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It’s our kick off of SGDQ 2017 coverage with one of my favorite games of all time, Luigi’s Mansion. For this (and every run I cover) I’ll go over the cool techniques, exciting glitches, and overall gaming mastery shown. With some pictures to guide the way, I’m hoping to capture some of the best moments of this year’s Summer Games Done Quick. There’s tons of runs that I won’t be covering, so don’t miss any of the action over on Twitch.
Game: Luigi’s Mansion
Category: Any%, No Out of Bounds
Let the Games Begin
Before the run officially starts, HDLAX1 shows us an interesting glitch with the mini map. In Luigi’s Mansion, you have a handy device called the “Gameboy Horror”. In addition to taking pictures with it, you can refer to it at any time for a map of the game. While this is helpful for normal players, a speed runner like HDLAX1 doesn’t need it. In fact, every time you pick up a key in Luigi’s Mansion (which is quite often), the game brings up the mini map to show you what door it unlocks.
Fortunately, by executing a precise glitch in the Training Room section, HDLAX1 is able to completely deactivate the feature entirely. There’s a specific spot during the tutorial in which the Gameboy Horror is introduced. By fiddling with the console’s power switch (in real life) when the Gameboy Horror pops up (in game), you can cause the game to deactivate the mechanic. This saves milliseconds at a time, but over the course of the run, saves about 10 seconds.
Text Skipping and Optimization
Luigi’s Mansion is more about skill than executing major glitches, in terms of speed running. While there is one major skip that lets you jump from the first boss to the last, HDLAX1 will not be using it in this category. Instead, he shows us an impressive display of gameplay mastery, in addition to some interesting tips and strategies.
One of the first things noticeable about the run is the use of Japanese text. This is pretty commonplace among speed runs in general, as the Japanese language uses the least amount of characters. Since the text boxes in this game aren’t normally skippable, at the very least they’re brief.
The Japanese version also makes defeating enemies much quicker. In “Hidden Mansion” mode (essentially new game plus), the vacuum sucks up ghosts 1.5 times faster than normal. This is a feature exclusive to both the mode and the Japanese version, making it an obvious choice.
Like I said before, Luigi’s Mansion is more about skill than glitch exhibition. In fact, HDLAX1’s run is more a combination of many small time savers than any large skips. For example, any time Luigi approaches a double door, HDLAX1 takes the left side. For seemingly no reason, it saves a total of 1 second each time.
The Gameboy Horror gets used quite a bit in other time savers, and in ways I never thought of using it. When ghost enemies pop up, Luigi usually gets scared. This knocks him back a bit, wasting precious seconds. By pulling up the Gameboy Horror camera feature right as the enemy spawns, HDLAX1 is able to dodge the animation.
Since HDLAX1 knows this game inside and out, he knows where all the ghosts will spawn. This also allows him to prevent them from spawning, by shining his flashlight where they’re supposed to appear. The flashlight-pointing is used quite often during the run, as there’s quite a bit of walking around to do. The technique is used to its best effect late in the run, in Area 4.
Luigi’s Mansion is punctuated by area bosses, some of which have plagued my enjoyment of the game since I first played it. It’s really great to watch HDLAX1 absolutely destroy these bosses. He often eliminates them quickly without the use of cheap methods, purely relying on skill. The second boss, Bogmire, usually takes me three or four vacuum assaults to complete. HDLAX1 wipes him up in one.
HDLAX1’s reign of ghost vanquishing only improves as he heads into Area 3, one of the most random and difficult areas in the game. The boss at the end of Area 3 is potentially my least favorite of all. You fight a giant Boo made up of multiple tiny Boos. By “popping” the large Boo on a statute, you unleash the horde of little Boos who swarm around you. Whilst dodging the pesky ghosts you have to spray them with your ice power up, allowing them to be captured. This sounds much easier than it actually is, and would often cause me to jeer in frustration at the television. HDLAX1 pops the Boo, and then walks to the other side of the arena. Unleashing a super accurate blast of ice, he nails almost the entire pack in one hit. For anyone who has fought the Area 3 boss, you know how impressive that is.
Race to the Finish
Area 4 mainly consists of a “lights out” segment, in which the ghost goes dark and ghosts roam freely. However, thanks to HDLAX1’s flashlight-pointing, he walks through the entire house with barely a peep from the spectral enemies. This section sees him picking up more Boos, ghosts with larger health of which he must collect 40. Boos have a tendency to wander outside of the room you find them in, fleeing when their health gets low. HDLAX1 combats this by pumping the right trigger in the correct stance, forcing them in place. While it might seem like a minor advantage at first, the Boos eventually have health counts that rival boss battles. Holding them in place and not having to hunt them down is incredibly useful.
Despite a mid-run mistake that ends up costing him around 40 seconds, HDLAX1 makes decent time as he approaches the final boss. Once again, there’s no real crazy glitches here, just ability. As he caps off the final fight with Bowser, HDLAX1 finishes up the game with a time of 57:25, just 2 seconds away from his personal best and a minute away from the world record.