Released in 2005 for Windows PCs, La-Mulana is a platform game heavily inspired by old-school action-adventure games, borrowing much from Metroid games, with graphics based on MSX interfaces and graphical features. The player controls a whip wielding adventurer exploring the tomb within La-Mulana.
Timing Note: Single-segment runs must be timed manually because the game's timer will display "0:00:00" if there is no save to reference.
Best time: Single-segment 1:47:27 by Travis 'Solairflaire' Hofman on 2013-02-15.
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I'm going to start by thanking the SDA staff. They deserve it. There are no words that can say how truly awesome they are.
I would also like to thank UltraJMan for introducing me to this game. I think I can honestly say I would never have found out about the game if it wasn't for him.
Anonymous, TheMaxican, and BlueGlass need to be thanked. They, with Jman, basically came up with this route. I modified things a little bit, but they did the bulk of the work. I'm sure that other people helped too, but I only used the SDA forums to do research and they were the ones that talked back and forth on there.
I beat this game for the first time late in November of 2012. Shortly after, I looked up the single segment route and ran through it a couple times. Then I tested a bunch of things for a couple months and determined that everything was really solid with the general route. I only moved some things after getting the Time Lamp so I could get another use of it. Other than that, I did a bunch of practice just going through individual rooms to try and find a good way to get through them. Even with practice, there's enough rng that one needs to be prepared to just improvise.
TheMaxican's segmented run, which wasn't finished when I did this run, was really enlightening on how to do a whole bunch of stuff. Especially some of the quick kills and just how to do movement in general. I'm just hoping that he doesn't find something in the last few segments.
Ok, on to the run.
The run starts in a pretty standard way. I grab the coins and weights near the beginning and get taunted by Xelpud. On the way to the ruins, the two birds I kill have a pretty decent chance to drop weights. I only get one, but two is preferable. Obviously, jumping is faster than walking.
Entering the ruins you get to enjoy the one-time fanfare. I grab the Life Jewel, some money, shurikens, and the grail. I then proceed to use a lot of shurikens to break pots because swinging the whip is pretty slow at this point in the game. Otherwise, this is a pretty simple section.
The first trip to the Temple of the Sun goes mostly as expected. Killing the bats on the side of the pyramid could have gone better, but the bats need to actually cooperate. I skip breaking the pot near the Knife because it causes a flare pot to not have anything in it, so it's a choice between shuriken and flares. Otherwise, this place is solving a couple puzzles and grabbing money. This is basically a central point in the ruins; expect to see this place a lot.
Back at the surface, I buy a couple things so I can scan tablets in the ruins and open up the shortcut to the ruins with shuriken. Back at the Guidance Gate, there is this empty feeling as the fanfare doesn't play anymore. I pick up the Athletic Land rom for use later and go straight toward the Mausoleum of Giants, reading the Grail Tablet along the way. On the way, I get one last chance at a second weight drop. It doesn't happen and I lose 15 seconds.
In the Mausoleum, I grab the throwing knife by killing the two shield dudes without killing any ghosts. Sometimes the bottom one jumps up and that's why I jump like I do. I then go toward the Grail Tablet and play the manual slot machine and get all stars. My prize is a pedestal for a weight so I can get the Ankh Jewel. Preferably, I'd have that other random weight so I can grab the Life Jewel on the way to the Twin Labyrinth instead of after. This is why I lose 15 seconds. In the Twin Labyrinth, I grab some money pots and buy the Helmet so I can go past the waterfalls in the Spring in the Sky. Then, I warp back to the Mausoleum and buy 10 weights and grab the Life Jewel.
Ah, the Spring in the Sky, land of water that causes you to start drowning instantly but has cool music. It's too bad the Grail Tablet is in water. I have to kill the mid boss to get the Conception Seal and it succumbed to the onslaught of my shurikens. The damage boost afterwards is a lot harder than it looks. You just need to get a feel for the timing. Then I grab the Scale Sphere, place the weight in the boss room, hit the gear, and go to grab the Glove. There really isn't much time difference between warping back to the Grail Tablet or just jumping down to get the glove. It really comes down to preference. After that, I warp because falling in the water takes forever. Then there is the merciless killing of an innocent fish and grabbing the Cabbage Patch Kids rom and the Ankh Jewel. Then I drain the water at the bottom into the Temple of the Sun and go there.
