Released in November 2000 by Monolith Productions, The Operative: No One Lives Forever is an FPS with stealth gameplay elements. You play the role of Cate Archer, a secret agent from an organisation dedicated to world peace through the use of firearms and gadgets disguised as female fashion items. Set in the 1960s, the character design accurately portrays what everyone nowadays thinks people back then wore, which is garishly coloured leather catsuits and mullets.
Best time on Easy difficulty: 1:18:16.5 by 'Warepire' and 'ymh' on 2013-07-05, done in 61 segments appended to 25 files.
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Purpose: Move faster, go up slopes that are supposed to be too steep.
How-to: Hold Forward and Strafe left/right at the same time.
Purpose: Going out of bounds, going through walls, passing through too narrow spaces.
How-to: Get caught between the object you want to clip and another object and crouch at the correct moment to clip through the object, some objects requires the crouching to be combined with jumping and some objects require repeated clipping. Some things cannot be clipped though.
Purpose: Maintaining a clipping state without going through all the way to apply it somewhere else or to see through walls/objects
How-to: Get caught between two objects, crouch (sometimes multiple times) while moving in a direction until you are half-way into the wall/object and seeing inside or behind it. Then hold those keys. Big enough gaps can be passed that way, otherwise further clipping is needed (see above).
Purpose: Another clipping state that allows you to become dislodged from the game world and lets you walk through almost all kinds of walls and objects that normally stand in your way.
How-to: Works like semi-clipping, but while normal clipping you need to drop further into the floor by letting go of all keys and then pressing a directional button (optionally hold crouch).
Trick: Explosion-boosted jump
Purpose: Use explosions to go out of bounds and create shortcuts.
How-to: Catch an explosion while in the accelerating part of the jump. This can be done without taking damage if you can get the explosion on the other side of an invisible wall (explosions go through walls to some extent).
Purpose: Get a temporary speedboost when going up certain types of steep slopes.
How-to: Jump repeatedly when climbing steeper slopes, that don't need Strafe-walking to scale, to climb them faster.
Trick: Quick save abuse
Purpose: The game doesn't save everything when Quick save is used, like where in a conversation you are, how far you have fallen, or the exact properties of objects.
How-to: Quick save during a conversation and it will be skipped, a fall and the falling distance will be reset, or anytime during a level where you want to slightly alter the state of an object which can make objects more clipping-friendly. The effect will take place when loading.
Trick: Strafe invisibility/inaudibility
Purpose: Get past some people that will be interrupted and cause problems when they hear you.
How-to: Just Strafe past them in a certain angle with enough margin before and after passing them, apparently this makes you invisible and inaudible to them.
Trick: Fall interruption
Purpose: Enter cutscenes to survive deadly falls without a scratch.
How-to: Trigger a cutscene, like talking to certain NPCs, while you are falling and you will be spawned at the position the cutscene would leave you at when it's done playing.
Trick: Quick welding
Purpose: Require less welds to open locks which have to be welded open.
How-to: Time a movement towards the lock as the weld hits and it will count as two welds, this is more of a trick that you accidentally trigger than planning to use it due to it's extremely small window.
Trick: Complete a scene despite failing
Purpose: In some scenes where a failure doesn't come right away after breaking an objective you can make it to the scene-end trigger before the failure is set. This allows for ignoring otherwise required objectives.
How-to: Reach the scene-end trigger before the failure is set. There is a special case for this trick when you die after passing the scene-end trigger, this makes the game not count the time you spent in the scene.
In order to play as effectively as possible we changed a few of the in-game settings:
01. The Assignment. (0:44.8)
Run by ymh.
Scene 1: Just skipping the cutscene as fast as possible.
Scene 2: By clipping I drop down the elevator shaft instead of riding it, which saves over 6 seconds.
Scene 3: Understandably I skip any of the tutorials and head straight for the exit.
02. Misfortune In Morocco. (11:06.5)
Run by Warepire.
Custom equipment: Shepherd Arms P38 9mm, Silencer for Shepherd Arms P38 9mm.
Scene 1: I really don't like how sloppy my shooting looks throughout the entire Scene but I beat my previous personal record which I thought was the fastest achievable in this level with almost a second so I kept this.
The door seems to unlock rather random, sometimes even before I killed everyone, so I do my best to open it as soon as possible without leaving an enemy behind that can kill the ambassador.
I pick up 2 intelligence items to manipulate luck for Scene 2.
(The level end condition for this Scene is opening the blue doors. We managed to clip behind them in hope that it would end the level early, but it's the opening of the doors themselves that is the trigger, and they don't become unlocked until after the second shooting)
Scene 2: The amount of things that has to go exactly right in this Scene is slightly too high for comfort.
It begins right at the start where shooting the gate open before reaching it, which is a very precise shot. After that the guard on the balcony have to be alerted so that he opens a door for me.
