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The Running Failure
Picked the game up about a good week ago and started playing it again, and realized how easy and fun it is to break the missions early game to get some insane times.  Didn't see a thread for it in the search, so yeah, here we are. Working on an any% run right now, getting the route set up, but I'm expecting about 2 hours, not including loading screens, and dependent on certain factors of luck. Below, i'm just going to list my thoughts on it, my route, my planning, and if yall have any suggestions, hints, complaints, etc, let me know.

For those who haven't played it or are interested in how the run would work, the game's divided into 4 quarters. In each quarter, a certain amount of the Deck of 52 players need to be killed/captured in order to unlock the Ace mission and complete the quarter. The minimum you need to complete the quarter would be the Jack, Queen, and King of each suit. However, that requires going through and getting all the faction missions, therefore, a non-option unless one is aiming for 100% missions. At least one face card is needed, meaning atleast one faction needs to be completed, along with the 9 number cards. As far as I can tell so far, the Mafia faction is the best for this. They often have extremely quick missions that can be dealt with in a minute, maybe less time. And while it does tend to lead to the other factions getting pissed off at you, well who gives a care. XD

The route itself, as I will note down below, is a bit simple. But there are a few luck factors involved. For example, unless you directly have the intel required for them, some number cards won't appear. It seems the game will only allow for about 4 or 5 non-intel number cards to appear at any given map load, and I haven't determined if that's random or not. It's at least true for the Hearts Quarter, afaik, and from what I've been told. This needs a bit of testing.

Also, for the first half (Southern Province), getting a helicopter for the quick missions and card collections is a crucial detail. The easiest way to get one, from what I can see, is by completing the first AN mission, moving past the SK intro mission and moving up to North Pyongyang via the train bridge. A NK scout heli spawns here, and, without a sniper rifle, it takes about twenty seconds to hijack it. It makes following missions much easier. The only problem is, I've had times where the heli won't spawn. Granted, it's early enough in the game to not matter, but it's something to keep in mind in case a new heli is required.

The main objectives for the run as a whole to keep it fast is to:
1. Get a helicopter ASAP, as its speed is tremendous
2. Kill all number cards, verification is faster than capturing
3. Only take contracts if Ammo/Health is low. (Accepting a contract refills vehicle health and ammo)

The route is a bit simple, I've got the Club one mostly figured out, here it is:
1. The drop off - After you officially land in the battlefield, ignore all engagements, go right a bit on the first roadblock to block it, take the right road on the way to the AN HQ
2. The 2 of Clubs - Drive up cliff, use vehicle to kill, verify, take out 2 artillery, drive back to AN HQ
3. Helicopter and the 8 of clubs - Drive and ignore the SK mission, reach Downtown, kill the 8 at the hospital. Verify, then take the train bridge over to North. Hijack helicopter
4. Club Collection - Kill and verify, in the following order, the 5, the 6, the 9. Replace heli at 9, go get the 10, the 7, then the SK mission. After the mission, get the 4, and the 3. (This SHOULD work and be the fastest route, testing it some more)
5. Complete Contracts - Mafia Intro, China Intro, Mafia missions. First 'new' mafia mission grants a heli replacement. Missions relatively easy.
6. Ace Contract Open - Complete the Ace Contract

It gets fun at this point, because the Ace mission is a bit annoying in my opinion. There's a free heli to the east that makes it bearable, provided AA is destroyed. After that, destroy Song Tower, take out the rescue heli, and nab the Ace.

That's the route so far, I'm going to run it a few times, get it down to a low time, then move on to the Diamonds. I've kinda rambled on a bit, this looks more like the prequel to actual run comments, so give me your suggestions if ya got any guys!
Thread title:  
In Flames We Trust
I've never actually played the first Mercenaries, but I've played the second one and enjoyed it, despite being the only one in the world who did it seems. Good luck on your speedrun! thumbsup
The Running Failure
Thanks man! thumbsup

I enjoyed the second mercenaries, but it was a terrible sequel. Good game, bad sequel. It took the seriousness out, tossed the Deck system, and it made it very focused on the missions, which makes it a bit harder to speed run. Especially with the VERY spotty AI. (Remember the mission with the guy who ran off the edge of the roof of the building when you approached from ground floor to rescue him? Fun stuff!)

One thing I forgot to mention, Mattias Nilson is the character to run in Merc 1. He is the fastest of the mercs, and has the middle amount of health. The character differences are subtle, but effective. Mattias is faster, Chris is damage resistant, and Jenn is 'stealthier', which translates to 'doesn't get seen for about an additional 2 seconds'. Stealth and this game don't go well together, and I can't think of any time when stealth would outweigh faster movement.

Another difference is that each character has bonus dialogue in that they each understand a different language that one of the factions speak. Chris can listen in on the South Korean conversations, Jenn can listen in on the Chinese conversations, and Mattias can listen in on the Russian conversations. While this has zero impact on the run itself, it does make practice better because the Russian dialogue is silly. Great for waiting a few seconds when practicing for friends! XD
Edit history:
Shuda51: 2012-07-31 12:08:29 am
The Running Failure
Tuesday July 31st Update

Got home from work, did a practice run through of the first quarter while half asleep to verify a few things and get an estimated time.

From new game start to Ace Verification was 46m 04s. At least 6 minutes of that I can attribute to gameplay errors, location screw ups, and general cautious gameplay, so I think about 40 minutes should be a good starting point for the first quarter.

The route works, and works beautifully. A bit of fiddling around with the mid-flight plan is in order at some points, but I think it's as good as it gets for the beginning portion of the game.

What needs to be focused on:

1. Route on Mafia 2. Needs to be seen if it's faster to go through and take the heli and attempt to carry the truck out there. I don't think so as of now, so the current route is to find a vehicle, use it to force a gate down, steal the truck, and gtfo of there.

