Released in October 2010, Sonic 4 Episode 1 has the blue blur himself taking a solo victory lap around new areas after the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Unfortunately for him, any person possessing the resources to build a giant space station probably doesn't have all his eggs in that basket, and Sonic keeps running into leftover bots. Eventually, after several stages reminiscent of the old Genesis games, Sonic puts his new physics to the test against Eggman once more.
Individual-levels run in 0:18:40.97:
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|Splash Hill 1||0:00:31.94||2010-12-16||Paraxade|
|Splash Hill 2||0:00:31.30||2010-11-17||Paraxade|
|Splash Hill 3||0:00:39.40||2010-11-03||Paraxade|
|Splash Hill Boss||0:00:24.21||2011-01-28||Paraxade|
|Casino Street 1||0:00:27.91||2011-02-17||Paraxade|
|Casino Street 2||0:01:18.50||2011-02-21||Paraxade|
|Casino Street 3||0:01:11.69||2011-02-28||Paraxade|
|Casino Street Boss||0:00:23.98||2011-01-13||Paraxade|
|Lost Labyrinth 1||0:01:12.35||2010-11-08||Paraxade|
|Lost Labyrinth 2||0:01:54.82||2011-02-03||Paraxade|
|Lost Labyrinth 3||0:01:22.60||2011-02-09||Paraxade|
|Lost Labyrinth Boss||0:00:35.49||2010-11-14||Paraxade|
|Mad Gear 1||0:01:04.16||2010-10-21||Paraxade|
|Mad Gear 2||0:01:42.08||2011-01-25||Paraxade|
|Mad Gear 3||0:01:24.94||2011-03-07||Paraxade|
|Mad Gear Boss||0:00:39.67||2010-12-24||Paraxade|
Splash Hill 1 (0'31"94): This was actually the first level I ran, the day I got the game. My initial time was 38"65. A couple months later, after my time had been beaten by a lot of people and I'd had a lot more experience with the game, I went back and redid it, improving nearly 7 seconds to 31"94. For this, I used the route that lag6283 used in a 32"86 run on YouTube (which MilsTailsPrower told me about). I think there's one spot where I could've used an air dash and the last ramp jump could have been a little faster, but overall it's a great execution of the route.
Splash Hill 2 (0'31"30): Hard level to memorize. D: The jump off the vine into the enemy chain could possibly have been done faster, but aside from that, no improvements that I can think of. Fun fact: for the ending, my intention was to jump over the spring, go under the vine, and grab the lower vine, then jump off that up to the ending platform. I did it the way I did in the run by accident. Initially I was unhappy about it and tried to redo for a little bit, but between the fact that I wasn't sure what I had wanted to do was even faster, and my not being able to beat it or even come close ("close" meaning within about a tenth of a second), I kept it.
Splash Hill 3 (0'39"40): Around when I got the game, my initial impression of this level was that it was a horrible level full of automation. TAing it and learning it has made me appreciate it a bit more, because this level is absolutely full of little secrets and alternate paths; for example, the breakable wall next to the ring box that I had no idea existed until I found it by accident, which was convenient because I could not figure out a consistent and fast way to take the upper path. Another note is the little ramp right at the beginning which throws me to the right rather than straight up. I believe the reason this happens is sometimes if you go up the ramp fast enough then Sonic will run off it before his sprite finishes rotating counter-clockwise, causing him to run off at an angle. It's weird. The only improvement I know of is I should've homing attacked the spring at the end. Good otherwise, it's a fun level and this run is one of my favorites from the IL set.
Splash Hill Boss (0'24"21): Very very good run here. My strategy is actually very specific. I get in the first 4 hits on the left side first, then move over to the right side, and get in the last 4 hits. The reason I don't go for the 5th hit sooner is because the 5th hit is what switches him into phase 2, where he stops moving, and if he's on the left side of the screen when you kill him, then he takes longer to move offscreen after the fight. The last 4 hits have to be timed very well, because he won't switch into phase 2 while he's over one of the platforms, so I hit him about as soon as possible without having him switch phases. I'm going off memory here, so I can't remember why exactly switching phases is bad, but I think it's to do with how close he is to the platform.
Casino Street 1 (0'27"91): The first run of this level I did was in 0'29"40, but I redid it after a few people beat it, using some new timesavers from a video OneWingedJr1020 had on YouTube in 0'28"45. The beginning is the hardest part for me, it's easy to miss that flipper at the beginning, and even when you land it you don't always get the perfect angle when you launch from it. Most of the rest isn't too bad, but the ending is also tricky and requires some precise timing.
