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News from April through June, 2016. [Newer | Older]

Saturday, June 25, 2016 by LotBlind

Teh Urrn is Human

What's immediately appealing about the action RTS Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising is it allows you to redesign the composition of your air- and landborne forces at any time and work the nano reassembly gear onboard your carrier to effect the changes. I believe Gray Goo might have done something similar, but this was back in 2001. Hostile Waters itself took its basic concept from a far older game called Carrier Command (from 1988) but you can't blame Rage Games for lack of original ideas when you've been told about the movements of its narrative. Let them not be purportlessly spoiled though. Commandeering the carrier, we've got a first-timer (a surprising number of runners on the front page are that btw) 'BadJim' giving orders and piloting futuristic vehicles through 21 missions in 2:15:54.

And here's another one with an interesting, unique concept. In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent you do indeed tread a fine line in your double service of the terrorists and counter-terrorists of the near future. It's interesting because it's not just a plot point, but a mechanic that you're constantly being evaluated for. You need to find ways to keep the bomb-happy beatniks trusty enough to let you in on their schemes while avoiding extravagant bloodshed. Not finding that line fine enough for their tastes, 'triblast55' makes sure to be 100% stealthy while reaching the good ending on "hard" in 1:45:35, but at least they've been modest enough to segment it. This repeat visit by triblast is for the 360 while the last was PC.

You give a speedrunner a rocket launcher and they'll give you a shortcut. Today's rocket launcher shortcuts cut into run time like a hot knife through cerebra. The in-bounds is deemed uninspiring and jejune by Ivan 'ImFuryPro' Saponenko who goes on a 0:35:33 10-segments promenade across sundry locations of magnificently preserved (and explosion-proof) ancient history in what is part of well-preserved First Person Shooter history, Croteam's Serious Sam: The First Encounter. Half-way through there's one of the most extravagant displays of unmitigated butchery where the first 2 minutes are a test of your memory and the rest of accuracy and correct weapon choices. I'd personally not have thought there was going to be time when rockets were the antidote to flying enemies, but when they flock up closely enough... feathers will be ruffled. I almost feel the whole game should have been nothing but that stuff.

I guess I might just shoutout the Russian YT channel ImFuryPro seems to be associated with - I'm seeing normal Let's Plays as well as how to optimize your Fallout IV aside from FPS speedruns, so all existing and prospective comrades and товарищи hark now!

It was supposed to be a huge improvement of more than 20 minutes, but turns out mistakes can be made. This is the rather unfortunate case in The Godfather: The Don's Edition where 'Soliduz Znake' returned with what was supposed to be a better route, execution and RNG. After it passed verification (where all we could see was the improved execution and RNG) and the run was timed, it turns out our friend Soliduz mistakenly forgot to add the last segment's run length of 20+ minutes into his calculations. Oops. Nonetheless he wanted to run to pass onwards so here we are with a royal six seconds' improvement that nudges the run time down to 3:06:56. IT'S AN ALTERNATIVE TAKE OKAY!? Oh well, I think le Znake will be found grinning about it for a while into the future.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016 by LotBlind

Fox Hawkin' Projections of 6k8 Stardom: "U N 4 SotN Magical, Tony!"

Your prize for decoding that one is another update later on.

The untrained eye couldn't pick up where exactly this Star Fox 64 run can possibly be gaining on the clock to make it 0:22:45 instead of 23:09, unless the lag reduction stuff is new. The untrained eye CAN, though, read the comments whereupon it is written ... wait they're in Japanese.

For 'Hayate1129''s sake I hope they had an autofire controller and were allowed to use it for the hundred thousand boosts. Any devs listening - make it so holding the button down is enough! If you're not Japanese [enough] to be sustained by the kanas and kanjis on the run page, what zallard1, another Star Fox connoisseur, had to say about it in verification serves a very similar purpose. Turns out it is far more subtle than I thought.

I just realized dem Nippon kids are learning a modicum of English from their games when they use English words in their titles. Try holding up two flash cards, one of which has a fox on it and the other with a turtle, and asking them which one's the fox. I guarantee you they might get it right. Or wrong.

U.N. Squadron for the SNES is another shmup and thus complements Star Fox nicely. So well, in fact, that they're being run by the very same guy. One of its predominantly horizontal stages uses parallax effects to create a tunnel in-between layers of clouds which I like. To speed up a shmup, in this case you look for the best aircraft and weapons from the shop and make sure you don't miss any shots on the bosses holding your run hostage, but as you should realize I speak in simplifications and simplifications only. The seven stages of this originally arcade cabinet Capcom title, and one that has a place in many a player's heart judging by various scores and reviews, are lain waste to as the one called Mickey on Easy mode within a time frame of 0:19:32 give or take a few ticks.

I wonder if more platformers and various types of games in general wouldn't benefit from having fighting game combo moves like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night does. It introduces variety without having to map it to dozens of keys and gives you a skill to work on. 'wild mouse' has continued work on his Saturn version Maria skills for nine seconds' worth. Playing as her looks like you're playing NG+ with all her OP spell swag. The phoenix she slaughters along the way is probably not going to rise from the ashes. The medusa will continue life as a perpetually stoned med-sab-usa. (...I think that one deserves a pause...) The magician will never reappear amidst a stunned audience either. Speaking of stunned audiences, you're joining one if you snatch the 0:07:36 today!

