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Submission #2727: Bag of Magic Food's GBA Mega Man Battle Network in 55:40.65

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: Mega Man Battle Network
Game version: USA
ROM filename: 0165 - Megaman Battle Network (U)(Venom).gba
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 55:40.65
FrameCount: 200439
Re-record count: 52090
Author's real name: Ryan Ferneau
Author's nickname: Bag of Magic Food
Submitter: Bag of Magic Food
Submitted at: 2010-07-03 06:03:32
Text last edited at: 2010-08-15 05:58:23
Text last edited by: Bag of Magic Food
Download: Download (12901 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

<ray> dr. wily has a world wide web of digital domination!

A year ago I started playing this game out of boredom and curiosity to see what this strange Action-RPG series loosely based on MegaRockMan played like. (Yes there's a DS version of the first game now, but it has worse sound, changes some game mechanics I liked while failing to update many things that really needed it, and is only in Japanese, so I don't see it holding a lot of appeal.) It portrays a world where embedded computing contains a needless amount of artificial intelligence which is given a needless amount of responsibility over real-world systems. Also, computer networks are now depicted as a three-dimensional world with its own physics and 4 elements, where warring agents of the cyberworld wail on each other with cartoon weapons on small grids. People often describe this world as one where "everything is connected to the internet", but there are plenty of appliances MegaMan can visit that don't connect to anything else at all. That does raise the question of why everything is infested with "viruses" that manifest as random battles with strange creatures. Perhaps the key feature of this world is that almost everything has a universal jack positioned so that any dumb 10-year-old can hack into it. (Or that people can now CONTROL THE ATMOSPHERE AND CRUST OF THE EARTH as I learned in the second game.)

That brings us to Lan "Netto" Hikari, the dumb 10-year-old cybervigilante who happens to be one of this game's two playable characters. He seems to be the main character on account of his father being on the scientific forefront of all this needless network management AI stuff. And not only are there two characters, but there are two worlds, as our hero MegaMan.exe the NetworkNavigator is trapped in the virtual world, doomed to fight random battles everywhere he goes and talk to boring cyber-people. Until tool-assisted speed-running came along, that is!

Normally a Battle Network player will spend half the game in the actual network battles, where MegaMan is stuck on one side of a 6x3 grid and his virus opponents are stuck on the other side. It's a bit like a sport with a net across the middle, where the players lob shots at each other to whittle down their Hit Points until one suffers critical existence failure. MegaMan gets his Mega Buster, of course, but as it starts out very weak, you want to rely on the "battle chips" that Lan slots in to do more major damage, attack a different size area, put up a defense, change the playing field, or various other effects. Each chip can only be used once per battle, but can be re-used in as many battles as you like. Though it seems Lan doesn't have complete control over how these chips get sent to MegaMan, as it happens in card-game style, where 5 random chips are drawn first out of the 30 the player assigns to the "folder". 8.5 seconds after choosing battle chips (as shown by the progress bar above the battle), the player is allowed to go back and choose more chips, with the used chips replaced by other random ones from the folder. It's unlikely a player will be able to take 5 chips into battle at a time early on, though, as there's a restriction that only chips of the same kind or the same code may be selected together. Going by the same "kind" of chip is obvious, as the tutorial points out by suggesting you select 2 Cannon chips on the first turn. The "code" means that every chip in the game is assigned an arbitrary letter of the English alphabet. In this game, a single kind of chip may be found in 1 of 5 of those letter codes. And the rule is that either ALL of the chips are the same kind, or ALL of the chips are the same code before you can select them at the same time; you can't join a string of chips together by some of each method.

So typically you would want to fill your folder with copies of your favorite strong battle chips early on, and later try to fill the folder with strong chips that are all of the same code as your collection expands. But thanks to a little memory watching and a lot of luck manipulation, MegaMan can go almost as battle-free as Lan, only fighting if he really wants to, and can start every battle with exactly the chips he really needs!

You may notice I make the playable characters "hug the walls" a lot, even running against them at an angle. This is actually the best way to move. When you hit a wall at an acute angle, your character immediately starts moving parallel to the wall, despite facing a different direction, and upon passing the end of a wall, he immediately goes back to moving in the direction he was facing. Since you didn't have to change your character's direction of motion manually, you don't lose the 1 frame for each direction change. This means that in a long zig-zag corridor, it's best to let the walls bounce you back and forth until you really need to turn the corner. There's also a quirk to the fastest way to exit areas, and it has to do with the amount of speed you get in each direction. Running horizontally takes you across 2 pixels per frame, and so does running vertically. Running diagonally also takes you across 2 pixels per frame horizontally, but only 1 pixel vertically. (This is for running/skating, as in "holding down the B button". There's no point in walking unless you have time to kill, but just for reference, all the values are halved, so diagonal would be 1 pixel of horizontal per frame, and 1 pixel of vertical every other frame.) That's why you want to pick just one direction for as much of a trip as you can, because the wall-hugging can take care of the changes in direction you need to make. Or if you do need to change from diagonal to horizontal, you can vary the amount of each and cover the same horizontal distance, but arrive at a different vertical position to reach a key object where it "sticks out" the most horizontally. Now, area exits, like most walls, are sloped the same way as your diagonal motion, 2 horizontal for every 1 vertical. If you're approaching them from above or below, then it actually doesn't matter whether you move toward an exit vertically or diagonally; going vertically, you have double the vertical distance, but double the vertical speed, so it comes out the same as the diagonal way. It may look slower to the eye to go vertically into an exit sometimes, but isometric is funny like that. And it often saves that 1 frame of turning if you were going vertically before anyway. Now, it IS slower to approach an exit with pure horizontal motion when you come around a corner from the side, as the proper diagonal direction would have shortened the horizontal distance.

What does this have to do with random battles? Well, the game seems to start a battle if you happen to be running on certain randomly-chosen frame numbers. So one way to avoid battles is to stop running briefly right before the battle would have happened. Sometimes it takes more than one frame of stopping, as there are multiple frames in a row which trigger a battle. Zurreco made a test run up to the second boss a long time ago that was a big inspiration for me and KirkQ, and I believe he switched from running to walking and back to running to accomplish the stopping, but this method can waste more frames than you want to. See, not only do you stop for a frame when you change direction, but you also lose a frame when you change speed--pressing or letting go of B. Now when you're forced to wait multiple frames, this can be the more elegant way to do it, but it gets difficult to keep track of whether you waited just the right amount, so most of the time I would do a series of direction changes, costing 1 frame each. This is another way wall-hugging helps: You get two valid directions for reaching your next destination, so you can switch between them without getting thrown off course.

But, I had to restart the run after I discovered a less costly way to avoid getting into battles. By pressing the A button on a frame just before a battle would have started, MegaMan may fail to get into the battle, and he won't lose any time stopping. I think this has to do with the game suspending any kind of "area warps" while it checks what objects MegaMan might be examining, as I can also press A right before an area exit and cause him to run for 1 extra frame before the screen starts to darken. Sometimes this doesn't work to skip a battle, but that's because there were multiple battle-triggering frames in a row, and pressing A only skipped to the next one, so some waiting would still be required. Now initially I thought the A button only worked right before a battle (4 frames subtracted from the frame everything freezes and starts to brighten on VBA), but as I worked out a way to get a random battle that I actually needed, I discovered that there were other frames on which the A button would also skip or delay the battle, though sometimes it will make a battle happen sooner. This is because all those other frames were "potential" battle frames, and on those frames a press of A shifts the whole matrix of checking-for-battle-triggers back by 1 frame, which delaying MegaMan's movement also does, except that works on any frame. So some combination of testing the possible battle frames for the right number of A presses that will push back the next battle as much as possible along with a bit of movement delay at the end is needed. Even later, I discovered that there is a pattern to these potential battle frames: They are all 32 frames apart, at least until you start delaying them with the A button or stopping/turning. Well, 32 frames of running, that is--I think it's every 64 frames of walking, which matches something KirkQ found in the memory about the game checking for a multiple of 64 somewhere to start a battle. Now, I didn't fully understand all of this at the start of my latest run, so my ability to avoid battles without delay may have improved SLIGHTLY in later parts of the run, but I don't think it's anything major.

KirkQ's use of this knowledge of the relevant memory address to make a "cheating" script which stopped all random battles was very helpful for me to test the exact times of various routes to compare them without worrying about the delays that battles would introduce. This allowed me to make a table of all items near the main game path and how much time they cost to obtain, so I could figure out which combination would give the most “bang for your buck”. Another very helpful script he made involved finding the positions of all the battle chips as they were loaded into a battle. You know how the order you receive chips from your folder is supposed to be random? Well, we saw for ourselves what folder slots the game had chosen, an array with the numbers 0-29. Unfortunately we couldn't find where in memory the game decided the order ahead of time, but being able to backtrack out of the next battle after seeing the order is helpful enough. By starting a boss battle after progressively longer delays I was even able to notice a pattern and figure out what the game is doing behind the scenes: There appear to be two possible orders the game keeps track of, one that it selects if the battle starts on an even frame, and one for if it starts on an odd frame. And every frame, it swaps a random pair of the slots in both orders. (I'm guessing this because each time the order appears, two pairs have been swapped since last time.) So there tend to be only a few unique orders of chips in the moments immediately before a battle.

How do you take advantage of this? Well, the fact that all this random stuff freezes while looking at any of the submenus helps. What I would do is open the Folder, save state, immediately close the folder, and see what chip orders I would get next. Then I would load back to editing the folder, and whichever chips I needed for that next battle, I would move them into the slots that were to come up first. It's a good idea to run a script to automate this and check the next couple hundred orders, in case there's an order that comes up with a bit more waiting but less cursor movement to arrange the folder (or even an order that already has the chips you need without having to edit the folder, but fat chance of that). Cursor movement has its own set of techniques for optimization. For some reason, any button presses that relate to cursor movement--the direction pad, or the shoulder buttons for page-up/page-down--requires the button to be pressed for at least 2 frames, not just 1. But typically the cursor is allowed to move at least a frame before the select or confirm buttons work, so it evens out somewhat. Plus, the game allows some cursor commands to overlap by 1 frame, even opposite directions.

Now, before I start to describe the main story scenarios of the game, I need to point out that route planning needs to take into account a point in the game where MegaMan has to be judged as "strong enough" to continue on and receive the next key item. The first time he's judged, it's for whether he's collected at least 60 kinds of battle chips. Not 60 individual battle chips, but sixty kinds, so multiples of the same chip don't count, even if they have different letter codes. And you don't need to actually have those battle chips with you, you just need to have owned them sometime in the past; it's 60 entries in your data LIBRARY. Er, since people inevitably compare this game series to Pokemon, think of filling the Pokedex and showing it to the professor. Lan's chip folder starts with 10 kinds of battle chips already: Cannon, Shotgun, CrossGun, MiniBomb, Sword, WideSwrd, X-Panel1 (a.k.a. "PanelOut"), Recov10, (Area)Steal, and Escape. Additionally, there are 5 chips you can't avoid collecting during the main story: Spreader, Roll, Recov50, GutsMan, and Roll2. Thus, it's up to a speedrunner to plan to find 45 more kinds in any way possible before reaching that point.