After the meeting with Bruno I am required to kill every guard so I allow myself a moment of sloppiness at the 2nd bomb. Because not alerting the guards at the 3rd bomb is too difficult to be worth it: It requires that the guards of the 1st and 2nd bombs aren't given enough time to shoot, and that I won't miss a single shot. With NOLFs accuracy of the Shepherd this is a nightmare to accomplish.
The guards of the 3rd bomb must be killed before I disarm the 2nd bomb, or they will enter their defence stances which includes them taking cover in bad locations.
Scene 3: I got stuck for a moment in the first guard, that was kinda bad, but the segment went incredibly well otherwise so I decided to keep this anyway.
I use a suicide strategy for the last part of the Scene which saves about 2 seconds but is really evil, the sniper which you can hear in the background can take all my body armor away even if I have 100ap if I'm really unlucky, here he doesn't hit me a single time.
I skip interrogating the guard, obviously.
Scene 4: Forward+Strafe is abused to traverse the mountain side and take a shortcut over the mountains, this skips a huge part of the level.
When jumping down the hole to the water area I do my best to be under water for as little time as possible, because swimming under water appears a lot slower.
Swimming also appears to be slower than running so I take a small shortcut to skip some swimming, the jump from the rock to the platform with the guard is almost too long to be possible.
Running through the corridors went ok, not the best run ever but quite close, it looks sloppier than it actually is.
At the end I just run for my life to the balcony.
03. Requiem For A Spy. (0:23.9)
Run by ymh.
Notes: I use No-clipping to get past the glass wall to skip the first part of the tutorial. By the time I was recording this scene we did not know this is a special kind of clip, which could make it possible to just get through the remaining walls and head for the exit zone (like I do in a later scene). But we had progressed already too far to go back there and start over again.
At the second part of the tutorial I use Quick save abuse to skip the instructor's explanation of the cameras and spotlights.
04. Berlin By Night. (4:20.2)
Scene 1 & 3 run by ymh, Scene 2 run by Warepire.
Scene 1: There are three spots where the first contact can spawn. Fortunately two of them are on the left side and thus on my route to the phone booth (2nd contact) so it didn't cause me to reset very often. Then comes some running around and button-pressing until I get past the gate.
What obviously caused most attempts to fail is the clip through the wall of the booth. It doesn't work immediately but is still about 15 seconds faster than the normal running back around. The enemies can be tough because of their number and gear, but I manage to take them out quickly enough.
Scene 2: This was not a fun level to work on, because AK-47s hurt and there's no body armor en route, I also have to finish the level with at least 40 hp or Scene 3 becomes too difficult.
I cannot trigger the alarm in this Scene due to that changing the enemies behavior to a much more difficult one. Thankfully not triggering the alarm is the easy part.
The first 2 guards, the ones that dwell outside, I have to dispose of without making a sound, a missed shot or a shot from a guard can trigger the alarm. Once I reach the warehouse there is no longer any need to be silent so I switch to using the AK-47 instead. The warehouse is fairly straight forward, on my way out I jump past a girder on the outside to save a slight amount of time and to make it harder for the camera to track me.
Well outside I kill the guard by the door and clip past the van, there is no need to kill the other guard in this area because he will attempt to follow me, taking the same path I did before trying another route, so he won't be bothering me.
Once through the dining hall I avoid the camera by running on the lawn. I go to the second room in the library that has a book, jump over the desk and use it to clip through the wall and into the floor to finally land on the door frame of the door to the second room in the basement. Since the checks for the barrels being activated, the books being photographed and the agent being offered a light all are tied to this door, I don't have to do any of it, so I just jump down on the side behind the door and complete the Scene as if I had completed all my objectives.
Scene 3: I need to pick up the body armor for the explosive boost to work. It's only a small detour and the net benefit is worth it. Avoiding to ride the elevator like it's intended and boost yourself up on the second floor does not only save time, it also comes with a nice side effect, being that most guards just won't notice you because they are probably not triggered correctly. The only two who will attack you are the ones I kill (but apparently not even this seems to bother their fellow comrades).
On my way to Dr. Schenker I shoot a window because of a body armor behind it that I will pick up upon my escape with Schenker.
After talking to Schenker for the first time a wave of four enemies will come rushing at you. I decide to take them out with an explosive because it allows me to keep standing next to Schenker, which will trigger the second conversation automatically once the bad guys are dead. It also mitigates the risk of both scaring Schenker (he will crouch and stop moving) and alerting any further guards.
The two guards on my right at the branch do not take any notice of me or Schenker. I am not sure if this is also because of the boost earlier on, but it sure comes in handy. Schenker needs to be 'activated' when he gets scared by gunfire (not even a silencer does help). After taking care of the enemies I jump down near the exit zone to avoid any remaining guards who might come running upstairs. Luckily Schenker knows the way and is ignored by the guards.
05. Unexpected Turbulence. (2:24.1)
Scene 1 run by ymh, Scene 2 run by Warepire.
Scene 1: The clip cuts this short scene almost in half.
