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News from July through September, 2016. [Newer | Older]

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Settling on Doom

If you're a fan of the Doom series, you'll be happy to see Doom 64 finally making it on SDA. While the game does have a plot, it probably doesn't matter. Just kill demons stood in your path until none have survived. Phillip 'ZELLLOOO' Shanklin played on the easiest difficulty, Be Gentle!, and wrapped the 32 levels up in a quick 0:32:35, Single Segment.

The Settlers III follows the footsteps of the previous two games, except for one interesting tidbit. Iron and coal are required to produce weapons, but the game's copy protection made it so pirated copies had iron smelters produce pigs instead of iron. I hope the bacon made up for it though. 'Tigger77' improves the first mission by 16 seconds and the 7th mission by 48 seconds, for a total of 1:04 minutes, and a new table time of 2:17:23

Back to shooters, we have a third person shooter to wrap up today. Kane & Lynch: Dead Men follows the footsteps of Kane as he escapes death row thanks to Lynch and a bunch of mercenaries from a gang called The 7. The gang, however, tells Kane they've captured his wife and daughter and will kill them unless he returns the money they think he's stolen from them. Despite never having done so, he does still go on an adventure to get the money back. To help him is Mirko Brown, who beat the game in 1:18:53. If you were wondering, this is indeed the game that had a GameSpot reviewer getting fired over it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016 by IsraeliRD

The Fast and the Completionist

Today's runs are an interesting mixed bag. You can check out an absolutely broken game, a normal speedrun (as "normal" as can be) and one where you get to fully see at least the main chunk of it.

The first run of the day belongs to a game in a well known series about assassinations. Yes, it is indeed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood that kicks things off. There's only one man who could have run it in his own exceptional manner, and today, François 'Fed981' Federspiel does not disappoint. If you're after 100% synchronization, then we have for you a superb 4:05:30 run in 122 segments (combined to 13 parts), availing of the additional ammo from the Da Vinci's Disappearance DLC, despite not playing any of its actual missions. Lush must-read comments are provided.

Where Assassin's Creed used a large number of trusted historical references, there must have been slightly more dubious ones that inspired the puzzles in the graphic adventure game Return to Zork. The game's plot has the player win an all expenses paid holiday to the Valley of the Sparrows, which has, however, fallen under some dark influence and become dysfunctional, with the remaining citizens having frequent nightmares. I should note here that the designers had several goals in mind with this game, one of which was to have multiple ways to solve every last puzzle, and several ways to beat the game in general. Needless to say, 'uematsufreak' tested them all, then going ahead with this Single Segment run at a length of 0:29:33.

The last and the least-related to our shared history, yet the fastest of the lot, is a run for a game pretty well known to our regular readers: Secret of Mana. Showing that he still has no FEAR (heh) is 'Overfiendvip', who set to improve his previous entry in the Über-Large-Skips category for this game. Improving by no less than 10 seconds in an already excellent run, we can now feature his sweet 0:06:37. It will possibly take you longer to read the comments on the gamepage :)

Saturday, September 3, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Rave to Death

If you enjoy rave parties, you should probably not do so next to prisons. According to the events unfolded in Hunter: The Reckoning, it gave rise to the dormant evil that was sealed away a year ago by four people. Said people are now back to destroy that evil before the entire population of Ashcroft is dead. Playing as the Defender is 'Stokesbro' who beats the game in 1:07:29, Single Segment.

F.E.A.R. speedruns are a favourite of mine, so it's no surprise I was rather excited seeing F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate turn up in the queue. 'Overfiendvip' brings a big improvement of 3:06 minutes to the previous run, thanks to better movement and some slight route changes. Considering this is a Single Segment run, it is pretty impressive to see it done in 0:49:54, on Low difficulty.

The last run for today is also a big improvement, considering how small the game is and the previous run in question. D.J. 'Akiteru' Rideout is much happier with his 33 seconds improvement to The Lion King as he brings the time down to 0:13:48, in Difficult difficulty.

If you also missed out, moooh has stepped down from his position as SDA's gamepage creator, which means that every gamepage posted here has been done by him. Our gamepage-automation script has given him a hand in recent months, though some gamepages are still made by hand. His five and a half years stretch will not be easily forgotten for he has done a tremendous job! Here at SDA we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

To replace him is LotBlind, who has taken up the offer and is currently busy handling gamepages and is been guided by moooh and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As LotBlind won't do frontpage updates for the near future as he chews through our backlog, you guys are now most unfortunate to have me posting them... again. :)


Saturday, August 20, 2016 by IsraeliRD

Picking things up

Because we don't have the first game on the site (but we do have the third!), I can't really do much spoilers about Mega Man Battle Network 2. What I can say is that the game's RNG has been ripped apart by 'Keizaron' who manipulates just about everything he can get his hands on. Bosses and foes alike are mowed down thanks to powerful attacks that a normal player may not be able to dish out in such manner. Providing us with a Single Segment, with Resets, 2:11:58 is a RNG-wrecking entertainment.