Casino Street 2 (1'18"50): Another level that I redid. My first run was 1'25"60, and redid it after a few months, with some more experience with the game helping me see how easily improvable my first run was. As it turns out, this level is hellish to speedrun, because around 10 seconds in there's a trick where I go through a couple bumpers. This saves a couple seconds and lets me catch an earlier barrel cycle. The problem with this trick is it is absolutely, absurdly inconsistent. There are two ways to do it as far as I know - either you have to hit it in a way so that Sonic hits the right side of the bumper instead of the left someone and so bounces to the right, or you have to air dash on the same frame you touch it. So you get a choice between either pixel perfect or frame perfect, basically. I chose pixel perfect. There's also a few sets of barrels and a lot of card platforms near the end. All of these run on universal timers, meaning they are running through the entire level, not just when you get close to them, which means you can only improve your time in specific intervals or else you end up stuck waiting. This run is almost as good as the time will ever get, because if you went any faster than this you would run off the ending card path and I don't think you can catch an earlier barrel cycle without new tricks.]
Casino Street 3 (1'11"69): This level has the most boring song ever. Seriously. Other than that, I used a YouTube video by OneWingedJr1020 for the route. The cannons are kinda annoying to aim quickly, and the bit with the flipper is pretty inconsistent. Everything goes well for the most part in this run. There is one improvement I know of; on the very last cannon it's possible to end up air dashing or homing attacking the cannon straight from the enemy chain, which would save half a second at least. It only happened once during practice, so I didn't force myself to get it in the actual run. You could also save a couple more seconds if you loaded from the stage select screen instead of using the retry button, since when you do it that way the level takes longer to load and it changes the universal timers in the level, allowing you to catch the platform at the beginning a bit sooner, but it would have been far too tedious to quit out to stage select every single time, so I didn't use it.
Casino Street Boss (0'23"98): This is harder than it looks. Normally, after you land the 8th hit, the electricity has to turn off before he starts exploding, which adds somewhere around .5-1 seconds. However, if you manage to kill him before he even switches into phase 2 to begin with, then the explosion happens instantly. So in other words, by going really fast, you save even more time. The downside to this is there is a really tiny window where you can land the 8th hit before he switches to phase 2, which I'm guessing is around a few frames. This means all 8 hits need to be done near perfectly. After the actual boss fight, going from the arena to the capsule is also tougher than it looks and it took me 93 times getting the fast explosion before I also got the ending down.
Lost Labyrinth 1 (1'12"35): I don't have a whole lot to say about this level. The first half has a lot of annoying precise timing things where you get a very small window to pull off a trick, and the little platforming part with the rotating platforms is a bitch; I think it might be possible to catch an earlier platform, but I'm not sure. When I hit the spring to get into the platforming part, I do an air dash to the right; otherwise, I won't be able to kill my momentum so I can get on the platform.
Lost Labyrinth 2 (1'54"82): Really annoying level to run. What really sucks about this level is there is absolutely nothing difficult past the ~52 second mark, yet I had countless runs ruined after that point to the stupidest stuff ever (you would be surprised how many runs I lost because I timed my spindash wrong on the second to last dynamite block, or missed the platform there). I used a 2'04 video by SkyLights1 for route reference, this would have been so irritating to route plan otherwise. There might be a slightly faster way to handle the end section before the last mine cart, taking a different route and maybe throwing in a ramp jump, but I don't know.
Lost Labyrinth 3 (1'22"60): Near the beginning, there's a couple really steep ramps with speed boosters preceding them; the fastest way up is to hit the speed booster and then do a really quick air dash so you run up the ramp rather than roll. The air dash has to be very fast so you don't hit the slope and lose your momentum; so fast that you need to use both jump buttons, in fact, so you probably couldn't do this on the Wii version. The part with the moving wall sucks and has a lot of precision required (needs a well timed jump, a perfect air dash, a slope jump, and then a perfectly timed homing attack... rrf). After I dropped back into the water, I made a small mistake; I was supposed to air dash off the step onto the right, but I ended up homing attacking the fish instead, which lost some time. However, I managed to get the homing attack glitch on the fish after that to work, which is rare because it'a frame specific glitch (you have to homing attack an enemy on the same frame you touch it, causing Sonic to homing attack in its direction even though it's dead; this was actually planned as part of my strategy, because I couldn't figure out a fast way through this part without using it). Unfortunately, the invincibility doesn't last quite long enough to get past the spike chamber, which is too bad. D:
Lost Labyrinth Boss (0'35"49): Thanks to werster for this strategy; if you time everything very well, then you can get in all 8 hits before he reaches the arena for phase 2. The trickiest part of this is hit 7. Eggman is down at the end of the hallway, and what makes him move is reaching a certain height, so to be able to get him there, you have to air dash as soon as possible when you hit the spring up. The spikes in the hallway are on a universal timer; there is no way to improve on this run before that point, because I got under the spikes as soon as possible, and if you went any faster than me you would run into them. The capsule jump is kinda irritating because there is almost no indication of when to jump. I ended up using a music cue for this. As for actually running this, this SUCKED. werster and I were competing on this stage, and I was around ~35.6 or ~35.7 or so, then randomly got 35.49, which would have been more than good for me to keep... then I realized I forgot to start recording. 14 hours later, and no less than THREE 35.50s later, I finally managed another 35.49. Ugggggh.
