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Legend of Grimrock (Any %) (Segmented) (Easy)

Verifier Responses

Audio good. Video ok, but the resolution could be better and the frame rate suffers in some areas (probably due to screen capture slowing things down, which can't be helped).

No cheating found. I checked fairly thoroughly - looked for item continuity, statistics staying constant, hitpoints between segments and correct skillpoints. Everything was fine.

It's clear that the runner knows exactly where to go, and which items are essential. He has very good handling of the game controls and is great at doing multiple things at once (such as moving around, attacking monsters and mixing potions all at the same time). There is a fair amount of random chance in this game especially in the combat system and monster AI, which I think the runner does well to manipulate in some places. The interface can be a little hard to control and requires a lot of mouse accuracy, which the runner handles like a pro.

I was a little surprised at the party choice since an all-rogue party is considered to be pretty powerful. Especially a 4x unarmed group with high accuracy, as you can get opponents into "stun lock" if you time your attacks right. It also removes the need to grab weapons, which is a plus for a speedrun. However, the runner uses the "FFRM" party effectively throughout the entire game and in the last half of the game it makes little difference as most of the enemies are simply avoided.

As the runner mentions in his notes, level one was a little sloppy - there were a fair few mistakes in general movement around the level. But also as mentioned, the most important thing that can happen is that the monsters randomly move into favourable positions, and his luck was pretty good with this. Towards the end of the level, I think it would have been faster to just hack away at the skeleton warrior, taking the damage then using the crystal to heal afterwards.

Level two is done quite well done and, as mentioned, the runner is also quite lucky with monster movements. Possibly it would have been better to bypass the secret area containing the helmet (saving some time on the slow secret door) and the first combat with a Crowern (flying monster) is a bit slow, with some missed attack opportunities there.

Level three is done very well. Spiders are a big pain and the runner handles them nicely, even managing to dodge past a few.

Level four is also done fairly well. Unfortunately some bad luck with uncooperative skeleton warriors but quite a fast execution in general.

There is something odd that happens at the end of level 4 / start of level 5 segment ending (end of video #8) - when the runner saves the game there is a single arrow on the floor. However, directly after this when the main menu is opened again to exit the game, you can see a pile of three arrows on the floor. If you step through the frames you can see that the pile grows to two arrows first, then grows again to three arrows. At the start of the next segment though, after loading the game there is a single arrow on the floor. Furthermore, these arrows do not appear at that location in my game.

I think what has happened here is that the runner has run into a game glitch, where the arrows shot by skeleton archers which hit a stairwell end up being collectable at the bottom of the stairs. The arrows normally disappear on impact, except on stairwells apparently due to this glitch. You can hear the shots fired as the runner is heading towards the blue healing crystal and again when going down the stairs. The glitch was fixed in the first patch to version 1.1.4. See this Youtube video for a more direct demonstration.

There is a slightly strange decision here to leave the arrow behind, as an arrow is required for a later puzzle on level 9 and the runner has to go a little out of the way to get it when the one on the floor here should have done the job nicely.

On level five the runner shows an improved movement control which is much more slick compared to some previous levels. Even though there is some bad luck at the end of this level because of some newly-spawned skeleton warriors, this is handled with ease by dodging past them.

Level 6 was also very smooth. I can't really think of any improvements to be made here at all, apart from some very minor delays in moving through teleporters in the maze area. Great job.

Level 7 also very good. I feel like there were a couple of Uggardians (fire mages) that could have been skipped in the trapdoor room, but apart from that very well done.

Level 8 was a little bumpy with a few wrong steps, but it is mostly skipped so no real problem.

Level 9 had clever use of segmentation to take advantage of the random monster movements.

Level 10 is awesome in the fact that the runner manages to complete the level while only having to kill a couple of "Shrakk Torr" (wasps), which saves a lot of time.

