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News from October through December, 2015. [Older]

Thursday, December 31, 2015 by wickedcodeferret

Fueled By Clickbait

Adventure games are the original clickbait ads. No, seriously! Pixel hunting for just the right item to click on or combination of inventory items to get past some obtuse puzzle pretty much led to those terrible advertisements that show up on all web pages on the Internet:

I personally can't wait until someone writes a point-and-click game that's nothing but navigating through clickbait ads. Either way, speedrunning Adventure games is an art in amongst itself, minimizing mouse movements and managing clicks to preserve precious mouse click fluid. 'Cause you don't want to run out of click fluid in the middle of a run, right?

The Dark Fall series of Adventure games involve piecing together historical mysteries involving ghost hunters, ancient evils, occasional time travel and a punishing inventory system that doesn't manage any notes or clues, requiring the player to keep track of things outside of the game. Like on paper. Plus devious puzzles... lots and lots of puzzles. However, when you already know the solutions and don't need to click on a bunch of journals to figure out things like plot and backstory, going through both games is a breeze! Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko flies through both games, destroying all puzzles in the way of victory, solving Dark Fall in a quick 0:04:31 and Dark Fall II: Lights Out in a slightly longer 0:09:35. Try not to blink when watching these runs or you might miss large portions of the game.

Full Throttle's dystopian future of motorcycle gangs still existing in a world of hovercars is still considered a classic of the Lucasarts SCUMM Adventure game days. With incredible voice acting, occasional arcade elements mixed with the traditional point n' click and full motion video, it still holds up today as a great game. Especially with its story involving greed, murder and minivan production, which I'm pretty sure Sons of Anarchy copied more than once in that show's story arcs. Taking control of Ben, Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko revenges the death of Corley Motors' President and rides off into the sunset in 0:14:02. Which includes speeding past that stupid wall kicking puzzle.

Another series that blend action with pixel hunting are the Quest For Glory games, which include multiple paths through each game depending on the class of character being played. Fighters fight their way through, Thieves sneak and steal, and Wizards just wizard everything in sight. Starting with Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero, Paul 'The Reverend' Miller posts a Fighter run through the lands of Spielburg in 0:09:27, which is faster than the Wizard by about a minute, but about 10 seconds slower than the speedy Thief.  Also, after quickly saving the land of Fricana and reuniting the Lion, Leopard and Human tribes in Quest for Glory III: Wages of War not too long ago, Paul 'The Reverend' Miller also speeds up the Fighter (0:26:25) and Wizard (0:25:43) paths with improvements of 1:18 and 1:45, respectively.

Lastly, waking up and discovering your home planet is in a collision course with a giant organic spaceship is never a good way to start a morning. Best you can do is jump in your trust banana-can rocket, travel to the spaceship and click through a whole series of screen-based puzzles to prevent the collision and save the day. If any of this makes sense, you've obviously played Samorost. Solving surreal puzzles with lots of clicks and digging the groovy sountrack, Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko saves the gnome-y homeworld in 0:04:29. Which should hopefully lead the way to a run of Samorost 2 in the near future

Sunday, December 27, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Contractual

I wanted a better word but apparently words containing 'Contra' in them that pertain to a partnership don't seem to exist (better said: I can't find any at the moment). So a contract it is. Sort of. An agreement between both parties? Works with today's theme.

Revisiting Contra ReBirth, we get a couple of good runs. Jeremy 'DK28' Doll did an Easy difficulty run as Bill in 0:12:37, and then Kyle 'Mr. K' Halversen & Jeremy 'DK28' Doll did a Co-Op run on Hard difficulty, clocking in at 0:13:52.

Up next is another new entry to the Contra series, this time Neo Contra. Taking place in the year 4444 (insert lame joke here), Earth became a prison planet. Long story short, bad guys attempt to take over the planet and Bill is awaken from his cryogenic sleep (also, he's a clone of the original). Paired with a samurai, they go and destroy 'Neo Contra'. Both the organisation and the game, that is. Familiar names did the following runs:


Until next time, have a happy new year!

Saturday, December 26, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Contraposition

I didn't know we had a run for Contra 4 until AFTER I took screenshots for the gamepage and tried to upload them. If you liked the previous run by Mr. K, then you'll be happy to see this time around Kyle 'Mr. K' Halversen & Zack 'Zallard1' Allard teamed up to serve us with a Hard difficulty Co-Op run, clocking in at 0:24:13. In addition to that, both of these guys also speedran the Challenge Mode, which is made up of 40 levels which are repeated parts of levels from the game. Those are finished in 0:33:54, done on Hard mode as well.

