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Though it was immensely popular after its 1994 release in Japan, EarthBound's 1995 release in North America only managed to produce a small (if curiously devoted) cult following. For the most part, the gameplay followed the traditional RPG formula, but it differentiated itself from other games of the time with its lack of an overworld map and its semi-infamous "rolling" hit point counters. It also featured a unique style that fell somewhere between a bizarre parody of American culture and an all-out drug trip, as well as one of the best and most varied soundtracks on the Super Nintendo.

 

Best time: 4:13 by Greg '_sdfg' Singer on 2008-12-28, done in 42 segments.

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Author's comments:

I don't know how I feel about this run. It's much shorter than any estimate I've seen for running EarthBound on a console (I was praying I'd make it under 5 hours when I first started), but it's still full of places where, looking back, I can see how I might've saved a total of at least 5 minutes. There are mistakes that would make me categorically reject the run if I were a verifier, but these mistakes occurred after periods of such ridiculous luck that I was unable to improve the segments in question, even after 50 or more tries. There are other segments where my luck is so good that I'd have to categorically accept the run (skip ahead to Stonehenge to see what I mean). In the end, it's done and I can't change it without redoing the whole thing. I hope everyone enjoys it.

The run in its current form would not have been possible without the following sources of information and/or support:

I recommend watching the video with the commentary track turned on, at the 1.5x playback speed. It saves you an hour and a half and makes everything funnier.

Comments explaining some of my decisions and making excuses for some of the mistakes follow.

  1. Segment 1 (Beginning of game; Pokey's emergency)
    • I saved a completely insignificant amount of time by starting a new game in the top slot before I started recording, then resetting during the character-naming so that the text speed would default to Fast instead of Medium.
    • According to the people on the TAS Videos forum, who probably know the game mechanics way better than I do, most of the text in the game is drawn at a rate of one frame per character. I therefore could have cut a few minutes off of the run if I'd chosen names like, "A", and, "!". I did not do this because I thought it was dumb.
    • The Cracked bat must be equipped or Pokey won't let you leave the house to go after Picky.
    • King doesn't help very much, especially if you're trying to minimize encounters anyway. Therefore, I leave him at home.
    • I segmented before going to retrieve Picky so that I could try for decent luck going up the hill. Also, I was already in front of the phone, so I didn't lose anything.
  2. Segment 2 (Buzz Buzz joins and leaves)
    • The crow in front of Ness's house is usually pretty easy to dodge. At least, it was in my file.
    • The dog on the hill was there almost every time I ran this segment. On a couple occasions (out of fifty tries or so), I managed to catch the corner of it in just the right way to trigger a green swirl instead of a black swirl. Unsurprisingly, this made climbing the hill a lot faster. Avoiding every other encounter also helped.
    • I had two runs ruined by Coil Snakes appearing on the hill next to Picky. This was infuriating.
    • It is impossible to finish the Starman Junior fight in fewer than four turns (unless you spend forever leveling Ness on Runaway Dogs). This run could've gone a little faster if Starman Junior had used Freeze or defended rather than using Fire, but I felt just having a four-round fight was good enough.
    • There is a photo shoot in front of Ness's house, in between the fenceposts. This made Ness's house effectively off-limits. The drugstore had the closest other phone available.
    • The Mr. Baseball cap and Tee ball bat are vital to getting past Frank. I still died on most of my attempts, even with them equipped.
    • Between the Hamburger in the trash can and the one I get from a Pogo Punk in the next segment, I had just barely enough healing power to survive the fight. I suppose I could've bought a couple burgers here rather than in the next segment, but doing things this way forced me to take less abuse in the Frank fight and didn't cost me any time.
  3. Segment 3 (Sharks defeated; Key to the Shack obtained)
    • I probably spend 5-10 seconds dodging Sharks outside the arcade, which is unfortunate. I honestly don't remember if I had any runs that didn't have Sharks out there, though.
    • As luck would have it, the two Sharks in the arcade and the Starman Junior fight give exactly enough experience for Ness to reach level 4, which provides a big boost to his offense.
    • I was perhaps more conservative than I needed to be in the two Frank-related battles. It's fairly easy to receive mortal damage unless Ness is at or near full health and I didn't want to get killed.
    • In one of my prior runs, I established that Giant Step is really hard if you don't recover your PP after beating Frank. I can't afford to stay at the hotel and Frank is more reliable than a Magic butterfly.
    • Hamburgers are needed for healing after the Magic butterfly break in Giant Step. I need to use as much Rockin as I can on Titanic Ant, so I need something other than Lifeup.
    • After accidentally talking to Ruffini a couple times, I chose to be extra-careful with my ATM use. This looks funny and wastes an insignificant amount of time.
    • The Cheap bracelet saves an average of 5 HP per attack. This doesn't sound like much, but it makes a huge difference when fighting Attack Slugs. The next segment would be terrible without it.
  4. Segment 4 (Giant Step)
    • I skip the Travel charm because it's almost completely useless and I don't need the extra $30 I'd get from selling it.
    • The four-Antoid fight had me worried, but I managed to pull through.
