Saturday, June 27, 2009 by Enhasa
When Daniel 'Jiano' Hart provided SDA its inaugural The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess speedruns, they were met with widespread adoration and pretty much scared off potential challengers. So it was up to him to incorporate new developments and modernize the page, leading to this barrier-smashing 3:56 on the speedrun-friendlier GameCube version. That's 51 minutes faster than before. How many segments? Oh, just one. Since you must realize how infeasible it is for everything to go perfectly, I'm sure you'll understand some of the later parts of the run.
Our Zelda II: The Adventure of Link page has a fair number of categories, and Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen's goal is apparently to take over every last one of them. Today this is manifested with two runs: a single-segment 0:59:43 and a New Game Plus 0:41:10, replacing Tommy Montgomery's 0:41:49 in this category. Both new speedruns feature Up+A warping and shortcut deaths. Ever the speedrunner, Kristian optimized the writing of his comments by reusing much of the text. I don't know what Kristian is up to right now, but maybe Chip 'Breakdown' Vogel ought to watch his back.
Today proves that Zelda speedrunners sure know how to stick to their games and not settle for less. Our last example is Philippe 'Wak' Brisson's 1:29:48 of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It joins Mike 'TSA' Damiani's old single-segment 1:39:47 from 2005, so it may not sound like much, but really it is. Philippe squeezes every last drop out of the 17 segments, and he even highlights the particularly difficult sections so you can play along at home. Philippe's next move is to take sole ownership of the page by "crushing" the time of TSA and everyone else.
Friday, June 26, 2009 by Enhasa
Scenes from a memory. Joe Stanski is back with a new run. Of course, this means Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The total individual-levels time is now 0:15:33, the result of a single new level run. This level is Metropolis 2, which plummets from 0:01:01 all the way down to 0:00:14. If you assume that a 77% reduction wouldn't occur unless there was a new glitch, you would be correct. Stanski is working on a 100% run, whereas Fritz Lang is not working on Metropolis 2 for many reasons, least of all because he's long dead.
Fritz Lang is considered the foremost pioneer of film noir, which segues directly to Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. This is yet another singleton individual level. This six-seconds-faster 0:00:35 for "Return to Funhouse, as Mona" is an odd case. James Staff made this run back in 2007 but only bothered to submit it two years later. The mode for the 0:21:01 IL category is New York Minute, Easy, which means that due to time bonuses, what you see is not necessarily what you get. This is analogous to the recently posted Marble Blast, which has now been mentioned two updates in a row for no particular reason.
Here is an even odder case. 悟 '蛍火' 鈴木, also known as Satoru 'Hotarubi' Suzuki, is well-regarded as the world's top Super Metroid player, whose single-segment 0:32 brought him endless acclaim. Last year, he submitted another astounding single-segment run, this time a low% in 0:44. Soon it was all ready to go up, except he hadn't submitted any comments. This typically wouldn't be much of a problem, but due to the language barrier and other factors, he never replied with them. After finding out that his run was available on YouTube (albeit extremely well-hidden), I joked that we should just use his YouTube comments in lieu of a response. After a while, this became a serious suggestion, so take a look at the page to see the outcome.
Friday, June 26, 2009 by dex
I Am Not Enhasa
Of course, there's also an Oldie of the update! This time it's on a map you've seen today - Wind Tunnels (e3m5). This time it's the Easy 100% in 0:01:21 by Daniel Hansson, and it's got a nice amount of impressive stuff, so go watch: MQ, HQ, IQ.
But wait, there's also an additional thing I'd like to show. There's been this race to getting the shortest run up on SDA, currently it's the 3 second long Clue run. However, we already have a 2 second run in the archives since 1999, made by (to quote Morfans) the legendary speedrunning legend Ilkka "I'm a legend" Kurkela and Juho-Jussi Renvall. Only HQ, but it's not exactly a very big download, so MQ isn't necessary.
Of course, one could also point out that if we take IL runs into account, the Marble Blast run has a 0:00:00 up. But I digress...
