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Well...its that time again, SDA.
I finally managed to get a recording setup I can work with, so now it is time to get down to business.

I'm obviously still in the planning/practice stages here, but the plan is to do a segmented run for God Hand with each level being its own segment. The reasoning behind this is that a lot of the speed in GH comes down to keeping your roulette orbs full with a steady supply of cards, and keeping the number of randomly occuring demons low. Single segments can become quite a lot longer if you get stiffed on cards and get a lot of demon appearances. With each level having its own segment, this allows for a much faster run overall. Single segment runs of this game are definately a good display of skill, but they are definately not the fastest.

Having said that, there is a decision to be made with the difficulty choice. Normal mode presents some interesting challenges - the enemies are not really much harder or take much more abuse, but as a by-product to playing the game quickly, you are often on Level 3 or Level Die and this makes unique events occur (a good example is if before Mr. Gold and Mr. Silver in Stage 1, you will have to fight an extra wave of yellow goons before they jump down off of the stage which eats up a LOT of time). Now, you can keep your level low by purposely taking damage or using Grovel, but the former is risky and extremely luck based, and the latter is worse because you need those roulette orbs for other things. Easy mode never goes above Level 2, so the extra enemies and groups are not an issue. The other main difference in Easy/Normal is on Easy you can focus completely on high damage attacks as stunning foes isn't really needed, whereas on Normal stun setups tend to be faster for harder enemies. Hard is obviously right out of the running as it is permanently set to Level Die - enemies take very long to kill and you have to fight every last extra pack and enemy that will show up because of that.

Thoughts? Normal makes for the most impressive run, but it isn't the fasttest option. An Easy run will still be no small feat to pull off, but I'd like some feedback about this from anyone in the know.
Thread title:  
Just call me the cynicism machine
Stick with Easy for now.
aka theenglishman
I'm really interested in seeing this run, although I think you'll have to spend a lot of time in the casino if you keep avoiding enemies, just so the bosses don't give you much trouble.
Interestingly enough, the Casino shouldn't be needed at all.
The primary things you have to purchase are the extra roulette orb slots and the tension guage increases - everything after that is just more punching power.
This is however one of the reasons I want to figure out Easy / Normal early on, because on Easy the moves you do buy can be simple high damage attacks like Chop, Pimp Hand, Fist of Justice, etc, whereas on Normal the multi-hit moves will be more desireable. Seeing how I won't have the gold to buy both, I want to start hammering out purchasing orders, which is going to be difficulty dependant.

Easy looks like the most straightforward run and it will be the faster of the two choices (not even due to enemies taking more damage, just having to spend more time staying under Level 2 and keeping roulette orbs high).
Further testing today pretty much confirms that this segmented run will be on Easy - there is simply too much time lost when trying to keep your level under 2 on Normal. Because of the way enemies are defeated quickly and sustaining no damage, you level up extremely quickly and having to rely on enemies attacking you to level down is just too random. Earlier today I had two enemies stand around and taunt me for almost 20 seconds instead of actually damaging me when I needed to lower my level in an area that has lots of extra enemies if you are 3 or higher. While you could account for all of this in a segmented run with enough tries, it still wouldn't be the fastest way to play the game.

So, long story short - Easy it is. A Normal run may be considered in the future, but if nothing else the Easy run will be a solid baseline of what to expect. Almost all of the strategies remain exactly the same (side kick and roundhouse cancelling, Yes Man Kablam and Chain Yanker usage, etc) so it still showcases everything a speed run should.

Next up: purchase orders for moves and powerups.
that Metroidvania guy
In case you didn't know, Molotov has a RTA of the game on his YouTube (YayMarsha) playing on Easy. Molotov would know more than me, but there are apparently Japanese runs of the game to use as reference as well but I can't find them at the moment. Also, you'd probably wanna do Hard mode in a future run before Normal because of rank control... then again, it's just fucking hard. :p
Edit history:
Molotov: 2011-02-25 03:55:11 pm
Oh yeah, another God Hand topic. I highly approve. First I should ask though: What is your target time? I was doing pretty meh single-segment runs on Easy that were about 2:00 real-time a while back, so your goal should easily be 1:30 or less I think. The game clock is completely unreliable by the way, so you'll have to use a stopwatch instead. [Edit]: Oops, my notes say 1:33.49 was the best run. Huh.

