On September 20, 2000, Activision and Raven Software boldly did what few game developers have done before... they released an excellent Star Trek game! In this first person shooter, the gamer plays as Ensign Alexander (or Alexandria) Munro who is second in command of the Hazard Team. Equipped with more energy weapons than Star Trek has ever known, Alex takes on Klingons, Borg, Hirogen and finally the game's own impressive villain, the Vorsoth. Using the Quake 3: Arena engine, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force strikes a beautiful balance between being a faithfully depicted Star Trek game and a great first person shooter. It's also notable that the game's popularity lives on through its very successful online multiplayer.
Best time: 1:13:57 by Brett 'Psonar' Ables on 2007-11-01, done in 13 segments.
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>> Great, another Trekky...
In the 'real world' I'm a nerdy aerospace engineering student with a love for space exploration, so my appreciation of Star Trek is perhaps deeper than the average fan. To top it off, a shuttle went up today, so all is well in the world of this space geek. Of course, it's hard to directly correlate classic FPS gameplay with space exploration, especially when video games and homework are generally at odds. Nonetheless, I thought I'd say a bit about myself for this run.
>> "Star Trek Video Games" and "Good Video Games" aren't quite mutually exclusive...
What's that? You've never heard of a good Star Trek game? Well, I'm not surprised, especially back when this game came out. Luckily, in the last decade there have been a few Star Trek games that weren't abysmal, and this is definitely one of them! With classic first person shooter gameplay, a decent story, and a variety of enemies and objectives, I think anyone could have a great time with this game. I'd say it manages to retain a good bit of the Star Trek feel, but with a bit more shooting and less negotiating, technobabble, and sneering that you'd typically see in the episodes. Think First Contact, but with different subject matter and more enemies than just Borg. Ok, I'll stop reviewing the game now and get on with the run.
>> Timing Analysis Spreadsheet
Think of this spreadsheet as a full sensor log summary of my entire run complete with comparison's to Jeditry's run. Before you decide that spreadsheets are boring, please humor me and check it out, because it looks good, it's packed with useful info, and, well, I put a lot of work into it!
Timing Spreadsheet - Segment Times and much more...
Here's some vital stats from the run and other useless trivia:
>> Segmented Run Comments
Segment Time: 1:49
This segment covers the intro of the game and makes for an excellent piece of gaming to speedrun. Because I was relatively knew to FPS games when I began this speedrun, I probably spent the most amount of time on this segment, learning what it takes to speed through an FPS game and not get snagged on badly programmed door frames, how a single missed shot can easily ruin a segment, and why the letters WASD are so vital. Yeah before this speedrun I would always remap all the buttons to the numpad-- hey, at least it's better than the arrow buttons!
Anyways, the most frustrating thing about this segment was the fact that the game often crashed about 25 seconds into it, just before I pushed the grate out of the way to jump down and get the I-mod. For some reason, if I made it through the tight corridor immediately before the jump without ever getting snagged or held up, the game would freeze more than half the time. Sometimes the game would freeze on me as many as 5 times in a row before I'd finally make it through, and by then I'd be so happy that I'd miss the shot to vaporize the Borg waiting for me at the bottom of the jump! That and usually when I did make it through the freezing point it was after getting held up in the corridor just before that, so I'd be reluctant to keep such a segment anyway because of the somewhat sloppy gameplay. However, lucky for you, my final version of the first segment, which I went back and revised after completing the rest of the run, is as smooth as I could hope for with no freezing for and as fast as I could manage.
After the first intense 30 seconds of the run I grab the I-mod and head for the lift to go blow up a forcefield generator or something. I shoot a few Borg that I don't really have to shoot, but hey, no harm done, and since I've been held up when plowing through the same group of Borg later on, I figure it's a good precaution. I use my hand phaser when I need to shoot the grating or blow up an explosive because the phaser has continuous fire meaning that if I miss the shot I can correct for it instantly without waiting on the refire rate of the gun. That and the phaser has no ammo, so it's good for the ammo economy as well.
After the loading point, I ride a lift and run past the wounded crewman Chang. At this point, Chang is scripted to shoot an explosive on the wall which causes the floor to fall out, killing two Borg, and myself if I'm not careful. There's no way to get off of the platform before it blows, but if you're lucky, the explosion will catapult you sky high and clear of the fallen walkway. Going sky high however means you hit the wall and have to wait before you can get through the next doorway (plus the fall can kill you if you're unlucky). The trick then is to jump toward the doorway, into the center of the semi-circular walkway and get blown across the gap in more of a horizontal fashion, allowing you to hit the ground running through the doorway. I'm not sure why I described all of that, but there you have it!