Friday, June 12, 2009 by Enhasa
Tony 'ZenicReverie' Foster gets his first publication, for Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. This one's a doozy. It replaces Ben 'Mkt2015' Fichter's eight-segment 2:20:03. So naturally, there is a good deal of excitement for Mr. Foster's single-segment 1:40:11, almost a full forty minutes faster. Pretty impressive for someone who apparently never owned the game before January and never played it before March. There are some new shortcuts, but overall the biggest change in this run is a more optimized route with far less time wasted while orb collecting. In his comments from 2005, Ben asserted that "less than two hours isn't possible." Impossible is nothing.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 by Enhasa
First up today is a fan favorite: Grand Theft Auto III. The best time, 1:22:31, was once held by Andre 'l2ebel' Bodmer. Mihail 'SCM' Suraev captured it last year with his 1:16:12. Today Andre 'l2ebel' Bodmer does a bit of recapturing with his latest effort, a shiny 1:14:31. The number of segments has increased from the traditional three to four this time. If you don't want to be spoiled as to why, don't read the comments before watching, try to somehow ignore segment lengths while watching, and you probably shouldn't turn on the included subtitle commentary either. That all sounds rather drastic; I wouldn't bother.
Great things are happening as SDA expands its global reach. We welcome 川元 'Hikari' 英則, whose name is romanized as Hidenori 'Hikari' Kawamoto. He has a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater European Extreme mode run with Kerotan rank, joining Merlin 'Take-Chan' Medau's European Extreme run with Fox Hound rank. I'm still trying to figure out why the Japanese comments contain English words such as "youtube" and "chaff grenade" that the English comments do not, but I suppose that's why we provide both. Hidenori's speedrun lasts 1:41:38, 15 minutes and 44 seconds longer than Merlin's, but hey, who can resist those frogs? Waka-waka all day, baby.
This next speedrun is quite the improvement. Back in 2005, James 'Brown Bomber' Bunkley completed a run of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door in 7:11. Although this game will run happily at 60 Hz even in PAL regions, Mark Wong's recorder wasn't especially fond of this idea, so the perfectly valid 50 Hz was chosen instead. There are a multitude of factors that mean a straight time conversion wouldn't do the run much justice, so suffice it to say that Mark's 7:07 (bloopers) is substantially faster in play, if not in video length. The segment count has gone from 16 to 32, an exact doubling. We can assure you this is true in any region.
I didn't expect to see the first SDA update with two Japanese runners this early in my tenure, but these are the times we live in. It's for the Wii debut of arguably the only series truly to utilize the Wii remote effectively: Trauma Center: Second Opinion. It appears now is the time to mention that our long-standing rule requiring full names of runners has been rescinded and is now just a recommendation. I recall that the original rationale was to bolster legitimacy in SDA's infancy, but we're doing pretty well, and at this point, what is more "legitimate" than showcasing the best runs? 'szsk' and his single-segment Normal mode 1:24:18 would have to agree. His patients? Maybe not so much.
Sunday, May 31, 2009 by Enhasa
Even after all these years, Metroid Prime is a game that never quits. Runners may quit, as Stefan 'Mister Shin' van Dijke says he will now that we've posted his final runs: single-segment 1:16 and low% 1:26, both on the European version. Saying farewell are Besmir 'Zoid' Sheqi's single-segment 1:17 and William 'pirate109' Tansley's low% 1:48. Stefan's low% was started four long years ago, and in his comments you can see the progression of the 21 segments over time. The end result is a bit like Frankenstein's monster; the first four segments are taken from Stefan's any% 1:09, and the last four segments were encoded differently after he redid them to save a minute. Of course, the beauty lies within.
