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Released by Zyrinx for the Genesis in 1993, Sub-Terrania features a guy with a rocking mullet flying a prototype aircraft into the depths of a mining facility to wipe out the aliens that have taken up residence. If you ever wondered what Asteroids would be like if you had to maneuver the ship through tight corridors and it went through fuel faster than a stretch Hummer, this game will answer that question.


Best time on Easy difficulty: 0:09:18 by Mike Uyama on 2012-02-16.

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Author's comments:

I'm sorry about the length of these comments. These comments are just like Sub-Terrania, an uncontrollable monster. I think you will be lucky if you manage to read these comments in only twice the time it took you to watch the run.

So this is a run that spawned from the, "it's all PJ's fault" thread. Though I have to say, it's not just PJ's fault I ran this game, it's also Vorpaledge's fault...

...and my fault too.

Yes, this is the game I received from the bad game exchange from Vorpaledge. Now why did I say it's partially my fault that I received this game? Well let me tell you the story.

How it all started

Back around 2005 or so, I remember trying this game once on emulator when I was trying out random Genesis roms. I remember picking hard mode because that's how I roll, and then promptly game overing in stage 1 in less than 5 minutes. I didn't bother playing the game again because I thought it was stupid.

Fast forward to 2011.

A mere five days after the PJ's fault/bad game exchange topic was created, Vorpaledge posts about a game he can send and what he can play. Upon seeing that the game Vorpaledge was trading was a Genesis game, I somehow knew it was Sub-Terrania, because we talked about it years ago and how it was a bad game.

When I confronted Vorpaledge on IRC about his game, via query. His first response to me guessing Sub-Terrania was, "How did you know? I even took the game off my backloggery so no one would know what game it was."

Needless to say, I had no idea what madness I was getting into when I received Sub-Terrania. The game I gave Vorpaledge (Japanese Famicom Hokuto no Ken) has nowhere near the learning curve of Sub-Terrania, even though Vorpaledge will repeatedly whine that I won in this trade.

The madness begins

Despite trading our games at AGDQ 2011, I didn't really start playing Sub-Terrania until after I retired and completed my Sunset Riders run, which was back in June. Back then, my goal was to simply beat the game. Not speedrun Sub-Terrania, just see if beating the game was feasible.

Well, during my first hour or two of trying, I got up to stage 7. A couple of weeks later I finally beat the game and got a time just below 16 minutes. I remember Romscout yelled, "SUBMIT THIS!" in chat. Too bad my standards got in the way of submitting.

By the way, if you watch the first time I beat the game, I say many amusing things that are completely untrue (stage 8, "you have to play perfectly to get through here!") and even have two good highlights during the run. Or as tjp7154 would say, lowlights.

Deeper into the madness, or, padded walls are looking nice

As I played the game more and more, time just kept on falling off in large chunks. First I was just figuring out and routing the game, then my aim was sub-14, then sub-13, sub-12:30, sub-12, sub-11:45, sub-11:15, sub-11, and so on until I finally got this run.

Every time my time would lower, I kept on saying a slightly lower time would be a good goal, and I would always crush it the next time. In fact, one time I raged because I got a 10:31, which was 3 seconds within my personal best at the time, and I took a 2 or 3 second detour to collect an extra life in stage 1. I was grumpy the entire time because I thought I would have to take the game seriously (which wasn't true and never should be), and that sinister1 suggested sub-10, which I thought was impossible back then. I even thought my current record, a 10:28 was almost submittable. My naivete was so cute.

It's a fact, friends don't let friends play Serious-Terrania. However, if they're good friends, they will openly encourage Drunk-Terrania! That is, if they provide the drinks. :P

Come January 1st, I decided to do a New Year's Sub-Terrania stream because I wanted to make sure I would be prepared for AGDQ 2012 in case if I had to play the game. During that stream, I crushed my 10:28, not once, not twice, but three times. I got a 10:08 (while collecting the extra life of course), a 10:10, and a 10:06. Unlike the last time when I so casually destroyed my record, I was feeling confident that sub-10 was the goal.

Well come February after all of the post-marathon wrap-up has ended, and I get a 9:45 out of the blue. At the time, I thought the run was very submittable, but I decided to do one or two more sets of attempts to see if I could beat the time.

