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Friday, July 31, 2015 by LotBlind

You're Not Supposed to Be Here

As of late there have been zounds of submissions for this particular adventure game series, one of multiple old Sierra franchises, and another one that became validified upon the passing of the "DosBox-is-now-GO!" edict. I'm talking about the "Quest for Glory" games. Everything traces back to one man, self-professedly obsessed with their idiosyncratic ways, Paul 'The Reverend' Miller. Having missed these games back then, I am now getting better versed in them by proxy, most recently in Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness. What they all have in common and what separates them from most is they're also part RPG: You get to choose a class out of three, allocate some extra skill points and note the numbers have incremented every time you've used an ability such as climbing or lockpicking. Correspondingly, most of the puzzles seem to have been designed with at least a few different solutions, each with a corresponding skill requirement. To single out QfG:SoD a bit more - its sinister influences are found in Slavonic and Middle European lore rife with rusalkas, vampire rabbits and liches. Anyway, here's the four runs, one for each class and an extra one for the thief class where a pre-buffed character was imported back into the same game:

Fighter - 0:33:45
Wizard ("magic user") - 0:33:24
Thief - 0:32:40
New Game Plus Thief - 0:29:42

I can't leave this topic before quoting how Mr. P.R. answered my request to get a glance in on his notes: "I've speedrun QfG4 since 1997, so all the notes are in my head".

Something I would never have imagined is that "Eliminator" is an actual brand of motor boats that the game Eliminator Boat Duel (1991, NES) is advertising. Here's what someone says about it on the Amazon page:

"This is the equivalent of finding a diamond in a pile of slugs. Ugly slimy slugs."

I had something of a blast watching the run back in verification, but I did reckon the runner, Steve 'Elipsis' Barrios, had made away with a different interpretation of the title... something like "I'm the 'Eliminator' and I'm the one who's actually going to finish this race", which would explain all the brutally smashing into your progressively more challenging A.I. opponents until their prissy little boats would no longer be seaworthy ON MARS. Aside from this, there's ongoing strategizing related to your upgrades and the usage of nitros and other subtle stuff. Each race runs through multiple legs in a swamp or on a river with 3-4 different kinds of presentations of the action: sometimes a side view, sometimes from directly behind the racers etc. so I can really confirm this is a game to look into, especially since Elipsis has laid down a great portion of the groundwork (even having done some TASing!).

Any% Expert - 0:30:26
100% Easy - 0:37:34

Note that the runs have audio commentary.

Okay, final run. Ready?

Half-Minute Hero
Jim 'Dowolf' Dobler
Any% Single Segment (Hero 30) (PC) 0:18:54

...aaaaaand time!

That's the essential experience of watching this flash-through of Half-Minute Hero. I think every one of the verifiers suspected the video had been sped up at least 3-5 times. Along with the most recent segmented Half-Life run, this is the only speedrun making me sweat at night thinking what it'd be like if someone submitted another improvement.

It's no surprise though, seeing as there couldn't even have been a game conceived of more speedrunning-oriented. It's a JRPG parody where you have the liberal 30 seconds to up your stats and muster the equipment for charging into the act boss's lair. Well apparently that's just one of its game modes but in my defense it's the relevant one. The runner is attempting to keep up a streak of perfect RNG manipulations from the beginning of each of the 31 stages to the end and often pulls it off. Need I say more?

Meanwhile I've perfectly RNG manipulated this update to come up at a time when SGDQ still has some 1½ days left. That means you're still not supposed to be reading these sneaky during-marathon updates. Tsk, tsk!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by wickedcodeferret

Rocky Splatter Toady Show!

Goblins get a bad wrap in most games, always being all evil and attacking, and occasionally stealing babies while singing really awesome David Bowie songs. But when the Nopino Goblins go crazy and start attacking a local shrine, Pocky & Rocky head out to just stop the Black Hoodie-caused Goblin insanity. This time Rocky goes solo, guided by 'Akisto', and saves the goblins in 0:21:29 on Normal difficulty. Dance, Tanuki, Dance!