When it comes to appearing in the news recently, Justin 'Ucpro' Salamon is a pro. Today the selected game is Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. As far as I know, he doesn't have anything against fluffy kittens, but that didn't stop him from obsoleting Erik 'fluffy kitten' Beisick's 19-segment 100% Hard 2:38:07 from 2006. Justin's version saves almost fourteen minutes, sporting a time of 2:24:24. As with Stefan's segmented run, the theme of Justin's 22-segment run is a severe underestimation of the time and effort involved. Although, the exact same sentiment is held for his single-segment 100% Easy 2:34:15 with deaths, what Justin calls his "miracle run." The SDA: where miraculous happens.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 by Enhasa
Let's get started with this massive retro update. First is the game that some of us on staff wanted to make 500th as a practical joke. To our chagrin, we decided that the world wasn't capable of handling our awesome idea. It's Macaulay Culkin and he's Home Alone. With its trap-based gameplay involving dogs, a giant clover, and a little chinchilla, it would not be a 100% fabrication (only 99%) to call this game a proto-Kagero. Who is man enough to run this game? None other than Justin 'UCpro' Salamon. His self-described "nearly flawless" 0:12:54 is built on iterative planning and a very lucky final boss fight. Jump along with Justin to the beat of the music.
Since Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is a remake of Rondo of Blood, Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk was dubious that his speedrun would be a candidate for 500. But hey, if Konami thinks that a game is new enough to deserve a new name, that's good enough for a new game page for us. So along with Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's 100% 0:40:10 of the original, we now also have Chris's single-segment Good Ending 0:17:44 with deaths. Anyone who knows how Chris Kirk rolls will not be surprised to learn that his trademark audio commentary is included. This run is made possible by Maria Renard and the PSP 3000, which in fact is not a vacuum cleaner.
Speaking of Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe, he surmised that perhaps his Easy mode Dawn of Mana run would be 500th, since it had gone the longest since acceptance without yet being published. This would make sense, but there was a hold-up with the runs of the arena bouts. In the end, though, the rising sun of mana waits for no one. What you see today is a nine-segment run through this chronologically first installment in 2:32:37. I thought Seiken Densetsu was a wildly popular series, but this run took an embarrassingly long time to get verifiers and be accepted. As always, if you could help us out with verifying any runs for games that you know well, we would greatly appreciate it.
Continuing right along, we have a run that someone not on staff knew would be part of this 500 update. That's because Marcus 'Preddy' Göhlert specifically asked us when his run of Mega Man V would be going up. We don't blame him though; impatience is a virtue for a speedrunner. This virtue is put to good use in this ten-segment 0:47:15. This game is relatively unique for a Game Boy Mega Man title, but I don't feel like saying the same thing in two places, so just read the introduction on the game page. Starting his own tradition that began with Rosenkreuzstilette, Marcus has audio commentary this time for an actual Mega Man game. His text comments are pretty sweet-looking too.
Now it's time for the run that probably most deserved to be 500th, that is, if we were really serious fellows to begin with. Here is a full set of world records for Marble Blast Gold, a bundled favorite. Whether it's Marble Madness, Super Monkey Ball, Ballance, Switchball, or whatever, ball-rolling games are prime targets for amazing speedruns. Pascal 'Xelna' Lafrance, Remy 'Dushine' Dushime, and Matan 'IsraeliRD' Weissman do not disappoint. Since each of these individual levels are so short, they decided to append them by course. So that's what you'll get when you download their combined-total 0:15:36.826. They also deliver game replays and some bloopers. Have fun.
Last but not least, we have a run from a guy who probably doesn't care if his game is 500th or not, who doesn't care that his run isn't under a minute long, and who also doesn't care if you think his run is stupid or not. He's wanted to do this since 2006. It's Samuel 'Arkarian' Groves running the game that was always the big elephant in the middle of the room: Myst. Many have offered this game as providing maybe the shortest possible run for SDA, but I guess those people need to get a clue. At any rate, Samuel's single-segment 0:01:16 features some furious mousy action. He calculated total clicks required to finish the game, so we can safely say his effective APM is over 100.