In the last several seconds of the segment I just have to take care not to do anything exceedingly stupid, and then I hit a load point just before the last 3 seconds of the segment. In the very last room, it took me forever to master hitting the Distribution Node and the forcefield controls in a sinle fluid motion without missing shots, but in this re-worked first segment I finally managed to get that shot in. I realize I'm obviously not the greatest FPS player to be having these difficulties, but I hope that the months put in on this run have helped me improve, and I'm proud to present the run nonetheless. The first segment ends on the bridge of Voyager. There you have it! Now how can you possibly watch such riveting action and not want to see the rest of the run?
Segment Time: 5:51 ~ Video Length: 7:10
This segment opens on the bridge of Voyager complete with blocky 3D likenings of the beloved senior officers. As the action begins, Captain Janeway sends Munro to solve the impending crisis in Engineering, and I quickly step back into the turbolift. After the loading screen, I run an put up a forcefield to stop an explosion, trigger an explosion around the corner, climb up the broken turbo lift across the hall, drop through some tubes to hit another switch to unlock a door, then I speed past Chell and I'm off the deck before his station even has a chance to overload. After this I jump off the ladder, crawl through the tube, watch out for hazardous waste, activate the draining system, then proceed to Engineering. I could've have done some better jumping and gotten out of that room quicker, but it was good overall. In Engineering, I tried to hit the 3 panels as fast as possible, not waiting until I got to the panel but triggering them from a slight distance and immediately moving to the next. On the upper level I even risk walking on a the rail a bit to get to the last console.
When I leave Engineering, the reason I wait outside the Turbolift is because you can't activate the switch in the lift until Chakotay says "Loading Dock," and I've found it to be quickest to wait outside then hit the switch, otherwise it has trouble activating. An interesting touch by the programmers to not let you leave until you know where you're supposed t be going. Outside the loading Dock, Chang gives me a phaser, and Foster says there are two enemies inside the next room. I always find it interesting how there are actually closer to 20, but whatever. The ammo in the phaser rifle on the ground is randomized everytime the level is played, so I never know how many shots I'm going to get before I have to switch to a scavenger rifle. The secondary fire of the rifle is a sniper shot that disintegrates almost any enemy for the price of 40 ammo, so that's what I use on the first 4 enemies until I'm out and I switch to the enemy's weapon the scavenger rifle. I managed to keep a pretty fluid barrage of fire and it seems I killed the right enemies to trigger the next area before all the scavengers were killed - you'll notice the fight is still going on when Tuvok summons Munro to Cargo Bay 2. I grab some ammo and wait for Foster to catch up with me on the lift. You can also opt to not wait for Foster and go without him, but when I timed it, the door to Cargo Bay 2 opens 2s faster when Foster is there to unlock it.
At this point I'm usually low on health, and I have to be extra careful about exploding crates and crossfire. Since I was doing good in this run, I played it a bit risky and between my energy grenades and an exploding crate, I got through on 20 health. Overall, I was very proud of the whole skirmish scene. With repetition I was able to get used to the spawn points and make fairly efficient work of the Scavengers. The rest of the segment features the first of the more boring portions of the run... getting the Hazard Team to get a move on! I figured out how to best trigger the various conversations to move the story along as quickly as possible. Then I grab some weapons and we're off to the supposedly abandoned Etherian ship. The reason I actually wait until I'm on the Etherian ship and have full health before saving is so that I can repeat the situation in case I ever needed to redo segment 2 or 3 without losing consistency across the segments. Fortunately I never needed to use that failsafe. Overall, I was very pleased with Segment 2, with the smooth corridor navigation and efficient firefight being the main highlights.
Segment Time: 8:52
This level brings us over to the Etherian ship. For those who wish speedruns contained more cutscenes, the first few minutes is a bit of mandatory storyline. There is a bit of action, but turns out it's more target practice since the sequence is timed, and even if I didn't fight back, all the Etherians disappear at the end of the sequence anyway. Finally, Chell, our Bolian door opener - I mean, technician - opens a door and the running begins.