The other way MegaMan is judged is by his "level". Here's another way MegaRockMan.EXE differs from the traditional RPG: No experience points! All you can win from battles are money and battle chips, with those battle chips based on the abilities of the enemy you deleted so you can say "Now I've got your power." So while you can earn an ever-increasing arsenal from battles, the only way to raise your level is to find power-ups in the overworld, which exist in a finite number, so your level tops out at 100 once you collect them all. Your level starts at 1, and three kinds of items increase it. HPmemory increases your Hit Points by 20 and your Level by 1; PowerUPs improve your MegaBuster in a way you decide and increase your Level by 3 (but only after you equip them!); and Armors halve damage from all elements but one and increase your Level by 6. At that certain point in the game, MegaMan's level needs to be 30, so a speedrunner also needs to decide which combination of these items to purchase and collect throughout the journey.

Well, those are the basics, so now I can explain the story!

Day 1

You probably already guessed this, but pushing Start skips most cutscenes. That's why sometimes the screen will suddenly fade out and in and people will change locations, not because Lan has any kind of magical teleportation power. Usually it's good enough to hold the Start button down the entire time the screen's fading, but sometimes you need to release it when it's not needed or you'll delay the next scene. Anyway, we meet Lan and see him collect MegaMan's digital prison, the PDA known as the PET.

I made Lan skip breakfast this time, which is pretty mean, since the bad guys in this game (who call themselves the "WWW" and announce their plans to the world in detail, brilliant cyberterrorists they are) also cause Lan to miss meals on multiple occasions, so I think that's why he gets a vendetta against them. By eating the breakfast you get a Recov10 chip, which wouldn't increase the library, but would provide a throw-away chip for a trading sequence later on. This time though, I calculated it out that I didn't need the spare here.

The first day at school provides the very first tutorial sequence, and this is one of the only games where the tutorial makes sense because Lan isn't known to be an expert NetBattler yet. You can talk to various other students first, but only talking to the big guy Dex starts a scene which leads into the school bell sounding, so that's what I do--you have to watch out for cutscene triggers that aren't obvious like that. And here's the very first "Jack in" sequence, where gyroscopes around a crystal represent flowing through a cord. The real world may have continuous locations, but many parts of the cyberworld are completely isolated from all the rest, so Lan has to find new jack-in locations throughout the game to give MegaMan new areas to explore.

In the first two tutorials, you get a predetermined set of chips rather than a random draw from your folder, and you're forced into performing certain actions. In the first, you have to select at least one battle chip, and if you select a Cannon, you have to select the other Cannon. This is the best way to go anyway, since they each destroy a Mettool in a single hit. (It’s not MegaMan unless there are Mettools, y’know!) In the second battle, you're forced to select AreaSteal and WideSword, so I may as well use them to speed things up. Then you're expected to wait until your 8.5-second gauge fills to send another chip, but we don't have to do that. Instead, I was able to rapid-fire the Mettool to death in the time it would have taken to send more chips. Now, the thing to understand about the MegaBuster is that how fast you can fire while standing on the same square depends on your Rapid stat and how many panels there are between MegaMan and the thing directly in front of him. At Rapid level 1, you can fire once every 7 frames at point-blank range, once every 11 frames across one square, once every 15 frames across two squares, and so on. However, every time you move to another panel, this forced wait time on the Buster is forgotten, and by rapidly switching panels and firing after each move, I get a rate of one shot every 14 frames. I think it's 10 frames for just a panel movement, so the beginning of the buster animation only adds a few more. That makes it the slightly superior way to attack an enemy in the back column. In this battle though, I got to use the Steal, so I stood in front of the last Mettool as long as I could until I had to dodge its shockwave.

Now, in successive games the third tutorial will force you to use the Add button, but here it's only a suggestion. Additionally, the battle chips are a random draw from your real folder, so I was able to luck-manipulate 3 Cannons to beat the Mettools fast. This time I was even able to do it just by waiting, as the odds are good for getting 3 chips you have 4 of in a 5-chip draw, and it was a little faster than editing the folder to do it. In the later, more demanding battles, this is never really possible. As these battles are only training, though, you don't get prizes from any of them. :(

Soon there'll be an attack by that wily WWW, but first MegaMan feels like running some errands on the Internet, with its comforting trance music. At first you can only jack into the Internet from Lan's computer, but taking home page addresses marked with an @ symbol through the big round pads that say "ACCESS" will give MegaMan a new computer to reach the Internet from. On this trip we help a lost program for a Navi of one of Lan's friends Yai, bump into the exit to the next area to set off a flag for a later plot point to happen right, and collect some big money through luck manipulation. I should point out that the "mystery data" crystals in this game aren't color-coded like in all the sequels; they're just arbitrarily assigned colors to each location. Some will contain only one possible item and disappear forever after you take them, while others have random contents depending on what area you're in and will replenish themselves every time you jack in. However, the random mystery data in the first two areas of the Internet also have random ‘’locations’’, so I had to go to the trouble of figuring out what locations were possible and re-entering the portal at different times until I got what I needed. What I figured out with some memory watching is that although Internet-1 has 8 possible locations for its 2 random mystery data items, they can't pick just any 2 of those 8; rather, each of the items has 4 possible locations, independent of the other. So there are 4 * 4 = 16 possible combinations locations for Internet-1, not 8 * 7 = 56 as you might have suspected. Internet-2 has 4 random items in 16 possible locations, but again that's 4 for each. And while random mystery data contents aren't decided until MegaMan actually receives the item, the locations of items for both areas are already decided once he steps into the portal. So manipulating just one item's location is a cinch with just a 1 in 4 chance; two items, it won't take too many frames with the 1 in 16 chance; you want three items, that's 1 in 64, might take a second or more of luck-manipulating waiting time; and you see it just gets exponentially worse from there.

Finishing the lost program quest for Glyde starts the burning oven emergency, so that's when I jack out. ("Jacking out" with the R button lets MegaMan leave the Net without running all the way back to the entrance, but he'll still start back at the entrance the next time he jacks in.) Soon it will be revealed that the smart-house repairman was really a smart-house saboteur, and our heroes will take matters into their own hands to stop the overheating appliance. The first battle in the oven is NOT random--you're forced to fight a Mettool after a little conversation. Using an Escape chip would be the fastest way to end this, but I want a certain chip from this virus, so as long as I'm in this battle anyway I go for it. Now, the reason I make MegaMan fight "badly" here is to give this battle a different "Busting Level". That's how the game decides how good a prize to give you, by rating your battling ability according to a few different factors. You get points for defeating multiple enemies simultaneously, for not taking hits, for not moving more than a couple of spaces, and for finishing under certain time thresholds like 5 seconds (and unlike future games, this game counts the time the last enemy stands there exploding, so that's why an "instant" victory against a boss will still show up as something like 1.59 sec). I could defeat this Mettool instantly for a Busting Level of 9, but since my meticulous testing revealed that it won't drop the MetGuard G chip at any level higher than 5, I get hit a couple of times, move around a lot, and waste time until 5.01 seconds would have passed. :) Now I should point out that once inside a battle, only a few actions will change what a virus with random AI will do next, or what the prize will be at the current Busting Level. Attacking anything will usually change the randomness, even if that thing was shielded. Getting hit by an attack will also change it, though that's really only an option in the Mettool battle. So most of the time I'll be firing the Buster seemingly pointlessly, which works well on most bosses because they get an invincibility period after a strong enough hit anyway.

Since the fire department isn't what it used to be, Lan has to rescue MegaMan from some particularly bad flames with a water pistol. Uh, yeah, this is the first of many times the game will force you to switch back to Lan in the middle of a main "dungeon" in order to perform some task for MegaMan to be able to proceed, to give the player a sense of cooperation in the story. Anyway, MegaMan solves some limited-use fire-dousing item puzzles, collects some chips and money he'll need later (and I had to calculate how much time each route through the second area took with each possible decision of items to collect!), and takes on the first WWW boss, FireMan. Yeah, not only MegaMan, but loads of characters from the previous MegaMan series got ugly redesigns for this new EXE series. Of course FireMan.exe has various flame-throwing attacks, ho hum, but since I manipulate him to always move to the front so I can keep hitting him with the high-powered Sword chips, he doesn't get to do anything. I've gotten slightly lower deletion times on FireMan before, but I wasn't quite as lucky with the luck manipulation this time, but it's nothing noticeable. And in case you're wondering, it's impossible to win a chip from version 1 of a NetNavi; you always get a set amount of money no matter what your Busting Level, so these slick "S ranks" do nothing for me. (Similarly, version 2 Navis always give their version 1 battle chips as reward, no matter how high or low your Busting Level. Only version 3s have the whole range of prizes.)

So Mr. Match meets his match, we beat FireMan and get to go to bed, but this is also one of those situations where despite the good guys winning, the bad guy gets away with some plot coupon he needs for his big bad final plan. In this case it was the "FireProgram" found in the particular model of oven the Hikaris use, as this world's Dr. Wily is collecting "SuperPrograms" based on the four elements that make up this series's rock-paper-scissors gimmick, which I didn't take much advantage of in this run.

Day 2

Lan is running late for school, so this time you control his entire trip into the school building and see what the rest of it looks like rather than just teleporting straight into classroom 5A. He somehow sneaks into a seat in the front row without his teacher Ms. Mari noticing, or maybe just not caring, then you have to talk to everyone in the classroom while you wait for the new teacher Mr. Higsby to teach math or start the next period or something, I forget the exact story now. And yes, I checked and made sure that it's all the people you have to talk to to get the next scene to happen, but none of the inanimate objects. (To do checks on stuff like this, try leaving a different character for last each time you test an order of visiting.) I couldn't improve much on Zurreco's route here, but I did start to work out the secret of walking through characters around this scenario of the game. The trick is, you have to turn away from the direction you want to walk for just 1 frame, then turn back and you'll be allowed to walk through people for several more frames. It works best going diagonally; if you want to go horizontally or vertically through someone, you need to turn in two different diagonal directions, meaning another frame of delay. Doesn't work on background scenery as far as I can tell. Whether something is background scenery also tends to make the difference in whether a press of the A button scans the current place you're facing, or where you were on the previous frame, so watch out for that.