To find out what stuff other than Maria was dumped before SotN's first release check out this extensive interview with Koji Igarashi courtesy of Double Fine.

'Fog' is bringing us the rags 2 riches tale of the century... or maybe they just spent years practising alone in their mom's garage going up and down the same crooked-ass leftover piece of copper pipe with the occasional ollie over the floor drain... fulfilling their lifelong dream of professional skatesmanship in what sneakily IS the 8th of the Tony Hawks, Tony Hawk's Project 8 (played on the GameCube). They begin to spread the virus that is their fame from what's presumably their home turf, and end up on the other side of a merry little town from any white teenage wastrel's daydreams while engaged in a continuous riot of balance, speed, height, and rotation making their name mean something big in 0:47:36. I have, believe me or not, given some thought as to whether you could actually get signed that quickly, and I do believe you could. You'd just post a superhot skate reel on reddit or something making sure the big boys are tuned in, and if it's good enough, they'll sure as hell rush to be the first with the "sign-heres".

Saturday, May 28, 2016 by LotBlind

In the Pink to the Max Till You Dead DX

The DX you need to read from right to left for a horribly dead "smiley".

If you think space is dead, you just need to zoom in rather a long way but you'll eventually start making out the strings, or whatever, oscillating, or whatever, and energy being created from nothingness. And particles and antiparticles are there, and think about the Casimir effect and dark matter and neutrinos and... The space around the game page for Dead Space 2 isn't any deader either, now holding a PS3 Survivalist difficulty New Game+ 2:20:36 to keep the others company. 'ModSquad' makes chop meat out of the dead space is crawling with that I'd imagine the series got some kudos for seeing as they do something a bit more interesting with zombies.

The irony about this 0:04:11 for Metal Max Returns is the game is already set in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi scenario. It's already the bad ending, or A bad ending, or... well a bad development for the human race. To add insult to injury, Marcus 'crazedlink00' Duchow takes the defeatist "4th path", throwing in the towel before anything has even gotten underway. It's because they get emotionally scarred in a fight against a dog with a rocket launcher. It's understandable, but a shame, because there's a lot to do and see in the highly open-ended Metal Max RPGs, but no official translations seem to exist, so it's similar to your Star Ocean 1 or Earthbound Zero in that regard.

If you remember that by Einstein's theory of relativity, time and space are inseparable and depend on the observer's location and velocity. Even though we may come together on causality, the exact time intervals between events passing will vary. Now you know why Sonic Adventure DX has a new improvement for the character called "E-102 γ" of negative 03:06 minutes. That or the new system of timing, I don't claim to get those. Off wherever the telescope was installed, we see Nelson 'Sonikkustar' Martinez crossing the finish line after 0:13:08.

The name of Étranges Libellules ('Strange Dragonflies') was borne by a Norwegian (actually French but it sounded a bit obvious) game developer most widely known amongst those who cherish comic and cartoon tie-ins aimed at kids. The very crème of their crop might have been some Asterix frolic. Some years before, they'd composed Pink Panther Pinkadelic Pursuit, an homage to a spin-off character first seen in a 60's US-French crime comedy. The Pink Panther was originally just the personification (iconification?) of a diamond that acted as the central plot engine, and its instantly memorable theme wasn't even going to be the main one at first. This video game counterpart is a quaint 2D-platformer with key hunting starring familiar characters. The Pink 'wesen' downhill-skates it IN GERMAN ACHTUNG in die Rekordzeit of 0:18:04. So international!

Friday, May 20, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Super Meat Grinders

After destroying Rupture Farms, Abe comes back in Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus to grind down Soulstorm Brewery which uses Mudokon bones and tears in order to make their fantastic brew (honestly, give it a go!). Sam 'Samtastic' Locke told us some people didn't like the way he segmented, and he had wrong audio levels throughout anyway, so he re-made the run. Clocking in 0:44:14 and 49 segments, this is an improvement of 13 seconds over his previous run (with 13 less segments), and 1:03 minutes better than Sligfantry's run. Now, to get to the 100% runs...

Playing on PC oftentimes means faster loading times, as seen in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis where the door opening animations or walking down stairs and other bits can barely even play. This helps while making a run because the pace is kept at a high speed and rarely slows down. 'uhTrance' gives us a treat in the form of playing through quite the meaty category, where you fight through every Nemesis encounter. Add to it the Hard difficulty and this Single-Segment run at 0:50:50 is damn impressive.

Appearing on the front page for the third time in as many years is Super Mario 63, a fan-made flash game with too many things to collect, and a super variety of gameplay. 'TheMilkMan47' improves his previous run by 57 seconds, giving us a bite-sized 0:09:00 run. YAHOO!!