The level is mostly straightforward for a while after that... run to the switch, run to the transporter... The walkway with the squid-like creatures is particularly difficult, though. It's very hard to keep running through them without dying, but luckily this run shows a pretty good job of it. The level does contain a few decent ambushes where I've got to shoot most of the Etherians to move on. You may notice we lose Telsia at one point... she fell into an electricity field and disappeared tempo-- I mean, yeah, she died...
Finally Chell opens another door. Some more running, teleporters and switch pressing later and we get to the part where I have to repair the transporter pad. Here Munro must make use of the Etherian ship's "fireflies" by luring them to the pad. I let them start the repair while I run back and get health... a more efficient use of the time. After that I make use of one of the games few cool shortcuts. Chell attempts to open a forcefield, which flickers briefly, then he announces he'll have to hold it open. Well, why wait for Chell? I slip through when it flickers to save 15 or 20 seconds. Not exactly a sequence break, but I'll take it!
Finally I meet up with Foster, we discover that Telsia and the others are only in Stasis and then a lovely cutscene with the Etherians is skipped for the end of the segment. In the story, you discover that none of the Etherians were actually killed, and they are in fact a peaceful race willing to help. That's Star Trek for ya!
Segment Time: 2:14
Here I show off my ability to run around the ship and strategically talk to the crew (yay). I get to have a little fun in the shuttlebay repairing the docking clamps, though. In the forum we determined that jumping through the shuttlebay window doesn't save any time, but it was more fun and looks almost like a shortcut, so I went for it. This game needs more cool shortcut-type stuff anyway!
Segment Time: 8:56
This level is big. This level also took a LOT of retries to get it right. To put it in perspective, Jeditry's original run split this level into I think 3 segments, and his run only had 4 segments more than mine. In the story, this segment is a follow-up to the part in segment 2 where "scavengers" boarded Voyager after it was sucked out of normal space. The scavengers are a lovely mixture of Human, Klingon, Malon, and Hirogen Hunters... oh and the humans, weirdly enough, or from the Original Series mirror universe... or the Terran Empire I should say. Anyways, these scavengers have created an outpost that is an amalgam of their 4 ships. We begin the speedy tour in the Klingon section, where Munro is given orders to keep quiet and proceed slowly... yeah right!
First I've got to navigate the Klingon area, and while I do get caught on some things, the overall segment redeems some of the aesthetic deficiencies that you might cringe at in the first 20 seconds. In my defense, every edge of every wall and doorframe was a potential snag that should easily kill a run if I wasn't precise with my movements, so while it may look like I got snagged a lot, I was actually doing pretty good considering the frustrating "snagginess" of the game in general. shooting down the platform to get up to the second level in the 2nd big room went smoothly, then I made sure to not fall in on the Klingon feast in the galley below (a very frustrating way to prematurely end a segment...). For added realism you can imagine the smell of raw meat and live G'agh worms through here :P. Then you may notice I skip the isodesium and rush straight to a door panel instead... my colleague Jeditry demonstrated in his run that only I think 1 thing of isodesium needs to be collected, if that. That definitely saved me some time later. When I drop in on the sleeping Klingon, I'm careful to avoid an ambush by not falling from too high. Then comes the fun part with shooting and ladders and such. This part always went a little differently, because I'm having to dodge and selectively shoot some Klingons. Luckily, I shot the right Klingon to activate the door to the Malon section and went on my way.
The Malons are like waste haulers basically, so their ship makes for a decent gaming environment with some toxic waste hazards and such. I start out by hurrying through some ducts where I conserve ammo by using my phaser. The jumping, climbing and crouching through here is very much subject to failure, but with as many attempts as the segment took, most of the maneuvering became somewhat automated, though often enough a segment would be ruined by a simple mis-step, or missing a ladder or something stupid like that. You might notice a split-second of hesitation before jumping on the platform in the toxic waste tank... that jump and I didn't get along so well. In the next portion, I show a bit more trepidation around the waste, but with only 7 health, I think it was warranted. I made a 1-2 second detour to grab health as I prepared to crash in on the Hirogen.
