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News from July through September, 2010. [Newer | Older]

Saturday, September 25, 2010 by Flip

You guys are just too good!

I know most of you have seen it, there are currently 48 runs ready for update. So in order to help clear things out, I've taken the initiative to post all 48 runs in one MEGA UPDATE. Just kidding, but really, here's five runs to whet your appetite for excellence.

Let's get things started with a run of an XBLA indie game! That's right, Tom 'slowbro' Batchelor's run of the game World Molder has finally made it to the front page. Using tricks such as the ability to jump up walls and "teleport," Tom gives us individual level runs of all 6 levels and the training course in 0:05:20.

Another run (or set of runs) that has waited far too long to get here are Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe's efforts on the IL table for the Dawn of Mana arena bouts. After sitting in Verification Purgatory for over a year, this set of runs has finally made it! Nicholas slashes his way through all 32 arena bouts in 1:23:30. Also, I don't know if anybody else keeps track of this stuff, but I noticed that Sir VG has been in three out of my five total updates since coming on staff. As somebody who has only completed three speedruns ever, I must tip my hat to this fellow!

Another recurring theme in my updates seems to be the replacement of some of the older runs on the site. Today, we visit the Luigi's Mansion page, as 'Survive' has delivered a healthy stomping to David 'marshmallow' Gibbons's 2005 time of 1:33:53 segmented. Survive's run is both single segment and 20 minutes faster, clocking in at 1:13:41.

Moving right along, we arrive at the game page for The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Mike 'TSA' Damiani anticipated that his 2:45:00 from 2005 would be obsoleted in a matter of months. I guess not. Today, however (only 66 months later), Wesley 'SD2' Bester has arrived with his single segment 2:13:19. Some new fancy trick called the 'Ocarina glitch' has allowed Wesley to bring the previous time down by more than 30 minutes! Wesley does mention that his run is certainly beatable, though, so we'll see if it's another 5 years before an improvement is made.

Wrapping things up is a run of the very popular platformer New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Justin 'UCPro' Salamon uses seven segments to race from start to finish in a very impressive 0:25:38. He even goes the whole run without taking damage, just to reinforce the fact that he dominates this game! Personally I'd prefer a little more of the "pick up your friends and throw them into the spikes" action, but I understand, faster is faster.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by Breakdown

Condensed awesome

Lots of runs to post today, and to say some of these are highly anticipated is a bit of an understatement. In light of this, I plan to skip my usual flowery exposition and be quick and to the point with this one. So why am I writing an intro? Good question. On with it.

You know it has to be an impressive set of runs when we're kicking things off with a title as popular and competitive as Mega Man 2. Seth Glass is at it again. Clearly not satisfied with having two spectacular runs on the game page, today he adds a third. Using the zip glitches seen previously, but this time playing on the "Difficult" difficulty, Mr. Glass brings Dr. Wily to justice until Capcom decides to cash in again in a blistering 0:28:57.

One of the aforementioned later cash ins is the subject of our second run today. Sattik 'Tiki' Ghosh has again turned his attentions to the original Mega Man X, this time with an improvement to the 100% category. Besting the previous time held by Freddy 'Frezy_Man' Andersson by close to a minute, Tiki plows through the game in a very quick 0:38:57. Also included is an audio commentary that maybe, just maybe talks about the run a little at some points.

Next up we have yet another one of those games it's a wonder SDA hasn't seen a run of to this point. One of the true classics, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! gets its debut on SDA today courtesy of runner 'sinister1'. Making use of 4 segments, he puts the game's fourteen boxers out cold in a combined in-game time of 0:16:31.72. For those of you who played this game in their younger days and aren't familiar with the speed strategies that have been formulated over the years, it really is quite amazing to see just how quickly some of these guys go down. And if you're wondering just how some of these strategies work, check out the included audio commentary. It covers most of the details very nicely.

Rounding out the update today is the efforts of one of our more prolific runners, Andrew Gardikis. For starters, we have him doing what he's best known for: charging through a Mario game like it's nothing. The victim this time around is Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, though in actuality this is actually the original Famicom Disk System version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (played courtesy of the Wii's Virtual Console) rather than the Super Mario All Stars version better known to those in the States. Andrew plays as Mario and bests his old time for the title by just over 20 seconds, clocking in at 0:08:13.

But andrewg doesn't just run Mario games, oh no, and he proves this further today with a run on one of the more obscure titles in the NES library. Anyone who's played Werewolf: The Last Warrior can tell you that the game is far from easy, but for those whose only experience with the game is watching today's posted run this is not a quality of the game that will be on display. To say Andrew makes this game look easy is an understatement, and he crushes his previous run on this title in the process, chopping over just over four minutes off his old time with his new 0:11:22.