Back at the Temple of the Sun, I get to do one of the dumbest and hardest tricks in the game. Yes, going up that pyramid is really hard and the birds are pretty random. In some ways I wish it wasn't possible, but it's cool looking so whatever. Then I grab the boots and I feel the freedom of movement. The increase in movement speed is most welcome and I always breathe a sigh of relief.
Then comes the Chamber of Extinction in the dark, part 1. This isn't really hard. It just takes practice. The only reason I come in here is to get the Grail Tablet since I'm so close to it.
Afterwards, I warp back to the Guidance Gate so I can make my way back to the Temple of the Sun. I pick up the Ankh Jewel now. I usually forget it and need to grab it later, which doesn't cost too much time. In the Temple of the Sun, I grab the Grail Tablet, activate the platforms into the Inferno Caverns, get the mine cart to fall into place, and kill the Lion like thingamajig with too many legs.
In the Inferno Caverns, my only goals are the Flares and the Grail Tablet. The flares go pretty well except that one of the flying goo things didn't do what it usually does. I can usually kill both with the same throwing dagger. Afterwards, there's the scariest jump in the game. It's the jump over the lava where the rocks spew upwards. Way too many runs died right there even with using a throwing dagger. There's no guaranteed way to not get hit. Then I head to the Extinction Chamber to get flares and a little bit of money.
Now I head for the Spring in the Sky to face my first boss, Bahamut, the Giant Cheep Cheep. The casual players will probably look at my choice of weapon and scratch their heads. Shurikens are the weapon of choice for most people. The throwing dagger is definitely an unconventional weapon for this fight, but it is effective. The hardest part about this strategy is the timing for throwing a dagger to hit Bahamut as he jumps out of the water. From the moment he enters the water to when he jumps out is always the same. After the fight, I grab the Birth Seal and the Life Jewel on the surface.
I now go back to the Inferno Cavern to grab the Grapple claw. I do it now because I can guarantee I'll have the health to survive pushing the block while in the lava. Back to everybody's favorite temple, I push the mine cart and go left and grab flares from the pot there. That's the pot that won't have flares if I had grabbed the shurikens from before. Then it's pushing the mine cart and fighting Ellmac. I miss 3 flares on him, which is really bad. There's only room for missing one flare from when I get flares all the way to killing Viy, unless Viy gives a bad pattern. This means I'm down 2 flares and there's nowhere to get more without going out of the way. I seriously considered killing the run right here.
I grab the Bronze Mirror and head to the Temple of the Moon. Surprisingly, the bird didn't bother me on the way out. Once there, I head towards the Serpent Staff. All the elevators in this place are on timers from when you enter the area, so I want to get to the elevator near the Serpent Staff before it's down all the way so I can hit the switch to get out of that area. I grab the Serpent Staff with no problems, which is a pleasant surprise because those bats really like to play. On the way out, I tried to jump before I landed and didn't catch myself in time so I have to climb back up.
Getting back across, I shoot the smiling woman in the face and go up to get her axe. It's a nice axe. Now, this is sort of a time sensitive spot because I need to jump off the elevator, get the axe, and get back out before the elevator goes up past where I am. There's a little room for error, but not much. It wastes about 7 or 8 seconds if you miss it. The elevator must have just gone off the bottom of the screen when I got back this time, which means I had an almost flawless axe room. There's a coin pot in the Ice Cape room that I decided I no longer wanted to get. The skeletons would knock me down more often than I cared for and I could substitute a coin pot in the Chamber of Birth later to make up for it. I read the Grail Tablet and move on.
This first Confusion Gate visit is pretty simple. Go get the pepper, grab money, and leave toward the Graveyard. To my knowledge, it's not possible to skip the anchor, which is why I need the pepper. In the Graveyard of Giants, the only things to do are get the Grail Tablet and the Gauntlets. The only part about this trip here that I hate is that last jump just before the Gauntlet. I don't know why, but I personally consider it the hardest jump in the game. I fail it a lot. It's a good thing that getting back to it is really quick.
