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A look back on my challenges

Started by Princess Rescuer, September 30, 2018, 05:09:49 AM

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Princess Rescuer

I have been one of the most well-known and accomplished Western Umihara Kawase players. I have even originated new challenges that are far longer than the already well-optimized time trials and shortest paths most players are familiar with, and I plan to make more of them (including the big 100% run) in the next game, Fresh. Here were my reasons for creating what I did.


The Original is the one I feel most accomplished in. It's the one I actually recorded myself playing. I have achieved things no Japanese player has even done. Despite it being my favorite, the challenges expose quite a bit of the game's flaws and shortcomings.

I originally wasn't concerned with high scores until the Vita re-release which had the new feature of saving them. Naturally, I wanted to see how high I could go. High scores have been my favorite challenge in the whole series to work on, but that's just me. To most people, this challenge is a drag. Prior to 2017, I played the game on Vita and Vita TV, bumping up the score from 50,000 point milestone to milestone. I never told anyone about it because I didn't have Internet accounts back then and I thought nobody would be interested anyway. On those systems, suspending was no issue. It was great for long car rides or boring nights. It's more fun to have done this challenge than it is to do it. It is also more fun to hear about than it is to watch it. My PB video gives me huge amounts of Magnum Opus Dissonance (if you're familiar with the trope)- I consider getting 400K+ points in a run that makes it to the last level without dying and with the most extra lives possible, then not dying in any way other than running out of time before beating the game with a red timer to be my defining gaming achievement- and if you've seen my channel, that's saying a lot. I have no misunderstandings of why it's so unpopular though- the PB video is an absolute slog to get through. Multiple levels of me walking back and forth for minutes on end catching the same enemies over and over again- and that's BEFORE 57. Before I was upset at the lack of competition as I was hoping Japanese masters of the game would form a hive mind crack team to take the challenge to new heights, but now that I have achieved the lofty goal in the very next PB, I can put this behind me indefinitely. I also did Deathless High Score, a tamer and much less repetitive variation that's a quarter of the length and actually much less demanding and difficult, but still has no competition.

Next would be the All Golden Arrows run. I thought this challenge would get more attention due to actually being a speedrun. A speedrun that plays more than just half or a small amount of the game and was unexplored territory. An "All Fields" run was thrown around by the speedrunning playerbase, but never actually done. Since 2015, the category became "All Golden Arrows" referencing the fact that in the newer versions, exits completed in Start mode would permanently be given golden arrows, where ones visited in Start mode but completed in Practice mode would be given silver ones. Despite the fact that this category finally gives every field a chance to be part of a full run, it hasn't been popular among either the Eastern or Western community, and for good reasons- the first tadpole must be done no less than five times, there's a section where you must wait as long as upwards of 20 minutes to get Field 28 to appear (and naturally you will want to get this out of the way first), and it's just generally hard to remember which fields have been completed, especially after a reset (and having competition likely wouldn't relieve this problem if everyone used a different route). I have had two PBs in this category, the weaker of which was considered unbeatable by the community and the reason AGA will never become a category. The stronger one is satisfactory, except for one mistake- I realized later I could have done one less route, bumping the route count down from 10 to 9. The 9 route run would have involved doing Field 38 twice (my least favorite field in the game and one that might risk more time loss than it gains) so it's no skin off my back. I also came up with variant categories such as All Golden Arrows Except For 28 (AGA EF 28) and 100% (AGA+ All Backpacks At Least Once). There also could have been All Field Visits and All Arrows (where you visit all fields and then complete the remaining ones in Practice mode on Vita and PC). That would have made too many categories though.


I already have a post as to why there is no 100% category for Shun. Would have been cool though. And at this point even new players introduced to the series on Vita or PC have likely run out of it so it would have given them something to do.


My Sayonara challenges are the most competed and most favorited by far. They're not my favorite to do, but they are much more playable and watchable for everyone else.

Let's start with the big one- My All Unlocks run. This is the 100% category that gets everything in the game, thereby unlocking everything in the game. It is much shorter and less repetitive than the AGA run, not to mention much less waiting around. And I'm proud of what the Japanese players have achieved. Using my route and their strategies, they brought the record down to sub 45 minutes. I would have been impressed with sub hour, but they took it above and beyond. Improvements were consistent until the run was brought to a satisfactory time, featuring a run that had some mistakes but no major ones. The runner, Siousatou, has discovered new techniques (including abuse of checkpoints) and plans on improving it by a minute someday. I knew the run would meet its full potential with him on board. There had been an All Unlocks Run by a French runner that was over 3 hours prior to my route, but it shouldn't be counted because it's too long and goes over the cutoff time of 2 hours. Sub hour was achieved on Vita, but by someone who has a better PB on PC. There's no sightings of a 3DS version All Unlocks Run. I wonder how much shorter that would be?

I also came up with Longest Path. Originally I thought I would just copy over my first Survival route from All Unlocks, but Nordanix corrected me by pointing out a route that was one floor longer. It's not as long of a challenge as All Unlocks, though, so it should be popular, especially among those who have worn out Individual Levels and Survival runs but don't want to go whole hog on All Unlocks.

And that's all. I hope to create more limit-breaking challenges in Fresh!