2. Ace Mission Route: Here's what I got, anyone jump in if you know a better way. Step 1: Place C4 on a jeep while everyone's shooting at you. Step 2: Use jeep to go to Jungle Jammer, destroy with c4, steal new jeep. Step 3: Steal heli at base, use to destroy last two jammers. Step 4: IGNORE enemy helicopter, hope to god it doesn't attack you, destroy Song Tower. Step 5: Kill Ace, get mission complete.

Diamond planning and stuff should start soon, going to brush up this run, get a good time under 40 minutes, see what I can get consistently.

And minor update: Ace of Diamonds mission is a breeze with the ability to snipe out your insertion helicopter, so long as one is fast enough to get it before it leaves and before the fall deals fatal damage, and slow enough so that it won't glitch. :/
502 krew what it do
Thread's a bit old, but I've been routing this game recently.

Biggest piece of advice on this is that you can skip any one of the lowest three cards in any suit (2, 3, 4).  I've tested this numerous times and it holds very true, got the Ace of Clubs contract with only the 2, 3-10 and King killed. Got the Ace of Diamonds with only the 2, 3, 5-10 and Jack killed.

Also, the intel received towards getting the Ace contract of any suit is the exact same whether you kill or capture the lesser targets, the only difference is the reward money.  In speedrunning this, you aren't going to need to worry about money (and you'll always have more than you'll need ever anyway), so you'll be wanting to kill every target because you verify them in about 2-3 seconds as opposed to having to clear out the whole area, wait for a chopper, then slowly lug his body over to the chopper.  Also, since you're just killing them, you can just drive in without worrying about any other baddies, put a round in his skull, verify, and turn tail.

Also, Shuda, what you were saying about the cards' appearing on the map itself, yes, that will only happen when you have the intel, but only once you drive past the spot where they are.  So you're going to have to remember the location of them.  I took an actual deck of cards, sorted them by the order I get them in, then wrote little notes on them to remember where each is.

And everything you said about the character differences is dead on.  Jennifer has almost zero utility in this game, because in almost every game in history, stealth equals "dies in two hits."  Oh Christ, she takes so much damage.  However much Mattias' speed is touted, I didn't really notice any significant difference between him and Chris, but I also didn't do much running either.  I pretty much drive as much as I can and smash into the middle of a fight, which is where Chris shines.  Chris' ability to take so much damage really comes in handy when the dumbass enemies fire an RPG at point-blank range (seriously, why does this happen?)

I've been solely working on routing the Clubs sector thus far, and this is the route I use.

After downing the 2 (Tip on this: fire one surgical strike right where the circles overlap, it will down both), I go and do all the intro missions, then turn tail back to do the SK missions.  They're all pretty quick, the only one that's a pain is getting the hostage from the Chinese, there's three locations, and RNG really bites you in the ass there sometimes.  Also, on that mission, don't go in through the front gates.  Go around the side to the fences, knock them down and run in.  I do this to minimize the amount of Chinese I kill so they don't get too pissed.

The King mission (that you get from SK) is really easy, you drive in, blow down the first fence you see, run to a chopper, get in, use one missile to get the jammer, then at the first set of rockets (the one by itself), blow up the truck in between the rockets, it'll blow up the rest.  If you set a C-4 charge just right next to the second set of rockets, they'll go down as well.  However, on the third, for whatever reason, when I C-4 one of the rockets, only one of the three blows up.  For that you'll have to use the airstrike you're given, but all you have to do is set it off then hop back in the chopper.  Head over to where the King appears, shoot him quickly, land, verify, and get back in and fly away.

After that I go, in order 6, 5, 8, 4, 7, 10, 9

6, 5 and 8 are all right next to each other in Pyongyang, so they go pretty quickly.  After you get the 8, what you want to do is immediately pause, select Medivac.  This will put you in the MASH, closer to your next target, the 4 of Clubs with a selection of fresh vehicles at your disposal.  Even if you still have the chopper at this point, you're probably going to be out of ammo or very low on it, so it's going to be pretty much useless.

4 is in the Farmland in the southwest, impossible to miss.  After him, head east and take the first left you can then first right to get to the 7 of clubs. Exit the way you came, head back to that southern road, get the ten of the little trail to the right, then head to the 9 of Clubs at the curving dirt path above the Allied HQ.  Grab the chopper and blast the horn all the way to the Allied HQ (so you don't get nailed by Allied AA) and get the Ace contract.

Tip on the 6 of Clubs:  If you happen to be on foot at this point for w/e reason (you should have the chopper), there's a back path you can run up that requires a jumping glitch to get up, but if you do, it'll put you at the very top of a hill and give you a good vantage point for blasting the tank (if you come in the normal way in a vehicle you won't see the tank and it will blast the hell out of you).

If you still have the chopper, you need to get out of it as quick as possible so the tank doesn't destroy it.  Run at the tank, fire an RPG round, and lob grenades like they're going out of style. There's a health crate about twenty paces to the right of the tank, so don't worry.  There could be a chance you still have a missile left in the chopper after the King mission, so you can always use that.

As for the Ace of Clubs, here's where it gets tricky.  You need to secure a vehicle as quickly as possible.  Don't worry about the bonus mission, it won't help you.

