Normal difficulty is used for the same reasons as in the MML1 TAS: playing on hard requires NG+ and gives bosses obscene amounts of HP to the point where you run out of special weapon ammo and have to slowly buster them down.
The only difference between realtime vs IGT in this run is whether or not you skip the ending credits and cutscenes. If those were skipped, this run would have an IGT of 1:10:08. I ended input at the end of the final boss fight to let the credits play out, so the 1:19:56 IGT at the end of the submission encode is irrelevant since it includes 10 minutes of ending. Would it be possible for whoever is doing the publication encode to not show the IGT screen at the end? (I only left it in the submission encode by accident).
Right off the bat, there's a glitch where pausing at specific times before/during mission start text boxes(and certain other text boxes as well) greatly expedites the time it takes them to appear and disappear off screen.
You're supposed to put out the fires in the Flutter and save Data here, but Mega Man is far too lazy to do that, so he's going to just let Data burn to a crisp and while waiting for Roll to turn on the sprinklers at her earliest convenience.
Before setting out to do whatever it is we need to do on this island, we first have to rob Gramps of his pension fund to buy some parts for jet skates and the buster.
Since Mega Man no longer has to stop for a brief period of time in between each jump in this game, jumping pulls ahead of running by a significant margine in terms of speed. Also, since you can't turn the camera while keeping Mega Man moving in a straight line in the air like you can on the ground, it's often faster to leave the camera face in the same direction.
Since you can now quickturn while running, it's usually faster to quickturn to face chests and doors you need to interact with so you can spend more time jumping to get to them.
You get the jet skates very early in this game compared to MML1; this is the second of two parts needed for Roll to make them(the first was purchased from the shop earlier).
Just like Zero series, ZX series, and the first title in this series, shooting walls with the buster is the primary method of RNG manipulation in MML2. Here we need to manipulate all 3 of the zenny drops from the upcoming boss to land in a straight line between the boss and the door.
Shooting the abandoned mine boss in the spike on his butt does significantly more damage than anywhere else, but induces a large number of i-frames. There is a glitch where he can take damage without re-entering i-frames during the first few frames after his i-frames expire allowing you to get triple hits with perfectly-timed stutter shots. Since it would waste time to induce i-frames 3 times, the boss is first weakened to the point where he can be finished off with 2 triple hits before his weakpoint is attacked.
Before leaving the island, we need to pick up some parts to make the missile launcher which somebody threw in the trash can.
There's a small amount of time you have to be on the map screen before you can visit a new destination, so doing loopty loops and the like doesn't waste time if your next destination is close by.
The Forbidden Island
Jet skate movement underwent significant changes from MML1 to MML2: it now has an acceleration period, decelerates when turning, touching a wall kills your momentum, and going off a ledge can give you a large jump when holding forwards, small jump with neutral input, or no jump while holding backwards.
Unlike MML1 where your maximum shot volley has a base cooldown attached to it, MML2's is simply tied to the number of shots currently on screen. Therefor, being close enough to your target renders the "energy" stat completely worthless.
Approaching steep slopes head on will kill your momentum the same way touching a wall does, but this can be avoided by strafing left or right just before hitting the bottom of the slope.
Rush Mammoo becomes immune and jumps after crossing certain damage thresholds. Moving to the side after the first one sets up a nice Doppler effect for the second since the boss will be turning towards you. Also, the shockwaves he generates upon landing are tied to a fixed z-axis position, so standing at a different level of elevation from him will automatically dodges his shockwaves while giving you more time to buster.
Here we get the first component of the drill weapon. Also, the zenny route in this game is extremely tight, and chests/secrets give absurd amounts of zenny for the parts of the game that they appear in, so all of them which aren't too far out of the way are collected.
All we need from this shop trip is the second component required to make the missile launcher, which deals significantly more damage than the buster at this point and has a much higher range.
The first Tron fight is handled very similarly to the Wire Sponge fight in X2 if you're familiar with that. Her desperation attack gives her a very long period of invulnerability, but she can only start it after finishing her current action. As such, she needs to be manipulated to doing two consecutive spinning attacks to avoid desperation, which is what briefly shooting the ground is for(the explosion sprite generated from hitting enemies is not random and contributes nothing towards RNG manipulation).
We head back to the Flutter to equip and upgrade the drill weapon before entering Manda Ruins for two reasons: it allows us to break a wall that leads to 15k zenny which is essential to the zenny route, and it's the second strongest weapon in the game(right after the Shining Laser), which allows for extremely fast quick kills on all 3 boss fights in Manda Ruins.
Only one of the frogs needs to be manipulated to jump towards you in the first Bola fight since the other three can be killed with buster before they can reach you anyway. Bola's altitude when he phases back in is also random, and he needs to be manipulated into a high position so his daggers miss while you're drilling him.