    • I go looking for more trouble after the Antoids because I thought I'd need more experience to reach level 8 and learn Psi Rockin before the Titanic Ant fight. I manage to luck out and find an individual Attack Slug, which I'm able to defeat without even fighting it. I haven't bothered to do the math and see if it was necessary or not, so I'm going to go ahead and pretend it was.
    • I'm unfortunate enough to come out onto the cliff face without a Magic butterfly present, but wandering over to the far right manages to bring it back.
    • I get a lot of Cookies in this segment. All this really does for me is waste a few seconds down the road when I have to throw them out. I don't think I've seen such a Cookie-filled run through Giant Step before, but then, I also haven't seen any that were faster (TAS excepted).
    • I pick up the Skip sandwich on the way out to help me dodge mushrooms in the next segment. As it turned out, I ended up completely wasting it, but I think that if I'd used it more intelligently than I did (wait a few segments), my increased walking speed would've made up for the time I spent picking the sandwich up.
    • According to an old note I left myself a while ago, you save half a second of dialogue by telling the cop you can't read.
    • I pull all the money out of the ATM at the end so I can invest in Apple Kid.
    • Hamburgers are purchased, once again, to heal without using up PP.
  5. Segment 5 (Onett police force; Apple Kid)
    • I ended up getting another Hamburger from one of the cops. I had planned on having this happen, since in my practice runs, I'd needed the extra Hamburger to survive the fight. However, I didn't need it this time, leaving me with another extraneous food item. I guess I must have gotten better stat increases in this run than I did when practicing.
      • Admittedly, I could've gotten rid of it if I'd used it to heal rather than Lifeup. Oops.
    • The Exit mouse gives me a fast way out of Lilliput Steps.
    • Surprisingly, the only Ramblin' Evil Mushroom I saw on my way into Twoson was way off to the west of the hotel, much too far away to bother me. I've never seen this happen before. I hung on to the Skip sandwich as a result.
    • There is a photo shoot in front of the bike shop which can be avoided if you creep along the very bottom of the fence. This was why I was so careful to stay close to the fence. I probably didn't need to stop and run into it repeatedly, though. :|
      • While I'm on the subject, I'm pretty sure the bike saves time overall, though I don't have any timings to back me up. Halamantariel and Nitrodon reached the same conclusion when making their TAS, and they might have some numbers. If nothing else, it makes it easier to avoid fights going in to Peaceful Rest Valley.
    • I segment before going over to the pencil statue so I can make sure I get good luck in Peaceful Rest Valley. I pull all that money out of the ATM so I can afford a Copper bracelet, which I found to make the fighting with Happy-Happyists less painful (you save an average of 5 HP per paint attack).
  6. Segment 6 (Pencil eraser)
    • You can ride the bike in Peaceful Rest Valley. However, in my experience, you usually spend most of your time running into things, and it makes it really hard to avoid enemies.
    • Extra Cookie, we hardly knew thee.
    • The Magic butterfly is my only chance to recover PP before Happy-Happy Valley. It's actually fairly essential to the run, since it's faster than a hotel visit or even a Frank visit.
    • More credit goes to the Halamantariel/Nitrodon TAS for demonstrating that you can ignore Everdred until after you get Paula.
  7. Segment 7 (Peaceful Rest Valley; Franklin Badge)
    • Out of all segments I recorded, this one bothers me the most . It doesn't look like it, but I actually had extremely good luck avoiding enemies. I made 55 attempts at another run this fast and all of them failed. However, I blew it by wasting 20 seconds and a Skip sandwich doing the run-through-the-cliff glitch. Going around the long way takes 35 to 40 seconds, so I didn't completely fail, but I would've really liked it if I could've pulled off a run that didn't look like butt. Oh, well. :(
    • The Bomb shortens the Mondo Mole fight greatly.
    • The Hard hat cuts another 9 HP off the cultists' paint buckets, making them mostly harmless.
    • The Sand lot bat speeds up bashing through the Mondo Mole and is a must.
  8. Segment 8 (Carpainter)
    • The Carpainter fight could have gone faster, but I felt the odds of getting him to kill himself in one round were quite low. Looking back, I wish I'd tried. :|
    • The Skip sandwich is necessary for trading in the monkey cave.
    • Paula needs the Ribbon to survive attacks. I won't be able to afford another Copper bracelet until Threed, unfortunately. The Fry pan is utterly useless. Paula can always do something more useful than bashing.
  9. Segment 9 (Lilliput Steps)
    • Going into this segment, I'd actually been too good at avoiding battles: I had to deliberately engage in more fighting than I'd like in here so that I could get Ness to learn Paralysis (which is absolutely required for Mondo Mole). Future runs might be better off fighting some extra Happy-Happyists in the previous segment, since they're easy to beat and they give a lot of experience.
    • I found this wall glitch to be a lot easier than the one in Peaceful Rest Valley, and consequently didn't stand around for twenty seconds like an idiot.
    • The PSI caramel gives Ness the opportunity to do some extra Rockin. I give the Bomb to Paula because it's much more effective than any of her PSI attacks. My goal for this fight was to do as much damage as I could in the early rounds, to give Mondo Mole less opportunity to use Lifeup.