In my next round of attempts, I achieve 9:43 in less than 30 minutes, and I realize I have the potential to get sub-9:40. One hour and one bomber of imperial stout later, I'm having a run where EVERY stage I gain time, which in a game as inconsistent as this one, is completely ridiculous and miraculous. I even get personal bests on mission 7 and 8. When I got up to mission 9, I was running 16 seconds ahead of my previous best, the 9:43, and all I wanted to do was finish the run. I didn't care whether my mission 9 was great or not, because I knew even if it was somewhat slow, I would beat the 9:43 by a good margin. Despite strong efforts from pinball and Mike Tyson crabs, I managed to get new personal best! For more info on why I got a personal best, you can go to mission 9 in my stage-by-stage breakdown.

As you all know, I am ecstatic when I get my run, because the struggle has finally ended, but have I ended a good thing?


As much as I hate on this game (and it deserves a good deal of it), I do actually have fond memories of this game from streaming it.

As I played the game more and more, I started grow more fond of the game, even starting to like it. Now repeated playthroughs of this game is like repeatedly taking a hammer and smashing it against my skull, which is what might have made me start to like the game. Or maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome settling in. Either way, I started to appreciate that the game had good qualities, like the sense of speed, even though it's a bad game.

My cries of, "OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and, "SUPER MARIO BROTHERS!" have become infectious in my stream chat. "OH NO!" is practically an SDA in-joke/meme at this point. As I've said before, Sub-Terrania is like Nascar - You don't watch it for the gameplay, you watch it for the crashes.

I guess all good things have to come to an end, but I still need beat hard mode. However, Svin really really doesn't want me to beat hard mode, so there will still be some oh nos left in my system.

Note how I didn't say speedrun hard mode, because that's another 5 years in the making. If you guys want me to still organize marathons, then speedrunning hard mode is out of the question.

April 30th update: Well I guess I lied. It looks like the insanity (and entertainment) has begun again, because I know have to beat the only difficulty, HARD MODE. Also, I need to save face from the embarrassment suffered in the verification thread. =(

I have no idea what my target time is, I have learned my lesson from easy mode.

The IFAQ (infrequently asked questions)

Maybe it should be more like never asked questions, because I'm not sure if the ten or so people who actually beat Sub-Terrania actually want to ask questions aside from, "WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?"

Q: Were you really obligated to run this game?

A: Of course I was! If I didn't run the game, then I would be blacklisted from the PJ's fault topic and I wouldn't be able to trade and run another bad game. Wait a minute...

Q: EASY!??!!! EASY?!?!?! I thought you were all about the ONLY difficulty.

A: Easy is the ONLY difficulty.

Q: Okay in all seriousness, what makes hard difficulty so different?

A: Everything. It's almost like playing a different game because the changes are so drastic. For starters, your momentum and inertia are increased, which not only changes how your ship handles, but also increases your maximum speed.

In theory faster maximum speed is a good thing for speedrunning, but at max speed, your ship moves faster than the camera. On top of the slow camera, your shields are also much weaker, which means fun times! In fact, if you crash into a wall at full speed in hard difficulty, you will instantly explode from the collision damage.

In any difficulty above easy, you lose a weapon level if you die, which makes death abuse plans much more difficult, especially with enemies' increased health.

There's also a special feature that is exclusive to hard mode. :P


Q: Is red really the best weapon?

A: Yes, it is the most damaging out of all of the weapons. The blue weapon is supposed to be a homing weapon, but what it really does is that it wavers around everything that it's supposed to hit. The green weapon actually does good damage, but you basically have to be at point-blank to deal good damage (the green weapon is even more spastic than the red weapon), and it still doesn't hit as hard as the red weapon. If you're wondering about missiles, they do almost no damage and are never worth getting.

Even if other weapons were better, you would have to wait at least 4 seconds to collect them, because the weapon colors cycle through at a fixed rate, and the first weapon color is always red (unless if you hit the weapon level cap).

Q: How many invisible death pixels are there?

A: Enough.

Q: This game doesn't look bad, it looks really good! How did this game end up in the bad game exchange and Awful Games Done Quick?