Drive to the first jammer, and lob grenades at it as you run at it.  Once it goes, drive to the next one, same thing (or RPG it from a distance, your call).  The third one (in the woods) is the tricky part because holy shit there are grenade machine guns at the entrance.  So what you need to do is drive faster.  Those guns only turn so far, so once you're past then you're golden.  Destroy the last jammer and pray your vehicle is still roadworthy.  Don't worry, you won't need it much longer.  Get to the tower where the Ace is, but don't get too close, there's more of those pesky grenade launchers, and they WILL kill you.  Use the bunker buster, that should be sufficient to take them all out, run up, kill the Ace, verify, and you're out.
I am really interested in this. I've never seriously worked on a run before, but I can't find a run of this game anywhere and it's one of my all-time favorites. Also, I thought I was the most clever person ever to snipe the insertion helicopter, that was going to be my contribution to this thread.
Also, does xbox have faster loading times? I would rather play on ps2 regardless, but I suppose that could be problematic.
The Running Failure
Bit of a bump because I've finally had time to get the time to do some more practice on this one.

SF1 (if you're still here), gonna try to see on doing the clubs missions by skipping the 4. I think my route ends up being a little faster, mainly because if you have the heli during the SK mission, you can start to head out once you've finished defending the last point, as the only mission failure trigger (leaving behind in the midst of the attack) is erased once their reinforcements in, so you can go ahead and get the next card number.

Now, I don't quite agree with your route in a couple of aspects, I'll need to do the testing on it, but...

1. Mafia missions are much faster to do as opposed to the SK missions, at least for the clubs:

SK makes you have to first go to get the spy from the Chinese (rather long distance to go), then for the Face Card mission, you have to do some busywork before hand.

Mafia has you stay in the same area to nab a single truck, and the face card mission almost completes itself when you heli it, as he's already out and in the open.

2. You're ignoring the heli that you get during the Ace mission for the clubs (his private airport)

3. Using medivac is ALWAYS a non option, at least for the first area. Yeah, it acts as a sort of transport, but that's not really want you want when you'll lose your helicopter. If you use your weapons right and time the contracts with the right route, you won't lose ammo and health. Plus, you can get enough heli swaps along the original route.

Gimme some testing time.
502 krew what it do
Yeah, I've not been able to play for some time, and I still intended on working on routing the clubs with the missions interspersed.

My biggest goal is to learn the locations of all cards and get each of those fights down.  The RNG that exists with RPGs is ridiculous at times. 

After testing it out, yes, you are right on the Mafia missions for the Clubs section.  Don't know why I went SK on those ones, I think I might have been having an issue with the chopper mission.  Anyway, with that figured out that section is pretty much figured out.

What I need to work on next is which section of missions to do for the Diamonds, as a couple are fairly tricky and the Chinese face card mission is a biiiiiiiiiiitch.

I've got some contact info in my profile if you want to contact me there in case I don't check this for awhile.  I've twitter, AIM and Skype listed in there.
Interesting Glitch I found with the Second Mafia Mission 'Gimme My Money'. If you blow up the helicopter around the same time you finish the mission (with damage landing or an RPG), you can skip some loading times and go straight to the next mission. I haven't tried this for other missions, so I'm not sure, but I know this one works.
This is a really old thread and I actually just made an account to comment on this even though I have been following speedrunning on and off for about a year and a half. I just started playing this game again because it was my brother and I's favorite ps2 game that we had and I thought about the possibility of speedrunning it. Is there anyone that does runs of this game on twitch or something?
Edit history:
Superdonut: 2014-08-14 04:49:14 pm
I did a run using Shuda's route. Got a 47:17 with a fair bit of mistakes. I found the ace mission to be really easy if you just steal a jeep and c4/ RPG the jammers or whatever the three things you need to destroy are. Using the heli might be faster idk, but you have to worry about all the AA's.
I'm going to do more attempts of first quarter and later on attempt to route the diamonds starting with which of the factions would be the fastest to get a face card. I want to start streaming the routing and first quarter attempts to try to build a community around the game, but I only have a laptop and none of the equipment or knowledge of streaming lol. At the very least I want to try to build a solid foundation of a route for the entire game.

I know for a fact that the Ace of hearts mission is really easy (even if you didn't snipe the insertion helicopter it is still pretty easy, but obviously slower). You just snipe the helicopter driver and fly to the end of the mission and kill the Ace. It could probably be done in like a minute.

Anyways I feel like the first quarter will be the longest because of the opening mission and having to do a mission from each faction. I also feel like the mafia missions might be the best throughout the entire run because I remember the SK and Chinese missions being very tank and vehicle heavy (during the 3rd and 4th quarter while they are near going into war with each other) which means a good chance of dieng if you're not careful.
502 krew what it do
Oh hey, recent posts in here.  Getting back to routing (finally), of course it coincides with AGDQ!

What I'm currently doing is going through the upper three suits with ammo/health codes on just so I can get a good study of each battle at each card site so I can approach the area better when I'm doing for real runs.

The biggest things to be concerned with:
A) RPG troops.  The accuracy that they have seems to be random at best.  They'll either wing a shot over your head by 30m or nail you right between the fucking eyes.  They need to be dealt with swiftly and harshly. 
B) Jammers.  Self-explanatory.  If there isn't one in the area, you can just blow the shit out of the card with an airstrike, done and done.
C) Tanks of any sort.  These are notorious for day-ruining and the best way I've found for dealing with them is running circular to them whilst lobbing grenades, then when close enough, hijacking them, getting back out and destroying them.  This is when there's a jammer in the area and you're on foot.  If no jammer, then nuke 'em.

Anti-air isn't as much of a problem as I once thought provided you're not on top of the launcher when it locks on, and even then you've got a good chance of evading.  If you have enough altitude, you can descend while accelerating and you'll generally be able to avoid the missile.  If you're at full armor however, you should be able to absorb at least one blast.
502 krew what it do
Quote from Realmcopier:
Interesting Glitch I found with the Second Mafia Mission 'Gimme My Money'. If you blow up the helicopter around the same time you finish the mission (with damage landing or an RPG), you can skip some loading times and go straight to the next mission. I haven't tried this for other missions, so I'm not sure, but I know this one works.

