This May 1993 Genesis release permitted intrepid players to choose between Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Gambit and Cyclops before taking their selected mutant heroically forth into a confusing environment crawling with unremarkable foes.
Best time: 0:08:46 by Jason 'honorableJay' Feeney on 2009-04-01.
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The game itself isn't too bad, but it's not the greatest game in the world either. You get to choose between Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Gambit, and Cyclops and take them out into a pretty standard platform world that's populated with faceless bad guys and levels that make little to no sense at all. Looking back, the lack of sense in the levels and bad programming were tolerable, but the mutant energy meter always struck a bad chord. I mean, what's the point in playing as your favorite mutant (so long as he's on the list) if you do nothing but punch all day?
Anyway, back on topic. I used Nightcrawler for the majority of the run simply because he was made for speedrunning. His air attack is a kick dive that can be extended until you hit the ground (which moves about 2x faster than walking, possibly more), you can use his teleport ability to bypass level triggers and mandatory obstacles, going into a tele state will insta-kill all normal enemies no matter how strong they are (minus bosses unfortunately), and..................he's blue. Who wants to do a speedrun with a guy wearing yellow spandex??
A few problems with the game to note:
The mutant energy meter really put a damper on what I could and could not do throughout the entire run. The fastest method to move around any level would be to teleport up to the ceiling, then kick dive. Wash, rinse, repeat. BUT on a full charge the most you can do is 3 short teleports before the meter runs dry, or 2 medium teleports. The difference between a short teleport and a medium teleport is about 3-6 frames (no joke) so timing is crucial when executing. To make it even harder, the blue X to recharge the mutant meter can rarely be found where I need it, and one of them that I actually do get gives me nothing at all (found in Ahab's Future). So a lot of time went into planning out what teleports I could do, which ones I couldn't, and how much time would I waste between levels recharging.
The hitbox detection is also really off in a lot of sections, especially when it comes to landing on platforms. There were many times when I'd go right through a platform even though my feet were clearly on it (and not just on the edge, more like at the middle) which would cause me to restart the run. The flying purple jerks on Mojo's Crunch also have horrible hitbox detection for their punch attacks. Even if I'm right on top of the guy, above his arm, and clearly kicking his head in, if he punches I'll take the shot and he'll be fine. Also, if he's flying above me and punches, if any part of his body is overlapping with me (even the bottom of his legs) I'll get hit. At least 40 runs were killed because of them.
The controls also tend to be a pain. When testing on an emulator, I found out that the game displays at 60fps. However, controller input is only accepted at 30hz, so what the game does is renders a frame, waits for input, renders, waits, renders, etc etc etc thus giving the impression of only 30fps display. There are plenty of times though that the game can and will update the screen on any of the frames, which will pause the controller input being accepted for a few frames. Usually this will happen when you land on a platform on the wrong frame or come out of a tele state and try to kick dive on the first possible frame. When this happens, anything you just pressed will be completely ignored and can continue to do so for almost a quarter second. There were times I'd be in a rhythm with my jumps/attacks and if I hit one of those input delay spots, my rhythm would get thrown off since I'd be hitting the buttons on the frame the game doesn't accept input (which doesn't rollover to the next frame).
My general strategy here is to stick to the high road and extend the kick dives as long as possible, which for the most part goes according to plan. I had a few small errors but nothing worthy of killing the run. I take a shot here; improperly time a kick dive there, but nothing major. The only thing I didn't like was not being able to properly tele-boost through the pillar in the beginning of the level. There is a way to do a kick dive off of the first branch a screen away, go through the one next to it, then do a tele-boost and get launched through the pillar and come out on the top of the screen, which perfectly sets up a kick dive to the tree branch. However you need to be frame accurate with it and if not you'll get tele-boosted to the lower cave under the pillar (which is a dead end). The end fight went about as good as you can get. I used some heavy screen manipulation to hit what's-her-name 3 times with Archangel, then tried to manipulate the screen again to get Storm to attack quicker (did a high jump to get her to the center of the screen).
Don't ask me how this is supposed to represent the Shi'ar Empire, but hey that's what the designers dreamed up. You're supposed to hunt down keys (symbolized by a big pink K) to open doors and continue, but I have none of that. The first chunk of the level is just teleporting past the locked doors, then going to the mid/high road until the shuttle sequence. The very first teleport is the only place I really get to abuse tele-boosting. I get myself wedged into the wall about halfway, and when the game boosts me out to the other side, it pushes me down into the floor. This of course requires me to get boosted back out of the floor. The final result is a short teleport that goes farther/faster than a long teleport. Shortly after that you'll see another weird bug with the game: if you hit one of the troopers on the frame he's completely out of the door the poor guy gets insta-killed. As for the shuttle sequence, sadly it cannot be skipped. I found out how to get into the room and to the other side without starting the sequence, but the game refuses to let me into the boss room until the sequence is actually completed. Not much to say about Deathbird except she landed where I wanted her to on the final hit.
