Released in February 2002, less than a year after the original game, Serious Sam: The Second Encounter marks the return of Sam "Serious" Stone, who was last seen aboard a space ship set for a course that will lead him straight to his arch-nemesis, Mental. However, his ship is shot down over South America, and now Sam embarks on a journey through Mesoamerica, ancient Babylon, and finally medieval Eastern Europe in search of a new ship. The Second Encounter features several new weapons, enemies, powerups, and enhancements to the Serious Engine, but is still the same mindless shoot-em-up action and wacky fun at the core.
Note: Runs that go out of bounds are considered a separate category, because they skip large parts of a stage (or in some cases, bosses).
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Serious Difficulty: 1:03:04
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|Sierra de Chiapas||0:05:07||2005-05-19||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|Valley of the Jaguar||0:09:50||2005-05-24||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|City of the Gods||0:05:30||2005-06-07||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|Serpent Yards||0:01:52||2005-06-10||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|The Pit||0:10:16||2005-06-22||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|Ziggurat||0:03:22||2005-06-30||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|The Elephant Atrium||0:01:47||2005-07-04||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|Courtyards of Gilgamesh||0:02:19||2005-07-07||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|Tower of Babel||0:07:21||2005-07-12||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|The Citadel||0:05:28||2005-07-20||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|Land of the Damned||0:05:42||2005-07-26||Drew ''stx-Vile'' DeVore|
|Grand Cathedral||0:04:30||2010-08-24||Laurent ''KlVis'' Villard|
SDA note: This run can only be downloaded through the SDA, not the Archive.org links.
1 - Introduction & Verification
Hello, Drew "stx-Vile" DeVore again. After finishing TFE and taking a break from recording, I started working on a set of speedruns for The Second Encounter, which brought more insane coop action back to FPS fans and, for people like me who have hardly ever played coop (and now regret), some quality single player target practice, secret-finding, and goofing off whenever possible. Overall, I feel that my efforts on this collection surpass those of the original game, partly because I have more experience controlling Sam, a bigger desire to make the runs as smooth as I can, and an apparent bias towards this game over The First Encounter. Hey, I really thought this game improved on the original in almost every possible way, although some of those trick rooms got on my nerves (I'm looking at you, mister lv03 bounce room). However, as always, feel free to rediscover these classic games the way I have and leave me in the dust by beating my times senseless, or even record some demos on a proper, or "trick-less" route, since I know for a fact there's a demand for runs that don't skip huge portions of the levels. :)
And now, here's some validation stuff, shamelessly stolen from the comments I made for The First Encounter, since both games are quite similar and all that applied before still apply here. I substituted references to the First Encounter, since referring to the right game would be nice.
Sometime after the release of the First Encounter, a forum for potential Sam speedrunners appeared in the form of "Serious Sprint," which was much like Quake's SDA or Doom's Compet-N. Unfortunately it has since disappeared, although some records of its existence are still available at the Files section of www.seriouszone.com. Check out the demos there for some solid walkthroughs of the levels.
Since no real speed records remain, just walkthrough runs with all secrets collected, I tried my hand at some demo recording and eventually completed a set of runs for the entire game. These runs were recorded (using version 1.07, which is the final patched version of The Second Encounter) on Serious difficulty from scratch using the Custom Level menu, which I will explain in a bit. These were NOT recorded like a traditional QdQ project, where the stats you have in one level are carried over to the next. All levels were recorded individually as to allow improvements for earlier levels without affecting the rest of the runs. Anyone who wants to try a run like that are welcome to do so. :)
Unfortunately, I don't remember what sort of validation process was implemented in "Serious Sprint," hell I'm not even sure how it's handled for Quake or Doom. However, I've come up with my own measures to assure that these and future runs were done legitimately. First, it should be noted that the tally screen, which normally appears at the end of the level describing the time taken for completion, total kills, secrets found, etc. does NOT appear in the demo playback. However, capturing a screenshot of the tally screen and packaging it with the demo is just as effective.
Why is this method of validation so important? Well, at first I only intended the screenshot as a bonus because of the absense of the tally screen in the demo, but further exploration into the commands in Serious Sam revealed something else. The game allows the action to be slowed down with the following command, taken from ShellSymbols.txt in the Help directory:
Realtime factor in game.
<1 = slower
1 = normal
>1 = faster
As I found out, demos recorded in values lower than 1 can be played back at normal speed. I'm not sure how speedrunning admins determine if a demo was played using slowdown, but the screenshot helps verify that it wasn't. On the tally screen, there are values for the time taken to complete a level, say, "05 - The Pit" which is 10:16 and Playing Time, which is 10:21. Playing Time is the cumulative time spent playing the game in a particular session. For legitimate runs, the total Playing Time should only be a couple seconds higher than the time needed to complete the level. I believe it includes the time needed to complete the level, as well as the loading time for the level itself, which for me can be between 5-10 seconds. Anyway, when demos are recorded in slow-motion, the Playing Time for a particular level will appear much higher than the level completion time, which would mean that the game was either played at a very slow realtimefactor, or the player restarted the level multiple times without quitting that particular session, IE pressing fire after dying and being sent to the start of the level. Confusing? Well... I stink at explaining this stuff. In short, please take a screenshot of the tally screen at the end of a run, like I did, if you intend to improve my runs or make your own! :)
2 - Run Mechanics and Rules
Firstly, for those who intend to speedrun the game, I'd like to help by talking about the recording process. The game has an option in the main menu called "Custom Level" which allows you to select any level from the game, provided you completed it in normal play first. Otherwise, only the first level will appear here. When you select a level from this menu, you'll start the level with certain weapons and some ammo for each. The weapons you are given are ones that would have been introduced by that time in a casual run through the game. Weapons that are found on the intended path of a previous level are provided, not ones that were found in secret areas. So, when you select a level from the menu, hit ESC while it's loading, which will bring you to the menu first-thing when it finishes loading. From there, start recording a demo and kick some ass. :P
As far as console commands are concerned, I only used two which proved helpful:
hud_bShowTime = 1 --- Gives you an ingame timer, which is nice for guaging your progress.
hud_bShowMessages = 0 --- Keeps NETRICSA from bugging you about new messages to a degree while playing.