Up next is Super C. While we don't have any improvements to the existing 1-player runs, we do have a couple of new ones. Kyle 'Mr. K' Halversen & David Heidman Jr. did an any% run in 0:13:08, and since that wasn't enough, they went ahead for a No Items run as well, beating the game in 0:13:36.

The last game is bad, and the audio commentary I listened to while watching this run is what indicated that to me. Adding to the list of Contra series SDA hosts we now have Contra Force. Kyle 'Mr. K' Halversen was the victim and thanks to a handful of shortcuts that were much needed, you get to enjoy this run in 0:14:51.

Friday, December 25, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Contravene

This is violating the game on so many levels.

Today's Contra III: The Alien Wars runs are adding several new categories with a few really awesome improvements, considering how good the previous runs were. Hard to pick which run to watch first with all of this variety...!

Thursday, December 24, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Contramure

I've sat here wondering for the last half hour what to write pertaining to Contra, and turns out I have nothing to say that hasn't been said before.
So yes, we've had Contra: Hard Corps appearing a month ago, but before that it's been 1 year and 9 months since any Contra game appeared on the front page. In fact it was the Xbox-Live version of Contra that was last posted. Has no one played Contra? Not at all.
If you somehow missed the Contra Conferences, then you will be happy to hear that the runs recorded for these last 3 years were submitted to SDA, and they all amassed together to bring you something special for this holiday season! Today marks the first of four consecutive days where you get to see so many Contra runs that you will lose your shirt, gain some muscles and go shoot some aliens.
Oh, and one more thing... most of them contain an audio commentary.

Today's Contra runs obsolete the old NES runs and add a couple more:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 by LotBlind

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (really just faster...)

The one year in-between the releases of Age of Mythology and Age of Mythology: The Titans is approximative of the interval between seeing the last set of Individual Levels runs for the former and now beholding the same for the latter. Developed for Microsoft by Ensemble Studios in 2003, The Titans brings a new player on the field: The campaign lets you play the Atlanteans who misled by the evil deity Kronos enter a war with the three other cultures - Greek, Norse and Egyptian. Additions include new god powers such as "Sky Passages" which allows units to blink across the map in a flash. IIRC this is one of those that see use in 'UtterNutter''s 1:25:56 but other cool strategies also abound.

It's never too late to speedrun. Mark my words! This ship will NEVER sail. Wait, doesn't that mean no-one's ever getting anywhere? My point is here we have 'AlecK47' who first arrived on the scene a full 10 years ago and has now scored his opener with two Invididual Levels improvements for Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Breaking into any Sonic ILs table, I can only imagine, takes a lot of dedication and so even saving 2 seconds on Emerald Hill Act 2 (for an 00:35) should not be slighted, let alone the 6 seconds hewed off the Wing Fortress Zone record (making it an 01:38). This leaves us with a new combination time of 0:14:36.

Starcraft has featured on the front page before during my time, though in the form of its expansion, Brood War, and so I won't wax lyrical, dramatic, or prosaic on the topic today. Suffice it to say it was a 1998 seminal Real-Time Strategy hit following the footsteps of Blizzard's equally popular WarCraft II. And that you should probably have heard of it. Of the three available races, 'Zergreenone' goes Terran, enters mission number 5, and gives the troops a whole flurry of orders that speed the human army into victory 11 seconds faster than before. The new time is 04:57 and the whole table stands at 2:28:30. If this young runner keeps going with this game, I predict more top times will exchange hands ere long.

Okay, so here's the real tofu (because I'm vegetarian) of this update: a whole new racing game inductee, but not one that hasn't seen competition, it's Mickey's Speedway USA. Because it's a kart racer, there's nothing to say about it (they're all highly derivative of each other), but that doesn't mean both the race records and lap records submitted by 'PerfectTaste' aren't both tight and klutch. For most of the races, the fastest kart belonging to "scientist, lecturer, psychologist, and world traveler" Ludwig von Drake is the one opted for with infrequent appearances by other characters on the what are probably more technical courses (my guess anyway). The runner, who started on their Speedway journey way back when the game came out, etches their name all across the ILs tables (filled with gallons of powerslides and close cornering) having stopped short of nothing... but reclaiming EVERY LAST WORLD RECORD before submitting to us! Differences of a few frames can be spotted on the records board at speedruns.com. The verifiers all seemed to appreciate these runs too.