As for the problems with Normal mode, I agree 100%. Normal is all Grovel abuse (forget taking damage to lower rank), which is both slow and stupid looking. There really is no good reason to run on anything except Easy and Hard.

For moves, I can already give you a (somewhat dated) move plan to save you some time. These are with single-segment in mind though, so keep that in mind:

Stage 1: Right Roundhouse cancels. Change to High Side Kick 1 when you get the opportunity.

Stage 2: Left Roundhouse cancels. High Side Kick again like before.

Stage 3: High Cross Kick cancels (seriously). Reverse Hell Kick works better on humanoid-type enemies/bosses for the added wall damage, but may not always be as effective as High Cross Kick.

Stage 4: Same as stage 3, but add Fist of Justice for Azel.

Stages 5 and 6: Still High Cross Kick.

Stages 7 and 8: My notes said to use the square combo here, which was listed as Long Straight 3, Overhead Blow, Elbow Spin 3, Straight 3. I'm doubting Elbow Spin 3 now, because multi-hit attacks suck for unleashing.

Stage 9: I think the idea was to Palm Smash cancel Azel instead of Fist of Justice, but I don't remember how well that worked out.

Now, I should point out something very important about Easy mode runs: Mach Speed Jab (1 or 2). Buy this in stage 3 and use it everywhere on something other than square combo. When you guard break an enemy and hit them with Mach Speed Jab, all of the hits count as counter-hits in terms of tension gain. This causes your bar to go up insanely fast with no effort. Also, since enemy stun only depends on number of hits, doing two Mach Speed Jabs here will stun any goon (other than say Tiger Joe, obviously). So you get your three Yes Man Kablaams in and you're ready to unleash again.

So basically, any normal goon with enough HP to survive for a little bit is a walking bikini card. You probably can't abuse this quite as much as a single-segment run would (all the time spent unleashing would hurt a segmented run), but keep it in mind. It's a great way to set yourself up for the next boss battle, particularly after Ravel/Debussy in stage 5.

Anyway, about roulettes, you obviously won't buy many. I'd recommend Wild Pitch for stage 1, but since you'll be abusing power-up cards like crazy, you'll want Dragon Kick early. You probably knew this, but the reason is that long-range reels don't get a damage bonus from those cards. As for the rest:

Stage 2: Also Dragon Kick.

Stage 3: Pick up Typhoon Kick, but I don't think you want to bother with 100 Fists.

Stage 4: I honestly don't know. I'm not familiar enough with reel abuse that isn't Chain Yanker here.

Stage 5: Use Typhoon Kick one time in the beginning to quickly get Home Run God.

Stage 6: La Bomba 2 is obviously your midget killer. Home Run God twice will kill the Pyscho Midget, since I don't think the boxes ever drop anything other than weapons.

Stage 7: Crescent Kick might be useful if you ever have to drop a full load of orbs on a boss with a power-up card in effect. I'm not sure that situation will really work even in a segmented run though, so stick to Shaolin Blast instead. I'm sure you know, but only use it on the Great Sensei when he clones himself. Line them up and fire it for triple damage.

Stage 8: Line up the Tiger Joe minions and kill them all in one Shaolin Blast. You still have to fight the Trident Demon this way, but meh. You can only blast two of the bosses in here, so I'd recommend Obese Ninja and Afro Fist.

Stage 9: You can take the fixed two-orb pot into the Azel battle and save it for Angra, if you like. I'm not sure which would save more time, but I'm going to assume you want to Shaolin Blast Azel instead. Also, you should save your second Double Shaolin until Angra tries to summon demons. Get enough distance and let him have it, because that will kill them too. Hope for an awesome drop and all that.

Whew, I should probably shut up now. I tend to get overly excited when someone mentions this game, as you can see. The only other advice I'll drop in here for now is that you need to become familiar with all the fixed drops (not that many, sadly).

Good luck with this and let me know if you have any questions. Smiley
All of the info is good, so don't worry about post length. It is true that most of the strategies for speed are the same for segmented and single segment, but obviously with each level having its own segment you can actually abuse roulette attacks much more frequently - Kung Fu Samba may see some use in this run as the most powerful single orb attack if there is enough gold to buy it early on. Roulettes can be used to vastly speed up troublesome areas like the door you have to punch in the last part of Stage 2 - you can simply La Bamba it and not worry about wonky auto-targeting from your regular moves.