That may help, but having that chopper for capturing some of the clubs is far more valuable.
502 krew what it do
Quote from Superdonut:
This is a really old thread and I actually just made an account to comment on this even though I have been following speedrunning on and off for about a year and a half. I just started playing this game again because it was my brother and I's favorite ps2 game that we had and I thought about the possibility of speedrunning it. Is there anyone that does runs of this game on twitch or something? seems to have run it a bit and has claimed a world record of 2:12.33.  Don't see a vid of it, so idk about that considering the clubs from start to ace verif takes 40 on a super good run.  Maybe he's found glitches, idk.
502 krew what it do
Couple of other things for clubs:

You should be able to get a chopper very early on that has missiles and hold on to it for most of the run (and if not you get another from the mafia mission).

For 2 of clubs mission: After you've verified the card and you need to take out the artillery, aim the laser right in the middle where the two circles overlap, you'll get both guns at once.
Edit history:
Badprenup: 2015-07-12 04:40:11 pm
Badprenup: 2015-07-12 04:05:49 pm
Edit 2: Confirmed that all numbered Diamonds are also on the map immediately. This seems to be the case for everything so far. Knowing I can drop the 2,3, or 4 from each suit means I should be able to come up with a route based on that, but the 2 seems like the definite one to be dropped. It is really far away and 3 and 4 are right next to each other. 4 is essential because it is next to the closest helicopter for you to use. It all depends on what missions are fastest to complete.

Edit: Removing the stuff about switching to an NK Jeep in the beginning. The RNG with it disappearing is too wonky and it isn't reliable as far as turning. I end up crashing more than not. Also, adding my strats for the Mafia Mission and the Ace.

I have no idea if anyone is still interested in running this besides me but I have been reading this for the Clubs section and I think I found some ways to reduce the time on that section, as well as some general information.

First off, at least for the clubs I have been able to find every numbered card on the map immediately after doing the first mission. I don't know how true that is for other suits but at least with the clubs it is consistent. The route I am testing for clubs is as follows:

AN Tutorial:

In the plane, get the Carbine first, then the grenade. This seems to save a second or two because you need to wait for the audio after the grenades to finish anyways, but to be honest the difference is minimal. On the ground I head up to the objective. Then I go in and do the briefing. After the briefing I grab the vehicle that doesn't explode and head straight for the 2. I park under the weird structure on the left side of the field, to the left of the explosive barrels. Then I jump out and kill the 2.

I run and verify the 2, then grab his Light MG because I will swap out my Carbine for an RPG in a little bit. Then I wait for the air strike, aim for the overlap, then jump back in the car and head down the cliff, back to the base. I park it in the parking lot and debrief.

Helicopter and Half the Numbers:

I immediately go after the 9, because he has a helicopter that I use for most of this part of the run and because he is super close. I run over the nearby RPG guy if I can, otherwise I just hop out and kill him. Then I get the RPG, kill the 9 and verify, then grab the chopper.

Then I fly to 10, getting the NK disguise (flying over the DMZ). There is an unmanned AA (I think it is AA) there so I land right next to it. I take out the 10, verify, then take off again (Note: There is another chopper here if you screw up, guarded by an RPG guy. It is a race but you can just accept it and fly away). There is a manned AA within range, but just hop down into the ravine area to the south and it cannot hit you.

Next I get the 7. The 7 is easy but there is a civilian and 2 RPG troops. I say "screw the Civ" and take them all out. It saves time and you can take the money and reputation hit. Then I fly directly west and grab the 4. There are multiple civilians here, so if you don't want to piss everyone off I suggest landing and then taking them on foot. You have to land anyways.

SK Tutorial

By now you may have low HP and Ammo, both for your person and helicopter. So I go and do the SK mission for those reasons. Plus it is directly between you and the next number cards. For this mission I immediately get back into the helicopter and use the MG for the first section. You can use 1 of the missiles on this mission but you want 1 for the next part. Then I go and land by the East checkpoint, using the turret to take out the troops. The fog makes it suck but with practice you can line up shots from a distance. Next I jump back in the chopper, head to the South checkpoint, and take things out with it. With the chopper you can be above the wall so you can take things out way faster than on the ground. Then I fly back to the North checkpoint and finish things up with the chopper.

Note: If you are really accurate with the chopper it might be better to use it for the whole thing. Not sure yet.

As soon as the objective finishes fly to the 8 of Clubs. You can land in the parking lot on the SW side of the overhang, but there is a good chance you will blow up the truck and make it land on the target, or push him into the building. Instead there is a small area on the North side you can land near that puts you right next to him. Then just run in blasting him and verify, and then fly to the 6. At the 6 I use the remaining missile for the tank, which takes the jeep with it. This is mainly for safety as it is empty when you get there. Then I land, take the 6, and go to the Mafia mission.

Mafia Tutorial

Land the Heli in front of the mission and it will be parked nearby for afterwards. I take the mission, then immediately run to the right up the road and get in the Mafia truck shooting at an NK soldier. I drive to the closest MG on the right and bail, so I land right by the gun and the truck goes further down. I kill the gunner, run in, and get the truck. I back out to the right (a 4 count from when you press square seems to be perfect timing for the turn). Then I exit the way I come in. I go across the street through the empty lot, cutting out to the road on the left side and heading around to the garage. I drive in, then after it moves me I run to the chopper and fly away.

China Tutorial and the 5 of Clubs

Fly to the China tutorial (fly high to avoid mountains), and take it. Fly to the hill directly to the left of the initial objective (will be to the right of the main objective after it updates). Use the 2 missiles on the building (I had one instance of that taking the building by itself, but an RPG might have hit it accidentally as well). To be safe I land on the hill and use the RPG to finish the building if it doesn't go down. Then I fly to the 5 of Clubs.

