Released in September 2001, Red Faction was called revolutionary because of its Geo-Mod technology, which introduced deformable terrain into the first person shooter genre. The story starts when miners on Mars rebel against their employer, the Ultor corporation. You play the part of Parker, a miner who has to fight for his life to regain his freedom and his ticket back to Earth.
Best Impossible difficulty time on the PC version: 0:59:15 by Zach 'Duane Jones' R on 2015-04-28, done in 140 segments appended to one file.
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First off, I'd like to thank Nick, Digi, and Goober for helping tremendously with the run--routing, finding new skips, and listening to me vent during the countless drunken hours I spent recording the run. We all did a commentary for the run that can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb0R2wZt0Ao
Also, thanks to all the runners in the SDA Red Faction (PC) thread, particularly NeoKiller983 and Magnaud. I know I've never actually talked to either of you, but I spent a fair amount of time learning from your single segment runs and this run wouldn't have been possible without the work that you and the rest of the community have done with the game.
Now, on to the fun stuff.
Some basic points about Red Faction, the run, and Impossible difficulty:
*Jumping up inclined surfaces briefly increases player speed
*The run is played with the game's music and messages volume set to zero.
*Ammo and health pick-ups give less than other difficulties.
*Enemy AI on Impossible seems to increase--more accurate, more evasive, etc.
*Combat had to be executed almost flawlessly to progress through the levels without dying. Guards and Mercs do big damage. Headshots kill all enemies in the game with 1 shot--except for heavy mercs. Consistently getting headshots is frustrating as...(see below)
*Getting headshots is moderately reliant on RNG, as each weapon's accuracy is randomly generated per shot. (Each weapon has a "cone" of accuracy and each shot hits randomly within that cone.) This is particularly noticeable with weapons in the earlier parts of the run such as the pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, and sub-machinegun.
*I don't want to sound like a broken record throughout the rest of these notes, so I'll just repeat one last time here to emphasize--combat was by far the most difficult part of this run. Enemies do huge damage and the weapons (up till the player receives the precision rifle in the final 20ish minutes of the game) are frustratingly inaccurate. Often, what looks like a simple area with a handful of enemy guards that drop to a few headshots no problem, in actuality took hours, or sometimes days to complete. And enemies, especially higher-tier enemies, dodge and evade faster than the player can move. Oh, and don't forget the random instant-deaths from railguns. (I will talk more about that later)
*Recorded at 1280x720 @60fps with FRAPS (If for some reason someone wants the full-quality raw edit of the run--which is HUGE[~10gbs]--message me here on SDA, or my email, or wherever).
Some notes specifically about the segmenting and editing of the run:
*The run consists of 144 segments appended together with Adobe Premiere.
*Rough estimation of segment attempts is over 10,000. I tracked segment attempts until segment 120.
*Loading screens/times have been removed.
*Segments were created using the game's quicksave/quickload mechanic.
*When editing segments together I did my best to make the transitions as close to unnoticeable as possible. Not only did I want this run to be fast and all that, but I wanted it to be enjoyable to watch, so I took as much care as I could with the segments in order to provide a smooth viewing experience.
*When there is a noticeable blip/jump/frameskip/chunk/whatever it is for one of the following reasons--
-In-game loading times cause a big "chunk." The only large jump/chunks/whatever are all the result of in game loading screens.
-Sometimes, when the games loads a new level or area, the lighting values or fog settings change which causes an abrupt change in the color of the environment.
-Audio interruption (I saved during an audio event. Example: PA system in a level saying, "security breach, red alert--" and gets cut off mid-speech.
-Minor blips due to poor crosshair placement and/or moving the mouse either while creating the segment point or while loading the segment. Or both.
I'll try and go into more detail if there's a particular trick or skip. Onward to the run. I'll go over points of interest and identify them by timestamp. Timestamps listed are approximate.
The first room of the game is ridiculous on Impossible difficulty. Being able to get through the room without dying is all RNG. It took roughly 400 attempts to get through the room with the amount of health/armor that I needed.