In the brief dash through the Hirogen ship, I only use my hand phaser in anticipation of the firefight with the mirror universe humans coming up. You may overhear the Hunters discussing that the "Alpha" is on a "Hunt" after some "fresh prey." Some half-decent foreshadowing there as you'll see. Finally, I drop in on, uh... the other guy on my team and he beams back to the ship, so now I'm supposedly on a mission to recover the isodesium that he didn't get to. Oh, and if you're wondering, the isodesium is needed to repower the warp drive so they can overcome the energy drain of the forge. Finally comes some target practice where I see how quickly I can take out the scavengers will as little ammo as possible. I made a fairly clean job of it with the well-suited sniper mode of the phaser rifle. I just wish it didn't cost 40 ammo per shot! There's little to no federation ammo on the Terran ship, so I always tried to enter with a decent amount. Finally I use some quick platforming to negotiate the chasm and I'm on my way. Interestingly, Jeditry swears that the door to the Terran ship wouldn't open for him unless he rode the lift all the way over to collect the isodesium on the far side of the room, which takes 30+ seconds longer. He wasn't too happy, but I tried to apologize really nicely, so he should be all right... :P
I was surprised to discover that, as in the Klingon ship, my running didn't alert the sleeping crewmen through the first 2 rooms, but my plasma grenade certainly got the place hopping. Like in many speedruns, the key here is to get in, blow up whatever's in the way and get out before too many evil cronies with guns show up. A bit later you'll notice a lose a second or two in the ventilation shaft as I glance in the wrong direction once and then get stuck on a bug that refuses to die. I lost maybe 1 or 2 seconds there, but that's ok. If you miss the swishing sound of the Original Series doors, you get to hear a lot of it in this next section as I navigate this ship that makes no sense whatsoever. I rescue Telsia, grab some health, then somehow the Bridge is on the same deck as the sickbay, but whatever. I snipe everyone on the bridge, hit the door switch and then proceed through a few more rooms to the lift. I made sure to exercise my stupidity with a "Hey, ya'll, watch this!" moment as I wait until the very last possible second to jump down 50-100 feet to land on the lift before the next chapter loads. Why on earth did I do that!? Yeah it's got some trivial neatness to it, but I lost a boatload of health, and I could've thrown the segment if it went wrong... I guess I just wanted to throw in some entertainment value for you there.
Finally the fight with the Hirogen is fairly simple in execution, but frustrated me a great deal in planning. I couldn't figure out which weapon, if any was any faster at killing him, or how to guarantee a hit with any given shot, but it seems that when you hit the hunter when his shield is down, the game rolls a dice or something to determine if the Hunter is hit or not (if he's not truly "hit" he does a kind of victory stance rather than doubling over in pain). Interestingly, he only doubles over a couple times before the final blow in this run, so maybe his physical reaction is arbitrary and every hit counts towards the kill. I definitely lost 5-10 seconds on this fight because I didn't follow a standard method of hiding and shooting, and so I ended up directly beneath him, which caused some problems with him not shooting at me immediately, and then there's always the horrible mis-fired granade I did that blew up a box and sent me down to 4 health... yeah, not cool.
Finally, the Hirogen finishes his Shakespearean deathbed dialog and I gain my new favorite toy... the Tetryon Disruptor. And at last I make a final run for it through the Klingon section, back to the airlock, showcasing the Tetryon Disruptor's secondary fire the whole way. In the cutscenes after the end of the level, the Borg (!) beam in, grab the isodesium and Lieutenant Foster (2nd in command of the Hazard Team) and then beam out, turning the seemingly successful mission into an outright disaster and opening a whole new can of worms... the borg. (begin creapy organ music...)
Segment Time: 1:18
This was one of the more fun Voyager segments because it took a decent amount of testing and strategy to find the best sequence for triggering all the conversations. It seems once every conversation has concluded, usually, Tuvok will contact Munro to finish out the segment. I never could figure out why Tuvok would sometimes call right after the conversations and sometimes it wouldn't happen until a minute or two later. Luckily, the recording shows my best attempt, so you don't have to do all the waiting around! When I get in the turbolift, the music glitches a little - I don't think the game expected the player to get in that quickly. This concludes this segment, and I save upon arrival at the Borg ship.
Segment Time: 10:07
The Borg level was one that I thoroughly enjoyed speedrunning, despite the challenges or setbacks. I think it was probably because of the behavior of the Borg in this game lent itself to manipulation. They were predictable in different ways, and my tactics changed several times as I found better ways to play off of their behavior to shorten the segment further.
