Developed by Nintendo for the Wii and released in November 2007, Super Mario Galaxy is yet another increment in the 'bigger and better' convention of the Mario franchise. This time, Mario embarks on an interplanetary quest to save Peach from Bowser. The only surprising word in that sentence was a change major enough for the game to receive universal critical acclaim.
I'd like to thank the following for help and inspiration:
- Miles, who made a 3-hour single segment 61-star run as Mario, just a couple of months after the game came out. (He uploaded it to YouTube, but didn't submit it to SDA.) When I was working on my run, Miles gave me a lot of encouragement and support, and it was great to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
- DJPhilanegro, who made a lot of individual-star videos (25 or so) and also worked for a while on a single-segment 61-star run as Mario.
- Many others who discovered tricks and made individual-star videos. I don't want to start listing people here since I'll certainly leave out someone deserving, but I usually remember to give credit in my YouTube video comments.
- Many others for giving me encouragement and support throughout the making of my run.
For general info on game mechanics and route planning considerations, I suggest reading the SDA strategy wiki. I've recently re-organized it, so hopefully relevant information is easy to find.
Along with the considerations outlined in the strategy wiki, I did a lot of playing, testing, and YouTube hunting to see how long each star took. If there was a star that didn't already have a good video, I would learn the level myself and estimate the star's length based on that.
Overall, I checked many more than 61 stars. During this phase, I didn't spend too much time on any one level, so my time estimates were sometimes over 10 seconds slower than what I ended up getting in the actual speedrun. Still, I think the estimates served their purpose pretty well, and I think my route turned out to be a sound one.
I also timed a bunch of observatory routes, cutscenes, and miscellaneous stuff like that, since those are also important when route planning.
I'll go over some of the specific route decisions that I made:
1. Doing Luigi stars vs. not doing Luigi stars.
I had considered the possibility of not doing any of the Luigi stars, since I was skeptical of the overhead these stars would incur. This would include: being sent out of the Kitchen back to Rosalina so she can tell you Luigi's at the Garage, talking to Luigi at the Garage, receiving Luigi's letters, and making at least one extra trip to the Terrace. However, Luigi on the Roof and Luigi in the Honeyhive Kingdom are very short stars, and I can skip the beginning cutscenes in all three Luigi stars because I'm revisiting previous star scenarios. This makes the Luigi stars easily worth it.
2. Unlocking the Garden (last observatory dome) or not unlocking it.
Dreadnought and Melty Molten stars are long and not worth it, but Deep Dark has a good amount of timesavers that make it close to worthwhile. For example, Bubble Blastoff (star 2) can be done in around 1 minute (from gaining control of Luigi to grabbing the star). However, the Deep Dark stars aren't quite short enough to justify the following: (1) completing Bowser Jr.'s Lava Reactor, a slightly long star that's almost 2 minutes; (2) going through the long cutscene after unlocking the Garden; and (3) making the long journey up to the Garden, which I timed to be 35 seconds, at best, from Rosalina. So I chose not to unlock the Garden.
3. Doing Trial Galaxies or not.
This would be mainly for Rolling Gizmo Galaxy and Loopdeeswoop Galaxy, since the Bubble Blast Galaxy is long. Rolling Gizmo and Loopdeeswoop are somewhat short - probably around the 1:10 range. The overhead incurred would be: (1) completing Dusty Dune 1 and 7 to get the last green star - both of these stars take nearly 2 minutes; (2) getting sent back to the Observatory to get an explanation on the green launch star; and (3) using the green launch star and talking to a Luma to get to each one of the Trial Galaxies. I found this to be not worth it, since there are more accessible alternatives for other reasonably short stars.
4. Just picking stars from a pool of potential stars.
In the end, I boiled it down to picking 10 of the following 17 stars:
- Space Junk 3 + Sling Pod (Picked)
- Space Junk 3 is about 2:00, but it unlocks Sling Pod, which is 0:20-0:25. Sling Pod requires feeding a Hungry Luma 400 star bits, though.
- Space Junk 4 (Picked)
- About 1:45, but the least-slow option for getting the last star needed for Bowser's Star Reactor if I decide to avoid Battlerock 2 + 3 + 4. If I am doing Battlerock 2 + 3 + 4 though, then this can probably be avoided.
- Battlerock 2 + 3 + 4
- Battlerock 2 and 3 are about 2:15, but Battlerock 4 (Topmaniac's Daredevil run) is just a boss fight, about 0:30.