    • Apparently, because Paula loses the Teddy bear in the first turn of the Mondo Mole battle, she doesn't use up the Bomb. I guess this is another side effect of the bug responsible for the well-known Rock Candy glitch. I wish I'd had a better understanding of things going into the battle, because reusing the Bomb in the second turn would have saved me a bunch of time. Unfortunately, I didn't find out about it until after I'd copied over my old save file. I ended up using it instead of Fire in one of the turns fighting the Mini Barf (no big difference there).
  10. Segment 10 (Runaway Five show; Threed entrance)
    • Peaceful Rest Valley goes pretty smoothly here, in my opinion. I have to backtrack into the cave briefly in Twoson to avoid a fight, but there isn't much other trouble.
    • Those of you who haven't seen the TAS finally get the chance to watch Everdred jump off his roof and give you $10,000. I like it.
    • I take the weird route going in and out of the Chaos Theater to avoid a photographer. I was more conservative than I needed to be on the way out, but I *really* didn't want to be interrupted by a photo shoot.
    • I decided to put off any purchases in Threed until after I defeat the Boogey Tent. This gives me more money to work with, but more importantly, it let me procrastinate on deciding what I needed to buy.
  11. Segment 11 (Ness and Paula get beat up; Jeff is introduced)
    • All of Jeff's initial items have some potential use, so I don't throw any of them away. The Boiled Egg (supposed to be used to heal Jeff in Winters, but instead fed to Gerardo Montague) and Protractor (given to guy in Fourside to see Everdred instead of one of the billion Cookies left by enemies) do turn out to be wasted, though.
    • There's no point in getting Cookies for Jeff since a good run won't need them anyway.
    • There's a menu oops here. I must have missed it when I was doing QC on this segment, since this segment is way too easy for me to have not just redone it. Sorry. :(
    • Unlike the Cracked bat, you do not need to equip the Pop gun to leave. This doesn't do much good, though, since the Pop gun is basically mandatory if you plan on getting through the Brick Road dungeon.
  12. Segment 12 (Tessie; Brick Road)
    • The Spiteful Crow I pass in northern Winters does not always miss you like that, sadly. This time, I get lucky.
    • None of the items in the Brick Road dungeon are worth the time it takes to get them.
    • I get another two useless Cookies from enemies. However, I do have some pretty good luck getting through battles, which I feel makes up for that. I don't take any damage, for example.
  13. Segment 13 (More Winters; the Sky Runner)
    • I don't know if getting the Bottle rocket out of that gift box is faster or slower than buying another one from the store, but I don't think the difference is significant either way.
  14. Segment 14 (Boogey Tent; Zombie Paper)
    • If I hadn't flashed the status screen at the beginning of the segment, I would've been swamped with Zombie Dogs as I approached the Boogey Tent. This happened to me *every* time. EarthBound's handling of random events is weird.
    • Because the Boogey Tent is strong against Freeze, this fight is a much better candidate for being sped up by a Big bottle rocket than Master Belch. I guess I might've been able to use it on the Mini Barf, though.
    • Here you see the Defense spray/Broken spray can being used to get me $250.
    • I buy two Copper bracelets even though I can get a Silver bracelet in the tunnel to Grapefruit Falls for two reasons. When I was doing my practice run, I found the first half of the tunnel to be absolutely brutal if I didn't give Paula the extra 10 defense that the bracelet offers. Also, going for the Silver bracelet usually meant I'd open myself up to another fight. Wait a segment to see why this didn't matter.
    • I do very little bashing in the near future, so I don't need to buy any weapons.
    • Going to the arms dealer after getting the call from Apple Kid saved me about five seconds.
    • I buy one too many Bottle rockets here. I thought I remembered being short on Bottle rockets in my practice run, so I decided to get an extra one, but it was wasted.
  15. Segment 15 (Tunnel to Saturn Valley)
    • I'm pretty terrible with the controller in this one and I very nearly kill myself going through Grapefruit Falls, but I've never had luck this good with this segment and I don't think I'm going to ever again. For people who aren't familiar with this game... those two wide open rooms in the tunnel are normally full of enemies.
    • I leave both of the coffins alone because they don't make much difference in Belch's factory and I can just as easily get them later.
    • The Protein drink in Grapefruit Falls is used in the mole cave later on. The Bomb, however, is pointless at this stage of the game. Also, I skip the Bottle rocket in the cave to avoid another potential roach fight.
    • You have to talk to the Mr. Saturn to learn the password to the Belch base. Just going to the waterfall and standing around won't cut it.
  16. Segment 16 (Master Belch)
    • I have fairly terrible luck getting around the roaches in the cave, but I make up for it by not having to avoid any enemies between the cave and Grapefruit Falls. I did a lot of other runs that were a lot worse...
    • No, there is no way to avoid that photographer, or the three minutes of waiting. Just seek through it.
    • I stutter-step briefly coming into the factory in an effort to stop the door guard from blocking me. I don't know if it made a difference or not.
    • The factory probably could've used a few more runs (I had more fights than I would've liked), but I honestly just ran out of patience with that waterfall.
    • Master Belch does not take damage until you use Fly Honey, hence the defending.
    • Having Ness get sick from the Belch fight rather than Jeff or Paula was fortunate as he had enough HP to make it to the hot spring without getting that message about being close to collapse. Also note that I don't have Healing Beta yet, so I can't just use that to recover.