So yeah, five new runs on five awesome games. Assuming any of you bothered to read this far I do encourage everybody to use and seed the provided torrents. I think it's a safe bet that this update is going to give our server a workout. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010 by Flip

Limited time offer

Today we were contacted by ExplodingCabbage and informed that we accidentally posted his Spelunky run. The reason he didn't want it posted is because he has had a new run verified and accepted. If you were able to download it before we took it down, consider it to be a limited release trailer for the "real" run. If you weren't, don't fret, we'll have more runs coming to you before you know it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by dex

Only mostly short

Two out of the three runs in this update are rather short, so starting off with the longest one seems fitting. La-Mulana is a Metroid-esque platformer designed with high difficulty in mind; those features tend to make any playthrough a difficult and long experience. That did not stop Jacob 'UltraJMan' Ritz from attempting (and succeeding in, I might add) a single-segment run of the game. The total time of 2:27:12 should be a good testimony of Jacob's pure speedrunning stamina. This run also includes an audio commentary.

From slightly shorter items in the update, there's a new addition to the Myst page, though it ain't a speedrun of the old and dated version of the famous adventure game. Instead, we are treated to a single-segment of the 2000 remake, realMyst, which features much spiffier graphics than its predecessor. Etienne 'Ethan Wolfcat' Taschereau was the one who decided to tackle the quite different experience the remake offers, and managed to come up with this 0:01:25.

Finally, to round things off, we have a run of a Flash shooter, Starcom. Nathaniel Stalberg decided to segment the short game, in order to squeeze as many seconds as he possibly could from it. Nathaniel manages to overcome the gameplay mechanic dreaded by so many shooter players - inertia - and gets 0:07:46 while at it. It's one neat effort, right there.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 by Flip

Bad day to be Dracula

Kicking off today's vampire-slaying frenzy is an improvement to the Wiiware title, Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. Not even three months ago, front page regular Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe had his 0:20:26 posted of this classic remake. Today, however, that time is brought down by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., who gives us his 0:19:04, also single-segment. Thomas says that his improvement of one minute and twenty two seconds can probably be improved by another twelve seconds or so with tighter execution. Will Sir VG sit on his hands or will he scrape for those 12 seconds and retake what was his? Only time will tell.

Of course, you won't have to wait long if you want to see another run from our very own Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe. In fact, I've got one for you right now. It's time to dust off the Castlevania: Lament of Innocence game page. Prior to today, no new run had graced the page since May/June of 2005, when Damien 'Dragondarch' Moody completed SIX speedruns of this game. Today though, the page no longer belongs to him exclusively, as Nicholas has shattered Damien's best single-segment time of 1:07:12 and brought it down to 0:51:13. Nicholas's improvement of 0:15:59 cuts off a whopping 24% of Damien's 2005 run. Be sure to give the included audio commentary a listen as well!

That's not the only old run being replaced today, oh no. In his comments for Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, SDA Godfather Nolan 'Radix' Pflug said about his single-segment Fighter run "I don't plan to try this again, feel free to beat it yourself!" That was October of 2005. Now, nearly 5 years later, Riku 'Emperor91' Vanhanen has stepped up to the challenge. Through tighter execution and planning, Riku was able to kill Dracula four minutes and twelve seconds faster than Radix, clocking in at 0:32:46.

Wrapping things up today we deter slightly from the norm and look at a game where a vampire does the vampire slaying. In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Alucard, son of Dracula (I see what you did there) goes out in search of an evil vampire hunter, only to end up killing Dracula himself (hey, it's still a Castlevania game). Today's single-segment effort comes to us from Andrew 'romscout' Schroeder. Andrew completes the game in 0:32:57, using a myriad of clever tricks. Audio commentary is included for your listening pleasure as well. Note that the incumbent single-segment run, 0:34:34 by Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk, will remain on the game page because Andrew's run was completed on the Xbox Live Arcade version, not the Playstation version. The XBLA version is tracked separately because of differences in lag and timing. Also of note is the rumored alternate ending in the XBLA version, wherein Alucard discards his daddy-issues and hunts down a far more evil family of vampires- The Cullens.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 by Breakdown

Movin' and shakin'

The cobwebs have certainly grown thick on the Chameleon Twist game page. The two runs we've been featuring for the N64 platformer are among the oldest on the site, dating all the way back to 2004. Today, however, the dust is getting knocked off the page thanks to the efforts of runner Kevin 'neskamikaze' LaLonde. Taking on the any% category, Kevin was able to chop nearly 3 minutes off the nearly 6 year old run, finishing with a time of 0:11:54.

