I love speed runs, and if you’ve been following my coverage of SGDQ 2017, it’s easy to see why. If there’s one thing I love more than good clean speed run, it’s watching several different runners do it at once. Speed run races have been popping up more and more as GDQ grows in popularity, but the Mega Man series have always been home to some of the best races seen at these events. SGDQ 2017 is no different as four different runners get ready to race to the finish of Mega Man X2. Let’s see who takes the gold and who will go home slowly.
Game: Mega Man X2
Category: Any% Race
Let the Games Begin
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge Mega Man X2 fan. My favorite entries are Mega Man 2, and Mega Man X. However, I might have to give it another look after watching these four excellent runners take on the Maverick Hunters. Each runner is pretty skilled in their own right. I’ve personally watched CalebHart42 several times over, as he is usually included in every Mega Man X race there is. Due to his cocky attitude, showmanship, and bicep-flexing, I can’t help but root for CalebHart42. As the runners break away from each other, it seems like ColonelFatso won’t be outdone.
Maverick Hunters Hunted
When it comes to watching this run, it’s pretty hard to keep up. Not only are all the runners exceptional, but they barely make any mistakes. Although ColonelFatso maintains a lead throughout most of the run with CalebHart42 trailing behind, Tokyo90 and Trogdor fight for third. Mega Man X2 is a breakneck paced run, with the stages flying by in the blink of an eye. The bosses seem to be the most noteworthy aspect, so we’ll follow by boss.
The runners starts off on Wire Sponge, a huge pushover boss and even easier level. ColonelFatso edges ahead early on, getting incredibly lucky with enemy placement and RNG. For those who don’t know, RNG stands for “random number generation”. In speed running, it’s a catch-all term for any aspect of the game that is random. If an attack, enemy spawn, or literally anything isn’t consistent, it’s usually denoted as RNG-dependent.
From Wire Sponge, the runners move onto Wheel Gator. Wheel Gator is an exceptionally easy fight due to a 5 frame trick. Right before Wheel Gator attacks, there’s a 5 frame window (with the game running at 60 frames per second, that’s pretty damn tight) in which you can stun lock the boss. This prevents him from attacking, allowing the runners to easily clean him up.
Since Wheel Gator is such an easy boss, the entire cast of runners and commentators (along with the crowd), sing “Happy Birthday” to Tokyo90. It’s a general feel-good moment, and I can’t help but admit that I sang along too.
Flames for Days
From here, the runners hop into Flame Stag’s stage. As far as actual stages go, Flame Stag’s stage allows for quite a bit of personal strategy. Unlike most Mega Man X2 stages, Flame Stag’s stage doesn’t have one set “right” way to play it. Each runner has a slightly different strategy that they’ve worked out. ColonelFatso maintains his solid lead heading into this level, and retains it after all runners wrap up the boss.
Then it’s onto Magna Centipede. Around this area, it’s important to note that the runners are collecting every power up. This is to grab the Shoryuken move later, a massively powerful move that chunks boss health. It’s the most powerful move available, and well worth the time it takes to get all the power ups. As the runners take on Magna, they’re hoping the boss throws out a tail spin attack. If he does, the runners can glitch off the attack and cheese down his health. With luck on his side, ColonelFatso baits out the tail spin attack and successfully performs the glitch. This extends his lead, as the other runners attempt the trick.
My favorite color? Purple. My favorite looking stage? Crystal Snail.
Crystal Snails stage (and the boss fight) are awesome to watch, but there are not any huge noteworthy glitches. However, the stage does show off Mega Man X2‘s unique movement. In X2, there are two weapons that increase movement speed. This adds some additional strategy when choosing routes through levels, and produces very cool looking techniques.
After Crystal Snail is salted, the runners head to Overdrive Ostrich. Once again, the boss isn’t incredibly noteworthy, but the stage is. Overdrive Ostrich’s stage is true to the name, as it features an insanely fast speeder bike section. This abrupt change of pace is nothing for the runners, as they all clear it with little difficulty.
Up next is Bubble Crab. Sticking with the theme of the boss, most of this stage is underwater. The runners here show off some momentum abuse. By jumping off sloped platforms in a specific way, the runners are able to gain extra height. This is even more apparent in Bubble Crab’s stage as the water physics provide lessened gravity. The boss himself is pretty by-the-numbers, but he is weak to the wheel weapon, a notoriously finicky weapon to use.
Finally, the runners head into Morph Moth and finish the stage in staggering time. This leads them into the end-game stages.
Boss Rush and Neon Jumps
The late game stages are all about technique, and watching the runners blast through them is impressive to say the least. There’s a element of finesse to the whole section, and when played perfectly, there’s a great sense of fluidity to the gameplay. The runners use a trick known as “neon jumping” here, which essentially allows for a double or triple jump. By releasing a charged buster shot, jumping AND air dashing near a specific frame, the game gets confused and X jumps off of thin air. It’s a very precise trick, and pulling it off allows them to get the aforementioned Shoryuken move from an unintended spot.
A section in the second end-game stage features a tense sequence of jumps around walls of spikes. By intentionally taking damage, the runners use the moments of invincibility to jump off the spikes using wall jump. ColonelFatso messes up a little bit, but manages to save it. This is the one spot where CalebHart42 gets close enough to take the lead, but ColonelFatso keeps his lead heading into the boss re-fights.
With the Shoryuken in hand, the runners take on each boss again. The boss rush fights are significantly quicker than the original fights, as the Shoryuken absolutely demolishes them. While not exactly a one-hit-kill, the Shoyruken does incredible amounts of damage. Each runner takes on the bosses in a different order, as the actual order of the bosses doesn’t matter much.
Tokyo90 gets some birthday luck during these re-fights, pulling off a couple difficult strategies and clutch saves. Coming out of the boss rush, the standings remain the same.
The runners approach the final three-boss flurry at the end of the game. Both ColonelFatso and CalebHart42 have used their sub-tanks at this point. Sub-tanks fully recharge your health, so not having one at this point puts both of them in pinch. Staying true to how the run has played out so far, ColonelFatso gets even better luck than Tokyo90. The bosses play right into his hands, as he gets the best RNG on the boss’ attacks. CalebHart42 gets some unfortunate luck and messes up, losing his second place spot. As the final hits connect, Fatso finishes with some flare.
That’s all! Watch the entire race over at this link, and be sure to check back for more great SGDQ 2017 coverage!