A second Mario universe was born in February 2001, one where all characters are as thin as paper. In this parallel universe, things seem the same for Mario... the princess is kidnapped as usual, but not just her - Bowser steals her entire castle up into the sky! Thankfully, since Mario is made of paper, falling miles back to the ground doesn't hurt him.
Best time: 3:38 by Kyle 'NoiseCrash' Duffy on 2008-08-12, done in 53 segments.
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First of all, a big huge ginormous thanks and mad props go to Floogal. He was basically the architect of this route and has been involved in the planning stages since the very start. I started following the thread in the forum a little bit and saw that he was planning to do the run, which was very exciting as the old run had been around for quite a while and really needed to be improved (no offense to Wak, of course). However, eventually VHS got the shaft and Floogal didn't have a DVD recorder, and probably wasn't going to get one anytime soon. About this time (March 2008 or so) I started getting interested and seeing just how good of a personal best I could get since the route had major consideration put into it. After my very first test run (4:01:xx, already an hour of improvement) I put my name in for recording. I kept improving my execution, he kept improving the plan, and eventually you get what you see here.
I'd also of course like to thank everyone else who helped out with the route planning, I didn't follow the entire thread from the beginning so I don't have name-by-name lists, but thank you all greatly for the suggestions and everything likewise.
Also, one more thanks has to go out to pyromaniac who showed a constant interest and gave me motivation when I thought I was out of the race. I wish him luck in planning and executing his 100% run of this game! I personally can't wait for it.
And last but definitely not least, sincere thanks goes to the entire SDA staff for doing all the work they do and keeping this speed machine running.
Onto the run itself.
As far as mistakes go, the only mistakes I make are minor ones, usually nothing worse than missing a jump or getting hung up on a corner for a second. I can't count how many times I botched up going up simple stairs in practice (and a couple rare luck-heavy segments in this run) simply because the game refused to accept my A-button presses. I also apparently suck at going straight down, but that's another story. Oh, and I also have an atrocious reaction time. You'll see.
In general, the strategies were really pretty simple. I HEAVILY abuse Bow's Spook attack to scare all normal enemies from battle. This is easily the quickest method to all the forced normal battles, as it eliminates all enemies and you also skip their death animations. It sounds simple, but the execution was not as easy as you might think. In many sections I had upwards of four consecutive enemy groups to Spook when it only has a moderate rate of succeeding on each enemy (I figured it out once, and in one segment Spook only had approximately a 7.51% chance of succeeding on all enemies). On top of that, the command required to make it more likely to succeed is very awkward, as you have to hit the control stick left repeatedly. In the end every Spook was successful after many retries, and the normal battles really couldn't go any faster than what you see.
Boss strategies involved a little more planning, but with the small numbers in terms of attack power, defense power, HP, FP, and everything else you can eventually get a plan that works through simple math. Parakarry is basically my designated boss killing accomplice, as his Shell Shot does a good amount of damage with a very quick animation and low FP cost. By the end of the game he can do 6 damage to the boss on every turn with hardly any downsides. Of course, Mario's strategies for boss battles are greatly improved. I use a Peril Mario strategy, which means I get the Mega Rush badge and try to keep mario in Peril (1 HP) as much as possible. Mega Rush boosts his attack by 4 when he's in peril, so in combination with Super Jump Charge and Power Bounce, you can dish out 40+ damage in a single turn with proper timing. I also heavily rely on the Close Call badge, which gives you a chance of evading the enemy's attacks if Mario is in danger (5 HP or lower). This is basically necessary to keep me alive in certain battles and to give me an extra turn to Jump Charge so I can kill the enemy in one turn.
I only fight as many enemies as necessary, and I never once upgrade my HP. I need more FP to do more powerful attacks, and more BP to equip the necessary badges. 10 HP also makes it much easier to get Mario down to 1 HP so Mega Rush will take effect. It's not really that great of a strategy to use for a normal playthroughs as a huge amount of luck is involved, but with enough restarts and enough luck it is easily the fastest overall boss-killing method.