I'm sure everybody remembers from school what the best way to handle the threat of a nuclear explosion is, and that is to destroy absolutely every building you can find as fast as you can. Developer Rare, as a bit of a public service, brought this lesson out of the schools and into the households with their game Blast Corps. And if skill at this game translates to the ability to fend off an impending nuclear holocaust, should such an event occur you definitely want runner Steve Bates on the case. Bringing us two runs for the game today, Steve cruises to an any% completion in 0:28:17, obsoleting the existing PAL version run which was bested by a healthy margin, and also gives us a 100% platinum rank completion in 1:59:00.

Several updates back I posted Daniel 'kareshi' Brown's improvement to his own Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts run. However, what those of you who weren't following his streams earlier this year don't know is that run was actually just one in a multitude of accomplishments he made across the series in the span of several months. During that time he did focus a good deal on the original Ghosts 'n Goblins, and it is the fruit of those labors we are showcasing today. Clocking in 71 seconds faster than his previous effort, kareshi makes his way through both rounds of one of the hardest NES games out there in 0:21:45, no doubt an accomplishment that made the strongth well up inside him.

Finally, we have a game that falls outside of my normal updating range for that newfangled Wii device. The run is by my fellow updater Michael 'Flip' Dix, and rather than post it himself he'd rather have someone else do it, and the reasoning behind this I can understand. I have thought previously about how I would approach updating one of my own runs. Would a modest approach be best, or hype it like there's no tomorrow? I think the ideal approach would be somewhere in the middle, but with something you've put so much work into and are likely proud of it'd be a hard line to walk. Really, it's very much easier to give it to someone less attached to the project and have them hype it for you, so that's just what I'll do. The game is Wario Land: Shake It!, and Flip beats it like it owes him money (pun very much intended) finishing with a time of 1:27:18 across 7 segments. Also be sure to check out the included audio commentary.

Five new runs not enough for you? You want some more? Alright, we can do that. No more runs to post at the moment, but we do have some more content for you fine folks today. It's time to dust off the Features page again. For starters, we have a brand new runner interview featuring Justin 'UCpro' Salamon which was put together by SDA member 'X'. Also, while not strictly new content, we put together links for a couple articles featuring SDA and speedrunning, one from EGM and another from the Escapist. If you haven't seen them yet, they make for good reads.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 by dex

I turned down vodka to post these

Time to try to reclaim my PC territory, aye? And what better way to start doing that than by going with an expansion pack to one of the best FPS games of all time? Thus we (yet again) enter the realm of the invaded Nali home planet in Unreal Mission Pack: Return To Na Pali. Much shorter than the original Unreal, it stood surprisingly long without a run being made by someone. Enter Pavel 'Origeen' Stepanov, who vowed to speedrun his favorite mission pack of his favorite game and fill the hollow, speedrun-shaped hole in our gamelist. The result is this easy difficulty segmented run in 0:22:46, done in 17 segments. This should prove to be a treat to anyone who likes nice boosts using explosive weapons.

Next we have a run on another expansion pack, this time for a relatively recent Peter Molyneux creation, Fable: The Lost Chapters. Maybe not as classic as some of his other creations, but still a commercially successful title. David Arnold (ab)uses the Assassin Rush in order to clear the game in what is a very impressive 1:37 of a game that takes a long time to play through normally. As if that wasn't enough, this achievement is made even more amazing by the fact mister Arnold hasn't used any saves throughout the run, a relatively rare feat for PC creations!

Finally, to round the update off, we have a run on an id Software game. Not Quake, however, no, this one is on a much older release (and you know that says a lot when that is said in comparison with Quake), namely the first in the Commander Keen series. Putting on the trusty football helmet is a newcomer - Joseph 'Tranquilite' Schurig, who decided to demolish his favorite childhood game. He doesn't waste any time in his single-segment adventure and finishes in 0:03:14. As with other id Software runs, it does not disappoint *wink*.

Monday, August 16, 2010 by Flip

Walking a mile in dex's shoes

There's a ton of PC games ready for update, and hardly any Newer Console games by comparison, so today you get PC games from me!

Let's get things started with some controversy. Perhaps you've already guessed that I'm talking about Grand Theft Auto 4, which saw a lot of controversy at its release and even more recently here at the site. GTA 4 is the only game to date which has received a reverification. After the initial reject, the run was resubmitted and subsequently accepted, much to the joy of our runner, known as "SCM." New verifiers praised his shooting skills and execution and insisted that the good outweighed the bad. The availability of a taxi makes this entry in the Grand Theft Auto series less prone to long segments and as a result we have 85 segments of (mostly) illegal shenanigans, amounting to a total time of 4:23.