- Battlerock 6
- 1:55-ish, but you can skip the beginning cutscenes if you do Battlerock 2; skipping cutscenes would save about 13 seconds. Could be faster than Space Junk 4 in that case.
- Toy Time 1 + 2 + 4 + 6 (Picked)
- Star 1 is about 2:05; stars 2 and 6 are about 1:30 and 1:40, and you can skip the cutscenes in one of them. Star 4 is a Fast Foes comet that's about 0:50.
- Honeyclimb (Picked)
- 1:15-1:20, but has a possibility of being inconvenient since I need to be in the Bedroom with 42 stars. Greatly helps with fulfilling star bit requirements, though (you can get 160 or so here).
- Drip Drop (Picked)
- Requires feeding 600 star bits, but can be really short (0:20-0:25) if it can go in a short segment to be highly optimized. Also worth noting, though, that the cutscenes in this level are about 5 seconds longer than most other levels.
- Sand Spiral
- Requires feeding 1000 star bits, but about 0:50.
- Freeezeflame 6 (Picked)
- About 1:30, and has skippable cutscenes which saves about 13 seconds.
- About 1:30, but very inconsistent due to underwater green shell aiming.
- Sea Slide 6
That should give an idea of how the route planning went for this run.
For individual stars, I'm going to go into a fair bit of detail to explain things, so feel free to just watch the run and check the notes on a particular level if you're wondering about something.
Segment 1 (star 1)
1. Gateway - Grand Star Rescue
- Note that unlike Mario, Luigi doesn't go through the Star Festival and associated cutscenes. Going by SDA's start-timing point of "gaining control of your character", this means Luigi has a 4 minute 30 second advantage over Mario.
- After using the pipe to get into the Grand Star room, I skip the Luma dialogue ("We've been waiting for you!", etc.) by jumping right when I land from the pipe. The timing to do this is a bit tight.
- I go around the Luma at the last couple of panels near the Grand Star, so I can avoid his dialogue too.
About the "You increased your Star Bit count" dialog: When you've collected less than about 30-40 star bits in a level, it's faster to let the star bits count down all the way before pressing A. If you press A sooner, you'll cancel the countdown, but it will make the dialog stay onscreen for an extra ~2/3rds of a second. I didn't take this into account until Segment 3, so I lost a fraction of a second after Gateway by canceling the countdown.
Segment 2 (stars 2-4)
2. Good Egg 1 - Dino Piranha
- I later learned that you can shoot star bits at Dino Piranha to slow it down. That could be used to get the last hit faster. I don't think the tail becomes vulnerable immediately though, so you'd still have to wait a moment, at least.
I could've rapidly tapped B instead of holding B to feed Polari (the black Luma) more quickly.
3. Good Egg 2 - A Snack of Cosmic Proportions
- To reach the first launch star, I use a spin stomp (spin and press Z right after). The spin stomp can home in on NPCs and bounce off them for a large boost. The boost tends to give more distance if you're propelled facing backwards or to the side (especially backwards, but that's not necessary here).
- You'll see the 10 star bits en route to the egg planet if you have 90 star bits or less.
- The pink Hungry Lumas can't be fed faster by tapping B, so I held B.
4. Honeyhive 1 - Bee Luigi Takes Flight
- To get up the first slope, all you have to do is run up the slope and spin periodically so you don't start sliding down.
- About the jump before the "waterfall jump": It's possible to triple jump + spin + edgegrab up without walljumping, but when I tried this, I would often deflect off of the edge when trying to edgegrab. So I just used a triple jump + walljump.
- If you jump off a slope while holding the control stick toward the downward direction of the slope, you'll be able to do a midair spin. This way, you can climb up a slope even if you have to slide on it. It's a bit tricky though, since you have to hold the stick down the slope when you jump off, and then hold the stick up the slope in mid-jump so that you actually make progress up the slope.
- The tree shortcut saves about a minute compared to the normal route if you get all the jumps right. (The normal route I'm referring to includes the standard shortcut to the first launch star; that's the one where you jump over the rail near the fountain to land down at the honey paths.)
This segment had probably my best runs for both Snack of Cosmic Proportions and Bee Luigi Takes Flight. Bee Luigi Takes Flight has a lot of tricky jumps, so I was very fortunate to not mess up any of them.
Segment 3 (stars 5-9)
5. Honeyhive 2 - Trouble on the Tower
- This route to the waterfall is slightly shorter, but it doesn't help in Bee Luigi Takes Flight because there's a large, gray rock blocking the path. I'm not sure why the rock's present in that episode and not this one.