You'll also notice that segment 26 uses a different save file with a much higher time. There's a very long story behind that, but basically that segment accidentally got deleted when I was already on the next segment. My backup save (file 3, I think it is) was already on the segment after that so I had no way of going back and re-recording. What I did was play through it again on another file without worrying too much about time but keeping every stat EXACTLY the same. You can check it as much as you want but the HP, FP, level, badges, active partner, and everything down even to the number of coins (which have no effect whatsoever) is exactly the same. I took extra care to make sure of that in order for it to be allowed.
Finally, ***MAKE SURE TO WATCH SEGMENT 49!*** It is without a doubt the highlight of the run. It utilizes a bunch of lava-skipping tricks, has a neat little damage-detection trick, and navigates succesfully in what's basically complete blindness. Even if you're a battle-only watcher, watch it anyway. Do it.
Now, we're going to get into the meat of the comments... and that is a segment-by-segment analysis! I had originally planned to do an audio commentary, but I recorded it and listened back through it and it kinda sucked, so I decided to do this instead. Be prepared for a lot of reading, you'd probably be best off following this while watching the run. So, here we go!
If you don't feel like reading all these right now, just skip down to where it says end segment by segment comments.
Also, thanks to Floogal again for proofreading my original comments.
--- Begin segment by segment comments ---
There's not a whole lot to say about this one, as there's nothing you can really do to speed it up. Everything that I'm required to do goes pretty smoothly, but there's nothing memorable here.
The first thing that I do is harvest the 10-coin block, reason being I need coins to buy two Fright Jars in Toad Town for two Koopa Troopa groups in the fortress basement.
The Jr. Troopa fight is basically scripted, just keep jumping.
I grab the Fire Flower to use in Koopa Bros. Fortress against a Koopa Troopa and 3 Bob-ombs.
The Goomba Dodging is the first real "challenge" in the run, but it's handled pretty nicely.
I grab the Close Call badge to use for many many boss battles later, it's a staple in my run.
I defeat the Red Goomba first in the Goomba Bros. battle because I have the FP for power jump twice and can defeat him quickly. Red gets killed first instead of Blue becase the characters won't have to walk as far to jump/headbonk on the other one. Also, I need one Close Call miss, so it's technically the first luck-based part in the run. Afterwards, I backtrack to the heal block to recover my FP (and in this attempt, HP).
The Goomba King battle is simple, the Goomnut tree defeats Red and Blue, then a couple Power Jumps and a Headbonk finish off the King.
Peach/Twink segments are annoyingly long and impossible to speed up. :P
I buy two Fright Jars in Toad Town to use on two groups of Koopa Troopas in the basement area of Koopa Bros. Fortress. I get the third from an item box later on.
Another Peach/Twink segment.
The Magikoopa battle is easy.
I talk to the Koopa Bros. (disguised as Toads) first instead of talking to Merlon, as it eliminates the need to visit his house twice.
I grab the Fright Jar and Pow Block to use in the Fortress Basement and the Koopa Village Fuzzy battle, respectively. Also I grab more coins.
The Fuzzy mini-game actually required quite a few restarts, they just didn't want to cooperate with me. I got a good set of locations this time though.
The Fuzzy battle is an easy strategy most people know about. Pow Block and Power Shell ends it.
I use the Honey Syrup in Shy Guy's Toybox, some nifty planning ahead there. I also grab a Thunder Bolt for use in Chapter 2 and a Fire Flower for use on the Koopa Bros. themselves.
Koopa Bros. Fortress segment, one of the longer (in fact, I think it's the longest) segment in the run. I simply do an untimed Shell Toss to kill the first Bob-omb because it just explodes in my face after taking any damage whatsoever.
The Power Bounce is also a huge staple in my run, awesome boss-killer.