A: That's the thing, this game LOOKS good. The graphics have an incredible amount of detail, and the soundtrack is top-notch (thanks to Jesper Kyd). Unlike most games that are bad, Sub-Terrania is not a game that was unloved by its designers or a cynical cash grab. There's plenty of attention paid to detail, and you can tell the development team was trying hard to make a good game.

The problem lies in the controls and level design. Most games with bad controls control badly because the controls are unresponsive and sluggish. Sub-Terrania has the opposite problem, the controls are way too responsive. When you try to turn one tap of left or right can turn you nearly 90 degrees if you're not careful. There's also the water physics, which are just unbearable.

The main problem with the level design is that the game gives you speedy ship and big environments with a lot to explore, but then they also give you a gas mileage of about 6 gallons per mile. Instead of actively exploring the levels, you're frantically trying to find the next fuel pod or just beat the stage. It doesn't help that fuel pods don't replenish unless if you die. :-/

I guess if I had to describe the game in one word, awfulsome. There's some awesome elements, and there's some awful ones, and they combine to make the best blooper reel.

Q: Tjp7154 played this game on his birthday? What kind of sick person are you?

A: He requested playing it on his birthday! I didn't force him to do anything! Ask him!

I'm not making that up, by the way. Tjp really did play Sub-Terrania for the first time on his birthday.

Stage by stage breakdown

If you just want a quick analysis of how each stage went, and you don't want read a lot of text, here's a list of how I rate the stages.

The best ever: Mission 5, 7-9 (these were all personal bests)
Excellent: Mission 4 (this is a mere .2 seconds off my personal best), and Mission 6 (the only thing that slowed me down wasn't really my fault)
Very good: Mission 1
Good: Mission 2 and 3

Notice how I don't say any stage performance was average or bad. All stage times except for one were faster compared to my previous personal best (0:09:43), which just says how good this run is (trust me, the 9:43 is not bad by any means). The one mission that was slower, mission 6, was slower mostly due to some dumb bad luck with the second gate.

My times come from Wsplit (thanks Wodanaz!), and what I call a best time for a stage is probably what most people using Wsplit would call their best split.

My best times only count times from completed attempts because that is all Wsplit saves, AFAIK. I know in at least two cases my listed best time is actually not my real best time, but it's hard to determine my real best time from failed attempts. I will try to determine my real best time in those cases as well as I can.

The way Missions 1-6 work is that you need to collect a certain amount of POWs (in only one mission you need to collect all of them), and the sub-module. Some missions require you to complete a secondary objective in order to collect the POWs, sub-module, or both. Collecting the sub-modules is what lets you travel through water (if you can call it traveling) in Missions 7-9, which is where the real game begins.

Before I do a detailed analysis of each stage, you might notice that I'm actually pointing out everything GOOD in a stage, which is unusual of me, but the honest truth about this game is that it's not worth nit-picking mistakes. The controls are so finicky that every mistake is really on a relative scale, and it's nearly impossible to have a flawless stage. Like I've said before, you can optimize this game, but you can never have an optimal run.

NOTE: My estimates of how much time I gained or lost might be off because everything in this game is so relative.

Timing note: When I wrote these comments, I thought I got a 9:19 looking at my wsplit, but it turns out my run is actually a very high 9:18!.

Mission 1:

POWs necessary: 2/3, a barely passing D
Best time: 00:19.56 (my actual best is either 19 seconds flat, or just below 19 seconds)
Time this run: 00:20.03
Time difference: .47 seconds

Total time: 00:20.03

Ahhh, mission 1, so light on the trolling until you start speedrunning it and finding more invisible death pixels in this stage alone than playing through the rest of the game casually.

This was a very good mission one. My times range from the low 19 second range (I've gone below 19.5 seconds once or twice) to low 21 seconds (this is the upper limit of what I accept). Getting a sub-20 second time is difficult to achieve because you have to slip through both elevators and quickly land at the end of the stage. I managed to slip through both elevators, but I had to readjust myself a bit for the landing, which is the main reason why I didn't get sub-20 seconds. In a game like Sub-Terrania, it's not worth going reset-crazy over small mistakes because you will have a lot of small mistakes from how twitchy the controls are.