    • I'm of the opinion that putting the Mr. Saturn coin on Paula makes the fighting in the mole cave a lot easier, so I make sure to get it. The Stag beetle is completely worthless and gets dropped immediately. I ended up not using the Cup of Lifenoodles at all. :|
    • Milky Well is significantly faster if you come back late in the game and I can get by just fine without the extra experience.
  17. Segment 17 (Return to Threed; traffic jam)
    • The status screen flashing was done on the off chance that it could will the enemies in Grapefruit Falls away. Somehow, it did.
    • The Skip sandwich DX is used in the Monotoli Building to dodge Sentry Robots. I really needed it. I ended up passing on the Silver bracelet since I'd already bought Copper bracelets for everyone and it only would've increased someone's defense by 5. If I'd known that I could magic away all of the enemies in the Threed tunnel, I might have done things differently.
    • Almost all of the work in the mole cave is done by Freeze and Bottle rockets, so I again choose to ignore the new weapons available. Also, I pick up a Coin of defense for Jeff in the mole cave, so I skip new defensive items, too.
  18. Segment 18 (Wandering around Dusty Dunes and Fourside; leadup to mole cave)
    • Dodging the Mole Playing Rough saves a little time and makes me feel immensely happy on the inside. Its success depends on the initial position of the mole, however.
    • Flashing the status screen a bunch seemed to make it easier to find Criminal Caterpillars on the first try. I feel the HP/PP bonuses I received from this were enough to justify looking for one rather than waiting until the mole cave to level up, but I guess this could've been cut out (I haven't tried the mole cave without doing this, at least).
    • The Big bottle rocket gets used in the mole cave, to cut back on Freeze use against the Guardian Diggers.
    • Talking to the Topolla Theater manager is necessary to get the mole cave to open up (assuming you also feed Gerardo). Fortunately, you don't need to watch the Runaway Five show. You also don't need to talk to Pokey at all, which makes his later dialogue in the Monotoli Building a little confusing.
    • I skip healing up in the miners' shack because it would've only recovered a handful of PP. This actually had a bigger impact on the difficulty of the next segment than you might expect (Paula has a strong tendency to run out of PP), but I somehow managed to pull through.
  19. Segment 19 (Mole cave)
    • This segment tied with Magicant for the title of, "most frustrating." After 40 attempts, I succeeded in getting some remarkably good luck and going from power-on to power-off in a little over 11 minutes. However, I also made a couple really dumb menu mistakes and decided that I should probably redo it. It took me 104 more attempts to record this sub-11 run (and I still accidentally used the Bicycle before giving it to Paula >_<).
    • I give the Coin of defense to Jeff since it's the first defensive item I get in here and Jeff has a more pressing need for defense than Ness. I make up for it by giving the Platinum band to Ness. Paula won't need to do anything for a while after this segment is done and she has the Mr. Saturn coin anyway.
    • The Picnic lunch is another monkey cave item.
    • When I go up to the third mole, I wander back and forth at the bottom of the alcove it's in rather than walking directly up to it. By doing this, I avoid triggering a fight with a bunch of Noose Men a little ways back down the hallway. This saves a significant amount of time and PP.
    • Using Big bottle rockets on the moles lets me save Paula's PP, which is a precious commodity down here. Jeff can get one-hit KOs some of the time, but I found that adding a low-level Freeze attack makes things go a lot more smoothly. If he doesn't get a one-hit kill, the moles' power shields will reflect mortal damage back at him.
    • Taking a cue from the TAS, I save the Exit mouse so I can escape from Magnet Hill.
    • This is the second unavoidable photographer.
    • Talking to Gerardo is necessary to get the diamond.
    • I might've been able to get away without staying the night at the shack, but it didn't cost me a lot of time and it made me feel better.
  20. Segment 20 (More Runaway Five; department store intro)
    • There's fairly little opportunity for luck to ruin this segment, so I thought it would be a good place to clean up my inventory. I need room for department store purchases.
    • Selling the Hard hat and Copper bracelet lets me avoid returning to the arms dealer after defeating the Dept. Store Spook. I don't know how much time it saves, but it's something I've really wanted to do since I started planning the run, so I went ahead and did it.
    • The Hyper Beam makes it possible to get instant victories against the Mole Playing Rough. This saves more time than I spent buying it.
    • I tried to set things up so that I'd always have the items I needed in battle at the bottom of everyone's inventory, but I messed it up and put too many Big bottle rockets on top. You'll see where the items get used in a little while.
  21. Segment 21 (Dept. Store Spook)
    • Very perceptive viewers will notice that the two gift boxes on the second floor were far enough away that I could have dodged them completely. I tried this for a while, but I couldn't get the enemies on the third and fourth floor to leave go away, no matter how many times I restarted or flashed my status screen. I settled for this run, which had one (green-swirl) encounter. If I'd been forced to get in an encounter (i.e. if I'd been less lucky about the configuration of the first floor), I probably would've used one of Ness's Super bombs to speed things along.
    • It is possible to kill the Dept. Store Spook with a single Big bottle rocket, but adding a Super Bomb makes a one-round victory much likelier.
    • I don't buy any more defensive items because I don't need them at this stage of the game.