Long time coming is Zack 'Zallard1' Allard's runs for Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. Mike Tyson is improved by 3 seconds, giving us a run time of 0:02:07, and bringing the table time down to 0:14:02.30. In addition to that, he submitted a Single Segment run that improves the obsoleted run by 27.91 seconds, to 0:15:57.98.

Last one for today is a great improvement to an already outstanding run. If you're still swearing at Dark Souls then it's doing its job to the day, and I suspect that 'CapitaineToinon' dished out more than a few new phrases while improving the previous run by 3:42 minutes, clocking in at 0:21:29, Single Segment with Large Skips and Resets. Turns out the Kiln Skip is still possible, just in a different setup...

Monday, July 18, 2016 by LotBlind

Game Titles Too Braindead to Deserve Better

So these two guys showed up in verification one day: Alien Shooter and Zombie Shooter. I thought: "That's gotta be some über-simple one-screen Flash top-down gun 'em downs both from the same uninspired developer", but they might not be reductible to quite that after all.

Let's tackle them one at a time. Alien Shooter is isometric and in the style of Postal or Crusader. Pretty arcadey with weapon shopping in-between missions. However, it is a full-blown PC CD release. It was created by Russian Sigma Team in 2003, but lacked the sort of oomph graphics-wise to meet the expectations of the day - but that's just left CPU for the aliens themselves... and their viscera (we must study zeir anatomy zo we know whaz ze indivijual jiblets are for and 'ow vital zey were for zem). The green has never glown more gaily, and this is a hella fun snacksized speedrun: just 0:14:03 with you a-beaming all the way. That's 3:56 off the existing run also by Mihail 'horned' Petrov.

I think their humongous counts also explain why they're all so desperate to transmigrate into our world.

How about the other guy then? Zombie Shooter? It's really just another-out-of-many similar Sigma Team action games, but this time, the blood is red... Well, I could leave it at that, but actually, if you were starting to get withdrawal symptoms, there is the option of turning it back green. It's so much of the same, horned's notes have dwindled down into one paragraph. As a speedrun, because you no longer have to kill everything that drools, it necessitates more risky strats, and so death ain' nuddin but a heartbeat away on a few occasions. The final boss, brought to ruin in 0:10:34, will bring back memories of Quake.

Now you know what dem Russkies up to. ;)

Three people verified this run, and they all seemed to think there was no cheating involved. I, however, have reason to suspect the runner may have been using external helpers, such as... The Force... to speed through Tony Hawk's Underground 2 in just 0:07:30. I have only circumstantial evidence, but you'll have to admit, calling oneself 'guywithalightsaber' should at least cock a few eyebrows. It's very nearly - and even the pettiest nitpicking becomes laborous here - a flawlessly executed run judging by both verifier respondage and my own estimations. There's even non-times-wasting schenanigans integrated into the route. If there's ever another submission in this category someone's going to be very confused and refer the runner to instead.

This next RTS came to the world from a short-lived, highly focused team called Cavedog Entertainment whose star-spangled line-up featured such luminaires as Ron Gilbert (Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island) and Chris Taylor (Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander). September 1997 was bang in the middle of the mouse-and-keyboard-powered early RTS hot streak: after Warcraft II and just before Age of Empires. Total Annihilation sold really well despite the toughest competition. If you remember that silly thread I once started about which genre of games is sans pareil in terms of how they speedrun (which is now an intransitive as well as transitive verb - the pleasure is mine), I did give RTS titles the crown with the caveat that they had to be sufficiently freeform, which TA does at least approximate in places. That's why I never baulk at the traverse of run lengths with these things - 2:36:13 is nothing, and the first 10 missions just went by in flash. May have had something to do with the game being in-game timed which runs much faster...

'kakashi12309' has trodden the expected Individual Levels avenue here. One unique thing about Total Annihilation is the way your base is... mobile. Well that's to say one of your units is the "Commander" who can build structures and whose head acts as the mission win condition in multiplayer matches. Lobbing it off ain't that easy though seeing as this unit has enough health and firepower to parry any scrappy offensives all on its own, breaking no mechanoid sweat. Correctly predicting this getting massively abused is about as meritorious as calling Arizona children would rather take the bus than walk the 40 desert miles to school. The run, which plays through the "Core" campaign on "Hard" manages to showcase many other stratagems as well, such as the recurring "Com-bomb". There is a full, annotated, playlist of these ILs on YouTube at your preference.