Like I said, the Fire Flower defeats Bob-ombs instantly in the next battle, then the Koopa Troopa only has 1 HP left so an untimed Shell Toss finishes it off.
The basement area has three Fright Jars, which is executed better than usual due to drawing the attention of the first two Paratroopas at the same time. I also get more coins by jumping over the firebars 10 times, which takes a little time but it's on the way and easy to do.
I miss jumping on the bottom stair, and then I miss the lock on the door once I get to the top. The bottom stair was only missed by an inch or so, and the lock on the door was just random bad luck. I was clearly adjacent to it, but oh well.
Bombette kills the next Koopa Troopa instantly, and a Power Jump finishes off a Bob-omb, I then Power Jump the remaining Bob-omb and the battle is done, and many coins are collected afterwards.
Nothing of interest really happens from here until the end, where my horrible reaction time leads me to slow down the Bullet Bill segment a little bit, but it's not that noticeable.
I first-strike the Bill Blasters with Bombette to kill one instantly, then bomb the next to kill it instantly while skipping Mario's turn. Then a Power Jump/Bomb finishes it off. I also place myself next to the Heal Block so I can heal then grab the coins in one fluid movement.
The Bowser???/Koopa Bros. Fight is the first "boss" fight, but they're dispatched rather easily. A Pow Block could've sped up the Koopa Bros. themselves, but I wasn't lucky enough to get one to drop. One would've dropped from one of the Fright Jar'd Koopa groups in the basement.
Peach/Twink segments are still annoying.
I grab the Dizzy Attack badge here, which is basically the paramount of pre-planning, as I don't use it until the very last chapter.
Bombette basically owns Jr. Troopa and his pitiful 1 defense stat. So does Power Jump.
I finally get to buy the Speedy Spin, which is obviously necessary in a speed run. I then grab the first of four seeds to get into Chapter 6, since it's on the way.
And that train animation can't be skipped the first time around either. :(
I somehow botched talking to the train guy afterwards too.
Grabbing the 3 letters here is pretty simple, just running and jumping.
You can easily skip the Buzzar battle by just telling her you're Luigi.
This whole segment is really pretty simple, you can buy the Dried Shroom and Dusty Hammer without having having to actally learn it first, which practically everyone knows about. Then all that's left is traveling to and raising the ruins, which is a nice diagonal trek through the desert.
This segment took a lot of work, and required its own entire day to actually complete. The Spike Shield badge is basically just for a Jr. Troopa battle later.
Getting the bomb first strike on every Pokey proved to be rather irritating, but necessary. The first group is taken out simple with one additional bomb, then I level up to regain and get more FP. The second group uses a Thunder Bolt to destroy that Swooper. The third one requires an extra turn, since the best I can do against that Swooper with Mario on the first turn is to get it down by using the Dusty Hammer. And in case you're wondering, I never use that Dried Shroom I was forced to buy either.
Getting the Super Hammer is just long and boring.
I take a different route than the previous run here and grab the key on the lower-east side. It makes the route much smoother and just makes more sense than whatever the previous one did.
I also upgrade Parakarry to get an extra damage point with Shell Shot.
The first Chomp battle uses a Hammer and Body slam to conserve FP for later. I need to grab at least two FP by the time the second battle is over, so I was lucky to go ahead and get both of them after the first battle. The second battle simply uses a Bomb first strike and another Bomb, and the third battle is just two Shell Shots, as they're faster than a Bomb and I need Parakarry for Tutankoopa anyway.
The Tutankoopa battle is straight-forward and easy. Three turns with 10 damage add up to do 30 damage, which is how much HP he has. Simple.
More Peach/Twink stuff. Blargh.
I go alllll the way back into Toad Town, and save outside of the Forever Forest. Quite a bit of running there. That doesn't mean I don't have to use up 21 seconds to skip Buzzar again though. I also have to grab the desert seed, it's faster to get it on the way back than it is to get it earlier.