  22. Segment 22 (Moonside)
    • As you can see from this segment, I'm really bad at doors.
    • I was planning on using a Big bottle rocket on the Robo-Pump in the café, but it decided to leave me alone this time.
    • You need to talk to the guard by the Monotoli Building to make the doorless room accessible.
    • I put the Night pendant on Ness here so his Nightmare can't kill him in a flash of glorious light later on in the game. The Earth pendant only provides resistance half the time and consequently sucks.
    • I discovered by accident that you can avoid the first line of dialogue from the invisible guy if you walk along the very bottom of the hotel room. None of his other lines will trigger until you've hit this one, so this is enough to shut him up completely. The time savings are infinitesimal, but it's still immensely satisfying.
    • The TAS taught me that you can talk to the Mani-Mani statue directly without having to talk to Monotoli first.
    • While fighting Evil Mani-Mani, I use up a Super bomb and Big bottle rocket (which was one rocket fewer than I'd planned on). Ness also gets paralyzed, which turned out to be more of a problem than I thought...
  23. Segment 23 (Monkey cave!)
    • I didn't realize this before, but you can't use items while you're paralyzed. I therefore had to move the Pencil eraser into Jeff's inventory so I could get rid of the statue in front of Talah Rama's chamber (even though the Pencil eraser text is programmed to always say that Ness uses it... I think the game designers assumed you'd be leaving it with Ness). Also, Jeff somehow managed to get sunstroke at the very end of the last segment and I didn't realize it, so I have to heal him. Fortunately, Jeff's offense and speed are high enough to knock over the Mole Playing Rough.
    • My movements in here are erratic because the monkeys' movements away from the door are frustratingly inconsistent.
    • Now you see the true advantage of keeping the Ruler.
    • The Bag of Dragonite will be used much later in the run against Ness's Nightmare. I also steal Talah Rama's lunch so I can recover PP in the Cave of the Past (which turned out to be unnecessary... meh). None of the other items are of any use at all.
  24. Segment 24 (Monotoli; Runaway Five exit; return to Winters)
    • The notes for the TAS say that you shouldn't try to dodge the first Sentry Robot on a console. I say nuts to that :). To be fair, I think they were assuming you wouldn't be using a Skip sandwich.
    • I unload my four remaining Super bombs on the Clumsy Robot. If you look at the expected damage dealt by a Super Bomb (270 HP), this should be a fairly reliable strategy. However, I had six battles go down the tubes due to characters being immobilized and/or the bombs not doing enough damage. This was why I messed around in the battle menus. If I hadn't, I'm positive the fight would've taken me three rounds. Your mileage may vary.
    • The TAS demonstrated that you can talk to Monotoli before he tries to hide from you and save a few seconds. I got it to work in an emulator, but couldn't pull it off on the console. It's likely possible, but getting in a position to practice it is a big pain.
    • While leaving the Monotoli Building, I try to go around a desk that I couldn't actually go around. I was getting kind of lazy around the time I recorded this segment and it shows. :|
    • Watching this segment again, I'm positive I didn't need to use the revitalizer at the end. Ness didn't need the PP boost and Paula was still full from the mole cave epilogue. Another oops for me.
  25. Segment 25 (Shrooom!; Summers; Poo)
    • This segment is cutsceneariffic. To my knowledge, there's nothing I can do about it (other than entering a shorter name, but I don't see the fun in that). I also didn't see a point in breaking the segment up, since the enemies in Summers don't appear often enough to require particularly good luck.
    • I swear I've pulled off that move around the bench seamlessly before.
    • I take a second Brain food lunch in Dalaam to provide some more PP at the end of the game. I think this one's probably skippable given that a good Cave of the Past run won't require Paula to burn up a lot of PP.
    • Advice on ignoring the Star Master was provided by the helpful people on the SDA forum.
    • I think it's well-known that you can skip one of the Shattered Men by ducking out of the room immediately after reading the hieroglyph, but in case anyone didn't know that... now they do.
    • The TAS demonstrated that you can ignore Mr. Spoon's telephone call.
    • The Skip sandwich DX makes the end of the pyramid slightly faster (or so I've deluded myself). I need to go into the shop anyway to get money for shopping in Scaraba and to use the phone.
    • There's no need to do Magnet Hill or Pink Cloud at this stage of the game and I can get through them a lot faster if I wait until I can buy Multi bottle rockets. Therefore, I wait.
  26. Segment 26 (The Kraken; Scaraba shopping)
    • In the segments I ran, the outcome of the battle was determined entirely by how I moved around in the menus. I don't think there's anything else between the shop and the ship that can possibly inject an element of randomness into the run. As a result, my two-round victory was largely the product of trial-and-error in my menu movements.
    • The Pencil eraser gets moved over to Paula because it lets Jeff buy another rocket and her inventory's a big dump anyway.
    • Justifications for purchases:
      • Big league bat - Makes Ness actually useful should the need for bashing arise. Possibly skippable, but good for security.
      • Platinum bands - Make Paula and Jeffy less killable. This may not have ended up making a difference in the actual run (I don't get attacked very often), but it again made me feel more secure.