Scene 2: There isn't much to say about this Scene, I jump over as much as possible of the ladder and then spam crouch to descend the rest of it as fast as possible. Grab the gun, go around the guard and dash to the rear of the plane. Once out of the plane there isn't much to do, the falling section cannot be sped up. All I do when falling is to make sure the henchmen don't kill me and that I am right above the guy with the parachute when I catch up with him.
06. Care To Explain? (0:07.9)
Run by Warepire.
Notes: There is really not much to say here. The route is pretty much set in stone.
07. Rendezvous In Hamburg. (1:23.0)
Scene 1 run by ymh, Scene 2 run by Warepire.
Scene 1: Now here I use the 'strafe invisibility' glitch, which was known to work with your back turned towards the guards, but apparently also works facing them. Normally you would need to cause for a distraction and take a little detour to enter the club.
The other trick used is how I start the conversation with Goodman (my contact) mid-air, neglecting any falling damage.
Scene 2: Ignoring the guards outside the door is completely safe, I will be far enough away before they have a chance to kill someone, getting past the civilian in panic is a quite precise turn and it's close to impossible to not get caught on him at all, here I get caught on him for a brief moment.
I shoot one of the guards coming at me to pick up some extra ammo, just in case the guy with the SMG becomes a nuisance, it doesn't cost any time at all. I jump over the sliding boxes to avoid getting caught in them. I shoot the guard in the stairs or he will block my path.
I'm using a method ymh found to trigger the door opening without killing the enemies, we don't know exactly how it works but it's probably some kind of mini-clip, normally the door doesn't give you an "activate" corsair. Our guess is that the entire room is a trigger for that cutscene, and a barrier has been put to stop you from activating it until certain enemies are dead, and this mini-clip puts you just enough outside the barrier to trigger the cutscene to make the door open.
For the end I use a route to reduce the time spent in the water when swimming in under the bridge, swimming is slower than running. I also accidentally trigger the strafe invisibility/inaudibility glitch when running past the guards before I start jumping, normally they shoot at me directly as I run past them.
08. A Visit To Santa's Workshop. (0:07.0)
Run by ymh.
Notes: You can use the locks you normally have to weld open to jump over the fence altogether.
09. A Tenuous Lead. (5:08.9)
Scene 1, 3 and 5 run by ymh, Scene 2 and 4 run by Warepire.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle, Hampton MPL 9mm SMG, Impact Explosives.
Scene 1: Shooting the lock at the start is the second hardest thing in this scene. The guards can be managed relatively easy. The difficulty is running through the steam at the end without dying. Normally you'd need to get a valve wheel and let the steam off, but why start taking the conventional, slower routes now ? =P
Scene 2: Finally the last Scene in the game where I have to activate barrels, the location of 2 barrels had to be manipulated, and it's the 2nd and 3rd barrel when counted in the order which I activate them. If the 2nd barrel is in this location it "unlocks" the route I am taking which is slightly faster (about a second) compared to going the other way around. The 3rd barrel's other location is just a deal-breaker. The 1st and 4th barrel are unnecessary to manipulate since all their possible locations are about equal in time needed to activate them.
At the start I also activate the alarm to have a few doors opened for me. I have to pick up the body armor or the rest of the Scenes become too difficult even for a segmented run, I would have needed to pick it up even if I hadn't missed that guard in the office area.
At the end I choose the lipstick explosive in preparation for Scene 3.
Scene 3: This explosive boost saves over a minute. The difficult part was just to make it with enough Health and Armor for the next scene.
Scene 4: This Scene is pretty much a gauntlet, there are a few things to note with this Scene and that is that Forward+Strafing in the ventilation pipes is somewhat tricky because the game likes to try to get you stuck on every seam and corner.
The welding went really well here, I managed to trigger the Quick weld trick twice. Also the ladder afterwards co-operated really well, this ladder has to be the worst designed ladders in the game because it can really troll you when you attempt to get off it.
Scene 5: Jumping is much faster than just wading through the water, so fast it allows me to pass that exploding boiler which would normally kill you.
Warepire discovered that route for the engine room. It allows me to skip disabling the electricity and head for the door.
That clip is a real attempt-killer but it was well worth it, saving about 20 seconds.
10. H.A.R.M.'s Promise. (0:10.5)
Run by Warepire.
Notes: There is not a lot to note for this Scene, I discovered that I can jump out of the water sooner if I jump into it instead of just running off the edge. Everything else is quite standard by now.
11. The Dive (4:10.3)
Scenes 1 & 3 run by Warepire, Scene 2 run by ymh.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle, Hampton MPL 9mm SMG, Impact Explosives.
Scene 1: Leaving the room as fast as I do lets me leave before the guard arrives to his post which means he cannot block me. When I am outdoors I take some tiny shortcuts around the pillars to save a little bit of time and to avoid taking a couple of bullets.
After I am back inside I just run to the radiator and turn back, this will make the guards, who I have to kill for the maid to open the door, spawn, I take them out as quickly as I can and then kill off some of my tail while I wait for the maid to get far out into the hall enough for me to get past her.
At the end I attach the zip-cord to the hook from a slight gap between the tree and the glass of the open window to save some running distance.
