Released in 2011, Bastion is an isometric action game developed by Supergiant. Players control a character known only as "The Kid" as he explores a world that was wrecked by an apocalyptic event referred to as The Calamity. Over the course of his adventure, he finds survivors, both friendly and hostile, an assortment of weapons, and Cores used to power up the titular Bastion in an effort to set things right a world gone wrong. Colorful graphics, unique presentation, interesting gameplay, and strong narration really serve to set this game apart from others in the genre.
Best time with large-skip glitches: Single-segment 0:12:40 by 'Vulajin' on 2014-10-21.
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Like any good speedrun, this run is the product of innumerable contributions by a community of individuals, at least as much as it is a product of my own efforts. Thus, I would be remiss if I did not begin my run comments by acknowledging the efforts of these fine folks:
- Every runner has brought something unique to this game at some point. Thanks to everyone who has spent any amount of time running this game!
- Caelint and Wago for finding a huge number of skips still used in runs today.
- Inkalex and HDL for bringing the core duplication glitch to the attention of the speedrunning community.
- ClockworkSeal for the original route for this category.
- LawyerDog for the first [and still best] tutorial for speedrunning Bastion.
- Cereth for the Smoking Pipe glitch, and Theodrassil for helping sort out the optimal time to use it.
- 2bitmarksman for the Queen Anne 2-cycle without Werewhiskey, Trip Mines, or Hand Grenades.
- Astifwerg for the Ura invasion skip after Burstone Quarry, and FeralPigMan for rerouting with the skip.
- HaosEdge for the MLG Lunky drop and other optimized Burstone Quarry strats.
Additionally, thanks as always to SDA staff for providing this fantastic site and hosting this run, and to my stream viewers (http://twitch.tv/vulajin) for their ongoing support.
This is a speedrun of Bastion's "NG any%" category, which uses a major glitch called core duplication to bypass the vast majority of the game's content. When you use duplication to obtain two cores/shards at a time, the game doesn't really stop you from dropping them both in the monument in one trip to the Bastion. The condition that allows you to reach the ending is simply "drop in 14 cores or shards", so duplication allows you to finish the game simply by completing 7 levels that have cores or shards.
Here are some details about the techniques involved in this run:
Mason style controls: There are three control styles: controller, keyboard-only, and mouse+keyboard (aka "Mason style"). Mouse+keyboard turns out to be the fastest. If you roll while mouse-moving (holding down left click), your roll covers approximately 30% more distance. Mouse movement also allows you more precise control over your movement, though it demands a steady hand and lots of practice.
Movement: This game's main gimmick is that the ground forms up as you go. If you go too fast - for example, rolling 30% faster than the game expects - you will frequently find yourself falling off the world. Each fall costs about 2.5 seconds, so it's essential to avoid falling. In many levels, this can be addressed by rolling with particular timing, advancing far enough to trigger the ground, then waiting for it to form up before advancing further. Any time you see me walking, it's because I would fall if I rolled.
Core duplication: Technically the duplication glitch is not specific to cores/shards; it can be used on any item. To do this, bind your "interact" control to either mouse wheel up or down. When within range to pick up an item, scroll it rapidly in the appropriate direction. If done correctly, you should see the "n XP" popup appear twice (though it might be hard to tell if they overlap). As far as we can tell, it is impossible to get more than two of an item at a time, even with tool assistance.
Clips: Not everything is as solid as it appears in the world of Bastion. If an obstacle is constructed of two separate objects touching one another (e.g. most gates), there is a good chance you can clip through it with a well-timed roll. Additionally, many obstacles which appear to be as wide as, or wider than, the platform they're blocking can be circumvented by simply rolling along the edge of the platform while "hugging" the obstacle with mouse movement. This occurs many times during the run.
Narration: Rucks really likes to talk. Sometimes, he likes to talk at particular times - for example, when you go to the Skyway to travel to the next level. In cases of Skyway narration, he will prevent you from traveling until he's done talking. However, Rucks cannot start saying a new line if he's already saying a previous line. By ensuring that Rucks is talking when I go to the Skyway, I can skip his narration and travel immediately, saving time.
Smoking Pipe glitch: When you approach the Smoking Pipe, Rucks will lock the camera and describe it to you. However, if you fall off the Bastion at the same time you approach it, the camera will immediately unlock, but Rucks will still be talking. If you drop cores in while in this state, the monument animation will glitch a little bit and you'll get control back sooner. This saves nearly 10 seconds when done in an any% run.
Ura invasion skip: This trick is, as far as we're concerned, black magic. Upon returning from Burstone Quarry, you are normally required to reach the center of the Bastion and then either successfully or unsuccessfully attempt to fend off the Ura invasion. Instead, if you die until you run out of chances to carry on, Restart Area, immediately Exit to Main Menu, and then continue your game, you will spawn in the Bastion and the Ura will be gone. This skips the cutscene where Rucks explains why the Ura attacked.
