I have an important assignment due tonight, so I’ll try to keep it simple.
First off, I have established a new personal best in any%: 54:02!
It is still improvable, though; I had a sloppy Bandits’ Lair and Daea Prison, as well as a few minor mishaps in some other areas. Sub 53 is what I would consider to be a “holy grail” any% time, and perhaps 55m in-game time is possible as well. That said, I won’t return to this category unless I absolutely feel like it.
Second, I’ve always been contemplating the possibility of a new category besides any% and 100%. If it were to be a main category, the only non-arbitrary thing that I can think of is All Medals. There are 30 different “medals” that you can get throughout the game, and they are all listed on pages 1-2 of the following document (courtesy once again of that one Scribd guide (you know the one) for this information):
Based on the medals required, I feel like the best way to approach it would be to complete an any% run first, and then pick up any scraps that you’ve left behind. That said, based on what I think to be optimal, it won’t exactly be an any% run, the primary difference being that you obtain the Heart Rubies dropped by Armored Toad King (the boss of Duri Forest) and the fully grown Sand Dragon (the boss of Bandits’ Lair) in order to minimize backtracking. A notable perk of this is that you get healing between Bandits’ Lair and Misty Gorge, which you don’t get in a regular any% run. (Also, you end up with a maximum of 26 HP, which makes you less likely to die.)
The route also seems to be ridiculously expensive from what I can tell; in a worst-case scenario, I found it to cost 3137 Rai, and that’s including the honey purchases required for any%. To put that into perspective, if you add all possible gains from chests (which factors in Loot Duping; click here for a more details) and various quest rewards posterior to the any% part, I believe it’s a total of 3644 Rai obtainable. It’s a bit worrying to think that only 507 Rai can be spared of these possible gains, although this number can be increased by 90 per High Quality Silk obtained and sold in Daea. Still, there will most likely be a whole lot more Loot Dupes to commit to memory.
At the moment, I still have to figure out the aftermath of the any% part; i.e., where to backtrack and when. I can say a few things for sure, though:
- All areas that don’t require extra items (Ancient’s Crater, Dread Lands, Misty Gorge, Adar’s House, Atai Bridge) are to be done first in respective order. Also Atai Bridge before Fran’s Lab so you can free Fran and talk to her to make her move to her lab. (Not 100% confirmed whether this is necessary.)
- Duri Forest is to be done before Atai City because Mikan Fruit, which can only be found in Duri Forest, is required for Mikan Fragrance in Atai, which is required for a moonstone and, indirectly, the Lucky Belt.
- Atai comes before Sunflower Road because a Wooden Baton from the former is required for a Heart Ruby in the latter.
- Atai also comes before Panselo due to that one love letter delivery quest for a Heart Ruby.
- Panselo before Cross Roads due to the Chocolate Protein Shake requirement, although it is recommended to head through Panselo another time for a discount of essentially 140 Rai on the shakes required for 99 HP (the first shake free; the second and subsequent shakes 10% off).
- Cross Roads should come before Mul Cavern because the Heart Ruby in the latter is a heck of a lot more difficult without the Ki Spear Technique.
- Visit Fran’s Lab with 25 moonstones before visiting Daea, if possible. I say “if possible” because it might not even be possible to obtain 25 moonstones before having to go through Daea, Prince Tower, and Forgotten Forest.
- Daea comes before the Atai backtrack for the rejection letter delivery because a comic book from Daea is required for a moonstone in Atai.
- It is better to access Prince Tower through Daea than to hit the switch during the any% part and access it directly through the world map. This is because there is a lot more to backtrack for in Daea in this category than in 100%.
By the way, beating the game after obtaining all medals is not necessary. And…I guess that’s about it.
In terms of miscellaneous categories, I have a number of ideas (in all of which beating the game is not necessary):
- 69 HP RTA – This idea has been on my mind since I started routing the game, and I was considering submitting it to Memeathon 3 while submissions were open, but, even to this day, I cannot guarantee that attempting to stream Phoenotopia with my current equipment would go smoothly.