Scene 2: This one is pretty straight-forward. The trouble starts after exiting the vent. Getting on the roof while taking care of the guards is a real pickle, so is the explosive boost. Killing the enemies on the balcony with an explosive before they are triggered is comfortable because otherwise they'd surround me and I'd have to pick them one by one.
Scene 3: For such a long Scene there is really not much to say about it, there is only really one path to take and I do my best to cut corners where possible and not get stuck anywhere.
12. If Our Demands Are Not Met. (0:09.2)
Run by Warepire.
Notes: New for this training mission is that you don't have to use the items before you can move on. The rest is standard by now.
13. A Man Of Influence. (12:07.1)
Scene 1 run by ymh, Scenes 2 & 3 run by Warepire.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle.
Scene 1: Since every person spotting you would sound the alarm, getting past the lady talking on the phone without noticing you does not always work. It's a timing thing really.
So is waiting for the camera to pan far enough to the left so I can run down the corridor without being spotted.
The first two loads of gas are for the guards. You need to disable the alarm system for Dumas' office or it would just go off upon entering it. The third gas cloud I spray near an alarm button that would normally be triggered by eiher that one guard of an office lady. The last load is for two scientists who would do the same.
Once I'm in the office the guards stop lookin for me, but still stay alerted, thus the hit I take when returning to the front desk.
Scene 2: The AK-47 has exactly one use in this mission and that is dealing with the first guard booth in a very effective way, after that it's unusable because it's too loud. Guards in this level seem to have higher health than earlier missions, so I make use of dumdum bullets to take care of the rest of the necessary ones after I've entered the compound.
The high point of this Scene we have to thank ymh for, he found the trick in this Scene that lets me skip photographing the books, we dubbed this trick semi-clipping and more information on how this trick works is in the tricks section at the top.
So instead of bothering with the books I head directly across the rails and dispose of the guards, I cannot do this right away, I have to wait until they are in regions of the area that the cameras cannot see. When the guards are disposed of I go into the warehouse and trigger the half-clipped glitch against a pipe (of some sort) and then move towards the gate and right by it.
Scene 3: This is by far the most boring Scene in the game, I click on the options as quickly as I can, but still with a bit of delay because if you're too fast the next option box will fail to show and the mission will get stuck, this caused numerous resets.
The options have been timed individually to find the ones that are the quickest and will result in the end discussion to be shorter one, if you don't ask enough questions about Dumas enterprises Dumas will explain the security system of the safe in detail wasting a lot of time.
I found the most optimal choices to be "B > A > A > B > A > A > B > B" which coincidentally are the questions that are the fastest.
14. Further Investigation Required (0:14.0)
Run by ymh.
Notes: That's the level I first discovered this "no-clip"-state you can be in, allowing you to go through almost any obstacle.
15. Safecracker (2:50.0)
Scenes 1 to 4 & 6 run by ymh, Scene 5 run by Warepire.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle, Impact Explosive, Proximity Explosive, Cigarette Lighter.
Scene 1: Boosting over the fence and clipping through the floor into the basement almost makes this route inverted. It also saves more than half a minute.
The only important thing was to make sure there is a body armor in the right place in Scene 2.
Scene 2: Yay, boss fight skip !
The body armor I pick up is necessary and luckily on my way. I decide to take a hit by Inge to make sure she follows me. Otherwise she might stop and start singing.
Turning on the radio again is one of her essential actions, which means I can't really prevent her from doing so. That's why I can use her to get into a no-clip and just move trough the wodden barricades that are normally only destroyed after beating her. More than a minute is saved this way.
I switch to the lipstick grenade I'll be using in the next scene.
Scene 3: The boost is easy, but again I wanted to retain a good amount of armor. Easily saves 40+ seconds
Scene 4: This scene has a couple of small flaws :
- Shooting the barrels could be half a second faster.
- Throwing the grenade and therefore taking out the welder could be a bit faster.
- Pressing those two red buttons could be faster (but then again some buttons in this game are just plain evil for speedrunning)
But I'm still satisfied, after all this route saves 30+ seconds.
Scene 5: The intelligence items were manipulated to have as good as possible locations.
This is another one of those Scenes where a lot of things have to happen a certain way or the attept will fail, therefor I allow myself a second or so of mistakes.
Those are fumbling slightly with the 3rd intelligence item and crouching slightly too early to pick up the envelope outside the elevator.
Besides that this Scene is fairly straight forward, run around and pick up 8 of the 9 intelligence items and unlock the elevator. I use the last proximity explosive to take care of some guards that will otherwise block me when I grab the last intelligence item that I need.
Scene 6: The clip requires very careful movement because the strip you can walk on OoB is very small, there is a high risk of just falling down into the void.
As you see I need to move a bit for the safe with the documents to become visible, otherwise I'd have to take a camera shot into the dark.
I miss the first shot but that costs only about half a second.
This saves well over a minute.
16. An Ounce Of Hope, A Pound Of Despair. (0:14.8)
Run by Warepire.
