I know it’s unusual to with a post one week after the previous post, but I just had to get this off my chest (so to speak) as soon as I could.
Phoenotopia is a 2014 Flash 2D platformer developed by Quang H. Tran a.k.a. Quells. This game is hosted on a number of sites such as Newgrounds (the original) and OneMoreLevel (my preference), and playing it is absolutely free.
Since one year after the release of the game, I have written articles on how much I enjoy playing it, as well as my endeavor to do what no one else has done and make an official leaderboard of the game on speedrun.com. First off, I wish to go through a retrospective of what I’ve written in the past.
A Retrospective of Former Articles
This is the first Phoenotopia-related post that I’ve published to this blog, and it’s a simple review consisting of my thoughts on the game and my desire to make it a speedgame (primarily influenced by the “Speed Runner!” medal in the game and my love for the game in general). I also included compendia of purchasable items and enemies / environmental hazards inspired by my go-to walkthrough at the time, as well as this little meme:
I only talk briefly about Phoenotopia in these posts, and it’s just thinking out loud about the routing process of any% and 100%.
This was after I had finished constructing the primary route for the any% category and was in the process of constructing a primary 100% route. The post contains the following: how I started running the game, how I discovered Loot Duping (a glitch that produces extra spoils from Rai containers and heart pots), and an analysis of my first recorded any% run with a time of 59:22 RTA (1h 2m IGT). Some of the information contained within the post is obsolete (notably claiming that Loot Duping is pixel-perfect when it’s actually a three-pixel window), although the first two videos included are still relevant. The first video demonstrates what I was doing when I first discovered Loot Duping, and the second video involves combining the pixel-based and timing-based methods of Loot Duping.
As the title implies, this post was mostly centered around the interesting anime series that aired during the winter 2016 season (Phantom World, Dagashi Kashi, and KonoSuba), although I did briefly mention Phoenotopia. Specifically, I tried out the French version and got a new PB of 55:14 RTA (58m IGT), but I came to realize that the French version is roughly 4 seconds slower in any% due to longer blue text boxes (i.e. the sorts of text boxes that appear when you obtain an important item) and differing dismissal timings of said text boxes (more consistent in the French version, but overall slower). I also publicly wrote some food for thought regarding the routing of 100%.
After having demystified any questions that I may have had while routing 100% and completing the primary route, I did my first run of the category and ended with 2:06:39 RTA (2h 9m IGT). This was back when I thought that doing the Loot Dupes in Sunflower Road was a good idea. Therefore, some of the techniques mentioned in the post are obsolete, although a majority of them still apply to the current route.
This was the point at which I discovered a glitch other than Loot Duping. A day or two after my first 100% run, I was mucking around with pots in Prince Tower and found a way to get the moonstone on the 7th floor without having to use the Rocket Boots. Later on, as I wrapped my head around what I had stumbled upon (a phenomenon that I ended up dubbing “Pot Head Clipping” (even though I don’t do drugs)), I decided to record a clarifying demonstration and include it in the blog post.
To explain, if Gale has a harmless solid object sitting on her head and independently affected by gravity, trying to jump will result in Gale being warped to the nearest available space in any of the four basic directions: up, down, left, or right. At the time of the blog post, I thought of Pot Head Clipping as abusing this concept of warping to such a degree that would allow Gale to clip past barricades and walls. I also thought that Pot Head Clipping had no practical use other than the alternative way of getting that one Prince Tower moonstone, but that ends up changing later on.
Glitch aside, I also mentioned how I got 54:52 RTA (57m IGT) in any% and 1:59:43 RTA (2h 2m IGT) in 100%.
Let’s be honest here: Forgotten Forest was atrocious in my 1:59:43 run of 100%. By the time of this post, however, I managed to figure out ways to take one of the worst parts of the run and make it faster and less risky. First off, I found another practical use for Pot Head Clipping, and that is to bypass the first locked door without having to kill any of the Arc on the screen of that door or the Plant Dog one screen to the right thereof. Second, in order to bypass the locked door on the screen with the Big Robot 2.0, I tried unsuccessfully to set up a Pot Head Clip (in the traditional manner), but then I discovered something even more astounding: While I was fiddling around with two of the boxes taken from the lower path, one on top of the other while slightly farther forward, I was overcome with disbelief when I found that pushing the duo into the locked door actually caused it to move from its normal position. Like, how is that possible!? When I look back on the concept of a locked door being pushed, I still can’t believe it. (I simply referred to the phenomenon as “Door Pushing.”)