Next up is a run of a game which seems to be based on the movie "A Bug's Life" but really isn't and just has the same plot. Fire ants have taken over the (insect) world and it's up to you, Rollie the Roly Poly, to defeat them in Bugdom. Bugdom was initially released for Macintosh but Peter "Petrie911" Montag rolls through this game using the Windows version. His single-segment attempt utilizes multiple glitches, some of which are Windows exclusive. The most notable of these is the ability to clip through walls to finish levels much faster than the developers intended. Petrie911 blows through one of his childhood favorites in 0:08:55, which is pretty good, but I still think gasoline is the fastest way to handle a fire ant problem.

Continuing on, we've got some Marble Blast Gold improvements. It's been over a year since any thing new has hit the Marble Blast Gold game page, but don't fret - today we have 21 new Individual Level runs from five different people. Pascal "Xelna" Lafrance, Remy "Dushine" Dushime, KidPlayer44, Henry "Sonic Warrior1" Mullhall, and Ji Hoon "iMacmatician" Chun lend their talents to bring the total time for this game down from 0:15:36.826 to 0:15:14.897, an improvement of 21.929 seconds. Half a minute isn't very long, but considering how optimized all of these levels are, averaging one second of improvement per level is no small feat! Also big thanks to IsraeliRD for encoding these runs, compiling the comments and appending the videos for our viewing pleasure!

Wrapping things up is an interesting run. Way back in 2009, Enhasa used the last week of his SSS tourney on the SDA forum to promote interest in the freeware title, Ganbare Natsuki-san. Just as he wished, cooperative competition amongst forum members pushed this game to its limits and beyond. The collaborative effort from Antti "Baron Dante" Tuomisto, Tiago Teixeira, Giel Goertz, Mark "Exploding Cabbage" Amery, Jeff Feasel, and David "LLCoolDave" Spickermann clears all 50 levels in 0:07:07.17 of hookshot-filled goodness. A number of glitches and tricks are present in the run, including but not limited to abusing the hookshot to rapidly climb walls and managing to seemingly pass through spikes. If Enhasa still visits, and I assume he does, I'm sure he will be proud of their effort.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by Breakdown

Dial-up users rejoice

While the modern trend in cartoons is to have one episode fill an entire half hour, this was not always the case. Many older shows instead opted to fill their timeslots with several shorter episodes, keeping the themes simple and concentrating more on action than deep plot lines, qualities that the speedrunning community can no doubt admire. Fittingly enough, one show that followed this particular formula is the source material for this update's first game: Tom and Jerry. Playing on the SNES version, runner Rob 'Mickey_Mage' Whitener pilots Jerry through the game's four areas and past the machinations of Tom quite skillfully, finishing with a time of 0:12:55, just in time for the first commercial break.

Next up we have a self-improvement from long time SDA member Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk. While his current time for the Mega Man X6 8 boss category has gone unchallenged since he completed the run back in 2007, this fact didn't stop him from setting out to improve his own time. Armed with some different strategies, a modified route, and some newly discovered glitches he was able to do just that, and in convincing fashion. Chopping just shy of 6 minutes off of his old time, Satoryu practically makes a mockery of what is generally considered to be one of the most difficult games in the X series, finishing with a time of 0:23:14 over 15 segments. And for those familiar with his other runs on the site, it should come as no surprise that this one also includes an embedded audio commentary.

Finishing things off today we're giving one of our older individual level tables a massive facelift. It's been quite some time since there has been any updates to the F-Zero X page. In fact, with the exception of a handful of runs for the N64 Disk Drive exclusive expansion tracks none of the runs we've been hosting for the game were created after January of '06. The lack of activity with the game here, however, is not at all indicative of the state of the game's speedrunning community elsewhere on the internet. A multitude of new tricks and tactics have been found for the title in the last four years, and today many of these can now be seen right here. With improvements to 17 of the main game's 24 tracks, runner 'linner' drops the total time of the table by nearly 19 seconds (which for a game that tracks time to the thousandth of a second is quite a feat), bringing it from 0:44:04.834 down to 0:43:46.058. But that's not all we have for you on this title today, oh no. We also have a complete set of PAL version ILs and lap times for your enjoyment, coming to us courtesy of runner Wouter M. 'WMJ' Jansen. For the sake of your scroll wheels I won't list all the individual times here, but I will say the times for the main game's 24 tracks add up to a very quick 0:30:13:011 and the lap times total is a blistering 0:08:19.713. I must say it's great to see such a popular and competitive title get an update of this caliber on SDA, so a special thanks from me to both runners for helping to modernize the videos we're hosting. For everyone else, what are you waiting for? Get downloading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 by Flip