Notes:The indoors part of this mission is all standard by now. The new trait for now is that you don't have to wait for the instructor to finish talking before you can collect the item in the display case.
The outdoors part is nothing new really, it's just a little different. The oddest thing about this level is that it's faster to go towards a corner than straight ahead. Compared to earlier the speech by the instructor is divided into 4 parts here, so I need to use 4 Quick save abuse to pass it. I accidentally save/load a 5th time, which is really not pretty. I did my best to do an equal/faster run of this level where I don't make this error, but I was unable to do that, this is the only attempt I managed to do that was shorter than 16 seconds.
17. Rescue Attempt. (7:47.7)
Scene 1 run by Warepire, Scenes 2 & 3 run by ymh.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle, Hampton MPL 9mm SMG, Impact Explosive, Coin, Cigarette Lighter.
Scene 1: The route for this mission is pretty much set in stone by the objectives. On my way to the passenger list I messed up with a guard, but his aid before the quite ugly kill evens it out so time wise it was no damage done.
In this mission you actually have a use of the Coin, the one item that feels like it's the most useless item in the game. The Coin can be used to distract the conductor and then you can just run past him. For the distraction to work however the Coin has to be thrown so that the conductor looks to the left.
Once I've passed the conductor I pull out my Hampton SMG again, grab the ticket, that some passenger carelessly left in their cabin, which magically allows me to raise hell on the train well within earshot of the conductor without him doing anything about it, compared to without ticket when I will fail the mission immediately after firing my weapon if I am within earshot.
The meeting with the UNITY agent and the apprehension of the HARM agent went well, only minor door trouble. On my way to leave the train I didn't get the best enemy behavior but it's acceptable, I also encounter a bit of door trouble at one point, but all within what we considered acceptable due to how bad this level can troll you.
Scene 2: I fire those shots at the start so the guards would align (makes them easier to kill).
I pick up a body armor because I can need every single point for the upcoming motorcycle part.
Jumping the bar with help of the logs is what the programmers intended I guess, but I don't see how any casual player would know, and even then it seems like pure luck to make it over. Many attempts ended here.
Fortunate for me the guy with the grenade launcher blows up himself and the other guard, it really was either them or me.
The chopper doesn't give me much trouble while I'm waiting to pick up the codebreaker again (I'll need it in the next scene)
Scene 3: That guard behind the big vault door must be one of Archer's old schoolmates or something (at least I like to imagine so in my head). I don't know if it's really him who opens the door, but not shooting and setting off the alarm is already something worth respecting.
With luck the lock on the door can be opened with only one weld instead of two, but restarting because of this might be noble, but not really combinable with my eagerness to get a good overall attempt done (in my lifetime).
The reason I stand in front of the door without doing anything for that long is because almost all doors have something of a cooldown when it comes to closing them again.
Thankfully Warepire discovered that a no-clip is possible there, although at first we didn't know what to make of it. For some reason only very late it came to our mind that a quick save & load is a way to escape death by falling.
After grabbing Schenker I let him come close to the lightning field before I kill the guard, because otherwise he might crouch out of fear again and slow things down. The kill turns out to be greatly timed with the lightning fields and I don't need to wait for another cycle.
In this attempt Schenker really amazed me because he didn't stop for a single time. In addition the enemies turned out to be easily manageable.
18. A Stern Warning (0:08.5)
Run by Warepire.
Notes: ...And we're back to having to listen to the instructions before we can get our item and play with it so some Quick save abuse is needed to skip that. The speech in this mission is divided in 2 parts, after part 1 the door to the booth will open and after part 2 the door to the testing area is lowered. Since the door to the testing area is slow and the speeches start after each other I skip them both immediately.
Once in the testing area triggering the mines give a fairly nice speed boost, and don't cause any damage, so I abuse that and ride the blasts to the end marker.
19. Trouble In The Tropics (6:01.9)
Scenes 1 & 2 run by Warepire, Scenes 3 & 4 run by ymh.
Custom equipment: Hampton MPL 9mm SMG, Impact Explosive.
Scene 1: This Scene starts really evil, you are spawned just close enough to the crate to not be able to just strafe into the water, so I have to quickly move back, and then strafe. This is done during the fade-in after the cutscene so I am doing this without seeing, which is even worse.
Taking out the camera manipulates the guards inside to a slightly more favorable behavior which allows me to run-n-gun to the point from where I have to fire off the Grenade. Otherwise I would have to wait by the red containers for a guard that is coming from the double door straight ahead.
I am slightly glitching the stairs to help me find the position where I need to stop and aim at the seam between the glass and the door in order to launch the Grenade so that it will go through and so that it's blast will destroy the communications equipment. On my way to the elevator I have a run in with the guard that I would have needed to wait for if I hadn't shot that camera earlier.
The rest of the level is pretty standard stuff. I prepare for Scene 2 by equipping the Grenade Launcher while I wait for the code breaker to finish it's job. I have to crouch here or the guards in the room in front of me will see me after a few seconds.