Saturday, May 23, 2009 by Enhasa
When Giel 'ZaibirQuild' Goertz was last seen speedrunning Duck Tales, he was bewildering audiences everywhere with the moon stage glitch. Since then, the art of Duck Tales has evolved, and that glitch is no longer necessary. That's because there's an even faster moon stage glitch now. Fans of crazy-looking glitches might pine for the old one — the new glitch looks a bit pedestrian in comparison — but speed is speed. Though don't be fooled into thinking that the thirty seconds of improvement of this European Difficult 0:08:14 all come from this new glitch. For one thing, the final pogo wasn't the very definition of schadenfreude this time.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 by Enhasa
After the series was rebooted with Tomb Raider: Legend, the next logical step for Eidos was to milk the original game with a high-budget remake. And thus begat Tomb Raider: Anniversary. So it was that on the 14th of February, 2009, Janusz 'jardart' Rosenow finished his Easy difficulty run. The time on the clock said 0:41:42, but that's not the time you see here today. Janusz combined three of his previous segments into one improved segment, for a new total of 19, so the real time is 0:39:40. If you've only played the original game, this entire run will look rather foreign to you, but even if you have, all this airwalking and shake-shake and other mischief making should still astound you.
Anniversary came chronologically before Legend, but the latest game, Tomb Raider: Underworld, decided to restore some normalcy to the timeline by actually being the latest in the series. Less than a week after Janusz did his Anniversary run, Jarek 'j.calling.2bad' Hanzelka completed a run of his own for Underworld. It utilizes a mammoth skip discovered by Tl2ophy that cuts out half of the game. The strategies from numerous contributers enabled Jarek to tear right through in just 0:25:26 and 12 segments on Master Survivalist difficulty. Thank the developers for being completely oblivious to all the glitches in their game, never once addressing them.
Monday, May 18, 2009 by Enhasa
Half-Life full game runs don't seem to be getting as much action recently, but this doesn't preclude other modes from getting their due. So today we have Mikael 'Zhouy' Mårtensson's Boot Camp speedrun of Half-Life: Opposing Force in 0:09:36 with eight segments. Along with Portal, Half-Life is also given the grandfather clause with respect to script usage, so don't be caught unaware. There's not much for me to say here, so just watch and you can see it all for your own self.
The next run is Andrew 'spidey-widey' Brockmann in a return performance of Metroid: Zero Mission. Last time, he destroyed the segmented any% category by making a faster single-segment run. Today he creates. Here is his three-segment 0:27:40, which has its highlights and its lowlights. You might ask, "Why three segments? Is there even a point?" Hey, it's 62 seconds faster. Don't mess. These skips don't skip themselves. This energy doesn't refill itself. Samus doesn't take off her suit herself. Or does she?
Thursday, May 14, 2009 by Enhasa
Our first new game courtesy of Giel is the NES port of the arcade classic, Donkey Kong. Back in 2005, Philippe 'Suzaku' Henry did a run of the Donkey Kong remake for Game Boy, but the two versions are radically different. This would explain why this run is over an hour faster, at 0:01:22 on the European version. You might be tempted to think this is a pretty cut-and-dry run, but Giel uses a nifty trick on the first level. If you haven't seen this trick before, it will most likely surprise you, so prepare to be surprised! Although, I just ruined some of the surprise by alerting you to it, silly me.
Giel Goertz continues his update dominance with Kirby's Adventure. Both of Giel's runs in this update are the "original" versions of games that were missing on SDA but already had runs of their remakes. Once again, you can't compare the new with the old, this time Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's run of Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. Giel's is a single-segment European 0:41:40, abusing the UFO glitch. If you've played this game and know how good the UFO is, how good do you think a permanent UFO would be? Yeah, pretty good. The door is open for a run without the UFO glitch, though, so step right up.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 by Enhasa
Dazed and Confused
It's well documented how Ashley of Resident Evil 4 tends to act like a space cadet. So I'm sure today's new runner, Robert 'Sunblade' Brandl, is thankful that he only had to worry about Ada. Robert's run is for the European Wii version of Assignment Ada mode in 0:05:48. The extremely observant will notice that Greg Innes's 0:06:31 of the same category on the Gamecube version has been replaced, even though Krauser is noticably easier on the Wii. This is because the quality of play is still higher, of course. Regardless, if you'd like to see obsoleted runs be given their due on the game pages, know that we at SDA agree and are planning to do something about it this summer.