Dial-up users beware

Starting things off today is a run by a man we're all familiar with, Nicholas "Sir VG" Hoppe. His latest victim is the newest installment in Square Enix's Crystal Chronicles series, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. The title may be long, but I assure you, the run is quite a bit shorter than you might expect! Nicholas rolls through this game (literally, there's lots of rolling) in 4:12:55, using 20 segments. The Crystal Chronicles games are not nearly the most popular Final Fantasy titles out there. Unfortunately, Nintendo owners don't have much else to choose from. That's OK, though, since we get a run like this. Now somebody man up (or woman up, I don't care) and tackle the original Crystal Chronicles game!

Our next run adds to the growing list of SDA runs by Japanese runners. Today the runner known simply as "monban" provides us with an addition to the Devil May Cry 4 gamepage. Matt "Alucard" Pine's Single-Segment 1:38:05 is now joined by monban's 1:12:30, using 20 segments. Just over an hour isn't very much time, but don't fret, there's still plenty of pretty boy hacking and slashing to go around!

Wrapping things up is a run from the Gamecube's expansive RPG library. Ok, you got me, it's not expansive at all. Regardless, Matthew "RingRush" Inamar's latest submission is the longest Gamecube RPG speedrun we have currently. His run of Baten Kaitos Origins clocks in at 7:59:50 and uses a whopping 75 segments. If you like watching Sagi, Guillo, and Milly tear enemies and bosses to shreds, then you will enjoy this run immensely.

Love watching speedruns? Of course you do, why else would you be reading this? Maybe you'd like to see them in the making. SDA member bmn has created a nifty website that shows the streams of all SDA members with the capacity to stream their attempts live. If you love to watch speedruns, or if you love to watch numerous resets, then you will love this site.

CALL TO ACTION: Before any run can show up here on the front page it has to be verified. Currently, there are 42 runs awaiting verification before they can be posted. Do us a favor and check out the Verification Topic in the forum and see if you can help out with verification. All you need is a detailed knowledge of a particular game to be qualified. If you see a run on the list that you can't wait to see, offer to verify to get it to the front page faster!

Saturday, July 31, 2010 by dex

I'm Updating This

No first-person shooter player has to be reminded of the amount of tactical and realistic shooters that are being produced today. The sheer magnitude of the number of games that try to simulate reality has pushed the much simpler, old-fashioned "point at it and then it will maybe die" school of shooter design. One of the first games to really try doing the realistic angle was Project IGI: I'm Going In. Evidently, Jan 'Kwoky' Nêmec and Vaclav 'watch0ut' Vacek preferred the simpler times, as they seem intent on butchering our little trendsetter. Through a combination of balancing on fences, some ridiculous go-through-walls tricks and generally well planned route, our duo made an individual level run on the easy difficulty. Not two player run, no; they simply divided work between themselves, and decided all the runs should be credited to both of them. With that in mind, the total time of their joint effort is 0:40:45. Recommended, if only to see a special forces operative so good, he can phase through walls and ceilings. And that's not the only merit.

Another game that tries to go in a more realistic (well, to an extent possible in a fantasy role-playing game), grittier direction is Dragon Age: Origins. This relatively new game prides itself on the very long gameplay time (advertised to be over 100 hours long). This only serves to make Eli 'Smilge' Chase's endeavour look that much more impressive and insane. Even going under our soft 7 hour limit would probably be considered a huge feat, but Eli goes beyond the impossible and manages to finish the game in less than an hour. To be precise, the time is 0:35:30. This is only a tad over a half percent of the 'intended' length. Oh, sure, it's on easy difficulty, and segmented (33 segments). And it uses many glitches, including some Out Of Bounds magic. Nevertheless, the unexpectedly fast finish is still insane. The run was made on the oldest version of the game to allow more glitches to be used.

Finally, we have a run of the peculiar platformer Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. 'Poesta' has improved his old bad ending run using a plethora of tricks and timesavers found since that run hit the SDA shelves (2007). This run too uses out of bounds tricks in order to help Abe rescue his allies, Mudokons. The run was done using a total of 47 segments. The old 1:52:25 has been improved by over 50 minutes, and thanks to Poesta's cunning tactics, the game is finished in under an hour, specifically in 0:58:17. We can only hope this trend continues, and Poesta will improve this by another 50 minutes in the next 3 years. And on a more serious note, highly outstanding work.

