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Pac is Back
Has anyone attempted speed runs of Plants vs Zombies?  I'm struggling to find forums with good players for this game.  I'll be picking up the DS version tonight and documenting my run, a SS 100% run if I can manage to finish before I have to go to class tomorrow.  This won't be recorded, as there would be too much room for improvement, but I plan on performing a decent marathon here and progressing further than any other player. 

If no one else posts, I'll simply edit my progress into this original post for my own reference, in the hopes that present lurkers or future posters take interest at all.
Thread title:  
This game fundamentally can't be speedran, as every level is on a timer.
Pac is Back
Quote from Nihilus:
This game fundamentally can't be speedran, as every level is on a timer.

Not exactly true, the 'timer' moves quicker when you kill zombies, and slower if you want to stall with tallnuts and pumpkins.  Lower offensive capability means a slower clear, because the zombies will be taking longer to die.  With that said, I think the ideal (only?) way to run it should be a long clear, making your consistency in design making and skill more clear.  If this was actually going to be a big serious run, I think we could make it work.  I don't know how big of a factor luck will ultimately be, because it IS a partial factor.  Still, if anyone else was willing to start at the official release of the game, I'm confident that either I, or a better player if one is out there competing, would come out with the fastest clear.

I doubt anyone cares as much as me, though, so good competition would be unlikely.
i'd love to watch a run of this game. seems like there'd be a lot of strategy involved.
Can you put up some test speedruns, to show us example strategy?
Edit history:
mattBLiTZ: 2011-01-18 05:20:24 am
mattBLiTZ: 2011-01-18 05:10:47 am
mattBLiTZ: 2011-01-18 04:30:52 am
Pac is Back
SS Adventure: 05:24:31
Just under 6 hours from midnight, including my walk back from Gamestop ^_^

Will post info in a bit but continuing the playthrough on the optional modes and unlocking more plants.

edit1:  Don't know how to record on DS  =X
edit2:  00:19:12.20 for I-Zombie, working towards 100%
edit3:  00:13:30.40 for Vasebreaker, this was an absolutely fucking MESS and just laughable.  I messed up three times on one stage right at the end, mostly due to stupid misclicks and not being used to DS controls >_>
edit4:  If I didn't have to go to class and whatnot, I would continue this SS run further :[
100% runs=great to watch
I would also think this to be swell as Tower Defense'ish speedruns have been pretty swell, though not numerous in ranks.  Like the Final Fantasy Crystal ones.
Edit history:
marshmallow: 2011-02-10 07:49:56 am
marshmallow: 2011-02-09 05:36:14 pm
Jack of all Trades
Wait...SS 100%? What does that even mean? 100%ing the game takes forever. And I don't remember adventure mode having things you can really miss.

Remember to start it on a fresh file, otherwise it'd be like a NG+. Also, I remember doing a little run to see how long it would take and I have to say that adventure mode is really, really boring. It drags like crazy. Not to say it shouldn't be done. The game should be represented if possible. Just saying people may not exactly flock to it.

On the non-SDA related side, does anyone hate themselves enough to get over 1000 flags in endless survival? I did that and I still have the save because with the setup it's impossible to lose unless you fall asleep. I think the current world record is around 4000. It helps to listen to music or a podcast while doing it.
SDA Apprentice -- (3-1)
I'm with marshmallow, a 100% run would be a bit overkill since that means you have to not only beat the game, but get all the items too (not counting survival and Puzzle)...  Meanwhile, the same can be said about a NG+ run...  I've seen what happens when you start another game in adventure, all what happens is that you get 3-4 plants preselected for you and you can select 3-4 more...  This can be good maybe, but then it could also screw up building plans if you make use of EVERY plant you want...

It will be more interesting to see a simple new game run and how it is implemented in the run...  Just like what getter said, Tower defenses can have speed runs, just look at sir VG's run of my life as a dark lord...

Still MattBlitz, along side with planning some DW games, we could also work on Plants vs Zombies as well...
Pac is Back
100%ing the game doesn't take that long...I would've done it if I didn't have so much school work to do.  Marathoning games isn't a big deal to me, so maybe our definitions of forever are different I guess?  I was thinking of it as completing everything that has a definite end (meaning no arbitrary endless survival stopping point).  I did Adventure, I-Zombie, and Vasebreaker in 06:57:13.  Then there was survival (which I didn't time) which consisted of...I think 10 levels?  5 normal and 5 hard if I remember correctly.  That would result in everything being done unless you're referring to all items as well, which didn't take too long to get either.  Am I missing anything?  If you think that's bad, I shouldn't tell you about that ~41 hour RDR 100% speed run Tongue