Not going for the code breaker in the room costs be about half a second, but it saves me around 2 seconds in the next Scene because I don't have to take a detour to get a body armor this way.
Scene 2: Right before I was going to start attempts on this Scene ymh told me he found a new use for the fall-distance reset glitch with Quick save abuse. It turns out that the void in this game isn't a kill-zone at all, but a floor with no material properties that is far down enough under the level to work as a "landed from too high up" surface.
The discovery made my prepared weapon selection a little impractical, and it rendered the Impact Explosives obsolete. Eliminating the 2 guards with the Grenade Launcher is effective though not as easy as using the SMG, but the weapon switch would have taken too much time so the Grenade Launcher had to do. Redoing Scene 1 didn't feel like it would have been worth the effort.
Crevices works somewhat funny in this Scene, if you get stuck in them and try to jump out, you will get pushed further and further down into the ground for each jump, and finally fall through. The crevice I use to go out of bounds with is the fastest to reach without explosion-boosted jumps and I need to preserve HP and armor to some degree for the upcoming Scenes, which makes this crevice the best choice.
Once through the ground I quick save before I hit the surface that is the "void" and then reload to land on that surface unharmed. When quick saving out of bounds like this it's easy to soft-lock the game which was quite the annoyance.
This route only works thanks to the beltbuckle's amazing firing distance since the end level trigger doesn't exist all the way down at the void. Once I reach the water "block" that is the shallow lake I find the approximate location from where I shall seek out the lock-on point with the help of the outline of the 3 small rocks that exist at the end of the river-part. Finding the lock-on point itself went really well considering that it's smaller than 5x5 pixels at this distance, and that it's completely invisible.
Scene 3: Clipping through the grille saves a couple of seconds.
Getting up with help of the red lamp is faster than using the first ladder. I get lucky and achieve a double-weld on the first lock, this saves one second.
There is actually a no-clip possible in the control room that we wanted to use to get to the exit without taking care of the enemies. But that solution didn't really turn out to be faster than the normal route.
The grenade launcher shot goes too far to the left to be most effective, but I manage to fix it with the AK and SMG without losing time. I apply the codebreaker first and ignore the guards, which is okay since I don't need any specific amount of health/armor for the last scene anyway.
Scene 4: The first two enemies need to be taken out silently or the alarm will go off.
I use the trick for skipping conversations on the two scientists. As they say their last words (literally) I aim for the guard overhead because he can still set off the alarm.
Another, usually difficult no-clip which allows me to skip contacting headquarters.
Those two skips combined save over a minute.
20. Low Earth Orbit (1:20.8)
Scene 1 run by ymh, Scene 2 run by Warepire.
Scene 1: Here we have the biggest single timesaver in our run, this shortcut saves almost four minutes.
Warepire discovered that clipping with help of the doors here is possible quite a long time ago I think. At first we planned to clip through the wall and land somewhere in the Bio-Dome to the right. With the trick to survive high falls it looked promising. But all we ever achieved was landing ON the dome, and this didn't bring anything.
However, by luck I discovered that you can fall through the map on the other side, which is even closer to the exit zone.
Scene 2: Just as in Scene 1 the doors can be really evil, and for this Scene it doesn't help that the level shakes randomly, so I am quite happy with how the door handling turned out.
When climbing the elevator shaft I noticed that the slots on the long-side walls and the lamps are evenly spaced, which allows me to climb the shaft quite quickly using a "wobbling" motion. I have to "wobble" a bit or I will not jump far enough on each side to land on the next surface I have to jump from. It works on the left side too, but I climb on the right side because it requires one less jump.
21. Good Luck And God Speed. (0:04.2)
Run by Warepire.
Notes: Just like in An Ounce Of Hope, A Pound Of Despair the conversation is started faster if you go to a corner than straight ahead.
22. Alpine Intrigue. (6:26.4)
Scenes 1, 2 & 4 run by ymh, Scene 3 by Warepire.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle, Hampton MPL 9mm SMG.
Scene 1: The first shot must be placed a bit to the right of the middle of the gate, otherwise you will be spotted and the mission fails.
In front of the second gate there is an invisible box or wall. Doing it correctly won't damage but still boost you.
Scene 2: I jump once at the beginning so the guard in the cabin notices me and opens the door. It's vital to kill him because otherwise he will sound the alarm.
The camera spots the corpses and the alarm goes off, which gives me five seconds to reach the end trigger before the failure message shows up. Fortunately I make it just in time for the "Complete a scene despite failing"-trick to work.
Scene 3: For this Scene I cannot take any damage at all, everything has to be preserved for Scene 4. It doesn't change much though, it just requires me to kill the guard because he will always get a few bullets in me for this route.
Even out of bounds is starting to become standard by now, so there isn't much to say about this level. These mountains are a little rockier than the ones in Mission 2 (Misfortune In Morocco) so they are a little trickier to navigate in order to not fall down a slope or get stuck on a seam.
The trickiest part is dropping down on sewer tunnel roof (at least I think it's supposed to be a sewer...), I have to slide on the right polygon to not take any damage, this is why I slowed down a bit so that I can have a chance of finding it.
