Released in 1998, Forsaken 64 is a Descent clone developed by Probe Entertainment and Iguana UK. Players control mercenaries who ride anti-gravity bikes capable of traveling a full 360 degrees through the tunnels of a post-apocalyptic Earth. Antagonists include other bikers such as yourself -– the Forsaken –- and the armies of robots responsible for the extinction of all life on Earth. Your goal is to wipe out the Mechanoid Defense Force while listening to sick techno beats, all so humanity can return home.
Individual-levels run in 0:49:44:
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|Nuke||0:00:37||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Knowledge Base||0:00:55||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Bio-Dome||0:01:23||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Kill the Head||0:00:57||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Manmek||0:01:40||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Four Uneasy Pieces||0:01:55||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Temple||0:01:25||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Dreadnought||0:01:22||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Tube||0:00:59||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Death to the Invader||0:03:21||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Catch the Orb||0:01:58||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Alpha||0:00:46||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Maldroid||0:01:33||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Ship||0:01:22||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Power Down||0:01:49||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Save the Drone||0:06:12||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Battlebase||0:02:03||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Ramqan||0:01:24||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Defend the Power||0:05:16||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Refinery||0:02:19||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Sewer||0:01:25||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Stabilizers||0:02:11||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
|Babalas||0:06:53||2012-04-01||David 'marshmallow' Gibbons|
My last SDA run was back in late 2005. Whoa.
To celebrate, here's a weird blooper glitch movie (right click save as):
Forsaken 64 is not a direct port of the PC Forsaken. There are different levels and weapons. As far as I can tell you can't use the 'triple chord' maneuver on the N64 (using all three directions to go faster). I could be wrong though. If it's possible I couldn't do it on the N64 controller in a speed running context without a third hand. I use the fourth control style, where A + B control elevation, C-left and C-right strafe, and C-up and C-down are forwards/backward.
I'm pretty sure the fastest ships are Foetid, Clark Culver, and Earl Sleek. I use Mr. Sleek for all the levels.
This game is frustrating to run because it's almost impossible to get a flawless attempt. The first thing you'll notice when watching is how fast you can move through a level. You will hit walls, bump into enemies, take a fraction of a second longer to kill an enemy because your momentum made a shot miss, an enemy will go somewhere bad due to semi-random AI behavior, or the enemy will dodge out of your fire. Your bike will also do odd things if you bump against certain types of walls or slopes. This is definitely a game where a TAS would blow a console run out of the water.
Most levels are of the kill everything variety. Or get to the end and blow a boss up. Simple.
Flying enemies can have a fiery, spinning, and stalling death animation that takes a lot longer than a normal death where they just blow up or crash to the ground. This is bad if killing enemies in a sequence of spawns because it will make the next enemy spawn more slowly. Or if traveling through thin halls, as the dead enemy can still block you. Or when trying to hit enemies behind it, as a spinning dead enemy will absorb your projectiles. A dead enemy can also careen into you and really mess your momentum up, potentially ending the run right then and there as you go flying backwards or to the side. And if the last enemy of the level goes into the three second death animation your only recourse is to make this face:
The turret and tank enemies are the best. The former is immobile, the latter moves very slowly along pre-defined paths and is really fat. The worst enemies are the aforementioned fliers, which flit about while presenting a small profile. Upon seeing them for the first time you have a split second grace period where you can usually kill them. After that they will potentially dodge out of the way of your shots, especially if you go full auto and don't hit them (which is why you won't see me 'drag shoot' from one flying enemy to the other too much, unless they're close).
The most aggravating enemies in the game are the thin blue-green manta ray shaped ships that shoot rainbow bolts. I call them BMFs, or Blue Mother Fuckers. They are much faster than all other enemies, they can circle strafe you faster than you can turn, they can do quick 180s and fly away, they tend to travel in packs of three, and they just generally troll your speed run attempts. The more BMFs in a level the more difficult it will be to reliably finish. Their best behavior is when they charge directly at you or get stuck in a corner. It's recommended to try to catch them in a claustrophobic corridor where they can't maneuver. Otherwise I shoot MUG missiles or save solaris (homing) for them. Or just keep playing until they all mostly cooperate by going passive instead of doing eight barrel rolls in a row..
Another enemy of note are the large gray ships that can shoot gravity missiles. They have decent health and are hard to take down with beams before they shoot their cargo. If they get one off there will be a large sphere of pulsing blue energy that will suck you in and trap you. That's bad. I usually save a solaris for them.
If you kill yourself but stay at the death screen the ingame timer stops running. But things still happen including level completion triggers, so on some levels you could lower the time by staying dead. But it doesn't actually make the level faster in real time. For example, on Defend the Power if you kill yourself in the last room and let pine mines defend the green crystal then the time will be lowered by however long you're dead. You can also do something similar on Save the Drone.
I'm usually against this practice and I do feel a little bad but I pumped the ingame brightness/contrast settings to max. Otherwise the game vacillates between being near pitch black or a flashing disco nightmare. Either way it makes seeing the small, mobile enemies a real pain. This way I can just focus on killing. I'm sure a graphics designer proud of his 1998 lighting engine is crying, somewhere.
Hugging or glancing some walls/floors/slopes gives added speed or a strange warp or stutter effect where you suddenly appear somewhere else. You can see this at the end of the Manmek stage where I'm having fun in the dome room while waiting for the level to end. Or in Kill the Invader where I suddenly teleport past some enemies and become momentarily confused and have to turn around. I assure you it's neither video editing or capture lag.