Your lists of attacks and purchases pretty much coincides with what I was thinking for a Normal run (again, no real suprise, God Hand is actually a very methodical game when you break it down). What I want to do a bit of testing on is using pure high power attacks in some areas, especially early on in the game - a solid square combo of Left Jab 2, Chop, Pimp Hand, Fist of Justice outright kills any enemy in Stage 2 after a guard break (Elvis 2 especially goes down in a big hurry to this). This will obviously get less useful as the levels go on, but it is just something to test out. If it turns out to not be an advantage then stun setups it is.

The bosses are definately the least troublesome parts of the run as they all have very straightforward strategies - much of the time saved is down to how you deal with regular mooks, collecting keys, and knowing what you can skip (and being lucky enough to have a steady stream of orbs).

As far as a time - under 1:20 "should" be possible. Like you, most of my test runs have been single segment so they aren't very useful in judging how fast this run may end up. I'll have more information on a time when I start working out more of the kinks.
Tbh Molotov when I saw the title of this thread I was surprised you weren't the author.
Small update - I have done a lot of research this week and not much playing yet. I'm going to do some dry runthroughs to see approximately how much gold I will end up with at the end of each stage, etc so I can get a better grasp on what I can and can't buy. Gold is actually going to be pretty tight as pickups that aren't cards are usually avoided in a segmented strategy.
I hate bumping my own topics, but I completed my test runs for gold count and technique assessment.
Most stages give between 50,000g and 60,000g - basically the 'No Continue' bonus plus however many guys you needed to kill, and in some stages that isn't very many.

Knowing this, and after testing what the highest damage possible setups are (segmented can focus on pure high damage during unleashing for the most part), here is the shopping list:

Stage 1 Clear
Gold Plate
Puppy Pizza
Straight 2, Pay Up, Chop, Knee Strike
Combo: Straight 2, Chop, Pay Up, Knee Strike

Stage 2 Clear
Puppy Pizza
Typhoon Kick
Fist of Justice, Mach Speed Jab, Pimp Smack, Long Straight 2
Combo: Straight 2, Pimp Smack, Long Straight 2, Knee Strike

Stage 3 Clear
Gold Plate
Right Roundhouse 2, High Side Kick 2, Really Pay Up, Uppercut 2
Combo: Uppercut 2, Really Pay Up, Pimp Smack, Long Straight 2

Stage 4 Clear
Puppy Pizza
Long Straight 3, Overhead Smash
Combo: Uppercut 2, Long Straight 3, Really Pay Up, Overhead Smash

Stage 5 Clear
Gold Plate
Straight 3
Combo: Straight 3, Long Straight 3, Really Pay Up, Overhead Smash

Stage 6 Clear
Puppy Pizza
Shaolin Blast
Right Roundhouse 3, High Side Kick 3
Combo: Straight 3, Long Straight 3, Really Pay Up, Overhead Smash

Stage 7 Clear
God Smoothie
Combo: Straight 3, Long Straight 3, Really Pay Up, Overhead Smash

Stage 8 Clear
(any remaining HP powerups gold permitting)
Combo: Straight 3, Long Straight 3, Really Pay Up, Overhead Smash

I have left out the HP boosts because I can omit runs in which I take a lot of damage as they are likely failed segments anyway.
You almost always have enough gold to buy them but it won't be critical like it would be for a single-segment.

Any revisions or insight? The Straight 3, Long Straight 3, Really Pay Up, Overhead Smash combo really blows things up FAST in unleash mode.
Earlier on in the run Uppercut 2 is used briefly just because a fast combo opener is usually needed (fast crate busting, taking advantage of counter-hit openings), but I may do some testing with Long Straights in this regard as they may be fast enough.
I should try out the stuff you listed, because I'm still not convinced an actual combo is worth the time to buy/set up. Spamming the best move you have repeatedly still seems like the way to go. I'm really surprised you like stuff like Chop, Pimp Hand/Smack, and Knee Strike though. Those are all really slow and Pimp Hand/Smack honestly appears to be a better move without unleashing. It's like the animation gets faster, but the startup is still just as slow. :/

Going into stage 2, you probably won't need to buy Chop or Pay Up at all. The odds are really high of you getting one of those from the required demon battle. (If not, fun times to be had resetting!)