Wrapping up this news post is one of our most favourite Super Meat Grinders, that is Super Meat Boy. Ever since he took the thunder from Breakdown, 'vorpal' had practically demolished the any% category for the PC, and has improved his previous run by 1:22 minutes, giving us an insane 0:17:02 run. Watching this run should be done only with the consumption of meat.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 by LotBlind

The Gen-X Neightbors' Gaunt Zombie Kids Let Survive on AMNesty

It's a hard knock life for the Survival Kids, which is NOT an officially sanctioned collective noun for the children starring this shipwrecked reality show. There aren't even a plurality of them on the scene, you choose just one unlucky anklebiter to scrounge and extemporize the means to realize the hopeful title they've been bestowed by an unknown 3rd party. As per Japanese custom, there may never exist a majority of characters in a translated video game whose names are anything normal or sensible. Hence the boy's sensible name Ken being counterbalanced by the girl condemned on the isle in this 0:06:12 being presented as "Mery". The runner tasked with escorting her to safety just went "'MeGotsThis'", and taught her the arts and crafts of surviving by skipping cutscenes, screen warping, and forcing time to progress when it's advantageous to you - this leading her into ending number 1 of many.

The following 1:28:14 has a near non-stop solo audio commentary. Props for that! I wasn't told this by IsraeliRD, who's usually supposed to alert me to such things, but I always hopefully check them anyway. Just to get it outs the ways. Yes Israeli's impossible to work with.

Show me someone less qualified to write about superhero games, and I'll show you a Himalayan troglodyte monk wearing a sleep mask with bananas stuffed in their ears. They do seem all the rage these days, and I've heard lots of the related movies and games aren't all that bad. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse isn't either. After Raven Software got acquired by Activision, the part that didn't either leave to form Human Head Studios (responsible for stuff like Rune and Prey), or get sacked after the least whelming Wolfenstein from 2009, was proven capable of a respectable 4-player heroes and villains smack-about in the Marvel universe. Because it's half RPG, 'wfp' will be underleveled a lot. Because it's half action game (which is the most generic tag we use for games), the character that's fastest is being controlled the most. Because it was rushed, there's glitches. Those are good to have right? Anyway the AC is waiting so, get your VLC player and tune into channel two, or b2.

We can use "Apocalypse" as the lead-in for this one, as in you know it is one whenever you find undeniable veracity in the statement "Zombies Ate My Neighbors". But wait, this time it's more like "Sorry, Zombies Didn't Eat My Neighbors After All, Not Even Old Fat Ed" because these kids have moral fiber. I was worried for a moment the boy's name "Zeke" was going to ruin my only-Japan-does-names-wrong theory, but some real people have been named that. Check out how ridiculously likely you are to turn into a professional athlete if you're one of its bearers.

Hmm... I was saying something about how in some weird parallel with the survivor simulator discussed earlier, the girl is again deemed the stalwardest stewardess on the staying alive plane, and she's hellbent on keeping others that way too. Martin 'Allbeert' M. racked his brains about as hard as his famous namesake, Herr Einnsteein, to insure the trails followed were exclusively the fastest yet safest, the safest yet fastest, not unlike travelling on said plane. It's not a fair comparison, because the run this obsoletes belies an additional high-scoring intention, but 1:28:18 is still just short of 40 minutes off.

Wouldn't ZAMN have been right about Michael Jackson's favourite game actually? I gotta mention this as well... I never realized we're looking at LucasArts as developer here! That would explain level 1B.

Lastly but not leastly, we're being treated to ANOTHER four-man action game, 2014's Gauntlet from Arrowhead, the Swedes behind Magicka. I could rearrange the games in order of increasing maximum player count, but that would create segment discrepancies. Back before the 'Blind became an institution on this sporadically refreshed front page column, there used to be a trend of choosing runs with something shared between them, but that's now considered a little bit tacky. Instead we go by the far more sophisticated thumb-rule of "first 4 from the top". So there, it's a coincidence, not one of my machinations.

v. 1.02 is awfully early into a game's development cycle, yet they'll hawk that debris on the unsuspecting audience like it's a meal ready to serve. Well, that's great because speedrunners, say Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy & Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare here, like it medium rare, nay rare. So long as you let us take it on the road to dissect and analyze in our own, highly experimental kitchen laboratories. According to the expected channel 2 voice-overs, the choice of difficulty ("unfair") was mostly inconsequential, because in 0:46:55:391, you're just not left with all so long for gambolling with the monsters. Allowing yourself and your team-mate to die, however counterintuitive, proved far more meaningful, but you can only find out why by targeting dem links with the dainty cursor of your petite, selective little computer mouse instrument.

Did I mention IsraeliRD does not function? He had one job, that of counting all the updates that have actually been posted so we know where we're at exactly. Instead he herps and he derps and he blows my lofty aspirations down like super-soaking a paper kite. And that's why I can now only congratulate myself, the other posters the site has had, the wiz kids banging it back together after all joints have come apart, all the runners who've submitted runs for posting, and everyone who's still reading about them -- for having reached the thousandth... AND FOURTH OR FIFTH WE'RE NOT EVEN SURE... ever Speed Demos Archive front page update. Send us flowers.

Saturday, May 7, 2016 by LotBlind

Where's a Win Condition?