Finally, the time taken to complete a level is measured from the point that the level begins to where the final cutscene of the level STARTS. For example, in level 1, the time was 0:35 when the final cutscene of Sam walking into the darkness begins, which is what shows up on the tally screen. You can easily skip cutscenes that appear only PARTWAY through the level, though... in fact, it's encouraged.
3 - Game Mechanics
The following are some little factoids about certain aspects of the runs:
1. Serious difficulty gives you double the ammo of all other skills besides Tourist. This could be considered an homage to Doom, where Nightmare skill gives you the same benefit.
2. Rocket jumps in Serious Sam provide hardly any horizontal push when compared to games like Quake, so they are mostly used for vertical boosts over walls. The distance you receive depends on how much health you lose, not a damage total of health and armor lost. In short, this means that armor-less players will receive more distance than players with armor. This can affect what kind of jumps are possible, so keep that in mind. Rocket jumps without armor will take away exactly 50 health in Serious skill if the entire blast hits you, so keep that in mind as well. :)
3. Monster pushes, such as getting launched by a werebull, are very hard to control and are hardly ever used intentionally in these runs. It seems like the direction you get launched by a werebull is random.
4. Third-person view is allowed in this game, though first-person is recommended. I only used third-person when I felt like goofing off, or had to run for a long time with nothing going on.
5. Sometimes, large battles can be avoided for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's by avoiding the triggers that make them appear, such as walking over a certain area or picking up a certain item, but other times, it's by avoiding killing certain enemies that would originally initiate these battles. I'll explain these are they appear.
6. Lone health pills and armor shards in this game are almost always booby-trapped, so pick them up at your own risk. :P
Just to recap, all of that stuff from validation onward was old text that I recycled... thanks for reading it again. :)
4 - Onto The Levels!
Along with spending more time on the levels than I did for The First Encounter, I feel that I also provided more indepth explanations of the tricks used, rather than just doing a director's commentary on the overall quality of the playing. It's more helpful for future runners if I explain my reasoning for some of the tricks, as well as give credit where it's due (all you kind people who emailed me about new tricks/routes, for example :)
Drew DeVore's comments:
I don't believe there's a whole lot to explain here. However, there's actually a way to finish this level on a speedy route without picking up the rocket launcher and substituting two really finicky tricks in place of the times I used the secret rocket launcher to skip over some parts. At the sniper rifle gate, a monster boost could be used. At the super shotgun inside the temple, a VERY frustrating trick can be used to boost yourself over the wall, and I decided to cut it out entirely and rely on the rocket launcher because it has a very low success rate.
Once you enter this room, run towards the corner and wait for the Kleer skeletons to arrive. They'll head towards you, and by dodging, you can get them as close to the corner as possible. You can then jump on the head of the Kleer closest to the corner until all of the Kleers have appeared in the room. It'll look dangerous, but they won't be able to damage you unless you fall inbetween them. Now, in an entirely luck-based maneuver, repeatedly jump until the Kleers use their projectile attack and hit you hard enough to throw you over the wall. I'm not kidding when I say that my success rate with this trick was only about 1 in 20 attempts, or even worse, and that's being able to do it one time after another rather than starting the level over and making my way to that point. It also requires you to have no armor to get enough height, so you'll only get one or two chances to make it over the wall before dying... if anyone tries it, you have my sympathies. :)
My initial times for this level were over 13 minutes, so overall I'm satisfied with making it under the 10 minute mark. Everything up to the valley section should be self-explanatory. I decided to ignore a great many beasts that appear in the valley because I wanted to save the Serious Bomb for a specific moment in the run. At about 3:15 in the run, the door is locked until the pumpkinheads are killed... doors locked until a certain number or kind of enemy is killed will be a recurring theme in these runs. In the room just past, killing all of the bombers is NOT required for the next door to open, but I'd be running from a large number of enemies on the way back and didn't want to chance them being right by the door once I returned. :)
At 5:39 I pick up the minigun, which I only used to kill the Reptiloid Demon that appears at the center of the valley. I was asked why I did this and didn't have a decent answer. I believe that I just wanted to kill him as fast as possible so that I could defend myself from the Kleers that spawn in the valley when I return, but realistically, using the sniper rifle would have sufficed.
At 6:37, the Serious Bomb is activated. I chose this particular moment because not only would the bomb take out the enemies that appear just on top of the hill, but most of the enemies that were chasing after me in the valley would ALSO get caught in the blast. I felt this would maximize its effects and hopefully cut down on some of the slowdown that I've been experiencing up to that point.
At 7:10 is the wind room with the spikes... people asked me how I kept my balance by strafing, but the trick to this room is NOT strafing at all. If you walk perfectly straight, you'll get blown back and forth a little bit by the wind in this room, but the effects will always even out and you won't get killed by the spikes. After this, I believe everything else is self-explanatory... that run to the end had me tense, though, because getting stopped by a monster will leave you to getting splattered by the red Bio-Mechs on top of the hill. :)
At 1:07 is a rocket jump using a slope... the physics in Serious Sam dictate that if you jump while running up a slope, you'll jump higher than you normally would. The same is true for rocket jumps, which is how I got a rather large boost over the outer walls that make up the boundries of this level.
The end room almost drove me mad when it came time to squeeze seconds away because of how chaotic it is... rooms that seem dominated by luck and coincidences are a bane to speedrunners. Basically, this giant bounce pad of a room will provide you with respawning ammo packs and 4 Serious Damage powerups at the bottom of the room. However, also at the bottom are four 1+ health pills. It's an obscure design idea, but if you manage to pick up two of these health pills, you'll stop the insane gravity of the room for exactly 30 seconds. Now, you'll find that there's a practical use for the HUD timer now, since you can repeatedly chain together this stopping of the gravity by picking up two health pills to stop the gravity once, then pick up another two health pills just as the previous 30 seconds end. These effects cannot be chained together by endlessly picking up health pills one after the other... you can only do this by inititiating the next gravity stop just as the previous one ends or afterwards. Stopping the gravity is helpful in that you can stay at the bottom of the room and use the minigun to thin out the Bombers and Kleers that appear from the chutes, but the Toads that appear in the room will all gather at the very top of the room... a single rocket will take them all out. :)
I'd say the main issue of this room was stragglers... all enemies need to die for the end door to open, but sometimes enemies would continue to come out of a single chute after all other enemies had been killed... wasting 15-30 more seconds for a few final enemies after killing over a hundred others is quite annoying and hard to prevent, but alas, I finally managed it here. My sanity lives another day.