To give some perspective on how much I've improved since I started making attempts, I used to average around 22-23 seconds on Mission 1. I thought that 20 seconds would be a ridiculous time, and that sub-20 seconds would be impossible to achieve. In all fairness, I get a sub-20 second time maybe 10-20% of the time.

Mission 2:

POWs necessary: 2/4, way to flunk with an F
Best time: 00:34.11
Time this run: 00:37.31
Time difference: 3.20 seconds

Total time: 57.34 seconds

The way this stage works is that you have to destroy the Doomsday Device in order to reach the prisoners and sub-module. To destroy the Doomsday Device, you have to destroy the faces on the left and right, and the chin on the bottom. You can't actually shoot the tail, and once you destroy all three parts, you just shoot the device a little more and it falls onto the center platform while dying.

Well I say works, but you're basically praying that Sinistar cooperates and doesn't feel like grabbing you with his tail that he flings about wildly. At least this isn't hard difficulty, where you're practically guaranteed to die if Sinistar catches you.

You might think this is a terrible stage two because I'm over 3 seconds off my personal best, but it's actually a good stage 2. I was just INSANELY LUCKY when I got that 34 second time because Doomsday Device Sinistar (thanks PJ) moved into my shots at an angle where I could hit him with both bullets from the bottom, which is incredibly hard to do in normal circumstances. I also executed really well during that 34 second time, so it's not all luck. If you're confused by what I'm talking about with hitting Sinistar's bottom, you can watch my personal best stage two here:

Even though my Sinistar luck wasn't as insane as my personal best, it was still quite good, and I still manage to take him down quickly.

There are two slight mistakes near the end that cost about a second total. The first one is when I go to collect the prisoners and the sub-module, first I overshoot the two, and then I just barely miss the sub-module when landing for the prisoners. My other mistake is that when I landed, I didn't parallel park immediately. I failed my Sub-handling license test. :(

Mission 3:

POWs necessary: 2/5, F-, these POWs must be jerks.
Best time: 01:15.41 (I think I got a 1:12 in a failed attempt once)
Time this run: 01:16.15
Time difference: .74 seconds

Total time: 02:13.49

I bet this is the stage that made most kids who rented/bought this game just give up and return it to the store. The goals in this stage are so cryptic, byzantine, and evil that without an FAQ I would have taken at least 3 or 4 game overs before figuring out this stage, and I think I'm underestimating.

So the way this stage works is that you wander about completely lost and wonder why the hell the lasers are killing you.

Okay, what you really have to do is first collect the deflector at the bottom of the stage and put it on the little vehicle near the laser gun, and then you land on the elevator to disable the instant death force field on the bottom left. I did a very good job of this task. Afterward, with my new strategy I was able to pass through the deflector ring without letting it touch me, which is a big reason why I got a good time this stage.

For those of you curious about the new strategy for passing through the ring after pushing the elevator, it turns out the deflector ring is on a timer, and I could generally hit the elevator at roughly the same time every single time. So to pass through the ring without getting hit, I merely turn left while heading upward, and if I played fast enough, I'm able to go upwards before the deflectors touch me.

After the force field is disabled, you collect yet another deflector (that is past the former force field) and deflect the laser so that it hits the sealed door to the left of the deflector ring above the tank. Hitting this door quickly is very difficult, because the two best visual cues for getting the right positioning, the floor and the ceiling, would take too much time to line up.

Instead, I have to guess where the exact positioning is for the deflector, because the background gives zero clues as to where to position yourself properly for a proper deflection. I barely miss the first laser because I didn't head far enough to the right, but I recover quickly and catch the second laser. I probably lost about 2 seconds missing the first laser, but it's so hard to line up that I always give myself a little wiggle room for error.

I'm bumped by the spinning deflectors twice. The first time isn't really my fault because I couldn't see the deflectors until it was too late. However, the second time, I should have just waited for the deflectors to pass through. I would have saved a second waiting for the deflectors to pass by instead of trying to rush through and bump into them like I did.

The death abuse strategy I use for this stage is new. So new in fact, that I didn't start using it until the day I got this run. While skipping the fuel to get back to the base saves 1-2 seconds, the death abuse itself is a little slow and probably ends up not saving any travel time back to the home base. Still, a second or two saved is always good.

