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Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is the November 2005 sequel to Castlevania III. Three years after Trevor's defeat of Dracula, Dracula's curse still plagues the land. One of Dracula's servants, Hector, has parted ways with the dark side and has set out to break this curse and have revenge against his former friend, Isaac.


Run: 2:21:02 by Damien 'Dragondarch' Moody, done in 14 segments

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This run was actually delayed by a couple months due to general boredom of the game. I had made it to the 2nd Isaac fight before I back-burnered it.

The fastest method of travel is to use Quick Steps - but only after I have Double Step. There's too long of a pause after doing a Quick Step without Double Step, and that same pause exists after a Double Step. You'll notice that I mess up and end up with Double Steps at times when I don't mean's actualy harder than it looks to always time it right so I don't end up Double Stepping but am still able to keep up a nice momentum.
In terms of weaponry, I chose 1 handed axe types for the most part, since they tend to be the strongest of the "small" type weapons, and the 2 hit + finisher can score 5 hits, and has some range to it. I switched back and forth to the Chauve-souris once I had the materials for it, depending on the situation.
My ID of choice was the Battle-type. His passive STR bonus was good enough, but he also deals great damage when utilized properly. I evolved him to a Speed Mail, then a Rasetz. The Golem side of the tree is too weak (mostly Golem) and a bit slower as well. Speed Mail attacks fast and has nice Chain Attacks as well. The reason I went for Rasetz over Corpsey (other than the fact that I used axes a lot) is that Corpseys ATT and MAG stats have horrible growth, whereas Rasetz's ATT stat isn't too bad. Plus, Bone Storm is Dark Elemental, which all bosses after the point it evolved are resistant to.
I tend to leave my IDs guarding if when running through rooms/hallways. This is to prevent unnecessary damage for the most part.
There's quite a few areas that could be better optimized...most of which deal with flying enemies. I should have been using the Mage ID (Time Stop) more often.


Not really all that much action here...this castle is more like a semi-long tutorial than anything else really.
I used a Memorial Ticket to get back downstairs after getting the Fairy ID, and skipped all side rooms / unnecessary fighting.
All the required fight rooms went fairly well, although those Skeleton Blazes can be annoying by just moving too damned much.
I also crafted a Gano, a Soft Leather Armor, and a Leather Helm with the Bronze and Wild Memories I had been picking up.

This fight went quite well, except for that second Head Smash he did...I've never seen him use that twice in a row, so it caught me off guard.
The trick to this fight is to always dodge clockwise, so I'm to Crazy Armor's right...he can't seem to hit me there.
For the second part, just slash away and dodge whenever convenient. Taking hits isn't a big deal or anything really.

Ditched the Fairy ID for the Battle ID right at the start.
I sidetracked to get the Perfect Guard skill, and also the Boiling Ring. Perfect Guard is pretty much a requirement for any sort of speed run, and the Boiling Ring reduces damage from Fire - which is an element that quite a few bosses utilize.
The only thing that I didn't like that much was when my ID hit the 2nd Wizard I was trying to steal a Memorial Ticket from...though it didn't cost me too much time.
Aside from the 2 Memorial Tickets I stole, I also crafted some Hard Leather Armor from the Jet Black, and a Corinthian Helmet from a piece of Aluminum.

The Battle ID is almost useless in this fight. Other than a couple Aura Blasts when it has it's head buried in the ground, I pretty much leave it on guard mode. The problem is that it has trouble hitting Wyvern's head with it's normal attacks.
The main trick here is to not allow the Wyvern to start flying around the room. When he buries his head the first time I just ignore it and keep pounding away. When he does it the 2nd time, I jump on it's ack and hammer away while he flies.

All of the required fights here went extremely well.
I needed one of the Bone Soldiers at the beginning to drop a Steel so I could make a Mace...which is a decent bit more powerful than anything else I can make at the time.
I also needed to steal a Holy Man's Vein from a Dead Fencer, and a Spirit of Fuji from a Lesser Demon for later use. That, and I needed the Dead Fencer to drop a Knight's Vein so I could make a Gallic Helmet.

I didn't notice any speed increase by using my ID for this fight. I think this fight only requires Hector to connect (do damage) a certain number of times, and that the ID's hits don't count.
Either way, it's a pretty easy fight...just Guard / Perfect Guard and attack until he submits.

