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I want off the ride....
I'll probably get back to making a toolset to use for this. I had halfway made something that basically tracked exp and counted values and things for you.
also had a nice graphical interface showing the Bell timer >.>; I'll probably get back on that soon and then see what i can do to help this. I'm having a feeling that proper planning with that stuff might help more.

But congratz!
I pastebinned my notes here:

I cleaned them up a bit but they're mostly written for me to understand so they may be nigh useless to anyone else. Sorry about that.
Edit history:
Electra13x7777: 2021-05-27 01:59:45 pm
Electra13x7777: 2021-05-27 01:46:05 pm
SMT 2 is my abusive girlfriend
Hate to be the guy that necros ancient stuff, but I feel like in the instance that someone were to stumble across this thread (however small chance that may be lol), it would be nice to have more up to date strats and routing. For a start, I will leave a link to pastebin of my notes based on aripon's route with a touch of my own reworking for consistency here and there. Given that back in the day most people played on the Aeon Genesis translation it might be worth adding resources for the official game.


While these notes as you can clearly see are not complete, you can find that most of the chapters are accounted for. Those chapters which I left out I've never actually made notes for however, I hope to clarify those routes (especially Ninja which is easily the most execution-heavy of all the base scenarios) in this thread. I'll leave links to current top 3 runs of best ending below for reference.

Aruhori's 4:31 - (Aruhori's run uses very different routing than what Aripon and I use, and currently I'm not familiar enough with it to really make heads or tails of how he goes about manipulating some of the encounters)
Aripon's 4:51  - (I have heard that Aripon has achieved a 4:45 with this route however there is no recorded evidence of this to share here. That being said, I don't doubt their ability to get that time with this route)
My 5:39          - (admittedly this run is horrible as I really haven't grinded Best End that hard but some might find it useful to refer to)

Huge thanks to Trysdyn and MyOhMyke. Without seeing your runs back in the day I would have probably never picked up this wonderful game. thumbsup

Hopefully this can be useful for those who want to pick up the game even for just ILs (if we're being honest here the Best Ending run won't be appealing to most). I will go about clarifying some of the individual chapters in this thread in time as I get to it.

B R E A K D O W N (。˃ ᵕ ˂ )b
SMT 2 is my abusive girlfriend
    Ninja Chapter - 幕末編 (Bakumatsu Hen)

Normal Ending IL Route (Aripon/Electra) Explanation:

Timing - Modified JRTA
    START: Selecting はい (yes) at the scenario selection screen
    STOP: Frame that the save screen loads after credits

Important Things to Know:
    - As this is a JRPG, standard JRTA rules apply. All that really concerns with this run is the ability to use a turbo controller (trust me, you WILL want to use turbo for this chapter especially).
    - I won't mention this again in subsequent IL explanations, but I will be using the Japanese names for items, skills, enemies, etc. as you would see them in the run but will include English translations accordingly for each to ease reading for the vast majority of you.
    - I will be splitting each logical segment up in order to make it easier to follow the route.

Movement Mechanics/Tips:
    - おぼろ丸 (Oboro-maru) is insanely fast. From my own testing of frame data, it appears that Oboro can cover 1 Tile every 4 Frames in his run state (15 Tiles per Second WHOA!). According to LCC, this is the 2nd fastest movement speed of a character in a SNES/SFC JRPG (second only to 美少女戦士セーラームーン or Sailor Moon: Another Story). Needless to say, execution of the precise movement required in this chapter is far from easy. However, there are a few ways to make the tight movement a little more manageable.
        - Buffering D-Pad Inputs: This goes for every other chapter as well but it is especially useful for high-level play in this chapter. Live A Live as a whole handles inputs in a way such that you can hold diagonal inputs to buffer your next desired movement. I will elaborate on this piece of information when talking about the movement for each room below.
        - Maintaining Lines: In order to deal with the nonsensically fast movement, it may behoove you to try to find lines to follow when maneuvering through each room. There will be certain circumstances where this isn't exactly possible however it is probably the best way to maintain crisp movement through the run.
    - As mentioned in previous posts on this thread, there is a time mechanic in this chapter with the bell that rings and changes the password. At high-level play, you will only ever have this event occur a single time in the attic with the disappearing floors. Make certain that when this happens you are not in a position where you would fall down those pits.
Battle Mechanics/Tips:
    - Before even mentioning the battle system and the way you can abuse it to manipulate fights, I highly recommend giving the shrines page linked by Omni a look.
Quote from Omnigamer:

    - Not only is it full of useful information concerning the entire game, but it actually does a decent job at explaining the underlying turn system in this game. For you to play at high level in this game it's imperative that you have established some modicum of mastery of the system.
SMT 2 is my abusive girlfriend
Ninja Chapter/幕末編 Segment 1: Timer Start -> Attic 3 Fall
Outside 1: Run up -> Escape from the fight -> Proceed to the next room.
Room 1: Watch the cutscene -> Run to the door then turn left and buffer an up input to go through the left door.
    - The ronin's position is random and he will sometimes camp at the bottom of the door so you might have to wait for him to move in order to proceed outside.
Room 2: Proceed down, avoiding the two ronin encounters and wedge yourself in between the two guards and answer option 2, "かわ" (river) -> proceed up to the next room.
Room 3: Using similar input buffering to room 2, make your way up and to the left going through the second door on the left side of the building.
Room 4/5: Enter the fake door -> climb the ladder to attic 1
Attic 1: This is the first tricky encounter skip. After triggering the dialog with the ninja, run up until you can no longer move up. When you hit the wall you have a frame window where you will need to wait (try to make the 4th frame after hitting the wall). I usually use the ninja's movement to time this. He has the same speed as Oboro so it's pretty simple to time with a trained eye. After waiting a few frames run to the left to skip the encounter with the ninja and make your way to the next area.
Outside 2: Proceed down and right to attic 2.
Attic 2: Maneuver 1 tile down to not step on the pit in the center of the room (this will also make it so you don't have to deal with the mouse since it always spawns at the top part of the room).
Outside 3: Proceed up and to the left to attic 3.
Attic 3: The two mice in the first room will move 1 tile in the direction they are facing at spawn once you gain control of Oboro so use their initial position as a guide to move to the next part of the attic. Get on the closest conveyer belt and fall down the pit.