Can this stage be improved? Yes it can, but it's very easy to lose time from stupid things like missing the laser and getting merry-go-rounded from the spinning deflectors. Overall my execution and maneuvering is good despite getting bumped, so I would still say this is a good stage 3, even though it's probably my worst stage of the entire run.

Mission 4:

POWs necessary: 2/4, F, I think Sub-Terrania mullettail guy didn't try very hard in school.
Best time: 00:40.68
Time this run: 00:40.88
Time difference: .20 seconds

Total time: 02:54.37

Man this mission is boring. There's nothing to talk about because the only remotely notable thing about the stage is that the sub-module is recessed in a little corner of the stage. There's a reason why it's called, "just stage 4" in my splits, it's a dull stage (well, until you play it on hard mode).

There is a boss in this stage, but you don't even have to give him respect, let alone fight him.

My run of this stage was nearly flawless. My maneuvering through the winding caverns in the was incredibly tight, I picked up the bare minimum of prisoners and hardly touched the ground doing so, and I plowed through the buildings blocking the sub-module.

I would love to call this a flawless run of the stage, but I make a really stupid mistake at the end. I try to death abuse as fast as possible, but I forgot to properly turn into the death abuse crevice and end up bumping into a spot instead. This mistake cost me about a second. However, this was still an incredibly good run of the stage and I would gladly take a time like this. Being only .2 seconds off my personal best reflects how well the stage went.

Mission 5:

POWs necessary: 9/9, a perfect A+. I guess this makes up for all of the people you left in the previous stages, you heartless bastard.
Best time: 00:49.50
Time this run: 00:49.50
Time difference: None! This is my personal best.

Total time: 03:43.87

Yes, you really need to collect every single POW to beat this stage. Don't ask me why the game forces you to be a humanitarian for one stage. I guess it's so you can think about all of the careless deeds you've done.

This is pretty much as perfect as mission 5 can get. I didn't make any significant mistakes when running this stage, even though a couple of things might look like they cost some time.

The first thing to point out is how I collect the first four prisoners. You might think I lost time bumping before properly landing, but if I landed earlier, I would have had to wait for the prisoners to bunch together. I landed at just the perfect time, because I instantly collected all four prisoners on the ledge.

Collecting the next set of prisoners was also smooth. I managed to land quickly and collect all of the prisoners when they were bunched up right next to my ship, minimizing the collection time required when landing.

There's a reason why this stage is called, "the heaviest weight ever." That weight is probably the sole reason why America is investing in alternative energy. The fuel consumption when you pick up that thing must be 2 miles per gallon, and don't get me started on carrying it in hard mode (play hard mode for a super fun time!). Anyway, I do a good job carrying the weight, and the reason why I descend a good deal before actually dropping the weight is to prevent what happened at AGDQ 2012 <_< (gogo sleep deprivation).

There's some really dumb shit that can be picked apart in this stage, but seriously, this was such a great run of the stage that it's not worth going over. I think my previous personal best before this run was a high 50 seconds or a low 51 seconds.

Mission 6:

POWs necessary: 5/8, At least D- is better than most of the previous missions. I'm pretty sure Captain Stomp 'em already stomped one of those guys to death before I could do anything anyway.
Best time: 00:52.27 (I actually had a failed attempt that was 4.7 seconds faster here because I made it through the gates super fast)
Time this run: 00:53.43
Time difference: 1.16 seconds

Total time: 04:37.30

Ahhhh, good old mission 6, with its death trap invisible death pixel gates and Captain Stomp 'em (thanks Jman). Memories...

...wait a minute, those aren't good memories to be nostalgic about.

Anyway, like mission 4 you don't have to fight the boss in this stage, however, unless if your name is JXQ/TAS, then destroying Captain Stomp 'em is a very very good idea because destroying him only takes about 3-5 seconds. Also, once Captain Stomp 'em is dead, you can collect the prisoners on the ground without fear. Even on easy difficulty, one stomp from this guy is either instant death, or you're trapped inside his body and you die.

I'm 99% sure the path I take in this stage is the fastest possible while still being reasonable. There are multiple paths you can take for collecting all of the prisoners. The only path that is possibly the fastest is taking a detour to collect two more prisoners on the top half of the stage, and then collect one prisoner on the bottom and try to dodge Captain Stomp 'em. I would need to test the path, but I'm pretty sure the detour to collect two extra prisoners on top takes too long and/or the chances of Captain Stomp 'em catching me with his trademark stomp is too high.