I did, BTW, call that the soundtrack was by some bungler called Jeremy Soule. Just for the record. And, for the record, it's within the five earliest recorded orchestral soundtracks for any game. Can you beat that?! Yes, you can by naming one of the other four.

Monday, July 11, 2016 by LotBlind

Don Your VR For This One

Infogrames was a highly expansionist more-is-better sort of game publisher. At their peak they had subsidiaries everywhere and as such got their stamp on a stupidly wide variety of titles across multifarious platforms. That type of company is always headed by businessmen, not creators, and thus you can expect their indirect output to come with some jagged edges and loose bits of string if that's the way to hit Christmas sales on time. As such, it'd strike me (did strike me) a bit odd someone's attention should be caught by airing the name, but it's natural you're reflecting on the few good ones you did play (bad ones you'd have forgotten about), not any of the bollocks getting sold on the basis of licencing - though that's not quite the accurate watershed marker either.

But why have I brought this up? I have an update today that consists of five shortish runs that I've been able to sit through and should be able to speak with some modest authority on. The first ones are 0:32:12 and 0:10:34 long, the latter off a prepared file, for Looney Tunes: Taz Express. It verily bears the Infogrames* possum in the opening titles and it verily counter-exemplifies their grandest moments with scores that could be considered too low to matter. That having been said, I couldn't tell you (well without run comments I couldn't) what exactly was the problem with this '00 N64 title. I don't know and don't really care if the tasmanian devil had starred a prior 3D platformer but his signature, the erratic and destructive whirls, make you think they'd have some potential as a unique mechanic. Apparently they went overboard and made "erratic" completely untractable. Some of the gameplay looks sort of pointless too I'll admit, but the soundtrack and overall feel of the game seem to defy the game's ill repute - if it even really has a repute. I'm on one of my waxing days (waxing in the sense "waxing lyrical" not in the sense "bikini wax") and so should probably just leave it at the mention of whose work the two runs are: it's 'Pottoww', and you should at least see the first level in the plain non-NG+ because the way the first warp is set up and executed is one of the most quaint I've ever seen.

It's not that long ago we paid for tickets onboard the mystery tour 'midst the mystifying mists of Myst. Due to a technical mishap, the cars derailed (read: it was the RealMyst version) and we got ushered away through the led-lit emergency exit. Anticipating dissatisfaction, the astute manager Robert 'Gelly' Gelhar has sent everyone cordial handwritten invitations to be the first to tour the foot-trekking redesign (read: it's still the RealMyst version) of the epoch-spanning experience. Those who assume postures aerodynamic enough to withstand the colossal drag described by a formula whose parameters include the distance covered divided by an alarmingly minor time scalar (that's a significant 4:02 faster too) - my way of saying we're probably outstripping charging sailfish - will be richer of sea-proximating memories as if old scurvied salty dogs, woodland ones as if born on verdant Kashyyk, and those of the underworld as if intimate with the perilous Morian caverns where the mighty Balrog... wants to have a go at you. Much irony is contained within the fact that a good portion of this "freerunning" 0:24:18 we're confined in a rail-bound bathysphere.

This next run for Glover, the game I always read as "glower", may not contain any major skips, but it sure does zounds of minor hops and jumps. It stands out amongst N64 platformers alongside Mario 64 as one of those with memorably unique and skill-capping movement - at least when handling those beach balls. The inevitable overlaps are there: star-shaped screen transitions and the overall look of the graphics for instance. Should've hired a more athletic camera guy cause the view seems to be lagging behind a lot of the time... And doesn't the kid sound exactly like Mickey Mouse when he gives that excited "Whoopie!" at the end of levels?

'Yoshipro' has one-shot many challenging jumps and other tricks to shed off as much as 6:32 down to a 0:28:02. In the game, you're the right hand (in a literal sense) of a wizard whose potions (wait is he actually an alchemist then?) have went completely haywire creating the evil sinister glove Cross-Stitch. Can you find the seven crystals that had to be turned into rubber balls instead and restore both the Crystal Kingdom, and the Crystal Castle's Faustian occupant to a state that may safely be succeeded by a lulling credits sequence? That's the plot. Roll up for the blue juggling chicken!

Whoever wrote the game page blurb for Skyblazer labels the game, unheard of by Mister Me, a cult classic. Moving back from the early console 3D era to 2D reminds me of the stark contrast between late SNES/Genesis (Skyblazer is 1994) eye-candy and the N64/PS1 eye-sore to be very unkind to it. Heyyyyy, there's a surprise commentary track! My Christmas come early except with an average period of what's probably less than one full calendar year. So what's new in the life of Eric 'Omnigamer' Koziel? Bit less laggy. Better riskier zipping. Inarguably cool bosses. Deep-frying yourself once Scottish Mars Bar style. And this 0:25:48! For some reason, the protagonist's mentor, who remains the rather impersonal "Old Man" all the way, has to be visited at every plot exposition junction even after traveling to the far side of the Earth.