The Forever Forest is pretty fun to run, it looks like I'm just picking random exits. But there is a method to the madness, I promise. Once you learn the way you never forget it.
The mansion is just executing a bunch of puzzles, nothing too bad. The Boo with the Record in the first guessing game ended up a little farther away from me than I wanted him too, but it's alright. I try to keep the record game hovering right on the edge of the OK zone just to keep it entertaining. Everything else is really quite simple. Also, it's faster to jump up the stairs the last time instead of getting thrown up there by the couch.
Gusty Gulch is relatively easy also. Going uphill to the castle can be rather tricky, but going back down is much more fun. I enjoy getting off of the first town screen while still completely off-screen. Everything else is not a problem.
Tubba's Castle proved to be a little more difficlt than I had thought it would be. Most of the enemy dodging is pretty easy, but certain places can mess with your head a little bit.
I upgrade Bow in order to get her Spook ability, which is my normal battle winner from here on out. I then get caught by the flying guard to take a shortcut back to the lobby area.
I manage to make it through the spike key room without using Bow once, which is VERY difficult, but saves a lot of time over actually having to wait.
We also get the Mega Rush badge here, which is a godsend. It boosts your attack power by 4 when you're at 1 HP, so the goal is to be there during every boss battle. I also grab another FP recovery item for Shy Guy's Toybox.
This segment finishes up Chapter 3. The original plan was to jump on the spikes in the spike key room 9 times to get down to 1 HP, but it's much more interesting (and slightly faster I believe) to use Tubba to get down to that 1 HP. It only takes two attacks, and when you escape the battle you end up in the start of the next area, which basically evens out having to wait for the attacks. Also I couldn't wait to use Tubba's Heart to get Mario down to 1 HP as he ALWAYS uses the Charge attack first which is obviously way too much damage.
Tubba's Heart is taken out in two turns thanks to Mega Rush, Power Bounce, and Shell Shot. Then Tubba himself goes down with only a single Power Jump. I increase my BP to accomodate more badges, obviously.
And this time, the Peach/Twink segment was at the end. I pick items for the first two choices, but the default for the third because I never actually go to that area anyway.
This Jr. Troopa battle is the first real luck-based battle. I need a close Call miss in order to finish him off once I get down to 1 HP. As you can see, a Power Jump at full HP does 5, whereas a regular jump at 1 HP does 10. Quite the difference.
Afterwards, going left/right two and then exiting twice will get you back. Then all that's left is to enter Shy Guy's Toybox and save.
Pounding onto that spring was quite the ugly mistake. I just got a little happy with hitting the A button.
This is the first Shy Guy's Toybox segment, nothing too special really. Just running around, collecting things, then running around some more.
I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more.... Toybox.
That's all this is.
Hitting the blocks before getting the Dictionary is the only actual "skip" in the run basically. It's just a small one too.
I manage to hit the platforms perfectly, which is nice, then recover some FP so I can do a sufficient amount of Power Bounces on Big Lantern Ghost. I switch to Goombario as it only takes two hits on the lantern to make BLG hittable, and his Headbonk works perfectly to that end.
Also, you can't luck-manipulate BLG to keep him from blowing out the lantern on his first turn, he will ALWAYS do this if you hit the lantern at least twice on the first turn.
Those Pyro Guys need to learn to slow down.
General Guy segment. Annoying to run because the one luck-based attack is right after a bunch of easy stuff. It's having to redo all the easy stuff every time that gets frustrating.
The mob of Shy Guys gets defeated a 3-bounce, then I use Star Storm on the Stilt Guys, as it kills them in one turn. The Shy Stacks get a Power Jump and then the Power Shock treatment, as I don't want them attacking me, and I can't defeat them both in one turn, then a regular jump to save just enough FP for General Guy himself. He gets a five-bounce, an Electro Dash, then we finally get to the Close Call miss. One more five-bounce and a Turbo Charge and he's done for.