Race records:
0:25:15.67
Lap records
0:08:14.50

This ILs-themed update is probably the best place to mention this: even though small, down to single-level improvements to existing ILs tables are always accepted at SDA, if it is your possible intention to return to the game at some date in the not-too-distant future, there's probably no rush to submit them right away. Same goes for getting a number of different endings for example. I'm saying this because it makes processing the runs more efficient the more there are in the same package. I full well know some ILs tables are optimized to the stratosphere and even one improvement demands a marathon of attempts, but just as a heads-up. If you just plain want some feedback, feel free to link your run in the game thread and see if anyone capable of giving you some comes around.

Saturday, December 19, 2015 by wickedcodeferret

NES Re-revengence!

Revenge is a dish best served in 8-bit gaming format, at least according to the games in this update. Whether it's getting revenge on a meddlesome ninja who foiled your plans for world domination, or revenge on those who ruined your life and turned you into a giant swampy monster. Or even getting revenge on your own gamers by creating a glitchy and obtuse metroidvania game with no saves or a password system. Man, that last one was rough before the Internet was invented. Either way, NES revengence is short, sweet and now performed really, really quickly.

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos follows Ryu through multiple cinematic cutscenes, with some occasionally difficult platforming action, on a quest to save his girl Irene who keeps getting captured and stabbed throughout the course of the adventure. All the while, being manipulated into doing all the work to revive a bunch of demons for (surprise!) the same guy you took out at the end of the first game! Probably because all of his dialog was prefaced with "Would you kindly..." 'jimmypoopins' guides Ryu through and overcoming Jaquio's plan for revenge, completing the movie game in 0:10:16, an improvement of 01:05. As Ryu would say, "...".

In a world living under an oppressive ruler, one man rises up to bring his own brand of diskarmor revengence and release freedom throughout the land. And Rygar revengence apparently also includes gathering a bunch of random items like pullies, crossbows and hooks which are apparently so rare that only the Indora gods can have them. You'd think Indora gods would have cooler stuff, right? Attacking and assailing all the foes standing before the "Legendary Warrior", 'ShiningDragoon' quickly restores order to the land of Argool in 0:08:58 with death warps.

It's always important to check your bio-chemistry lab for bombs before clocking into work, unless you want to get all exploded and have your body fused with living plant matter. If that does happen though, at least planning your revenge on the person that set you up the bomb will keep your mind off the fact that you now look like a walking kale salad. Swamp Thing follows this tragic tale of living vegetable matter that barely spends any time all in a swamp, which is surprising given the title. Piloting Swampy on this path to deliver a strong comeuppance to the evil Dr. Arcane, Todd 'Mecha Richter' Foreman and brings the vengeance in 0:14:28, then returning to the swamp until needed again to save humanity. Or is that Godzilla? I can never remember.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 by Judgy

Nothing to fear but F.E.A.R itself... and spiders

Unless of course you happen to be 'Overfiendvip' who doesn't give a single fear whilst setting new records for nearly every installment of this series and also a few bonus missions too! (p.s not sure about the spiders though he might be scared of those)

Starting at the start, we begin with F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate the standalone expansion to the original 'F.E.A.R' with a storyline running in parallel with the events of both 'F.E.A.R' and the second expansion 'Extraction Point'. If you do not know the series the game is a mixed genre of First Person Shooter meets Phycological Horror (Imagine Half-life meets Silent Hill).

However by the time 'Overfiendvip' is done with it theres not really all that much horror left in it. Due to a glitch which allows 'Overfiendvip' to use ladders to no only pass through walls but also FLY!! anything you could really base a plot off of is skipped and the main story is completed in single segment style in 0:53:10. in addition to this the three bonus missions have also been completed as individual levels in a total time of 0:06:29 making the whole game completed in under an hour.

F.E.A.R 2: Reborn is the expansion to 'F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin' and has you assume the role of a soldier by the title of 'Foxtrot 813' who mission is is to find Paxton Fettel in this (very) short expansion. "How short!?" you ask, how does 0:09:43 grab you?. With some solid walking skills and some damn fine accuracy when required 'Overfiendvip' demonstrates that once you pick up a shotgun the game is basically over for everyone else around, most are simply given the cold shoulder and walked past without a care in the world and those foolish enough to get in the way are cut down where they stand. sadly for those who died only one person gets reborn during this run.

'Overfiendvip' may have taken records in the first two games of this 3 part series however that is about to change as the run of F.3.A.R was completed by none other than! .... oh ...