I used the Magical Ticket I picked up outside Julia's Shop to warp me back there after getting Brute Force Lv1.
Most of the fights here went well...except for one. That last room with the Frost Dragons...that last Dragon just wouldn't cooperate.
That room with all the Blaze Masters is ID doesn't follow well down the stairs, so he ends up lagging behind. That's why I just ran past all the enemies to the other door - to give him time to catch up.
I stole 2 Aquamarines from Fishmen for later use, and also made a Lemellar from some Steel the Bone Soldiers dropped.

I don't like this fight. Skeleton Diver can choose to spend long periods of time in places where I can't hit him. Moreso when he's low on HP.
When he first lands, I have my ID help double team him...he can't guard from his backside, so I was trying to stay back there as much as possible. When the Fish flops onto the platform, I can smack it as well...which is actually an easier target.
I had my ID guard once his HP dropped to a point where he ran the risk of dying. If he died, I'd lose a decent chunk of damage from the STR bonus he gives.

I grabbed the Spirit of Fuji and the Bird ID, then used a Memorial Ticket to save a little walking.
First thing, I stole 2 Ceremonial Tools from the Vessagos - for later use of course.
I also stole a Carbon Steel from the Great Armor so I could make a Morgenstern...which is +15 ATK over the Mace.
Most of the fights here went well enough...except those last 2 rooms where I should have been using Aura Blast instead of Heavenly Sword.

This fight went as well as it could have. My ID is only really useful for some early extra damage...but he gets smacked around too easily to be of much use beyond that.
If I had a 2 handed weapon (sword or axe) I could have made him flinch...but I don't think it would have been any faster really, since the early 2 handed weapons don't have much combo ability.

I was hoping the White Gravials would drop more White Steel than they did...
I stole an Ether from a Lizard Shaman, and also use some Indigo Steel to make Chain Mail, and a Sallet.
Most of the fight went OK enough...that one room with 4 Assassin Zombies could have been better, though.

My ID is operation distraction here. His only job is to keep Isaac's ID busy while I beat the living snot out of him.
Other than stealing the Devil's Vein at the start of the fight, it's a pretty straightforward beat down. When my ID was low on hearts, I had him guard...Isaac's ID still has a tendency to go after him.

I needed to level the Mage ID up here so it'd have enough Hearts for the Saint Germain fight.
I used Time Stop to easily get the Phlogiston from a Flame Demon. However, I should have also used Time Stop on those flying enemies that were wasting my time.
I make a Zaghnol shortly after my Mage learns Lightning Strike. I also make a Plate Mail from some White Steel, and some Field Armor from Red Steel shortly thereafter.

This fight went about as well as it could have. Saint Garmain's main attack is when he uses Time Advance, which I can nullify with Time Stop. He can also stop time, but I can cancel it with my own.
When he runs out of HP, he does Time Reverse to recover to 50%. I Time Stop as he's doing this so he only gets to recover 25% instead.
I tried using Lightning Strike on him, but he has a Magic Defense of 60, and my Mage ID only has a MAG stat of 42, which means a piddly 24 damage per Strike. Not worth the Heart cost IMO.
The Memorial Ticket back to Cordova Town saved a bunch of time. I put the Devil ID away since it seemed to have a tendency to die in that corridor with all the Dead Fencers.

I picked up the Damascus Steel before entering leaving Cordova Town to make a Burgonet.
I think I could have used my ID a little more efficiently here, although keeping him from dying is a decent chellenge in and of itself.
I should have also used the Mage ID for the pesky flying enemies.

The ID is just there for a passive STR bonus, and some Chain Attacks.
While Trevor has the White Aura, he cannot be made to flinch, so I have to prioritize dodging over attacking until it dissipates.
Once the Aura drops, I can use my ID to score some extra hits after my own attacks. Trevor's Magic Defense is too high to allow my ID to do any real damage with it's specials. Notice the last hit of my ID Chain attack does a lot more damage than anything else.