Scene 4: One of the most difficult scenes to run, due to it's length, the number & power of enemies, and some very complicated tricks.
The first can be seen only after ~90 seconds in. By using the momentum of the snowmobile to get around the electric gate, I skip welding it open and dealing with the enemies. This saves well over 20 seconds. On my way out of that dangerous zone I bump into the mountains on the left to get a small boost.
Next up is the ascension onto the mountains. This ended most of the attempts because it's very tricky, and as you see I only make it the third time, but at least it gives me a nice boost.
You will see me quicksaving and quickloading a couple of times because of a few lethal drops, which could only be avoided by massively slowing down, however the overall risk would be higher still.
I also have to get off the snowmobile a few times to make it over some nasty brinks by foot. Thankfully the snowmobile always spawns in the place from where you're entering it.
The last huge and deadly drop is onto a big block beneath the surface. I drive up to the gondola station and thankfully the wall and the mountainside are low enough for me to get stuck between them and eventually get boosted back onto the ground level.
As you can see the guards ignore me because my unusual route must have dodged some triggers and the enemies lost track of me (similar to 'Berlin By Night Scene 3').
After getting the gondola lift going I jump into the front window to reach the exit trigger just a little bit sooner.
23. The Indomitable Cate Archer. (5:06.1)
Scenes 1 & 2 run by ymh, Scenes 3 & 4 run by Warepire.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle, Bacalov Corrector.
Scene 1: By touching the lamp mid-air I lower the drop height, thus avoiding any falling damage. Note that you are automatically given the scope for the AK at the start of this mission even if you didn't pick it up before.
Another explosion-boosted jump up to the fuse box that saves about 15 seconds.
Scene 2: I beat Armstrong with 17 punches. It's not perfect but alright, sometimes the fight is weird in the way punches are considered as hits or not.
Thanks to a trick we discovered in the next scene I can skip recovering my gear, normally unavoidable because especially the belt buckle is needed. But this way I save about 20+ seconds.
Another five seconds are saved with the clip through the fence.
Guns are needed for the next scene, so I have to knock out one of the enemies outside before they spot me, otherwise my punches won't do any damage and I'm screwed.
A semi-clip through the locked door saves another 3-5 seconds.
Scene 3: I use the remaining AK-47 bullets to take care of the armed guards on the floor during the elevator ride. Then I use a Quick save abuse which I will explain in a moment.
I take out the camera to trigger the guards on the other side of the door and have them open it for me. Since I don't have a belt buckle on me, I need to get out of the gas chamber using a different method. This is where the Quick save abuse comes in.
For the longest time we figured the console in the gas chamber had to be good for something, and now it is. ymh found out that it can be used to no-clip which lets us get out of the chamber faster. When we played around with the clip we both had Quick saves outside the gas chamber, so when the real attempts started we had no idea why the clip suddenly was almost impossible to get. (Read: The clip would on average work once per 2 hours of attempts)
Then just for the hell of it, we tested to Quick save, and that made the clip realistic for a speedrun. So Quick saves have some kind of miniscule effect on objects locations or properties that makes this clip doable in real-time.
Just as I enter the gas chamber I fire a couple of shots at the door in the other end, this is to alert a guard who carries a lot of ammo. While I wait for him I perform the no-clip, then kill him as he arrives. With the ammo he gives me, I have enough to deal with the rest of the Scene and the next one.
The story behind how we "skip" the antidote is quite funny: It began when we had recently discovered clipping and I decided I would try to get into the antidote chamber and pick it up early, just to discover 2 things. The first is that you cannot get out again, and the second is that the antidote doesn't exist in there, it's just a sprite with no properties. It wasn't until ymh showed me a video of him clipping into the tube where the antidote comes out and demonstrating that the antidote is there all the time that I realized why the antidote was only a sprite inside the chamber.
Since I can retain the no-clip state from the gas chamber, I head directly to the antidote tube, go in, grab the invisible antidote, leave, and head for the exit. I am not too happy with how I handled the guards at the end, but it's only a second or so from absolutely optimal. Due to their ammo I cannot leave them standing. (1 has poison rounds, 2 have dumdum rounds, and 1 has fmj rounds). And it's a dumdum guard and the poison guard that are standing watch in the first room.
The lock gives me surprisingly little trouble, this lock has killed more attempts than one could imagine.
Scene 4: The AI of the mechanics in the first room is very kind to move them away from my path. I delay killing that guard on the platform for as long as possible so that I won't miss the door-cycle. The mechanic crouching in fear activates the door when he gets scared, I want to make the door before it closes. I also don't want the guards that come running down the stairs to block me in the doorway. All that has the nice benefit of also allowing me to reach the next door before the guard behind it starts to open it.
On the platform the first train track is only a sprite while the second one is genuine, which means I can try to use the invisibility/inaudiblity strafe glitch until I reach the second track, to keep the guards up on the walkway from shooting at me. That is all lost at the second train track since I must jump over it to not get stuck. After the jumping it's all luck if I can get far enough to kill the guards before I lose too much HP.