And in case you didn't figure it out, the reason people talk to each other back-to-back is that the game gives you a few frames to run away before a text box pops up, so of course I take advantage of that and start running to the next location, and NPCs are programmed to face the opposite direction of Lan, so if he's turned away, they're turned away too. I recall the next game fixes that so they just turn to face Lan/MegaMan.

So Mr. Higsby enters, and he looks like animated Han Solo wearing scary shiny glasses and Spike Spiegel's afro, when suddenly DOOM! Okay what happened is Higsby turned out to be another one of those WWW saboteurs, and he's locked everyone inside the classrooms to broadcast some kind of brainwashing program for the WWW on whatever displays those classrooms are supposed to have.

Before you can start to fight back, you first have to watch a scene where Dex sends GutsMan in to try the same thing and fail miserably. It's skippable with Start, but I found an even faster way to skip it by pressing Start on a "frame of opportunity" to open the ‘’menu’’. This is one of several situations where going in and out of any submenu twice will make the game think you've finished something, in this case watching the cutscene, presumably because the game faded back into the world an extra time even though you didn't do anything. This is also why it sometimes helps timewise to press Start at the last possible frame before changing the Folder before a boss battle, as in cases like that the game may not fade back in at all, and the fade time will be skipped. Lan is forced to accept Mayl's offer of her Navi Roll in chip form before jacking into the blackboard, and then it's onto the next dungeon, which happens to feature this game's "hero theme"!

Here the puzzle gimmick is that locks on doors need to be disabled by entering 2-digit codes, some of which are found by checking something in the school as Lan, and some of which are random and need to be found by a guessing game where the computer is too nice and tells you in what way your guess was wrong, but then changes the passcode if you guess too many times--so how are the real owners of the passcode supposed to know what it was changed to? It turns out the random numbers for these locks do change every frame, but not in a random way: They simply count up by 1 every frame until you choose to enter the passcode. So the next passcode is basically the last two digits of the frame count plus or minus some constant. It takes 8 frames to slide the digits up or down after the first one, so in may cases it's a little faster to let the ones digit count up to the next zero rather than enter the first number you get. For the first random number, I was able to manipulate it to be 00 due to the fact that I switched back to Lan for the previous door. There's no need for the player who has foreknowledge of the questions' answers to run around counting anything, but since Lan has somewhere to be next, I can take him in the direction of the door for the number of frames it takes for the random number to count up to 00. I noticed something odd about the first couple of non-random number locks: After you break the first one, MegaMan can start moving a couple frames earlier if you're holding Start. And after the second one opens, MegaMan just stands still for a few seconds unless you press Start to fade out and in, which saves time even though there wasn't really a cutscene to skip. Pretty odd, but since the school network was the first piece of RockMan.exe ever demoed, maybe they're leftover bits of code from things that were taken out. One of the doors is optional to unlock too, it just leads to an HPMemory that was too far out of the way for me to get, though it opens anyway once the boss is defeated. This network's cool once you realize how its classrooms and doors map to the real-world school building. (But how does it work that Lan can still operate MegaMan when he runs far away from the port he jacked into? Is there another component that communicates with the main PET wirelessly? Then why don't they just use wireless access to begin with?)

Other stuff happens, Lan frees MegaMan from a frozen computer, rescues Ms. Mari, and uses her pass to allow MegaMan to unlock the final door to the boss. Now, this must be the hardest battle to set up for, as although most random numbers are frozen while on a submenu, the random passcode isn't; it keeps counting up as I rearrange the folder. Then if it counts up higher than it did before I did the folder arrangement, the chip order I get first will be a different one, and the folder arrangement will have been no good. See what a tricky dilemma this can be? And I had to arrange 9 chips! I figured out a fast way in the end, though I was unlucky and ended up with a tens digit of 5, the digit the furthest away from 0. The battle with NumberMan went well, though. With his glass dome head, he's the Navi who looks more like BrightMan than the actual BrightMan.exe. And as he's good at absorbing attacks and it takes me a while to set up my master strategy, he actually gets to show off most of his abilities. This time, my extraneous shots manipulate the ball in the center row to have as low a number as possible, as the numbers dictate the balls' HP. This is my only battle with two uses of the custom window. The first uses A code chips, and that (Earth)Quake1 A showed up just in time to do major damage, and the Steal A, while it doesn't increase my library completion, allows me to get close enough to NumberMan to use Swords after I use my original Steal S on the second turn. On a previous run of this I just stood in front of NumberMan while his final time bomb went off, but somebody complained that I should have shot the bomb while NumberMan was invincible. So this time I shot it as much as I could just for kicks while still slashing NumberMan at the first opportunity. There wouldn't be enough time to destroy the CountBomb/DieBomb unless I bought a PowerUp for the Buster earlier, but although that would speed up the battle a little, it wouldn't cover the cost of the extra shop visit.

The next thing you're required to do takes a bit of explaining. Lan and MegaMan decide to visit their father at his office in the SciLab, now that the Metroline transport service has opened. In this game, DenCity comprises ACDC Town where Lan and friends live, DenTown which is basically DOWNtown, and the Government Complex containing the water treatment plant and the ever-changing research laboratory known as the SciLab throughout the series, and the Metroline gives Lan free rides to all three places because he's a kid. It's almost as convenient as getting all your Pokemon healed for free at the Pokemon Center--I mean, as getting MegaMan healed for free after every battle in this game! However, you quickly learn that the Metroline isn't quite open for business yet, because of some rockslide on the tracks, or the failure of a safety system become of some virus caused a train to hit the rocks, or they're just worried that trains will hit the rocks because of a safety problem, or, something, I don't really understand. Just know that we have to beat some stone-based Navi in the part of the Internet that corresponds to the Metroline. However, that part of the Internet is blocked off to MegaMan, and the only person who has access is Dex for some reason. That's why I bumped into that exit earlier: Lan and MegaMan have to "know" that there's restricted access before they can go asking for the access links. There are a few situations like that in this game, where just because the player knows what to do doesn't mean that Lan/MegaMan will know they're supposed to do that and have the right conversation. That's also why I had to talk to that particular Metroline station worker, so Lan would "know" what the problem was. So you ask Dex for the link; ‘’however’’, he won't just give it to you, but challenges you to a NetBattle with GutsMan first; ‘’however’’, he won't even let you battle him until you give him a chip that can only be found in Lan's other friend Mayl's electronic piano, greedy guy. This mission has a lot of ‘’howevers’’, huh? So that's why I'm swinging over to Mayl's house first. It's possible to get that chip from the piano right after beating FireMan, but it's a little quicker to do it on the way over to the Metroline.

This battle with GutsMan's a bit unusual, because he's already powered up to his second version, but I didn't have to fight his first version first, which is usually a prerequisite for enemy Navis to level up. GutsMan's first version doesn't even have a reward, though, so it's just as well. GutsManV2 doesn't have a prize screen either, but you get his chip from Dex in a conversation in addition to the /Dex link, so it works out all right. On to the second trip through the Internet, where I manipulate those 2 1000z pick-ups again and spend all that hard-earned cash on 2 PowerUps from one of those Threepio-looking NormalNavis who stand in one spot for the entire game to either sell you stuff or give you a hint on how to proceed through the next section. PowerUps are power-ups that enhance your MegaBuster in one of three ways: Attack, Rapid, and Charge, and you get to choose which one to enhance with each PowerUp you equip. (The Japanese version calls them Buster-Ups, which makes a bit more sense. This game can get confusing referring to both HPMemories and PowerUps as kinds of PowerUps. @_@) You can upgrade each stat up to 4 times, so they can range from 1 to 5. You need to use at least one PowerUp on Charge before you can charge up at all (multiplier of 8 once you see the green glow, multipler of 16 once you see the purple glow), and then further PowerUps spent on Charge just make it charge up faster. I didn't end up needing to charge up, though. Rapid makes you wait slightly less amounts of time between shots of the buster so you can fire faster, but the difference is so subtle that it's not worth the trouble at all. Attack is a simple multiplier on your buster's damage, charged or otherwise, which makes it VERY valuable to power up. With two PowerUps, I go from dealing 1 HP per shot to doing 3 HP per shot against the next boss.

Now, you know that GutsMan G chip I won? It's a Navi chip, which means that using it in a battle freezes everything while the Navi teleports in in place of MegaMan to do a powerful attack against the enemies while they can't move. If that sounds a little broken, then well that's why you're restricted to only placing 5 Navi chips total in your Folder, while any other chip can have up to 10 copies in the Folder at once. But I don't use GutsMan's chip on its own. Instead, my plan is to use what's called a "Program Advance" (or "morph" in this game’s dialogue, I guess it's an attempted localization that never caught on), which requires selecting certain chips in a certain order to replace them with a much more powerful attack than any of the chips had individually. Some Program Advances have combinations that are obvious to figure out, while others would require so much trial and error to guess that they could be considered secret codes. The Program Advance I'll be using is called GutsShoot, for when the bosses are too strong or timid for Swords and Busters to be effective. It requires selecting MetGuard G, Dash(Attack) G, and GutsMan G in that order, which become a Fastball Special that does a whopping 500 points of damage to a single target. So that's why I battle for Dash G before continuing on to StoneMan.

This "Fishy" virus only drops its Dash chip at high Busting Levels, usually at S, sometimes at 10, and as I discovered by accident as I was goofing around before recording for real, rarely at 9. Battling a single virus is quicker than battling two, if only because each virus has to fade in one at a time, but it's impossible to get better than 9 for the Busting Level against a lone virus, as the multiple deletion bonus is impossible. So I had to manipulate a battle with a Fishy, where I had chips that would delete it quickly, and then manipulate that battle to give Dash G at only Level 9. Those 8 shots for luck manipulation wasted a couple of seconds, but it was a better outcome than I managed to get waiting for any similar battle, so I just had to accept it. Perhaps a discovery of more advanced techniques will make events like these go more smoothly in future runs.

So StoneMan.exe goes down with the previously mentioned strategies--MegaBuster shots need to come first because GutsShoot would give StoneMan invulnerability time--and then we get to a somewhat boring part of the game where it's just Lan running around the real world a lot. He pays a visit to his dad's office, but finds neither his dad nor the power-ups he was promised; however upon arriving home, he gets an e-mail from Dr. Hikari containing the power-ups and another apology. One thing to note is the home page address MegaMan grabs in Dr. Hikari's computer, called "@Dad". This is optional, but provides a great shortcut later on. Another thing is the e-mails Lan opens before he goes to bed. After all these e-mails Lan keeps receiving, you'd expect I'd have to open ‘’some’’ of them, wouldn't you? There's one e-mail that most players won't receive, because it contains an item right next to that Recov50 L chip you collect to battle Dex: @Mayl. This item is necessary to obtain because what home page addresses (marked with the @ symbol) do is allow MegaMan to go from the Internet into the computer of the owner of the home page, then back into the Internet from that computer after doing that. Later on MegaMan will have to visit Mayl's piano at a time when her house door is locked, so if he didn't get the @Mayl address earlier, the game would be unwinnable at that point. It's rare that any player would leave @Mayl behind when it's right next to the chip you have to grab, but since you can, that e-mail comes to keep from breaking the game. Finally, that CrossGun C I collect from an old e-mail isn't a new kind of chip, and isn't used in any battle, but it tops off the number of chips I have to trade in in an event later, and collecting a chip in e-mail like that is faster than any chip collection in the overworld because you don't have to watch your character's arm-pump animation.