This was a really simple level to speedrun, but also boring... much like the Sacred Yards from the First Encounter, it consists of running outside the boundries of the level and reaching areas further into the level's progression. I picked up the armor at the start to survive the three combined rocket jumps that are implemented here. Also, for the first RJ, take note that I used the slopes around the outer walls to increase the height of the jump.
The trick used at 1:26 was told to me by Vincent Catalaa, a fellow doom speedrunner who also enjoys SS coop. It's probably already known by the SS community, but regardless, the trick is used to bypass the locked door that appears ahead. The height of the jump must be controlled carefully because if you jump too high, you'll fly through the ceiling of the structure and end up on the roof.
In the end room, it seemed like I wasted time by killing a mech with the chainsaw, but it was just a play-around... I'd have to wait the same amount of time for the final red Bio-Mech to appear, who needs to be killed along with the other enemies in the room for the exit to open. Killing the remaining enemies faster does not affect the time.
I originally planned to improve this run once the entire set of demos was completed, but decided against it, citing a lack of will... though I believe it would be the first run that I would try to improve if I ever returned to this game. So there. :)
Bounce Room - The primary targets are the bombers, as killing them off will open the door and let you escape without beating the kleers as well... I get 200 armor in this room, but ironically, I have to lose almost all of it so that I can perform a rocket jump in a later room, but it did help me out here.
Tilt Room - I'm making up names for these early rooms. I just missed a sniper shot here, that's all... it annoyed me, though keeping a steady aim when the room moves your aim around is a bit of a stretch. Not all enemies need to be killled here either, as the door is time-locked.
The towers - One possible improvement would be removing the 100 health from the route. I picked it up to compensate for the armor I have to lose before the rocket jump along the outside edges of the upper walkways. The primary reason for this rocket jump is to save time, obviously, but a secondary reason is to prevent some enemies from spawning at the doorway out of the area. My framerates took a hit in this area, perhaps due to the combination of enemies left alive in previous areas and some weird crap going on with my pc, but I deal with it regardless.
Newton's Nightmare - Supposedly the actual name for this room. I use rockets on the toads since the flamethrower and even the previous favorites of tommygun/minigun against the toads does little good in this cylindrical room. I turn forwards and backwards a lot because it's very easy to back up into a toad in this room and the damage adds up fast. I don't always get past this room alive as a result. The red Bio-Mech is the trigger for opening the door.
Another Messed Up Room - Staying by the exit door where the new Kleers spawn will let you get out of the room faster, since you can kill them right away. It's easy to die here, though, since Kleers need to be used as protection to keep new ones from being able to jump-attack you.
Outdoor Arena - The smaller bio-mechs will spawn in 4 set locations around the arena. Each location will spawn 8 small mechs, and each time you kill one that spawned from a certain location, another one will immediately appear at that spawn point. I use this to my advantage and take out 8 bio-mechs from a specific spawn point immediately, but then I have to defend myself from the others, as well as the bigger mechs that begin to appear. The second reptiloid demon is apparently the door unlocker here.... simply rocket jumping up to the top won't do any good since the door to the boss remains locked until the battles are played out. There's also a trick to reach the teleport to the Serious Damage early, but it wasn't implemented since the bottom door has to be opened for the door to the boss to be opened as well, which lets me get more time from the Serious Damage by skipping it.
Kulkulkan Fight - This boss battle is rather strange... it appears that certain weapons will have no affect on Kulkulkan during certain parts of the fight, particularly when he undergoes an increase in size. As such, in practice, I tried many different combinations of weapons against him such as cannon only, cannon+laser, laser only, laser+rockets, rocket only, grenade only, and laser+grenades (which I did in the video). I ended up getting close to the exact same results each time. For example, when I used two cannons on Kulkulkan with the Serious Damage I carried over, they did a lot of damage, but it caused him to start transforming, so the next few cannonballs barely scratched him. It seems like the laser was the only consistent damage inflictor here, so it became my weapon of choice for the fight. Weapons like the minigun will not damage him at all, so they were ruled out immediately.
Third-person view was useful here since finding your way to the powerups and keeping on target with Kulkulkan is tricky in first person. The only powerups I'm interested in are recharges for Serious Speed and the Serious Bomb powerups. Also, actually standing on the exit pad when it rises out of the ground will not let you exit, oddly enough. You have to touch one of the outer edges of the pad to end the level.
I couldn't always do the jump down to the 100 health on the first jump. It's quite a bit easier to stop Sam's forward movement from a platform farther down, so getting it from the first jump made me happy. It's easy to mistime hitting backwards to stop Sam from moving forward at just the right time.
Outside, I originally used a boost from an alien soldier that appears in the right corner when you pick up the 1+ health pill, but I got an email from someone named James Leather who showed me a faster way to do that yard. Instead, the left side is faster, as using the Bio-Mech to jump out of the yard does not take as long. I slid down the side of the temple so that I would lessen the chance of receiving fall damage which, with only 104 health, would not allow me to do the next two rocket jumps.
The end fight seems chaotic, but not as much as it appears to be. With that particular approach, it isn't difficult to anticipate where enemies will be attacking from, though it can be hard to see what's going on once the fps takes a hit (for me, anyway). The targets to watch out for were the Bombers and the Kleers.
Those moving objects outside the level (0:48-0:50) are actually jumppads that will vault you back into the level. Why they move around like that is a mystery to me. They will not send me in the direction that I need to go here, even if I try to change the direction with a rocket, so I just avoid them.