Will the Peach/Twink segments ever end?! This whole segment is devoted to it. The baking is kind of fun though, as you can put in nothing but the Cleaner by the sink, and it will still end up looking like a cake. The only "speed trick" in this segment is that you don't have to wait the full 30 seconds when baking the cake, 25 seconds is enough.
This segment, as you may notice, uses a different save file. The reason being kind of a long story. You see, while attempting the segment after this, I accidentally deleted this one. Long story short, my remote didn't detect me hitting the record button, and when I went to delete the failed attempt I just automatically deleted, except that failed attempt wasn't there. Instead, this attempt got deleted. I had to play through the game again without worrying about time, but made sure that EVERYTHING else was exactly the same, and it is. The run passed the verification process which is designed to catch things just like that, so you can rest assured that there is nothing shady about it.
The segment itself isn't all that interesting. Fuzzipede is easy to Power Shock, so all that's left is just taking him out. Then run around in the pre-jungle a little bit, and everything's a-ok.
For future reference, Power Shocking isn't used to keep him from doing damage, it's to avoid the attack animation. If I wanted to avoid damage I would use Close Call. In Fuzzipede's case, it's also to keep him from going to the ceiling which would obviously slow things down.
I also grab that Jammin' Jelly for the first Flower Fields segment.
This one wasn't very fun, but it's kind of neat to watch. Each Yoshi kid is saved in one fluid sweep through the jungle.
You'll get to see the first Spook used on 4 M. Bushes before the first Yoshi kid. These are easy to Spook and usually pose no difficulty, but you can see how much quicker it is than actually defeating them all.
Regarding the Spear Guy before the pipe, it's only very rarely that you can actually avoid him, and with the luck required after that I wasn't even about to worry about it. The Yoshi kid in the dark got to see a neat glitch involving Watt though, but I honestly kind of needed the light to make sure I was lined up with the pipe so it didn't really do a lot other than look neat. You do actually HAVE to use Watt to trigger the Yoshi kid being rescued, so it was necessary to actually use him/her.
I grab a Fright Jar for a group of 2 Duplighosts in the Crystal Palace.
The Pirahna Plant spook is more difficult, and was the source of most of my restarts. Then all that's really left is grabbing another kid and heading back to the village.
The segment begins with nothing too special, just grabbing the Jade Raven and then sticking it in its place.
The water spout puzzle is kind of cool though, as I block each hole from left to right instead of doing them in the order it wants you to.
This time, the Spook is 3 Putrid Pirahnas and a Magikoopa. Definitely not easy. I could've just got the three Pirahnas to spook and the Magikoopa will run away on his turn, but I got all four to frighten since its faster.
The first part is easy, long, and annoying to restart due to the semi-difficult second half.
In the first lava platform area, you must be quick and spindash on each platform in order to reach the first moving platform without having to wait on it. Also, that Ember right after the moving platform loves to ruin my day.
After pushing the three blocks into the lava a couple screens later, you can walk around the bottom edge to save from having to go all the way back around and using Parakarry to get across. Useful.
You only need to push one block in the next screen and Parakarry across, as you can see.
Noteable stuff picks up in the room with the big spikey ball coming at you. I completely go off the screen and beat it by a mile. :)
Also, look how close I get to the edge before the first moving platform! You can repeatedly take damage by using and canceling Bow (mashing C-Down) in the middle of it, and I use this to get to 1 HP for the next battle.
I push the block until it's one away from the edge instead of all the way because it's obviously quicker. Then I hide at the last second since I already have Bow out and use it to enter the next room as soon as possible.
I don't have to wait for Kolorado to trigger the scene at the next junction, but if I don't then a strange glitch occurs where the game basically stops after the Lava Pirahna. The star just refuses to appear after you defeat it, and you can't advance. Therefore, I make sure to wait for him.
