Released in Japan in December 1992 and in North America in July 1993 by Almanic Corporation and Enix, E.V.O.: Search for Eden is a side-scrolling action game where the player must guide a creature of their own design across a number of environments modelled on Earth's past. The game is divided into five distinct geological periods, and the gameplay involves the player choosing how to evolve their creature to best navigate the environment you are faced with. The ultimate goal of the player is to earn a chance to enter the Paradise Realm of Eden, becoming Gaia's immortal partner.
Best time: Single-segment 0:50:30 by 'Darkwing Duck' on 2012-12-10.
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Even though this run would be the first of this game on SDA, I cannot claim this route to be my own. While one of the lasting reminders of one of SDA's former administrators, Enhasa, is the Casual Speedrunning subforum on SDA, this run would be the most recent, as the vast majority of this route is his.
The run itself is fairly straightforward. There are no glitches to really take advantage of. There are few stages that are of any trouble. The majority of the run is evo point distribution, green orb management, and boss fights.
On to the run itself.
This chapter has only three elements to it. First is the red orb. It's the only red orb that can give you two different evolutions. It also happens to be the only required one to get. Unfortunately, only one of the two evolutions is useful, and thus this is the first reset opportunity in the game. If I get eel, the run continues. If I get ray, the reset button is used.
The reason eel is required is element two of Chapter 1, the grind for evo points. I need 500, and the fastest way to get there is on the terodus. To clear the stage, you have to clear the terodus, either through killing them or despawning them. Since I need the evo points, I might as well kill them. The problem is that I can only kill around 14 of them at maximum, and at 25 points a piece, I'm short the required amount of points. Thus, I'm reliant on rainbow meat drops. In my experience, rainbow drops happen around 10% of the time. In this run, I get 3 in 12, so I get very lucky. I am even able to despawn the rest of the fish while in eel form, saving me time.
The evolutions in this game are all about speed and power. Jump power and defense are pretty much ignored in this game. Only two evolutions in chapter 1 before the boss, for speed and ramming power.
The third real element to chapter 1 is the boss. In no uncertain terms, this fight is HARD. The hit boxes for ramming and taking damage are a bit odd, so it's almost a crap shoot on whether I'm on a good pixel to ram the boss from above and not take damage instead of or after the hit. Execution is hard on its own, and adding the seeming randomness makes this fight as likely as the first two elements.
In this run, the fight goes almost as perfect as this strategy can be, making up for all the small errors that had been made up to that point. Certainly a highlight of the run.
Afterward, I set up an evolution strictly for the next boss. Whatever configuration your character is in, you can save in one of 50 slots. To access them, you must have and use a green orb, which lets you choose any of the evolutions you've saved for a small length of time provided that evolution is naturally possible when you use the orb, meaning you can't use a, say, chapter 3 evolution in chapter 2. In a straight new game run, this isn't possible anyway, since you wouldn't have the ability to save a chapter 3 evolution in chapter 2. This evolution was a horn and a tail, the first for ramming, the second for speed.
I skip a line of dialogue on the way to the exit to chapter 2. I miss the quick gate entry.
In chapter 2, I grab the green orb (in the comments, I may write crystal instead of orb. Deal with it, it's the same thing), and use it at the earliest I feel confident I won't lose it if I have a bad boss or get unlucky on the screens before it.
Boss goes about average. Best part of the fight was that I used horn twice, saving one dash attack, and not having the dialogue of breaking the horn.
Didn't horn the elder, so we all win.
Blah blah speed evolutions, blah blah sad cut scene, blah blah I have jaws now!
Next boss is KING BEE. He's a bit more random than his wife later. Can't bite lock him. I try to keep him from flying to the top as much as possible. I don't think I've ever gotten what I'd consider a great boss. I'd call this fight adequate, maybe slightly better than average.
Now on to queen bee. Try to air bite the crystal and miss. Lose a second there. Of note, between King and Queen Bee is the first screen where bouncing on enemies for the entire level begins. I don't get lucky with the last guy moving left, but you'll be seeing a lot of that the rest of the way.