That part where I hit the tree with 3 rockets is so that it gets reduced to a stump, where it can then be used as a step to the upper ledge. A rare thing, but it did help.
In the end room, all 16 Kleers must die for the end door to open. I exploit the fact that you can avoid getting trapped in the central area, as well as the fact that the Kleers will not even try to attack you unless you attack them first. Funny stuff. They appear at regular intervals, so killing them quickly will not make the next set appear faster. I killed the Kleers in such a way that I could be right by the end door just as the last one died, where it then opens and allows me to exit.
There's more running outside the level quite a bit, but unlike the Serpent Yards, I was able to do more to keep it entertaining at least. The hit from the reptiloid projectile at 0:27 was not intended by me, but the second hit at 0:34 was. I jump in the air just as the projectile hits and receive a bit of a boost. It's not much, but it's something, so I decided to use it. I would have done another if I hadn't taken that first hit.
At around 1:18, you'll catch your first sight of two hearts outside the level and see them getting tossed around. Here's some background on that: when you play the level normally and reach that long final yard, a secret here is to hit the button in the distance so that a heart gets thrown into the yard. However, the game will tease you, making it appear that the heart gets launched over the yard twice before finally making it. Sam's remarks at that part of the run are in response to this. Running outside the level, you can see that there's more than one heart involved for this charade. You can even grab all three hearts if you want, as they are suspended on invisible platforms (jump up them as you would a slope, or something to that effect).
Next, the teleport into the yard. You might wonder why that teleport occurs at all. It's actually a smart design move on the part of the level makers to ensure that the level doesn't get broken. Basically, in large outdoor levels where the Werebull enemies can appear, these teleport triggers are placed along the outside walls of the level so that, should you get launched too far by a Werebull, you won't be knocked out of the level completely. Instead, you'll be teleported back into the field of play, slightly confused, but still able to play. I'd say newbies to game design would be even more confused if they got stuck outside the walls of the yard, so props to Croteam for taking that into account.
Finally, some numbers. First, the exit door opens EXACTLY 10 seconds after the three giant Lava Golems are killed. Usually the triggers for opening these doors by killing monsters are hard to pinpoint, but I found this one out by experimenting. So, lingering outside for those 10 seconds isn't really a waste of time on my part. Second, after teleporting into the yard, I walk forward for exactly 5 seconds before firing rockets. This allows me to have rockets hitting the first Golem as soon as it appears. That ingame timer is rather helpful, eh?
At 0:50, the Reptiloid demon and flying Gnaars have to be killed for the door to open... tested them both by themselves and it didn't work out. At 1:06... dunno, just found it amusing as hell to just sit in place and hold fire. No further effort required. :)
The dark room... I don't kill the four Gnaars, since killing enough of them will trigger the appearance of bombers and toads. The Arachnids and Biomechs are the only concern here, as the door is unlocked once the red Biomech dies.
The courtyard... well, this area is quite open-ended as a result of rocket jumping. Only one yard implements the teleport protection, which is the outer wall of the yard directly to the right of the Cannon (or the yard you reach following the third key). Basically, this means it's possible to traverse the yards without ever picking up the keys, or even pick them up in reverse order if you wanted. They are required to open the door to the Tower, however, and I found that the intended order is the fastest, even if I skip most of the yard fights. Management of the meager health and armor resources is very important for skipping through the yards as quickly as possible. I also slide down the sides of the tower when I drop into a new yard to lessen the chance of taking fall damage.
At 4:50, you'll see me do a double RJ up the side of the tower wall and teleport onto the Cannon, which warrants some explanation. Basically, there are two teleports that run along this outer wall. On the side that I start at, there's a teleport that will send me back into the yard with the Arachnids. On the other side, there's a teleport that will send me on top of the Cannonball. Basically, these two teleports are meant to send you back into whatever yard you were in if you get knocked too far. However, a high enough RJ will get around this and give me a nice shortcut to the Cannon. The RJ I use shortly after I get the cannon is to avoid a nasty monster trigger (Werebulls and Reptiloid Demons). I lose enough FPS in the final battle already, so that helped a bit and saved some time.
The Exotech Larva fight... the generators that will regenerate his health if left untouched can be destroyed before the fight even starts, which is no big secret. I open with the minigun for the first segment (first 1/3 of his health) since I found the second and third segments to be easier with cannonballs and wanted to save them for last. I did some test runs and found that using cannonballs, the minigun, the laser gun, and the rocket launcher all killed him with equal speed, so no gun seems to have a speed advantage here. I only missed one cannon shot, which still annoyed me, but I missed at least 4 or 5 in all previous attempts once the third segment began. I stink. :)
In the first area, the two blue-ish aliens need to die for the door to unlock. So, that explains that seemingly-unnecessary move to kill them. At around 1:20-1:22, there's some intentional damage taken from Kleers to peel away some of the armor I had in preparation for a trick coming soon. I bet those moves look ugly to people who don't understand the reasoning behind them, but I did have a lot of spare time to fry those Kleers. :)
At 1:49 is close to the most annoying trick I've ever tried (the MOST annoying were originally in lv01 and never used). The alien soldier tends to run around the outdoor area in a circle pattern and ignore you entirely until you cross his line of sight, so getting him in position quickly is a luck-fest. I took a laser shot first to lose some more of the armor I had. Afterwards, predicting exactly WHEN he will fire his lasers so you can jump over the gate is another luck-fest. I've tried to time it from his previous attack and it never works out. Basically, I watch him turn underneath me and wait for him to stop, jump, and hope that he fires at that exact moment. All of this is to get the rocket launcher from the next yard earlier. It's a lucky break that the door can then be opened from the other side if you travel directly over it, otherwise this route would not work at all.
At 3:13, getting reduced to 2 health by the electro-fish was not intended... bastards. At 4:41, the Bio-Mech actually dodging my first rocket, then getting switched to the DB shotgun was also not intended. I would have preferred to get defaulted to the flamethrower, myself. Ah yes, the end room... yeah, huge FPS lose on my part. Argh, I hate that stuff.