'Overfiendvip' ONCE AGAIN! takes that last remaining record in this dramatic one man record update spree. F.E.A.R. 3 was different from the other two F.E.A.R games playing more like an action title with character EXP, unlocked skills / health upgrades and an all over more 'Run and Gun' feel to it I will offen refer to this game as "Call of F.E.A.R.Y" due to that fact. I have tried to run this game in the past (in CO-OP) however, it wasn't for me :P. Anyway Mr VIP doesn't allow good taste to get in his way as he plows through the game on NewGame+ on the Recruit difficulty playing as Pointman in 1:03:28 single segment. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015 by LotBlind

My Last Time Was Not My Last Time

By some coincidence, each of today's runs is an iteration of the same runner's earlier efforts. I mean because I made sure they were.

To kick off, we've got 'theseawolf1', who has, alongside many fellow members of the community, been tinkering with his old run of The Guardian Legend improving by 2:47 into a 0:52:09. The Guardian Legend - from 1988 on the NES - takes The Legend of Zelda and... shmup games? and makes you look around in a fairly open-ended environment on planet Naju for self-destruct switches before it (you guessed it) crashes into arr hum plenit Urf. Thanks to the protagonist being a female cyborg (not that it made any tangible difference in titles as old as this), I now know the word "gynoid" [ˈɡaɪˌnɔɪd]. My background reading suggests some saw The Guardian Legend as superior, others inferior to Blaster Master, the classic to which it truly bears an unmistakable likeness down to the point of similar musical themes and sound effects. However, it should be remarked that The Guardian Legend came out in Japan BEFORE its perceived adversary and thus, if anything, lended to rather than borrowed from it.

We recently saw an improvement for the fastest, any% category of SNES Clock Tower. Today we revisit the nightmare and stab a vorpal blade right between its eyes after 0:15:40 of an extremely focused expedition to reach the best S ending instead. This involves saving one of your three friends, discovering the mansion's most dreadful secrets and spannering the diabolical mechanism for good with the bodies of the meanies that torment the trusty house guests. We witness Lawrence 'playe' Palmiter applying a torrent of new tricks to effect some hitherto unseen luck manipulation along with some glitches that combine to save a whole 5:17 from when this was last done just a year before. To further pique your curiosity, I'll just name some of the novelties and you can see for yourself how each of them is done: Hole skip, Doll quick trigger, Dog skip, Dialog skip.

Genesis is the platform this non-conforming 1994 platform-er made its original appearance on. Despite having been named Earthworm Jim it certainly cannot be called mundane. It was sketched out as a satire of typical platformer games, damsels in distress etc. which goes a long way into explaining its unabashed tendency to go places normally only inspired by wormwood brew. Did you know that there was a competition organized through the Sega Channel (another story for another day) in which the first 200 players to find a hidden room in a special edition of the game were awarded prizes? I doubt Jordan 'Athens_' Kloster was one of them, seeing as they're just rushing to bring home the bacon in a long-sought-after 0:27:59, which makes it to the fireworks a 3:27 quicker than the previous record. Just a word of warning: If you see an Earthworm Jim title other than the original two by Shiny Entertainment, you'd best leave it in the bargain bin seeing as none of those are considered worthwhile.

Insanity is the most merciful fate when treading the uncanny corners of Derceto, a cursed country residence in Louisiana built by pirate Ezechiel Pregzt, a man infused with the powers of the Necronomicon but, after an old scrap with the cavalry, lacking a body. Noticing his corpus coveted by a supernatural entity, Alexis 'NHG' Gabaig goes "Not now, not ever!" and re-engages on the quest for quieting the presumptuous spirit's boisterous moanings. As it turns out, 1992 DOS classic and more or less the foundation stone in the survival horror shrine, Alone in the Dark, is a surprisingly open-ended game. You can get by collecting only 7 objects over the course of the entire escapade. Applying more recently discovered strategies, including another curvaceous venture beyond the boundaries of physical form (read: OOB), a new record of 0:08:21 is unearthed from the damp recesses of Pregzt's lair thereby extracting a blasphemous 1:06 from the equally eldritch predecessor's malevolent span. That's Lovecraftian for "improvement of 1:06".

Saturday, November 28, 2015 by wickedcodeferret

Raisin' that Alien Konga

Long ago, in the time when any TV advertising character automatically got its own video game, someone decided it would be awesome to have a California Raisins video game. Probably because a game focused on a bunch of singing and dancing raisins sounded like a cash cow to someone over at Capcom. Sadly, instead of an awesome music or rhythm-based game, they got The California Raisins: The Grape Escape, a simple platformer starring a sunglasses-wearing Raisin with a bizarre quest to recover the band's golden notes and ultimately rescue the band itself from a jealous gang of other fruit musicians. 'darbian' runs, shoots grape jelly beans and moonwalks through the game's short five levels in 0:05:25. No wonder it was cancelled and never released.