The Tower of Ruin is about as short as the Graveyard. I grab the Life Jewel at the start because it's quick to get. Then I go hit the letters M and U in the hidden room to get the Ankh Jewel. Afterwards, I get the Spears and take the exit at the bottom so I can open the shortcut to Viy. Note that I have no weights at this point. This means one random weight is required if you only buy 10 weights.
I now go to the Chamber of Extinction and navigate the hidden passage to obtain the Life Seal. Back to the surface to acquire the Feather and the MSX2. I equip Athletic Land and Cabbage Patch Kids because it gives extended invulnerability after getting hit. Into the ruins again through the front and I get to throw pepper into a statue's face so it can sneeze out some treasure. Then I grab the Cross. I should have delayed this till after the first visit to the Tower of the Goddess. That way I would have had enough flares for Viy just in case Viy gives a favorable pattern.
Then there are a couple puzzles and the epic fight against Amphisbaena. Sometimes this fight slows down a bunch on me and I could never figure out why. It happened whether I was recording or not. If it happens in this fight, it also happens against Sakkit. It must be because those fights are the most epic in the game.
With Amphis out of the way, I go to the Inferno Caverns and get a bunch of spears, the Antarctic Adventure rom, and get the Ankh to appear for Viy by swimming in lava. I was trying to get the coin pot (rock) at the very top, but it isn't worth climbing back up to get it since there is yet another coin pot in the Chamber of Birth that is faster to get if I fail to get this one. Viy can be nice or really mean. He was mean and I can honestly say that I was surprised I survived this time. Usually, if the tentacles revive, it's run over because their shots come out too randomly to get hit by the demons effectively. Viy takes 18 flares when he's at full health.
Escaping death from Viy, I head to the Confusion Gate. I get the Anchor instead of the promised gold and use it to go through the upward pushing water. You can make it through the right part of the moving block as long as you don't go all the way up the ladder. If you go down too early, or get hit off early, you get pushed left out of the block and need to wait again.
Then it's just going to the ultimate of run killers. Everybody's favorite lizard, Bob, the gamer vampire lizard. That's what I call him. Pushing that block halfway across the ladder like that only works if he is going left when he goes down the ladder. If he is going right, he gets stuck on the block. This guy can take upwards of 20 minutes to commit suicide, possibly more. Yes, I've had him not die for 20 minutes. I would've taken anything under two and a half. He gives me one of the best patterns I could have asked for. I took this as the game saying, "Here is your run, make sure you don't screw up for the next hour."
I open the shortcut that connects the Guidance Gate and the Confusion Gate and kill "Shield dude" by raining spears upon him. Doing this skips the Mini Doll puzzle. Then I warp to the Guidance Gate and take the shortcut back to the Confusion gate and pick up the Endless Key. Then I head to the surface and go to the Tower of the Goddess. My only goals here are reading the tablet that explains how to flood the tower and the Grail Tablet. Now I do the puzzles in the Mausoleum of Giants and break the orb thing that floods the Tower of the Goddess, which only appears if you read the tablet in the Tower of the Goddess. It's possible that getting the Ankh Jewel now would be faster, because of the slow climbing and attack speed from before.
The Sakkit fight is rather simple, stab him in the face. The game slows for me here, again. Nothing I can do about it. Afterwards, I go to the Endless Corridor and get the Video Hustler rom, Grail Tablet, Keyblade, Twin Statue, and some weights and money.
I proceed to get gassed in the Twin Labyrinth. Then I grab the Comic Bakery rom, which, along with Antarctic Adventure, allows me to go to the backside Grail Tablets. I get the Ring, separate the kissing dinosaurs, and then do the puzzle for the Ankh Jewel while getting the Grail Tablet. Yes, I really do need to go to back and forth while killing those enemies to get the Ankh Jewel. A shopping trip is next in which I buy the Fake Hand Scanner and then go to the shop that opens and buy the Dragon Skull, which opens the Shrine of the Mother.
And then I get trolled by a bat and find out that the one platform isn't all that it appears to be. I knew part of that platform would break if you step on it. I didn't know that the part that remains doesn't extend all the way to where it appears to be until this run. Then there's the owl thing, opening the Katana, and the contemplation of Baphomet. This takes 35 seconds with no input. It doesn't matter if you get knocked around or not, just that there is no input. This is a single segment run, so health is a concern. Afterwards, I go and get the Time Lamp, the most powerful item in the game. Too bad it has a 5 minute cool down after each use.