The level opens with some target practice as I shoot a single Borg to trigger the next event. As I rewatch the run, I'm reminded that this level was a lesson in patience as it involves a large group of teammates that you are constantly waiting on, protecting, or manipulating into getting to the next place faster. You'll notice weapon slot 3 is being used for the first time since Segment 1 as the Infinity Modulator (I-mod) is put to use against the Borg's adaptive shielding. More than 2 or 3 shots with any other weapon will activate the Borg shielding. Despite this, I make extensive use of alternate weapons... particularly the Grenade launcher as you'll see. Indeed only a minute or two in, I avert an the Borg ambush by preemptively laying mines where the Borg will beam in, then using the mines blast off of one Borg to kill his partner. Apparently Borg don't adapt so well to shrapnel. As you can see, Foster is being assimilated, and Munro is given the choice of rescuing him... unfortunately for Munro, Foster can't be rescued, no matter what you do, but fortunately for me, there's no penalty for ignoring Foster altogether. In the next part I waste a few seconds making sure there are no Borg left behind because the following events don't trigger properly if there's a stray Borg in the previous room. Once everyone is setup along the walkway, it's a timed sequence until Nelson gets shot. I cleared the Borg quickly enough that Nelson actually acts like he got hit twice, including two "Nelson's down!" quotes.
The next bit has a lot of interesting history, where I tried tons of different methods to speed it up. Turns out the next event to be triggered is Chang laying some explosives and saying "Take Cover," which is not triggered by killing 40 Borg as fast as they can materialize, but by getting pushed all the way to the back room by the advance of the Borg. In other words I had been coming with ways to most efficiently kill tons and tons of Borg which keep materializing, but the fastest thing is to just wait for the Borg to push your teammates further down the hallway, then I shoot a selected 6 or so Borg which seems to magically coincide with Seven of Nine opening the forcefield to the next area. The next task is actually a puzzle where the trick is to disable the Borg distribution node on the other side of the forcefield by shooting the node from behind a grate that is somewhat hidden. Of course in speedruns, the runner is assumed to be all-knowing, all-revealing, and all-speedy, I apply some hand phaser to the dis-node, then proceed to leave the group behind as I head down an elevator. Within this large shaft the Borg spawn in at several consistent locations. While I do my best to anticipate them and take them down, the teammates inevitably block a few good shots. Once that tier is clear I jump straight down to the floor where about 6 more appear, followed by a final group of 4. I make great use of the blast radius of the grenade launcher here to take these Borg down in groups, allowing this floor to be cleared in a few seconds.
The next room has a hidden distribution node which requires the grenade launcher or the tachyon disruptor to bounce a shot behind the barricade, which I take out mid-stride. Next the crew begins their decent down through the ship through several large Borg-infested rooms. This was one of the most frantic and difficult sections of this segment because the team is being swarmed with Borg and I'm trying to press onward, but also kill off enough Borg to keep my team from getting stuck, and keep up my own ammo and health throughout the Borg slaughter-fest. And sometimes, if I don't wait a second at the beginning of it all, the crew never leaves the first lift... the lazy bums!
After that, a skipped cutscene reveals that the Borg want to arrange a deal. They'll give the isodesium back if Munro and crew take out all of the Species 8472 infestation. They're not sure they can trust Borg negotiations, but they've got little choice but onward. So now its onward to Species 8472, the Borg's one true fear.
In this section you'll see me preferring my Tachyon Disruptor (the green one), though I'm forced to use grenades and other Federation weapons to conserve ammo. This is basically a high energy, meticulous slaughter as I rotate between weapons and do my best to balance forward progression, killing every enemy, babysitting the crew, and not blowing myself up with m frequent grenade launcher usage (I came close though!). Re-watching this section I think I did a darn good job of it myself. There were hiccups, but I ultimately finished with ammo to spare, and I had the crew within 5 seconds of the final elevator when activating it sent them into slow-walking android mode. I finally make brilliant use of the Tachyon Disruptor's ricocheting secondary fire to take out the final wave of Species 8472 at the exact instant I reach the final door.
Now the boss fight with the Borg... sorry no Borg Queen, but in a decent twist the assimilated Foster has been set against Munro. First I must take out all the Borg drones in the room before Foster becomes vulnerable (looking back, I sure hope that's why I took out all the drones...), then I take out Foster himself. It's a bit frantic, but then fighting more Borg after the rabid behavior of Species 8472 is a bit anti-climactic. Finally, the isodesium is retrieved and the crew returns to voyager!