Side note: Because this game was never officially released, the run was performed using an official reproduction cart on a real NES. Nifty!

Leaving grapes behind, let's move on to another fruit. How about... bananas! And no one likes bananas more than good ol' Donkey Kong. In Donkey Kong 64, we follow DK setting out to save the DK Isles from the giant Blast-O-Matic laser and rid the islands of K. Rool once and for all. This huge game not only has four other Kongs to rescue and a ton of bosses to beat, but those Kongs are required to retrieve certain colored coins and bananas that unlock more and more of the game levels and contents. Like when going for a 100% game, which Jorge Dosdos performs on the WiiU Virtual Console version of DK64 in 5:57:44. That's a whopping 1:15:33 improvement on the three-year old previous run, which is an amazing accomplishment!

Gigantic lasers seem to be a common theme in most video games too, and Contra: Hard Corps is no exception. This fast-paced Genesis/MegaDrive entry in the Contra series had multiple characters with different weapon loadouts and abilities and a branching storyline that ended in five different paths and six possible endings to the game. Plus, there's a ton of frickin' lasers in this game, but sadly no sharks with laser beams. Piloting Brownie through the Lab/Fight storyline that shows why genetic engineering is dangerous (You earned your comeuppance, Professor!), David Heidman Jr. saves the world from the Colonel and his Alien Cell in 0:21:29 shaving 31 seconds off the 9+ year old run. He also takes Brownie through the Secret ending 10 seconds faster in 0:05:30 and earns some hot monkey lovin'. Awkward.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 by wickedcodeferret

Waring for Tribal Wages

After freeing Spielburg from the clutches of a particularly bad band of brigands and saving Shapeir from a bunch of Elementals and one particularly evil wizard, a nice relaxing vacation in the savannah plains of Fricana with your friends sounds like a good deal. Until you get there and realize you've been dropped into the middle of a large tribal war between Lions, Leopards and Humans. Oh my! Looks like it's Hero time, round three!

Paul 'The Reverend' Miller pilots each of the three main Hero classes (Fighter, Wizard and Thief) through their respective quests in record time through Quest for Glory III: Wages of War. Sadly, the new Paladin class doesn't get any speed running loving, but it's basically the same quests and route as the Fighter, except you have to be honorable. Where's the fun in that?

First up, the Fighter saves the day in 0:27:43, which includes going through a grueling initiation to become part of the Simbani tribe to marry a leopard. No really... a leopard. The Wizard 0:27:28 has a somewhat easier time, despite battling through a Wizard's duel and generally being shunned because of magic. Lastly, the Thief (not surprisingly) has the quickest time of them all with 0:22:44, only taking a minor detour to steal a drum and a spear (instead of earning them).

In the end, all three classes unite the tribes and take out the (spoiler alert) evil Demons causing all the ruckus. And just when it's all over, a major cliffhanger ending to set up for Quest For Glory 4, who's runs on this site you should watch immediately after checking the above three out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by LotBlind

Fantasy King Seeking to Zone Out Hideous Monsters Behind the Barn...ey

If you think the story in Fantasy Zone seems arbitrary, you'll find that sentiment reinforced by the alternate accounts provided by the original 1986 arcade and this later Sega Master System version of the game's nebulous events taking place in "space year" 1422 and 6216 respectively. The SMS is far from the only re-release this early-ish shmup, considered a classic at least by Sega themselves, was granted. It is seen to have birthed, alongside another game called TwinBee, a niche of games plenty dear to the Japanese where anything - very much - does go. To push his time down to an impressive-looking 0:04:41, experienced runner Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener spared no expenses, becoming learned in its ways and turbo-charging the run full of small optimizations. Turbo fire, being a feature native to the Master System release, is employed without discretion.

Look! We've found a Barney. Let's play with the Barney! What's Barney up to now? Barney is looking for his little friends. Look! Barney is walking right. Look! Now Barney is walking left. Why would Barney walk left? It's because in Barney's Hide and Seek, the game explicitly tells you to "Move Barney left and right and use the buttons to find friends, jump, and play." That's "LEFT AND right". Now with 100% more taking heed of the instructions presented with, 'Naegleria' walks the Barney all the way to the closest available edge four solid times for a 0:04:29. If you watch it you and your kid will learn the names of things and also to otherwise ignore them.

I haven't expressly announced this challenge yet. Barney's Hide & Seek comes with an autoplay feature that I wonder if you could use to produce another item into the newly inaugurated list of lazy playthroughs? Note that it only says "especially for RTS runners" because I couldn't immediately think of any examples from amongst other genres, but be creative!