- I had a lot of trouble with the shortcut to the windmill, since there's some annoying invisible walls that often prevent me from making it onto the windmill at all. But I actually managed to land directly on the mandibug, which I didn't expect.
- According to my notes, my best method for doing this shortcut was to do the triple jump + spin, hold down on the control stick at first, and then hold up on the control stick when I see Luigi starting to flip over (starting to break out of the planet's gravity).
- There's another strategy which even avoids the launch star - you get onto the tree like in Bee Luigi Takes Flight, then you climb the tree, the wooden platforms, and the windmill. I think the launch star strategy is slightly faster, though, particularly if you land directly on the mandibug.
6. Honeyhive 3 - Big Bad Bugaboom
- The last hit is the hardest part - I find that there's barely enough time to hit the boss before he tilts too far.
7. Loopdeeloop - Surfing 101
- I was debating between this and King Kaliente's Battle Fleet, since they're very nearly the same length. Not only that, the extra pre-cutscene loading times in Good Egg just about cancel out the extra time taken unlocking the Loopdeeloop Galaxy. I went with Loopdeeloop because it seemed a little more consistent to do fast.
- I'm only decent at this race - I think I've only subbed 56.50 once, and the best times at Cyberscore are around 55.50. It's not a significant time difference for the segment as a whole though. The biggest time loss in the race (compared to my other attempts) was probably taking the right turn near the 1-up slightly wide.
8. Flipswitch - Painting the Planet Yellow
- I mis-aimed my first long jump a bit - ideally I would land more on the south side of that panel. I also rushed the long jump over the last spike panel, so the angle wasn't too good there either. But I basically followed the strategy and didn't get hit.
9. Bowser Jr.'s Robot Reactor - Megaleg's Moon
- The shortcut to Megaleg also works off of the starting platform, but you have to go from one extreme edge of the starting platform to the other edge while doing the triple jump, so it takes a bit of setup time (not to mention it's trickier).
Segment 4 (stars 10-13)
10. Space Junk 1 - Pull Star Path
11. Space Junk 2 - Kamella's Airship Attack
- At the treasure chest, it's faster if you can toss the shell at the chest right after bouncing off of the shell. It looks cool, but it's inconsistent, as the shell often auto-targets the Magikoopa.
- The damage boost to the boss is an annoying trick, since the exact timing of the Octopuses' shots seems random.
- I tested a lot of things to see if I could have Kamella shoot fewer fireballs before her shell shots. In this run, Kamella shot 1 fireball before each of her shells. This seemed to happen reliably when I did a segment attempt by starting from the Wii Menu, instead of starting from a reset. When I started from a reset, Kamella would almost always shoot 2 fireballs before her last shell. I've seen Kamella shoot 0 fireballs before a shell shot sometimes, but this seemed to only happen after I died at the fight.
12. Space Junk 3 - Tarantox's Tangled Web
- This level is somewhat long, but it unlocks the Sling Pod Galaxy, which is short.
- Phasing through the glass to the launch star works pretty easily if I just mash Z while spinning repeatedly.
- You can triple jump + spin to the L-block planet to skip one sling pod, but I didn't go for it since I don't know how to do it consistently, and it doesn't save much time.
- Tarantox fight: for some reason, after landing from a sling pod, jumping too soon will cause you to go through any sling pod that you're trying to grab onto next. You have to wait a bit before jumping up for another sling. I jumped too soon once, before the last hit.
13. Rolling Green - Rolling in the Clouds
- For the rail jump, the jump angle is just something I have to get a feel for. It's almost straight west, but not quite - it's very slightly north of west. And then I have to do my best to translate that to a Wiimote motion.
Segment 5 (stars 14-16)
14. Battlerock 1 - Battlerock Barrage
- To do the triple jump up to the launch star, I try to do the third jump from where the saucer starts to slope down, and I hold back during the third jump.
15. Space Junk 4 - Pull Star Path Speed Run
- Since I'm avoiding Battlerock stars 2, 3, and 4, this is the next best star to use to fulfill the 15-star requirement for Bowser's Star Reactor.
- This run was about a half second faster than the non-speedy-comet run from Segment 4. My best time here is a low 2:37, so a high 2:35 is good in my book.