      • Crystal charm - Increases Jeff's speed by 15, which also increases the expected damage of his bottle rocket attacks. I'd say this is necessary (though admittedly, I haven't tried running without it).
      • Big pile of Big bottle rockets - Wait a segment.
    • Staying at the hotel recovers everyone's PP from the Kraken fight and only takes a second or two longer than walking over to the arms dealer.
  27. Segment 27 (The pyramid)
    • Teleporting into the pyramid avoids a photo shoot. More thanks due to Halamantariel and Nitrodon.
    • Many of the encounters in the pyramid are mandatory: the hieroglyphs are always on the same places on the walls. However, some of the other encounters are random, and I had really good luck with those in this run (note the two green swirls and the lack of encounters in the room with the coffin). This was why I kept it even after accidentally talking to the shopkeeper twice at the end.
    • One Big bottle rockets is usually enough to take out a Guardian Hieroglyph or Petrified Royal Guard by itself. Adding Freeze makes things more certain, however.
    • I felt that the items in the pyramid weren't compelling enough to justify sticking my neck out to get them. I would've had at least one fight in the switch room if I'd gone for the Rain pendant, for example (though I'll admit to getting ambushed the couple other times I tried to sneak in and out of that room).
    • The Skip sandwich DX very nearly screws me over with the first hieroglyph (I really don't think you can get around it), but it does save me a fight down the road. I've avoided the Lethal Asp Hieroglyph at the very end at least once, but it didn't work out for me this time.
    • Four Multi bottle rockets get me through Deep Darkness, Magnet Hill, Pink Could, and Stonehenge.
    • Teleporting across southern Scaraba and crashing into Dungeon Man avoids a couple (difficult) encounters. Also, it's really easy to line it up.
  28. Segment 28 (Dungeon Man; Deep Darkness entrance)
    • Enemies appear in Dungeon Man just often enough to be a tremendous nuisance. I was really hoping to get through without any fights, but it just didn't work out. At least my one fight was a quick one.
    • I decided that I could skip the Talisman ribbon since I'd get the Saturn ribbon in Stonehenge anyway. Somehow, I was right. Also, none of the other items are worth anything at all.
  29. Segment 29 (Deep Darkness proper)
    • Like many things, the idea to teleport through the deep water was completely stolen from Halamantariel and Nitrodon's TAS. I didn't do as good a job as they did, but I feel it was adequate.
    • Yes, crashing into enemies you can't see is as frustrating as it looks.
    • I picked up the Souvenir coin as a final opportunity to bolster Jeff's defense. It seems like a good idea - it provides a big increase - but I think I might've been able to skip it given that my characters don't get bashed/shot to death too much from here on out.
    • The Death ray may have also been skippable, but it's easy to get and it does increase Jeff's offense a lot.
  30. Segment 30 (Apple Kidnapping; setup for Magnet Hill)
    • Now that I've got some Multi bottle rockets and a convenient path to Tenda Village, I can go back and take care of some of the bosses I skipped (and gain a little experience before going into Stonehenge). I start by heading back to Magnet Hill.
    • Trying to sneak into the Fourside museum is no slower than paying normally (a couple tests in an emulator made it appear to be a few frames faster, at least with my play) and, more importantly, looks funny.
    • The department store phone is the closest save point available for going into Magnet Hill. Presumably, Mr. Spoon called the Scaraba museum from home.
  31. Segment 31 (Magnet Hill; return to Dalaam)
    • Flickering the status screen got rid of a bunch of enemies that usually appeared at the entrance to the sewer.
    • I'm fairly confident that going in and out of the water at the room connections is faster than taking the water the whole way. That water is slow.
    • I spend more time than I would've liked avoiding encounters here, but at least I'm able to avoid them successfully.
    • As you can see here, most bosses prior to the appearance of Multi bottle rockets can easily be taken out with a single rocket.
    • Teleporting out of the museum avoids a photographer that only shows up when you beat the Plague Rat of Doom (thank you, TAS).
    • I take the weird route going into the palace because there's another photo shoot by the door. I tried teleporting to some other place and saving there rather than having to deal with it, but it took too long to teleport back to Dalaam to be worth it.
  32. Segment 32 (Pink Cloud; return to Winters)
    • I somehow managed to be ridiculously lucky in this segment and only get one encounter. Therefore, I accepted the fact that I had slightly lousy luck and actually needed Paula to use Freeze to finish off Thunder and Storm (normally, one Multi bottle rocket is enough).
    • In hindsight, the Bracer of kings is likely a waste, but it's so convenient that I couldn't pass it up. Maybe Poo gets shot later in the run or something.
    • I think I could've pulled off a teleport in the little space right next to the cave entrance, but I decided to take the easier teleport a little further up so as not to make an ass of myself.
  33. Segment 33 (Even more Winters)
    • In the beginning, I actually do a good job of dodging encounters. Surprise.
    • As a bonus from going encounter-less, I had no reason to worry about PP and could skip the revitalizer. However, as I found in the next segment, there's no need to worry about PP...
  34. Segment 34 (Stonehenge)
    • This is my favorite segment. I have just three encounters prior to Starman Deluxe and they're all green swirls. Plus, I manage to avoid getting eaten by bears on the way out.