SNK, which is short for something uninteresting, was and is the Japanese company that brought us the Neo Geo arcade and home platforms among other things. It started its work as early as 1978 staking a claim in the growing scene of coin-op machines. Unmoved by the great '83 crash it made friends with blazingly successful Nintendo becoming its North American marketer and distributor while its Japanese home branch kept busy from the pre-NES era all the way to the year 2000 outputting franchises such as Athena, Ikari Warriors, The King of Fighters, Crystalis and Metal Slug. Their resume makes me think fighting game fanatics are some of the most likely to bow to their name although the variety within the widely ported SNK playlist is considerable. King of the Monsters 2 is a colorful beat'em'up in the urban rampage style. Jay 'DeMoNFLiP84' Cabasag leads the monster called Cyber-Woo to its destiny in 0:19:18 done on the SNES port ousting the previous record by 43 seconds. I gotta say this has a pretty cool and original soundtrack!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 by LotBlind

[Pocket] M-M-M-M-Monster [to Over]Kill!!!!

Whoa! The entire Speed Demos Archive got caught inside a whirling time paradox and was sent flying forwards two weeks and a half! From your point of view there may not have been updates during that time but... don't shoot the messenger! Shoot IsraeliRD, root of all evil. In any case today's update up to OVERcompensates for all that. It's almost OVERKILL!

Whatever you think about pirate games - pirate in the sense of "borrowing" another company's franchise for a quick hike on the bankroll - it occurs to me that speedrunning them is not going to make matters worse, at least if you wait till any heat has died down. A speedrun is far from always a tribute. Awful Games Done Quick is the testimony of that.

So exactly how bad is Pocket Monster II then? I think this quotation from runner Dylan 'CavemanDCJ' Jock says it all: "last but not least, moving platforms can despawn, and you can also fall through them if you don't jump high enough off them". Judging by outwards appearances only (although I just read some of the graphics even were ripped from other games), the game is alright. The characters are mostly recognizable featuring random pokemons. Sadly the trouble lies within random hitboxes and glitching. So yes, it's a Pokemon game, but it's a platformer on the Genesis. Easy difficulty is chosen for more damage boost potential. For the whole last minute of the 0:04:13, Pikachu goes full ADD on a mega buff Koffing.

Discussion around this game that covers the current word on what SDA will do with bootlegs in the future.

Suddenly, a 'wild mouse' appeared! Wait, that's not a type of pokemon... Looks like it's a terrible night to catch any sleep if there's a whole classical orchestra blaring out notes in unison inside your den. While the gothic abode in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Sega Saturn version) may seem big, it isn't if you're endowed with all kinds of swanky abilities from the start as I can't help to notice this Maria gal certainly is. In that case it's fully possible to have delivered the goods to Shaft within an express 0:07:45 that now inaugurates this particular category for our site. You could say... hehehe... the guy got shafted!

The third game of this terrible boisterous night is another classic. It's a recurring motif in SDA verification with 14 submissions, both Single Segment and Individual Levels counting, since March 2014 alone! The heavy weight champion "Little Mac" from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! is back to defend the title once again. Zack 'Zallard1' Allard is the super-technical coach, telling them exactly when to slip, guard, sway, hook and - most importantly - upper-cut everyone to meet Mr. Sandman (who is waiting in the locker room). The world circuit arena resounds with a crackling Single Segment time of 0:16:25.89, just 0:01.65 faster than sinister1's previous SDA record. Not only that, a total of 7 individual fights were improved by Zallard and one of them now actually ties with the Tools-Assisted sister speedrun. New collective ILs time is 0:14:05.30, improvement of 0:09.21.

Before I forget: don't miss the audio commentary on the Single Segment run! If you're wondering how to access it, you'll need VLC Media Player (or such) and choose "audio - audio tracks - track 2" from the drop-down menus.

Now sound the trumpet fanfare with mellow string and woodwind backing! It's everyone's favourite green little goblin boy, Zelda! I mean Link! I mean... Zlenka! He/She is doing some rapid time-traveling through the plot of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past guided by someone whose name I like, 'Xelna'. Zlenka and Xelna. First thing you'll notice is this 1:23:28 is in Japanese, which may or may not be a novelty for this title on SDA. I'm just not pro enough to find out for you, you know. I am pro enough to know this game can be completed very very fast, so the run time alone intimates this submission is entering the "glitchless" category and improves on the previous time by 01:38 minutes. Superb verifier respondage, guys!