Note: It does seem some kind of other explosive caused the building to go down. Yet to be tested alt. strat. is to land on the hill, use the RPG for the first shot, then take off and hit with both missiles as you fly off to the 5. Need to test.

I get low at the 5, shoot him, then land and verify. I get back in the chopper and go to the mafia missions.

Note: Might be faster to just land and run into the little pagoda area to kill him, as lining up the chopper shots is tough.

Mafia Mission 2

This is simple. Shoot the pilot as he lands to get the chopper faster, then fly off. Lose the disguise near the target (no idea if they attack mafia in this mission, I do it to be safe). Get right on top, drop the winch, grab it and run. Drop it off, land, then get back in the chopper and the mission ends. Land it by the Mafia mission start area for the final Mafia Mission.

Mafia Mission 3

Take helicopter, fly to target, kill, verify, head straight for AN. Time for the Ace.

Ace Mission

After the cutscene, grab the first NK jeep and head for the leftmost jammer (the northern one). If you get the disguise, excellent. Get inside, throw grenades at it or use the RPG you should still have. Get in and drive to the helicopter located a bit SE of your position, not marked on a map. Grab it, and fly to the Southern jammer. Use a missile on it, then do the same to the other one. There are several AAs in the area, but you can navigate around them and they won't target you if you stay low. Fly right down the street and land near the front of Song Tower (stay in cover so they don't kill you). Use the Bunker Buster, and he should be at the front of the building. Kill him, run in, verify.

I got a time from game start to the post-Ace news reel of 00:40:52, with several time wasting mistakes. With general movement improvements and no mistakes I could probably shave it down to just above 30 minutes. I'm looking at Diamond stuff now.
Okay I finished mapping the Diamonds Route. It is a lot trickier than Clubs but this is what I have:

You'll start at the Allied MASH, seen on the top left part of that map, to the west of Downtown Pyongyang. Grab the Allied vehicle directly in front of you and head for the 4 of Diamonds. You have to take that road north of the 4 because it wraps around and leads to a dirt path that leads to the top of the hill. The cool thing about the Humvee you grabbed is it can take all the turns easily at top speed if you time it and hold left or right.

Anyways, when you get to the top of the hill you have several things to worry about. The first thing is helicopter. It starts unmanned and needs to stay that way because you'll want to steal it. Unfortunately one of the enemies on the southern side of the hill (where you came up the road) love to run for it. The other major threats is 2 RPG troops, one of which is the 4 of Diamonds. The other one hangs out way on the northern tip of the hill so he doesn't always go after you. My strategy is to make a hard right as soon as you hit the top of the hill and bail. The Allied gunner can be a good distraction. Then I kill the people on the southern side, trying to not get near the heli, or it might get hit by a stray RPG.

After the 2-3 guys on the south are dead I rush up the east side of the hill and take the 4 and anyone near him. Then I verify and jump in the chopper. I'm still trying to get a consistent strat for that, but the enemies are not cooperative. Anyways once you have the chopper you need to head towards the 3 of Diamonds. It is a short distance and a disguise is preferred so I try and get to 400m and hang out there if I get to it before I have a disguise.

When you see the triangle for the AA you know you are in the right spot. This is a hellhole of tanks and the AA but it is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. My current strategy is to land behind the trees slightly to the northwest, which is slightly lower than the AA (it can be tricky to land the heli in such a tight space). I then run up the hill and kill the 3, and the AA driver will get out of the vehicle, so I kill him too. I verify the 3 and pray a tank hasn't come out, then I run back to the helicopter and get as much altitude as possible. Then I head for the SK mission, as those are fastest this time around.

A Hot Time in Nampo

Accept the mission and after the loading screen mash X to clear the strike or drop or whatever they give you. You won't need it. Run to the helicopter, get in, and fly directly to the 9 of Diamonds. We're going to get the 9, 10, and 8 before doing the mission (with good practice you can actually get the time bonus for this mission even doing that). The reason for this is because if your helicopter gets destroyed you can try again without too much time lost by restarting the mission.

9 of Diamonds: The 9 is in a little valley with a few missile trucks, a jammer, and a weird double barrel tank thing to the south. There is also 3-4 soldiers nearby, and a random chance of a tank showing up (very rare). Switch to the air to ground missiles and take out the double barrel tank with one shot. Then switch to the machine gun and blow up the missiles, which will do a ton of damage to anything nearby and sometimes kills the 9. Occasionally I have seen it make all the cargo containers disappear, which gives you a good place to land. Either way just land and take the 9. Jump back in and fly east to the road, get the disguise, and head to the 10.

10 of Diamonds: There is AA here, lots of tanks, and some artillery. And virtually none of it is a threat. The 10 sits on the southern side of the base on a little hill that overlooks the artillery guns. And directly east of the artillery is a nice patch of grass on the cliff that keeps you safe from everything. Land on the cliff area, hop out, run up and kill the 10, verify and run back to the chopper. Get in and fly back east to the road, staying low to avoid AA. Easy as pie.

8 of Diamonds: Fly north to Nampo and then go west to the 8. There is a tank, 2 Artillery to the south, and in the northwest corner by the card is a smaller artillery gun. Use your other air to ground missile on the tank, then blow up the small artillery gun because it can and will blow up your chopper. The other artillery and sparse ground forces can be ignored. Kill the 8 if he didn't die in the crossfire, land, verify, and take off (he likes to hide behind the shipping containers, if he does then land and kill him on foot).