And for the record, I was planning on just doing the midnight release -> 100% all in one go as more of a tribute to how much I love the game, not to challenge others to beat my time necessarily.  As far as speed running goes there's stuff that's ideal and stuff that isn't.  I didn't really put any thought to where this game lies other than the fact that I love it and wanted to play the hell out of the DS version Cheesy

I think an NG+ adventure would be ideal but I'm not sure if the random aspect would be too bothersome.  I know on DS you only get 9 max so it would probably be ideal to do it on another system.  Those 3 spots at the beginning could probably mess up an ideal plan.  I'd have to put more thought into it though.  I'm not 100% on what would be the fastest setups if you have everything to choose from.  I only planned out a new game adventure.

@MAS8705:  Hi!  Excited for DW7?  I'm probably gonna try to get back into the DW/SW games a bit before it comes out because I'm definitely out of practice.  I have a capture card now so expect DW content from me in the future!
SDA Apprentice -- (3-1)
well if you feel up to the challenge Mr. Blitz, then I wish you the best of luck...

P.S. I can't wait for DW7, it looks awesome, and the idea of a new faction is something I can't wait to see...  That and DW: Gundam 3... DEATHSCYTHE!!!
Jack of all Trades
I was thinking more of the tree of wisdom going to 1000 feet and the zen garden stuff and getting all the shop items which would require an obscene amount of gold farming. But maybe that won't count.
Pac is Back
@MAS8705:  So excited for Gundam 3 as well.  Gonna be great recording levels Cheesy

@marshmallow:  Oh.  Well since the only purpose of getting the tree to 1k is unlocking codes (I thought the last was at 5000 though?) I don't think that would need to be included, nor purchasing all the shop items.  An argument could definitely be made for getting all plants, but again I don't think it would take too long to get done, if necessary.  100% SS by default is just a loooong kind of run.  Definitely not that bad though.
Willing to teach you the impossible
Anyone legitimately interested in this? I picked this game up again and thought about it a bit.
General Kong - Bullets and Bananas
I still play this.  Love the game.  I would like a new game run.  A new game plus would be redundant since you'd have all the plants from the start and do the same setup every 10 levels, based on the evironment.  But a new game, where you earn the plants as you go and are forced to be more creative, that could be interesting.
Edit history:
PerilousPeanut: 2014-11-24 02:55:47 pm
PerilousPeanut: 2014-11-24 02:55:20 pm
Bruh-zilian speedboy
I still sort of play this game (not nearly as often as i did years ago), and i honestly think a fresh New Game Adventure Mode Single-Segment could be a relatively interesting and strategy based run, as the aspect of getting new plants as you go means you have to adapt to new strategies as you go, especially due to the difficulty of some of the later levels. There's also the extremely important aspect of seed slots.

You only start out with 6 default slots, but as you get money throughout the game, you'll be able to updrage them up to 10, provided you have enough moolah. Every slot upgrade costs an additionally larger amount of cash, so that's a thing. You can also buy plant upgrades for later ones (e.g Cattails and Gloom Shrooms), but those cost a boatload of money which you may or may not have by the time those upgrades are available.

If seed slots cost too much/are too out of the way to be viable in a single-segment without resorting to the Last Stand money grinding strat, we may have to REALLY ration our plants later on, choosing only the strongest and quickest to build ones to take out the zombies relatively quickly and consistently. The alternate zombie types are also gonna be a major pain in the ass. Unless i'm sorely mistaken, you only get the plants that counter certain zombie types AFTER said zombies have already given you trouble. The bobsled zombies show up BEFORE you get the Jalapeno, Bungee Zombies appear before you get the Umbrella Leaf and i'm rather certain Hypno Shrooms show up AFTER you've already had to deal with Football Zombies. This, again, might be a major problem.

After i've done my playthrough to get used to the game again (it's been a while), i'll report back with more details.
Wake up and be awesome
I'd be interested to know which plants you'd use. I love this game and I'd love to see what a proper run of this game would look like. I'd say the Chomper plants (purple ones) are extremely overpowered and take out almost every zombie in one bite. Since they take a while, my strategy was to dig out the ones that are eating and replace them with new ones (at the expense of some sun, of course).
Bruh-zilian speedboy
Chompers are somewhat OP in the sense that they insta-kill any zombie besides gargantuars, but their 150 sun cost as well as their moderately slow recharge rate doesn't look too good, especially if you're only using them as emergency items/crowd control in a single segment, as Potato Mines can help take out early bird zombies while you set up your sun farm, while Cherry Bombs take up 3 rows and about 8 adjacent blocks (IIRC), which helps to clear up the huge zombie wave flags in later rounds, especially since the entire point of the run is to kill zombies as fast as possible to make sure the level speeds up.