In the shark room I use one of the lamps in the wall to catch my drop, after that I head for water as fast as possible so that the fixed part of the shark release happens as I swim for the tunnel. I jump over the shark so it won't kill me, although I mess it up slightly and touch the tail of it, so I lose a bit of HP. Jumping in and out of the water doesn't save nor cost any time compared to normally swimming, but it confuses the shark and improves my chances of reaching the platform at the other side.
By the elevator I use a skip that lets me ride on top of it, it's a bit random and there isn't much time to pull it off but fairly cooperative. To do it, after jumping up along side of the elevator, jump until you get stuck, crouch once quickly, jump until you get stuck... repeat... until you are on top of it.
In the bar area I take a tiny detour to get a better angle at the switch, due to it's small hitbox it's really easy to miss it. I fumble with it for about a second here. Getting to the secret office goes pretty smooth, but I manage to fumble slightly with the button on the arm rest as well.
After grabbing the list of names I very slightly mess up the escape so the guards that arrive are not delayed as much by the door as they normally are, due to me taking damage on the shark earlier, I have to waste a little less than a second by running backwarsds and shooting at them to keep them from killing me instead of strafe-running to the end.
24. A Very Large Explosion. (4:36.2)
Run by ymh.
Custom equipment: AK-47 Assault Rifle, Bacalov Corrector.
Scene 1: The Corrector boost saves 15-20 seconds and avoids quite a few enemies. The rest of them can be avoided or taken out quite easily.
After meeting my contact I need to move foward quickly, otherwise he will go first and block the way and I'd have to wait for him to die. I take out some enemies to clear the way and ease the pain.
At the end I can jump up and over the debris instead of walking the whole way around and getting most likely killed by the two ladies.
Note that upon reaching the exit zone you will always be back at 100HP.
Scene 2: I shoot the conrol panel with the Correcor to flip the switch. This prevents the aerial lift from slowing down and stopping. Instead it will jump to the place for the next drive (you can see it on the left side of the screen) and accelerate. Meanwhile I take care of the guards and pick up the armor.
After a while of riding the gondola and passing the death-zone I drop down on the surface to continue by foot because it's faster that way.
After some joyless mountaineering I reach a zone that triggers a cutscene. I have no idea why they put it there but it comes in handy because it teleports me near the exit zone.
The Volkov fight is totally satisfying. An improvement would obviously be to hit him more often, but the accuracy of the revolver is poor and I try to make the best of it. I go to the very left so Volkov wouldn't run around too much. Finishing him before he reloads is a good time indication and luckily I do so while he is behind that stone, so he doesn't have to run so far to reach his "exit zone".
25. Such Is The Nature Of Revenge. (1:02.5)
Run by Warepire.
Scene 1: For some reason in the beginning when fighting the Baroness, the Petri can be fired much faster than normal, I abuse this to end the Baroness misery quicker.
There isn't anything special going on when telling the civillians in the first area to take cover. The second area is more interesting, here after activating the first civillian (woman by the sign) I shoot a few bullets at the guard. It doesn't matter if I hit or miss him, because all I want to do is get him to move, because if he moves, he is less likely to hit the civillians due to being in a worse location. That is important due to a little shortcut that I am taking, I think this is the only place in the run where I am using a civillian as a stepping stone. When I first thought of this route I calculated that it would save 3+ seconds over the intended route, but in reality it saves slightly less than 1.5 seconds.
The rest is quite standard.
Scene 2: The Tom Goodman fight is annoying. After your first shot is fired, he will run to take cover behind the tombstone (it's always the same one). So I delay attacking him until after I've grabbed the ammo box, I need to get at least 1 bullet into him while running over to his side of the graveyard, otherwise I will most likely run out of bullets when he has 1 hitpoint left and that will ruin the attempt.
When you get close to Goodman he can do one of 3 things between each shot that he fires, he can stand still, run away or go into a leaning crouch. Here it is very important that he does not try to run away, because that costs time. His first move is almost ALWAYS to run away the covard he is, so I have to block him, this is guaranteed to make me miss at least one bullet. The more bullets I get into him before he hides, the more bullets I can miss now and still beat the attempt-killing reload.
This also means that this fight is not perfect, a perfect fight would not miss a single bullet. Which could cut around 3 seconds of this time. However, with the accuracy of the Petri revolver, that is not something that you aim for.
SDA management for the awesome site and forum.
Butt3rs & D-13 for their speedruns that gave us a few ideas for our run.
The Glue Factory, lurking their NOLF support forum gave us a few ideas for this run. Sadly this forum doesn't exist anymore. However, fragments of it are preserved in the Way Back Machine of archive.org.
Warepire also wishes to thank ymh for making the discovery that made clipping a useful trick, his assistance in finding glitches, routes, and for taking on the Scenes that were too hard for me.
Ymh would like to thank Warepire without whom I'd never had the guts and patience to work on this run, and his resoureful ideas and discoveries that heavily shaped it.
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