This level is the shortest out of them all. You're supposed to fight Sabertooth before entering the lighthouse, but I just teleport past him and keep right on going. Once inside the lighthouse I have two routes to choose from: either teleport straight up to Apocalypse or take the elevator. The former saves 10-15 seconds in the level but forces me to hunt down 5 orbs before level 4, and the latter wastes time waiting for the elevator but allows me to get away with only 1 orb. I choose the latter since the orb I smash is on the way to the danger room exit (and therefore wastes no time). It's still debatable which route is faster, but for me this was faster by far. The Apocalypse fight was a cakewalk: just go punch for punch until he dies. Wolverine was used since his spin attack deals the most damage out of all attacks (next to maybe one of the backup characters).
This was by far the hardest level when I first started the run. Since my timing sucked, I was forced to take the middle/lower parts of the level which are hell to get through quickly. Granted there are some nice kick dive spots where you get some insane air-time, but the amount of obstacles to avoid and and overall cramped feeling make it too hard to do consistently. The high road is definitely the way to go. After using Iceman to bypass the laser, I get to the first teleport. You'll notice I pick up another Iceman icon, which I'll get to use later. If you go by in frame advance, you'll notice that the blue X I grab gives me NOTHING for my mutant meter. That's not a glitch, that pickup really gives you nothing. The most you'll get out of it is a tiny sliver that isn't even usable. I swear it's the worst practical joke I've ever seen in any game. Since most people will see that from below, they'll waste their time to get up there only to find out that whatever mutant energy they wasted to get there isn't going to be replenished. The only big mistake in the run just happens to be in this level. When I try to kick dive over the chasm the double jump doesn't register, so I don't get enough height to make it across and plummett into the abyss. Luckily it only cost me 2-4 seconds or so, but it still hurts to see. While fighting Ahab, jumping on that platform causes him to pick one of about 5 spawns that are all visible. If I don't jump there, he has a high chance of teleporting in outside of the screen and immediately teleporting again, which wastes a lot of time. To end it I grab a health pickup that you can't see (all bosses have a health pickup hidden somewhere near them).
This level went about as well as I could hope. All of the major obstacles I was able to avoid (although I do take a few hits, one being intentional). After I teleport past Mojo, I get a massive string of luck. Not only do I get to skip over the fire columns without waiting for them (or getting hit), but I had enough energy for 1 short teleport. I use this over the exploding screens, then kick dive for the finish line and avoid all damage from that last area. In every other run I've always taken at least one hit. This next part requires explaining for people who haven't played the game before: After you smash the computer console, most people get lost and have no idea what to do next. If you wait, eventually Professor X tells you, "Reset the console now!!!" What he means is to literally reset the console. You have to press the reset button on the genesis in order to continue. I've never had problems doing it before, but I have heard other people have held the reset button for too long or accidentally double-tapped it and completely reset the game to the title screen.
This is the only level where you get full health/energy before playing. It's also littered with health/energy pickups, which makes it one of the easier levels to run through. The first teleport doesn't go according to plan. Up until this point, I'd been running the game with Player 2 since I was using the orb glitch before Mojo's level, and since Player 2 starts closer to the wall the teleport would end with me at the top of the screen. This would extend the kick dive to the platform and instantly setup the second kick dive/teleport. Oh well, I can't win em all. I do recover quickly though and lose almost no time from it. The rest of the level goes according to plan. All of the enemies behaved exactly as I wanted them to. I don't take any damage until the acid drop hallway (which was intentional) and even the fight with Magneto goes well. I was able to keep him from going into "Douchebag Mode" where he can't be hit and wastes a ton of time. He'll do that if you touch him a frame or two too high or too late after he lands.
And that's the game. Heck I run the game so fast I even skipped the ending dialogue. The most time that can be shaved off from the game is about 4-7 seconds tops, and that's only from cleaning up the small mistakes I had. If someone wanted to save more time, more sections to tele-boost would have to be found or a major glitch would need to be discovered.
I'd like to thank Spider-Waffle first and foremost. If he didn't keep pushing me and pointing out possible time-savers and route changes this run never would've gotten as optimized as it is now. When I first started my unofficial time was 10:25. That means I've shaved almost 2 minutes off of my original time, which is no easy feat for a game this short.
I also want to thank Sticykman for allowing me to steal his TAS ideas and (ab)use them in my run (and for being a nice cheerleader). Hopefully this run getting put up will solve his blue balls issue.
My best friend Ken also deserves a lot of thanks for helping to get me started on this and for letting me borrow his spare Genesis (the one I got off of eBay didn't work) and also for being a good cheerleader.
My girlfriend Mary deserves some thanks for putting up with my crap and supporting me while I cursed and screamed my head off at the tv like a maniac.
I'd like to say a big thanks to the guys at SDA for all their hard work in keeping the site going and getting the runs ripped/uploaded.
The final thanks go to you, the viewer, for watching and (hopefully) enjoying seeing a 6-month chunk of my life.
Jason "honorableJay" Feeney
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