The shorter your run is the shorter it needs to be. This is the paradox of speedrunning. That is to say, if it's only 0:01:16 in length, it has to not just shine, but as well shimmer, glint, and coruscate in all the colors of rainbows from here to Vinland. Robert 'Gelly' Gelhar took heed of this and conquered Myst's any% category seven seconds faster than previous, but not as fast as the follow-up. If you see what I'm saying. Real Myst is like Myst, a famous progenitor of cinematic puzzle games, but with the camera unhinged (like alighting from a tram) allowing for more intricate routing. It also places a greater emphasis on mouse mechanics, which is something that ups skill caps yet more, which is why the recurrence of improvements is not really any kind of myst-ery.

What is a mystery is what happened to Kris and who exactly is the changeling Lyra? In the wake of Pokémon Silver and Gold there apppeared a relatively tame offshoot called Pokémon Crystal. The target platform was the Game Boy Color and the, by some accounts, scant differences started with the choice of protagonist between the familiar Red and the female, whose name varies between Kris and Crystal. However, she got dumped at a Pokécen somewhere and never made her way back into any later main series installments, which is likely for good seeing as Lyra became her exact double - if not in appearance, certainly by backstory.

So whichever dank oubliette be her wicked fate now, you should realize you've caught a rare one if you give this 3:16 an inspection, for it is verily Kris poking at Poké-stardom tonight. Much like poké-r, Pokémon running entails calculating odds so you know where the edge is you're looking to live on. 'Keizaron' wanted to go vs. Red, which is one of various end goals runners recognize for the game. Now 8 minutes off werster's old time. Audio commentary of sorts to be found here.

It seems our efforts at plying the expansionist trade have been hopelessly ineffective and our whole planet proven a sloth in space-bound propagation; take but a glance at this scientifically accurate simulation of ideal self-elsewherization 'rowrow_' brewed in his petri dish and you'll realize we're behind par by about 4 billion years minus 0:52:50.

There are, however, a few admissions to be made. Firstly, rowrow has simulated a universe where things are characteristically "easy". By current estimates, we might very well be playing on "hard" or "very hard" ourselves. Second of all, some say the Spore model itself has certain caveats when it comes to projecting off it, and that the combinations of biological features and physical laws gleaned in the sample simply fail to concur with those understood by us, suggesting more deviance in initial parameters.

Thirdly, I've been told this is but one of a myriad experiments each leading from the beginnings of life to - or at least some distance towards - the end goal of securing the Staff of Life. The multiverse may well have seen even better and our Adamsian supercomputer is  may not be in the premium crop at all. Frankly, I'd like to place some scrutiny on the possibly quite mal-revered starry staff itself, but apparently, in the larger scheme of things, there doesn't seem to be much else to do.

So my history with Where's an Egg? so far involves getting highly suspicious when the wikipedia search redirected me to an instance I'm mighty familiar with - the capricious and capery, the seditious and savory, the one-of-a-kin - and instantly recognizing that a game by that precise name would be exactly up the Brothers' alley-hoo. I then accidentally won at said game in about 60 seconds, by shooting a lady I construed as trying to send me on a pointlessly long Chain of Deals-type inquiry in the suspicious location of Siberia. More than enough to go on. Because the game is of the hint-hunt-find-whodun't type, completion by sheer luck (as per the anecdotal evidence) is not out of the question. Thus the 0:00:00 in which the game timer, indeed, never ticks down once. In Steve 'Elipsis' Barrios's predetermined world, the oviraptor (a merry old granny) was fated to get exposed at the town aquarium. I'm not giving elipsis the patronage of listening to his audio commentary for this cheeky cheeky run. I still require someone to do Peasant Quest and Yon Dungeonman though so get on it!

Sunday, May 1, 2016 by LotBlind

The Days of Grades

The acronym "EGA", given to a certain strain of graphics processors for vintage PCs, stands for - and this is straight from the reference manual titled LotBlind's Liberties - "Enough Good Art". It was very much still the hype in '89 when your fresh Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero (EGA) floppies passed from your titillated palms into the recesses of your neon green backpack. You'd get a 16-color 640x350 picture where any of the 16 colors were swappable with others from a full palette of 64. The most sophisticated software of the era could do that shizzle on the fly. At least that's true of the CGA... which in turn comes from the words "Cringy Graphics Always". I think the CGA was a direct influence to that 80's fashion in general. If you want to learn more about old-timey computing (with less bogus mixed in), 8-bit guy's is a channel I would primarily recommend to you. After finishing this update of course.

So you do indeed want to be a hero? You'd best have trained your dex, cause you're gonna need to type in all the commands with your own ten buttery fingers. Wurn't so with the wuss mode VGA runs we were proffered earlier. Having returned from a later EGA "Quest" with a similar text parser, Paul 'The Reverend' Miller was able to outdo olden records on the fighter (0:05:35) and the thief (0:05:32). The magic user's route is the same as the thief's, but to make him feel a tad bit better, PR utilized his special magecrafts to blast a hole into the fabric of the plot-time-continuum so as to fish forth a time as low as 0:02:09.

As for us, we can use the same plot-time warp point to enter the dimention of DRAGON FIRE! No that's not corny hair metal, it's Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire. Oh wait, looks like Mr. PR made it here before us. What's that he's waving? It's a package that reads "large-skips NG+ in 0:06:06, deliver to SDA please!" Well I'll be damned if it didn't turn out the series' last iteration was about as broo-ken as the first. Although if you have to check a megabyte of links before one of them gives, it's probably not fair to use a word as... judgmental.