For stage 3, are you sure about not picking up High Cross Kick? It does great damage and can usually do the same job as High Side Kick 2. I'm guessing gold is probably the issue at that point, since you're buying Fist of Justice instead of killing the fatty for it.

Since the shopping list for stage 6 is so short, you should probably just put it off until stage 7. Also thinking Right Roundhouse 3 is unnecessary, since you'll probably be unleashing every 3 seconds to stomp those pyramid guys. Kind of leaning against High Side Kick 3 too, because the only fight I can think of that you'd use it in is Gorilla Mask 2 (and he'd die in two unleashes anyway). Obese ninja and Afro Fist are obviously Shaolin Blast fodder right from the start, so those aren't even real fights. Tongue

The other thing you can probably cut back on is Puppy Pizza (drop the God Smoothie for sure though), but I'm not sure how much. You might just want to increase the bar by about half of the default and call it a day, since you can regain it so quickly anyway. You'll most likely want to buy Puppy Pizzas only when you're already buying Gold Plates, to save menu time.

That's all I can really think of at the moment. Hope it helps.
Well, the one thing to remember is that for the segmented run, enemy behavior will be in my favor. Getting an early guard break then using the highest damage square combo will kill enemies faster than cancelling most moves (I tried out the High Cross Kick cancels - it was good, but not the fastest). Certainly during unleash the high damage combo really shines. After Stage 6, basic mooks die in 4 hits without even needing to guard break, so cancelling isn't really needed.

I feel it is worth snagging all of the pizzas as you go - unleashing and keeping a high tension guage is pretty much the name of the game in this run, and being able to unleash twice in a row for some of the later bosses proved useful in terms of speed. As far as Fist of Justice, I'm pretty sure I had enough gold to buy it early, but at any rate you are correct you don't use it until Stage 4 anyway. I may be able to move it down.

For Roundhouse 3 / Side Kick 3 - it is purely for the higher damage if they do come into play. I am already at the shop and have to use the technique screen at that point anyway, so may as well add in the extra damage for free. It probably won't be a huge time-saver, but you never know when one of the pyramid guys or marage town mooks will need to be sorted out the old fashioned way.

At any rate, I'm going to be starting my timed runs this week to see how it goes. I have no idea how long this is actually going to take to get some decent segments as there is a fair amount of luck involved with card drops, although some stages are much easier than others. I don't even want to think about how many tries Stage 7 is going to take, ugh.
aka theenglishman
I don't want to sound selfish or anything, but will we be seeing practice segments (or even non-practice segments in the near-future?  Just wondering Smiley
I may try to get a Stage 1 attempt up, but my main problem is I lack any sort of webspace to host it anywhere, and I would like to avoid setting up a YouTube account if at all possible.

The finished run is going to be delivered by good old snail mail, heh.
For those interested (albeit few at the moment I imagine), last week saw a bit of a hiatus due to not having a lot of time to dedicate to hammering out a few Stage 1 attempts, but I'm back in the saddle as of today.
Had an absolutely heartbreaking moment today where I was just doing a warm-up run before firing up the recorder, and I managed to get a Stage 1 without any demons not only did none appear in the rosary room, but none appeared at all in the entire level beyond the scripted one at the start.

Damn. I have been playing this game for a long time and I have never seen that happen. The time saved makes my other Stage 1 clears look like a joke in comparison. Double damn. I'm keeping the recorder on at all times now, hard drive space be dammed.

Also, looking forward to seeing Molotov's run this Thursday. I might not be able to catch it live but interested all the same.
That sucks about missing out on some good luck, but I have to ask: Are you segmenting by stage or section? If you're doing it by stage, that's not a good idea. You could obviously connect two easy sections into the same segment (after the Mad Midget Five -> Puppy Kingdom, for example), but most of the time you'll want to do each section individually. You might already be doing that, but I just couldn't tell from the wording.