Some nights are just the worst. Having your mansion invaded by evil spirits, getting your family kidnapped for dark rituals and an ancient Terror Mask stuck to your face. Not to mention a late game betrayal you never see coming (maybe)! Time to beef up and start smacking the stuffing out of everything that moves! Helping Rick lay the smack down to a horde of Splatterhouse 3 monstrosities, 'Slaughterhouserock' clears the mansion once again and saves Rick's family 19 seconds faster in 0:22:00 on Game Master difficulty. Come for the all the gore and plenty of hardcore "breadsticks" action!

People getting kidnapped/stolen in video games is the trope that keeps on giving for plot setup. Battletoads is no different, with Rash and Zitz tracking down the Dark Queen through 13 levels of brutal difficulty to rescue their friends Pimple and Princess Angelica. Unlike previous SDA runs however, runners Piotr 'TheMexicanRunner' Delgado Kusielczuk & 'jc583' take control of both toads and clear the game in a wicked fast 0:16:15 using Warps. This includes avoiding the infamous Stage 11 second player freeze bug and tons of nifty Co-op only tricks to check out. Recommended!

Saturday, July 25, 2015 by Judgy

Half-Of My-Life Playing Borderlands waiting for SGDQ

First up this time round is a game everyone is familiar with Half-Life or more accurately the Hazard Course from that same game. Over the years many have stepped forward to challenge the course and take thier place as the fastest and today we place 'Maxam' at the top of the podium who bunnyhops, grenade boosts and ...interacts impossibly with elevator buttons in 0:02:48 a 1 second improvement over the old time. which, to be honest, is a pretty big ask. Amazing run watch out for that elevator lag!

Next up is a segmented run of Borderlands the first of a (currently) 3 part series, a series in which I have spent far, FAR! too much of my own time (7000 hours+ in borderlands 2 alone). During which time I met and became friends with our runner Alexandre 'penta'. Who while playing as Lilith on the PC version throws his weapon away countless amounts of times in order to complete the game, This is due to the PC version allowing you to bind a Key to "Throw Weapon" something not possible on console versions he abuses the fact that weapons are picked up with full ammo and he skillfully pummels everything in sight with Sledges shotgun. New routing to gain EXP early from various in game achievements and obligatory farming so well known in all borderlands games results in finishing the game in a time of 1:26:14 across 77 Segments. which is over an hour quicker than the Xbox 360 version using Brick.

In other news The Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) marathon begins tommorow! (the 26th) helping to raise money for the Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders charity, Speedrunners from both Speed Demos Archive and Speedruns Live will be displaying their talents on over 150 titles across the span of the week long event. you can find the schedule HERE! we hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 by LotBlind

Strikingly, in Japan, Silence is Normal

All the runs in this update are by one big man. He's from Japan. He does it 'cause he can, and that's how the rhyme ran. Actually I don't think he's FROM Japan so much as he's big IN Japan, which is another way of saying you've failed to attain any real significance amidst your home crowd (there are no rules as to what the Japanese can take a liking to and therefore it doesn't count). However, because of legal reasons I am also obliged to mention there was apparently a movie by the same name. Maybe he's going to start a thread titled "Explain Your Name". If his explanation is any more interesting than "Yeah it's from the movie", I'll respond to him and show tell him mine. If you haven't guessed it yet it's Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko.

Normality (PC, 1996) comes from an old long-time UK gaming company called Gremlin Interactive. If anyone reading this recognizes the name off-hand, you're probably being thrown into a spell of nostalgy from hearing that I'd imagine. Amongst their varied achievements we had a few 2.5D adventure games and Normality, then, is one of them. It takes place in a loopy, somewhat futuristic dystopia where strict social conformity, or "normality", is the presiding regime's agendum. Cap'n Japan's agendum, on the other hand, is to liberate the people in a swift 0:23:00 blow-out that exploits the game's mechanics and alternative solutions heavily. The main thing besides frantic clickety-clicking is the game most often doesn't require you to be anywhere near the objects and NPCs you want to interact with in order to be able to use them. If and as you watch this run you'll see what I mean and appreciate you're being treated to something quite unusual. Seeing as cutscenes are unskippable you'll even get a good glimpse into the writers' distraught minds.