As per the runner's words: "It's nice to know that QFG will now has all five games represented on this site.  Now to work on a proper Any%." Sick stuff! Or more like... sic stuff.

The critical reception for the since waning flight sim series' fourth entry, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, was about as roaring as the jet fighters' engines themselves. On the surface, it gives a very peculiar impression of a mash-up between Star Fox and a bona fide balls-to-the-windshield flight sim like what Microsoft's house team had a knack for when I last saw this type of game being sufficiently mainstream to get reviewed alongside the hot stuff. The full Earth-like graphics are what make me feel a little uneasy with the idea of enjoying it as just a piece of airheaded (!) virtual entertainment. My friend 'Tolarus', on the other hand, isn't quite as squeamish, auto-locking on all kinds of airborne and stationary targets for a lengthy 2:19:47 on very easy mode. Make sure you can handle Mach 3 for this one!

If you CAN'T handle Mach 3, I've got just the thing for you. Your lack of safety is being severely compromised by 'adeyblue' exhibiting his niche pastime of deus-ex-machina-ing stranded strangers from candid dangers. That is to say he's been pecking at Air Ranger: Rescue Helicopter, also on the PS2, and proven to himself and everyone else it's possible to complete within 0:31:26. If you're not downing either of the two aerodyne emulators on offer today, you're not into aviation period, because aside from the terrain (or should I say air space) these two are covering, there's basically nothing left but balloons. And what do we know about balloons? That's right: Balloons is for kiddy-winkies! Seriously though, you can still submit balloon simulators too, so long as there's a finish line somewhere beyond that cerulean draw distance horizon.

Sunday, April 24, 2016 by LotBlind

Why is 7 afraid of 8?

Because it's bigger and more badass.

According to the boards above the tracks, "Mario Kart", as in Mario Kart 8, is one word somehow. Perhaps that's why Jose 'UchihaMadao' Karica felt it imposed on him to do this 1:40:24 in one sitting. Much like if you were to initiate a conversation with me about the most interesting characters in Disney movies since the last millenium, I'm at a loss as to who it is exactly jockeying the runner from easy win to easier win in a setting where the other racers might as well be enjoying their siesta, just periodically issuing mushrooms and thunderclouds down the track to make it look like they're putting in work. She does sound exactly like a female Mario though.

The categories for the run are -- and this might be the last time I'll ever say this -- All Tracks, DLC, Frantic Mode, 200cc, and Hard. I haven't been checking runner bios as of late, but Uchida's YT page looks well-cared for. It's the banner and the playlisting. Whenever you have a runner whose work you're enjoying just look them up here and see if they've given links to streams etc.

Here's a monster improvement for American-Russian Sabre Interactive's best-received shooter TimeShift. Much juice trickles down runner Robin 'Ekelbatzen' Schönborn's arm into the citrus press' juice-containing bit (juice jar?) where a 0:43:06 can be made out amidst the pulp. Running on casual difficulty allows more focus on exploiting eponymous time-bending mechanics to effect various skips, albeit not in every single area. The principle behind most of them is simple: if you can shoot an object to send it flying through the air in an arc, just reverse time and ride it back up leaving you flying in an even higher arc. Or just really far. I think I'll leave the rest of the run's peculiarities for those rearing to take a sip at the lemonade themselves. There might... just... be... an... OOB or two somewhere in there. It's really quite dope whether you have or as you haven't played the game, fast-forwarding the few autoscrollery bits.

Alien vs. Predator is an arcade-only beat'em'up taking place in what was probably meant as San Dorado in Arizona (near Tucson), or for all I know El Dorado in Nevada (near Vegas). The combined sci-fi vista that should rightfully be called AlienS vs. PredatorS vs. People doesn't let you play as the foremost mentioned race unlike the PC game that forces us to include the platform in question in the game page title. As for the 0:27:32 bursting out your virgin chest today, Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy felt a kindred spirit in the Predator warrior out of the four playable characters. Seeing who it's by, you betcha this ugly, sharp-fanged baby comes with audio commentary awaiting your tensed ears on channel 2. Him and his buddies could as well have been spotted converting coins into continues at the local 'cade in '94 when the A Vs. P cabinets first got installed. Continues look like something we've critically outgrown since then.

Wait, isn't that just a marvelous idea? If you can still find gaming arcades somewhere, tell them you wanna do a showcase run for one of their games that they can video or market a bit. Might someone be interested? They could even pay you something I'm sure. Don't tell 'em you'll 1-cc it though :P

If you thought Lolo and Ms. Lolo ever got to enact the staple "you jump in the evildoer's wagon and get ready with your lipstick and hair bow, I'll be finishing with this here cold one and get set for the long haul" narrative only three times, you're dead wrong! If you were shrewd, and looking in the right general direction, you might have spotted them going at it multiple times between 1985 all the way to the year 2000. The series as a whole is known as "Eggerland", which aptly describes the game world in which you're certainly nounifiable as an "egger". Most of them appeared only in Japan or Japan and Europe and ran on PCs or Famicoms.