Wharf District - Now here's a Kid whose whole world got all twisted, leaving him stranded on a rock in the sky.
The beginning of the game is pretty straightforward: get to the fountain outside the Sole Regret as quickly as possible, which starts a timer to spawn a bunch of squirts, then go pick up the Fang Repeater. Picking up the Repeater doesn't cost any time since you're waiting for the squirts, and it comes in handy inside the bar. The six squirts that spawn here are the first of two significant RNG elements in this level; their pathing is somewhat based on your position, but also a little random. They didn't really cooperate for me, but the time loss was only a fraction of a second so I took it.
Inside the Sole Regret, you shoot Rondy's corpse immediately to cause the Bullhead Shield to drop more quickly. Destroying the other objects in the room is mostly just for show, though it's good to be rid of them because if I accidentally hit them with the hammer, I'll incur extraneous lag frames. Once the gasfellas spawn, you destroy them with one roll and two moving hammer swings each. Once you destroy those, about a million squirts spawn. This is the second major RNG element in this level, as you can easily save seconds here just by getting good luck with squirt positioning. The luck I got in this run was merely acceptable, so I pressed on.
After the Sole Regret, it's all movement the rest of the way. Whirl Wind is picked up because it avoids seeing a confirmation dialog at the Arsenal and helps quickly dispatch some stuff later on. Upon reaching the arena at the end, I pick up Something Heavy immediately to spawn the "boss" of the level. Additionally, note that I dupe the Something Heavy (you can see two "50 XP" popups, if you look closely) - this is XP manipulation for later on. For the same reason, instead of killing either of the huge scumbags, I stand on the barge to draw them out of the way. Then I use a damage boost from the huge gasfella to clip through the gate. Finally, I dupe the core and fall off immediately to get to the Bastion.
In the Bastion, I drop both cores in, then build the Distillery. I specifically want to have the Arsenal available to build later, so this choice is important. On the way to the Skyway, I wait a fraction of a second for Rucks to finish saying a line, because when I cross a specific threshold in the Bastion, he'll want to say the line "Kid don't know what's out there waiting for him...". Getting Rucks to say this line skips narration on the Skyway, saving about two seconds.
Workmen Ward - He lands at the intersection between bad and wrong.
Shortest level of the run. Just roll to the cage containing the shard, then take out the Foreman and beat it. Since there's a cooldown on Secret Skills, you can't just dispatch the Foreman with two consecutive Whirl Winds, so I opt to finish him off with two standing hammer hits and a moving hit. On the way back to the Skyway, a gasfella gets in the way, and I also mistime one of my rolls. These mistakes cost me a total of less than half a second.
In the Bastion, I drop the cores in and build the Arsenal. Then, I open the Arsenal and immediately close it. If I do this with proper timing, I'll get Rucks to describe the Arsenal, saying "The Bastion's a place of peace, but we can hold our own if we have to." This leads to another Skyway narration skip, saving about one second. In this run, I actually screwed up the timing on opening the Arsenal, but I got the unintentional backup strat with "A repeater goes with a hammer better than a box of nails."
Hanging Gardens - The Calamity took everybody after all. Kid sees it plain in frozen faces all around.
This is where the ground really starts becoming uncooperative. I use carefully timed rolls at the start to advance as quickly as possible without falling off. When the camera locks on to Zulf, you can roll off screen to the northeast and use a Whirl Wind to take out the turret that keeps the gate locked. The next gate can be bypassed by simply rolling precisely below it. Normally I clip through in two rolls with an angle that allows me to roll three times after the gate without outrunning the ground. However, I made a small aiming error which both necessitated an extra roll to clip through the gate and also only permitted two rolls after the gate. In total this error cost me almost one second.
At the end of the level, the XP manipulation that I did in Wharf District becomes crucial. If my XP is too high when I get here, picking up the core (which gives 100 XP) will level me up immediately. When you level up, you temporarily lose control of your character. This prevents core duplication from working, as you can't input the second pickup if you don't have control. I don't want this to happen either in this level or in the next level, so the ideal situation is to level up from the second core pickup in this level. The manipulation I did in Wharf District makes this happen consistently.
In the Bastion, after the unskippable cutscene, I drop the cores in and build a building. (It doesn't matter which one.) There's no Skyway narration this time, so I can just travel directly to the next level.
Cinderbrick Fort - There's only one way into Cinderbrick Fort. ...The hard way.
Near the start, I pick up the Scrap Musket, which requires waiting several extra seconds. Fortunately, it pays off by facilitating two quick kills later on, more than offsetting the "wasted" time. Most of this level requires careful roll timing (with a fair bit of walking) to avoid falling off, especially the large circular pathway near the end. The end of this level features an arena with a lot of big, bad dudes you're normally expected to fight. I skip all of that by using precise rolling to clip through the invisible barrier behind the gate.