I had to split this into 2 segments due to all the Final Guards. They can choose to just sit there and defend and I can't do a damn thing about it.
I took all those Materials I had been gathering, and along with the Dark Crystal, Ether, Spirit of Fuji, and Ceemonial Tool I picked up in the Emperor's Throne room, managed to make a Chauve-souris - which is one of the most powerful weapons I can make (and has an awesome combo to boot).
Right after making it (next room) there's 2 Wights that need to be killed to unlock to'll notice I pause and spin the camera as soon as I enter the room...this is to make sure the first one doesn't hide in the wall, or off to either side where I can't get to it.

I switched back to the Zaghnol for this fight since Dullahan doesn't flinch. My ID was worth a few extra hits every so often, but it's more improtant for it to be alive for the passive STR bonus.
This fight is mostly about dodging Dullahan's attacks, and dealing a couple hits whenever I can. I prefer when he does anything that makes him stand still for a moment afterwards, since I can get off a full combo + Chain attack.
The only thing I didn't like about this fight was that he didn't do the move he was charging up when he died eariler. He takes double damage while he's charging that.

Again, 2 segments...but this time for the sheer difficulty of speeding through some rooms.
I wound up taking 2 refills in save rooms here...both Hector and the ID get smacked around pretty bad in here.
Did I also mention how much I hate flying enemies?

This fight was a bitch until I figured out the secret. Isaac can't stop to block and summon if you always hit his backside. Chauve-souris is the best to use here, since it deals so many hits at once.
Thus, always attacking him in his rear arc forces him to fight alone the entire time. Plus with no summon animations, and no IDs to kill, this fight becomes rather short.
However, I can't use ID to attack during this fight - it has a good chance to throw him with it's stronger attacks. If Isaac is thrown, it's pretty much guaranteed that he'll summon an ID without any chance for me to interrupt him. Guard duty for the ID.

I think I could have used my ID for some extra damage here, but I also needed him alive for the STR I didn't risk it.
I switched back to Zaghnol since Death doesn't flinch, and needed fast hits over strong ones.
Normally I don't screw up perfect guarding his mini-scythes, but I got one bad block and ended up reeling for it. I would have reset, but I hate having to re-do the Isaac fight every time Death annoys me.
The Boiling Ring was picked up for the sole purpose of defending against Death's Flare Bomb attack. That first hit always gets me...the camera is at a bad angle to try and determine exactly when I need to block the first hit. I managed to block the rest fine, though.
I do, however, regret using the Pork Bowl here since I didn't get hit at all after using it...and it would have saved me a lot of trouble for the Dracula fights.

His Magic Defense is around 100 or so, which makes my IDs specials practically worthless.
I need my ID alive after this fight, but I also need him attacking since he can actually deal out damage faster than Hector can. Chain attacks aren't as worthwhile here since they don't attack as fast as the ID normally does. Leaving him in Manual is quite effective, though.
When he was almost dead, I brought out the Fairy again to get her some levels (from 4 - 25). I needed the healing for the next fight and her HP got a nice boost.

My ID was operation distraction again...well - somewhat. The whole premise here is to just dodge everything I can and attack when I have a chance. My damage is pitiful here...My ID's passive STR bonus makes up for half of all my damage.
I had my ID defend the entire time, since it takes hits easily, and would have died quick. Specials weren't worth anything here either due to a high Magic Defense.
I was also switching to the Fairy ID every time he backed away from the platform so I could heal up. I went through all of her Hearts plus the one Potion I had left, and still finished only one hit from death.
I regret keeping the Battle ID when he backed off after the Fairy ID was out of Hearts...
My ID died because of it, but it wasn't a big deal since Dracula was almost dead. The Mage ID was brought out to grant some extra (passive) damage to finish him off.

Trevor run: 1:43:35 by Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols, done in 12 segments

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Let me get one thing out of the way. This run is essentially a temporary fixture, on which I can hang up a boss rush with Trevor that's over a year old. I waited, hoping someone would submit a Trevor run, but I can't wait any longer. Satoryu did try at one point, but I believe he officially stopped when we found out about the trigger for Trevor Doppleganger 2. Dragondarch apparently had such a run back-burnered, but I don't know for sure. I do not know of anyone else that officially tried this run category.