At any rate, the new glitch and the new application of the old glitch allowed me to move through Forgotten Forest more elegantly, although I have picked up some new tech since then. Regardless, here is the video demonstration:
(Also, I would not attempt the Forgotten Forest JBJ (Javelin Bomb Jump) in a real run, let alone succeed as well as I did in the recording above.)
I talk about how I got 54:02 RTA (56m IGT) in any%, and I also rambled about categories that I was considering beyond any% and 100%, as well as the imminent possibility of improving my 100% time.
This blog experienced a hiatus for pretty much the entire month of May because I felt like I wasn’t taking things seriously enough (specifically overdue assignments and job hunting). When I got back, I dropped a whole load of detail on my 1:48:16 RTA (1h 50m IGT) run of 100%, including some amazing new discoveries with Pot Head Clipping—namely, you can clip through locked doors from the left without placing any objects behind you, and using a container containing a moonstone or inventory item causes Gale to obtain that item upon clipping (and also go through a jumping animation)—and also that Loot Duping is not pixel-perfect but a three-pixel window. It was when I realized the second fact that I went and wrote a Loot Duping Guide containing revised and detailed information on the glitch and all loot containers that can and cannot be subject to Loot Duping.
Just talking about my future plans regarding the speedgame and potential improvements to existing times, resources including a save password compendium for practice/learning, and the possibility of running Diamond Hollow II in the future.
Just a little filler post showing off the quickest way to force yourself into a softlock in Phoenotopia. It’s a simple Pot Head Clip in Panselo.
This is the most recent post that I’ve made on Phoenotopia. It covers a detailed guide of the 100% category and the thought process behind constructing the guide, including some new tech in Prince Tower, specifically on the first floor (image below) and in the second tower box puzzle (video below).
And Now We Arrive at the Present (This is now)
Transitioning from memory lane, the main purpose of this post is to say that I am on temporary hiatus in terms of speedrunning Phoenotopia. That is to say, I have established every category that I feel like establishing, and I have run times that are satisfying enough for me to stick with until they are contested. Specifically…
For some reason, I don’t think I ever mentioned that I got 51:53 RTA (54m IGT) in any%.
The run was pretty shaky in some areas (such as failing Golem Skip), and it was before the time that I discovered the “chandelier climb” (as I call it) on Prince Tower floor 1, but it was a good run overall.
As for 100%, my most recently achieved time is 1:44:08 RTA (1h 46m IGT), and that was after I constructed not only a written guide but also a video tutorial series (which I’ll explain later).
This was also a pretty good run, even though it had a sloppy beginning and some minor execution faults throughout. I did manage to get all four skips in Ancient’s Crater regardless, and I did the new tech in Prince Tower, so that alone already makes it better than my 1:48:16 run.
All Moonstones record
All Moonstones is the first and only miscellaneous category that I decided to establish. I was initially reluctant about it due to the riskiness of the route, what with the whole run being under bare minimum conditions (no extra items other than the Iron Hammer and Lamp), but then I figured that it was the only miscellaneous category discussed in Thought Dump Thursday 4/28/16 (or thought of externally) that I saw fit to officialize. Why did I refuse to officialize the other categories? Well…
- 99 HP RTA (Diamond Skin) / All Heart Rubies: As I mentioned in the aforementioned Thought Dump Thursday post, there is a Heart Ruby that requires 40 moonstones to obtain, which makes a category like this not much different from 100% in my opinion. So, I am completely opposed to officializing a category like this.
- Max HP no Moonstones: I initially thought very highly of this misc. category idea because of how it was pretty much the safest middle ground between any% and 100% that I could think of, but I ended up feeling unsettled by how arbitrary the category actually is, particularly in its nomenclature.