I pick up some demolition packs/explosive charges here. It takes a few seconds extra rather than just picking up the pistol and leaving the room, but that time is more than made up for later with the use of the pack. It will be really useful.
This is the biggest new trick in the run that I found. I call it the water boost. By saving as I'm entering the surface of the water, when I load, I take damage and get boosted in the opposite direction of my velocity when I enter the water (I back-pedal as I'm falling so that I'm boosted forward).
This little trick was later found (thanks Digi) to work on the two force-fields in the game as well.
I take a somewhat circuitous route through this room to minimize damage from the guards. Running straight through is certain death with my health/armor values.
This room took about 3 days to pull off. Real hard to both headshot the first guard on the platform AND not get hit by the guard on the other side of the room.
First force-field skip. It works the same as the water boost (except for the velocity direction...and it's not really a boost this time). By jumping into the force field and saving at the correct moment, and then loading, the player passes through the obstacle.
Jumping off the elevator saves some time here. Cant jump from too high though--need that health for later.
Perfect usage of the ammo in the assault rifle = SWAGGER
Real hard fall. Had to land on the terrain in the correct way to minimize damage.
Here's another little new skip I found. When done perfectly it saves about 2-3 seconds off this room. I shoot a rocket at the wall high on the opposite side of the room to create a geo-hole. There's actually only a small area there that will geo--most of the wall there is un-geoable. The hole created not only has to be perfectly placed, but the shape of the hole created has to allow me to jump into it and then up onto the higher area of the room. Since the shape of a geo is randomly selected from something like 7 different patterns (thanks goober/nick/digi), this section was a bit frustrating.
Here's why I picked up the demolition packs in the first level. Killing these two guards without taking damage was almost impossible with any projectile weapon. I'd usually die instantly once they gained vision of me. The demo-pack fixed that problem.
I route through this room differently then I've seen other runners do. I think it saves like 1 second. Maybe. (Hopefully).
First and only use of OOB (out of bounds) glitches in the run. It's easy to get pushed too far out of bounds and fall forever into blank space or get stuck in the level objects.
Here is the second critical use of the demo-packs picked up in the first level.
Just for note, the submersible handles like 3 bricks held together with superglue and twine, covered in honey.
While the entire "stealth" section of the game is difficult, the first appearance of the Elite Guards here is where the section gets brutal. The Elite Guards pump out stupid DPS and shooting them down with the pistol is a numbers battle with RNG, even with perfect aim.
Getting Griffon through the rest of this Administrative area was a handful as well--keeping him alive required the killing of all but 2 of the Elite Guards. I still have no idea how the two remaining guards didn't kill Griffon as he ran through to the exit of the level.
Using the force field skip here saves a large amount of time. This is probably the biggest chunk of time saved by the new tricks. This is the last of the force field skips.
Getting Griffon to run through this room without getting stuck outside or stuck in the room NOT activating the secret door, or him getting killed took a million attempts. According to Goober, who helped with many of the games frustrating areas, Griffon isn't actually following the player, but instead is following a pre-set path that he moves forward on when certain triggers are satisfied. The death of particular guards are the triggers to move Griffon forward here. But even when those triggers are "activated", sometimes Griffon just doesn't do what he's supposed to do.
There's a specific order to kill the guards in this room to end the level as soon as possible. Goober helped me out finding the fastest method. It might be the same as previous single segment runners have been using. I think it's a wee bit faster though. It's all a big mumbo jumbo of different death triggers in order to spawn the guard who has the death trigger that allows the player to leave the fighter and enter the next level.
This whole fight with the Combot is super hard, but leading it down this specific corridor was the worst part. The combot is super buggy and often gets permanently caught on walls or on the conveyor belt until the game is reloaded.
I have to point out here that this section of the game looks very plain, but the combat involved was very very optimized. Shit looks easy, but it's not. Just have to point that out.
Here's a fun geo-skip. Doing the skip with one rocket is only a viable option since this is a segmented run. Not all the random geo-meshes created will actually allow the skip to happen with only one rocket. It's also important that I use as few rockets as possible to prepare for an upcoming skip that uses lots of rockets.