Friday, July 23, 2010 by Breakdown

Just Super

Any time there's a discussion started about difficult Super Nintendo games it's really only a matter of time before somebody mentions Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, and this is deservedly so. There are few games out there that can match its reputation for controller throwing frustration, and it's safe to say that the majority of the people who've played it have never earned the true ending themselves. Even among those who have completed it, there are few who have done it on one credit, and even less that have done it on one life. As for those who have completed the Professional difficulty level without damage at speed, well, that's a very short list indeed. Those familiar with this game's history on the site no doubt already know that Daniel 'kareshi' Brown has already secured himself a spot on this list with his 0:42:05 run several years back. While this run has been heralded as one of the more impressive feats SDA has had available for download, kareshi apparently wasn't quite satisfied and set out to improve it. After a month's worth of effort with the title he was able to do just that, and in convincing fashion. Clocking in over two minutes faster than his previous work, kareshi pilots Arthur through one of the most devious games every created in a remarkable 0:39:41. If you've read everything up to this point do I really need to tell you this is a run worth checking out? Didn't think so.

Another game likely to find its way into the difficult SNES games conversation is Contra III: The Alien Wars. This reputation for difficulty, however, hasn't dissuaded runners from trying to find an assortment of ways to rush through it. Before today we've had four differently categories for the title housed on the game page and today we are seeing an improvement to one and adding yet another both courtesy of runner Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. While first setting out to improve his existing low % with deaths on the game's Easy difficulty setting (which the designers no doubt meant in a comparative sense rather than a statement of fact), he also decided to do a run on the same difficulty where he actually availed himself to the assortment of weapons the game has to offer. Today we're unveiling both of these efforts, with the low % clocking in at 0:15:24 and the any % at 0:12:49. Also, be sure to check out the embedded audio commentaries. While a little less operatic than a certain other audio commentary featured on this game page, they're still quite entertaining and insightful in their own right.

Wrapping things up today we have a fantastic introductory effort for a new runner. It's the first time we've had cause mention the name David Heidman Jr. on the front page, but this is a guy who sure knows how to make a first impression. For his debut effort for the site he's succeeded in accomplishing a remarkable feat: besting Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson in a Contra-series game. The NES's Super C is the subject of the improvement, and while the strategies and button mashing seen in the incumbent run were very impressive indeed, the newcomer was able to actively demonstrate that there's still room for the time to come down on this title. Chopping eight seconds off the current time, David was able to blast his way through this classic in a blistering 0:13:18. A fantastic effort for a first time runner, and if his recent forum activity is any indication it won't be too long before we see more runs from him. Fantastic news to say the least.

One last thing of note, while it was created for our last charity marathon, we have now reactivated and are actively updating out Twitter account. Our very own MercuryZelda has taken the helm for this effort and will be frequently tweeting updates about new runs, SDA member live streams, and other site news. So go ahead and start following us and you'll always be up on the latest from us here at SDA.

Sunday, July 18, 2010 by Flip

Today's number is...


That's right, I've got a trio of games for you tonight that all have to do with the number 3. That's all fine and good, but you're really here to see some runs, so let's get on with it.

Kicking things off tonight is the removal of a run from the site which has been around longer than most of us have been. Star Wars fans, dust off those old Storm Trooper uniforms you never had an excuse to wear, because tonight Michael 'Tigger77' Welle has given us a 22 second improvement to MadAndy's Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike run. The new run clocks in at 0:27:41 and it replaces MadAndy's run from 2005! If you like Star Wars games, flying games, really if you're reading this you should check this run out.

When I tell you that our next run is of a Pokemon game, you will probably expect a lot of segments, a lot of critical hits, and a high level of optimization. If that's the case, then you're right on all 3 accounts! Today newcomer Sam 'Mouldy Cheese' Beekman delivers a run for the glaringly absent 3rd generation of Pokemon games. Sam and his trusty Mudkip (insert Mudkip joke/meme of choice here) power through Pokemon Sapphire in 1:54:21, using 49 segments. It's a great watch, be sure to check it out.

Our final run is the realization of over two years' worth of work, and you can tell by how polished the run is. Today we have a run which completes the Metroid Prime trilogy. That's right, I'm talking about Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. SDA forum veteran Paraxade delivers his very first run in the form of his any% run in 2:09, using 32 segments. Do yourself a favor and download this run and revel in Paraxade's ability to maneuver the sometimes (maybe more than that) temperamental Wii remote with extreme precision. Also be sure to grab the torrents for all 3 runs listed above.