Toonstruck (PC, Virgin Interactive, also 1996) was a game I immediately fell in love with after seeing a short retro review somewhere on YouTube. Mobygames' summary refers to Monkey Island and Roger Rabbit when outlining what it's like, while the screenshots personally bring me back to Day of the Tentacle. It is, you'll have gathered, another point'n'clicker, but I shouldn't neglect to mention it stars the full-motion captured Christopher Lloyd. He, one must recall, played "Doc" Brown in Back to the Future. I will not tell you anything more of the game or about Mr. Japan's run, a 0:33:25, because I WILL HAVE NO SPOILERS. No I'm not here to provide a service.

The last big and manly BigMan runs one lowly update even has room for are going to be for much acclaimed Silent Hill 2, or "Sairentu Hiru Tsuu" in Japanese. Trivia of the day: its scenario is based on Crime and Punishment, a 19th-century literary classic by Dostoyevsky. What started out as a hardware limitation, the fog and darkness were reused as an atmospheric device when the development team under Konami shifted over from the PS1 to the PS2. Amongst other influences, Tomb Raider was used as a point of reference when creating the 3D-environments. [/trivia] So without further ado:

18 Segments Normal/Normal - 0:43:19 (1:01 off previous 13-segment run)

Single Segment Normal/Normal - 0:44:18 (1:26 off previous record)

Maria Hard - 0:05:57 (0:07 off previous record)

Tune in next week, same Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko time, same Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko channel! Bada-bada-bada-bada BIGMAAAAN...

Sunday, July 19, 2015 by LotBlind

Bound for Kyrandia, Sherwood and Earth

The Kyrandia series is comprised of three first-half-of-the-'90s point-and-click adventure games from Westwood Studios, who were constantly setting new standards for how pretty hand-drawn art in games should be. The games were vibrant, had brilliant soundtracks and a peculiar inventory puzzle system where you drew from a generic pool of items available to you that you could normally always replace when having run out. For this reason the game would allow you to waste them on random interactions that produce a similar kind of ephemeral glee you could get from slapping quarters into a coin-op. It's a combination of these factors that make me think back to the games mostly with warmth and enthusiasm.

Evidently I'm not the only one. Our resident adventure game fanatic, Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko, after being convinced he should complete the set having done just the second game at first, took my sage advice of segmenting the runs at junctions where the lead role was reserved for Mr. Random Number Generator. This meant The Legend of Kyrandia was conquered in two segments adding up to a 0:51:56, and The Legend of Kyrandia 3: Malcolm's Revenge in 0:31:55 being split into four of them.

Do I gravitate towards games with awesome soundtracks or do games with awesome soundtracks gravitate towards me? Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (NES 1991) certainly qualifies. The runner, 'Slyse', says in the verification notes for his 0:29:28 it's "a crazy good action-rpg" but then goes on to list its various defects like soft locking and awkward movement in the same paragraph, which seems more in line with how retro reviews seem to portray the game. At least the not entirely fidelitous movie tie-in had ambition: in addition to a typical top-down view you get a side view for fencing and a zoomed-out perspective for battles where you and your merry A.I. band merrily rout large mobs like no-one's business. Finally there's horse racing. In summary it might be one of those better-watched-than-played types.

My last game for this update is one that embodies the old "If you have to ask, you'll never know". We're looking at Earthbound, which in addition to being an irreplaceable classic of JRPGs seems to have a long-lived and prospering speedrunning scene as well. These were my thoughts watching Andrew 'andyperfect' Woolston's run in 3:56:27 where most of the time there simply aren't any signs of floundering anywhere. There is one 10-second mistake with a teleport as I recall. I should mention this is a single segment run without major skips (previous SDA record for the category gets beaten by 14:40 minutes) so if you remember Ness slipping through seams or warping through debug menus, this will show you more of the game instead. One of the most recent advancements is TAS-like encounter and drop manipulation through all of Onett, which is where RPGs generally always go when people have run them for 10+ years (think Final Fantasy).