Still, this here is definitely the same The Adventures of Lolo 2 you "non-international" readers, and certainly le me, might recognize the smell of. The last outing for Lolo 2 on SDA was before the site had turned 1, soooo you'd expect some form of improvement right? That improvement measures around 5:33 and lowers the time to 0:23:41. To manage this, 'DonkeyKongGenius' paid our friends at a visit and received a detailed guide for how real bots run the game that thankfully behaves deterministically when following a half-step precision plan. So yeah it looks like a TAS now. Let's all press-gang the "genius" to repeat the feat in 1 and 3!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 by LotBlind

Silent, Buster, and I'll Tell You a Tiny Secret: "Ninja Crusader"'s an Oxymoron

After you've seen this 0:04:46 through Ninja Crusaders (Ninja Gaiden Gaiden), you will be left mulling over the question "how in the name can this be a 1:05 improvement?!" It looks so simple and easy. Looks can deceive though, especially when we consider the ninjas. This may be the run that has the largest percentage of frames holding down right even amongst all the pancake "NESformers". It's inanely precise, the runner 'WhiteHat94' estimating it could only be frames faster.

The next improvement comes in from 'Crow!', again. He put his mind on a game he already held an SDA record for, Secret of Mana, that is unusual for having actual competition in the goofy "one-P-two-C's" category. He didn't have any friends or extra controllers though, so it's a solitary escapade lasting much longer than if he did but it's still 19:03 better than what it was, down to a 2:57:21.

Those wishing to hear rather than read the rotund notes may see the fully narrated Twitch highlight here. Also we should all think that I summoned this run into existence by invoking it in my last update.

Like in the world of children, in the world of Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!, the porkies always get picked on. They've got a rigged wheel'o'fortune that always stops on his mug and then he always gets to be the one to do the minigame - one that gets abruptly interrupted (something like Lucy with Charlie Brown) before it's even become apparent what its ostensible rules were. The rabbit gets all the real action. 'Akiteru' can't look himself in the mirror but can boast a 0:07:32 on the Japanese version. Well worth the trade.

If I ever get confused which one Silent Hill 3 is, remind me it's "the one where you fight an incomplete, playful anatomy mannequin that can't decide if it's a biped or a quadruped". That or the word "deivomous". Abigail Lee runs through mists, malls, hospitals, subways, museums and things, away from bad dreams on easy mode in an improvement of 4 and 10 in basically world-recordey 0:36:57. Up to you whether this game or Blood had the better Dark Carnival.

Saturday, April 16, 2016 by IsraeliRD

At night, nobody can hear you scream!

Despite making a censored version of Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, the game was still refused classification and effectively banned in Australia. They probably would not have liked the original Uncut and Uncensored! edition of the game where the fun never stops. Runner Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko skips every cutscene he can and plays the mini-games very quick-- I'm sorry, he actually wimps out every single one of them. Somehow it is still fine and he beats the game in 0:29:26, Single Segment.

After surviving the events of the Ishimura, Isaac finds himself in an asylum on the Sprawl, now sporting almost no population figures thanks to the Necromorph outbreak, to which Isaac is awaken to. Not the best way to wake up, I suppose, but that's how Dead Space 2 begins. 'Jehuty' is a familiar name in the Dead Space series, and honestly he doesn't let go with that near-perfect aim. Always a pleasure to watch, and this Hardcore Single Segment run in 2:08:42 is no different.

Onto the Individual Levels now, I have three of them for you in two games. The first is Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, a game with sometimes too much RNG. Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare revisits the original levels as Simon, running in Hard difficulty in New Game Plus settings. Chapter 2 has been improved by 0.22 seconds and Chapter 5 by 0.49 seconds, and the table time is now 0:07:36.56. In addition to that, he also ran the DLC levels, including two very long ones where he settled with 'good RNG/play/some frame-perfect tricks', to bring us a new table running at 0:14:36.77, also on Hard/New Game Plus.

Lastly we have Alien Swarm, which I thought the runs we had were impressive. Maik 'Onin' Biekart decided that the levels were not broken enough, and to make amends he now returns with an insane 90 seconds improvement, totalling a new table time of 0:10:53. The improvements are to three levels as follows: Landing Bay in 1:04 (previously 1:10), Cargo Elevator in 0:56 (previously 2:06) and Timor Station in 2:49 (previously 3:03).

Friday, April 8, 2016 by LotBlind

Just Realized Their Names Are Instruments Durr

I think we haven't been confused enough by names translated (more like reimagined) from Japanese as of late. Squaresoft's Game Boy Final Fantasy Adventure from 1991 is, first off, a Mana game. Like Secret of Mana. This can be fathomed - it started as a spinoff to an already-popular series, was then made into an independent series at which point the whole thing got renamed. Its Japanese release saw light as "Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden". I.e. 'Biopsy Folklore: Final Fantasy Foreign Telegram' or 'Holy Sword Story: Final Fantasy Tale' as an alternative reading. In Europe it released as Mystic Quest (before any "Fantasies" had come out in Europe) and is NOT Final Fantasy Mystic Quest for the SNES. Final Fantasy Adventure also had a remake in 2003 called Sword of Mana with all the vestiges from FF removed.