And just to be anal, there are two fixed demon spawns in a stage 1 run. Of course, you probably didn't count the second demon because you don't need to kill it. Tongue

Thanks for showing interest in the marathon run, by the way. Let's hope I don't embarrass myself too badly. >_<

Oh, also, I tried out those combos you listed earlier. Still have to disagree with them compared to Mach Speed Jab 1 -> Guard Breaker 1 -> Left Jab 3/Straight 3/Long Straight 3/Overhead Blow. The only real downside I see there is that you'd want the enemy to block, which is kind of a pain sometimes (go go Easy mode?). Probably still easier to do that though, considering how many hits Mach Speed Jab does at once.
Yeah, it is definately something I'm going to test in the later stages - enemies just get blown up so fast from the high damage combo though. I still equip MSJ on Down + X though for fast tension after a dizzy, but I find faster single hit attacks much easier to get counter-hits with. With segmented play you can be a lot more aggressive (hence why no Drunken spam) and I often catch enemies in the middle of attacks and disrupt them for an easy combo/knockdown. You can do this with MSJ too, but you often just knock them straight to the ground when you counter-hit with it.

For the moment I'm doing Stage segments. I can't really see any reason to break up Stage 1 at the very least, but for the later stages you may be right for the later stages. Basically its more for my peace of mind than because of overly difficult segments as its easier to redo 7ish minutes of gameplay rather than 1 hour+ if there is a mistake. I can see Stage 5 and 6 wanting a split (Ravel & Debossy, Midget) due to needing to go into those with 4 orbs.

Timing for segmented from saves begins once you hit load on your file and ends when "save complete" shows up, right? If so, keeping a low number of segments may still be the best plan as saving takes ages in God Hand...but the later stages may benefit all the same. Hmm...
Update: I uploaded my best Stage 1 attempt so far to YouTube.

11:33 real time from start to save. 8:49 by the wonky in-game.

Next time I'll fiddle with the encoding settings a bit more, I had no idea YouTube butchers the quality so much - probably just run it through Anri next time.

The run is pretty smooth, the only hiccup happens at the start of area 5 with some randomness involving the sledgehammer guys. A shame, really. Great Gold & Silver fight, lots of luck with roulette cards.

Its annoying to know that I can do about 10 seconds better, though. Argh. Anyway, I figured I'd upload this for some feedback purposes.
Edit history:
Molotov: 2011-04-15 04:15:46 am
I hate to be a nitpicker, but I think there's room for a decent amount of improvement here. I found the post on Phantom Babies that I wanted to show you earlier, because it explains some stuff about the timer. Basically, Marty81 tested some things and figured the best way to go about it is to just add the stage timers. This wouldn't include stage 9, but that's easy to time manually. I should ask Mike about this later, but stage timers + manual timing makes things nice and simple. Also, the map screen doesn't affect your stage timer at all. I tested this just now to be sure, because I didn't want to assume and end up looking stupid if I was wrong. Tongue

Other than saving at every opportunity though, I'm going to re-watch it and note some things that come to mind:


- This may be a preference thing (since I'm hopelessly in love with Heel Drop), but are you sure it's not faster to sweep single goons and Heel Drop them to death? I know sshplur did it in his 1-1 video because it's a one-hit kill on Normal, but it still seems faster than Right Roundhouse 1 spam. If the goon is close to a wall, you might be better off sweeping him and then using High Side Kick cancels instead (it shouldn't take very many). This is definitely what you should do to any fatty (especially the first one).

- You played really defensively against those two reinforcement goons outside the saloon. I'm thinking a face kick, Heel Drop, High Side Kick cancel combo would be a good idea for the first one. Dealing with the other one is obviously not a problem.

- Random thought about the demon that has me curious: Charged Punch 1 -> High Side Kick cancels. Probably overkill, but might be worth a shot anyway. Also worth noting that you should always cancel the unleash animation at the start. [Edit]: I'm stupid. Ignore this.

- I still find myself wondering about the plank route instead. Have you timed both? Skipping two scenes and getting multiple one-hit kills is awfully tempting.

1-2: Went perfectly, of course. I totally would've used the slide + Heel Drop -> High Side Kick though. Tongue


- For the goon that jumps down, I know that you can make that smoother depending on how you approach the building. Unfortunately, I don't remember how exactly to do it. The dude should jump down right when the other guy exits the building, so hitting both is quick and easy.