Sunday, May 10, 2009 by Enhasa
With all the blatant misuse of the term metagaming these days, it's time for our own bona fide example. There's been somewhat of an informal contest recently in trying to get the fastest run, not for any particular game, but for all games on SDA. Short runs have been made for North & South, Master of Orion II, and Myst, but Wesley 'Molotov' Corron drops the hammer with his run of Clue in 0:00:03. That's right, three seconds. If there is a safe record on all of SDA, this is surely it. Not displaying much in the way of gaming skill but certainly novelty, Wesley pushes the envelope with this run. Now reach inside and find out who did it.
Friday, May 8, 2009 by Enhasa
Wheelz of Steel
Now it's time for some original Baldur's Gate. If you're looking for the existing Normal difficulty runs by Julien Langer, those are on the page for Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast. Today's Hard difficulty run by newcomer Benjamin 'beenman500' Culley does not use the expansion. It's in 0:21:31 and eight segments using the very multi-class Fighter/Mage/Thief. I know Radix has wanted a run sans expansion for years now, so if he still cares, today he gets his wish. Farewell, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere and Garan's Dimension Door scroll. Now show me how you feel.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 by Enhasa
We've long had a run for Thief: Deadly Shadows, so it's about time we get one for the influential first installment, Thief: The Dark Project. The category is an individual-levels run in 0:34:59, each level starting with the highest amount of money possible carried over from the previous level. These stages were tag-teamed by Harri 'Rogston' Väisänen and Esa 'SaunaChum' Kivirinta. Harri did Lord Bafford's Manor, Break from Cragscleft Prison, Down in the Bonehoard, Assassins, The Sword, The Haunted Cathedral, and Into the Maw of Chaos. Esa did The Lost City, Undercover, Return to the Cathedral, Escape!, and Strange Bedfellows. Both did very well.
Saturday, May 2, 2009 by Enhasa
We already had an individual-levels Max Payne run on SDA, but now we also have a single-segment run. This game is so noir, even the difficulty names sound like stage names. Nigel 'ridd3r' Martin chose to run the Dead on Arrival difficulty after finding the treasures of King Nole. His 1:22:32 contains one accidental death costing eight seconds, but Nigel kept it since it was still faster overall than his deathless attempts. If you have something against constant rolling, killing guys for time, and other New York Minute mode tricks, you'll likely prefer this run. Don't forget to bring your external audio commentary!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 by Enhasa
My kingdom for a heart!
Our other speedrun is for Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The inspiration for this run came from Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols. Keith 'The Quiet Man' Skomorowski took this idea and, well, ran with it. The result is a single-segment 1:29:05 as Riku. Keith is not a Sora fan, so don't expect a Sora run from him in the future. Japanophiles should also note that the US version is a lot more difficult. Since the card system was later discarded, the enduring legacy of this game was opening the path for increasingly ridiculous titles: Kingdom Hearts coded, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. I wish I was making this up.
Saturday, April 25, 2009 by Enhasa
Not that I should be one to talk, but Mike Uyama has been conspicuously absent from the news page for over a year. It's hard to believe in this day and age that he still holds the second largest number of runs on the site — newbies would never guess that Tom 'rdrunner' Votava is first — but there's that whole SDA thing to contend with, after all. Mike has been working on Contra III: The Alien Wars for over two years, but once you watch this unbelievable 0:14:59, over a minute faster than Josh 'LigerOfFortune' Styger's already well-received 0:16:07, you'll understand. Mike finally gets to showcase his vocal range on a run of his own this time, and the early reviews are his best yet.
Have a listen at Contra and Dark Castle for the rest of the Michael Uyama masterwork series.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Enhasa
One of the questions we get from time to time, depending on how long the asker has been around, is either "What happened to the old 70-star run?" or "Why don't you guys have a 70-star run?" Well, the answer is that the runner requested that we take down his run. The answer to the next question is that we can only speculate. The answer to the question that nobody ever asked is "now." Kind of. Since Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener works with the DS version of Super Mario 64, what you're getting is actually an 80-star run, done in 1:27:36 with twelve segments. The answer to the question that hasn't been asked yet is "the HQ version includes both screens."