This is the only stage where I lost time on my previous personal best, the 0:09:43. And yes, I did get my personal best time for this stage in the 9:43. Honestly the reasons why I lost time are complete bullshit and not even my fault. When I was shooting the second gate, it looked like I had completely destroyed it, but it turns out the explosions were obscuring a small part of the gate that was still remaining. When I tried to run through what looked like a clear passageway, it turns out that little piece was just big enough to obscure my passage. What makes the whole gate situation worse is that your gun spread is so erratic that you can't even count on hitting things directly in front of your ship, because your shots fan out slightly sideways. This incredibly stupid property of your guns makes destroying small pieces of gate incredibly annoying and is one of the many reasons why the game lives up to the name, "Sub-Trollania."

The other reason why I lost time here is from a complete luck factor. When I killed myself to warp back to the beginning of the stage in the 9:43, I instantly died, which is very rare. In this run, it takes me about a second to die.

Anyway, that gate mishap cost about 2 seconds. If I wasn't stopped up by that gate, then this stage would have likely been yet another personal best for me, even with the slower death warp. Honestly, I think executed this stage better in this run than I did in my 9:43, but my luck wasn't as good.

Honestly, aside from the time losses, there's not much worth mentioning because the rest of the stage was smooth.

Missions 1-6 are what I like to call this game's training stages or practice mode. The last three missions are when the game gets REAL.

You remember those sub-modules you had to collect? Your reward is some of the most painful water physics that have graced a video game. Wait? Did I say grace? More like drunkenly stumbled into a game. For some reason that I can't grasp, the designers decided to make a two-ton ship made out of steel BUOYANT! Truly state of the art, physics-defying technology. Yes, while you're fighting against gravity above the water, when you enter the water, you're fighting to dive downward. The other aspect about water that makes it so painful, is that your acceleration is much slower than it is above ground, which makes being bumped by an enemy a huge time loss, because it takes so long to accelerate in the proper direction.

Oh, did I mention that even above water the physics are changed for no reason at all? Okay, I guess trolling counts as a reason. :P

How many POWs do you have to rescue? ZERO! Because none of them survived through the hell that is the final three stages. Merely ensuring that you survive is challenge enough.

Enough ranting, let's get to Missions 7-9.

Mission 7

POWs necessary: Just kidding, you have to save yourself anyway, and Satscan won't help you this time.
Best time: 00:57.79
Time this run: 00:57.79
Time difference: None! This is my personal best to infinity and beyond. I'm pretty confident this is my first sub-minute time in this stage.

Total time: 05:35.09

So now you're just trying to claw your way to the exit of each stage. There's a pipe that you need to blow up with the tube bombs so you can beat this stage. If you don't blow up the pipe, then the water doesn't drain and the game won't let you progress.

Yeah you know how I say how getting a perfect or optimal time is impossible? FUCK THAT. This stage was absolutely perfect. Pinball didn't troll me, I went through every stage incredibly quickly, and nailed the tube bomb like a champ.

For those of you familiar with the TAS, you might criticize me saying my stage run was perfect when I didn't perform the stage 7 zip. Let me tell you that this zip is even more bullshit than hard mode. I have tried this zip probably 80-100 times on emulator, and only two of those times have I passed through the coral (maybe it's seaweed) on the left, and both times right after I passed the coral I slammed into the floor and instantly exploded.

Still don't believe me? Let me quote JXQ's submission comments for his Sub-Terrania TAS. "If the fire button is held when the pipe bomb blows up the pipe, the ship's velocity goes crazy. I'm not sure what causes or determines the direction of this sudden burst, but it allows passing through the seaweed before waiting for the water to lower." I can actually tell you what determines the direction of the sudden burst of speed. It actually seems to be based on where your current momentum is heading toward, so if you're going up and to the right as the pipe explodes, then you'll zip straight up into a wall or ceiling diagonally upwards to the right and surprise surprise, instantly explode. To have a chance of hitting the zip, you have to make sure you are heading left perfectly straight, or else you'll most likely hit a ceiling or floor if you pass through the coral (and that's a big if).