In the first outside area, the second Bio-Mech I kill is what will open the gates to the next area. I had originally planned to skip the secret heart from the "plugged santa" and go right for the door, but I didn't have a choice, so I got the heart while waiting for that mech to appear. In the Jingle Bells segment... well, I thought this would be the time where I would have to cave in and fight the battles as intended, but it seems that running straight through is possible. I don't kill the kleers that are chasing me because their deaths will cause two large Bio-Mechs to spawn in front of me, which is very bad news. Also, credits to a local friend TNSe, who hangs out in the qdq channel, for giving me the idea to RJ up the hill and get a boost over the bombers that always get stuck on the hill there. We looked into the possibility of jumping all the way up and over the mountain, but the hills are ultra-slick and I never made it high enough without sliding all the way back down... oh well.
I chose to use the Serious Bomb at the time I did so that all of those cannons on top of the wall would get caught in the blast. My computer slowed to a snail's pace at that moment, so even the music is noticably stifled by that move.
At 3:17... a mysterious gray panel that I'm sure a lot of people know about, but there it is again... enjoy!
At 4:11, this is a rather odd move in that you can run up this incline even though you wouldn't normally be able to. I think this is because the two sides of the cave converge at that point and you somehow maintain your upward momentum, as this move can be repeated in some other parts of the game (try the corners of the last arena before the boss on lv05.... you can run almost all the way up the sides if you time it right). I planned the health/armor pickups in the sections up to this point so that I'd be able to have over 100 health for the final part of the level and the trick there. Also, TNSe, the Serious Sam junkie, came through for us again, since I originally used the secret 100+ heart nearby to build up my health for the final rocket jumps. However, he suggested trying to have some leftover armor and build my health back up to 100 along the way, which allowed me to do the final jumps without having over 100 health. This all worked out rather nicely. Also, it seems like I delay my last jump up to the ledge and just kinda hang there (at about 4:16) but the game won't let you jump immediately on that incline for some reason.
The very final trick is another pleasant surprise. I rocket jump inside the castle and activate the end cutscene, but it gets cut short. Basically, in your normal plays through the level, you would have to beat all of the enemies outside so that the gate would open, allowing you inside where the final cutscene of the level would take place. However, this cutscene would first position you outside the gate, then have Sam walk inside the castle. This means that when I rocket jumped inside the castle and activated the cutscene, I was moved back outside the closed gate, which Sam bumped into and ended the cutscene prematurely. The final cutscenes of all levels, whether you noticed or not, are stopped automatically if Sam's movement is interrupted by something like a monster's attack or a structure getting in the way, as it did there. For the few fans of those end cutscenes, sorry, faster times are more important, and I hope maybe the trick proved useful to those are like to skip that segment.
Laurent Villard's comments:
This is the second time I improve this run by more than 10s. I brought four major tricks/improvements to the initial run as well as some polishing on paths.
- First trick: I manage not to lose any health on the first and third RJ (rocket jump) and can allow a free (but delicate) boost before Morkedai's arena. Yes this is a trick and is almost reliable.
- The second improvement is for the third RJ just after the double one. Both Stx-Vile and Wurf152 on youtube were moving backward a bit to have more room and not take the risk to fail the jump while picking health. If you RJ exactly at the spot the potion was you will sometimes not take any damage (and no impulse). The trick is to RJ at the edge of the potion even a blink of an eye before. First trick apply then to keep health at 25.
- The third improvement may be my favorite: I added a double rocket jump on the bumpers part. Not only I get over the wall as before but I also get boosted. Icing on the cake: it's also quite easier to perform than the last double RJ. To reach heaven: since I land after the highlander trigger I don't have to fight him and strafe!
I am pretty surprised to have 97HP at this point (the double RJ takes 100 usually leaving me at 75) and try to perform a bigger rocket boost. 47HP lost means that I need some health to reach Morkedai's arena since I will make a 50HP RJ. Trigger the kamikazes by picking health in the middle. Call me dumb but I felt obligated to add some more risks and perform another rocket boost to lower these 100HP. I am not sure if the result is that fast but it was dictated by this random giveaway from the game.
- The last improvement but not the least is the Morkedai fight in itself. There is a lot of time saved at this point compared to previous speedruns. I have been stuck at this point for a loong time.
To inflict as much damages as possible the grenades need to hit Morkedai directly. Hammering the button won't work because the grenades are falling onto the floor and exploding before reaching Morkedai (even exploding the following grenade). If you launch them too high they will just fly above him. I just sneak to the extremity of the wall and launch them as low as possible from the corner with a little strengh to get the best time. Forget about Rockets, Sniper and minigun or you won't get as fast.
The start isn't that great and there is an ugly mistake when trying to enter the secret cave (getting bounced back). The rocket boosts in the plain aren't that great either. The reason I like this run is from the point I get out of the secret cave to the point I land in the plain. Timing the double RJ with the end of invincibility was very hard to perform and this one is just pure perfection.
- At 25 health after killing the pig I randomly shoot a kleer. This kleer's position is kinda variant and sometimes he will get close enough to not fire and run to you instead. Shooting him all the times is the best way to never worry about it and I don't deviate too much while doing so.
- Killing the two red scorpios is just playing as I like to crush them with one rocket each, no time lost for deviating as I need to wait until I am not invincible anyway.
- A dedication to Patrick Poivey who is the french voice of Sam (and Bruce Willis). His appearance in this game brought some more light to the game in France and I am a big fan of his voicing even if it is quite different than the original here.
Serious Difficulty with Large-skip glitches: 1:01:32
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|Grand Cathedral||0:02:58||2010-08-23||Laurent ''KlVis'' Villard|
With the OOB rule down there is now the possibility of a new trick jump at the start.