Powerpod items appear to warp into levels at variable times, which is rather odd (why do game developers torture us so?). But they will stick to the speed the RNG has chosen once you're in the level. If you keep aborting and going back in from the map screen (not restarting from the pause menu) you'll eventually get the fastest spawn time where it just appears without much of the sparkly blue glowing stuff. This is how I get them to spawn so fast in levels where you need to grab them right away such as Nuke, Knowledge Base, Kill the Head, etc. This can save a second or two.
I played Nuke the most and it's probably the closest to a maxed time I have, at least with this strategy. I was aiming for 38 seconds and ended up getting a high 37, so that was a nice surprise. At approximately 20 seconds (including the SDA splash) I enter a room, kill a blue tank, look slightly to the left and then go right. Turning left was not a mistake. The purpose of that is to look at the enemy in the left alcove which will cause him to become active and come out later after I kill his friends. The best way would be to flick shot him (which I have done maybe twice) but that's getting close to TAS territory since it's both far away and as soon as you look at him he usually moves behind cover. But if you wanted to go for a 36 that would be the place to start.
The Manmek, Dreadnought, Maldroid, Battlebase, and Ramqan stages are centered around bosses which when damaged enough cause a red beacon to spawn in the world. Once you touch this a countdown is triggered which ends the level in one minute (as shown by the bar at the bottom). There's nothing you can do to make it faster so I generally goof off during this time.
Four Uneasy Pieces:
This is one of the most random stages of the entire game. Not only are the enemies all over the place but killing certain enemies causes items to shoot out in a random direction, which is annoying by itself (I wait a second before collecting because they aren't grabbable at first). Besides the powerpod, solaris, and MFRL I get this way there are also optional orbitals. I don't get them here (you lose time going out of your way to get them) but I've had runs where they would sometimes basically come right at me or into my path. But that's very rare. If I had all three orbitals I'm sure I could've shaved another two or three seconds off the time. They'd be especially useful for blasting down the boss.
Death to the Invader:
This level has obscure spawning mechanics. At the top of the level is a room that spawns gray enemies who shoot red lasers. In the main hub or ring area there is a floor tunnel that leads to a room that spawns BMFs. One of the spokes off the main hub leads to a far away room where tanks spawn. Tanks are already in the level as it starts. Killing the tanks makes the BMFs spawn. Killing those makes the red laser shooters spawn. Killing those makes the tanks spawn again and it repeats the cycle once more which about halfway through will bring the mini-boss biker Nutta.
In the room with the gravity missile shooting gunboats there are also tiny brown flying enemies. Killing them will trigger the waves of enemies to appear in the main ring section.
So basically I lay pine mines (sentries) down where enemies spawn that cause other things to happen: red laser, BMF, brown things. There are times when it appears I'm sloppy in this run but I'm not losing time because I'm killing enemies while waiting for my pine mines to kill other things so I can't really do anything faster until the last wave of tanks appear.
This run could be improved by a couple seconds because I wait a bit for the last enemy to die to my pine so if I was in that room I could've killed it instantly instead. The pain of this level is that the pines are not that reliable and will often fail. It's a special run where all three do their jobs in an acceptable time. Unfortunately I was never able to even come within a couple seconds of this time ever again, let alone beat it.
Catch the Orb:
Using the scatter missile to get the orb from the biker instead of killing him is clever, although I think the developers intended this to be an option since they put one nearby. I would've felt craftier if I had to save the one from earlier in the level.
Enemies do crazy things here -– very random and frustrating. The gray enemies to the left in the final lava room shocked me because they had never been there before in many hours of play.
I think this is the most annoying level to navigate because tons of enemies block your path and hurt your N64's fps, there's lots of strange geometry that is easy to get stuck on or slide off, and there are several rooms which have magnetic wall traps which disturb your flight path. It's too bad I had some difficulty shooting some of the buttons in this run (which is normally straightforward) since I did everything else smoother than normal.
Save the Drone:
For a long time I thought this level was strictly on rails and so there could be no tricks to make it go faster. It literally takes place on tracks and only ends when your hapless drone companion reaches the end. After all the enemies and buttons are hit you can go AFK for two minutes and the level will auto-complete. But sometimes the final time differs for reasons that completely escape me. 90% of the time you'll get 6:13. The rest will be either 6:12 or 6:14. I've tried everything: boosting him from behind, shooting him, making him have low or high health, watching him, going back to the start and not watching him, staring into a corner for good fps, etc. I can't figure it out. I guess his pathing is just slightly random.
Defend the Power:
As far as I can tell this level really is on rails. It's impossible to get anything but 5:16 unless you die and confuse the ingame timer.
This is a marathon of all the beacon levels stitched together, except you can actually kill the bosses now. The main challenges are making sure Manmek doesn't derp out and go where he's not supposed to, damaging Dreadnought enough so the trap room opens before he passes it, not getting hit by Ramqan's purple scatter missiles of doom, and getting good luck on the acid bath. I'm by the crater door as it opens which is semi-rare. And you actually don't want to hit the buttons too fast because if you lower the platform before Ramqan comes then he will levitate where it once was and will become invincible.
I'm definitely pleased how it turned out because it's one of the most difficult stages just due to its length but it could've been about 5 seconds faster. Compared to my personal bests I lost 2 seconds on Dreadnought because the stupid golden power spawned ridiculously late and 3 seconds on a couple silly maneuvering mistakes I pretty much never make on Battlebase.
I had a lot of fun figuring out routes and tricks for all the levels and I hope my efforts entertain the few people out there who actually played this back in the day. Feel free to mail me at glugliness AT gmail dot com or PM me on the SDA forums.
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