On the other hand, the answer to the overarching question at SDA is "because of the efforts of people like Jeremy Doll and Jordan Greener."
Saturday, April 18, 2009 by Enhasa
Fight for Your Right
Let's get this party started. It's gonna be a Monster Party, so tell all your friends. If you haven't heard of this relatively obscure NES platformer, you owe it to yourself to view this run and witness some of the most bizarre enemies in any game. What kind of twisted individual would attempt to run such a twisted game? Why, none other than Daniel 'Kareshi' Brown, of course! He fights past dogs with human heads, giant posteriors sticking out of the ground, and onion rings to reach a time of 0:16:33. Daniel also made sure to cut off recording the ending precisely at a cliffhanger moment. What an evil genius!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by Enhasa
One Hot Minute
I don't want you to spend more time reading this than watching the run, so we present a new master of luck manipulation, Robert 'DrRob' D'Ascoli, and his record-setting Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares in a mere 0:00:59. You heard right.
Sunday, April 12, 2009 by Enhasa
A Steven Spielberg production
Today's first new run is for Sonic Heroes, which came after the death of Sega's hardware ventures. Produced by new runner Christopher 'SHADOW JACKY' Chism, this single-segment Team Sonic 1:11:14 is every bit as ALL CAPS and IN YOUR FACE as Chris Chism's nickname. I'm not sure who wrote the blurb for this game page — which was originally twice as long and twice as enthusiastic before editing — but I doubt it was Chris, who says "This game is bad, I mean REALLY bad." Truly, he deserves credit simply for dealing with all the glitches in the game. Just like Mike 'mike89' McKenzie deserves credit just for "being awesome."
Given its popularity, it is a bit surprising that we've never had any Medal of Honor runs on SDA... until now. You can thank another first-time runner, the ever helpful Carsten 'djcj' Janssen. He chose to run the third game in the series, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. As opposed to Sonic Heroes, I do know with 100% certainty who wrote our blurb for this game, heh. All kidding aside, Carsten has both an Easy difficulty run through the game in 1:15:39 using 64 segments and a Training Course run in 0:02:25 using 6. Carsten is German, so if you speak German too, you can read his comments auf Deutsch. Now wouldn't it be great if someone finally made an Axis Assault sort of game?
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 by Enhasa
Doujin by gaijin
One of the myths some people have about SDA is that we don't accept runs of "independent" games. Hopefully, this will dispel that notion. Marcus 'Preddy' Göhlert's first run is for a Japanese doujin (or hobbyist) game with an outlandishly German title: Rosenkreuzstilette. If you like Mega Man, you owe it to yourself to check out this run; as you will see, this game takes more than a little inspiration from the popular series. Marcus breaks down the game by stage and uses ten segments for a total time of 0:35:40.81. He is also planning to do a run of the sequel, the even more ridiculously named Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, once it is released later this year.
Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler is back already! Today he brings with him, not one, but two speedruns of the beloved Blaster Master for NES. Death can be used in this game as a shortcut, so Ben figured that instead of deciding one way or another, he would just make both runs. This led to the incredible 0:36:59 with deaths and the 0:42:27 deathless that you see today. The SDA game pages say goodbye to the brother tandem of Megafrost and Gigafrost, as David T. 'Megafrost' Kraft's 0:44:09 is now replaced. Mr. Cutler is utterly devoted to your entertainment, as he has also cooked up a bloopers reel just for you, the viewer. Don't say we don't love you.
Friday, April 3, 2009 by Enhasa
Jurassic Park is frightening in the dark
Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk redid his Mega Man X8 100% run, also from 2005, and the time saved was tremendous. You might be astounded to learn that 2:36 in 25 segments has transmogrified into 1:29 in 17. Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, it would be prudent to mention that the 100% planning for this game has changed from some mandatory convoluted mess into the game's own definition of 100%. Runner and watcher alike can rejoice. There were a bunch of other strategy changes too, though, including a Rasetsusen glitch involving the classic Mega Man runner "claw" grip. You can hear all about these and more by listening to the audio commentary.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 by Enhasa
There's an old saying in Tennessee