I start picking up the +100HP heart and serious damage and get a tiny boost while getting outside. For surviving the serious damage rocket jump I need to pick some armor on top of the 200HP. A 25 armor is standing in a corner for a neat power rocket jump but the fastest is to just go straight to the blue armor and perform a double power RJ. That one is more efficient than the one made by stx-Vile since it doesn't bounce sam back on the second shot. Downside is that I can't avoid triggering the aliens at the start and need to clear the way quickly if I don't want to lose some precious health. Also the jump take health more randomly, sometimes letting over 50HP but on average being lower than 50. I need at least 26 to be able to continue the run here. With 59HP left there is a little bonus with a rocket boost. The randomly shot rockets should hopefully kill a rocketing monster that will appear in my back. Didn't really worked here since I had to jump over one of his missiles.
The rest may need some explanation as well. There is a point where Sam teleports out of the level on top of one of the walls. The goal is to quickly reach this point and go straight to the endlevel trigger. This trigger is in a small room that Sam should reach after killing the boss. This shortcut just skip all the rest and trigger the end.
- Auto switch took the priority and got me the nade launcher instead of the laser. Lucky to not explode with the first grenade but force a little strafing that could have been avoided. My goal was sub 3 minutes so I'll give priority to other runs before any attempt to correct this.
- A dedication to Patrick Poivey who is the french voice of Sam (and Bruce Willis). His appearance in this game brought some more light to the game in France and I am a big fan of his voicing even if it is quite different than the original here.
Co-Op, Tourist Difficulty with Large-skip glitches: 0:48:05
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|Sierra de Chiapas||0:04:05 Kibbo, TheVoid, dex, moooh, Arran||2009-06-19||'Kibbo', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Arran'|
|Valley of the Jaguar||0:04:07 Kibbo, TheVoid, dex, moooh, Ewil||2009-12-21||'Kibbo', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Ewil'|
|City of the Gods||0:05:18 Kibbo, KlVis, TheVoid, dex, moooh, Ewil||2010-10-16||'Kibbo', 'KlVis', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Ewil'|
|Serpent Yards||0:01:44 Invalid, KlVis, moooh, Ewil||2010-09-26||'Kibbo', 'KlVis', 'moooh', 'Ewil'|
|The Pit||0:06:27 Kibbo, BoltR, TheVoid, dex, moooh, Ewil||2009-12-21||'Kibbo', 'BoltR', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Ewil'|
|Ziggurat||0:03:07 Kibbo, BoltR, TheVoid, Aphox, BoltRClone, finalboss, dex, moooh, Arran||2010-07-23||'Kibbo', 'BoltR', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, 'Aphox', 'BoltRClone', 'finalboss', Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Arran'|
|The Elephant Atrium||0:01:56 Kibbo, TheVoid, dex, Mirko Brown, Arran, Ewil||2009-06-09||'Kibbo', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Karol 'dex' Urbanski, Mirko Brown, 'Arran', 'Ewil'|
|Courtyards of Gilgamesh||0:02:21 Kibbo, TheVoid, dex, moooh, Ewil||2009-10-24||'Kibbo', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Ewil'|
|Tower of Babel||0:04:15 Invalid, BoltR, TheVoid, finalboss, dex, moooh, Arran, Ewil||2010-07-20||'Kibbo', 'BoltR', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, 'finalboss', Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Arran', 'Ewil'|
|The Citadel||0:04:11 Kibbo, BoltR, TheVoid, dex, moooh, Ewil||2010-05-22||'Kibbo', 'BoltR', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Karol 'dex' Urbanski, 'moooh', 'Ewil'|
|Land of the Damned||0:05:48 Kibbo, TheVoid, Mirko Brown, Ewil||2009-09-20||'Kibbo', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, Mirko Brown, 'Ewil'|
|Grand Cathedral||0:04:46 Kibbo, KlVis, BoltR, TheVoid, moooh, Arran||2011-01-22||'Kibbo', 'KlVis', 'BoltR', Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, 'moooh', 'Arran'|
SDA note: Kibbo didn't run levels 4 and 9 so ignore the "invalid" links in the table.
General notes about the run.
Co-op settings: no extra enemies, no extra enemy strength, no player respawns allowed, infinite ammo turned off, default map weapons enabled.
Originally we had set the sights for this project higher, starting off with 100% runs on Serious difficulty. However, we soon realised that when dealing with this thing called internet lag (which gets quite severe when you have players from all over the world connected to the server) is involved it gets messy. Blessed with this new knowledge we re-adjusted the scope of the run to any% on Tourist difficulty. Some people may scoff at the very idea of a run on Tourist difficulty but this difficulty has some unique challenges to it when doing a co-op speedrun.
Right off the bat we have a trick where holding the forward button while the game is loading in will catapult you out of the spawn point at high speed, as opposed to just falling straight down if you don't do this. Unfortunately it doesn't work for everyone as we are really bunched up and someone will always bump into someone else. As we are making our way towards the temple there is constant jumping whenever we are travelling on slopes, this is because jumping on slopes will increase your movement speed a little, no matter if you are going down- or uphill.
When we reach the sniper rifle and the courtyard outside the temple is where the co-op strategies start to matter. Sending one player ahead to clear some important trigger spawns while the rest of the players hang back. Timing this properly will allow the players that were waiting in the courtyard to pick up the Serious Speed power-up and keep it to get far into the temple faster without having to wait for the collapsing wall. Right after this we have to get through a narrow corridor with crushers scattered at even intervals. What many will probably point out here is that we are only allowing two players in the same gap between crushers, we had to do this because the netcode's prediction would otherwise think that one player was underneath the crusher and people would just randomly die due to no fault of their own.
Rocket jumping doesn't work on Tourist difficulty so we had to replace it with making a tower out of players to bypass the otherwise forced battle against the kleers. This towering technique was later named “The Village People Method” due to the funny-looking skins we used which reminded us of The Village People. The room with the big crusher is then made slightly faster thanks to more players since one player doesn't have to hit both buttons to unlock the door. Once past this the rest of the map is quite straight forward and mostly a matter of not getting stuck or knocked around by bulls or fishes.