- All Tools: Why? Why did I even begin to think this was a good idea? Similarly to the previous category, the nomenclature just makes it seem…off.
- 88%: At one point, this sort of idea crossed my mind: a category that involves collecting all Heart Rubies and all Moonstones but nothing else. The issue is that it’s difficult to name such a category, and 88% was honestly the best I could come up with…and that’s saying something, because the name “88%” isn’t very descriptive of the category itself.
- Most Dangerous Arsenal: I just thought of this recently: a category in which all Tools and Misc. Items are obtained (based on the medal “Most Dangerous Arsenal,” for which the category goal is based on the condition of obtaining the medal). This might actually have potential for a misc. category, but I shudder to imagine Nebula Armlet with 20 HP.
- Glitchless subcategory?: I was considering adding a glitchless subcategory to the speedrun.com leaderboard, which would forbid the following: duplication of Rai or heart drops by breaking a container multiple times on the same frame; deliberately placing anything on top of Gale’s head; and pushing objects into locked doors. (The restrictions are meant to encompass Loot Duping, Pot Head Clipping, and Door Pushing, respectively.) However, I can’t help thinking how much of a pain it would be to have to deal with 100% or All Medals glitchless (or All Moonstones, which would actually require backtracking through Prince Tower since PHC is forbidden), so I just decided to discard the idea altogether. I might change my mind if someone else were to record a glitchless any% single-segment run with an in-game time of less than an hour, though.
Anyway, I did end up doing an All Moonstones run in spite of my initially reluctant self, and I ended up achieving a time of 1:13:17 RTA (no in-game time because the category does not require beating the final boss).
Obviously not perfect, and Forgotten Forest + Hidden Village can stand to be routed before the Daea backtrack, but it’s a miscellaneous category, so I don’t plan on improving any time soon.
All Medals record
I’ve had a route in the works since the time I wrote Thought Dump Thursday 4/28/16, but I never got around to finishing the route until after I did the All Moonstones run. It took me less than a week to complete the whole run, and I ended up with 2:09:18 RTA, which is surprisingly close to my first 100% record.
I have a strong feeling that it’s possible to obtain all medals in under 2 hours, but I currently have no strong desire to improve my record.
Over the course of routing and running the categories above, I have been compiling a number of resources throughout the journey, such as Q&As (which I used to call GQIGAs (Got Questions? I Got Answers)), written routes, detailed information on glitches (through blog posts, guides, or otherwise), and perchance various specific compendia. The following remain relevant to this day:
- Speedrun.com leaderboard – The “official” leaderboard for the game, which I myself submitted for approval, and of which I am currently the sole moderator.
- Any% Q&A 4.0 – Q&A for my most recent any% run.
- 100% general Q&A – That’s what I called it at first, but it’s actually the 100% Q&A 4.0, which relates to my most recent 100% run.
- All Medals Q&A – Q&A for the All Medals category (version 1).
- Loot Duping Guide – An elaborate guide on the method behind the madness of Loot Duping: what it is and where/how it can be applied.
- Save Password Compendium – A collection of save passwords for practicing/learning the any% and 100% categories.
- Any% guide – A guide to the any% category. I have kept this guide up to date between the first time I decided to run the game and the most recent run, so note that it does not contain information regarding the chandelier climb.
- 100% guide – An elaborate written guide to the 100% category.
- 100% video tutorial playlist – Between Whimsical Weekend #2 and this post, I had the wild idea of coming out with a video tutorial (in spite of myself) of the 100% category.
- All Moonstones planning/route – The planning and condensed route (the latter is on page 3) of All Moonstones. No, the route has not been updated since the recorded run.
- All Medals route – The condensed route for All Medals. I do not plan to make a full guide of this category, because doing so would be rather redundant in my opinion.
All right, I think that about covers everything: the retrospective, the point that I’ve currently reached, and a set of resources that might help provide further insight. Now that I am temporarily resting on my laurels, I will move on to Diamond Hollow II.
À la prochaine! (Until next time!)