Some more facts about the Metroline: Whether you keep the last ticket you took from day to day depends on how the day passes in this game. If it's by manually choosing to sleep in bed, then you'll still have the ticket in your inventory the next day. But if your mission ends with a cutscene, where the day ends offscreen and Lan is suddenly warped back home once you're in control of him again, then the ticket disappears. I presume this is to prevent owning a ticket to the town you're already in, but it still happens even if you took a ticket to the third town. This is important to know, because it's a little faster to grab your next ticket immediately after arriving at your destination than after re-entering the station, but if your ticket's gone later, then it's a total waste of time to grab the ticket then. Also, even the little moment where Lan walks through the turnstile and you hear the train chugging is a skippable cutscene, but I think it became unskippable in the next game.

Day 3

Well, the running around the real world isn't over yet. Lan doesn't want to wake up for school because it's Saturday, but then he remembers that he lives in Japan and has school on Saturday, so I take Lan all the way to school only to discover that school's canceled anyway because there's no running water in the entire city and everyone needs to hole up and conserve what water they can. This time it's Yai you have to talk to, as she is suspicious about the disappearance of a boy from the other 5th grade class. So Lan decides to investigate the situation at the WaterWorks, because of course this kind of thing is best handled by 10-year-old boys with little supervision. Or maybe that's right, since Lan bumps into child prodigy Eugene Chaud, an Official NetBattler who really is authorized to investigate this stuff. Without a title like that, Lan has to resort to borrowing an ID from his ever-absent dad's office to reach the second floor of the WaterWorks and investigate. (Why does Lan keep borrowing these important passes without ever returning them?) The man in charge, Dr. Froid, tells Lan the water outage is just some bug in the system and it'll be fixed soon, but MegaMan doesn't buy it. So Lan decides to hide out in Dr. Hikari's office until the GovtCmplx closes. (Why doesn't the receptionist notice he went in and never came out?) The spooky music introduced here made me think the game meant that he stayed there until midnight, but now I think they meant 12:00 PM, as the sky color around ACDC doesn't turn dark like in the introduction to Higsby, your friends are still awake, I don't think Lan would worry his mom that badly, and it might make sense for a place like this to close to the public at noon on Saturday too. So Lan heads back to the WaterWorks where the only thing jack-innable is the water cooler, gets caught trying to jack in, then jacks in anyway, and then the boring part ends!

A couple of gimmicks to this next main dungeon. Many floors are frozen over, and if MegaMan steps on one, he slides uncontrollably in the direction he was facing until the ice ends. Or if he bumps into the edge of the platform at an angle, then he turns to slide against that edge until the ice ends. And since skating across ice is faster than running, it's usually best to hit the ice as soon as possible and let it take care of a turn if it can. (At the beginning, skating even covered some of the time spent collecting an item!) If the ice ends at the very edge of a platform, then MegaMan can fall off! Good thing there's always a lower floor to catch him. The other gimmick is a bunch of faucets. MegaMan can't cross running water because he’s a vampire, so he has to turn running faucets off. But since the water's hot or something, it can melt some ice that was keeping MegaMan from maneuvering onto a side route, so he has to turn some faucets on to get rid of the ice, then back off to get rid of the water.

In this network we meet the Red Power Ranger! Oh wait, it's only ProtoMan.exe, or Blues.exe, since he doesn't seem to be a prototype of any kind this time around. He's the Navi of that Chaud guy, and they become justifiably annoyed at MegaMan's meddling throughout the game. But ol' MegaRock continues on nevertheless, and while this place splits into two main paths, one is inaccessible on the first trip in because of a faucet that's missing a handle. So we finish the first path and defeat a mini-boss--or I would fight a mini-boss, but then I discovered a frame of opportunity to press Start and skip the whole thing! See, this fight has no scene leading up to it, there's just a trigger line that starts the battle, and by opening a submenu twice, the game thinks the battle's already been fought, although you don't get the reward money for it. But if you wanted to see what this fight might have looked like, I made an unoptimized movie just to show it off: http://dehacked.2y.net/microstorage.php/info/1805128846/ColdBears.vbm

Now, the boss skip has a side effect, which is that when control returns to Lan... You can't control him. He won't move, and all you can do is open the menu or jack in. Once you jack in and out, or save the game and reset and reload, Lan will start moving as normal again. An extra jack-in is very slow, so since I was opening the menu to do the skip anyway, I opened the Save menu twice, as that can be closed out the fastest.

At this point Lan thinks he's fixed whatever was stopping the water flow, so he returns to ACDC to make sure, only to find that the water is totally the wrong shade of blue, and also it's totally unhealthy to drink. Chaud informs him that the problem was really with the water filtration system, and Lan has ruined their ability to solve the problem before the tainted water got out. UH OH SPAGHETTI-OS! Lan sets off to clean up his own mess, but then he gets more information from Yai about a kid who was kidnapped, whose name was Froid, and... Oh for goodness sakes, he was locked in the parked pink car in ACDC the whole time! See what I mean about how ridiculous it gets for the characters to have to learn about something before they can do anything about it? Only at this point can you let the kid out, and he just happens to have the missing faucet handle you need to take the other path through the Waterworks. Here we go again!

Oh, and that little walking-in-place thing Lan does at one point when he works the elevator? That's the effect of pushing opposite directions simultaneously in this game. Figured it was worth doing once somewhere.

There's a bit of a sequence break to the room with the huge sheet of ice with a few holes in it. You're actually meant to turn on two faucets to melt enough ice to reach the end, but by skating upward in just the right place, you can bypass both of the holes that should have caught you and skip straight to the second faucet. Good thing the second faucet path is the one with the PowerUp! This dungeon is very generous in giving us 2 PowerUps, too, as now the MegaBuster does 5 HP a shot. The TriArrow A also comes in handy in fighting a battle I arranged for shortly before the "real boss". This is one of the earliest required areas that contains the 2nd-level Canodumb enemies, whose battle chip, HiCannon, I'll want for some upcoming boss battles. The only virus grouping I found in here with it also contained Cloudy, but since a TripleArrow fires 3 shots worth 40 each, that takes out Cloudy's 120 HP, while two Cannon As take out Canodumb2's 80 HP, with just a couple of shots to manipulate HiCannon G. During this battle you'll notice that in this game, Canodumbs only fire at the one space they lock onto, not down the whole row--you can even dodge a shot by standing ‘’between’’ the Canodumb and the panel it's locked onto! Now how did I get the chips I needed for both this battle and the boss battle with only one trip to the folder? Well, there's no overlap among the chips I used for each fight, and randomness is pretty well frozen on the folder screen, so after I got the random battle done the way I needed it, I ran to the end, saw what chip slot orders I would get, and edited in a new folder arranging sequence that included the slots of both fights. Ta-da!

Who's the boss here? Well, you can guess it was IceMan.exe who was freezing everything, only he's not working for the WWW because he wants to. This time Dr. Froid ordered the sabotage because his son was taken hostage, but now that ProtoMan's defeated IceMan, it should be all over now, right? Oh, well now it looks like IceMan still has some fight left in him, but now that we've rescued the boy, he should call the whole thing off, right? Ah, no, nobody's listening, so we have to fight IceMan as the boss of this place, even though the real villain was an evil clown who made off with the AquaProgram that we'll meet again later. And Iceman actually has some interesting strategies; it took this long for the main game bosses to stop being so lazy! Now I could have used GutsShoot again for an "instant" win, as IceMan has only 500 HP, but the Program Advance combining sequence is so long, it's actually faster in real time to duke it out with swords and shots. This time MegaMan takes some major damage so that the wall of ice blocks IceMan is compelled to create won't slow him down. The invulnerability time from getting hit by the first IceCube allows Mega to also take a hit from the second IceCube without losing more HP or getting knocked back, and the invulnerability time from getting hit by the third IceCube allows him to take IceMan's ice bomb as well--but just barely! Thrown bombs take longer to land the farther they're thrown, so if MegaMan hadn't been standing right in front of IceMan then, his invincibility would have run out too soon to survive.

Day 4

Today Mayl wants to go shopping in Dentown with Lan, and you've got no choice but to accept. This is the scenario I was talking about earlier, where you have to use the @Mayl address to meet up with Roll.exe again rather than jacking into the piano. It turned out the fastest time to read the e-mail was while stepping onto the ACCESS pad; must have used up a couple of the frames it takes the game to register that Rock's feet are on the pad and bring up the text box. You may notice that the blue crystal I didn't grab here is now gone: That was the @Mayl that Mayl sent in the mail. But the green crystal I did grab came back. What is this? Well, that was the Recov50 L chip I gave Dex to challenge him. If I had lost the fight with GutsMan, I would be forced to come back here to collect another Recov50 L, as the free chips in these PCs that connect to the Internet always return when you revisit them. However, they only let you take them if you don't already have a copy of the same chip; that's why it'll say "However, he couldn't decode the data." So if you have no other source of these PC chips, then you can only own one copy, but you can give away as many as you like. If I needed more "throw-away" chips for a later scenario, I could have grabbed this Recov50 L again.

What's confusing about this next bit is that although you're supposed to meet Mayl outside the ACDC Metroline station, nothing happens if you just stand there. You have to go into the station, then right back out to see Mayl arrive, even though talking to MegaMan with the L button in the middle of doing this would make him admonish you for thinking you could meet her inside the station rather than outside. And then in a cutscene Mayl suddenly has another errand to do, so she'll meet you again in Dentown after a bus ride. Wow, did they struggle to coordinate NPCs in this game or what? So yeah, now you go to Dentown alone, which you could have done since the start of this day anyway, but we're going through steps to make the story progress so the next WWW attack will happen and we can fight them again.

Oh yeah, the reason they were shopping was to buy a birthday present for Yai, and she likes antiques, so you have to talk to Miyu the antique store owner on Block2, read Mayl's next e-mail about where to meet (giving you the RollV2 chip), and meet at the Block1 bus stop. There are 5 blocks in Dentown altogether, which are all X-shaped and connected in a giant X shape. Since you can't tell which paths lead to another block and which don't just by looking at them, it can get confusing fast. More to the point for speed runs, you physically can't cross the street if the traffic's not going in the same direction; the game puts some kind of force fields around the crosswalks. Fortunately there are enough "underground passages" that warp you to the other side of a street that a speedrunner should never end up waiting, but sometimes it is necessary to test whether the crosswalk or the passage is faster.