There's a "secret" tunnel here that is a bit of a route change from previous runs. Inside the secret room, the player receives a fusion rocket launcher (which makes a skip possible later in the game) and is brought to 100/100 health/armor. This is the only place in the game to receive the fusion launcher before the previously mentioned skip comes up. Also, being returned to full health/armor is pretty necessary for the continuing forward in the run.
Second and final use of the water boost to skip the bridge.
Okay, a lot of things are about to happen in the next few rooms. First, I have to kill the elite guards without dying and without taking forever.
Next, I jump up on the wall near the windows to the room below, which bypasses the trigger to close the shutters in the second half of the room. With the windows unobstructed, I can fire my ONE fusion rocket (which I picked up earlier in the "secret" room) through the window and kill all but one enemy in the room below. (This saves a TON of combat time as the guards in the lower room are fairly spread out and difficult to kill).
I kill the remaining enemy which then activates the boss fight.
Even on Impossible difficulty, this boss fight is a joke. The flamethrower does huge DPS to Capek's "nanotech" shield and it pops almost instantly.
It's technically faster to do this section on foot, but not viable. To survive you have to kill a large amount of enemies and, even if one could pull it off, I don't have enough ammo or a weapon accurate enough to do it.
Here's the rocket tunnel skip that I've been saving rockets for. Carving the tunnel out went fine, and the final use of the demo packs and grenades worked great. My ascension of the tunnel could've been a little cleaner, but this was by far the fastest I ever pulled off the skip. I got good RNG on the geo-meshes of the tunnel (i.e. the tunnel was actually climb-able) and good explosion patterns on the final demo-packs/grenades.
I have to stop here to use the railgun on two enemies. There's was no other way I could find to get past them without taking lethal damage.
This whole canyon section was really fun to route out. There are several uses of segmenting to manipulate where enemies spawn and/or if they spawn at all. The game expects the player to go through the canyon with a vehicle, but it's faster on foot.
A quick note here on enemies equipped with the railgun: Railguns kill the player instantly. On Impossible, enemy accuracy with the railgun is roughly 90%. They are impossible to "dodge," they just usually hit you...and kill you. So, any time you see a railgun being fired by an enemy and me NOT dying...lots of attempts happened there.
I kill this merc specifically because if I don't he will turn and fire at me as I move towards the end of the level. The other merc doesn't do that.
This room is similar to the first room in the game. I do what I can to kill enemies, but most of getting across it while taking minimal damage is RNG.
This little part is weird. I continue facing the enemies on the distant bridge while I move because it seems like they fire at me less while I'm aiming at them.
I have to go a little out of the way past the elevator here real quick to kill the merc with a flamethrower so I can get one. Like in the Capek bossfight, the flamethrower is necessary for the strat on the final boss.
These railgun shots kill enemies in a further away room. Which makes that room easy peasy.
Here's one of the weird lighting changes I mentioned in the beginning of the notes. The when the next map loads, the fog settings and light bloom garbage whatever changes and that's why that segment change is so visually jarring.
This fighter section was super tough. Avoiding all the railgun shots and huge dps by the large amount of enemies took a billion attempts. Lots of RNG to fight.
Putting segments in places that didn't make the final edit look like absolutely garbage was also kind of a challenge.
The final boss, Masako, insta-gibs the player if you are within line of sight and within a certain distance from her. As soon as her fighter explodes I take cover behind some boxes and just start spamming the flamethrower in the direction she MIGHT move in order to find me. Her direction is random and she bounces around a lot while hovering with the nanotech shield.
Once she does enter the cone of damage of the flamethrower (like with the Capek boss fight earlier), the nanotech shield pops immediately. Unlike Capek, though, Masako has a much larger HP stat and doesn't die instantly to residual flamethrower damage like Capek does. A quick rail gun shot takes her out in one hit.
The final puzzle here is random and changes on every attempt. Much frustration.
As soon as the puzzle is finished, when it gives that satisfying "beep", the run is complete.
I've left in the final cutscene and credits for fun. Thanks to everyone that helped and thanks for watching!
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