Levels 11 - 13 are done extremely quickly. Apart from some minor movement improvements I really don't see how this could be done much faster. There was some slightly bad luck with a Goromorg (robed guy with lantern) that got in the way, but it only wastes a few seconds. It's hard to appreciate the difficulty of this part without having tried it yourself - the amount of monsters randomly wandering the level makes it very difficult to navigate properly without falling down a pit. A great finish to the run.

All in all, the runner is very good at the game and the last half is completed fantastically. The route was good and tried to minimise the amount of unnecessary fighting, which was also nice. People watching this run who think that it looks easy should try to run it themselves and see how they go!

Some potential improvements for future runners:
* There's a trick you can use in the first few levels before your back row chars have 12 assassination (and therefore the "Reach Attack" ability) - attack with the front two members then move the back chars to the front row (can be done by dragging their portrait around). It requires a bit of practice to do consistently but well worth it for the extra attacks
* Potentially a few of the optional armor upgrades picked up in this run can be skipped, but it might make the difficulty harder in the later game
* Try a 4xRogue unarmed party (though in this run the selected party was used very well with maximum effect)
* Go for evasion instead of protection
* Use Toorum (double movement speed) - this would probably come under a separate category though as it's a special hidden game mode

A note on the in-game timer - the timer in the original release version (1.1.3, which is the one used in this run) is a little misleading. It includes the character creation time as well which is not normally counted for SDA runs. The issue does not seem to appear in the latest version 1.3.1 (I bought it from Steam and it auto-updated to this version). As a result you might want to subtract that from the final time - I calculate 37 seconds.
There's a forum post describing the issue here.

Also, there is about 3 seconds at the end after the endgame boss has been dealt the final blow before the runner checks the timer, so depending on where the end point of the run is considered to be that might need to be subtracted as well. A final figure including these two adjustments is:
1:01:52 - 37s - 3s = 1:01:12

Decision: Accept.

Technically: Same remarks as the first verifier. Also, I'm not sure why some segments were re-segmented into two videos, the second one being really short... This makes no sense, except maybe because of a file size limit. For information, those are:
- segment 2 (parts 2 and 3)
- segment 3 (parts 4 and 5)
- segment 4 (parts 6 and 7)
- segment 5 (parts 8 and 9)
- segment 8 (parts 12 and 13)
- segment 11 (parts 16 and 17)

Cheating / timing : No cheating detected. I manually checked the timing and got the same time as the first verifier: 1:01:12. This run uses 17 segments (not taken into account in timing).

Party / character creation: Considering how close the party is to the default, would it not have been interesting to run with it instead of a customized party? I'm certain more optimized parties are possible, but I didn't try much. With the chosen party, the runner makes logical choices for point spending.

Main strategy / route: The game is very linear as long as one doesn't look for secrets and the runner goes straight to the essential, with some exceptions for herbs and armor which seem very legit. This game does not require much planning: instead, everything is about luck manipulation (ennemy spawns) and good execution. As such, I will only comment on these two criteria for the rest of this post.

I spotted a number of mistakes, which may be too high for a segmented run on SDA (however a single segment could not remotely be as good as this because of luck manipulation). Those numbers are not exact, it's a rough estimate:
~15 times the runner loses some time (but less than 1 second each time) due to minor mistakes in using the GUI
~30 times the runner walks into a wall or ennemy (very minor mistake with virtually no time loss, but very noticeable)
~30 times the runner makes a u-turn or something equivalent, when it was not necessary (a little less than 0.5s lost each time)
~50 times the runner walks into a square and walks back because it was not on the planned route (a little less than 1s lost for each square). This is the worst kind or mistake in my opinion as this kills the "speedrun" feeling - it's painful to watch the runner lose his path in a game that works with discrete squares as the moving unit...

Also, about 6 times the runner fails at avoiding an ennemy, which requires fighting it or playing the "lure dance" again.

That's roughly 1:30 lost to obvious mistakes, mostly in the first half of the game. Which means a sub-hour run with the same party is clearly possible with more practice and segments (more segments would also allow to avoid more ennemy luring/fighting).