Thursday, July 16, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Age of Aliens

I'm a fan of RTS games so seeing Age of Mythology means I know what I'll be watching today. Arkantos from Atlantis attempts to regain Poseidon's favor and ends up going on a lengthy journey to stop evil (and Poseidon) from destroying the world. 'UtterNutter' shows who's the real demigod around here and tackles the entire 32 (33-ish?) levels of the campaign on the Easy difficulty, finishing in 3:10:12.

A successful remake to the 90s cult classic XCOM series comes in the form of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. While the game normally has a ton of features and plenty of quests to go through, it can be surprising just how fast it can be beaten. Kevin 'Papers' & 'Twyn' fought more than just aliens as they rolled the RNG and "completed through the observance of astrological symbols and the sacrifice of several goats", producing a run clocking in at 0:29:19 done in 64 segments. The comments are a must read to really appreciate this run.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 by Judgy

Character Select Screen!

Sometimes, (If you're a member of the Capcom roster) beating someone else into a pulp isn't enough to prove you're better and in this event you fall back to the only other possible option, what is that option I hear you cry? duh!... a puzzle battle!!!. Looking like the tainted offspring of 'Tetris' and 'Bejewelled' comes Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix where some of the Streetfighter cast attempt to outsmart each other while also throwing a few punches while they do it. 'bluebomber285' first selects Devilot for a playthough of the games X' (X-Dash) mode on expert, he deftly negotiates the puzzles before him in a time of 0:05:37.

Upon returning to the character select screen 'bluebomber285' then picks a new challenger to once again tackle Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix's X' mode on expert. This time with the profusely pink protagonist Dan, making even shorter work of the game than his Devilot run this run clocks in at 0:04:37 PERFECT!!.

Not wanting to be left behind Paul 'The Reverend' Miller fired up his copy of Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero and selected two characters also!. Beginning in a magical mana (get it?) our first character run is that of the wizard/Magic-user class, to be honest not much magic happens but if you like rock clicking your in the right place as this serves good purpose in this run in 0:10:29. The next contender is the thief, whose skills in the more dishonourable arts seem to make him quick with both his hands and his feet as he put an end to the whole sordid tale in 0:09:16 You've become a hero!...TWICE!

Saturday, July 4, 2015 by Judgy

The Name's Batman, Baseball Batman

In the world of Ninja Baseball Bat Man any amount of baseball paraphernalia can, and will!, attack you. Be it gloves, balls, bat wielding bats or whatever, it is not safe to be outside! Unless of course you happen to be Travis 'Klaige' Nible, Todd 'Mecha Richter' Foreman, Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy & Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare who, as a joint force not to be reckoned with take the colorful quartet through the game in 0:29:32 Single Segment.
**The price of admission also includes free Audio commentary so check that out also :)

Bat that's not all!! One of the four decided that his work was not done in Ninja Baseball Bat Man and continued to swing his way through the game once again using the twin bat wielding Ryno. This time round Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy steps up to the plate and knock the enemies out of the park in 0:21:14 Single segment. Tune in to the commentary for a play-by-play of all the action from the comfort of your own home!.

Released in 1998 on the Game Boy James Bond 007 is thought to be one of the last ever games to grace the grey brick we remember so fondly. *wipes tear away* anyway!, Martin 'J.Y' Söderhäll picked out his copy and karate chopped, shot and sneaked his way through a more "legend of Zelda" like adventure for the super spy in 0:42:02 ...  007 in Hyrule ... it a bit of an odd-job.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 by HoboWithaShotgun

Solving the mystery of the missing princess with a talking sword

Up first, we have Transistor, a game that just so happened to be developed by the same company who made one of my all-time favorite XBLA games, Bastion (BTW, it's Supergiant Games in case you were wondering). Seriously though, the reason I mention this is that when you start watching the run, you'll immediately notice just how strikingly similar the two games are. Regardless, they're completely different games apart from some gameplay mechanics. In Transistor, you play as Red, a female protagonist who must destroy an evil robot army. How will she do this? With a magical talking sword of course! Anyway, notable PC runner 'Maik 'Onin' Biekart' brings another one of his runs to SDA, with a single segment with resets run, clocking in at a final time of 0:37:01 minutes.