16. Bowser's Star Reactor - The Fiery Stronghold
- This level took a while to find a strategy for. Because there's so many moving elements, I pretty much have to start from the beginning - and watch the cutscenes - when trying to come up with a strategy (or practice it).
- Interestingly enough, it seems that Mario is able to barely get under the Thwomp in time in the gravity section, which is faster than what I did here. The thing is that Mario's long jump is slightly lower than Luigi's, so when Mario's long jumping under the black hole, he can hit a sweetspot at the border of the gravity regions which gives him a lot of horizontal speed.
- Bowser fight: on the second and third hits, I spin Bowser in such a way that I bounce almost straight downward onto the blue glass. This way, Bowser hits the blue glass on his first jump. It's a bit tricky to deflect off of Bowser just right to do this, though. I mainly pay attention to the ground as I'm running towards Bowser, and try to jump from the right spot.
Segment 6 (stars 17-21)
17. Beach Bowl 1 - Sunken Treasure
- The last triple jump in particular can be finicky. I got it first try here, though.
18. Beach Bowl 2 - Passing the Swim Test
19. Beach Bowl 3 - The Secret Undersea Cavern
- The shortcut jump at the end can be pretty troublesome. The best method I found was to long jump northwest and then approach the star platform by moving west; this tends to work, even though it seems like it would make you face the wrong way for the walljump.
20. Beach Bowl 6 - Wall Jumping up Waterfalls
- It's possible to save a couple more seconds at the end: you can ignore the second ice flower and use your remaining ice powerup time to go to the far wall of the lake, jump/walljump off of the wall, and make it up to the star. This has its difficulties, though. First, skating jump distances tend to be a bit unpredictable, making the jump to the wall tricky. Second, you'll most likely have to do a non-ice-spin to get the star, because the star is pretty high up; this means your speed in finishing the level is limited to the ice powerup's duration (and this also means you need good timing to get the most out of this strategy).
21. Ghostly 1 - Luigi and the Haunted Mansion
- You can spin to get the portrait Boo out of its portrait more quickly. I'm not sure if you can keep your invincible running speed after dealing with the Boo; I've gotten somewhat close to keeping running speed a couple of times, but I never actually managed it.
- The clip into the mansion works because the bottom of the mansion building isn't solid from the outside. It's pretty tricky to get the clip like this, though. There might be easier methods of doing it which are just as fast as this, but this was my preferred method at the time.
Segment 7 (stars 22-24)
22. Sweet Sweet - Rocky Road
- If I talk to Luigi at the Garage, the next star will send me back to the start of the Observatory so that the Mailtoad can introduce the first Luigi letter. If you overlap events that send you back to the Observatory, you get sent back fewer times, which generally means less Observatory travel. So I overlap this letter event with a Hungry Luma star.
- I find that it saves about a second to talk to Luigi in between feeding the Luma and using the launch star.
23. Good Egg 6 - Luigi on the Roof
- I got on the roof without spinning so that I wouldn't spin the other Luigi; this way, I can talk to him immediately.
24. Honeyhive 4 - Honeyhive Cosmic Luigi Race
- Any given dome can only have one comet available at a time, and my route depends on getting the Honeyhive comet and not the Good Egg comet. Comet appearance mechanics are complicated, and even more so in a segmented run than a single-segment run, but it turns out that my segment plan guarantees that the Honeyhive comet will appear at this time. (If I had deferred the Honeyhive comet until later in the run, then things could have gotten more complicated.)
- To do the boost start, press and hold Z during the countdown to crouch, hold forward, and press A just as the race starts. Think of it like doing a long jump just as the race starts.
- This is one of the tougher shortcuts in the entire run. To land at the star ledge, I have to use a tiny invisible foothold to slow down my descent. I usually have to walljump off of the star ledge to get up, but I just landed on the ledge this time. (I was mashing A for the walljump, though, which is why I did that jump before grabbing the star.)
Segment 8 (stars 25-28)
25. Bubble Breeze - Through the Poison Swamp
- The trick at the end just involves getting around an invisible wall that doesn't extend very far.
26. Ghostly 2 - A Very Spooky Sprint
- At the first turn of the race, cutting to the left of the meat is tricky - it went okay here, but I wasn't going very fast from the pull star as I was cutting the corner. A bit later, I got a boost off of some meat, but the boost wasn't angled so well, so I collided with a bone and got slowed down.
- The second half of the race went well. As you can see, I just mash A for the last few pull stars and it tends to work out. 39.40 is okay - my best is 37.81, and the best time out there is 37.06 at this time of writing.