This is basically just the Lava Pirahna. Not much luck is needed here, the only thing I really have to worry about is executing each 5-bounce, then hitting the last Power Jump. I Outta Sight the first series of attacks as trying to get 3 Close Call misses, while being faster I think since I could attack, is just way too much luck manipulation for me.
Then I escape the volcano and save.
You know the drill. More Peach/Twink. The quiz-off is easy as I just immediately answer each question with the first choice and always win.
Jr. Troopa requires no luck, but does require the Spike Shield badge in order to damage him with that spike on his head. I defeat him in two turns easily.
Next segment is Flower Fields... my least favorite. But it has to be done regardless.
This is the runt of the Flower Fields segment, but getting all of these Spooks to work one after the other is an insanely hard-to-get occurrence.
This is what the rest of the Flower Fields segments look like. Running around and trading items between people. There's a minor Spook here, but nothing too luck-demanding. The Bzzap! and Ruff Puff duo in the Southwest area is slightly difficult to avoid though.
I also manage to make a jump across one gap I usually use Parakarry over. That was lucky, in all honesty.
More of the same.
You can't do any of this out of order, the only thing that deviates from the "standard" route is that I get the Fertile Soil and the Crystal Berry at the same time from Posie.
Even more of the same. This one at least has the saving grace of a battle and the awesome Stone Tower area. If that music was in the rest of the chapter, I wouldn't have minded so much.
I also don't know how I avoided that first Bzzap! as soon as I got out of the bubble. I stole a move from The Matrix, I guess.
The Spike? battle involves two bits of luck actually. Him hitting with the first attack and him missing with the second. I had more restarts due to him missing the first than him hitting on the second, strangely enough.
I finally get to beat up the cloud machine and bring this chapter nearer to its close. The Spook in this section is moderate, but was difficult enough to merit its own segment after the Spike? battle.
The machine takes three hits on either side to destroy the casing, and then one more hit to actually destroy it.
You have to talk to Wise Whisterwood (I think that's his name anyway) before planting the beanstalk, then wait a couple minutes for it to grow. Annoyingly long but unavoidable. I play around while waiting for the cloud to bring me up to the Super Jump Charge badge, which is also used in defeating bosses as it increases your attack power by 3 each time you use it. Very deadly, as you can see when I take out Huff N. Puff in one attacking turn. I manipulate his attacks to get to 1 HP, and then take him out all at once. This is necessary to avoid the small scene where the little pieces that break off of him talk and attack you. Just look at those damage numbers.
You also get to watch the longest (but practically the final) Peach/Twink segment, which is completely pointless and doesn't merit you anything afterward.
You must talk to Merlon before trying to advance to Shiver City (my favorite) for story purposes.
The Blooper battle is relatively simple, but I MUST block his attack for a future battle down the road. It's an easy Power Shock, I always get 100% on it without a problem.
The plan after getting the Ultra Boots was to jump from the first step and hit the block, but as you can see I missed and had to spend a little extra time using the Tornado Jump. It's not a huge deal though.
The coin block bridge is also relatively simple.
I upgrade Parakarry again for more attack power.
I love Chapter 7.
This is just the first basic parts of Shiver City.
I jump on the ice in the shortest distance possible to minimize the time it takes. You end up on the other side in the same place in the same amount of time anyway, so there's no reason not to.
More Shiver City, but there are a couple battles.
The Jr. Troopa battle is relatively simple, and as you can see being at 8 HP is necessary, as blocking his attack deals 7 damage. It all works out perfectly.
The Monstar battle is easy since I'm already at 1 HP, just 4-bounce and it's done for. It's a faux battle anyway. I level up FP again.
From there on it's just taking steps to start climbing the mountain.
I love the music in this area. The timing is awesome, and being a drummer I like awesome timing.
The left Kooper is always the fake one. I Spook them away without too much difficulty.
I go ahead and grab the Blue Key before saving.