Anyway the game plays a lot like its descendants only with up to one computer-aided companion hanging along. In the first moments you're introduced as a showfighter under averse employment of the Dark Lord, who [spoiler]isn't a sweetheart[/spoiler]. After that the game kind of stumbles a bit in preserving the dire atmosphere when one of your ill-fated comrades, lying in a puddle of their own blood croaking their dying words, is called Willy. ("Willy! Willy nooooo!!") In the next unintentionally comical scene the Dark Lord has been told there's a mana tree above a waterfall right next to his own castle and his reply is "How do I get to it? Up the falls?".

Runner 'Crow!', who is improving on his own record in the "warpless" category by 7 minutes and 44 seconds, has used the logical technique of reworking the old notes instead of starting from scratch but didn't highlight what's new so it's up to me to be arsed in this case. Do I strike the kind that's frequently arsed? Like, on the regular? What's really interesting and kind of unusual is there's two different but both competitive builds for your character when running this uncannily Zelda-esque game, one going physical attacks and the other, as seen in Crow!'s 2:03:04, for magic-based offense. I think "holy sword" could imply either.

You traipse into a medieval castle across a creaky drawbridge that starts to hoist itself up as you pass, you enter the first courtyard where a fence so wide-spaced it's pointless erects from the fertile loam on the side, you hop up a thin thin staircase, crack out your whip and let it snap at a sly-looking human skeleton that explodes into a flurry of spinning tibia or possibly femurs and then... then you realize you're not really doing any of this, you're just playing Super Castlevania IV. Or possibly just watching this 0:31:55 submitted by someone called 'Furious Paul'. The verifiers are singing this 3:18-minute improvement's praise in what's at least forte if not fortissimo. I'm left short of breath just from listening. Someone also nominated the run as one of the best they've seen, which is a prerogative you're usually okay to assume.

Expect to see more damage boosts than the career of Steve-O. Expect to see bosses annihilated like matter and antimatter. There's at least one Sonic-esque zip. Oh and that jazzy moonwalking! Truly teh urn right here. Even if you didn't wanna watch-it watch-it, you could use the classic Castlevanian music as a soundtrack to your LAME.

Then there's this 0:52:59. It's for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which apparently is the fourth part in a series of open-world action-adventure games by an American team called Rockstar North... just kidding.

Now, it's been a good long while since I last gave attention to the GTA scene, which it kind of needs to be in my "profession". I really appreciate, and surely I'm speaking for a lot of people, when these popular-game runs surface for us of more casual interest in these immaculate packages with some amount of commentary thrown in. I single out popular games because they tend to attract more runners and time is getting chipped off like a colony of beavers on double espressos (hot coffee anyone?). This is why it doesn't appeal to any of them individually to submit their runs because (and I hypothesize) a) it's going to be old news when it hits OUR headlines and b) it probably feels a bit pretentious in such a setting, and c) you might feel discouraged by seeing even better times up the ladder - but that's just how it goes. Of course WHEN a run's finally knocking on our door doesn't matter at all because if you weren't already following those developments you won't have had it on your mind anyway.

Long story short, the submitter here is 'Mhmd_FVC', whose run is every bit as flawless as the one I hyped above. If you didn't get it already, 0:52:59 is INSANE for a game that only a few years ago (several eons in speedrunning time) could've boasted records like 1:30. Major glitches cut off lots of time, and this new run is done on the Japanese language edition, but sadly there was no explanation about how any of it worked attached to the run. I did find this playlist by the runner which is exactly what I wouldn't have minded seeing pointed at in run comments. Just to further emphasize, this run ALSO rocks socks off in sheer execution and I'm sure that's simply the level it's scaled up to over the course of time.

So, have you ever met tons of people who all want you to go collect things for them so as to receive access to new areas in return?

I couldn't think of how to follow that sentence up so I panicked and started a completely new paragraph instead. Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge is a 2003 handheld platformer textured by a whole lotta trifle-cumulation and minigames as per the SM64 mold. The premise is one of forestalling: not letting series antagonist Gruntilda to separate the verbally merged entity (but a hyphen tells them apart) of Banjo and indeed of Kazooie. In order to prevent preventing Grunty from taking over the world you return back in time yourself and explore a version of it predating what was seen in the 1998 original. It's along those lines anyway.

Hunter 'Blazephlozard' Davidson's routing especially got lauded in verification. It is, after all, a pretty sizable version of the Traveling Salesman's Problem, and because you can then exchange what you've collected for new abilities including such (I'd imagine) that affect your rate of movement, the potential complexity grows and grows. Maybe. Blaze took a game he felt underappreciated and lacking a truly solid run and DIY'd this 0:46:04 himself. Gotta say, if your run is 46 minutes long and your golds sum is 10 seconds faster than your record, it's not a bad record :D

Sunday, April 3, 2016 by LotBlind

Serpent in the Stagnated Paradise Was Lost Until it Finally Red the Postal FAQ

...and was able to get its parcel through to Peter Jackson. Here's that FAQ.