This segment can be consistently done from time start to segment end in 4:35 plus or minus 2 seconds.
Edit history:
Electra13x7777: 2021-06-06 09:05:10 am
Electra13x7777: 2021-05-31 03:45:37 pm
SMT 2 is my abusive girlfriend
Ninja Chapter/幕末編 Segment 2: Room 6 (Jail) -> Attic 4 End
Room 6: Run down to the locked door and hold Y until the Elite Samurai walks under your position. In the best-case scenario, he immediately walks right and then after the text runs up. Wait until he is 2 tiles up from your position, then head left for exit to Room 7.
    - This is the first real instance of completely unavoidable RNG (at least I have no knowledge whether or not there is a way to manip it) so depending on where he goes you may lose significant amounts of time.
Room 7/8: Just go up then go down Smiley
Room 9: Grab the chest containing the コテツ (Kotetsu), then run down to the bottom door. Be careful not to accidentally touch the Elder and trigger the 2 Ninjas as it's incredibly difficult to recover from that.
Room 10: Open the menu, go to equips, select 勝手に装備 (optimize) to equip the Kotetsu to Oboro's Right Hand, close the menu then run down to the next room.
    Inputs: Turbo X, A, Up, A, (wait a few frames) B, B, B (timing for B presses requires a bit of rhythm, you may opt to Turbo B instead)
Room 11: This room has a lot to cover. Here is the general strategy: You need to kill all of the enemies in the room before proceeding. Kill at least 2 of the Samurai before fighting the Elite Samurai.
        Moves per Turn: 5
        HP: 110
        - Optimally you will spawn on a space where you can get behind the Samurai within 5 spaces w/o stopping to get in a back attack (This will help you roll higher for a Turn 2 kill). If you can't make it you will have to stop short and use 忍び斬り (Shinobi Slash), then proceed for a back attack on Turn 2.
        - At Level 2 忍び斬り can roll between 48 - 64 damage (rolling 63/64 is incredibly rare and requires a back attack). If you get a high roll on the first turn you might want to skip movement on turn 2 in order to save some time (A safe range to do so would be a 58+ damage on turn 1). Rolling 51 and lower pretty much guarantees that the fight will take 3 turns unless you get really lucky.
        - At Level 3 忍び斬り will always kill Samurai on Turn 2
    Elite Samurai:
        Moves per Turn: 5
        HP: 208
        - You need to spawn in a location where you can move to where you are 2 tiles down from where the Elite Samurai is, within 5 turns. If you can't, run.
        - There are 2 methods I've devised to begin the manipulation.
            Manip 1 (Aripon's Strat):
                T2) Wait (ES moves 1 tile Right)
                T3) Move 1 tile Right (ES moves 1 tile Down)
                T4) Left Right Hold Turbo X (Oboro is 1 tile diagonally behind ES and does 忍び斬り)
            Manip 2 (Electra's Strat):
                T2) Wait (ES moves 1 tile Right)
                T3) Wait (ES moves 1 tile Down)
                T4) Hold Turbo X (Oboro is 1 tile diagonally behind ES and does 忍び斬り)
            - ES will then move 1 tile above Oboro.
            For the rest of the fight employ a modified version:
                - Move in the direction opposite the direction ES is facing, then quickly move back to your starting tile and hold Turbo X.
                - This will put ES into an infinite back attack loop as long as you execute it well and don't stop after you start moving.
                - At Level 3 you still have a chance to miss with 忍び斬り. My strat is just to pray that doesn't happen ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    - If you get a ちょんまげ (Topknot) to drop from the Samurai or Elite Samurai you may opt to equip it to Oboro's Head at the end of the run, however, it's not that beneficial stat-wise.
Room 12: Hold B and Up.
Room 13: Run up and to the left and talk to the Ronin and answer option 2, "かわ" (river) unless you have heard a bell toll, in which case answer "もと" (origin). Enter the room.
Room 14: Grab the chest on the right containing a 忍びのトリモチ (Torimochi) then leave.
Room 13: Run back to the right and enter the rightmost door.
Room 15: Get into the room on the left avoiding the blue mat.
Room 16/17: Go upstairs. Go down through the southern door.
Room 18/19/20: Enter the first door on the left. Run up then enter the hidden door. Climb the rope ladder.
Attic 4: This room is a bit tricky. This is where good players will have the bell text box appear and it can easily screw you up and make you fall into a pit. Good movement to the first chest containing a 不動明王のおフダ (TokenOfAcala) on the top right will get you there on a cycle where you don't have to wait for floors to reappear (assuming a bell doesn't toll). Make your way left to 1 tile above the highest and left most disappearing tile. When its traversable again, go 2 tiles Down then left. You might get a bell here in this hallway to the next disappearing tile before the chest. If you haven't gotten the bell yet and feel confident, time your traversal of the disappearing tile then grab the 風魔手裏剣 (Wind Shuriken). If you haven't gotten the bell to toll by this point you should probably wait until the text box appears since it will happen soon. After that time the last disappearing floor by walking into the room, walking all the way to the left, then when you get to the wall walk right then left then right then left then walk down all without stopping. When you clear the disappearing floor you can run again. Make your way to the ladder down.