The two non-zenny items found on this island are the two components to make the ground crawler. It doesn't do as much dps as the drill but has significantly more range, which is needed on certain fights. Also, apparently it's made out of a land mine and a bowling ball.
The Nino shop trip is to get parts for some underwater jet skates, which save a significant amount of time in the next ruins.
Every segment on this island is an autoscroller besides the one where you can drill the boss ship. Luckily I had more options for playaround in this game than in Jurassic Park 2.
The first tier of the missile launcher's damage upgrades is purchased since it's needed for the next couple of missions. Unlike the drill and ground crawler, missiles cost an arm and a leg to upgrade, so only one tier can be purchased.
In the 4th fight segment, the bird bot ships must be killed as they're flying over the deck, and their zenny must be manipulated to not fly off of the deck so they can be collected. I don't think I mentioned this before, but the amount of zenny that enemies drop in this game is not random, however the trajectories in which they fly out are.
Missiles do more damage to boss ship in the 4th segment than buster shots, but a direct hit with a missile induces i-frames which negates the damage over time from the missile's explosion. This is only possible at one point during the fight when Glyde is flying tangent to Mega Man at about maximum missile range, but the optimal way to deal dps is by leading him with consecutive missiles so he flies through the explosions without incurring the i-frames from a direct hit.
Getting hit by any one of these thousands of bullets in the assault on Glyde's base will knock Mega Man back and cause him to drop the kid he's carrying, so it's pretty much essential to destroy most of the turrets in order to complete this mission in real time. Luckily, a TAS has the benefit of being able to play 3D Touhou instead.
The bird bots in the guard tower segment spawn in waves, and you only have to kill 4 in each wave to bring out the next one. The final "wave" is a single bird bot who needs to be shot during two separate window appearances before he can be defeated.
When exiting the base with Sho, the left tank is supposed to shoot you right as you're passing between the two tanks, but approaching it from a precise angle can glitch out its AI, making it confused about which direction it's supposed to shoot in.
Nino Island Revisit
All of the bosses in the Nino Ruins can be hit from melee range, so the missile launcher is retired in favor of the drill's superior dps.
Underwater running/jumping has atrociously slow acceleration, so using the aqua-jets is better even is small rooms.
Throwing a block at a wall from a precise angle and then turning into it at a specific moment will give Mega Man "on-ground" status at his current z-axis position instead of getting knocked out like he supposed to. This saves a ton of time here that you would otherwise have to spend stacking two boxes on top of each other to get over this red barrier.
This jellyfish fight was definitely one of the trickiest fights to execute in the run. All 3 of them need to be manipulated to not charge you at any point during the fight, and last two need to be manipulate to float towards each other. Whichever jellyfish is the last left alive will enter desperation mode and swim away from Mega Man out of the drill's range, so the 2nd and 3rd need to be setup to be killed at the exact same time. The third also has to be manipulated to move into Mega Man at this point to drop the key right on top of him.
Saul Kada Island
The ground crawler deals equivalent damage to the missile launcher, but is much cheaper to upgrade and can be stuttered at the same rate as the buster, making it a much better weapon against ground-level targets.
After buying the Power Raiser Alpha, Mega Man is now able to achieve the maximum damage value from his current buster parts, which is crucial since one of the bosses in the next ruins has a resistance to special weapons.
Only optimal frame-perfect stuttering on every shot can achieve the Tiesel 1-cycle on the PSX version. Apparently it's more lenient on the PSP version.
The ground crawler has the benefit of being able to climb the wall behind the enemies in the Saul Kada Ruins fight room during the time that their hit boxes are activating, allowing all 6 of them to be killed immediately when they become vulnerable. We need 2000 zenny here, so the two purples from enemies by the door needed to be manipulated to fall quickly(since they can't be picked up in the air) as well as land near the door.
Mega Man gives no hecks about trudging through lava when there are frames to be saved.
In the fight where Mega Man help Tron and Bon destroy the pillar, the ground crawler does almost no damage to the pillar by itself, but there is a damage stacking glitch that deals massive amounts of damage if the pillar is being hit by spikebot and ground crawler explosions simultaneously. It takes too long to wait for Tron or Bon to pick up a 3rd spikebot to finish the pillar off, so it's faster for Mega Man to just switch to lifter and do it himself.
The flame breath pattern is manipulated on the colossal reaverbot fight since it facilitates the most buster uptime. When he raises his head in preparation for the attack, you can actually ricochet buster shots off his rib cage into his head with very precise aiming.
Some of the movement in these ruins may look suboptimal if you're not familiar with the game, but there are hidden traps in the ground of the hallways that need to be avoided.