Potato Mines take a bit to set up and be active, but their incredibly cheap sun cost makes up for it, as well as giving you more leeway with setting up your sun production before the start of a round. Cherry Bombs cost the same as Chompers, but UNLIKE chompers, they're instant use, quick, and take out a lot of zombies in a quick window of time. Potato Mines become obsolete once we acquire the Squash in World 3 (The Pool) as Squashes don't take any time to set up and do literally the same thing as Potatos, as well as having the advantage of being set up on water, which is one of the big reasons why Potato Mines are practically useless in the Pool and Fog worlds, as most of the major threats arrive from the water, which is our top priority in terms of offensive power.

There's also the issue of plant upgrades and plant slots. We only have 6 slots, and one of them is going to be used up for Sunflowers, and another one for an Emergency backup. That leaves us with only FOUR slots for attacking plants, and only THREE slots in the Pool and Fog worlds because we need lilypads do keep plants afloat (unless you want to rely on Sea Shrooms for Fog levels which is a terrible idea). Like i said before, rationing our plant resources is gonna be a big thing, otherwise we'll have to either give in and buy extra slots, or simply take advantage of the lawnmowers, the latter of which is an even worse idea.

heres a full run of the game by myself, would love to get some more people involved in this game
Willing to teach you the impossible
I will watch this over the next few days and give input
Edit history:
wfp: 2015-04-29 05:59:35 pm
wfp: 2015-04-29 05:19:06 pm
okay, your speedrun is not good.  as far as i know the way plants vs. zombies works you basically have autoscrollers that end after you kill the last zombie before a flag and after you clear a level.  all that really matters is that you kill these zombies as fast as possible, otherwise you just need to survive.  everything else is fixed time.  on multiple levels you let these zombies get killed by lawnmowers, which is super slow.

so your strategies really need to be designed to kill that last zombie before the flag as well as taking out the final wave as soon as possible.  the final wave is generally easy to deal with, cherry bomb plus two to three other instakill plants (you have to get a bit lucky with rng planting a potato mine in column 9 should you use them (for simplicity's sake i'll be referring to the map horizontally divided into 5-6 ROWS numbered top to bottom, and divided vertically into 9 COLUMNS numbered left to right)), staggered in a way that shouldn't let these zombies progress very far on day worlds.  and a doom shroom on night worlds/once you have access to the coffee bean.  but as you can't really use instakills on that last zombie before the final wave, you need your map otherwise set up to deal with him quickly (also note that the hypno-shroom counts as an instakill).

your chomper strategy has potential, though you're making some significant mistakes in terms of placement of sun-producing plants and with the potential exception of the roof and in the pool (cuz you don't want to risk flower pots and lillypads) chompers should always be placed in column 9.  and you should be planting sun producing plants in columns 1-5 on all levels except 5-1 (which is just an odd level).  you want the only hindrance to planting more chompers to be cool down never lack of sun.  overall while on one flag levels you may want to cap your number of sun-producing plants on multiple flag levels you can never have enough sun (an analogy i could use, which i'm not sure you'd be familiar with is building an economy on starcraft.  while if using a rush strat capping your number of workers is often optimal, if playing a longer game, you should never not be producing workers)

your three-peater strategy should place the plants in columns 6 and 7 with torchwoods in column 8 once available filling everything behind with sunflowers.  use starfruits instead on world 4 on levels with diggers and don't even bother building plants in column 1 until you have nowhere else to plant sun-producing plants.

as near as i can tell sun-shrooms are indeed better than sunflowers until you have 10-12 of them at which point sunflowers are better as you should have the sun for them (the fact that sunflowers pay for themselves after two drops while sunshrooms pay for themselves after two shots plus 5 sun left over is huge).  this creates a seed slot issue potentially.  had you collected all the potential money (digging up every grave in world 2, on 2-5 this may not be possible, and i'm not sure if it makes sense to hang around after the level digging up graves.  i should note that how the graves spawn is that at set points new ones spring up and if there are less than four graves, two will spawn which potentially may be useful information, stopping at 7 when you had plenty of sun made no sense) and never losing a lawnmower once they start being worth something, you could have afforded a ninth seed slot by 4-9 (though you'd miss out on roof-cleaners, which are not worth it) as you miss at least $1000, but getting two diamonds seems rare to me, so this may be very rng based.  potentially you could also get the superplants instead of the ninth slot, though i'm not sure they're actually all that worthwhile.  i also estimate that the rake is totally worth buying as soon as it's available and throughout the rest of the game every time it wears out.