Not only is it necessary to talk to Miyu, but eventually it becomes necessary to win a link to access another portion of the Internet by defeating her Navi once, so I go ahead and battle right here. This is SkullMan.exe, whose powers include breathing fire, throwing his arms around to chase you slowly, and enlarging his head and dropping it on you, but I finish him too fast to have to worry about those last two. Now it's looking kinda lucky that I was forced to pick up so many HPMemories, as I had just enough to survive two hits from SkullMan as well. I suppose I should point out that it's better if you get hit right after MegaMan's Sword connects with the enemy, so it skips the rest of his sword swinging animation. And when mixing chips and buster shots like this, it's better to use chips first, as they tend to have preset waiting times, then use the Buster until you have to step to another panel, and the step will absorb some of the delay after the buster shot, but if you have to use a chip immediately after the buster, you need to wait the full amount of time that MegaMan takes to "finish" with his current shot, which I mentioned depends on your Rapid level and the distance you last fired across.

At the Block1 bus stop, the next scene happens, and it might be worth saving and stopping the movie to watch this one: The stoplights turn green for all four ways, and cars start smashing into each other in the intersection! It's really funny how this is depicted too, as the cars immediately disintegrate into little pieces which roll off in random directions then fade away just a second later. What, are half the cars in DenCity made of antimatter or something? You could probably predict the WWW is behind this, but this time they're pretending to be the saviors, as you're forced to read in an e-mail where one of their agents promises to sell a fix for the autodrive system for exorbitant prices. Hey wait, they have smart cars that drive themselves too? Man, this is just asking for trouble. I think we're witnessing the reason Astroboy was created! But if MegaMan's a knock-off of AstroBoy, then it'll ruin everything for him to be built later, so let's nip this traffic problem in the bud.

Here comes the next main dungeon, the color themed dungeon, only it's split into 5 separate jack-ins for each of the 5 blocks. Just gotta fix 'em one at a time though. The puzzle here's pretty easy to understand, even if you can't distinguish red from blue. Every time you pass through one of those magical orb things, it switches which color is lighted up, and only pathways of the lighted color can be walked on, except gray areas can always be walked on. Nothing for MegaMan to stop and examine along the way, you just have to figure out the right path to run to not get stopped by a darkened path. Often you're forced to run around an extra loop to switch the colors the correct number of times, or to run through the "wrong" path to collect an item before switching it back to rejoin the main path, so it's not as if I'm making MegaMan run in circles just for laughs. Most of the orb switches are in the middle of a straight path, a 2-way intersection you might say, and I haven't found any way to trick them and make them switch the colors 0 or 2 times while running through to the other side 1 time. Since you have to backtrack more than a few pixels after activating a switch in order to activate it again, I'd wager each 2-way intersection switch has two trigger lines, and you have to run through both in a row to trigger the switch. So then the 3-way intersection switches have 3 trigger lines you have to pass through 2 of, but these are more exploitable: You get to choose whether to switch them 1 time or 2 by whether or not you start to take the side route before you continue on with your intended route. I only have to step into the wrong route by a pixel to make the switch work a second time, so it happens very fast. Something you might not have realized is that every traffic light system is a complete circuit, where you end up at the same pad you started on, only it's been switched to red by passing through an odd number of orbs, which allows the manual light color switch to work. Usually you're so far away from the start pad by the time you pass through the first orb that you wouldn't see it change color; I suspect the developers realized that players who saw that happen might try backtracking through the first orb over and over again to try to keep the red color without playing the rest of the stage.

Next Lan has to talk 3 people out of buying the WWW scam software from the crazy-colored girl, in any order. First they trust the WWW, then suddenly they trust a little kid to fix everything because he says he will. Though I suppose he could have just asked "How is an upgraded car computer supposed to interpret 'green' differently, huh?" Maddy gets her revenge, though, in what has been described as "a vague rip-off of Speed"! Remember that bus Mayl was taking? It seems the WWW injected it with their own viral Navi to present Lan with his own hostage situation, and they're making the bus race out of control around the city, and also they're going to make it blow up because, gasoline, it goes backwards, and, yeah, something like that. Thus begins a pattern where Lan and MegaMan try to run over to the block the bus is headed for next to switch the light to red, only to get there a little too late and have to try another one. It gets annoying, mainly because there aren't many breaks in the color levels that would reset the grace period before random battles can start coming in. A couple of times there's a conversation ("MegaMan, hurry! I don't think you're hurrying enough!" or somesuch) but it gets skipped in a way that you couldn't tell it wasn't me stopping to avoid a random battle.

For the central block, the circuit contains four switches, one for each light, and you have to switch them in the right order, but it's the same order that you first encounter the red switches, so no trick to it. It's just funny though, as you could already see the bus coming up the street before MegaMan went in, but he had all this time to run around hitting switches, so I guess he can move a thousand times faster than we perceive him or something. And then all the lights are red and the bus gets electrified by the square, and... huh? Does this mean the force fields are REAL in the game's world, or what?! Buh, inside the bus we meet Maddy's COLORED WACKO MAN, who has been pounding Roll hard, so it's up to Meggerman to save her from a clown on a bouncy ball!

Hey, you didn't see me arrange the folder this time, did you? That's because I went and edited in the correct slots for it back at the SkullMan battle! Here's where I first use the HiCannon, saving me a lot of time I would have spent weaving around ColorMan's dummies to shoot him. Those dummies are indestructible shields for ColorMan, and when one lines up with MegaMan exactly, it fires off a FireTower if it's red or an AquaTower if it's blue--because that's the theme of this dungeon, red/blue and fire/water, which is also how the random battle viruses are themed, but of course you wouldn't know that from watching this TAS. The only way ColorMan himself attacks is by dropping his ball onto MegaMan's field to slowly chase him, but he doesn't get a chance to do any of that because GUTSSHOOT IN YOUR FACE!!

Just a small side note about planning this: It would be possible to get a faster battle for HiCannon G in the upcoming electricity dungeon with a lone Canodumb2, but the time saved doing that rather than the ice dungeon battle is almost exactly the time HiCannon saves on ColorMan, so while it might have also been interesting to see MegaMan fire 20 shots without setting off the color dummies, I preferred the more interesting battle set-up before IceMan that left me more secure in not having to worry if I would find the right random battle in the next dungeon in time.

Day 5

After that daring rescue, Lan gets to go to a party! Well actually it's for Dr. Hikari's business, but Lan still gets to eat plenty of food! ...Right?

Okay, you have to stop by and tell Lan's mom about it, but what I do at Yai's is optional. Seems she can throw around 10000 zenny just to thank someone for a birthday present. I'm not going to question the motivations here, as I'm just thankful there's such a great source of money that's not terribly far out of the way.

At the SciLab, there's a cutscene with Chaud, then another cutscene with Lan's parents in the same place, but if you didn't talk to anyone else before talking to Chaud, nothing will happen yet. MegaMan suggests talking to everyone at that point, but it turns out there's just one person you need to talk to to trigger the next cutscene after Chaud, the worker who describes the underground restaurant and the power plant. See, they just want players to know where they're going before they go there! Then not only does the party play the school music, but you have to talk to everyone there before the story will progress, just like at the second class at school. No objects, just the people, in any order, including Dr. Hikari, who disappears in a cutscene. Then of course another WWW loony covered in light bulbs does his thing, turns off the power, locks people in, cuts off their oxygen... Lan rushes to help by squeezing through a tiny slot to check out the power plant one floor down, and there's another weird character event trigger thing. First you have to talk to the person trying to open the far door, then to the one working on the middle door, and this will cause the first person to open that door to the control room. Only talking to one of them won't work, and talking to them in the reverse order won't do anything either. Lan jacks MegaMan in despite some interference and the warning that the depowered plant will drain the PET's battery, and it's off to the electricity-themed dungeon!

Okay, that battery draining thing? That's one of the gimmicks of this area, that as MegaMan travels, he steadily loses his ability to recover his HP after a battle. Maybe he suffers some irreversible damage from this and loses his automatic recovery ability permanently shortly afterwards, because he doesn't have this ability at all in the sequels. Each notch of the battery meter is one-tenth of MegaMan's total HP that he can regenerate. So when only 9 notches out of 10 are filled, MegaMan only gets 90% of his total back after, if he were to take that much damage. You probably wouldn't notice until it got very low, like when only 2 notches are left, you'll only get a fifth of your total back. If you end up at 0 for very long, though, then Lan gets a button-mashing mini-game to recharge the battery. I don't know why I'm explaining all this when a speed run loses no more than 4 notches, I fight no random battles, and I take no damage against the bosses here, but as long as I've explained this much, I may as well make it a walkthrough and reveal secret details, huh?

And no, MegaMan's not floating, and you don't have a background layer turned off either. The other challenge is to navigate INVISIBLE FLOORS all over the place. It gets especially confusing when floors overlap and you can't tell which level you're on. And in addition to all that, there's this battery insertion puzzle, where you have to find a Program who gives you some batteries to place in slots that power colored light bulbs to light floors to the next area. Just like in the traffic lights, lighting the floors doesn't just make them visible, it's what allows you to walk on them, I’m afraid. The interface is pretty annoying, too, where you get all these dialogues after placing a battery to remind you of how charged up all your batteries are, "Are you sure?" questions on the batteries and switches, and just having to use the switch at all every time you want to try new battery positions. And this is the one time where I noticed the English version loses a lot of time compared to the Japanese version, as in Japanese it fits the number of charges of 3 batteries to a single box, while in English it's 1 box per battery status reminder. (Couldn't they have used "left" instead of "remaining" to make it fit?) The charges on the batteries are weird, as they're not based on how long they've been in a switched-on box, but on how many ‘’times’’ they've been switched on. The letters of the batteries don't matter though, they're all interchangeable, it just distinguishes which has how many charges. And right away you see the first puzzle is already a little unfair, as you get 2 charges to a battery, but 3 boxes to try, so you could make 2 legitimate guesses but then have to go all the way back to the Prog to recharge your battery, when someone who guessed luckier could have avoided that extra trip! Oh, did I mention that some Progs are turned evil and will fight you, and you can't tell which ones are like that until it's too late? Luckily a speedrunner doesn't suffer much from these problems, as the puzzles are always exactly the same every game.