This is a map where a co-op approach really shines. In the beginning the map is very straight forward, each player is assigned a corner on the jump pads in order to prevent mid-air collisions. When you reach the larger cavern you are supposed to use a series of jump pads and boost ramps to get through it but we decided to bypass most of it by jumping off a cliff and use a hidden teleporter. Falling off these platforms is not supposed to kill you on Tourist difficulty and that's why there are teleporters down there to begin with, but what Croteam didn't intend was for players to go around them like we do and actually skip a few platforms. One player will then jump on top of the first ramp to get a slight increase in boost length, getting just far enough to land on the second ramp without touching the ground first. This will increase the speed boost exponentially and catapult the player at a much greater speed, allowing the player to reach the button at the end of the cavern faster and move the jump pad for the rest of the players just as they are landing on the platform.
When entering the valley the co-op starts to matter quite a bit. The players tasked with picking up the golden jaguars run ahead while the rest of the players hang back for a bit. Just as the jaguar-grabbing-players exit the caves the players staying behind will trigger the enemies so the jaguar-grabbing-players can use them to get small speed boosts. The setup then looks as follows; one player heads for the temple to the left, two players head for the temple to the right, one player will pitch a tent on the plateau in the centre of the valley where the golden jaguars need to be placed and one player will head towards the exit. You need several players heading to the right temple because there are some required battles in there and more players will speed up those battles. Once the jaguars have been picked up they can be placed by anyone so the player camping the plateau will place them just as they are picked up while the player hanging out near the exit waits for the laser beam to knock down the wall, revealing the exit.
In this map we bring more players than we actually need. The main reason behind this is that each player has to succeed doing no less than four cannon boosts, which is incredibly difficult when playing online and some players have very high ping. Again, since rocket jumps do not work on Tourist difficulty we had to come up with other ways of jumping over walls, The Village People Method is one way but cannon boosting is faster if the cannon is available. It also requires precise timing and can go wrong in many hilarious ways and as such we decided to have a bit of a buffer when doing the runs so we didn't have to restart every time someone died from a cannon boost. An important note about cannon boosting is that you don't want any armour for these boosts as the armour will reduce the amount of boost you get. Other things that will affect how much boost you get and how much health it takes away is the charge level of the cannon and at what point during the jump you release the shot.
As we don't start the map with the cannon the first task is to enter the secret area near the beginning of the map where it is located. After this everyone needs to pick up a Serious Bomb which will be used in the last room to quickly clear the enemy waves. Then we get into the fun part of cannon boosting over walls. In this particular run Kibbo and TheVoid fail to even get over the first wall alive so unless you really want to watch every single video you can skip their videos for this map. Four people are enough to clear the final room with a close to optimal time so losing two this early doesn't affect the time at all.
We then reach a spot in the map where you have to perform two cannon boosts in short succession. It is possible to pull off a very high boost and clear both walls in a single jump, but in an online environment it is just too unreliable (dex somehow managed to pull it off in this run) and if we had made it a requirement to do the double-wall-clear this run would never get done. After this the route follows the developer intended route with the exception of skipping enemies that can be skipped.
As already mentioned the final room can't really be done faster by adding more than four players as the enemy spawns are on a timer and four Serious Bombs used at the right time will clear the waves optimally.
In this map the situation is similar to that in Valley of the Jaguar, albeit on a smaller scale. The cannon boost in the beginning allows us to skip almost the entire map. In the last outdoor area you have to push two buttons to unlock a door to a room where the exit is located. One player for each button and the third player heads for the door, clears out the final room and exits the map.
The Pit is locked down very tight and there are no real shortcuts or bugs to make use of in this map. What we can use to our advantage is the sheer amount of players, especially since this is a map with an oldschool boss fight at the end which means the more players we have the faster we can kill it. This map also has an area with crushers coming down from the ceiling and just like in Sierra de Chiapas we have to follow the rule of two players in the gap between crushers, or players will just randomly die because of the netcode.
A bit of a theme in this map are rooms with various physics anomalies. The first such room we encounter is the room with bouncy walls where kleers and beheaded kamikaze enemies spawn and bounce around with you. We use our numbers to lock down all spawn points and open the door as quickly as possible. dex is using a very dangerous tactic, covering several spawn points using the flamethrower. While this tactic is very effective in terms of time it is also very risky as it is possible to softlock the game by killing the beheaded kamikaze enemies too close to the spawn points and for whatever reason this will prevent any more enemies from spawning, which in turn prevents the door from opening as it is unlocked by killing a certain number of enemies.
The big black area with stone bridges is quite dangerous even on Tourist difficulty. There is a very real chance that bulls will knock people off the bridges and because of this killing the bulls quickly is top priority. Next enter physics anomaly room no. 2, the cylindrical chamber of explosions. When playing solo this room is quite difficult because you have enemies spawning all over the place and the fact that you can walk in a full circle around the room and stand up-side down compared to everything else can be quite disorientating. Thanks to having more players we can cover all the spawn points and make this a non-issue.
In the last area before the actual boss fight is the only thing that even comes close to a shortcut in this map. By having one player do a cannon boost up on the ledge this player can get in position at the door just as it is unlocked when the last required enemy is killed, this will in turn spawn the boss a few seconds faster which is a pretty big deal. For a few seconds after the boss has spawned it is invulnerable, having one player enter the boss arena a few seconds earlier than the rest of the players will have the effect that the rest of the players will enter the arena just as the boss becomes vulnerable and they can start doing damage to him right away. After much testing it was determined that the laser is the best weapon to deal with this boss. Once the boss is dead it's a quick matter of clearing out the remaining enemies to reveal the map exit.
This here is the spot of shame, mostly because it was very difficult to get enough people to execute the fastest route. In order to use the fastest route you need a minimum of nine players which is something that just wasn't available most of the time, which is clearly visible from the significantly lower level of coordination between players. BoltR even had to run two clients to make sure we could do this map at all. If someone wants go give it a go improving any of these runs this is the map to go for (assuming you can get enough players) as it has some actual mistakes.
Right at the start we skip the actual ziggurat by using BoltR's clone as a stepping stone to jump over the fence, on Tourist difficulty the damage trigger on the other side of the fence isn't enough to kill you but it does a lot of damage.