This will explain why the game should properly have been called "Zlenka to the Future".

So on the note of speedruns, I have another one right here! (...) The Typing of the Dead: Overkill takes off where House of the Dead hadn't even started yet. Similar to how Typing of the Dead is an alternate form of House of the Dead 2, this recent 2013 PC title is built on House of the Dead: Overkill from 2009. The things you type can be expected to be tongue-in-cheek. There's now a "Slow Mo-Fo" mode and an extra pair of protagonists that you play as in a few missions. Environments include a butchery, a hospital and a carnival. Now that you know what TotD:OK is, you're ready to receive news of a run, by Steve 'Elipsis' Barrios, completing the game on "Motherf***er" settings (yes they swear a lot) in individual missions combining into a 1:43:51. Did you know that you can buy DLC replacements for the basic game dictionary? I sure didn't.

I like to imagine the famous Beatles "Day in the Life" final chord as the cadence to this overblown and incidentally quite musical update.

Saturday, October 10, 2015 by LotBlind

Took a Silent Cat Nap Before Rising Re-again

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has been a game. Sahail 'Jehuty' Niemeyer has been a runner. 1:21:00.31 has been a run length, and "revengeance" - apparently - has actually been a word in 1914. And not just publisher Konami wanting to be special, like "magicka" for Bethesda. "Revengeance" is also the ultimate difficulty setting, the one chosen for this 5-segmented run on the PC with no deaths played in NG instead of NG+ that's in crazy exuberant HD seemingly. The sword-swinging action is sometimes so fast the game code isn't lifting invisible plot walls fast enough for the mad cyborg to be able to run through. Then the quick time events start. BUT you can skip cutscenes. It's not my place to judge every game that arrives in the overflowing SDA inbox, but I do. Oh how I do! It's an inconclusive.

I'm convinced I saw the previous Cat Planet run. But it's a kind of half-formed trace, like there wasn't enough matter there to condense into one coherent droplet of memory. If that is the case, it's because the game is just friggin' silly. It starts out very innocuous, a simple-looking 2D platformer in minimalistic style where you fly around as an angel of some rank exploring a planet on which there do indeed live cats. Your only hint as to the purpose of your visit is the incrementing cat count on the top left whenever you touch a cat to trigger its banal one-line unpunctuated dialogue. This is all but a facade. Your own death tally will rapidly start gaining on and hurtle right past the number of cats you've tagged. Towards the end you're playing Super Meat Boy. Getting to the cats isn't even compulsory...

A few years since the initial introduction of the game to SDA, 'liopoil' is the one responsible for the second expedition this time ignoring the majority of cats and making use of a few forward-warping deaths to come up with a 0:02:40. This was his second attempt at slipping through the verification inquisitors' diabolical sieves. So grats!

Whereas Revengeance is chronologically located furthest in the future, Silent Hill: Origins is, as is to be expected, the prequelest of prequels in its sequence. Your cause as Travis Grady, truck driver, is to come by clues as to what happened to a certain girl you've pulled out a fire. In the process you will recover fragments of your own early memories. Its gameplay was characterized as, if anything, too derivative of the fixed Silent Hill formula. The run, a 0:39:28, is in any% and Single Segment. If I ever pass by giving the exact categorization, you should assume we're talking of those. This virginal run is provided by Ilia 'Zorkiy' Poplavskii whose nickname means "keen-eyed". I guess I'd better never go head-to-head sniper combat with him then. Heh.

Saturday, October 3, 2015 by ktwo

NES, NES, NES (and then two other runs)

This is my first update, so let me start by introducing myself. I discovered SDA in 2007 by a coincidence. I wasn't famliar to the concept of speedrunning, but I was pretty much immediately hooked by what I found here. The problem was that so many great games were missing in the archives (and still are!). After having watched a majority of the NES-runs (I'm a big NES-fan, by the way) on SDA at the time, I started gathering the courage to take my own first trembling steps in speedrunning and see if I could add a game to the list. My choice eventually fell on a little gem for the NES called Cobra Triangle. It's one of several games by Rare from that era that plays in an isometric view. You control a speedboat and need to complete several different types of objectives that add variety to the game. My run has since been obsoleted and today we have another improvement done by the same runner, 'KHANanaphone', who has pushed the time down from 17:19 to 0:17:11 through a combination of tight execution and few new strats.

