Released in 1991 by Bits Studios, Terminator 2 is presumably a movie hype cash-in video game, but wikipedia had no information about it aside from the maker and publisher and you don't need me to paraphrase the events of the movie here. Just watch the runs.
Best time: 0:08:02 by 'iast' on 2013-06-14.
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A Game Boy version of one of the most successful action films of all time, and published by LJN no less, is a bad game to play and only slightly more so to run? Say it's not so!
T2, if nothing else, made for an interesting run in that trying to play it "optimally" means relying on many factors outside your control. RNG is a prevalent force in this run, in some stages more than others. I guess part of what made me stick with this game, besides being somewhat painlessly short, was with witnessing the various ways RNG plays into the run. Sometimes merely slowing me down, other times blowing diesel fumes right into my face before I keel over. We'll get to that soon enough, though. On to the breakdown!
I'm constantly jumping whenever possible because being in the air in this stage moves you a couple of frames faster than when you're running. I have to adjust my rhythm from time to time to get around environmental obstacles or any mines/bombs that spawn in. While I do try to avoid taking damage whenever possible, I don't attempt to shoot any terminators that get in my way since I'd have to shoot them on the ground (thus losing any speed gained from jumping) and contact with them results in little health loss.
My pace in general throughout the level is solid, not getting caught on objects. I get off the incoming shots while running to antennas 3-5 which collectively save half a second. I get some bad luck on antenna 4 when a bomb spawns in and blocks my last four shots, forcing me to turn around and finish the antenna off, losing about 1.3 seconds. The boss fight goes about as well as expected. I manage to get off 4 shots with every jump which I should be doing; usually the boss fight can generate enough lag at times to eat shot inputs. This would have been my best stage 1 had it not been for the bomb on antenna 4.
Starting with almost 6 bars of health in this stage is incredibly good health-wise. Typically I need to start with at least 5 bars to ensure that I can take damage from going through the large robots. The biggest danger in this stage comes from random terminator spawns. Unless I'm super-high on health, seeing one spawn near the larger robots usually means having to stop and take both out or take too much damage running through both of them. The game plays nice here though and doesn't spawn any.
For the tunnel, I don't want less than 2 1/2 bars of health and I get there with plenty to spare. That lets me take mandatory damage from the mines placed in there, and whatever I may take from touching the large robots. I'm healthy enough that I just walk through the last large robot. If my health were tighter, I'd try taking it out to minimize health loss. Very happy with how this stage went.
There are 3 circuit puzzles and each one has two boards to choose from. It is a straight 50/50 which board the game gives me for each puzzle. The timer cannot be sped up either (but there's ways to slow it down!), so I have to wait for it to count down and trace out my solution every time. Also each second on the in-game timer equates to ~0.85 seconds real-time.
For puzzle #1, the choice is inconsequential since both end with 3 in-game seconds left. I get real lucky with puzzles 2 and 3, the game being nice enough to give me the fastest boards for each. A bad board would've put me 2-3 seconds behind per board. In attempts, I'd allow one bad board and try to make up time later on, but two would've ended a run for sure.
Everything up to this point, though, has been mere practice. The 2nd half of the run constitutes the largest factors that determine whether or not the run is viable.
Stage 4 is where the true gatekeeper of the run resides; RNG Truck. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
In all seriousness, the truck can end a run simply because it does not want to cooperate. It always appears from the bottom left corner then drifts up to the middle point. From that point on, the truck's movements become completely random, traveling up, down or forward regardless of your positioning or actions. Touching any portion of the truck with your body or mortocycle (but not your gun) results in death. There are two main run-enders that the truck can perform:
1. The truck can partually disappear under the bottom of the screen, but your cycle can only move as low as to where your tires are just above the HUD. Thus, the truck can move so low that you're unable to hit its weak point, the bottom of the windshield. I've had the truck in attempts stay below the bottom for 10+ seconds at a time.
2. The truck can randomly charge to the right in addition to when it charges when you damage it enough to change phases (grill damaged, windshield damaged, top destroyed, and grill destroyed). Normally, when it charges ahead due to phase change, hitting its weak spot will stop it from charging. However, the truck can decide to charge at any time, even right after you've stopped a charge.
The only strategy that is anywhere close to reliable is to get in the truck's face and hope that it'll continue to charge into your fire. This particular fight is the fastest I've ever gotten on it. The truck does an unusual downward charge after the first phase change, causing me to back off it for safety for a couple moments. It also dips downward again after that for a couple of seconds, but once it comes back up it doesn't give me any other issues while I peg away at the rest of it.
Stage 5 can just as easily influence the run due to factors outside my control. In this case, with how it decides to spawn enemies. If the game decides to spawn enemies when I'm in the sections with turrets, it can potentially introduce lag depending on how many other projectiles are on-screen, and having more than one enemy on screen at any point in the stage can lag the game as well. While I do get enemy spawns in several points of the stage, they're either off-screen enough that I scroll them off or directly in front so I can take them out with averting from my route.
The final boss, the T-1000, can just as easily as anything else bring the run to an end. When you're within melee range of him, he has invulnerability frames during his attacks and during their startup. Hence, you can punch him for no effect and he'll hit your right back. It's possible for him to deny my punches enough times that I miss out on a weapon drop or that I punch him too many times if he forces me back too much that he changes into his true form before I can push him to the end of the platform, both of which are run-enders.
The general strategy for this fight is:
1. Pick up the first machine gun drop near my spawn point and use it to force the T-1000 back.
2. Engage him in melee and (hopefully) push him back enough that I can pick up the 2nd machine gun drop.
3. Continue to force him back and grab the 3rd machine gun drop just after the 2nd one dries up.
4. Knock him down with punches at the end of the platform to make him change form, pick up the grenade launcher while he is down, and get a shot on him right after he gets back up to force him off the platform.
During this particular fight, I get somewhat unlucky between the 1st and 2nd machine gun drops when the T-1000's hits almost make me miss out on the drop. I make a small execution error near the end and throw an extra punch after knocking him down, resulting in me picking up the grenade launcher half a second late.
There is a bit of room left for improvement in a couple spots. With cleaner execution, this run could hit 8:00 or even skim just under it. A solid sub-8, however, is gonna come down to better luck in stages 4-6.
And now, some thanks are in order:
-Funkdoc for being the first speedrunner I tuned into and introducing me to speedrunning in general, and thus indirectly responsible for me seeing this through to the end.
-MURPHAGATOR! for threatening to destroy my eyesight during this run and yet being crazy enough to watch me run this at the same time.
-Everyone who tuned into my streams of this game for helping me stay sane while running this. I wouldn't lie if I said I was somewhat amiss about getting this run off-stream, but your patience and kindness while I was grinding away is greatly appreciated.
-And to SDA as a whole for providing me countless hours of entertainment and inspiration.
Hasta la vista, baby.
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