The Mission: Go back to Nampo, opening the PDA and buying the surgical strike on the way. There are 3 fuel containers and 10 fuel trucks you need to blow up. 5 of the trucks are normally in the restricted area, as is one of the containers. There rest is on the other side. Land on the building connected to the container that is in the middle. It looks like a warehouse, the roof has red on the sides and a grey stripe in the middle. The stripe is flat so land there. Use your surgical strike on the container in the restricted area, then turn and use it on the container to the west side of the city. It can be hard to line up but you can hit it. Then go into the PDA, buy the artillery, and head to the east side of the building with the container. Throw it between the container and the truck that is parked and get in the helicopter. Fly up before the artillery starts and it should take out the truck and container.

Now just mop up the other trucks with your machine gun. Get the remaining ones in the "safe" area first, then get the ones in the restricted zone. There are 3 in the restricted zone parked near each other, so those are easy. The other 2 are driving. Beware of an RPG troop in the safe area and two anti air tanks on the southern end of the restricted area, they will wreck you in a heartbeat. Stay low and keep moving, and take them all out. If you haven't died or lost your chopper, head back to the SK base as the mission completes.

First Principles

This mission is very simple, you just need to blow up a downed plane and rescue the captured pilot. Skip past all the support that appears, and get in the helicopter and fly towards the destination. Switch to the air to ground missiles and get the disguise on the way. When you get close you will see the target and an AA to the southeast. First target the AA and blow it up, then use the second missile to blow up the plane. It won't target the plane but as long as you don't lock on to anything else and the plane is in the center of the grey box you will hit it. Then fly over the AA you blew up to the southeast, to where the pilot will appear in an NK truck. If you go fast you will get to it before it hits the road.

I'm currently working a good strat to get the pilot, my current best one is to land in front of the truck, get out, and kill all the NK troops (usually the driver of the truck and 2 jeeps, totaling 5. The pilot is a hardy dude and can take a few hits, so just dispatch them fast. Then get into the helicopter and use the horn to get him to get in. Then lift off and fly over the little hill to the 7 of Diamonds.

7 of Diamonds: This guy is chilling in a little valley with a truck, some crates, and a soldier or two. Use the helicopter to kill everyone, then press L1 after landing by the truck to get out without the pilot leaving. Verify, get back in the helicopter, and drop the pilot in Ichon. Don't take off until he finishes the animation for getting out, otherwise you might carry him 50m into the air so he will fall to his death. Then go back to the SK base.

Master of None

This mission is a pain, because it is already annoying but you still need to get 2 more cards in addition to the Jack. They want you to go and destroy a bunch of artillery before 25k people are killed, so first things first we're going to go kill some Mafia dudes. Yep. Fly to Pyongyang and kill enough Mafia guys to get them to neutral (yellow), this is essential for the Ace of Diamonds. It shouldn't take too much time. Then fly to the 5, murder everything (don't use the air to ground missiles, you really don't need to), and verify the 5.

Next, fly upwards as fast as possible and try and get the disguise. Head into the NK base for the mission, and go to the northern 3 artillery. There is one AA between the center one and the one on the east side, and one between the center and west artillery. Stay low, use one missile on one, then get the other. Look out because there is sometimes an AA troop of some kind in the middle of the area by the bridge. Use the machine gun and kill the top 3 artillery, then kill the ones to the south.

They will give you an update to take out a "super gun", which is protected by a jammer so you can't blow it up. Use the helicopter and blow up the jammer to the north of the gun, then land in the hills to the west and use the Cruise Missile to blow up the gun. The mission will complete so you can get the 6 of Diamonds on the way to the Ace contract.

6 of Diamonds: This guy also has tanks near him and he is a pain in the butt. My current strategy is to waste a few seconds getting the disguise, land on top of the concrete structure, then get out and hijack the tank. Kill everything except your helicopter, get out, verify the 6, and then go around to the north side and climb the hill to get back into your chopper. Then fly to the Ace mission.

Ace Contract

After the cutscene, buy an allied supply drop and use it on the ground kind of by the plane (glitch: if you throw the beacon and choose any other drop you will get the one you used for free). When the Russian Heli comes in get underneath it as it drops the item and mash Triangle to hijack it (this is why you made them neutral). Then head along the water towards the prototype supergun. Land near the gun (there is a tank further down the way, be careful), get out, and kill anyone near the helicopter. The last thing you want is someone stealing it.

Get in the supergun by climbing the ramp up the back and going to the door on the left side. Aim for the target and use 2 shots to kill it, then get out and back into the chopper. The Ace will appear, fly towards it and switch to the missiles. Stay low and barrage the Ace with missiles til he dies, then land as close as possible and verify the Ace. Mission done.

Working on Hearts now, I will get a time for my Diamond route when I can.
Edit history:
Badprenup: 2015-08-03 02:47:43 pm
I haven't FULLY mapped out the Heart Route, but it seems to be the easiest route in the game so far. This is what I know so far:

1. You will do the SK missions. They are super easy to do with virtually no risk. If you end up pissing off anyone it is the Chinese, but they already hate you from the Diamonds section, and looking at some walkthroughs for the Spades missions you aren't going to want to do the Chinese missions there (6 min timed mission = ugh).
2. There is an attack helicopter about 2 minutes from the MASH you start at, that gives you the NK disguise, has a 1000 round machine gun, around 70 dumb fire missiles, and 6 air to ground missiles. It also has a ton of armor, resists all small arms fire, and can take 2-3 missiles like a champ. The drawback is it is a bit slower, but that doesn't matter. It is located by the 3 of Hearts:

3. The best route as of right now seems to be:
a. Get Heli and 3, 9, and 5, then head towards the SK missions. Get 2 and 8 on the way.
b. Do the first SK mission, which involves flying for 15 seconds and firing one air to ground missile
c. Do the next SK mission which is blowing up Chinese tents along the path to the north. Get the 6 at the beginning and just use your missiles on the tents. Simple.
d. Do the SK face card mission which takes you all the way to the Northeast corner of the map. Get 10 and 7 on the way and kill Mafia people in Yongbyan (sp) if they like you too much for you to hijack their helicopters. The face card is easy, you can use your missiles to blow up the building without losing cover, then just drop in on the face and kill him.
e. Doing a Medivac after the mission might be faster than just flying to the Ace mission, it is definitely safer because of all the SAMs near the face card.
f. Get to the Ace mission and start it. After the cutscene call in a support drop from the shop and steal the helicopter.
g. Fly over everything and lol your way into the base, stopping for the first objective trigger then going to the roof. Kill the Ace, get out, verify. Takes about a minute or 2.
Edit history:
Badprenup: 2015-08-10 04:50:08 pm
Badprenup: 2015-08-08 08:32:27 pm
Badprenup: 2015-08-08 08:31:58 pm
Badprenup: 2015-08-08 08:30:51 pm
Badprenup: 2015-08-07 10:29:06 pm
Badprenup: 2015-08-07 09:21:36 pm
Mapped out all of Spades.

First things first, This is by far the hardest section as one would expect. You lose your super cool helicopter from the Hearts section, and getting a new one is a pain. Once again, you start in the Kusong MASH. First thing I did was grab the news truck and drive south to Kusong, then turn right to head southwest out of there. Then head right at the T intersection and then take the next left at the 4 way where the soldiers are fighting. Then head south down that road where there is another T intersection where there is yet another battle happening (things kind of went to hell, huh?) There is a tiny chance of one of the NK helicopters in the area getting low enough to hijack but it isn't a good chance so I just ignore it.

So as you are driving to the T intersection you have a choice of going left toward the Mafia Outpost or right to the Chungju Airfield. Instead, go straight over the small hill right on the southern side of the road (I advise staying on the left side of the hill, the right side has a tendency to flip your car). Drive over the brown path and get onto the southernmost road heading east from Chungju. Turn left on that road towards the 2 of Spades. Making sure to have the Civilian disguise. The 2 of Spades has 2 AA vehicles, a couple jeeps, turrets, 3 helicopters, and a bunch of NK troops. Luckily, there is one helicopter right near the road access with only one person guarding it.

Get out of the car (if you can, ram it into the guard), get in the helicopter, and immediately take off away from the AA. If you stay low and get out to the road you can avoid dying.

Edit: Okay, making changes to the route here. Initially I figured "the 3 is right by the 6 and this guy has a bunch of AA guarding him so get the 3 and the 6", but after checking out the last 3 to pick up I have changed my mind. Instead, land the helicopter by the street, then go back in for the 2. Hopefully the other helicopters don't take off. I instead use the Carpet Bomb here, which takes out literally everything. Then I run in and get the 2, then back to the helicopter.

Then, immediately fly up over the mountain on the other side of the road into the Farm Valley, and get low to get the disguise. Head to the 10, get above the mountain and target one of the AA, shoot it, and then immediately dumb fire the second missile into the other AA. Switch to the machine gun and blow up the chopper, and clear the area. Get out and verify the 10.

Get back into the helicopter and get the disguise by hopping back into the Farm Valley, then head for the 9 of Spades. This guy is a nightmare to take head on, but luckily we just got the Carpet Bomb from the Ace of Hearts mission. If you land on the rocks above the tunnel directly north of the 9 you can eliminate everything easily. Buy the Carpet Bomb, activate it, and target the center of the area, a little bit to the south of the AA vehicle. Use it and get in the helicopter as everything is eliminated in a strip of explosions. I've done this several times and there has never been a vehicle left standing, and it always kills the 9. Sometimes a few troops are left and may have RPGs but they are easy to deal with. Verify the 9 and head to the SK mission.

In and Out

This mission has you going after an SK troop hiding in Chinese territory. Odds are at this point they are pissed off at you, but it shouldn't matter. Go left to the helicopter and then fly due north towards Shinuiju Downtown, which is to the east of Dandong. We're going after the 8 first.

8 of Spades: This guy is sitting right at the top of the map, and has 2 of those weird double barrel tanks by the helipad. And to make matters worse, when you show up about 6 NK attack helicopters show up that will rip you apart without a disguise. Switch to the air to ground missiles, get to the Helipad, and... wait. Just wait for those helicopters to fly far enough south that they vanish from your radar. Then use your missiles to take out the two tanks. Land, kill the 8, verify, and fly away.

Back to the mission. Fly to the target (look out for the AA if the Chinese are hostile!), land near him and you will be too low for the AA to target you. Get him in the vehicle and get out of there. Going directly south across the water is the best chance you have if the Chinese don't like you, but if they do you just need to get out of their territory. Now we are off to the 5 of Spades.

5 of Spades: As you will see, there is another tank near the 5's location, as well as a concrete barracks that spawns tanks. Luckily there is a small hill directly behind the barracks you can see everything from. I buy the Surgical Strike and use it to blow up the tank spawner, then use my RPGs to take out the tank for safety. Then I get in the helicopter, mop the other stuff up, and get the 5. Next we get the 4.

4 of Spades: This one is easy. The 4 sits on top of a very pretty waterfall with an anti-air launcher, but if you get the disguise you can kill her fast with the machine gun or land and shoot her. Either way, verify her and head to where you drop off the agent. Land in the circle and get out, and run to where the mission guy appears. After the mission complete screen, hop right into the next mission.