If I haven't mentioned it already, I like NES-games. The next one so happens to also be one I'm quite familiar with. Ice Climber dates back to the oldest days of the NES. I think it passed by fairly unnoticed in the US. However, the game was bundled with the NES in my home country, Sweden, and was quite well known there at the time. I have particularly fond memories of the cooperative aspects possible in 2p-mode. So maybe it's not a coincidence that the two speedrunners I could find that have tried their hands on this game are fellow compatriots of mine. Today we post the faster (at least for now) of the two, 'pidipajt', who gets to inaugurate the game page with a time of 0:14:20. Conveniently enough, there has recently been made a tas of this game, http://tasvideos.org/2963M.html. Check it out to see some of the hot 2p-action I mentioned. The tas goes to the top of every mountain, so you'll also get to see a bit more of the game.

The last games in today's update is a triplet by the same runner, 'Jaguar King'. This is not a newcomer around here and if you stumble upon his name on one of the game pages, you can rest assured that it will be a particularly well done speedrun and worth the watch. The work he shares with us this time is held to the same high standards as before and consists of the second Metal Gear game for the NES (more NES!), Snake's Revenge, done in 0:42:17 (an improvement of almost 8 minutes) and including audio commentary. He then follows up with two Neo-Geo games (played on the PS2 though). An ancient Japanese story, partly played in contemporary settings, in the form of the beat-em up Sengoku, done in 0:27:11 and a non-linear platformer called Magician Lord that was completed in 0:12:29. The latter one including audio commentary.

To round things off, even though it's maybe a bit early yet, 'KHANanaphone' and 'Jaguar King' will play their respective games in the follow-up of last year's successful "Best of NES" marathon. It's held over the Halloween weekend though, so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the runs in this update in the meanwhile. We'll try to post a reminder about the best of nes when we get closer as well.

Thursday, October 1, 2015 by LotBlind

I Will Walk You to the Moon and Back TWICE REALLY SLOW!

For some reason, when I watch this fairly straight-forward 0:19:38 of Castlevania: The Adventure for the Game Boy, I'm reminded more of what it was like to play unemulated NES games (my only console) back in the days than with any run that's actually ON that console. Such is the grittiness present here, despite the SNES through the Super Game Boy adapter rendering it in color. If you saw Brental Floss's and Dave Bulmer's musical argument about the merits of Super Mario Land (from the same year), you'll see the same kinda does apply. It's the fact that it's something we were already familiar with but everything is scaled down and can't hope to amount to an equally impressive experience. Well unless you're impressed with its time-lapsed movement, tendency to lag or bad controllability. 'Epryon' gives you right about the cleanest execution one could ask for, improving the record by 5 hard seconds.

There's few runners who go so consistently for the most bonkers of games as Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare & Todd 'Mecha Richter' Foreman. They're devoted to glitching and then showcasing the most demented, weird, and unexpected titles and have done so live on multiple occasions across the early expanse of the history of GDQ marathons (long live the GDQ!), including with Battletoads & Double Dragon for the SNES. Despite the far more serious nature of this 0:18:23, running as the two Double Dragon guys, much beat'em'uppage takes place. Very chill, cool soundtrack, eyes bulge, how did they do all that parallax stuff and most importantly is that chicken saying his lines or typing them? Or both? Why?

Why is this only the first run for Michael Jackson's Moonwalker??? This game is legendary! Or so I have been told. First-timer Josiah Winslow contemplated on the injustice of the omission and took it upon himself to deliver a neatly packaged 0:23:03 in Single Segment. Delayed IntroductionTM GO! It's a platformer where you play as Michael and you need to find all the cloned children hiding behind doors and inside trash compactor chutes followed by a boss fight, which I find it pretty unique you can trigger seemingly anywhere in the level.

I'm trying to decide whether it's ironically or unironically that people took to the games (similar but distinct titles came out on PC systems and the arcade). It's so squarely Michael's essence, it embodies so exactly his entire character with all the various trademarks and his non-violent philosophy (every bad guy succumbs to the power of his dance moves) that it really comes down to what your attitude towards him is in general. It's probably this Jackson we'd do well to remember and not what surfaced later about his non-public self.

It is in any case un-ironically that I go "Whoop-de-doo!", we've got another...

NEWS FLASH

Sega Master System Big15 race

This event is inspired by Big20 races put on by a community called Best of NES.
Similar approach but this time 15 Sega Master System games.

When is it going to happen:
24th October 2015

Notable games include:
Fantasy Zone,
Wonder Boy,
Psycho Fox,
Sonic The Hedgehog,
Ninja Gaiden,
Alex Kidd in Miracle World and 9 others.

In other news SOMA is already officially being given "The Treatment". I'm not gonna link it because so many unhidden videos... feel sorry for us non-hyper-Internet-bandwidth guys. It's under "PC Games".