There's a specific subset of the otherwise highly diversified CRPGs ('C' for Computer) that includes titles like Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights where players control an isometric party of adventurers from mellow hearth-side conversations to calculated start-stop combat with hands typically left largely unbound as to which avenues to pursue in which order. It seems weird to name a genre after a platform (why aren't there SNES-RPGs or SMS-RPGs?) and for some time the system you were playing on would have been somewhat interchangeable, but later on a mouse-based complex UI precluded porting thus justifying the term also from the non-historical point of view. Classics like Ultima IV and Sanitarium were expanding narrative into whole new dimensions making the generic high fantasy theme feel critically less stuffy. Those attracted to these games weren't deterred by lower-detail graphics, block-built worlds, or fragmentary voice acting because this allowed the developers to focus on coding in more logic and writing more dialogue.

This is the tradition in whose footprints Serpent in the Staglands sets off wandering. Well I guess you're technically not wandering if you just... Anyway, the game combines elements of Baldur's Gate and Fallout making your character, if not their backstory, a perfectly blank slate. You cannot carve that slate full in just 0:27:51, but you can complete the main quest in a single segment with resets, as proven here by 'Varstilone'. When the game is so open-ended, you know the speedrun will double as the low-level challenge and every fight will be... bestrewn with copious parmesan. Anyone interested in the run might also want to see Matt Barton's interview with the 2-man development team who are actually husband and wife. SHE does the coding btw.

Speedrunning isn't always rosy. Sometimes it can get downright grueling. Sometimes runners will inflict it upon themselves by entering the difficulty selector, tapping down as far as it goes, staring the game straight in the eye saying "I don't care how hideous, unfair and untested it is, I'm not here to have any sort of fun!", and smashing enter with oxen ferocity. When they've been force-fed their swollen and rather prickly egos, they'll close their bloodshot eyes for a minute, run to the first junction they managed to scurry to - with actually positive counts of health and ammunition - within the first 500 or so attempts... and call it segment 1.

Whatever else you do with your FPS, please make there be at least one weapon with perfect accuracy. Having struggled to land badly called-for headshots we have Zach 'Duane Jones' R who wouldn't take "impossible" difficulty to mean something he cannot do in Red Faction, that 2001 scenery destruction simulator of which I can't immediately tell why it received noticeably better reviews on the PS2 than the PC being the platform here (probably the park was less crowded). The game's USP was the Geo-Mod engine that implemented areas possible to be tunneled through along with collapsible structures. This 0:59:15 will discover at least a few exploity uses for it all as well as several other glitches and just plain stupid luck that stupid people will need to finish their stupid runs. Lord knows I'm one... The run comes fully equipped with audio commentary, but it's a separate video right here. Take your pick, miner!

Now enter Final Fight for the Arcade, the collection for which looks lacking one or two character categories. We get one step closer to rounding it off with proliferating Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy who mistakenly chose an inferior character (Guy) for his run but thought "what the heck!" and made it his new record-setting 0:23:03. Inferior in the sense that Murph couldn't quite squeeze Cody's time out of this Guy guy despite the run looking damn-near flawless.

As you know if you're a regular reader, this is the game whose arcade cabinet allowed you to despawn your adversaries much more readily than the other consoles that saw the title, at least the GBA. As for other insights, get it straight from the horse's mouth (what?), the horse here being represented by the merry band congregated around the mic for the audio commentary track. You'll learn how to score attack the game as well as time attack. You'll learn how to survive the perils of rampant fire. You'll get the low-down on the fabled "ass-smash" technique of yore. It's just much better than anything I could come up with. I feel like they're having too much fun though. We gotta make up a rule against that.

1:18:50 is awfully long for a segmented FPS run! Even on the "very hard" setting. You got me right, you're being doled out a second helping of boom-tiddle-tiddle-bang today, but this time it's something you're not likely to want to bring up around the dinner table, not even when there's no-one else around. By the 10-minute mark the protagonist, who's just awoken from coma and needs to regain his bearings, has seen wild dogs savaging the townsfolk, witnessed an animal rights activist being buried in elephant poo, and met up with a guy called "Wise Wang". It's the video game equivalent of South Park with [numerically] less funny voices. There's something not-run-of-the-mill about the real-life premise of Postal 2: Paradise Lost too, which is that it's an expansion from last year for a game that released in 2003. The only thing developer Running With Scissors did in-between was the first expansion to Postal 2 and some Linux conversions, hence the joke about coming to after a 12-year coma.

To get back on the run for a minute, looks like Nikita 'NWill' Abramov wasn't able to glitch his way out the cutscenes though a few other seams do get torn. This makes the whole video a lot longer than 1:18 hours because the in-game speedrun timer, which testifies for RWS's appreciation for our refined art, pauses for their duration. The game is interesting in the sense that it plays out in a single contiguous fleshed-out location, as did the "mother game", like some kind of smallish sandbox you move both back and forth inside. The series also isn't quite as random as, say, Goat Simulator, because it clearly has a continuity with characters and story and you may well pick up some social commentary vibes if you want. So with the intact cutscenes this should make a good watch for FPS fans who play for the story more so than the action (Kappa) despite the average pace being on the sluggy side. Or if you just want to weird yourself out some.