other tricks and skips that I and others found, but I'll mention those within the stage notes.
Area 15: There is a faster way to get to the door in this stage, but I don't dare try it at this framerate. It saves less than a second anyways.
Area 3: I got barrier skip on the second try, which is quite good. For some reason, my resolution change took longer the normal so I lost some time there. My grapple during the outside climb failed to connect so I lost some more time, but the interior of the level was great. I used a new approach to this boss fight to pull him down quicker (and avoid having to grab the ceiling!), and then was somehow able to 1-cycle him with pistol! This boss fight is one of the highlights of the run. Missing the 1-cycle costs a ton of time and it is incredibly hard to do. I don't use turbo or keyboard for this run; I play with an SNES controller. To mash this fast, I used both thumbs on the fire button. It is really awkward and inconsistent, but it worked in this run.
Area 14: Standard. No issues.
Area 9: This stage was rough. The enemy at the start backed up (really rare pattern) so I couldn't swing until later. This meant that my swing took me to the right side of the descent instead of hugging the left wall, which screws up the damage boost through the other enemies at the bottom. I also got bad luck on them which made things worse. In all, only a few seconds were lost but it looks horrible. The rest of the stage went pretty well.
I screwed up my positioning on the boss for the first tread so I had to back him up once. I think it only cost me one grenade attack, though. Still a few seconds lost, but not as bad as it could be.
Area 17: Another standard stage.
Area 7: Pretty good stage. I got hit as I was entering the boss door, which is pretty entertaining. The boss himself got hurt really bad, but it could've been even faster if I wasn't ahead of him after my initial damage boost in the first phase. This was super good RNG! More than makes up for my mistakes.
Area 18: I hate this area. I feel like it should be faster to swing differently, but it always initiates dialogue. Bah.
Area 10: This is the worst part of the run. This stage is normally very hard, but with low framerate (note: 60fps is really low compared to how this runs with Vsync off) the collision detection is really bad. I normally damage boost across the spike platform section at the end, but it instantly kills me at this framerate. I haven't ever been able to skip that platform with these settings. Having to wait for that is a huge pain in the ass. For some reason, the grapple in the bottom right of the screen (by the one soldier above the minidroid) doesn't work at this framerate either. I normally do a large swing to the right and grab the top platform directly. Whenever I tried at this framerate, that same swing sent me much farther right and killed me before I had a chance to grab the platform. I had to modify my approach there so I wouldn't die.
In addition to all of this, I got the WORST pattern on the flydroid operator and he ducked 2-3 of my vector cannon shots. As a result, I got hit by a flydroid falling down, which made me immediately try to regain health. This was entirely unnecessary. I was thinking of my usual strats of damage boosting over the pit, which leaves me with enough health to survive 1 hit. My strat there is to kill the minidroid things for more health so I can survive a flydroid hit on the boss. I didn't need to do that here at all. Just a time-costing brain fart.
On the boss, it is faster to get above him and push him down from the top at the very start. I have only ever done that once at this framerate. The collision detection is normally really really bad here even at 400fps, but at 60fps is just doesn't work at all. I don't ever EXPECT to get that quick setup with these settings. However, I do expect to not get such overwhelmingly shitty patterns from the flydroids. I have never seen them behave this angrily. The only saving grace of this fight is that I got another 1-cycle kill. Getting perfect RNG and the quick setup but failing the 1-cycle kill would cost more time than my fight here, so I'm not TOO upset over it.
Area 11: I'm not gonna lie, I have no idea what happened with that swing off the lamps/posts/whatever near the beginning. I've never had that second swing land on the back half of the last post before. Whatever. Lost a few more seconds because the game decided to do something different there. My last grapple on the cylinders over the fire pits somehow didn't connect either, so I had to damage boost over the fire. This actually didn't cost much time. What a mess of a stage though. I don't even know what I did wrong to cause this. At least the boss fight went well.
Area 12: This stage went fine, except for the bad luck on the last electric barrier skip. That soldier decided to fire backwards instead of at me. This is a rather rare pattern. I managed to get Spencer super far into the Master D cutscene though, so that's a big plus. Quick note: the elevators skips are not possible at 800x600 56fps.
Albatross: This is the saving grace of the run. This was as close to perfect as possible. I got first try crusher skip, had a perfect Room B, and the interior of the Albatross had really good luck and great execution. The suicide in the final room is to skip the final cutscene before the rocket launcher upgrade. Since I don't have the rocket launcher, I have to walk off the ledge to die. Also, even though I don't have the rocket launcher, they are happy to give it to me with the upgrade! I missed the 2nd rocket switch shot once, which costs a bit of time but isn't too bad. Master D fight was fine, though I got the slow pattern for his second attack.
The escape went really well in this run, which is nice because my previous PB lost 8 seconds to bad collision detection. Haha.
Conclusion: Overall, this run is quite good. I got barrier skip second try, I got the 1-cycle kill in areas 3, 10, and 11, had amazing luck on the area 7 boss, got crusher skip first try, and had a perfect Albatross. I lost a significant amount of time from bad collision, bad luck, and mistakes, but I think that the good points far outweigh those errors. This category is incredibly unstable and makes doing attempts really unenjoyable. This is actually the first full attempt that finished the game without crashing. The previous 10 attempts crashed at different points throughout the run; some crashed upon starting the game, some crashed after changing the resolution after barrier skip, one crashed after finishing area 7, and one really strong run crashed in the crusher room of the Albatross. I have absolutely no desire to try to improve this category, but there is definitely room for improvement. I'll try to do a 100% run (at 400fps) and then put this game away for good.
Best of luck if anybody tries to improve this run! I hope your game is more stable than mine.
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