Seeing as this rather incidentally turned into a discussion of 3D graphics in video games, It'd be remiss of me not to point you at something to educate yourself by, mainly because this 30-minute epic gives the low-down on the history of 3D in specific, as relates to arcade machines and home computers (to be marketable, consoles could of course not pack that raw technical punch of 4-D Boxing). Man, does early 3D actually look so cool... I love simple graphics. Seriously, some of these games look like they're every bit as perfect as the austerity of VVVVVV or something cel-shaded. Minus the music, which the first ones hardly had. But I understand 100% why this stuff would have drawn crowds and blown minds. To me, it's STILL The Future.

*I should point out they're still with us today - merged with and nameshifted into Atari. Throughout Infogrames' history so many of the games created by companies they'd acquired don't even list Infogrames as their publisher so it's quite difficult to scry what to blame, or indeed credit, them for. Their top-rated game in a user-voted list I saw, from a time when they seemed to have more clear-cut in-house production, was the muchly lauded and innovative Alone in the Dark - a series whose whole genesis should and only can be rightly ascribed to a lone wolf acting of their own initiative (and initially outside working hours) to create the first memorable PC horror adventure utilizing 3D polygonal graphics, Frederic Raynal. If anything Infogrames nearly messed it up by pressing them to hit... yeah we're full circle with this thing... Christmas sales on time. And that's what I remember them for.

Saturday, July 2, 2016 by LotBlind

Asinine Old Journey Fans Wolf Final Steinfuls of Blood

Whoa! That's quite the provocative picture I've just painted there now isn't it?

Well well well. I'm stuck here again aren't I? It's the syndrome I've long (since 2014) been in search of an apt name for. I want to see the run, it's only going to steal me 0:49:43, but I will not be spoiled for the game just in case I'll have crawled up the long and lonely backlog far enough to see this sufficiently well-received 2015 FPS with mine own eyes before I die of my blood getting transfused into a display case of its own at my local equivalent of a Smithsonian exhibition. Of old, that is, - and in this metaphor - critically misplaced blood. Which is what Wolfenstein: The Old Blood might know a thing or two about. Tim 'Judgy' Kedge, now you know why I may have ignored it in verification.

The Old Blood indeed did not rejuvenate the series any, though the blood splatters on your screen may appear freshly let. It was considered slightly atavistic if anything by contrast to The New Order, and I'm sure such remarks are not missing the Nazi effigy at the end of the rifle range for a game that spawned off two DLCs merged and marketed as an entirely new main series title. Still, I want to see how these contemporary shooters fare in competition with the ones I know of days gone by. I'll betcha they're all new-fangled.

Journey to Silius was probably named after the utterance: "Silly us for thinking we were making a Terminator game" with the "Journey to" referring the development process up to that point. Because that was their plan, but publisher/co-developer Sunsoft's licence expired mid-way through without them ever reacquiring it. You know the game, reminiscent of Contra and Mega Man, has something going for it as their composer Naoki Kodaka (credited as "Mabochan") of e.g. Blaster Master fame wrote the music for it in the trademark Sunsoft style. Many sound effects even sound borrowed straight from ditto. Dang it, even a few sprites and enemy behaviors are recognizable. We stomp through all of it in 0:10:20 together with 'Zakky the Goatragon' whose time surpasses what you've last seen by 48 seconds - pretty nifty when you think how straightforward things [are made to] look. You don't tend to see bad runs for NES games seeing as either they've been taking a mauling by GENERATIONS of runners or at least whoever's picked one up is likely to have played and run a dozen games before. And with guys like Zakky saying "I have come too far to stop now…" Yeah... Just won't someone sometimes check up on the guy and see he's still on his food and sleep? Any gfs or waifus listening?

As is tradition, we leave the long-arse Japanese RPG for last. Does Final Fantasy IX qualify? These games don't just stress fire safety limits as a huddling throng of marathon-goers packs into the room to testify the crowning of the event; their following also extends to those for whom 40 hours is enough commitment so it's no longer worth switching games before commencing to speedrun one. Carefully orienting himself by the druidic ley lines that mark out the optimal running paths and tethering the Random Number Gods closely to the Idol of Ideal Luck, 'Reverv' makes away with around 30 minutes of run time. The 8:03:07 is one cleft into 61 segments, which in case you were wondering lowers that number by 7. The years count for when the last segmented run was induced is increased by 9. The resets? Over 9000. Read yer comments yer! They're 28 pages long-arse.