There's not a whole lot that's special about this segment. I use that Fright Jar as its quicker than switching to Bow and Spooking, and also saves me the FP (though I can't remember right now if that was a valid reason).
I also go ahead and switch the door over to the Red side since I'm already there and won't have to keep doing it every time I restart the next segment.
I move back after deploying Bombette in order to be closer to the fake ones.
This is the infamous White Clubba segment, which includes a lot of very difficult Spooks in a row. This required quite a lot of restarts to get right, especially because there's quite a bit of movement after the Spooks.
I wait to use Kooper as soon as the Mario in the background starts the kicking animation, because if you do it before then it'll just spit him back out at you.
I also miss the Jammin' Jelly, but it's no big deal. It's invisible.
The dino puzzle is also much improved from the previous run, as I only have to run back and forth twice as opposed to moving each dino individually.
The Crystal King battle is honestly quite relaxing after all the previous work. There isn't really any serious luck manipulation. The Power Shock I use is about 50-50, but it seems to work most of the time. I also need that 1 damage from the untimed Dash, as the Power Bounces do 69 damage, so I need 1 more to bump the damage up to his 70 HP.
I also switch to Bombette to blow up the wall leading to Rip Cheato's room. I had a free turn so I use it to switch characters.
This is the last time we'll have to deal with Peach/Twink in their own segment... although they do rudely and needlessly interrupt final Bowser.
Previous strategies had me grabbing a few items on the way back down, but thanks to Spook I get to skip them all.
I take the alternate route back via Rip cheato's room, as its faster than going all the way back the way I came in.
Going up Shooting Star Summit is much smoother with Speedy Spin.
The first Ember on Star Way is very difficult to avoid, as it's near impossible to tell where he actually is in relation to you due to him being on the right edge of the screen and the camera being much lower than it needs to be.
The first Bowser's Castle segment. We're nearing the end!
I kinda screwed up getting into battle with that Koopatrol. Usually I can get him to hit me just as he's getting up, avoiding the first strike. However I was just a little too the left and it didn't work out like I wanted. The key fell on the correct side though, so that was a nice gift.
The rest of the enemies are pretty simple to avoid.
This is the premiere segment of the entire run. It took lots of practice and hard work to pull off, but eventually I did.
It starts off difficult because you have to be precise on every jump. The first lava skip uses Parakarry to go across to the switch instead of switching to Lakilester. I then jump north to the platform and Parakarry across to save time.
The second skip has me jumping directly to the switch platform, then jumping north and Parakarry-ing across again.
The next area I must use Lakilester, and I have to get across as quickly as possible. I must jump in the lava once to get to 9 HP for the next Jr. Troopa battle, and thanks to switching to Bow while on the platform, I'm invincible for about a second to the lava flowing overhead. That's why I'm basically halfway in the lava before I finally use Bow. Neat little glitch in the damage-detection there.
The Spook here is pretty easy to hit. However, I accidentally get the Super Shroom which wastes a couple seconds. I debated restarting, but decided to see how the rest of the segment went. Luckily for me, it was basically flawless.
The next couple minutes are rather boring, as its just backtracking to get the key.
Then however, we reach the darkness portion. In normal playthroughs you are supposed to use Watt to light up the area, but that is slow as you have to switch between him/her and Parakarry. I instead opt to do the entire thing in blackness, to save a LOT of time.
If you're wondering how I do this, your guess is really as good as mine. I just tried over and over and over, and kept practicing until I could feel when I'd gone far enough to use Parakarry to cross the gap. I'm so glad I perservered and made it through in complete blackness now that I go back and watch it, but it sure took a lot of work to make it work.
Ugh. The chain "puzzle" is so long and annoying. It shouldn't have been made this elaborate. One room would've been fine for it.