By now you've probably realized that I am in fact neither Breakdown nor dex. I'm Flip and I've been brought onboard to help out with the updating process, particularly with updating newer console games. I'm excited to have this chance to give back to the site which has been my home base on the internet for a few years now. Updates are going to be coming along a bit more frequently now, however not normally as frequently as this update and the one before. Please make sure you see the update below, as there are 5 excellent runs there I wouldn't want you to miss!

Eight runs in two days? What are you doing reading this? Get watching!

Saturday, July 17, 2010 by Breakdown

What You've Been Wishing For

Movie games historically have a pretty bad track record in terms of quality. The overwhelming majority are rushed to coincide with their corresponding film's release date, leaving the player with a barely playable game that maybe, just maybe has a plot line that bears the slightest resemblance to its source material. There is one film company, though, that does a good job breaking this stereotype: Disney. While they have released a few flops over the years, the bulk of their games do well to stick at least recognizably close to the movies, but more importantly, they're generally very fun to play. A shining example of this would be the Genesis version of Disney's Aladdin. The controls are tight, the action and platforming are fun, and the graphics are bright and colorful, definitely not the marks of a game that was rushed out of development. Today, however, marks the first time it can be seen rushed through on SDA. Playing on the game's practice difficulty setting, runner Daniel 'moooh' Wikell charges through everything Agrabah has to throw at him in a very quick 0:16:35 on the PAL version. For those who are interested in the finer points of his strategy and possible topics at the next palace guards' union meeting be sure to check out the embedded audio commentary.

Those familiar with our charity marathon from the start of this year are also likely familiar with the name Mike 'mike89' McKenzie. While probably best remembered at the event for his work on the Sonic series, he also did quite a fine job with another Sega series, cranking out solid live attempts on both Vectorman and Vectorman 2. At some point previous to those live attempts while doing commentary he mentioned that he had a very real chance of beating the current SDA times live. Regrettably this was not to be, but that didn't stop him from continuing to work on both games after the event. Several months down the road he had submissions ready for both, improving the existing times in a convincing fashion. The Brit . . . err, Australian runner brings the time for the original down from 0:14:16 to 0:10:24 and chops over 2 minutes off his own old time on the sequel of 0:13:24 with his new 0:11:14 run, both done on the PAL version. While seeing an improvement live on the marathon feed would've been quite something, these runs should more than make up for any minor disappointments suffered by the viewers back in January.

Last, but most certainly not least, is one of the most highly anticipated runs to hit the site in quite some time. It's been a long time since the name Seth Glass has graced the front page of SDA. For those not in the know, this is the runner who originally brought Mega Man 2 below the 30 minute mark without the use of zip glitches, and produced a stellar run with zips as well. Both runs enjoyed great popularity on the site, but then the runner requested they be taken down in order to provide him with extra motivation to improve them. An unorthodox method to be sure, but you can't argue with results, and we have those results today. It truly gives me great pleasure to present to you today this fantastic 0:27:49 run using zip glitches. Oh, but that's not all. Today also marks the return of Seth's 0:29:28 glitchless run to the site, an excellent alternative for those who prefer their Mega Man not flying across the screen in a wall. Personally, I'd just download both, these runs are truly a joy to watch.

Sunday, July 11, 2010 by dex

Maximum Speed

Many people consider the Alien movies (first two mostly) and the first Predator movie to be the shining examples of good quality action/horror cinema. Unfortunately, the deeper into the series, the worse the movies got, culminating with the Aliens vs. Predator movies, which are... disappointing, to say the least. However, their low quality is even more surprising when one considers that there are several Alien and Predator crossovers that do a really good job of mixing the two extra-terrestrials. One of the most modern and best examples is our first game today, the simply titled Aliens vs. Predator 2. Oskar Angelmark decided to guide the side forgotten from the title and doomed to be prey to the two abominations of nature, and he's not gonna sell his hide that easily. And all this even despite his Marine having to endure the aptly named Hardcore difficulty. Oskar actually managed to improve the old, normal difficulty run (two notches easier than Hardcore, if you're wondering), and not by mere seconds, oh no. The improvement is almost 4 minutes, though the amount of segments has been doubled to achieve that - to 16. This 0:36:09 is a real fine watch, and I fully recommend it. Another glorious day in the Corps, indeed...