    • Halamantariel and Nitrodon's notes for their TAS say that there should be a 100% encounter against a Mook Senior in the room with the Eraser Eraser. I never saw it at all when I was recording this run, and I only saw it maybe a quarter of the time when I was doing my practice runs. Weird.
    • Starman Deluxe, predictably, eats a Multi bottle rocket. It's the most anticlimactic boss fight in the game, in my opinion.
    • The Saturn ribbon was likely unnecessary, but like the Bracer of kings, it's simply too convenient to skip. It's also the strongest ribbon I can pick up for Paula without having to work for it. I could've also gone for the Pixie's bracelet, I suppose, but I didn't want to create another opportunity for enemies to appear.
    • You need to talk to Dr. Andonuts or the Exit mouse will refuse to lead you out.
    • I go to Onett at the end because I need the Shyness book. The hotel's right next to where I arrive, so I stop off and save there (convenient!). The big chunk of money from the ATM lets me stock up on Multi bottle rockets in the next segment.
  35. Segment 35 (Miscellaneous crap)
    • Ness needs room for several things going through Magicant, so I clean his inventory out at the beginning.
    • My justification for buying 8 Multi bottle rockets was as follows: 2 for Electro Specter + 1 for Trillionage Sprout + 3 for Carbon/Diamong Dog + 2 for plowing through Onett at night. I make even more room in Jeff's inventory so I can later stuff it in preparation for the Cave of the Past (which later turned out to be unnecessary).
    • This segment gets me the second Bag of Dragonite for Ness's Nightmare. No effort required.
  36. Segment 36 (Lumine Hall)
    • Talking to the rock just under Tenda Village is mandatory. It won't let you leave the room if you try to ignore it.
    • I haven't been able to completely avoid the Fobbies in the last part of Lumine Hall. This was the best I could do. Kinda disappointing.
    • The Rabbit's foot is one of the most useful items in the game. The probability of a Bottle rocket missing is based on the difference between the target's speed and Jeff's speed. Multi bottle rockets are implemented by adding together the damage of 20 simulated Bottle rockets. Putting the Rabbit's foot on Jeff makes it much less likely that a Bottle rocket will miss, which drives the expected damage from a Multi bottle rocket way up. Without this, the upcoming boss fights would not go nearly so well.
    • Electro Specter has a psychic shield, so it's tough to kill it in a single turn. Fortunately, it's really easy to kill it in two turns with rockets.
  37. Segment 37 (Milky Well)
    • It's fairly well known that enemies near sanctuaries will run away after you defeat the boss. However, as I noticed (and Floogal on the SDA forums demonstrated wasn't really new knowledge), enemies will also hide if your party's at a significantly higher level than they are. I'm not at a high enough level to get them to run away all the time yet, but I can convince some of them to leave me alone. Therefore, the later I do this segment, the better. Getting out of Fire Spring takes so long, though, that I really need to do it at the end and have the post-Magicant cutscene teleport me out of there.
    • Having the Rabbit's foot on Jeff has the added advantage that it makes it much easier to run away. As you can see, I take advantage of this.
    • I take a weird route at one point while I was trying to figure out if some sprouts were going to go after me or not. It looks really ugly, but only wastes a few seconds.
    • My exit from the cave is a little funky because there's a photo shoot right in front of the opening. I avoid it by ducking to the left as soon as I can (which causes me to run into the sign a couple times).
    • The store phone is closer than the hotel phone. Meh.
  38. Segment 38 (Running across the Lost Underworld)
    • All I do here is get from one end of the Lost Underworld to the other. By teleporting in open spaces, I can save some time and avoid enemies. It might've been possible to teleport a little more, but I found it to be more difficult than it looks: the bounding boxes on the trees while you're teleporting are *huge* and your tiny sprites slide all over the place. I was hoping to do a little better, but finally had to give up.
    • The Sea pendant is a must-have for Paula. You'll see why when I get up to Giygas.
    • The Cloak of kings is less critical, but I find it useful because it almost always allows Poo to attack before the enemy (it boosts his speed by 40). It also improves my chances of running away, since Poo's base speed is usually about 10 higher than Jeff's.
    • Ness takes the Franklin badge back at the end to protect against Electro Swooshes. They're more prevalent than you'd think.
  39. Segment 39 (Fire Spring)
    • Unless you're intimately familiar with the game, this run doesn't look particularly good. I make three attempts to run from an Evil Elemental, then go ahead and fight one a minute later. Those who know this game well will note that I only had three encounters and all of them were over quickly (including the one I failed to run from). Even the TAS had to settle for two encounters.
      • Why run from the early fight? It's early enough in the run that I wouldn't lose much if someone got possessed.
      • Why not run from the later ones? The run was looking really good and I didn't want to spoil it.
    • Avoiding encounters in here is much more valuable than any of the items. The Bag of Dragonite is a lot further out of the way than the one in Magicant.
    • My strategy for beating Carbon Dog/Diamond Dog here was the fastest one I could find that reliably worked. Flash Beta has a very low chance of defeating Carbon Dog and I don't do damage reliably enough for Freeze and Starstorm to take the place of the second rocket. Furthermore, launching rockets is fast and the PSI animations take a while. All I have to worry about is keeping Jeff alive long enough to get the final rocket off.