The Tower of the Goddess climb is one of the worst parts of the run. The biggest problem is the bats. They love to give hugs here. It's mostly just avoiding that first set of flying turrets that's the problem. I can honestly say that there was a high percentage of runs that ended here. I've even been knocked off the top by that skeleton once.
Now for some puzzle action in the Confusion Gate that involves breaking several pots at the same time. It's not hard, just need to stop time. Then I open the shortcut back to this area by smacking the lady statue by the most evil of mini bosses ever conceived, a giant bat that is over a pit with tiny little platforms to stand on. I don't fight it now because the chances of it giving me a decent pattern are so low. Stopping time solves that issue though, so I'll be back to murder this guy later, after the Time Lamp recharges. Technically, it would be faster to kill him now, but that would require insane luck. There's enough luck in running this game.
Time to get a powerful sub weapon that I wish I could get more of over the course of the game. The Teleporting Raccoon Boomerang Shooting Thingamajig is quite random. I can only reliably kill him quickly with sub weapons. He gives me the ability to use bombs. I wish he actually gave some too. Then I go to the Chamber of Birth and read the Grail Tablet, get the Lady Statue, and place a weight on the pedestal for part of the puzzle for Palenque.
I then proceed to the Confusion Gate and murder the giant bat. Trust me, it feels good to do that. Then I grab the Flywheel and warp to the Temple of the Moon so I can go to the Twin Labyrinth. Not breaking the platform just before the Twin Labyrinth is kind of difficult. Baphomet is not really an issue if you use bombs. The Hippogriff before is harder.
Back to the Tower of the Goddess. I activate the Sage door without going onto the platform. I do try to get it on the initial jump into the water, but fail so I need to jump out. Then I try to grab the flares after exiting the water and the game basically says NO to that. The only other flares I could grab are just before Palenque, but they're slightly more out of the way. This time, it would have been faster to grab those.
In the Chamber of Birth, I navigate the confusing hallways and teleporters and do the dance of life. That's the little jig I do in front of that one tablet. I had meant to use a bomb to damage boost off the first long ladder, but forgot. Then I fight Mudman and get the Pochette Key. Technically, I was down a coin pot when I entered. However, I had insane coin luck throughout the run and didn't need to worry about it.
Remember how I said before that the game told me this was the run and to not screw up. I do at this point. Going to Palenque's room before activating the Ankh isn't the worst thing I could've done, but it still costs a little over 50 seconds. I then correct myself and get the Talisman in the Temple of the Sun and activate the Palenque Ankh by navigating the top dark section of the Extinction Chamber. Then I fight Palenque. He's easy if you have at least 17 flares since you can hit him before you move. Just don't miss if you have 17.
With all the action for the past hour, I need a little time alone with my lady. So I head to the Temple of the Sun and it only lasts for 30 seconds. Then my lady gives birth to an Ocarina. I was as confused as you are, but now I'm just proud of it. The Ocarina lets me talk to the sages, whom I need to talk to finish the game. The sage I talk to now has a lot of dialog.
Now I go on the Crystal Skull quest, which is superior to the one Indiana Jones did. I visit Xelpud and he says some things. Then I kill the Eyeballs of Doom. Sorry Id software, I gotta kill Doom. Instead of going the normal way through the Endless Corridor, I jump up through a wall and end up at the bottom of it. This skips doing all of the block puzzles and the travel there. Now I grab the Diary and get out of the room before time stop wears off. This way I can get the Break Shot rom now instead of needing to take a couple extra screens later after I grab the Crystal Skull. Then it's back to Xelpud and back to the Shrine of the Mother, by going through the wall again, to pick up the Crystal Skull. Now I can stop the aliens or something like that.
Afterwards, I head to the Dimensional Corridor, where luck is king, and the points don't matter. I equip Video Hustler and Break Shot. This combo makes the Knife insanely powerful. It's hard to not get trolled by the bats in the first room. And then I completely miss seeing a bat and get knocked down into the first mini boss room and kind of play it poorly. I prefer to be on the left so I can grab the spears right away and I'm in a good position to shoot him. Trolling Mermaid is a good name for this one. Then I get to go back up and try to deal with bats and the Satan there. All goes smoothly, somehow.