You know what? Actually, I lied, the stage 7 zip is very fast.

Mission 8

Best time: 01:12.79
Time this run: 01:12.79
Time difference: None! This is a personal best.

Total time: 06:47.88

This stage brings up one of my biggest gripes with the game (yes, my gripes with this game do vary in severity). You are given so much speed and freedom of movement, but they stick you in the most claustrophobic caverns that you have no opportunity to use said speed or freedom (hah, freedom in this game).

Enough ranting for now. This stage can't really be rushed through because of the narrow caverns I mentioned in the last paragraph. You have very limited space to maneuver, and moving too recklessly either means being bumped around, or worse, you die from an invisible death pixel. Having said that, I actually maneuvered through the caverns quite quickly, and didn't hit any walls until the very end of the stage.

There's only two parts that need commenting on because most of the stage is self-explanatory.

The first part is the second button that opens up the laser barrier. Hitting the buttons is really finicky and stupid. There have been times when it looked like I hit the buttons, but nothing happened. Anyway, I didn't really lose much time missing the second button, because I went leftward as I was shooting, and I have to go left anyway.

The other part that needs explaining is the underwater clams. I save up mega crash so I can take care of the first clam before it bumps me. I slow down a bit for the second clam so that if it bumps me backward, I'll be able to quickly recover. What ended up happening is that the clam just stood still while I was passing by it, which was very fortunate and saved me a lot of time.

I bump into a wall at the end and that forces me to re-orient my position for the mirror lazer (sic, thanks zyrinx), but that costs me a minimal amount of time, and everything else about the stage was incredibly smooth. There's a reason why this stage is a personal best!

Mission 9

Best time: 02:31.64
Time this run: 02:31.64
Time difference: None! This is a personal best, despite how hard this stage trolled me.

Total Time: 09:19.52

Now this stage is the real test, especially since 90% of it is underwater, which means if an enemy bumps me into a wrong direction, I'm guaranteed to lose at least 2 seconds. And an enemy WILL hit you in the wrong direction, because there's so many of them.

It didn't help that when I was playing, I was way ahead of my personal best, which made me a bit nervous.

Collecting the nuclear crystal went well. For those of you wondering what the nuclear crystal does, it replenishes and gives you virtually unlimited fuel. I think you would have to fly around for 15 minutes before you ran out of fuel.

The first two pinball guys troll me a bit by jumping into my face, but fortunately, they didn't actually try kill me. I was simply delayed for maybe half a second to a second total.

Collecting the first key (to the city) went well. Mike Haggar was jumping around a bit energetically, so I took it a bit slow, which paid off because I might have died otherwise.

Okay, remember when I mentioned how much time you could lose from bumping? Well the clams and crabs do a perfect job of demonstrating how much time you can lose.

I don't lose much time until I hit the bottom, which is when the game wants to troll me as hard as possible. First a clam rams into me before I can even hit the bottom, which costs me at least one or two seconds, then when I get to the bottom, one of the spiked balls hits me as I try to pass through it. Whether I pass through the spiked balls unharmed or not is basically luck with how the water physics work.

Okay, so now it's the four Mike Tyson crabs. Why are they named Mike Tyson crabs? Look at how they punch! I manage to squeeze through the first two crabs, which is quite fortunate and saves me a lot of time (hard to say how much though). However, the crabs do manage to stop me a bit, and I try to get rid of them by shooting my mega crash, which does nothing. Wasting my mega crash wouldn't have been important, except the third crab manages to get a really good punch on me, so it would have been better if I saved my mega crash for him. Oh well,  hindsight is 20/20.

So what happens with the fourth crab is COMPLETE BULLSHIT! I land a direct hit with two mega crash bullets on the crab, which is normally enough to kill it, but instead the crab lives long enough to punch me backwards, costing me about 3 seconds. And of course, the next shot kills the crab. No matter how well I do, Sub-Trollania always wins in the end.

So after that crab mishap that always instills rage in me every time I watch it, collecting the second gate key goes quite well. In fact, there's one thing I just figured out this run that saved a ton of time. It turns out after you collect the second key, the bubbles that force you upward disappear. For the longest time I thought you needed to use the anti-pressure unit to force youself downward, but since the bubbles disappear, using anti-pressure is unnecessary. I saved at least 3 or 4 seconds not using anti-pressure because I didn't have to struggle going upward. And yes, this one time saver is the main reason why mission 9 was a personal best.