Those with keen eyes might notice that Munro leaves the Borg ship with 44 health only to materialize on Voyager with 100 health at the start of Segment 8. Apparently the transporter now has the ability to put people back together in a healthier condition than they started with! This is in fact a discepency in the game and not in my segments. Here's my post in the forum where I originally brought it up.
Segment Time: 4:53
Appropriately labeled R & R, the segment begins with a Holodeck program where the new Photon launcher is introduced. Unfortunately, the program can be aborted and effectively skipped by hitting a button on the wall once inside... too bad, would've made for a fun Voyager segment. After that I'm given the chore of yet again triggering all the right conversations in the right order to optimize the segment. I start by activating the door to Munro's quarters with a simple sidestep, then I begin the long dialog with Telsia, which I break up a little by activating conversations with Paris, Chakotay, and Neelix. I then wait for Neelix to talk to Chang, I activate Neelix's second dialog, then Chang's dialog, and that triggers the appearance of a deadly looking ship on its way to disembowel Voyager.
Finally I've got some more conversations to activate in the Hazard Ops Locker Room, the team gears up, then they finally, as slow as ever, meet up with Tuvok in the transporter room. I'm surprised they don't stop to meditate before getting on to the next level, but eventually, Munro's molecules whisked off to the shuttlebay of the dreadnought... a derelict ship with a massive cannon possibly capable of stopping the oncoming Harvester vessel.
Segment Time: 15:44
The beginning of the Dreadnought makes for fun gaming, but very slow speedrunning. The shuttlebay allows a bit of low gravity fun, while the team investigates the ship. Finally the door is opened and we get underway. Then, just when it seems there will be some action, the team is required to board an elevator. Oh man... this has got to be the longest most annoying waiting periods in the game. For some reason, the crew is programmed to board the lifts one at a time, and they do... one .... at .... a ... time. Uggh. Finally, at the top of the lift a sort of puzzle must be solved to get a door open. Luckily I didn't mess the laser shot up, which is easy to do with the four panels so close together. Then, yay, more waiting!
Once the crew reaches the top of the next lift, the level picks up some, which I preface by equipping my new toy, the Photon Launcher. I quickly deploy the photon launcher and the Tachyon Disruptor against the small contingent of scavengers. Once in the control room, I give a mock-demonstration of the Dreadnought cannon with my phaser. Once the wait is over, I get to take out some spider bots and turrets, which will at least add some action to the run from there on out. Finally I maneuver my way to the sub-Boss which goes down in about 3 seconds, after which I replenish my ammo and health and proceed to the fun part of the level.
In this part of the level, I have to keep my team with me while proceeding through enemy infested rooms, which is always cool. As an added bonus, I pick up the final weapon of the game - the "Dreadnought Weapon" or as it is re-branded in the multiplayer component of Elite Force, the Arc Welder. In following sections, I have to stop the gas from venting, then as I run full throttle towards the end of the room, I take out the massive droids that are chasing me by ricocheting my tachyon disruptor... a very cool tactic in my opinion. Having cleared the way in one fell swoop, my team catches up in a low-grav room in which Chang exercises his demolition skills on a stubborn door. Finally, its off to the barrel, where the plasma stream must be realigned and a large lift ridden to the other end of the barrel for the last part of the level.
The final part of this level features tons of the large walking robots that make the level very tense at times as I try to take out the ones I can and avoid being massacred by the ones I can't. Quite the unpredictable section, and very difficult to optimize. Once the charge is loaded, the level becomes a dance of following the charge through a gauntlet of turrets and droids. Which need to be taken out to allow the charge to progress. This took a lot of work and practice to be able to jump out in front of the turrets and take them out without dying. It only takes about 2 or 3 shots from the turrets to be killed, which is precious little room for error. That's compounded by the fact that the grenade launcher happens to be the most effective weapon, even though its equally effective at blowing up Munro at close range. Finally, I hack my way to the final chamber where I am mercifully transported back to Voyager. The skipped cutscene shows the dreadnought cannon firing on and disabling the attacking Harvester vessel just as its claws are sinking through Voyager's hull. What becomes of this now-attached alien vessel? Segment 10 it is!