Then Red Bull with Giant Blue Balls appears and I dispatch him heartily. This method of killing him is somewhat difficult, but it's possible to kill him before he fires. I was slightly off this time and he gets one of his balls off. It hits me once. Then I have a conversation with sage number 2, who teaches me how to say Birth and Death. It was a long winded speech otherwise.
Now, there's actually a choice here. I could kill the enemies in the next room and kill the Griffon, or go up and do part of the Angel Shield puzzle. Unfortunately, the Angel Shield puzzle is fickle and doesn't always like to work. I chose the path that gave the most consistent results. Losing a run because a puzzle decides to not work is an awful way to lose a run. Then I kill Snakes in a Ball and go left and kill some more guys for the Angel Shield puzzle.
Now I kill the Griffon, twice, because I have to. Grenades are my only real option for this fight. I could use flares, in addition to a couple grenades, on him to speed killing him up some, but I want flares to kill another mini boss here. The only other options are to use the Axe or jump into him and use the knife. Both of those are pretty slow. Afterwards there is Portal Powered Parenthesis Pony. I use time stop on it because it's too random otherwise. Then something dies in the next room. I think it was another mini boss.
I then equip Athletic Land and Cabbage Patch Kids along with the Keyblade. Trolling Worm is an awesome name for this next guy. It really does have the potential to give really bad patterns. Some of the worst are when it goes around in circles and you can't see its head so you end up attacking it blind. Oh, and it can only be injured by the Keyblade which is a slow weapon. This makes the rom combo for the knife useless and giving yourself more invulnerability time is a huge advantage against this guy. It ended up giving me an awesome pattern and I capitalized on it beautifully. Seriously, I don't think I could have asked for a better pattern. Then it's back to the Knife with its rom combo.
The next room I get hit by a Satan and just power my way through. It probably would have been better to go across the top and then down instead of going through the middle. The Knight at the bottom is rather simple. It's possible to kill him before he swings if you get the right rhythm with the knife. Then it's back up through Satans and I end up getting trolled because I screw up the ascent. The worm room revisit can go a lot worse than it did.
Flighty Fire Fox, the next obstacle, is why I want flares. He only takes 14 to kill. He's so random that chasing him around the room and trying to use the knife only wastes time. If he jumps down right away, it's possible to save a bunch of flares to use on another guy coming up. This was a pretty typical pattern, so I don't have many flares left.
Tornado Mutalisk isn't much of a problem with some practice. I couldn't decide if I wanted spears or flares equipped. That's because of the next guy, Platform Demon. The reason I couldn't decide is because his pattern speeds up each time you hit him. Using a few flares to start the fight causes him to shoot faster, which basically guarantees I'll get hit. However, it's really hard to kill him with just spears before he shoots if you don't hit him. He takes 17 flares to kill, or less with a couple axe swings thrown in.
Now it's time for Tiamat. This fight is probably the hardest in the game. I'm also doing this fight without full max health and without the body armor. Tiamat herself does a lot of damage if I touch her. Then there are the bats. Bats suck during the rest of the game. And they're twice as bad here. Killing her in two cycles isn't all that bad, considering what can happen. Her tail is kind of on a timer. There's a long delay at the start of the fight where she won't swing it. Then it's on a timer for when she is "prepared" to swing it again. I think her hair attack is on a set timer. The first cycle is pretty easy. The bat she had just created after the platform disappeared was kind enough to go up and hit me so I don't take a bunch of damage. The second cycle is the tough part. There are always several bats during this and they always get in the way. Plus there are the two orbs from dealing damage to Tiamat. Aside from getting hit by Tiamat's overuse of hair spray and an orb, this went remarkably well.
I then grab the Magatama Jewel and get the Angel Shield on my way out. Now, I go to get the Death Seal. Since I've killed all the bosses, the Shrine of the Mother has changed to the True Shrine of the Mother. Where the Death Seal is located changes as well. In the "normal" version one needs to use a couple grenades. In this version, all that needs to be done is grab it. I use the Time Lamp here so I don't get knocked around. I use it late because I wanted to see if it would be possible to get on the platform in the Spring in the Sky that leads to the sage there. Unfortunately, the platform spawns in the next room up. Then it's to the Tower of the Goddess for the final sage.