27. Beach Bowl 4 - Fast Foes on the Cyclone Stone
- It's possible to avoid spinning as I'm long jumping past the first tox box, but it's a bit risky.
28. Bowser Jr.'s Airship Armada - Sinking the Airships
- There's a slightly different starting strategy that involves making a cannon shot directly onto the propeller boat. It's quite a precise shot, though, and I need a couple of seconds to line it up so it doesn't really save time for me.
- At the Bowser Jr. fight, the green shells like to home in on the enemies for some reason, so I have to make sure there aren't any enemies directly in front of me before I throw a shell.
- After grabbing the fourth shell (before the cutscene), I run right so that the fifth koopa gets a bit of screen time. Many enemies like these koopas only move when onscreen, so this helps get the koopa closer to me by the time I go after his shell for the last hit.
I'm leaving a few Kitchen stars for later: Ghostly 6 - Matter Splatter Mansion, and Buoy Base. Buoy Base is unlocked at 30 stars, and to balance out the difficulty of the Kitchen segments, I thought I'd include Matter Splatter Mansion with the Buoy Base segment as well.
Matter Splatter Mansion before Airship Armada could have potentially saved time, though. The reason is that Dusty Dune is unlocked at 29 stars. By unlocking the Bedroom with 28 stars, I have to see the "You've discovered a new galaxy!" indicator once for Gusty Garden and Freezeflame, and once for Dusty Dune later. If I'd gotten Matter Splatter Mansion here so that Airship Armada was star 29, then I would see the indicator only once for GG, FF, and DD all together.
Segment 9 (stars 29-34)
I'm making two trips to the Bedroom for 12 stars, so that's 6 stars per Bedroom segment. The second trip includes Bowser's Dark Matter Plant, so to make that segment easier, I tried to pick some of the other harder stars for this first Bedroom segment.
29. Freezeflame 1 - The Frozen Peak of Baron Brrr
- It's hard to pinpoint exactly why, but some skating jumps will go farther than others. The best I can say is that it helps to stick with a particular strategy, so it's predictable.
30. Freezeflame 2 - Freezeflame's Blistering Core
- At the start, after breaking a star chip crystal, there's a bit of delay before you can pick up the star chip. I let go of the control stick to stop skating during this delay.
- After the gravity shortcut, I was a bit slow to get off of the "roof" - I was trying to drop down with my second long jump. I just barely made the platform before it was too late, though.
31. Freezeflame 4 - Frosty Cosmic Luigi Race
- I managed to jump just as I landed to start the level, canceling Luigi's landing animation. I try for landing cancels like this throughout this run, but they don't happen too often because the required jump timing is very strict (possibly frame perfect).
- Whoops, I missed the boost start. It just so happens that it doesn't matter a lot in this race, though...
32. Freezeflame 3 - Hot and Cold Collide
- When you have the ice powerup, your spins give you more horizontal distance and speed, so the skating section is faster here than in the Cosmic Luigi race.
33. Gusty Garden 1 - Bunnies in the Wind
- I make sure to avoid the ? coin during the second flower ride, as the star bits that it triggers cause a fair bit of lag.
34. Gusty Garden 2 - The Dirty Tricks of Major Burrows
- As I defeat the first mole, I walk toward the bottom side of the planet a bit, which gives the moles on the next planet a little bit of screen time. The moles only move when onscreen, so by controlling how much screen time they get, I can make sure they're in good positions to be defeated quickly.
- The first and last apples are within jumping distance of each other - however, until the worms come out, there's invisible walls that prevent me from shortcutting between the apples.
- I made a mistake at the last hit on Major Burrows.
Segment 10 (stars 35-37)
Back to the Kitchen, because Buoy Base unlocked at 30 stars.
35. Buoy Base 1 - The Floating Fortress
- It seems that the torpedo *can* move when offscreen, but even if it hits the weight that's holding the fortress down, the hit won't register unless the weight is onscreen. I still could've started swimming to the surface a little earlier, but not that much earlier.
- I collect the third blue star chip by doing a backflip, which allows Luigi's feet to go through the platform just enough to get the chip. This way, I don't need to turn the screw to get the platforms moving.
36. Ghostly 6 - Matter Splatter Mansion
- The end strategy is probably my proudest shortcut discovery in Galaxy - at least, I hadn't seen this shortcut in any videos before. If you're wondering what's with the invisible wall and floor, it seems that the doors are totally tangible even when they're not revealed yet. So I'm walljumping off a door and then landing on top of it. The top of the door (which I ground pound onto) is extremely thin in the north-south direction. To long jump off of it, I need to get a bit of a running start, and the ground pound allows me to "run in place" for a bit so that I can do the running start without falling off the thin door.