Our next game has surprisingly much in common with AvP2. Anyone who has played Crysis can attest that you spend a good chunk of the game pretending to be a human nano-incarnation of the Predator, and after that you fight... well, you probably know the rest by now. Oh, and it's a really pretty game, too. However, Yuri 'xsite' Zarubin clearly isn't on the lush, tropical, computer-generated island to do sight-seeing. Not a stretch to think he doesn't like his little R&R and wants to get over with it as soon as possible - after all, who would feel comfortable on Delta, the highest difficulty level? It would appear Yuri found an unsupported (and unmentioned in the manual), yet present function of the suit. The groundbreaking glitch has to be seen to be believed - let's just say it is quite an impressive sight to behold. So, go fetch this 0:42:14 in 27 segments, and be amazed.

It appears we still stay well within the bounds of games that feature aliens in their plots in significant quantities. This time there are many, many more species of aliens - something to be expected of a licensed Star Wars game. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is the second in the series of RPGs set an even longer time ago. It is also one of the most famous victims of higher-ups meddling with the poor programmers and forcing the game to be rushed out the door. Fortunately, this also has a good side: it provides speedrunners with a huge amount of glitches and bugs to exploit. 'Thinkshooter' decided to find as many of them as he could, and make bloody sure the game is finished as close to perfection as possible. The result is this 1:56:47 in 55 segments, which takes the path of the Light Side. Another huge seal of approval from me for this one.

Finally, to round things off, we depart from the world of alien themed games - though don't let that fool you into thinking nothing supernatural will be taking place. This time we're gonna be meeting some vampires, for the last game today is Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2. This is yet another effort from Oskar Angelmark that happens to land in this update. Mister Angelmark guides Kain, one of the most badass anti-heroes ever, and does it really well, managing to make a game that is often rather tedious (especially when glyph puzzles start popping up) look like a breeze. This 4:05, done in 59 segments, is bound to be a treat to all the LoK fans. Go watch it, it's worth it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010 by Breakdown

Paparazzi Punch

RPGs as a genre have really taken to selling themselves by their length over the years. Go to your local game store and start reading the backs of boxes and you will no doubt find many instances of bold text promising forty, fifty, even sixty hours of gameplay. Now, while your average gamer will likely see these statements as assurance they'll be getting more bang for their buck, the average RPG speedrunner likely sees them as a challenge to prove just how wrong the developers are in their estimates. Rising to just such a challenge today is Japanese runner 'moka' with a run for the Tri-Ace title Infinite Undiscovery. While this game has received some criticism in certain circles for being shorter than your average JRPG these days, I have yet to see anyone bringing that criticism to bear cite a gameplay time as low moka's 2:41:33 on the easy difficulty setting. Oh, and did I mention this was done in a single segment? Shorter than average or not, that is undoubtedly remarkably fast for a modern RPG, so congrats to the runner.

Our next game also falls into the shorter than average category, but those who own it really can't complain given the cheap-as-free price tag. Given out by Nintendo as a free reward to their Club Nintendo Platinum members, Doc Louis's Punch-Out!! finally gave players the chance to go toe to toe with the titular trainer. While the game does provide some good humor for fans of the Punch-Out!! series, if your first exposure to the title is the speedrun we're unveiling today all you'll really see of Doc's arsenal is his ability to block punches with his face. Runner Zack 'zallard1' Allard blazes through the game's three rounds in a single segment, finishing with a combined time of 0:02:14.11. Watching Little Mac tear through his mentor in such an easy fashion really makes you wonder why he listens to anything Doc tells him.

Wrapping things up today is an inaugural run for a survival horror series. For a long time now if fans of the genre wanted to watch a survival horror run they were basically limited to the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series, but thanks to the efforts of runner Daisuke 'Hattori' Hattori their options are now a little broader with the addition of Fatal Frame III: The Tormented to our game list. Playing on the game's Nightmare difficulty setting and making use of 24 segments, Hattori charges through the game's eerie atmosphere without a shred of fear, finishing with a time of 3:08:29. If verifier responses are any indication, this is truly a top-notch run hitting our servers today. Check this one out, you won't be disappointed.

Also of note for the days to come, the guys over at Bonus Stage Marathons are at it again this weekend. They'll be hosting a 72 hour marathon starting Thursday at 7 PM EST in which they'll be trying to play through as many games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series as possible and raising as much money as they can for the Baltimore Humane Society. While this group has no direct affiliation with SDA, this does not change the fact that there have been very large number of Sonic games released since his debut back in the 90s, so if these guys are to make it through the entire catalogue in 3 days time they'll have to be playing with some purpose. So stop by their stream to see how they do, and offer some moral, and possibly financial support while you're at it.