Finally, I grab the container from the Chamber of Birth and fight the Twin Guardians of Hell, Oxhead and Horsehead. Horsehead is not to be confused with the Zelda 2 boss. This is a different one because he uses a spear instead of a mace. Another glitch where I climb a wall is done, but with a slight twist. That statue comes to life when you hit it and is considered an enemy so one can walk right through it. After one hits it a few more times, it becomes solid. So, I make it come to life, get up against the wall, and then make it solid while I'm in it so that I'm now considered in a wall. The last thing I need to do to go up the wall is hit left (not right) so it pushes me backwards into the actual wall so I can climb it. This saves a little bit of time because otherwise I have to wait for it to get into position so I can jump up instead. Screwing this up isn't a big time loss.
I make my way to the Tower of Ruin and go down the ladder. Going up the right side of the ladder lets you get pushed all the way to the top. Then I fight Nu Wa, one of two mini bosses in the game I know the actual name of. I want to call him Snake on a Wall, because that would be a better movie than something else. Getting him into that pattern where he just circles you is difficult. I then grab the Wedges and go to enter the Mantras. One thing I could do at this point would be to hit the Death Seal spot to the right of Nu Wa, enter the spells below, and grab the Grail Point here. That way would give two attempts at the Death Seal thingy instead of one so it would end up more consistent. Doing that later is faster, but riskier.
Entering the Mantras is boring, but necessary. Doing the Twin Labyrinth the way I do, by warping to the Temple of the Moon after learning the Mantra, is faster than working your way back. Otherwise, the only other one of note is the Graveyard of Giants where I use bombs to open the doorway to the Mantra Tablet and then walk back. I also grab the Water of Life during this.
The Mantra themselves are a bit weird. I've found that the very first one doesn't like being entered right away. That's why I swing several times. I also have my main weapon set to the A button, which is why you see me swing on a few of the Mantra entries. I've found that if a Mantra doesn't work the first time, it's best to hit a key several times and then try again. Typing slightly slower also helps for consistency.
On the way to the True Shrine of the Mother, I fail to wall clip once. It's harder than it looks. I place a weight on a pedestal and traverse the tentacle structures that have infested this place. That level up before Beelzebub was semi planned. It was either just before him or I would get it after killing him. Preferably, I got it before. Beelzebub himself is hard to do quickly. This was the best method I could figure out. Using two throwing daggers like that generally causes him to get hit a bunch. The only real way I can think of to improve this is to try and get knife hits in too. That's incredibly difficult through his hail of bullets though. I used to throw two bombs at the start of the fight, but they never seemed to speed up the fight at all. Then I use time stop for the last time on the way to the final Ankh.
Mother is a typical multi-phase final battle. Each of her forms takes a set number of hits to kill. This means grabbing the Flail Whip is pretty much useless since it doesn't speed up her final form at all. As the ultimate irony, I lost most runs that made it this far to the eye phase. I would almost always lose my focus during it and forget which eye I needed to hit next. If I hit the wrong one, that's half my max life gone. If I survived, the pattern starts over. An interesting note is that you can hit the correct eye with the wrong weapon and it will continue the pattern, but not shoot you with lightning. Though, one still needs to hit the correct eye 10 times with the Katana, just not necessarily in a row. I honestly don't consider the final phase all that difficult. I'm farther from death than it looks, at least in my opinion. One thing I tried doing was take a hit and get inside Mother while swinging. Sometimes I can get a hit on both the back swing and the normal swing while doing this.
With success comes a nice jog with all the friends I met while in the ruins and the final time for the run pops up, 0:00:00. This means I finished the run the moment I started. Seriously though, the game needs a save file to reference to come up with the in game time. Since there is none, that's what it displays.
All told, this run is improvable just because of the Palenque debacle. How much time can be saved aside from that? I'm not going to guess. There's probably a crazy glitch just waiting to be found. Otherwise, this game just loves to give horrible rng at the most perfect moments.
There's probably a silly joke about Mother's Day I could make to conclude this, but I won't.
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