Segment Time: 1:28
This is most certainly the most fun Voyager level, because Voyager is being invaded by the Harvesters, and it's obviously up to our lycra-suited, phaser weilding protagonist to stop them. Needless to say, I made short order of the Harvesters with a mixture of my power-weapons: the tachyon disruptor, the arc welder, the grenade launcher, and finally, within seconds of victory I employ the photon launcher for good measure as I lose precious seconds on a stubborn harvester. Nonetheless, this was still one of my best segments even with the mistake. Like in any speedrun, there's a lot that can go wrong, and this was my luckiest attempt at the segment, so there you have it. Now, the intrepid Hazard Team will follow the Harvester ship's auto-pilot back to the Forge... the deadly home of the Vorsoth who are responsible for trapping Voyager and the other vessels in this pocket of space.
Segment Time: 4:51
One might wonder why I completed every previous "level" in one segment, but split this one into three. Well, first, I think it deserves the segmentation because of its difficulty. If a segmented run is supposed to seek optimization, I think that it should be segmented further in places where the run is the hardest to optimize. This allows for more retries by the runner and riskier tactics to be employed. This is of course assuming the runner is working on a budget of limited time and will-power, as I was in making this run. These final 3 segments actually occurred after a break in which I wasn't certain if I would even finish the run. Most of the run was done over the summer, then when I got to the Forge, I was discouraged by its difficulty to speedrun, and I lost interest until sometime in October. Incidentally, my loss of interest in speedrunning lead to my discovery of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Multiplayer online. I began playing the Holomatch component extensively online and downloading maps and such to go with my new hobby. When I did finally come back to speedrunning the game, I came with a small arsenal of new tactics. Being my 1st PC FPS to really get involved in, I think I learned a lot from multiplayer about how to best utilize the weapons available to take down an opponent as fast as possible. Actually, Segment 10 was my first segment done after the hiatus, and my risky use of the photon launcher is perhaps an example of the bolder tactics I learned from multiplay.
On to the segment: This segment begins with a deceptively difficult series of low-gravity jumps that get me down to a switch where I can activate platforms for my heavier-footed team members. Sure I got held up for a split-second, but I came to overlook that in light of the difficulty of the rest of the segment. In the next part I navigate around the Harvesters (humanoid Harvesters now...) to the upper level, unlock the door, and then I begin a long progression of downward rooms in which I attempt to dispatch all enemies ahead of and behind me. Knowledge of enemy spawn points was crucial in streamlining this portion. Previously, when I reached the bottom I would need to turn around and unleash a torrent of photon bursts at the pursuing hoard of Harvesters, but in this wonderfully executed segment, I managed to cleanup behind me well enough that not a single Harvester survived. Next I use some creative grenade launching to begin clearing the floor above of incubating Harvesters before I get up there.
This next section is a massive firefight with the Harvesters that is the true meat of this segment. Once the crew arrives upstairs, the onslaught begins. I wish I could say I gracefully moved through the room taking out Harvesters with my arsenal of skill and firepower, but it really didn't happen quite like that. I did my best to utilize the different weapons depending on the distance to the enemy and unleashed everything I had on them while attempting to keep my ammo and health replenished. Finally the fight concludes after a hardcore sacrifice by Biessman that cost him his life. Biessman was definitely an awesome character in this game, and Raven did a nice job here having him give his life to solidify his hardcoreness and remove any doubt Munro had of his character from earlier in the game.
With the conclusion of the firefight comes the conclusion of the segment. I really didn't like the idea of getting that fight perfect only to screw up something in the following 5 minutes, so I'm very secure in my segmentation there. Plus, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve in the next segment, and it took a lot of retries to get them to work, so I'm glad the segmented run allowed me to do that without undo stress.
Segment Time: 3:39
Segment 12 opens with some fancy shooting to take out the 4 telepathic Harvesters that trigger the next sequence. After than I rampage through the next room and manage to take out all Harvesters, grab ammo, and board the lift without loosing any health! While I did achieve that result a few times, it was much more common for me to proceed from that room with about 70 health, and a nice 20 more taken off for jumping down the lift shaft too late. I manage to preserve my health a little ways further until I take a shortcut by jumping to the level below instead of riding the lift. This is one of two places that I've found can be shortcutted in the whole level after extensive searching. Between each of the floors or levels of the Forge is a layer of "instant death" that you pass through if you try to jump to a lower level. However, this field of death has a necessary gap near the lift shaft that I'm able to fall through. I traverse the invisible walkway using the tachyon disruptor to light it up for good measure, then I hack my way down to a room with some more of the telepathic Harvesters, I activate the lift first, clean up the harvesters, then make my way down. I don't need to kill any of the harvesters on this lower level because just around the corner is a precious loading screen which ushers me away from the scuttling Harvesters and into the next part of the level.