- Instead of throwing the plank that early, would it be possible to hit both him and the fatty first? It looks like you can barely manage it as long as the goon doesn't move. The throw would obviously be saved for the fatty.


- You definitely want to use more Heel Drops here. The dudes don't start close enough to each other to make Right Roundhouse worthwhile.

- I agree with what you said about Gold/Silver, but you'll probably want to manipulate an unblockable card from those crates at the beginning. I doubt you could go through all 3 waves before it runs out, so you probably want to grab it right before the fatties jump down. As an added bonus, it makes the sweep -> Heel Drop -> High Side Kick cancel combos super easy.

- This probably won't come up often, but if you have unleashed and you're waiting for a door (like Gold/Silver), use a charge move. You want to stop the tension bar long enough that you can get out the door before the unleash ends. It's nothing major, but it would look a bit sloppy in a segmented run.

- You shouldn't bother with the crates after Gold/Silver. There are better options for orbs in 1-5. Tongue


- Ah, the joys of Stomp. Whoever put that reaction command in the game needs to be punched. Also, that first guy is a great choice for the sweep combo.

- It might be worthwhile to save the hammer before entering the treasure room (by tossing it at a wall, of course). You can then grab it to drop the fatty at the long as you don't hit one of those pesky civilians in the process. Should be easy enough, so it's worth a try.

- For that lone elite in the treasure room, it would probably be faster to avoid Pummel and just High Side Kick cancel or spam Right Roundhouse.

- Not sure, but would it be a good idea to break the door at the end? Seems like it might be quicker even if you break it only on the way out (with the slide).


- Unfortunately, I don't think you'll be able to accept any 1-6 attempt that doesn't get an orb card + an unblockable card for the two-hit Dragon Kick kill. It's tedious, but that's just how it goes. Sad

- I've noticed that High Side Kicks (and other moves, I'm sure) on dying enemies tends to cancel the death animation, so you'll probably want to try that whenever it's reasonably possible.

So yeah, those are my thoughts on the video. Hopefully I didn't sound overly critical or anything, because I really didn't mean any of it that way.

[Edit]: Random fun fact that's proof of how I've never really used Charged Punch much: I just realized that you can actually walk right up to a guy, hit him with it, and then go right into High Side Kick cancels. That also means I didn't know that a quick Charged Punch when unleashed is enough to start the same thing on all kinds of enemies/bosses. Good grief, I'm an idiot. o\
Thanks for the feedback - this is exactly what I wanted.

In terms of heel drop versus roundhouses, I think it is a matter of preference for most enemies, but there are some that would definitely benefit (fatties, for example since they often don't block right away). I find that often with the heel drop enemies will rarely live with a sliver of HP, and if they did that  anywhere not near a wall then that is another cause for a reset. For the demon, I'll give the charged punch a try. I think it is more of a case of if he wants to warp behind you right away or not, though. I'm 100% certain that this is the fastest way to do 1-1 as it is a nice direct route that if things go well you are right in front of the gate when they open and involves beating up easy guys. I find enemies get too out of place taking the other route.

Easy enough to try. I find this guy loves to block though, but either way this segment isn't much of an issue.

The guy on the roof jumps down at the same time if you swing way out to the left as you approach. Unfortuneately I thought I did this (which is why I stop running) but it didn't work out. Managed to salvage it, but yeah could still be faster. As for the plank, it had low durability at that point so I think it only had one hit left in it. Ideally you can get one final triangle swing out of it, but it depends on how well your skirmish wtih the two goons go when you first pick it up.

Personally I feel that going for an unblockable card for each and every boss fight is a dream scenario for this type of run. If I was going to hold myself to that I would be segmenting each and every stage section. I think that with Heel Drops it would go fast enough. Gold & Silver barely warrant much thought provided they both get hit with Dragon Kick. I'm certain they still live even if you get an unblockable card so you would still have to mop them up after. Biggest time saved would be against the fatties.

I'll try the hammer method. That fatty is usually pretty block happy, but three cracks on the skull could be faster. I don't think durability should be an issue after smashing the first rosary guy.