Mad Gear 1 (1'04"16): I did this run way back in October, before I had much experience with the game; it's the oldest run that I never ended up redoing, it's also the only time that isn't the record on the leaderboards across all platforms (gangstayst on the PS3 version has 1'04"10), and it's not coincidentally my least favorite run of the bunch. From an aesthetic standpoint I just hate how much I roll The main reason that I didn't redo it is because there are two sets of pistons in this level. The first one is on the upper path a little bit after the second transporter, and the second one is right before the signpost. The pistons run on universal timers, meaning they are going through the entire level, not just when you get close. This means that since I need to ride the pistons up, I can only improve my time by specific intervals. The second piston runs in 3-second intervals, and the first piston runs in 5-second intervals. This means, that since in this run, I got there as soon as possible, that to improve my run AT ALL, I'd need to save 5 seconds. And I couldn't see a way that the improvements I had in mind would save that much time. The only improvement I know for sure you could make is making the last spindash-airdash a bit smoother, I kinda choked there.
Mad Gear 2 (1'42"08): I honestly don't mind the gears as much as everyone thinks I do. :P They make for nice breaks. The hardest, most inconsistent part of this run was definitely navigating all the cogs at the beginning of the level. If you're slightly off on them, then you'll screw up. The ending is a bit of a dick as well. At around 1'09 on the ingame timer, I didn't land perfectly on the center of the gear and had to run to the left a little to start turning it, which cost me a tiny amount of time. On that same gear, I also found a trick where you can air dash off the gear and land on the one on the right, and then jump off the slope of the gear to get in the small gap on the ceiling, which would've saved a second or two, but I ended up not including it in my strategy because of how inconsistent it was. On the ramp near the end that I run off of, I was originally planning to do a ramp jump there, but after having a number of attempts ruined by it and finding that the amount of time it saved was minimal, I decided to stop doing it. Finally, the enemies to the side at the final gear are annoying because if you don't do them perfectly, they'll hit you and make you fall off the gear, which'll cause you to fall into the bottomless pit and instantly die. The trick here is to kill the one on the right platform with a spindash + airdash (not easy, thanks to uncurling) and then get on the gear, but it has to be done in a way so that you don't go too high/too far left, or else you'll make the one on the left throw his arms at you, and then you'll get hit. It's tricky.
Mad Gear 3 (1'24"94): Good run. At the beginning, the reason I get the invincibility box is so in the second section I can jump off the gear onto the shellcracker and head to the right from there. If you don't have invincibility, then you'll get hit by the shellcracker, which means you have to take the spring on the left wall instead, which is a bit slower. I did make a small mistake near the end here; there's a few breakable walls, and I ended up hitting them wrong and losing my momentum, requiring me to regain it with a couple airdashes. This cost a small amount of time, but I let it slide because I wasn't sure of any good strategy for dealing with that part.
Mad Gear Boss (0'39"67): This boss is frustrating because it's all luck. For the first phase it's random how the eggs around the boss will act, which affects how you can hit him, which makes getting good phase 1 times very rare. On this run, I got a 14"79, which is very very good (my best ever was a lower 14"7). Second phase also has some minor luck involved; sometimes he won't throw the first egg far out enough so I can get hit by it (in fact, sometimes it'll block me from getting the first hit in). This run, near everything went flawlessly, and I ended up with a 39"67, which is amazing given that I'd only been trying for a sub-40 time.
E.G.G. Station (3'15"93): Okay, this level sucks. Period. There are five bosses you have to defeat to finish this level. Three of them are random. Splash Hill Boss and Casino Street Boss always behave the same way if you carry out the strategy correctly, so they are by far the easiest parts of the run (the CSB strategy honestly is as easy as it looks, if not easier). On the other hand, we have Lost Labyrinth Boss, which has a number of possible patterns, but only one of them will let you get all three hits in without having to wait for him to use a second pattern (since you get a free hit at the beginning). Mad Gear Boss is the worst offender and constantly throws eggs out; what kind of egg it is is random, along with how far out he throws it. The first hit requires some very precise timing in order to get hit so you don't have to air dash as much for the second hit. After that I absolutely need him to throw either a blue one or a spike, if he throws a normal one then it'll bounce perfectly so it gets right in my way as I'm trying to get up for the third hit. The fourth hit isn't too bad but he can still mess me up by doing something unexpected (eg, almost anything). The final boss is also random; the majority of the time he will not use his rocket arms attack, which is necessary in order to get him to stand still long enough to get all 16 hits in. The second phase on the other hand is pretty simple and consistent, since he usually uses the rocket arms if you stay close enough to him. On this run I nailed all 5 bosses near perfectly, so I'm more than happy with this run (I'd been expecting 3'16, so 3'15 was a pleasant surprise).
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