personally i don't think scaredy-shrooms are worth it.  they're essentially peashooters that don't work at close range for 1/4 the cost on a level where sun isn't automatically produced.  fume-shrooms are more expensive but they hit everything in a row in range.  you should be angling to replace all your puff-shrooms with fume-shrooms if this is the strategy you're using instead of wasting money on scaredy-shrooms in places where a sun-producing plant should be.

lastly on 4-5, break the vases right to left instead of left to right, this increases the chances of doubling up on squash kills.  also using a hypno-shroom on a lead dancer zombie is awesome.

think these are all my thoughts, i have the pc version which seems like it'd be way faster to run, especially on tablet pcs, but it doesn't seem my computer's good enough to run it and record at the same time.  i honestly believe sub 4 is possible.
Willing to teach you the impossible
I have not finished watching the run yet, but I would like to make a few comments on wfp's thoughts.

Eco: I agree and have been doing a few trial runs on 360 (I cant seem to let my 360 let me play anything more than the trial on a new account). I have gotten a few seconds faster times using modified strats that was presented. The biggest thing is I never stopped planting sun (15 per stage and some  got up to 18-19) I feel this should be planned out exactly how many in ever stage as the last 3-6 seems like they dont pay for themselves so it was a waist to plant. So I do like and understand the SC mentality, on the other hand we do know how long each stage is so this should be planned out. We should stop planting sun once we know it wont be a profit/have enough to continuously plant other stuff based on cost vs cd.

"Autoscrolling": This is sort of true. The game is auto scroll but is sped up by the death of a zombie. Play any round where you have the cherry bomb and just use it when their is only one zombie entering the screen and watch the bar at the bottom, you will see it speed up the the next zombie spawn then slow back down. So that means EVERY zombie is worth instakilling so long as you can use instakill plants on the final round. This will be most useful in later lvls for multiple zombie kills.
Edit history:
wfp: 2015-04-30 02:40:03 pm
wfp: 2015-04-30 02:39:59 pm
wfp: 2015-04-30 02:39:57 pm
i realize the bar advances based on zombie kills, but that doesn't necessarily correlate to how zombies spawn.  this is most noticeable at the very start of any level where it very obviously takes the second zombie a set amount of time to spawn regardless how quickly you kill the first.  i wouldn't rule out the possibility there are mini-checkpoints in addition to killing the last zombie before a flag that can speed things up, but i'm fairly confident that it doesn't actually matter how quickly you kill the majority of the zombies as an autoscroller is essentially in effect, though more testing would probably be needed.

very happy to see you've done some testing with the sunflower production, most of my experimentation with this game has been in seeing how quickly i can get max sun and an impenetrable lawn on survival infinite mode (9 flags is the best i've managed, but 8 seems possible) which is a set up that has me planting 32 sunflowers and converting 8-9 of them to double sunflowers (most of which periodically get dug up), so i'm used to trying to build up a much larger reserve than is probably actually necessary, just when chompers were being delayed by lack of sun rather than cooldown it was pretty glaring.
it would appear my example of the second zombie is not true.  though i think it holds for the third.  fact is the zombies come in groups and only the last of each group appears to advance the level (in some instances it would seem you can even let zombies in the middle of groups hang around and still advance).  managed what should be a 4:30 restarting two levels after recognizing early on i selected the wrong plants and having to sit through the zen garden segment as i'm playing on pc and figured i'd lose more time force-quitting the game and rebooting to skip it.  pc also doesn't seem to be able to skip the new plant screen as fast and that ninth seed slot costs me $20K which i never achieve (though this may be owing to the fact i have the launch version of the game, later versions may be patched).  my sub-4 estimate may be too generous, but there's still a lot that can be saved here.

i think the biggest thing is that the chomper strategy doesn't really keep up on multi-flag levels, and i really think peashooters may be better especially once the three-peater becomes available.  world 5 was ridiculously easy with four columns of sunflowers, two columns of threepeaters, and a column of torchwood and also seemed relatively fast.  gatling pea is probably even better here and may even be worth buying as soon as it's available.
Willing to teach you the impossible
The zombie group idea sounds very possible. If so it will come to knowing how many per group, plant peashooters to damage early zombies and stack on the last one per group for a slightly faster kill if an insta kill is not available.

I dont know if I can back the three-peater idea. 325 per for 1 in each lane (108.3 sun per lane) vs 100 for 1 pea in a single lane (100 sun per lane). It will save space for other plants in the roof stage but other than that I dont think they should be considered to be so good.