This next part of the level is a bit haphazard and very difficult to plan and control. As the game's level design has done previously, I proceed through several rooms moving downward through the level. Each room has several enemies and a lift, so I attempt to make a mad dash for the lift button, then I try to deal with the Harvesters in the room and then I move to the next room when the lift has gotten down far enough. Interestingly, my team is supposed to be following me through here, but I keep losing them with minor shortcuts and of course by allowing the lift to go back up behind me, trapping my teammates with the Harvesters... oh well. Finally, after some close calls, I get to the bottom where Munro's group meets up with the senior staff. From here, Munro disobeys an order and heads off on his own to take out the Vorsoth (who has by now appeared to the crew twice in forced telepathic visions threatening to take over the universe of course...).
The bit between here and the final boss is fairly trivial. I was proud of my grenade launcher usage to take out the Harvesters at the top of lift before I got up there. Soon enough I hit the super-mega-ultimate-ammo-capacity-expander-a-tron-3000 or whatever you'd like to call it, my ammo is boosted to 999 and I make like Charlie and take the Glass Elevator all the way to the top of the Chocolate Facto--
Segment Time: 2:46
Here we have it, the final showdown with the boss. Unfortunately, this boss has been understandably criticized as one of the easiest final bosses in FPS history, but then again, this isn't about ease or difficulty, it's about speed, and the beauty of a speedrun is that it's as hard as you want to make it depending on what standard of speedrunning excellence you hold yourself to.
That said, I played this boss fight several hundred times over, doing everything I could to memorize the patterns of the enemies materializing and streamlining my procedure for eliminating them efficiently. If you're curious, yes that's the Etherians helping out by taking out the "seed" which the Vorsoth intends to use to create another Forge. Finally when it comes time to tackle the big slug himself, I did everything I could to not miss a single shot with my Tetryon Disruptor while aoiding his predictable attacks. The biggest challenge was grabbing ammo while dodging his attacks, because it's very easy to get stuck on the wall when backing up to grab ammo, and getting stuck means getting hit, which prompts a restart. Personally I think I did a decent job of it and the Vorosth then goes down fairly easily. Of course, with 999 unused Federation ammo, I open up a few Photon bursts on the carcass for good measure. In an predictably inexplicable twist of fate, the death of the Vorsoth prompts the sudden destruction of the station from the inside out, from which Munro is plucked by the transporter just in time.
I thought about including the final cutscenes, but I figured it would be interpreted as not being in the spirit of speedrunning, so I button-mashed past the cutscenes and credits as fast as possible to conclude the run. After all, as we are so often reminded in the forums, you are not visiting "Cut Scene Demos Archive." In good spirit though I tried to include some hints at the progression of the stry in these comments since I figure man who watch this run will likely not be familiar with the game.
>> Final Thoughts
Well, I guess that does it! I'm very satisfied with this run, and I'm grateful to be done with this project which started in the early-Summer of 2007 and is being concluded now in the mid-Spring of 2008. Never underestimate the effor that it takes to get a run onto SDA. This run was finished in November, but the work necessary to get it online (recording VHS to DVD, encoding, writing comments, submitting) was more than I had time for until now, which is in March. Yeah, I'm a lazy bum for waiting so long, but hey, if you're reading this then it has seen the light day at last! Thanks again for watching the run and/or reading the comments. I highly recommend the game to anyone who enjoys PC FPSs or who enjoys Star Trek. I'm happy to add the first Star Trek run to SDA, and I hope you enjoyed watching it. Please, read back through the Acknowledgements above to remember who came before me to make this speedrun possible. I'd of course be happy to respond to any and all feedback in the forum here at Speed Demos Archive, or wherever else you may see the name 'Psonar' or 'flutefreak7' around the internet. Thanks!
This run is the property of Brett Ables. This run has only been authorized for hosting here on SDA or through my youtube or filefront account. Please contact me if you are interested in displaying this speedrun elsewhere.
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