Up until the 1:50 mark (in-game timer) there isn't anything special going on but during the boost over the last wall is where a big mistake is made. We have enough players to boost one more player over the wall and speed up the fight on the other side significantly but for some reason we don't do this and it shows clearly that we don't have the same amount of practice and coordination on this map as all the other maps. After this it's a matter of just piling everyone into the final area and clear it out as quickly as possible.
It's difficult to say just how much this map can be improved but a good estimate would be between 20-30 seconds, but getting enough players to even make an attempt to begin with is the most difficult part.
Very short and not too complicated map. The beginning is just run and shoot everything that could possibly prevent you from running. Once we get outside it's just a matter of using The Village People Method to get over two walls. Whoever enters the last outdoor area first will provide a stepping stone for the second player who then proceeds to trigger the kleers inside the building which are necessary to kill in order to open up the exit. The other player will use the kleers outside as a stepping stone and then camp the spawn point inside the building to kill the kleers inside as fast as possible.
Courtyards of Gilgamesh is another map where the power of co-op really comes to good use. Once we enter the first outdoor area we immediately head right towards the platform with the secret health. Whoever gets here first will provide a stepping stone for the rest of the players, and will later try to follow by doing a rocket jump off of the biomechanoid's rocket.
Following the boost in the beginning is a somewhat lengthy run outside of the intended play area. One player heads off in a slightly different direction to get a good angle on a trigger that will catapult a secret heart across the final area. The way Croteam set this specific secret up is key to how the map is ended. The heart sits on an invisible platform with a shape similar to that of an armchair and you can fit two players on this platform. As two players are getting close to the heart the player that was heading off in a different direction shoots the trigger. You want to shoot the trigger slightly before the two players actually reach the platform as there is a bit of a delay between shooting the trigger and the heart being catapulted across the yard. Thanks to how this catapulting is done players will get catapulted off of this platform as well and we use this to get two players on top of the wall. Exactly why there is a slight pause mid-air we don't know, but it happens.
The walls surrounding the last area are all lined with teleporters and depending where on the wall you touch a teleporter you will get teleported to a different spot inside the final area. One player want to spawn close to the exit and in order to achieve that you need to run along the wall for a bit and hit the teleporter further away. The second player wants to grab the Serious Damage power-up near the other end of the area and can therefore just hit the teleporter at the landing spot. Spawn the enemies and kill them as quickly as possible to unlock the exit. The players still outside the wall can help kill some of the enemies.
At the start none of the enemies are required kills so we can just ignore everything in this chamber. In the second large chamber two players are boosted up to take out some required spawns quickly, one of these players will then enter the room where the light keeps going out if you don't shoot a switch on the wall. We only need one player to enter here because there is quite a long delay between entering this room and when the enemies will start spawning, the door is also immediately closed behind the first player, preventing anyone else from entering at the same time. Meanwhile the rest of the players have made their way up the stairs and jumping off the ledge here is a very easy shortcut but it saves a lot of time. The rest of the group has to enter the light switch room using a teleporter like the one in Ziggurat and then it's just a matter of clearing out this room as quickly as possible.
Once we get outside three players will run the gauntlet around the tower, picking up the tablets of wisdom, while using cannon boosts to bypass the locked doors. The rest of the players will hang out close to the tower entrance waiting for all the tablets to be collected so the door can be opened and the boss fight triggered.
Before the boss becomes vulnerable it's important to destroy all the healing stations as otherwise its health will regenerate at certain thresholds, making the fight take longer. Grenade spam at close range is the most rapid way to deal huge amounts of damage and this boss is close to enough to make it work, allowing us to kill it very quickly.
For the most part we follow a minimalistic developer intended route in this map, killing as little as we possibly can. In the graveyard we find the big shortcut of the map. Normally you are supposed to run around the entire citadel on the outside and enter the last outside area from the other side, but we decided to use BoltR as a stepping stone and bypass all of that. This particular jump is quite difficult to pull off as you are more or less clipping through the top of the wall in order to get up. The amount of times dex has to retry this jump is a good demonstration of how difficult it actually is. Next we clear out the required enemies to lower the drawbridge and enter the citadel itself.
Once inside the citadel nothing is really changed from the developer intended route, it is possible to get some speed boosts from the fishes in the water cavern but it's so random it's not something we rely on. We use our numbers to cover all the spawns in the room with the rotating spiked things. Hit the lever as quickly as possible as the wall opens up, take the elevator and just make your way to the exit without getting stuck.
Played normally this map is quite awesome, played as a speedrun this map is quite terrible. About 5 minutes and 30 seconds of running at normal speed while ignoring almost everything, then at the very end we have to pull off a perfect maximum height cannon boost which is hilariously hard to do. Additional players are only needed for clearing out required enemies faster and give you a few extra tries at the cannon boost as you only have a single cannonball and thus only one chance per player. Cortez was assigned the task of clearing out the last few required enemies in the first area and because of this he falls behind the rest of us, making it a non-requirement for him to attempt the cannon boost as it would take him a long time to catch up.
For most players this map is quite straight forward. Grab weapons, grab even more ammo, shoot a mountain of enemies. One player, however, gets to do some cardio outside the intended play area. Two players are attempting the maximum-height-Serious-Damage-amplified-cannon-boost over the wall just to add some redundancy which is quite good to have when you are doing co-op runs in an online environment. Everybody else just keeps moving forward while killing whatever gets in the way. There is quite a bit of leeway on the players running inside the corridor because the player running around everything on the outside can only go so fast.
When the player that has been running around the entire thing finally reaches the wall surrounding the boss fight area he does a cannon boost over the wall to enter it, this way we don't need to kill everything in the large open area in order to unlock the door. What this player does next is critical to the success of the run. Spawn the boss and then hide at a very exact spot to prevent the boss from seeing him, this will in turn prevent the boss from teleporting around the area. Meanwhile the other players have set up their angles outside the area and are bombarding the boss with cannonballs, this way the boss goes down very quickly.
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