Queen Bee is a fixed fight. Need to make sure to jump at the right time and bite right after the dialogue ends. After that, it's just timed bites. Evolve jaws for the saved evolution, one I use many times afterward, and it's off to chapter 3.
Evolve into the amphibian immediately and race off as fast as you can. Gotta pick up that green orb on the way. While you can't hold more than one green orb at a time, you can still pick one up while in crystal form, so you have to take the southerly route at the beginning of the chapter since there is no green orb on the northerly route.
Lots of jumping and a second crystal use later, we have another boss, the frog that ribits. The idea is to get her to not get knocked backward on a bite. It's possible for one of the frog meats to disappear off the right edge of the screen, which is crippling. The boss basically went perfectly.
Jump, blah, evolve, blah. Tyrannosaur boss!
Have to kill 10 of them to trigger the cut scene, so it's a unique boss. This boss included a strategic change which ended up saving a good chunk of time. Prior to most attempts before this one, I stayed in the same form throughout the battle. Halfway changing to the form I needed at the end of the scene let me kill tyranos quicker and in groups of two. The biggest difference is that the evolution I make forces the character to stay still when biting, allowing me to bite lock in the corner. This strategy was a bit more risky than an already pretty risky strategy, but it paid off in time saved.
Evolve into final reptile form and save it.
DEPRESSING INTERMISSION CUT SCENE.
On to Chapter 4.
Mammal is slightly faster than bird and reptile for console runs, so we turn to that. Beginning is a bit slow to the chapter, and using the collected green orb in the tyrano battle is not fixed. I try to use it where I think it would be most advantageous. Have to pick up another crystal on the way.
Jump jump blah blah jump.
This boss is quite difficult. Need to make sure you're dashing when you start after the dialogue, and then jump right away. A few pixels is all you need to hop on the first mammoth instead of landing in front of it and then the run is over. Once you get into a bite lock, it's easy to kill all three, but the jump to trigger the next mammoth and then air biting and not bouncing on the mammoth are a bit tricky. Plus, any delay and there's a good chance the green orb runs out. A very nerve racking boss.
Boss goes well, and it's off to the bird fortress. Least amount of time between bosses, and they're both tough ones. The cloud fortress is also the hardest section to get through, especially given the weak form, the character is in. The outer section is all about timing the jump over the rider guards. The interior maze has bird knights that you have to run by. Being at the same speed as them actually makes dodging them easier since only one can be on the screen at a time, and having one chase means the bird knights that can spawn in front of you don't. The level also has a pretty tricky air bite to collect a green orb, the last one of the run. This section was by far the one that was practiced most, not just because of the difficulty of the level, but by the difficulty of the boss. Speaking of which...
This boss can one hit kill you. The goal is to get into position to bite lock. Given that, the strategy was to use reptile because he's a stationary biter. However, as I got more and more experience, I found that the odd hit boxes of the bird king and the double tap dashing controls would more often than not lead to bad positioning and getting hit way too often. I gradually moved to a reptile/amphibian mix, choosing the former if Bird King moved left, and the latter if he moved right. Eventually, soon before this run happened, I made the complete switch to always amphibian, with consistently better results. I have to start the battle in mammal form so that I know where to jump as the battle starts. I need to be on the ledge I start on so that Bird King can move in either direction and keep me safe. The battle with the amphibian is a bit more technical, since I need to constantly move to keep on the ledge I bite from, but it keeps me from accidentally dashing when I don't want to. The battle goes extremely well, and I get to the warp before the cut scene even triggers.
Okay, I lied, Bird King to Yeti boss is the least amount of time. Fortunately, I have a new evolution in my corner, the HORSE. Unbeknownst to most E.V.O. Players is that you can kick as a mammal. This is an extremely over powered technique that makes both yetis very tame. It's a bit tricky to get into proper position, but they're a pretty easy boss fight.
And yes, this game is about girl power.
And if I'm not smiling on the yeti baby cut scene, I'm probably resetting.