Here you need to blow up the Radar Jammer then take out the bridge with a Cruise Missile. So get in your helicopter, go to the target, and use your missiles to hit it (it is hiding near the building so you can only get it from one side). It is easy if you can avoid AA. After that, head south across the water and land on the docks by the bridge. Use the Cruise Missile, target the bridge, and blow it up. As soon as the missile is used get back in the helicopter and fly to the SK base.

Titular Regius

The last mission for the SK is moderately difficult, but I'm still working on strategies. My current one involves getting back into the helicopter, heading to the southern target, and verifying that the King isn't there. Then going to the middle one and verifying he isn't there (he is always at the last one), and then flying to the last one. If you can do it without losing your disguise you can take out two AA on the side of the last spot with your missiles, then land near them and order another carpet bomb directly on the King. If you take off before it hits and back away it should flatten everything. Then just verify and go after the 6 and 7.

Edit: 6 and 7 of Spades

Alright since you still have the helicopter from the last mission, you head for the 7 who is guarded by a couple tanks. If you managed to keep your two missiles from the last mission (working on strats to do that), you can just blow them both up, then land and get the 7. If not, land on the street, and use an air strike to eliminate them.

Then get in your helicopter, and get the disguise. The 6 is near some trees, giving you *just* enough space to land. This needs to be done fast. Land, get out, kill and verify the 6, and as soon as you get credit pause and use Medi-Vac. I've played through every scenario I could think of for this guy, and this is the only thing I can come up with. Here is the perfect time and place for it because you can't take your helicopter to the last mission anyways. Medi-Vac is about the same speed anyways. Once you get back to MASH, go south and start the Ace contract.

Ace of Spades

There are a few things needed for this mission. You need

1. RPG with 4 shots, and any machine gun (luckily that is what I was using the entire run)
2. Neutral status with Russian Mafia (for the Ace Helicopter Hijack trick)
3. Enough money to afford the Air Superiority and Carpet Bomb support given during the mission (if you follow my route you have plenty).

1. As soon as you begin the mission, pick any supply drop from the store and use it to steal the helicopter (I have found that I have the best luck of making the helicopter fly low is to order the supplies right next to the tank, from in front of it).
2. After you hijack the chopper (hopefully not flying out of bounds during the animation), get to 350m in elevation, to avoid any kind of AA.
3. At that height, fly to the objective. Fly a little bit past it to the southeast across the street so that no AA shows up on radar. Then drop in elevation and land the helicopter to the right of the lone guard tower. Go into the building and do the cutscene.
4. After the cutscene, exit the building and go to the helicopter. Get a little bit of height and then fly towards the objective marker, staying far east to avoid the AA. You should be right next to the cliff.
5. At this point your signal should get jammed, move your chopper slightly to the right of the jammer on your radar.
6. Fly straight up while hugging the cliff. As soon as you get above the wall two AAs will target you. Quickly get over it and land in the little open area near the jammer.
7. Use two rockets and blow up the jammer now. Then run to the west, using your other weapon to kill the few people nearby.
8. Eventually you will come to the end of the area and there will be a concrete wall blocking your way north. Use C4 to blow it up, then hop the wall and use more C4 to blow up a similar wall immediately to the west.
9. You will then see a warehouse with a bunch of people near it. Make a beeline for the corner closest to you and you will be able to walk right in without being noticed, or with minimal resistance.
10. When inside, stick to the right side and make your way to the back. There should be one guard on the right side and 2 in the back near the console. Kill them and enter the codes with Triangle. You need to stand there for like 5 seconds until the bar fills.
11. After the bar fills, use your RPG and blow up that jammer up (I actually need to check to see if this is even needed. If it isn't it makes the mission go about 6 seconds faster)
12. Book it the way you came in, back to where you landed the helicopter and blew up the jammer in step 7. While this is happening Song will be talking.
13. As soon as Song finishes his speech, 2 attack helicopters spawn. From what I have seen they always spawn on the east side of the base. Either way quickly use the Air Superiority to deal with them. This step could be cut out and would save like 10 seconds, but you then run the risk of them killing you which sets you way back to the start of the mission.
14. Continue to the east side of the base near the big wall. Song should appear on your radar by now, to the north of you. But you cannot reach him because of the large wall and a little wire gate you can't pass.
15. Use the Carpet Bomb from a little bit to the south of the gate, and aim the satellite on the large wall a little bit northwest of the gate. Use it and clear out for safety. If you aim right it will take out the fence, the wall, and kill Song in one fell swoop.
16. Look down to reduce lag and run towards Song. Go through the broken gate and verify him. Time when you select Continue at the Mission Complete screen.

With this strategy the mission wound up being about 6:40 from mission start to time with a near-perfect helicopter hijacking, but I could get it under 6:30 in a perfect run.

Run Breakdown by Current Times:

Entire Clubs Section - 40:52 (if I can find a reliable spot for the Ace Helicopter Hijack trick I could shave a few minutes off this)
Diamonds Missions - ~32:00 (one mission needed to be restarted, more like 27)
Diamonds Ace - 4:30
Hearts Missions - 22:07 (with a TON of mistakes, a perfect run is 15 easy)
Hearts Ace - 2:01 (estimated, I started the timer part of the way into the load screen but I also didn't get a perfect Ace Helicopter Hijack, so it took me two tries. I think it balances out, will get a more accurate time)
Spades Missions - TBD (50 minutes?)
Spades Ace - 6:40

Total - TBD (approximately 2:40:00 based on current times, 2:30:00 for predicted best run possible)
Okay this forum has been deserted for about 4 years but if anyone sees this and wants to speedrun mercenaries we have a discord were trying to build a small community of runners for this game.
I loved this game I want to see some speed runs for this. I played it a while back. I am a bit more of a viewer then a player of speedrunning right now, but this is a good game to run.
Yeah but right now it's just me and two other guys trying to get a community going, were always looking for new players