I also finally use the Dizzy Attack badge here to get into encounters with the Bullet Bills. I then run away from the battle and use my invincibility frames to pass by the Bill Blasters without having to battle them. It's pretty difficult to actually pull off thanks to my horrible reaction time, but it's quicker than trying to defeat all the Blasters. A few things about this:
-Actually fighting the Blasters would be MUCH slower than this strategy, and also the SP would cause Mario to level and heal, and I need to be at 9 HP for the Jr. Troopa battle coming up.
-You can't get into battle with the Blasters and run away. The running meter starts COMPLETELY empty, and the chances of getting 4 in a row is just way too luck manipulative for me.
-The Dizzy Attack badge makes it easier and faster to enter battle AND run from the Bombshell Bills. The more enemies that are dizzy/asleep/etc., the easier it is to run from them. The only other way to get into battle would be to get a first strike on either side, which makes it slower.
-You can't use the invincibility frames to bypass the Blasters in segment 8, as for some reason there's an invisible wall there until after you defeat them.
The block maze is also quite a pain, because everything can screw you up. The skeleton guys (forgot the name... Dry Bones?) can hit you with first strikes after you push the block, and so can the Hammer Bro. I wait for him to get closer to me before pushing the block so he'll run at me once I finish pushing the block instead of throwing hammers some more. The timing ended up working out perfectly.
The quiz is always the same, I wouldn't blame you if you skip it.
This first part usually always works out the same way. The repeating corridors become instinctual after you do it the first time. I don't even think about it when I'm going through them anymore.
I found that when backtracking with the fake Peach, the closest you can be is the right side of the first window after Peach leaves the screen. If you try to go back before you reach that, it'll still be Peach instead of the Duplighost and you can't hammer her. A Spook then quickly dispatches them.
The final Jr. Troopa battle was annoying because of the one luck-based miss followed by a six-bounce. It seems that he really didn't want to miss me, and then I had to actually hit the command without any Dodge Master help. I then drink my Jammin' Jelly to fully recover my FP for Bowser.
The first Bowser goes down suprisingly easy. The way Peach is tied up is very reminiscent of Super Mario RPG for SNES. In fact, a lot of the game is reminiscent of that. It's one of my favorites.
I need to hit a 4 and a 5 bounce in any order, so I obviously try to get the five first. I fail, so I need to hit the five the second time, which I do. I have to get that Close Call miss inbetween, but once all that's over with he's defeated, and I get a full heal plus five more FP.
This is so luck-based that this segment should honestly not exist. Basically every turn of this battle involved some sort of luck. I need the first attack to be a fire breath, so I can block it for 9 damage. I also then need his next attack after the pointless long Peach/Twink part to be either fire breath or lightning, both of which I can block for 9 damage. Then I need him to miss twice, and inbetween I also need to get two five-bounces.
It took me a few days to actually get this down, and good luck if you actually try to replicate this without an emulator. It's not fun (mostly because of the friggin five-minute Twink battle) and it's not easy, but I'm so glad that I eventually got it finished. Any time I feel down from here on out I can just go back and watch this.
---End segment by segment comments---
All-in-all it was a rewarding experience. Through all the frustrations of crappy luck and crappy remotes, the feeling of completion is very satisfying. When I landed the final hit I literally jumped up out of my chair (while still holding the B-button, of course) which is something I rarely if ever do. I can only hope you enjoy watching the run as much as I enjoy presenting it to you.
If you have any questions or comments, my name on the forums is batman9502 (Editor's note: now it's NoiseCrash), or you can e-mail me at there_is_no_spoon2007 AT hotmail DOT com. Just be sure when e-mailing me to put "Paper Mario" or something similar in the subject line so I don't accidentally treat it as spam.
I leave you with one last message. To all of you thinking about doing a speedrun, my advice is to go for it. The community in the forums is extremely helpful and chances are if you're interested, we're all interested. It doesn't matter how much skill you think you have or don't have. All it takes is some practice and a little (or a lot of) patience. Trust me, the feeling you get after you've completed a run is worth the work you put into it.
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