In the Bastion, I use the Smoking Pipe glitch to drop two cores in. Since I had already dropped 6 cores into the monument, technically you should have seen me drop in one core and one shard (they're considered the same item, it's only the animation that differs). However, the Smoking Pipe glitch allows me to drop both cores in before the game realizes it's time for shards. This also means that the game doesn't realize I would normally need to upgrade a building at this point. I build a building and head to the Skyway while Rucks is still talking about shards - this skips the lengthiest bit of Skyway narration in the game, saving over 4 seconds.
Roathus Lagoon - They used to think that Anklegators were extinct. Well...they ain't.
At the start of the level you can see the Scrap Musket proving its usefulness already as I use it to break through a few barriers that would otherwise take a bunch of hammer swings. I pick up the Brusher's Pike because it is the best melee weapon in the game by far. Then I enter the grass, where Queen Anne is lurking. By rolling at the same time Queen Anne knocks you into the air, you can boost across fairly substantial gaps, as you see here.
Once I reach the next open area, I have to kill the left pincushion in order to open the wall on the right. I then clip around the south edge of this wall by hugging it with a roll - this is actually not possible until the wall is technically already opening, but it saves about half a second. However, because of this clip, I arrive in the next area too soon to take another Queen Anne boost. Instead, I go to the far right edge of the wall and use another precisely-aimed roll to clip through it. Finally I roll to the southeast to trigger the battle with Queen Anne.
The principle here is simple: deal enough damage to Queen Anne to get the Skyway to open. With base-level weapons and no beneficial spirits, this requires six pike thrusts and two musket shots. If I execute perfectly, it's possible to get all of these attacks in two of Queen Anne's cycles. Unfortunately, the timing for this trick is very precise, and I was just a fraction of a second late on the second cycle. This necessitated a third cycle, costing me just over 2 seconds. This is the only major mistake in this run.
In the Bastion, I drop my two shards in and upgrade the top-right building. Because of the Smoking Pipe glitch and core duplication in general, I only need to upgrade two buildings during this run, so naturally I opt for the two closest to the Skyway. There's no more Skyway narration to skip anymore, either.
Colford Cauldron - Sure we dusted off a good many secrets out here. But we discovered other things we're better off not knowing.
For most runners, this is one of the hardest levels, because it has narrow paths, awkward timing on the ground forming up, and a challenging wall clip right at the beginning. This clip requires a very precise angle, and I miss it once, but this flub only costs around half a second. The rest of the level consists mostly of calculated rolling.
There are only two further notes here. First, when breaking brambles, you use the pike but try to minimize the number of brambles you hit, because each one causes additional lag frames. The musket does not cause lag frames, but also doesn't break the brambles in one shot, so you have to use the pike. Also, at the very end of the level, it takes two pike thrusts to actually break the brambles to make a path to leave the level. This is, for all intents and purposes, random - melee attacks lock on to enemies that are nearby, so the presence of Stinkeyes means there is a good chance your first pike thrust will go in a random direction, necessitating a second one.
In the Bastion, I drop my two shards in and upgrade the top-left building. This is the last upgrade of the run. Then we head to the final level.
Burstone Quarry - Now why would the Ura sell off such a... fascinating place? Might be the gods told them the Quarry's bad news.
Burstone Quarry is a relatively new addition to this route as of the time I'm writing this. Previous routes avoided this level for two reasons. First, there was no quick way to dispatch Sir Lunky at the end of the level with the tools available in an any% run. Second, the invasion sequence and cutscene tied to the end of Burstone Quarry made it longer than the alternatives. Originally, Melting Pot was used instead. Eventually, Prosper Bluff and Wild Outskirts were both substituted in (only Wild Outskirts has a core, but it requires Prosper Bluff to be completed), and they were made faster via Pike Vault usage. Thanks to the Ura invasion skip and MLG Lunky drop, though, Burstone Quarry is now the fastest option.
Everything leading up to Sir Lunky's arena is just chain rolling while avoiding unintentional damage boosts off the Pincushions. Unlike some other levels, the ground in Burstone Quarry is amenable to chain rolling without hesitation. There's one spot near the beginning, however, where I walk in order to ensure that a subsequent roll across open air will work. Upon reaching Sir Lunky, I employ the MLG Lunky drop strat. By waiting in a specific spot near the edge of the arena, you'll draw Sir Lunky to jump close enough to the edge that a single Scrap Musket shot will knock him off the edge. D-d-d-drop the Lunky, yo.
Back at the Bastion, it looks like the Ura are attacking. The most noble thing to do in this case is, of course, to ignore it. So we die as quickly as possible, restart the area, exit to main menu, and then resume the game. For some reason, this skips the Ura invasion, and we proceed directly to dropping the final two shards in the monument. Long story short, all that's left is to pick the Restoration ending because it's the only one available. GG!
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