37. Buoy Base 2 - The Secret of Buoy Base
Segment 11 (stars 38-40)
It's definitely been at least 5 stars since the last find-Luigi mission (Good Egg), so I'm off to the Fountain for the next Luigi star, as well as a couple of other Fountain stars that I didn't get before.
38. Battlerock 7 - Luigi under the Saucer
- The post on the rotating saucer tends to get in the way of the bullet here, so I have to be careful that the bullet goes around it.
39. Hurry-Scurry - Shrinking Satellite
- This Galaxy unlocked at 18 stars, which is why I didn't get to it before.
- Sometimes I'm able to keep my running speed after getting the last note, but that didn't happen here. Maybe a jump to keep my momentum would help.
40. Sling Pod - A Very Sticky Situation
- Tarantox's Tangled Web unlocked this star. Tarantox is a long level, but this one's really short, so it's worth it.
- It's possible to take this same path through the minefield and not get hit, if you do a very good job with the starbit shooting. I didn't have much success with it, though, and it actually seems that getting hit helps me get more momentum with the next pull star (which helps me skip the next sling pod).
- The shots in the second half are more long-distance, which makes them a lot easier to miss. It seems that you could avoid waiting for the last set of firebars if the shots leading up to that are really quick, but I've never been able to do it. (Perfecting the second half by itself isn't all that improbable, but how fast you go at the beginning can affect the timing of things later on, so it's hard to properly practice the whole level start to finish.)
Segment 12 (stars 41-46)
41. Freezeflame 6 - Conquering the Summit
- Here's some more slope climbing; it works it same way as it did in Honeyhive. The second half of this level is a fun section to speedrun.
42. Gusty Garden 6 - The Golden Chomp
- At this point, I realize that I'll have more than enough opportunities for starbits; I need 600 for Drip Drop Galaxy, and there's still plenty of levels to go. So I've picked this level as one where I'll ditch my starbits, to save time on the messages after "You got a star!". Generally, less messages means more time saved, but you also have to wait at least a set amount of time before the Save prompt appears. So I'll generally keep my starbits in levels where there are no other messages, and ditch my starbits when there are other messages. For this level, there's "You've discovered a new galaxy!", so I'll ditch my starbits.
43. Gusty Garden 3 - Gusty Garden's Gravity Scramble
- I do this after the Golden Chomp, because I find it's easier to deal with the moving blocks at the end if I'm able to skip the beginning cutscenes.
- There's an alternate method to do the end: it involves not following the first gravity arrow, and making a big long jump from high above to land at the last stretch before the star. The route actually looks more direct than the one I use here, but the route I use here ended up being faster by my testing.
44. Honeyclimb - Scaling the Sticky Wall
- This level got unlocked at 42 stars.
- You'll notice that as a Bee, you have to take a second to gain some speed the first time you get onto each of the honey walls. It may seem like it's faster to jump off the wall quickly the first time, since you're going very slowly; but if you do that, then the next time you touch the wall, you'll still be going slow and will still have to accelerate.
45. Gusty Garden 4 - Major Burrows's Daredevil Run
- It went a little better this time.
46. Bowser's Dark Matter Plant - Darkness on the Horizon
- After the triple jump to skip the pole, I got slowed down a bit while trying to long jump across the pink platforms. It wasn't much, but it was enough so that I didn't get to the T-block fast enough in the gravity-arrow area. If I had gotten there fast enough (which takes a near-perfect run), I could have gotten past the T-block without waiting for it to move, which would save 2-3 seconds.
- This method of skipping the rest of the gravity arrow area isn't very consistent - it's the riskiest trick in this segment. There's a more consistent strategy, but that involves waiting for the plus block to move a bit first, so it's slower.
- After I spin into Bowser's face the first time, there's just barely enough time for me to recover and deflect his spin attack. So I have to make sure I don't jump too high when I spin Bowser's face, or it'll take me longer to fall down and recover.
- To deflect three of Bowser's spins in a row, I spin on the ground once and in the air twice. The jump cancels the first spin's recovery time. The second mid-air spin is a tiny spin that doesn't give a vertical boost, but can still serve as an attack. There's one thing to watch out for: Bowser flips up quickly after you deflect his last attack, and it's actually easy to collide with his face and get stunned as he flips up. This can usually be prevented if your last spin is low enough to the ground.