Gaia says who she is quite often at this point.
Lots of jump-hop and swim-hop stages in Chapter 5. Unfortunately, one of them wins. Grizzlies really took it to me. I had to health evolve twice (any evolution refills your health). This stage is why I submitted this run 5 months after completing it instead of right after. The one positive part about that, well, grizzly grizzly stage is that I started playing a lot more loose. Kept any nerves I might have had at bay. The rest of the run probably would not have gone as well as it did.
In the monkey human cave (what?), I made a route change while running this game. I used to go up, up, right, up, right. I switched to up, right, up, up, right when I found that it skipped one of my most bestest of great friends, a boulder tossing monkey. Now I only have to make acquaintance with one of those fellas. And probably for the first time in nearly ten tries, I didn't get hit by the boulder.
Golden yeti went ok. Hard to get him in the corner since he acts a bit random after hopping on him. He'll either do nothing or jump quickly. I bank on him jumping quickly, with a slight delay in my kick in case he hesitates before jumping, or I drop far enough to clip the top edge of his hit box if he doesn't jump. I am unsuccessful twice. I pause when he hits me instinctively because you can heal evolve even when you hit 0 hit points if you're fast enough to get into the evolve screen. I had gotten a kick in on the yeti at the same time, so I had him locked, making the healing evolution unnecessary.
Next up, fish with lasers riding on sharks. Yeah, that's where this game went.
The shark riding laser fish move a bit randomly, and I get hit by a few lasers, and I do lose a bit of time here.
The boss is a bit tricky. The idea is to get into his body, made easier by a dash attack, so that I can get a kick in, and lock him in the corner. The window is fairly narrow since you need to be low enough to avoid his opening blinding attack, but high enough to actually hit him. The background makes the setup fairly easy. I don't get hit by the blinding attack on its way back, and I am able to get every kick to the corner that I need. This was basically the perfect boss fight, one that happens very rarely.
After the whale leader blows away the blocking clouds with his will power (yes, that sentence is accurate), I can go to the final area.
Cro-Maine is a kick lockers dream. Just have to get the hop kick, which generally speaking isn't too hard, and you kick shin after that.
The Dino People stage is fairly easy. The Chun Li dinos are easier to avoid than the Ryu dinos.
Bolbox is an amoeba looking thing that spews out 8 things one at a time when you hit its arm tentacle thing for 75 or 80+ damage, I don't recall. Six of those orb things are bosses similar to ones you've encountered throughout the game. One is a helpful meat, one is a small amphibian that's like a prisoner or something. Now that I don't need speed to get through any more stages, I can move to a higher attack power at the expense of speed. In the past, all that would require is evolving the bigger form, giving the character a +5 to kick power. However, bite locking on the final boss is faster than kick locking, since you don't have to suffer through the enemy getting knocked up in the air. Thus I evolve the biting jaws as well as the bigger body. I also need to extend my neck so that my character can be stationary when it bites.
Now, I say all that and the first thing that comes out is the fish, the one you can't bite lock. Still got +20 kick power, so I do that. It's actually not much slower than the +25 kick, since the fish doesn't get knocked up as high. In a bit of irony, the hardest thing to bite lock in the battle is the jellyfish, generally the easiest of the Bolbox bosses. My positioning is perfect and I get a full bite lock. First time that had happened, and I saved a LOT of time here. Bolbox itself isn't really a boss fight, so just hit it again to kill it after all the sub-enemies are gone.
The final boss went pretty much perfectly. Looks easy but it isn't. It made the run submittable. Without that final boss, you'd be seeing a different run. I think it was my best Bolbox by twenty seconds, over my second best fight. I probably had averaged thirty seconds slower on that fight alone.
And because of that final boss, I feel confident submitting this run even with that unfortunate occurrence in the grizzly stage. As I say for pretty much all my runs, this run is improvable, but this run would be the first on SDA, and it is about 30-40 seconds better than Enhasa's theory TAS. Enjoy the run!
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