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10 Speedruns that Leave the Game Behind
Due to the competitive nature of speedruns, not all of the runs on this list are world records. Each run will list the name of the game with a video, the category, time, and runner. Most have notes or commentary; some may contain language not safe for work. As these runs are playthroughs of games, there will also be spoilers.
Few games have the reputation for being difficult that Demon’s Souls has. Even Dark Souls is considered a lesser challenge compared to the original. As such, it is cathartic to see the game trounced in just over an hour. With meticulous planning and expert skill, Thanatos shows Demon’s Souls where the true speedrunning starts.
Solid runs of sadistic platfomers are always entertaining. Even with six deaths, Voitose’s run is extremely impressive, especially considering it was done in a single segment. His notes on the run give a glimpse into the dedication that is required for speedrunning. This run is not the result of a couple weeks of play, but rather the product of a month of over 500 attempts and remarkable persistence.
A compilation of individual level runs, Quake Done Quickest ignores monsters and secrets, blazing through levels at a breakneck speed. Nothing fancy here, just a lot of strafe jumping, bunny hopping (techniques that involve jumping to maintain a faster momentum than running), and grenade/rocket jumps to reach high and far-away areas. It sounds standard, but nothing is that simple at these speeds.
Super Mario Bros. (Any %) - 04:58 by andrewg1990
Clocking in at just under five minutes, this run is the result of years of competition, resulting in an extremely polished run capable of little improvement, if any at all. While there may be some walljumping, a trick that allows Mario to jump off a wall without touching the ground, and other small glitches, this run is largely masterful gameplay.
Mega Man 2 (With zips) - 28:57 by Seth Glass
Mega Man 2 serves as a nice introduction to zip glitches. Some, such as the one in Bubble Man’s stage, are easy enough to do in a casual playthrough. For the unfamiliar, a zip glitch is when a player abuses the game’s collision detection and tendency to keep the character from being stuck in walls, resulting in the character zipping across the screen to remove the conflict. Quick Man’s stage is particularly interesting, as most of the stage and the boss fight are done in the dark due to skipping the flag that cause the lights to turn back on.
If Mega Man 2 was “Zip Glitches 101,” Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the masters course. The run starts off normally, but once Hydrocity Zone Act 2 hits, the zips take over. Most zips involve getting the character stuck in a wall. Sonic games, however, have some zips are triggered simply by looking down. Although Knuckles’ run is the one featured here, every character’s route contains similar mayhem. There are zips, characters taking the wrong exits, and other nonsense that the game struggles to keep up with. For another character’s run and to hear some glitches explained as they happen, this Tails run, also by mike89, is worth watching.
Dark Souls (Any, large-skip glitches) - 32:47 by Thanatos
Not content with bringing Demon’s Souls to its knees, Thanatos also makes humiliating Dark Souls his pastime. Unlike his previous run on this list, this particular run utilizes a glitch to skip half of the game. By quitting the game after jumping off a ledge and dying in the Firelink Altar, the player is able to get to the final area of the the game without defeating the four bosses required to access the Kiln of the First Flame. Even without knowing about the skip, there is still plenty of impressive play in this run.
Up until now, all the runs on the list have played the game to some semblance of completion. There are some speedruns, though, that can skip all of that gameplay nonsense and get right to the meaty credits - meet Pokémon Green. Using the Dokokashira door glitch after obtaining Oak’s Parcel, this run goes from Pallet Town, to Route 16, through a hedge into Celadon City, and then arrives at a glitched version of the Pokémon League Hall of Fame. Sir VG manages to be the very best like no one ever was while ignoring all the badges, Pokémon, and laws of physics in the process.
To round things out, these final runs feature two different categories for popular games. Although both categories have different goals and run times, they’re both glitch-heavy and hardly resemble the standard game.
Super Mario 64 (Zero star) - 07:33 by FunilaSM64
(70 star) - 49:42 by honey
Starting off is the zero star run of Super Mario 64. This run uses collision glitches to bypass the barriers that would normally prevent Mario from getting to the Bowser stages without the required number of stars. There’s not much to say about three stages and crazy wall clipping, but it certainly is impressive.
To see the game with significantly more gameplay, take a look at the 70 star run. Though collision glitches are still a staple, this run uses them to get 70 stars to legitimately beat the game instead of just beating Bowser. Of course, how honey chooses to get those stars is where the real fun lies.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Any %) - 21:45 by zfg
(MST) - 2:35:00 by Cosmo
To preface this, ZeldaSpeedRuns offers in-depth explanations of the numerous tricks used in these runs. First is the any % route, a run that changed recently due to the discovery of the wrong warp glitch. The end result is a mind-boggling jump from the Gohma fight in the Deku Tree to the Ganon’s Tower escape sequence. The run concludes with child LInk defeating Ganon using the Kokiri Sword. Wonders never cease.
Case in point, though not a world record and using an outdated route, Cosmo’s MST run is chock-full of them. An MST run is an any % run that requires the player to get all Medallions, Spiritual Stones, and complete all of the trials in Ganon’s Tower. While such requirements sound like they would lead to a tame run, that is far from the case. This run leaves Ocarina of Time a twisted shell of its former self with several skips and frame-perfect tricks.
Hopefully this article showed off not only some crazy speedruns, but also how varied speedruns can be, for every glitchfest is a run that showcases pure gameplay. While not always up-to-date due to their verification process, Speed Demos Archive is a good place to start looking for runs of any sort. For those that love glitches, there are tool-assisted speedruns that use emulation and frame-by-frame play to bring a game to its limit, often resulting in hilarious and horrifying results. The best place to find those is TASVideos.
Which run left you the most impressed? Do you feel strongly about standard runs versus glitched runs or regular speedruns against tool-assisted speedruns? Did you like some of the runs on the list and want some similar runs to view? Comment below and be heard!
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