Segment 13 (stars 47-58)
Other than ease of optimization, there's no reason to split up the Engine Room into multiple segments. I figured I'd first try and do my best to single-segment through all 12 planned stars in the Engine Room. Getting to the Engine Room takes 20 seconds, so if I could single-segment the Engine Room with less than 20 seconds of mistakes, then I wouldn't have to split it up into multiple segments. After a lot of practice, followed by surprisingly few segment attempts, I realized this feat would be possible. It took another solid week of attempts to actually get the segment I wanted, but the result is probably the highlight of this run.
47. Gold Leaf 1 - Star Bunnies on the Hunt
- You can also go clockwise through the level to collect the star chips. Clockwise is a bit faster than counter-clockwise if done well - about 1-2 seconds faster from my testing. Going clockwise is more difficult, though, mainly due to the jump needed to get up to the ledge near the waterfall.
- I find that it helps to aim the starbit cursor a little bit to the left of the bunny here.
48. Gold Leaf 2 - Cataquack to the Skies
- The triple jump from the grass cube is a difficult shortcut. In general, you'll make it if your third jump lands on the correct side of the cube, and on the grass. If you jump from the wood part, you won't make it. This shortcut could be a little easier if you start the triple jump from a different side of the cube - but of course, doing it from here would be fastest.
- Oddly enough, it seems that Bee Mario can't do the shortcut at the end. I'm not exactly sure why - maybe Bee Luigi's jump before flying is a little bit higher, and just enough to reach the flowers. Perhaps the fastest route for Mario would be to long jump across the flowers without the Bee suit. This has been done, although it's rather risky, and not faster than the Bee Luigi route.
49. Gold Leaf 6 - The Bell on the Big Tree
- Uh oh, a mistake... the previous two stars went very well, though, so I kept going.
50. Gold Leaf 3 - When it Rains, it Pours
- The triple jump + walljump off of the tree took a while to figure out. The most important thing to pay attention to is your direction of movement just before you touch the tree - that seems to determine the angle of your walljump, which is important for making it up to the ledge. Here, I hold southwest on the control stick as I touch the tree. The camera's weird, but at least it's weird the same way every time.
- The side of the boss that you ground pound determines the direction you fly off to.
51. Gold Leaf 4 - Cosmic Luigi Forest Race
- Here's the tree shortcut again, but it feels totally different because of the different camera. Here, I hold the control stick northwest as I touch the tree.
52. Toy Time 1 - Heavy Metal Mecha-Bowser
- I walljump up Mecha-Bowser somewhat slowly to make sure my walljump angle is normalized: if I wait long enough before walljumping, I'll be guaranteed to walljump perpendicular to the wall. Also, at one point I have to slide down a little bit so that the yellow panel doesn't interfere with my walljumps too much.
- If I had made it up a bit faster, Mecha-Bowser's spike collar might not have been in the way.
Halfway through the segment!
53. Toy Time 6 - The Flipswitch Chain
- The Tox Boxes all move in sync, of course, but if all of them are offscreen, then none of them will move. Before using the Hungry Luma's launch star, I use D-pad up to look at the Flipswitch planet; this allows the Tox Boxes to move a bit, saving a bit of waiting time later. A use for D-pad up in a speedrun!
- It's safe to stay next to the corner of those spike panels.
- I made a mistake while trying to get to the last set of ? panels, but I recovered decently. It looks like I could take more risks in some places, but it's pretty difficult to save more time because of the spike panels getting in the way. Overall, this was only about 2-3 seconds slower than my best runs for this level.
54. Toy Time 2 - Luigi Meets Mario
- It's possible to skip turning the screw, but it's not really faster because you'd need a triple jump to reach the last star chip, and then another triple jump to reach the launch star. Doing the second triple jump after landing from the first would take some setup time.
55. Toy Time 4 - Fast Foes of Toy Time
- I got to the second set of spike panels before they could cover up the first ? panel in that set. This saved 2-3 seconds.
56. Sea Slide 1 - Going after Guppy
- There's no way to speed up Guppy, so the least I can do is try not to cause any game lag. There can be a little bit of lag if you get too close to the underwater geysers.
57. Sea Slide 4 - Underwater Cosmic Luigi Race
- The surface spin seems to work when you do a spin just as you reach the surface. Once you do the first surface spin, you can just hold forward and keep wiggling the Wiimote to keep surface spinning.