I agree that unblockable + Dragon Kick (x2) is the absolute fastest, but something to keep in mind is how you are also going into Stage 2. For optimum 2-1 time I will preferably finish 1-6 with one orb remaining so I can just kill the key guy at the start and ignore the crowd. Obviously this isn't always going to happen, but I wonder which ends up saving more time in the end. Hmmm. Personally, I don't really want this to become a 40+ segment run. Maybe I'll consider that in the future, but for now I feel that breaking it up by stage is more than fast enough given my timeframe to play. Single segment is out of the question for me because of time constraint. Obviously I'll redo a stage many, many times to get the "fastest" result, but without heavy segmenting you can only ask for so much. I may break some of the later stages up more (Stage 7 for example, segment after Dr. Ion so I can get a fast 2 pillar kill, etc).

Anyway, I have lots to test out now for Stage 1. I better get back at it.
Oh, I was just being stupid when I mentioned Charged Punch on the demon. Killing him quicker doesn't do any good because you won't be able to do any worthwhile damage to the two goons before the tension drains anyway. Also, when I did it, it lagged like crazy on those cancels. ;_;

But yeah, I decided to make a quick mock run of stage 1 using segments for each part. I didn't aim for much optimization other than "try not to look like an idiot, get good drops when necessary, and no demons." After about an hour or two, I came up with 7:58 at the end. Gold/Silver died in one hit immediately after jumping down and stomped. (If you want to see any of the others, let me know.)

About 1-6 though, I now agree with you about the unblockable/orb card combo. That's some TAS stuff right there, because I tried so many times and never saw both at the same time. I'm thinking the orb card is the way to go here, because 800 damage makes him really easy to finish off. This would mean you'd unleash on the guy in 2-1 instead of using a roulette, but that's not too bad. Going with the unblockable means you need to drain 400 HP, so I'm thinking you'd have to unleash to make that reasonably quick. Up to you of course, but I think the orb card is the best choice.

As for segmentation though, I'm completely serious when I say you're dooming the run to rejection if you don't save whenever possible. Using as many segments as you need to get the best time is honestly just a rules thing. Since you don't lose time by saving anyway, it works out nicely.

By the way, I asked Mike about the timer earlier today to be sure. Quote:

<jewyama> well the end time is proven inaccurate right?
<jewyama> so if we just use the in-game times
<jewyama> for each level
<jewyama> then manually time the last level
<jewyama> that would work
<Molotov> Yeah, the final time is totally inaccurate.
<Molotov> And I figure stage timers + manual is not only the easiest method (whoo, only needing to put effort into a short stage!), but also works for single-segment too.
<jewyama> yep!
Edit history:
Redlimit: 2011-04-16 07:41:49 am
Hah! Hilarious Elvis fight.
Yeah, after my post yesterday I was thinking about segmentation and I suppose it has to be done. I do want the run to stand for a while, especially compared to my extremely old Mega Man 2 runs that were obsoleted before they were even up on the site. I'll probably still group some stages together (no reason not to have 1-1 and 1-2 together, same for 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, etc...), though, but nothing that relies on anything remotely "difficult".

Allright. This changes strategy a bit but that's ok. This is workable.

EDIT: More information!

I agree with 1-6, getting a roulette card is the way to go, saving unleash for 2-1. I did a lot of testing between side kicks and heel drops and to be honest when they both work the way they should they are dead even in time taken. This really comes down to personal prefernce, I think.
As for 1-1, things can get really wacky with item drops (most notably from the group of 3 that get La Bomba'd). Getting an unblockable here means you can save your unleash...but it does not really save much time if used that way. It also causes problems of not having a full tension bar when the demon apperars (this was killing a LOT of runs for me - taking out the first 9 guys quickly often leaves you at about 90% tension, which hurts). Even more random is when they drop a gold or red orb card, leaving the fastest demon kill down to roulettes. Now, these occurances are rare as hell, but something to think about. I think for consistency and overall time, a regular unleash is best against the demon, as you don't need to unleash again until Gold & Silver much later on.
Update: May 6th

Planning and testing for the fully segmented run is finished, recording attempts have begun. I managed to snap off 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3 earlier. Gold & Silver will just be down to luck, but with that many boxes + drops from the guys it won't take too long. Not looking forward to actually trying to achieve what I consider "fast" for 1-5 in a segmented run though, ugh.