    • The ATM withdrawal at the end is to allow to fill Jeff's inventory before going into the Cave of the Past. This turned out to be unnecessary, but I didn't know it would be at the time.
  40. Segment 40 (Magicant)
    • As I learned in this segment, if you're going for the fastest possible time, there won't be much of an opportunity for a Flying Man to help you. It might've helped with the Electro Swoosh fight, I guess, but I don't think the difference would've been too great. Plus, as I learned when a Kraken ran into one in a previous attempt, they're a liability in the Sea of Eden (and Kraken fights eat up a ton of time).
    • My main motivation in taking this particular run was the low occurrence of encounters. I normally get stuck with a lot of fighting around the teleportation thing. This time, all I had to do was kill a few Mr. Molecules. Dodging Krakens was painfully slow, but it was successful (for once) and none of my 106 improvement attempts were able to go any faster.
    • The gift box here provides the third Bag of Dragonite I need for Ness's Nightmare.
    • The Magicant bat is acquired so I'll have an extra edge in the event that the three bags don't finish the job. As it turns out, I got by without it, but at least I didn't waste too much time.
    • It's also called the "tornado teleport."
    • Talking to Dr. Andonuts is what triggers the change in Onett.
  41. Segment 41 (Dark Onett; journey to the past)
    • As you can see, I basically wasted the Multi bottle rockets I'd picked up for this segment. While running away is a lot less reliable than rocketing everything to death, it's still faster.
    • As discussed before, I fill Jeff's inventory as full of Multi bottle rockets as possible. I will not need all of them, unfortunately. Six or so would probably be enough in a future run (if I need more than that, the run is too slow anyway).
    • The rest of the run is mandatory cutscene-like stuff. I find it enjoyable to watch, but there isn't much to discuss. I will say that the menu for the Phase Distorter initially caught me off guard, though: the, "INPUT YOUR COMMAND," prompt opens directly into the menu, which caused me to accidentally tap the 'A' button and heal myself during one of the trial runs rather than saving like I wanted to. This is why the menu handling may look more deliberate than usual.
  42. Segment 42 (The Cave of the Past; Giygas; the Return of the King-like coda that just keeps ending over and over again)
    • My strategy for the Cave of the Past was fairly simple: go for green swirls if possible. When fighting, use a Multi bottle rocket if it looks like a quick kill is available and run if it isn't. My experience has been that trying to dodge encounters usually just leads to more enemies appearing both in front of and behind you, so I tried the most straightforward path. This run was the best iteration I was able to get.
    • No Gutsy bat. :(
    • I probably should've rocketed the Ghost of Starman near the end rather than running. I thought I could pull a fast one and shave ten seconds or so off the run, and it completely backfired. At least he didn't kill anyone. :|
    • As you can see, I didn't need either of the Brain food lunches. My strategy in the past was to use Freeze to knock off shamblers when they appeared next to other enemies. I now think it's better to either run away or wait a turn and let Jeff rocket them both. Anyway, the reason for getting the lunch was that Poo needs at least 92 PP to get through Giygas's second phase and only has a maximum of about 100 at his present level, so he needs to recover if he does anything.
    • Giygas, stage 1: the objective here is to beat up Pokey. The most efficient way to do this is to pump him full of Multi bottle rockets. Normally, two rockets are enough, with maybe a little help from Freeze. In this run, I got ridiculously lucky and didn't need help from Freeze at all (I've never seen a rocket to 1500 HP of damage to Pokey before, at least not on a console). I have either Ness or Poo heal Paula each turn because she's frail and Rockin Beta can knock her out.
    • Giygas, stage 2: Giygas has a defense of 255 and a speed of 80. This means that only Ness has a high enough offense to bash effectively, and both Rockin and Multi bottle rockets will usually miss completely. Freeze and Starstorm, however, will both do a lot of damage reliably.
    • Giygas, stage 3: all you need to do here is have Paula pray. None of the other characters serve any purpose other than to keep her alive. However, with the right equipment, there's no need to worry about this. All of Giygas's attacks at this stage of the battle are Freeze, Flash, or Thunder-based. With the Sea pendant and Franklin badge, Paula is immune to all three of these. Unless Paula's HP are dangerously low going into this stage of the battle, it's almost impossible to lose. I let the other characters die off because it would take a long time to heal them and skipping their turns makes the battle slightly faster anyway.
    • There are two reasons for teleporting and crashing into Ness's house:
      1. It avoids the photo shoot that's still present at the gate. I nearly burst a blood vessel when I first found out about this (fortunately, it was way back when I was doing practice runs in an emulator on my old computer, so there was no danger of damaging anything important).
      2. It potentially stops Paula from bugging you about taking her back to her house. As you can see, I was a couple pixels off from achieving this successfully - you basically have to land right on top of the door. I have done it on the console before, but after seeing how precise you have to be to get it to work, I decided not to worry about it. It's still less of a bother than the photographer. On the downside, I think the video you're watching would've made it just under one million frames if I'd gotten it to work.
    • The final credits song sounds like a mid-90s anime theme if you play it at double speed.
    • If you crank the volume up at 4:37:31, you can hear the Onett-at-night music play for a couple seconds before switching to the your-house-at-night music.

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