This dungeon has cool music though, like something out of the Kirby series, and you hear a lot of full loops because there's no interruption until the boss area. Maybe it's that music that helped me continue when I suffered a months-long reluctance to try anymore after I noticed I made one too many turns one area back, and later lost access to some of my research. I tried gaining that frame back this month, but it seemed to get eaten in manipulating away battles anyway, so I thought what the heck, I'll just re-test what I forgot of the next battery puzzle and see if I can finish this thing! That battery puzzle in the third area is a doozy, since it's three sets of boxes chained together, where you'll see you have to use two batteries on one set to open one route forward, use one battery on the next set to open a different route back, then carry the first two batteries across this second path. Then it happens all over again! Since each battery gets used three times, you have to find the fastest time to recharge them. You also get a choice of whether to use the green light or the blue light to complete the first path, but I recall there was barely any difference there. Sometimes 1 frame isn't worth it! Just chill out and move on!

ElecMan.exe is pretty cool too. We meet him after Lan gains access to the generator only to discover that the power's still on, but ElecMan's been hogging it all. MegaMan tries to fight, but quickly learns that ElecMan can regenerate all his HP as much as he wants. (And yeah I checked, even if you're really quick in this battle and use a special combo to take down all of ElecMan's life at once, he still doesn't die.) This sham battle does need to be time-attacked, but it's not so bad when you consider the "frame rule" going on with ElecMan's regeneration: As long as you take away at least 50 of ElecMan's HP before he moves or attacks, and as long as that attack isn't powerful enough to stun him (takes 90 HP or more), then he'll recover at the earliest possible time. I was able to draw the two Cannons and TriArrow fast again, but three Cannons (plus the 2 buster shots each) would also work, or ShockWave L followed by a couple of MiniBomb Ls which I had considered in an earlier plan, whatever. The battle only ends when ElecMan regenerates 3 times. Our heroes realize, duh, ElecMan gets free power from electricity, so Lan shuts down the generator... Huh, how is there even still a network without electricity? Or is it all running on the little PET battery now? Yikes.

But anyway, I fight ElecMan normally now, and he goes down quickly enough with swords and shots again--got a pretty lucky sequence of mostly moves to the front column. I have to be careful about how I time the swords, because if ElecMan's health is too low when he chooses his next attack, then he'll move to the back to try to restore 100 HP. I save GutsShoot for the battle after this, so there won't be any overlap in chips and I can arrange for all three battles at once. And who should drop in but our old buddy Portoman? I believe Chaud's plan was to lure in the WWW with fake data to extract more information on them, but then why did Count Zap end up getting the real ElecProgram? And where did the WWW find the WoodProgram? I don't understand! Chaud's mad, I'm mad, but the red pinhead only has 500 HP, so INSTANT WIN! BluesMan tends to have pretty drawn-out battles anyway, you can't hit him with much while he's sneaking around the back row with his big fat shield, and then you have to dodge his long sword when he teleports in front of you and have enough time for maybe one counterattack. He deserved that GutsShoot.

Day 6

Well, now Lan is called upon to cheer up Chaud by helping him out somehow. Interestingly, this time you don't need to read Lan's dad's e-mail for Lan to start looking for Chaud, but you do need to talk to the character just inside the SciLab who says Chaud isn't there and went to Dentown. If you just go straight to Dentown without doing that, Chaud won't be there, and he won't seem to be ANYWHERE. Chaud's investigation isn't going well and he won't snap out of his bad mood, but it gives Lan an important hint about how to start hunting down the WWW hideout in an oddly unskippable cutscene.

"Lamp oil chips, rope chips, BOHMBS? You want it, huh? It's yours, huh, my friend, as long as you have enough zennys, huh."

Yeah, remember Mr. Higsby? After Lan put a stop to his evil mission, Higsby reformed his ways and decided to go into business selling and trading his favorite thing in the world, battle chips. So he converted the back of a house into the front of a shop and opened his chip store in the middle of a residential area. Apparently Higsby wasn't turned in to the police for what he did, and soon we also learn that the WWW lets go of employees like him without even taking back their special access codes. What a nice bunch of terrorists! Mr. Higsby's "C-level" access memo will get Lan and MegaMan into the shady Undernet which is supposed to contain an entrance to the WWW's network, but as soon as Lan gets there, Higsby will inform him by e-mail that that first memo wasn't enough, and he'll need to find a few other ex-WWW members to get all the way in. You have to collect all these memos in a certain order, and you can't collect the second memo until after MegaMan uses Higsby's memo to break into the first area of the Undernet so you can read Higsby's e-mail, so the guy's forced two trips on us!

This part of the story reveals a lot of why I did what I did throughout the run. The area which contains the entrance to the Undernet is the Dentown analogue that Miyu's link opens, so it's required to beat SkullMan in order to collect the /Miyu link. Those of you familiar with the game may be wondering why I don't want to beat WoodMan, the Navi of Sal of the food stand outside the Government Complex, for the /Sal link. The area /Sal opens does lead to an entrance to the Undernet, but it requires the second memo, the one you get from Higsby's colleague at the SciLab, and remember you can't get that until you use the Hig Memo first. So /Miyu (SkullMan) is required, but /Sal (WoodMan) is optional. /Sal would make a decent shortcut for the second trip into the Undernet, but I go with a different route that collects a few more new chips from random mystery data instead. What's more, the route works because /Sal isn't necessary to reach Internet-3 (the GovtCmplx cyberarea); it's only necessary for entering through the ‘’front’’ door. I eventually get in through the back door, and if I wanted, I could leave the area through the front door without /Sal too; it would just be a one-way passage through that door. One of the doors you can open with the Lab Memo is also one-way until you get the Lab Memo, which is how I bail out of the Undernet to set a bookmark and do some shopping.

Before I can explain that seemingly unnecessary save&reset and all this excessive shopping I do, I need to point out the third and fourth memos are the ones that MegaMan is "judged" for. The third WWW quitter is Ms. Yuri, the kooky palette-swapped sister of Mari, who also happens to be a schoolteacher, but in Dentown's summer school. Wait, summer school? I thought summer vacation didn't start until the second game. Hm, I think maybe they just mistranslated some other form of schooling to dumb it down for the American kids, yeah. So, these last two members insist on MegaMan being "strong enough" to take on the WWW before they give him access, and Yuri judges MegaMan according to the number of unique battle chips he's ever obtained, stored in the Library submenu if you ever want to read it, though in this game you can only see the total number it contains on the Save menu. I tested this a whole bunch, and she always gave me YuriMemo for having 60 chips (out of 175), never for having 59. You'll notice I grab the last two in the very same classroom, one from a "quiz kid" who I found was a bit faster to get Ratton1 from than the other path to the first battery in the power plant if I was also grabbing the Barrier from the locker. You could save and stop before I grab them to prove to yourself that Yuri won't settle for less than 60!

But a big portion of the battle chips I collected to fill the library came before that, when I used the chip exchanging machines at Higsby's. The red machine makes you give away 3 chips in order to receive 1 new random chip. The blue one makes you give 10 chips to receive still just 1 new random chip, but its chips tend to be more valuable. Dumping ten chips isn't economical for speed though, so I use the three-chip trader exclusively for what it is able to give. Kirk and I worked on scripts that would test these traders thousands of times automatically and record the results to see what they could possibly give. This led me to figure out a few rules about what they can decide to give out next, and it's largely based on the "star" system you see as you fill in the chip Library. There every kind of chip is given a rating from 1 star to 5 stars, roughly indicating its value or rarity. This way chip traders that require more chips or are uncovered later in the game can tend to give better chips than the rest. What I discovered from a bit of experimentation is that the game seems to randomly choose one of the 5 star values first, then decides on a random chip from any of the kinds already in the player's Library that match that star value. Occasionally instead of choosing a star value for previously owned chips, it'll choose from a "master list" of chips that the trader can always give regardless of whether the player has already owned them. This is how the traders are able to give brand new chips, up to a certain point. It's this list of chips that allows me to increase the data library enough to reach 60, gaining additional value out of all the goodies I've been collecting. Remember, to be able to perform N trades on the 3-chip trader, you need to start with at least (N * 2) + 1 chips, as every trade results in a net loss of 2 chips, but your last trade will require 3 chips as you can't go negative mid-trade and end up with zero!

In experimenting on a list of results from the trader, I discovered there's not much that can be done to influence what NEW chips come out. If I go back and obtain a new chip and then find the sequence of chips output by the trader at the same times, the chips that matched the new chip's star value will all be different, but everything else stays the same. That's what led me to the conclusion that the game chooses the star value first, and nothing affects that but trying the trader at a future time. I also found that if the Library contains no 4-star chips, then the 3-chip trader will choose from 5-star chips instead, or if there are neither 4-star chips nor 5-star chips in the library, then it'll choose more 1-star chips instead, but even this won't change the rest of the sequence, even the 1-star chips it was already going to choose. And since the "master list" is by nature independent of what the player collects, there's nothing that can be done to change what new chips can be given except to arrive at a later time or reset it altogether.

So that's what I used the Game Boy's soft reset button code for! While it doesn't take much waiting to get new chips each trade, I wanted to take serious advantage of the trader and collect some SPECIFIC new chips for future boss battles. When I figured out what the master list of possible new chips was, I looked it over for what chips could fit into upcoming strategies. It's a bit limited because not only are the possible new chips restricted to that small list, but the codes you can first receive them in seem to be restricted, too, rather than giving you access to any of 5 right away. It's even missing some 2-star chips even when the first and third of the same chip family were possible, so I couldn't get some common ones like HiCannon and LongSwrd. What I eventually decided I wanted were FighterSword L (3-panels-ahead range), ElecSword L (3-panel-column range like WideSwrd but more powerful), (Tsunami) Wave L (travels once down all 3 rows), all to go along with the Mega-Cannon L I got for free in the ice dungeon for use on battles with multiple viruses. I also wanted FireSword G and Thunder(Ball)3 G; the Thunder ball is slow-moving, but both will add some additional power when GutsShoot + HiCannon aren't enough for high-HP bosses.

So when I couldn't get the chips I needed very fast just by when I could first arrive at Higsby's before the next trip through the Internet to face the next boss, I reset the game and ran the trader-trying script for a few thousand frames. I examined the output list, made a list of when each of my 5 preferred chips appeared, and came up with a starting number where I would collect all new chips including the 5 I wanted without wasting too much time waiting for the right one. (The thing to remember about receiving chips from the trader is, although it may take about 213 frames to complete the trade, it only advances 120 chips in the sequence, as there are some frames of frozen randomness while choosing what to trade from the Folder. It is frustrating when something in the 119 skipped chips was what you wanted, though, and that's part of the challenge.) Then I subtracted that starting number from the frame I arrived at Higsby's and inserted a save+reset there, though it takes a few tries to get it exact without knowing exactly how much lag or otherwise frozen randomness occurred in between. Now I did have to split this into two separate trading sequences, as I needed to collect all these chips before the next battle to access the Undernet (and so I don't gamble away the chips I wanted to save before I stash them safely into the Folder), but I was also going to collect several more chips on that next trip through the Internet, so I had to do 9 first and 7 later, but one more trip to Higsby's isn't a big deal considering all that it provides for.