Anyway, the goal is simply to reach a maximum of 69 HP, which is done by obtaining 15 Heart Rubies and consuming 2 Chocolate Protein Shakes. From what I’ve tested, the run is about 30 minutes in duration, and it is therefore the least arbitrary category shorter than any% that I can think of (though it is still arbitrary due to the exact number, and I probably wouldn’t have thought of this sort of category if 69 wasn’t such a notorious number). Click here to view my planning and route.
- All Moonstones – Plain and simple: collect all 42 moonstones. I consider this category and the next few listed to be parts of a middle ground between any% and 100%, and this one leans more towards any%. I shudder to imagine just how difficult a category like this would be, considering you would ideally have to spend the entire game under any% conditions (20 HP, no armor, Iron Hammer) and Javelin Bomb Jump your way into Forgotten Forest instead of going the normal way. (The alternative is talking to Fran a bunch of times and receiving an extra 3 HP and an asteroid rock filling up your inventory (although with an extra inventory slot to (sort of) compensate).) On the bright side, not having to collect Heart Rubies or items like in 100% means eliminating annoying crud like the Nebula Armlet, the “pit of hell” (as I call it) in Dread Lands, the love letter delivery quest, and the second tower of Prince Tower.
- 99 HP RTA – This category leans more towards 100%, and I find it to be rather stupid because obtaining all 23 Heart Rubies (which is part of the goal, along with consuming 5 Chocolate Protein Shakes) requires collecting 40 moonstones, which is all but two. The two that I would skip, incidentally, are the ones that require backtracking through Daea sewer (with the Javelin) and Misty Gorge (with the Rocket Boots (intended) or Javelin (through abusing mechanics)). I’m thinking another name for this category would be Diamond Skin (based on the medal of the same name), although the “99 HP RTA” name is consistent with the nomenclature of the “69 HP RTA” category.
- Max HP no Moonstones – Because of how annoying it is that there’s a Heart Ruby that requires 40 moonstones (and also one that requires 5), I decided that the best way to preclude those two would be to simply preclude moonstones. With this, the maximum HP value becomes 93, which is attained by obtaining every Heart Ruby excluding the two from Fran (21 total) and consuming five shakes. Therefore, this category can be seen as a middle ground in itself, between All Moonstones and 99 HP RTA. The good thing about this category over the 100% route is that it eliminates the interior of Ancient’s Crater (basically everything after the Artifact); the entirety of Forgotten Forest and Hidden Village; and backtracking through Misty Gorge and Great Walls. If I do decide to run a miscellaneous category, this will be the most likely candidate.
- All Tools – Obtain the Wooden Bat, Slingshot, Artifact, Rolling Technique Scroll, Iron Hammer, Bombs, Hover Boots, Ki Spear Technique Scroll, Morning Star, Lamp, Javelin, and Floatation Donut. This is a category that I just thought of, and…it…actually seems like a good one. I would estimate it to be about the same length as any%, if not slightly longer. Morning Star is undoubtedly the worst part of it, as it requires collecting 25 moonstones along the way, and I would have to route out which 25 moonstones waste the least time compared to the other 17. Still, it seems like a good miscellaneous category. I was considering “All Misc. Items” alongside that, but then there’s the issue of multiple varieties of armor (Leather Vest, Chain Mail, and Ancient Armor), so I just decided to drop that idea.
So, that’s it. If I ever get around to routing and running Max HP no Moonstones, I will also consider improving my 100% time (but not before investigating whether giving Translucent Meat multiple times adds extra to the collection rate when it’s below 100%, which I probably should have tested earlier). I mean, now that I realize that you can move one pixel forward if you drop a container and roll into it (making Loot Duping a whole lot easier), and now that I have an improved route of Forgotten Forest that skips at least two enemies (those two being the Plant Dog and the Arc before the first key door), I may be able to not only get sub 2 in-game time, but probably even surprise myself with a better time.
À la prochaine! (Until next time!)