58. Sea Slide 2 - Faster than a Speeding Penguin
- The surface spin at the start of the race can be thought of as an odd special case. It just works if you spin at the right time. You can actually start shaking the Wiimote well before the start of the race to control the timing of your spin (I guess this silently registers as a spin, and then the game starts counting down for the next time you're allowed to spin again). It works for me if I continuously shake the Wiimote starting at or right after the "1" sound of the countdown. When I mess up the timing, it's usually when I start spinning a bit before the "1" instead, i.e. too early. I think it also helps if I don't touch the control stick or buttons until the first surface spin is successful.
- The surface spin typically only works with a flat water surface, so I can't just surface spin wherever there isn't a tunnel. That said, there are a couple of other short stretches where you can surface spin, but they're not really worth it: since they're short stretches, I can only really save time in these parts if I get the surface spin first try.
- When I can't surface spin, I do a bunch of underwater spins. This is faster than riding a red shell. Note that holding A makes underwater spins go faster.
- My best time for this race is 45.71, so 47 is definitely good enough to wrap up this long segment.
Segment 14 (star 59)
Since the next two stars are in totally different places of the Observatory, I wouldn't really gain anything by combining them into one segment. In fact, I found that by SDA timing, it's faster to do them in separate segments.
59. Honeyhive 6 - Bee Luigi Takes Flight
- I do this slope climb a little differently from the other slope climbs in the run. Normally you can't long jump off of a slope while going up the slope, but if you hold the control stick back just as you land on the slope, it seems you can briefly trick the game into thinking you're going down the slope, making it possible to do another long jump. I didn't do this earlier in the run because (1) I didn't hear about the trick until Segment 13, and (2) it's not the most consistent trick and doesn't actually save much time - possibly less than 0.5 of a second in this case.
- When you're close enough to the tree, there's a certain point where you can actually shoot star bits through the tree and hit Luigi. It's a hard spot to hit, though.
Segment 15 (star 60)
60. Drip Drop - Giant Eel Outbreak
- I'm glad that splitting up segments 14 and 15 was actually faster - I was able to go all-out with a really fast but inconsistent strategy here.
- The eels move in set paths and have set starting points, and like many other enemies, they only move when onscreen - so if you can control the camera well, you can make sure the eels don't swim too far away.
- SDA timing for a segment ends once you save, so Rosalina's dialogue here doesn't count toward the segment time. (It's interesting to note that you could reset after the save, go back into your save file, and then go to the center of the universe without ever seeing the countdown from 01 to 00.)
Segment 16 (star 61)
61. The Fate of the Universe
- The hardest part for me was the first section, the spotlight section. Getting into the second-to-last spotlight in time is tricky, and you have to jump from the edge of the last spotlight to get the amount of height that I did.
- At the lava planet, you can save a few tenths of a second by completely avoiding the lava with a perfectly angled long jump. I couldn't get it consistently, though, so I just went for a lava hit. Note that there's an invisible wall you have to avoid; that's why you can't just jump straight backwards.
- If you exit the ice planet with a northeast long jump like this, you'll be able to land on the desert planet with running speed instead of starting from a standstill.
- At the end of the "space blocks" section: after my long jump off of the ceiling, I let go of the control stick for a moment, then I hold the stick to the right again. This prevents me from getting turned around when I land on the floor. As long as I do this, I find that it's faster to avoid damage than it is to charge through and take a hit. This is good, since I need 2 health for the bullet/lava section.
- At the staircase before Bowser, you can't long jump up the first two closely-spaced stairs, so I just normally jump up them. You can long jump up the remaining stairs as long as you do the first long jump from the middle of the stair, as opposed to the back.
- Bowser phase 2: when you complete the first hit, it's best to spin Bowser so that he lands next to a plant, but not on the plant. If he lands on the plant, the plant will get squashed and will be unusable for a few seconds. Avoiding this can be surprisingly tricky.
- Bowser phase 3: for some reason, if Bowser is doing his rolling attack and you get hit by something other than his rolling, Bowser will start his jumping attack. It's easier to deal with the fireball phase if you let Bowser pass you first, but I made a direct line toward the fireball to save time. Bowser almost caught up to me, though - that was ridiculously close!
Hope you enjoy the run. Feel free to ask about anything that I didn't cover. You can ask questions on the SDA forum, or at my segment videos on YouTube (playlist here).