Aiming the ground crawlers up causes them to bounce higher as they move along the ground, which can be useful for hitting enemies that hover slightly off the ground like Tron.
To kill Bon as quickly as possible, you need to hit him with both the direct hits from the ground crawlers as well as their explosions, so you have to delay the volley by a few frames so that they hit him while he's stationary.
Calinca Continent Revisit
The Buster Unit Omega is purchased to replace the Power Raiser, since the extra range is needed for the next boss fight. Attack power still stays at maximum level with this layout.
Shooting in between two cannons on first phase of the train pursuit damages both of them at once.
Only low-flying servbots can be grabbed and thrown back at the train. One of the two lowest trajectories should be manipulated each time since they take the shortest amount of time to reach Mega Man.
Everything behind the lighter green area on the train will just deflect shots, so I have to wait until that part is in range to start shooting.
The slide you get at the end of a jet skate on slippery surfaces in Calinca Ruins is actually faster than the actual jet skate movement itself, so you want to end your jet skates earlier than normal to take advantage of this.
Unlike in MML1, the shining laser is worth getting in a speedrun since its only two parts are in chests that are barely out of the way.
The room where Mega Man jumps over the Mammu and shoots a ceiling to climb up to the next floor is the only place in the run where optimal movement entails a diving roll when not dodging something, the reason being it completely avoids the slow acceleration period that you normally get when you start moving on ice.
You have to bait a Mammu into this hole to unlock the door. Luckily this didn't require any frame loss to manipulate since the RNG sequence reset after taking the elevator to this floor.
You're supposed to sneak up on the keys from behind to grab them so they don't get scared and run away from you, but jumping at them at a specific time and approaching them from a precise angle can trick their AI into thinking you're behind them while they're facing you. The pickup animation from the keys also has the benefit of allowing you to dodge the other reaverbots' attacks.
The Calinca Ruins boss is immune for 90% of the fight. He won't die until he finishes his final chase move and coagulates afterwards, so you can finish him off with buster to conserve ground crawler ammo without losing any frames.
Sulphur Bottom(Geetz battle)
The first attack of the second phase of this boss needs to be manipulated to be machine gun, the trajectory of all of the shots need to be manipulated so they don't hit you, and his swoop must be manipulated to be low enough so that you can hit him with multiple ground crawlers as he passes by. This fight was probably the biggest pain to TAS after the jellyfish fight.
The first chest here contains the second half of the shining laser components. It costs the rest of our zenny(50k) to purchase one attack upgrade on it. The next upgrade costs 500k so it's completely out of the question in a speedrun.
The shining laser's hitbox is just barely wide enough to hit two of the sentries' limbs at once from a precise distance/angle, and it's pretty difficult to find a position that works for double killing both sides with one swoop.
The two Kuruguru fight rooms were definitely the two hardest rooms to optimize in the run. You want to kill all of the enemies while getting to the door as quickly as possible, which is much easier said than done.
As a throwback to the earlier series in the Mega Man franchise, we now get to have a boss rush that was unfortunately missing from MML1.
Each of the bosses from here on out take damage from the shining laser in really finicky ways. You have to shoot each of them in a specific spot and from a certain angle to hit their weak point and deal maximum damage.
I'm pretty sure the pitch of the noise generated by the jet skates is directly determined by the speed at which you are going. I don't think the developers expected us to find a glitch that allows us to skate backwards though.
The jellyfish are, unbelievably, more annoying to manipulate in their refight than they were in their first fight. All three of them can shoot 2-5 shots in each of their volleys, so all 3 need to be manipulate to shoot 2 shots so you can spend more time lasering and less time dodging. The 3rd jellyfish shoots a second volley; I was only able to manipulate as low as a 3shot for this volley, but small the amount of frames I spent dodging the 3rd shot is less than the amount of time I would have spent manipulating a 4th 2shot.
This boss still has a resistance to special weapons, so buster deals more dps to him than the shining laser. For some reason, the only way I was able to manipulate a flame breath for his first action was by taking damage from a spark, so I had to let him get off a swipe first instead. Also, those dinked shots you're hearing are all bouncing off his rib cage and hitting him in the head.
Sera 1 has a couple different actions she can do for her first random attack, but shockwaves/prisms unfortunately isn't one of them. The best action you can get here is these yellow orbs since they take the longest to get to you. Even if you dodge them you won't be able to laser her before she teleports again, so it's better to just tank them in the chest for more laser uptime.
The RNG sequence resets immediately after Sera's first phase, so the only way to manipulate the first pattern of her second phase is by delaying this cutscene skip by a certain number of frames.
When Sera 2 does this attack, there's a blindspot relative to where she starts it where she actually can't hit you, so you can just freely laser her to death. You do have to do some buster shots in between while the green special weapon bar is refilling though.