After the second key everything goes smoothly up to Svin. This Svin fight was pretty average. Svin's first form was a jerk knocking me out of the way then whipping me with his long range attack, but at the same time, I didn't die despite my low health, which was fortunate.

Svin's second form went pretty well. He mostly stays still and I manage to knock out at least half of his health before he kills me. There is one mistake I make during this fight, and that is after I die, I go down into the water to try to shoot him from below. It would have been about a second faster to go up and around because I wouldn't have been underwater. Anyway, I'm not sure that was really a big deal because Svin decided to charge me, which meant I had to reposition myself.

This Svin fight was about 43-44 seconds (from the tail's first appearance to when Svin dies), and my best fights are around 40-41 seconds, but they also had very good luck. And yes, the AGDQ 2012 fight was one of my best Svin fights simply because my luck was so unbelievably good, even if the rest of the run was a blooper reel. =D

Honestly, it's best to look at this stage in relative terms because you will never get a perfect time here. Even if you execute perfectly, some stupid luck factor like clams, crabs, or Svin will do everything in their will to ruin your time. Overall my maneuvering was good. I did hit a bunch of walls, but the time lost from hitting walls was minimal. The only substantial time losses were from bad enemy luck, and not on my end. After all, this was a personal best of mine, and even though I saved around 4-5 seconds figuring out I didn't need to use anti-pressure after collecting the second key, I wouldn't have had a chance to beat my old personal best (which was 2:35, IIRC) if I played poorly.

I'm aware it's possible to save somewhere around 10-15 seconds in this stage, but that requires such unbelievable luck from enemies. There will always be one enemy who doesn't cooperate and will bump you underwater, costing you at least 2 or 3 seconds.

Now it's time for the ending and credits, which, like the rest of the game, have some sweet music.

Fun fact about this game. Look at this game's credits, and then the credits to one the Hitman games. You'll see that many of the staff members are the same between both games. After Zyrinx disbanded when Scorcher was published, they reformed as IO interactive, better known as the developers for the Hitman series.

Jesper Kyd, the composer for this game later went on to compose the Hitman and Assassin's Creed games.

Yes, this is a case where a developer learned from their mistakes (maybe) and moved on to make better games.


-Southern Tier Choklat Imperial stout: I was drinking this stout when I got the run. It is a very rich, heavy stout with a big dark chocolate taste. A good way to offset the bitter, metallic taste of an explosion from a failed attempt.
-Everyone who watched my stream: Without you guys there would be no Sub-Terrania drinking game, and then everyone's liver would just be too healthy, wouldn't it?
-Cosalich: The inventor of the Sub-Terrania drinking game. Can't be ungrateful.
-Two dollar Tuesdays at Baileys: Without your deal that lures in the stingiest of Scrooges, Drunk-Terrania would have never happened, and that would be the biggest tragedy of all.
-The highlight function: Distilling my despair, sadness, and confusion into a 20-second sound byte of humor.
-ZenicReverie: For providing me with a copy of this game. Yes, I know he wasn't involved in the trade between me and Vorpaledge, but he sent me a package full of potential prizes for AGDQ 2011, AND THIS GAME WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ONE OF THE PRIZES, WTF! Talk about a slap in the face.
-Jesper Kyd: For composing the incredible soundtrack to this game. No joke, the soundtrack is easily top 5 on the Genesis and is the best thing about this game.
-PJ: For making the topic that created this momentous occasion. Maybe he should be in the fuck you section instead, but this man has no sense of taste and is an inspiration to all who run bad games, and therefore I cannot hate him...


Fuck yous

Vorpaledge: For giving the gift that keeps on taking. Well, I guess Sub-Terrania does give you fuck yous, just like me. ;P
The TAS: For being super-optimized and having 2.34 rerecords per frame, making it completely impossible to replicate anything real-time. Entertaining and optimized? Sure. Realistic as a speedrun reference in any way? Hell no!

Thanks for watching, and definitely for reading my comments if you got this far. I'll be working on a hard mode submission soon, so look forward to more explosions!

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