Was the run done in the first week after the game's release? It was done with the retail, unpatched version of the game. This would probably explain the runner's apparent lack of practice in the first segments.

I have some other, more specific remarks:

Level 1:
- Why lure the snail into the pit? Wouldn't it be faster to just kill it?
- As mentioned in the comments, the runner does not use the healing crystal. This causes the mage to be unable to cast speels for some time in level 2.

Level 2:
- I don't get why the runner has to walk one square out of his route to get a rock, when I'm sure a lot of other junk (like a used torch) cn, be used to press the plate.
- In order to activate a switch on the right of the screen, the runner turns right, activates it, then turns left to continue. He does it again a few times in the run, and at other moments he clicks on the cross icon of the sheet. Using the patched version of the game (the patch was out less than a week after the game was out!), it's possible to press ESC to close the character sheet (and I think even the retail version allowed to close it with F1/F2/F3/F4 depending on the character position...).

Level 3:
- I don't understand why the runner goes to open a wooden door (this takes ~6s) before getting to the spider's lair with eggs. This door is not on his route and he never gets back to that passage.
- When the minotaur is badly hurt, the runner keeps turning right and left to avoid getting him killed. This can be easily avoided by chaning the party order and putting the rogue in the first row to take the hits. I suppose the runner was not aware of this? You just have to drag-n-drop the character's portrait to its new location... well, honestly I'm not sure dragging characters is really faster than turning the party with the keyboard, and it's clearly more prone to mistakes.

Level 5:
- After luring the birds to the dragon room, the runner opens a door on the left which leads directly to the next passage. But he walks back to the birds, avoids them and goes to the passage from the right. I probably missed something here as I don't understand why the runner does not go straight to it after opening the door.

Level 7:
- Starting from this level, the runners makes intermediate saves, segmenting levels. It would have been a great idea to do so from the beginning, because starting from this point, ennemy spaws are almost perfect (unlike the first half of the run).
- Isn't it possible to avoid the last Uggardian in the serpentine walk with pits? Open the door and lure the Uggardians over the pit, then continue and leave him behind.
- I don't understand why the runner fights the two Uggardians in the room with pits everywhere. Why not simply luring them and running to the passage? The second one even gets out of the way by itself and the runner continues fighting. Is it for XP?

Level 10:
- It seems like the runner repeatedly fails at the puzzle with the harrow gate and light projectile. Probably because of ennemies that get in the way of the projectile?

Level 12:
- As said in the comments, the cutscene could have been skipped.

As for positive remarks:
- Ennemy spawning manipulation starting from level 7 (and at the end of level 5) is quite impressive.
- Some ennemy luring/avoiding sequences are also impressive.
- The game's GUI is very difficult to handle in a quick manner, but the runner does it well (except for the repeated mistakes I already mentioned), especially when it comes to rearranging character equipment and creating potions while fighting or moving.
- Fighting reflexes are fairly good.
- Puzzles are well executed, no missed click or move (this would have been a big problem for the run).
- The final boss is handled like a boss Smiley

All in all, this run is both impressive (luck manipulation, inventory management, final boss) and not impressive (execution in the first half of the game, repeated path mistakes, basic party selection). It is thus very difficult to issue a decision...

I regret that the runner did not want to capitalize on the practice and experience he got when doing the run to restart it from scratch when he "got it" (level 7), and with the latest patch (1.1.4 at that time). Given how botched the first segments can look at some moments, and how little luck manipulation was used in them, I don't think the runner spent too much time in these first segments compared to the rest of the run. Thus, probably not too much IRL time or energy would have been lost by redoing them, and this would have had a great positive impact on the run's quality.

But considering how linear this game is, I suppose that redoing the run would not save that much time. Less than one hour is clearly possible, but it's not like one could save more than a few minutes. Therefore...

I accept this run.

Decision: Accept

Congratulations to Alex 'Pongsifu' Biffar!
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