The next trip through the Internet starts with buying a Hammer for yet another library entry and all the HPMemories--yes, they are getting more expensive the more I buy from the same vendor, until he runs out. All purchasable items have a limited stock. What these HPMemories are really for is to boost MegaMan's level, as the fourth WWW ex-member, the old man in ACDC Town who always asks Lan to ask him where he is, is the one who mandates that MegaMan reach level 30 before giving him the "S-level" memo. Level 29 won't cut it. So each HPMemory brought me 1 level closer to that goal, even if I didn't need to take the extra damage. As I already had all the money I needed, the only random mystery data location I had to manipulate was in Internet-2, for the Recov30 G. Several other random mystery data were manipulated for new chips along the way; I think only the AquaSwrd A was non-random. As you may recall, the way from Internet-2 to Internet-4 requires /Miyu, and then the way from Internet-4 to Internet-5 requires Hig Memo and is guarded by a rare multiple virus fight. This one can be tough if you're unprepared; the "HardHead" viruses in the corners are only vulnerable to attack when they open their mouths to fire, and the "FullShell" virus in the middle has a shield in front of it that only raises temporarily once you do enough damage. Additionally, these viruses are level 3 versions of viruses that you normally can only fight at level 1 for chips, so they're all ridiculously fast, fire a lot of cannonballs, and the frontal shield has 200 HP before it will lift. This is why I wanted all those certain chips, to bypass the shields and finish this quickly.

The rest of the trip is to finish collecting what I need and set up a shortcut, going from Internet-5 to Internet-9 to Internet-3 (the area numbers seen on MegaBoy’s guide and VGMaps, anyway; other sources give the Undernet its own area numbers). I have to go through the Access pad into Dad's computer before I can use Dad's computer to access the Internet. (By the way, I figured out how the "virus machine" in that computer decides what to send at you. It's based on which of the five main "dungeons" you've finished. So when you first enter, you get viruses like those from the oven and school networks only. Later it'll add those from the waterworks, traffic signals, and power plant as you beat IceMan, ColorMan, and ElecMan. So although it says it's based on MegaMan's "power", it really means his quest completion.) Then the final random chip and shopping--kinda late in the game to first be receiving ShokWave, wouldn't you say? The "WoodArmor" I buy is one of three armors that halve the damage you take from all attacks except those with the element that the armor is weak to. Each Armor boosts MegaMan's level by 6, so even this 15000 zenny purchase is cheaper than another 6 HPMemories or 2 PowerUps, and I don't even have to equip the armor to receive the level boost as I do with the PowerUps; as you can only wear one armor at a time anyway, the game gives you credit for simply collecting them. Now this e-mail is obviously one I'm forced to read so the "Hmm... Hmm..." guy will give me his memo, but the timing doesn't much matter. I got a sequence of traded chips with less waiting with opening the e-mail before, and since I had to wait a few frames for the first chip anyway, I decided to be funny with opening the menu so that MegaMan's still arm-pumping while the menu opens and the crystal stays there until the jack-out.

Now, since the next part of the story requires Lan to visit his dad again, going to his office effectively costs no travel time in the real world, and there I get to make use of that shortcut. Next up is BombMan.exe, who like StoneMan.exe is fought only in the Internet. He likes to set bombs on three random panels on his own side, stand in the back for a long time, then teleport to each bomb and kick it over to MegaMan's side, where the bombs quickly detonate across the row and column they're in on that side only. BombMan's down-to-half-health desperation move is hiding a stealth mine in a random panel on MegaMan's side, which may not be that big a deal if you see where it is and it's not in your way, but is very bad for speed because it wastes several seconds choosing its panel roulette-style.

Once again I set up chips for this in the setup for the previous battle, splicing it in after I saw where I needed to move the chips to once I got to BombMan; of course I didn't just get that lucky, silly! Something I learned after watching videos of Broken Loose's Let's Play MegaMan Battle Network series is that if you use any Fire-elemented chip on BombMan's bombs, it will set them off--on his own field even! The bombs also do fire damage, so they'll start a chain reaction with the other bombs and any immediate replacement bombs BombMan makes, and upon blasting BombMan, he may take either 140, 210, or 280 points of damage that I know of in tests I've done. (So thanks for uploading those to YouTube, Broken Loose or whoever owns the "badicalawesome" account!) I'm not sure why the damage is random or exactly what determines it, but it seems to be set once the bomb positions are chosen, so I have to try the BombMan battle on various different frames to find a way to luck-manipulate the 280 points of damage for the quickest time. Now in past test runs of this I had been putting GutsShoot last, since you know that's the one that will stun a boss if the boss can be stunned at all, but then while manipulating luck I realized hey, the flame-sword-on-bombs also stuns BombMan, so why not reverse the attacks? It turns out that saves a bit of time, since the GutsShoot takes effect "instantly" once the animation is over, but the bomb explosions take a moment to travel over to BombMan, so I may as well let that time overlap with the stun time from GutsShoot. GutsShoot did have to wait until right when the bomb position was decided, but BombMan didn't have enough time to use Mine afterward. And while it may appear that the final blast took more than three hundred hit points from BombMan, it was really only 280; the gradual counting-down of HP is only a visual effect, and BombMan's true HP was 280 immediately once the action resumed after GutsShoot.

That path behind BombMan turns out to be a red herring, but he does give the Hikaris an item that allows the SciLab to uncover the WWW’s real-life location!

Day 7

Some more real-world running around for story progression, but nothing too excessive. No required e-mail reading, but it is necessary to talk to that one Metroline worker again before you can find the secret line, and it is necessary to try to use Higsby's expired pass before you can get Dr. Hikari to update it (which you'd think shouldn't be possible, but if anyone's a leet enough haxor to do it, Dr. Hikari is). I could have taken the GovtPass before going to bed again, but this time I save time by taking it while talking to the conductor guy.

At the WWW base, 5 doors are locked electronically, either from the inside on the left or from the outside on the right. These require you to jack in and finish the maze, what else. Most of them leave Lan where he is, but one has a cutscene that moves him to a set spot, so there I don't try to touch the door while jacking in. They end with one of MegaMan's friends popping in to break an extra obstacle before MegaMan can break the lock in a cutscene. Oh, and they're all based on mazes you've already played!

The fire dungeon gives you new IceBlocks to put out the fires, though you could have saved 2 from the first one, but that's not enough. You can also end this with 2 extra IceBlocks, but I only finished with 1 extra, because a path with more flames was also shorter. This time it's Glyde who puts out the fires you can't possibly have IceBlocks for, looking like Moses parting water! Yai will give you the RollV3 chip for free next, but I don't need it.

The number dungeon... Well, the multiple paths can be confusing, with another loop connecting two doors, but getting through is straightforward, just some waiting for random numbers to count up to a multiple of ten to save a bit of time. I hardly ever had to dodge random battles, so I think the doors reset the grace period before battles could happen too. NumberMan magically discovers the double-length passcode that would have taken too long a guessing game.

Ice dungeon, pretty short, no faucets, but the trick is in starting that last skate to the right low enough that you bump into the corner rather than sliding straight off the edge. IceMan sucks up the huge ice chunks like Kirby!

Color dungeon has the last HPMemory. There's also like 3 nice P-coded chips in these dungeons, but I can't collect them fast enough to save time now! Here GutsMan breaks a boulder that MegaMan could have shot, but MegaMan needs to save his strength so he can fire his unlimited-ammo weapon elsewhere or something. Hey, this cutscene finally features GutsMan's speech animation, as we see him in the overworld for the first time since sitting at a desk learning how to netbattle at the beginning of the game! This is the only color dungeon that's not a closed loop.

Hey it's that room where the bad guys were having their meetings! Yes, it is required to check the portrait twice before the jack-in button will function. Elec dungeon is easier than the real one, with no batteries, just invisible floors. That twisted loop near the end confuses a lot of players for a long time, though. Roll lights the path this time after the point-of-no-more-saving (so you can always replay the final bosses). Up next is MagicMan.exe, whose only direct attack is throwing slow-moving flames like SkullMan. His main power is summoning a number of random viruses to help him out. The strategy I use is too quick for him to do anything, though! MagicMan doesn't flinch no matter how much damage he receives at once, so that's why it's okay to start with the GutsShoot. The cutscene that follows is a long one, since it's got the obligatory near-death experience for MegaMan/Lan plus plot twist reveals! You may want to stop and watch this one just for the music that plays exclusively in this scene. Then it's on to defeat Lord Dr. Wily, who else?!

If you don't know the story of this game, Dr. Wily has gone all Luddite from his bitterness over the success of this world’s version of Dr. Light, and so he has been combining those "super-programs", the FireProgram, AquaProgram, WoodProgram, and ElecProgram, after turning them into floating ringed ball things and turning them viral, in order to create an AVATAR Virus that will infect the world! Or a LifeVirus, or a DreamVirus, I dunno. Anyway he's loading it onto this rocket, and the rocket will go... somewhere... Oh I forget the story again, let's just beat the final boss!

Because of a story-based power-up "Hub.bat", some of MegaMan's abilities are increased even beyond what you can increase them to during the normal gameplay with all the PowerUps. He doesn't have a flinch animation, charges up as fast as possible, shoots once every 5 frames no matter how far away the target is, and his shots do 6 points base damage! This "machine gun" MegaMan can dish out damage even faster than many of the strongest battle chips, but this LifeVirus has a defense against that: an "aura" that can't be affected by any attack whose damage is less than 100. The Virus does take its LifeAura down to attack, but that takes 7 seconds, so I use strong chips to knock it off right away, as well as to defeat its "Scuttle" helper viruses that emerge from holes in the front column. I discovered that no matter how fast you are, those helpers will pop out at certain values of LifeVirus's HP, so I have to be ready to deal with 3 of them.

Now, I might have ended up using my L-coded chips as shown in this movie http://dehacked.2y.net/microstorage.php/info/68226499/DreamVirusAlternateBattle.vbm, but I found an even faster way! Enjoy!

The ending also starts with some skippable cutscenes, which I have to skip to achieve the final time, but you can save and stop the movie when LifeVirus blows up if you want to review the story. The final time reported by the game is about a minute less than the real time most of the time because it doesn't include some things, like the jack-in animation.

MegaRockMan.exe: The first MegaRockMan to get as many sequels on the same system as the original MegaRockMan, despite breaking tradition and not wearing briefs on the outside.