By now, you've probably watched AT LEAST one Mario run. That little italian guy's been all over the place, havening appeared in just about every videogame genre there is (in fact, the next Call of Duty game will have Mario as a secret playable character, though you didn't hear that from me). But let's game back to the Mario game we have today. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a sidescrolling platform game released back in 2012 for the 3DS. Plotwise, Princess Peach yadda yadda yadda Bowser is evil yadda yadda yadda let's rescue her! But hey, at least the games are fun as hell. 'Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener' seems to agree, since this his second run of the game, improving his previous run by 21 seconds, with a single segment run using warps, with a final time of 0:26:39.

Last but not least, let's throw a monkey wrench in here and give you a completely unexpected run. Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion is your classic point and click mystery game released way back in 2000 for PC, and 2001 for the GBA. Everyone's favorite female detective must investigate an old Victorian Mansion that's under renovation, because apparently some evil spirits got bored and decided to mess with everyone. Realistically, this sounds like a job for the Ghostbusters, but I guess we'll send in an 18 year old amateur detective instead. Runner 'Michael 'arglefumph' Gray' doesn't seem to mind spooky ghosts, and instead, opts to finish the game, or should I say solve the mystery in 0:15:54 minutes, single segment fashion on Senior Detective difficulty no less.

Saturday, June 27, 2015 by wickedcodeferret

Blast From the Past!

After playing as the descendant of Erdrick in the first Dragon Warrior game, Dragon Warrior III provides all the back story of who Erdrick was, and how he/she got all the cool stuff you eventually find to defeat the Dragonlord. Plus, it added day/night cycles, an open world to explore, full party customization and a class/job changing system that paved the way for future console RPGs. I'm looking at you FF4/FF6! Completing the game in multiple segments, 'Darkwing Duck' defeats Baramos' master Zoma and becomes a true hero in a blazing 23-segment 3:36:27, which is an 1:37:33 improvement over the previous run (using 11 more segments).

Jumping into the future, humans will eventually set up planets with robot manufacturing plants to advance exploration of space. Until along come some aliens to ruin things by reprogramming our own robots to destroy us! Probably through that old OpenSSL Heartbleed thingy we never bothered patching. How did we not see that coming? Anyway, rather than try to fix things, let's send in a guy with questionable jumping skills to just destroy everything! Navigating the Low G Man: The Low Gravity Man through five levels of ridiculous robots, awkward jumping and plenty of spear-thrusting action, 'Zakky the Goatragon' defeats the alien menace 2:38 faster in a single-segment 0:12:54. Be sure to watch the credits afterwards to be taunted about hidden game secrets you may have missed. And check out the run's commentary. SUCCESS!!!

When it comes to the past repeating itself though, Mega Man V is really the Mega Man 3 of the Gameboy world. Why's that? Because all the past unique bosses from the Gameboy Mega Man I-IV games come back for one more round of action, and you get to kill them with unique Planet-based weapons! Like Salt Water! Wait... what? 'MrCab' destroys the StarDroid masters and the Unique Boss Gang (plus Wily, of course!) in a single segment 0:45:21, which is a 1:54 improvement over the previous segmented run.

And for all those with a love of Spoony Bards, there's only a few days left to sign up for the Mysidia Mayhem - Final Fantasy 4 Paladin Race Tournament (details here). It's an individual race from the start of the game until Cecil becomes a Paladin, which covers about the first 25% of the game. With over 50 runners on board to compete so far, it's shaping up to be the NCAA tourney of Final Fantasy 4 racing. Don't forget to fill out your bracket and cheer on your favorite runners to win!

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