We've been through a lot in this game- discovering that the High Score can be at least 500,000, all 60 Exits can be cleared within a couple of hours of each other, and that every Exit can be reached without using the Jump button- and even a few can be completed without the Hook. Let's take it easy on ourselves.
The game is out on Switch VC in Japan, and there's a possibility that it could reach other regions soon. This will be the most available it's ever been since the PC version- and it's much more likely to find an audience on the Nintendo platform. Lots of new players will have a chance at no extra cost if they already have a subscription (and if they already have one, starting a Japanese account is free and requires no extra subscription). This will be their first time, and they will be surprised at the game's steep challenge curve. Personally, I think waiting out the half-hour time limit is slow and it would be quicker to practice and get better. But if you're new and bad and that's not an option, what is the easiest path you can take to victory?
The rules are simple- find the easiest path you can take to the exit in an End Field. Using the time limit is allowed. Rewinds and Savestates de-legitimize a run.
You would think, Shortest Path, right? Shortest Path is a good choice, but it's a bit steep. We can do better than that. Shortest Path is mis-named, because there are indeed even shorter ones. Entering the 11-12 or 12-36 Exits will take you straight to Field 55. Getting to Field 36 and taking the 45 Exit after half an hour will take you straight to 57. I would not recommend either of these- in Field 11, taking the Field 18 Exit takes you to Field 28. The Field 8 Exit does the same after the Tadpole (not that hard, you'll get used to it). Both are better options and easier Exits to get to.
We're still not done. The beginning part of the Longest Path, that is 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 6 > 7 > 8 > 28, is still better. Not only are these Fields easier (the left path on 2 is intended for more experienced players), but you have 3 opportunities for extra lives before the Warp. The 55 Warp gives you 1, the 11-8 Exit gives you 2, and the 11-18 gives you 2 also, but only if you still have enough time for Field 18 (which you should, as you would have to lose a life to warp that early). The Longest Path beginning offers you 3 before 8-14 (you can't Warp until you at least clear Field and you can be pickier about which Fields you wait beside the door in and which ones you complete faster. Even for a beginner, the time limits are quite generous, especially in the earlier Fields. In fact, this is the route I used to beat the game for the first time. We all have to start somewhere.
If you have a better option for new players, post it here!
Already got 500K with Switch Pseudo-TASing. I caught enemies on most fields, grinded on Fields 17, 37, 38, 41, and 48, and 1/2 of 5 (exited with 2 minutes remaining). I entered 57 with 85,000 points. I implemented a new strategy of skipping Field 56. My Field 57s are VERY good with scores better than 22,000 per life. They would be very nice to get in a real run.
500K is 100K better than what the range for the current record is. I thought the potential score couldn't be much better than a low 400K, but it's actually much higher. Very encouraging. Plenty more margin for error than previously imagined.
Are High Score runs too long and tedious for you? How about Deathless High Score Runs? Still too long? Here's an idea: High Score IL Runs.
Here's how it works: You do a High Score Run on each of the game's 49 Fields. Your best score on each Field adds up to your Total. The different Exits don't matter, nor do extra lives, since they don't add points to your Score. Your PB on each Field adds up to your Total. Also, you must go through one of the Field's Exits (doesn't matter which) to make the Score count. As long as you don't lose a life or run out of time and go through a door, even with 0:00 on the Timer, it counts. I thought about having separate LBs for each Field, but there'd be a lot of unbreakable Ties, so I just decided to have one added-up Total for each player, as well as all WRs.
You can't just grind- only your best score will count obviously. So if you get 5000 and then 5200 on the same Field, you will only add 200 not another 5200.
This challenge will make the tedious High Score challenge much more palatable- and it will open it up to the rest of the game outside the Longest Path.
In order to count IL Scores on something that isn't the Vita or the PC, if your starting score isn't 0, subtract the starting score from the ending score. All versions are viable for this challenge. Since the Switch has savestates and rewinds, all ILs must be fully recorded from the pre-Field number blinking to the Exit.
Umihara Kawase recently came out on Japanese Switch VC in the Super Famicom section. It's the exact same game as the Super Famicom version, TNN logo and all. The only difference is its portable and has savestates, rewind, and the ability to change the controls, all of which come standard on Switch. I still feel the Vita version is better- it has a Field Select, it natively saves your high score and all your times (you need savestates to do that on Switch), and it's on a physical cartridge, where the Switch version is impermanent and digital. You can expect it to no longer exist shortly after the next Nintendo console comes out. In addition to that, I also feel that the Vita generally has the better Umihara Kawase games than the Switch does, but you probably already know that.
You can get it by starting a Japanese account (easy) and subscribing with your own local account, which covers all accounts for that particular Switch. If you only have a Japanese account, you can get yen by paying for online codes on import sellers like Play-Asia.
I'd still recommend the Vita version, but far more people have a Switch than a Vita or Vita TV, and the Switch version is still a pretty solid and cost-effective option.
The game came out on Switch recently. The Switch version is on the online VC, so it's not the improved 2015 version. It does have savestates and rewind though- making it good for testing the limits of high score runs. Already, I've done one- a rough, could've-been-better test run on Switch with these pseudo-TAS features bursts open the possibilities. The new high score is within the 450K range and it could be even better. I'm not expecting anyone to reach that in a real run, but it does make a low 400K much more beatable.
After the run, I savestated, meaning a great feature from the Vita version, the ability to save your score, is maintained. Next time I try for a better pseudo-TAS, I'll have the score to beat right on the screen, giving it something more of a personal significance. It sure beats reverting back to 6158 each time like on Super Famicom.
The Final Version of Star Fox 2 is now available- on SNES Classic, Switch, and even on an original cartridge. It's better than the Beta version, and also more challenging- your charge shots don't home in on enemies anymore. Cleaning up on all those missiles won't come so easy- it's not a matter of merely having the enemies onscreen anymore, and your bombs are limited. There is, however, a way to make them not limited.
This is best done when there aren't many bases left on planets, and no Battleships left. And on Expert, before the next three Bases appear. Enter a Planet, collect a Special Item or two, then exit. Hardly any total time will have elapsed, and you can do this a few times to have the maximum of 9 of whichever the item you last picked up was. If you have 9 bombs, you will quickly and easily beat Star Wolf members with just a few bombs each, which reduces risk and gives you ample time to stop attacks on Corneria. Bombs are also useful for Bases that have four separate targets in one core, and on groups of Missiles and Flotillas. At any time, you can also collect a single Heart or Shield to get one extra and change all of your Items into that thing. Even Expert Mode, while not effortless, will become much easier due to how much less scarce Items become. Missiles are easier to stop with Bombs, full-heals are plentiful with Hearts, and tight flying sections will become safer with more Shields.