What follow are some rejected strategies that I considered using for a while before I found something that worked out better. I list them just in case a future strategy makes one of these useful again.

@Dex
On the same principle as the @Dad shortcut, the @Dex home page address in Dex's computer could be used to skip to the end of Internet-1 for any trip that needs to pass through Internet-2. So first there would be an extra jack-in to Dex's computer early on, and then the next trip through the Internet would bookmark that computer, so on the ‘’next’’ trip, MegaMan could start from Dex's computer instead, which is a shorter path than Internet-1 from Lan's computer. The main problem with this is that Dex's home isn't open until after FireMan is beaten, so the shortcut couldn't be used yet on the run to StoneMan; the path to StoneMan would have to be the one where MegaMan bookmarks it. So then there would only be one instance where I would get to use that shortcut, on the way to breaking into the Undernet, so altogether it would basically trade one run through Internet-1 for two runs through Dex's PC. I did some careful timing tests of this, and the final verdict was that the @Dex shortcut would actually be just a few seconds SLOWER--and I believe that was without taking into account that I wanted to shop at the Internet-1 NetDealer, which would be backtracking from Dex's Access pad. So yeah, even this shortcut that I pass by multiple times turns out to be no good. Other shortcuts like @Miyu that I could only use once are pretty unlikely candidates too. But perhaps more of these home page bookmarks will turn out to be useful for real-time runners who need to be able to visit certain areas repeatedly. (By the way, I have to say that @Yai and @Mayl are lousy introductions to the bookmark system. You can get to the locations they access faster by going through Lan's computer. I suppose they can't be great shortcuts when they're forced upon the player, but they also shouldn't make the player wonder what's the point.)

Beta-Sword/Sigma-Sword
There are a few Program Advances you can easily form early in the game as most of their chips are already in the folder you start with. One is Zeta-Cannon, which only requires you to collect a Cannon C to go with your Cannon A and Cannon B. "Zeta" PAs are formed from matching chips of consecutive letter codes like that, and they turn MegaMan invisible/invincible for 5 seconds and let him use the component chip as many times as he wants during that time. "Omega" PAs are the same concept, only they require all 5 letter codes and double the time to 10 seconds. Zurreco once considered using Zeta-Cannon early in the game, but I don't think it would have helped on NumberMan due to his low flinch threshold. It's a good strategy on GutsMan, but not the best.
Beta-Sword is another early PA, which only requires you to earn a LongSwrd S to go with your WideSwrd S and any of your Sword Ss. "Beta" Advances are another basic kind of PA that use chips of the same "family", and they double the number of uses you get of each chip, so Beta-Sword lets you use 2 Swords, then 2 WideSwords, then 2 LongSwords. (It's like getting to break the 5 chips per turn limit.) "Sigma" PAs then are the next step up from that, giving you 3 uses of each chip, but requiring you to double up on two of the component chips or triple up on one. Again this is easily done with the starting folder's 4 Sword Ss; just line up 3 of the Swords, the WideSwrd, and the LongSwrd S you can win from Swordy in places such as Yai's Telephone and Internet-2. I was seriously considering Beta-Sword for the ice bears, and I might have gone with Sigma-Sword on ElecMan, but the Program Advance morphing time is just too long even for the large cumulative damage it provides. It's a shame, as the sequels to this game change the Sword-WideSword-LongSword combination to produce just one big sword attack instead.

ElecManV3
Back before I knew of the ice bear skip and the value of time spent collecting chips, I discovered that I could win an ElecMan3 E chip from the 10-chip trader almost immediately after a reset. Combined with the ElecSwrd E Mr. Higsby sells, it would be quite impressive to use this on both ice bosses for their elemental weakness when MegaMan hasn't even met ElecMan yet.

Cyclone
I always kept this chip in the back of my mind whenever I planned a chip code group that matched one of Cyclone's, since its 8 hits of 30 each gives a fairly quick 240 damage to an adversary who doesn't hide in the back column.

TriSpear G
For a long time I had decided I wanted to jack into the console that Dr. Froid works at. Not only does it contain a free Recov200 for the library and a free 3000 zenny, but along the walk to those two I could have gotten a battle with the red Piranha2 enemies which drop the TripleSpear chip. This attack fires 3 shots in quick succession that each do 50 points of damage, making it functionally equivalent to TripleNeedle in the next game, only in this game the stronger and weaker variation change the rate and power of the shots rather than their number. So by winning TriSpear G, I could add an easy 150 points of damage to any GutsShoot strategy. Maybe it’s lucky I didn’t end up needing this, so I don’t remember how I was supposed to beat the Piranha2s anyway, unless maybe it was with a Navi chip?

WoodTowr N + Snakegg1 N on ElecMan
In case you didn't know, Wood attacks do double damage to Eletric opponents in this series' rock-paper-scissors circle of weaknesses, and the first of the SnakeEgg series is Wood elemental. Both WoodTowr and Snakegg1 have high attack power too, so they would take away (140 + 130) * 2 = 540 of ElecMan's 600 hit points. The 3-chip trader will spit out both chips in N code; the only problem is making that extra early trip to Higsby's won't make up for the time saved with those two chips, and that becomes a problem for several of these strategies.

5th PowerUP
There were lots of things to consider in planning to collect 29 levels for MegaMan, and at certain points I thought it might be a good idea to find or buy one more PowerUp to give him Charge power, which came in handy for one ElecMan strategy I considered. I could have gotten a free one from the summer school blackboard, or bought one for 20000z in Internet-5.

AquaTowr C
I did collect this chip, but only for the library. I was planning to use it in battles back when I thought BombMan was fire-elemental, and in fact I started designing a whole C-coded chip set strategy with this, but it turns out it's only BombMan's bombs that do fire damage, and BombMan himself is neutral. It's the slowest of the Tower series, but it is strong enough to take down the LifeAura, plus an emerging Scuttle if I time it right.

Quake3 C
Even after I decided the extra jack-in wasn't worth it, I wanted to put Quake3 C into the series of chips to get from the trader until I found other strategies for the non-Navi bosses. Not only does it do a whopping 150 damage, but it has a plus-shaped blast radius, meaning that it could be thrown over FullShell's shield and hit it plus one of the HardHeads, as well as LifeAura + Scuttle once again.

DynaWave C
The last of the C code dream team, I wanted to either manipulate a Mettool3 battle in a traffic light to win one of these or get it in the trading sequence, as it quickly passes through a row of enemies doing 100 damage. FtrSword is a fine substitute, though.

Trading with characters for chips
There are a few sidequests in this game, mostly of the kind where you trade chips with an in-game character. I think it was Kirk who suggested beating a VolGear for FireTowr F, then trading it for DynaWave R with the kid behind Mayl's house, so I would get 2 chips for the price of 1 battle and a brief conversation. Later I considered fighting a HardHead in Internet-2 for Howitzer (Cannonball) H, since that can be traded to a man just inside the entrance of the WaterWorks for a BstrPnch C. BusterPunch makes it so that pressing B does a GutsPunch attack worth 60 points of damage. I tested working this into one of those C-coded battle strategies, but it just doesn't help enough when there's no MegaBuster available to hurt and manipulate a boss that moves far away. HardHead isn't so efficient to fight when I have to wait 5 seconds for it to open up its shield, anyway, and that's another random battle I would have had to set up on the way to StoneMan, bleh.
There's also a couple of old men in ACDC Town who will reward you with chips. The one in the lower corner needs you to find his missing dentures, which he lost in the park, so you don't have to spend a whole lot of time on this. But his reward is only Recov80, which can be gotten for the library faster in other places. The other old man in the upper corner of town will give you a KngtSwrd G in exchange for 5 Escape chips that are all different codes. KnightSword would be valuable for both its 150 damage and G code, but gathering the other 4 Escape chips requires some detours involving extra jack-ins (or manipulating the 3-chip trader again), and they wouldn't add to the library along the way, so at some point I had to drop this idea. Basically every sidequest but Quiz either required too many rare chips, was too far out of the way, or produced redundant chips.

GutsMan3 G
Something I considered once before I had all the timing and strategies nailed was to battle GutsMan again for his strongest chip, since he'll already be powered up for it by the time the IceMan scenario begins. Cracks all the enemy panels, does 100 damage, but the battle for it took about 30 seconds in my test... and I think just shooting someone 20 times is faster.

ProtoMan battle glitch
Aznxknight posted a video of a strange effect in a battle with ProtoMan, where he kept taking the 210 damage of the SkullMan3 chip MegaMan had recently used even as MegaMan stopped attacking. I’ve seen reports of this happening with other chips, where the chip stuns ProtoMan somewhere on the front column and the panel he was hurt on becomes a “trap panel” where every time ProtoMan is on that panel again he gets hurt by the same amount as that chip again. In playing aznxknight’s .vbm I discovered that dropping more SkullMn3s would create more trap panels wherever they hit, but so far no one has recorded a movie that shows the glitch being activated in the first place, so the steps to perform it are still unknown. It’s unlikely that it would save time over GtsShoot, though, as ProtoMan will have to go through his flinch animation for every hit with the glitch, so you would need to grab a strong chip like Quake3 to make it go fast at all.

Now that I've made this run, I hope others will be inspired to speedrun this series! I was inspired to keep going and finish because I expected it to be the first Battle Network TAS of many. So give it a try and see what you think! Blue guy running through a maze for the win!

I had to consult a lot of resources in order to accomplish this TAS. Walkthroughs on GameFAQs, The Mechanical Maniacs, and The Mega Man PC Website helped me review and plan the game route, especially MegaBoy’s FAQ, which copied the information from an official Japanese strategy guide, though I caught a lot of errors! Will Mallia’s maps on VGMaps were also a big help in remembering where everything was. I appreciate all the discussion forums for the games and “Let’s Players” of them that helped encourage and inspire me too!

But I should definitely thank the people on TASVideos who started it all. Everyone who posted in FrostyTheDragon’s topic and gave suggestions, especially Zurreco for doing a test run. And all the regulars in IRC channel #rockman, Battle Network fans and well-wishers who stuck around and gave encouragement even as I took ridiculous extended leaves of absence: KirkQQ, Erokky, Atma, MrSparkle, Ray, Rolanmen1, Mothrayas, FractalFusion, Cromarty, and Thrae for starters, plus old ZZTing friend Viovis/Ghettoflower, and DrNach for starting the channel!

Kirk should get the most credit of anyone, since I’m sure I couldn’t have gone through with it and made a good TAS without his study of the game and teaching me the basics of Lua scripting. He even uploaded the TAS to YouTube already! Enjoy! Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6


klmz: Although there are a few minor technical flaws presented in this movie, the route planning, battle strategy, overall optimization, entertainment value and audience feedback ensures its acceptance.

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