I'll just make some quick notes for others to use to make their improved runs:

Before the run

That torpedo move I use constantly is the Square, Triangle, Square combo (I'm using the PS2 version of the game, and I don't know the exact corresponding buttons on the XBox version). Satoryu first provided the idea of using it, so credit to him for finding that it's faster than Quick Step most of the time.
As for sub-weapons, the Axe is entirely useless to me. In fact, except for the Stopwatch, none of the sub-weapons are useful unless you use the alternate versions (which I'll call the 'crush' versions for this commentary). Each crush has their place - Knife Crush for hands-free damage and stunning, Holy Water Crush for somewhat-defense-piercing damage, Cross Crush for evasion, and the Stopwatch Crush when the normal watch doesn't cut it (which is admittedly rare).
With the notable exceptions of Skeleton Diver and maybe the first bout with Isaac, I find that Trevor has a much easier time with bosses, even with few upgrades. Skeleton Diver pretty much killed any chance of doing this run single-segment, and it would be a great thing if someone found a strategy for him that worked no matter what in a single-segment run.

Abandoned Castle

Unlike Hector, who needs to take a long detour to get his first ID and then the item that allows him to progress, the door is left unlocked for Trevor. The only part he needs to do is what Hector does after returning to the entrance with the Dragon Crest.
There was one extra ATK Up I considered getting, but I dropped it from the plan because you have to fight your way out of that room. If it saves more time against all future fights combined than it takes to fight out of that room (which is a very realistic possibility), getting it will be important for the next runner.

Crazy Armor

If you think THIS is easy, wait until Boss Rush where you can rip him a new one with the Thunder Whip.
Taking damage does not really matter in this fight because of how fast Crazy Armor drops. When he goes into Picasso mode it's even more ridiculous, since the Knife Crush can take advantage of such low defense.

Baljhet Mountains

This Heart Max Up I take is the first of three I will get in this run. Added in only during this run, and not being planned for any practice runs, these Heart Max Ups are designed to allow me to change my strategy in some areas to something that's faster but more heart-intensive.
The developers were kind enough to shove the door open in Baljhet for Trevor's mode, rather than forcing Trevor to go through Garibaldi Temple to open the door. Thus, I skip most of Baljhet, all of Garibaldi, the Wyvern boss, and the first encounter with Trevor Doppleganger. While this makes later battles exponentially more difficult, going for the powerups in those areas costs more time than it will ever save.
I need to activate the warp rooms in Baljhet and Mortvia for later use. Trevor can't use Memorial Tickets, so warp rooms are the fastest way to get back to previously visited locations.
Instead of detouring to save here, I took an extra save in Mortvia.

Mortvia Aqueduct

From the perspective of this run, this is a critical section. I get a total of +30 ATK here (+25 if you don't count the boss) which is going to make the rest of the run bearable. I'm not even talking about speed here (though it helps for that too) - I'm talking mere survival. Not having the Circle Tip makes all fights take much longer, which adds to the chance of taking hits and dying. So really, that semi-long detour pays for itself before I even leave Mortvia.
I chose to save in the middle of this place because I didn't want to have to redo Crazy Armor if I screwed up the hard part of this area.
Near the end is the only loose ATK Up I acquire in the entire run - the others take too long for me.

Skeleton Diver

I originally was going to give this its own segment, because Skeleton Diver is the toughest boss in the run by far (and the save point I wanted to use for this is not far off the path at all). Even the Dracula battles don't come close to the difficulty of fighting this boss with low stats and trying to get a good time. But then I learned that Satoryu had never saved immediately after Skeleton Diver. So I decided to give it some more effort from there.
Basically I want any of the attacks that bring the fish onto the platform. Whenever that happens I can just whip out a Holy Water Crush or three to roast him. A number of fights were ruined by me being too greedy with hits, but eventually I got this, which is just exceptional for such low stats.

Forest of Jigramunt

There's an easy HP Max Up on the route, but I skip it because frankly, I don't need it.
A DEF Up is also available but it requires fighting to open a door. Not worth it.


Very simple boss fight, which I speed up with the Holy Water Crush. I just need to be aware of this guy's strikes - one blow takes off a quarter of my life at this stage of the game.
The Knife Crush can make this guy flinch a lot, but his defense is too high for that to be worth it.

Cordova Town

Another easy DEF Up is skipped because the portal to get it takes too long. It also turns out to be quite a detour on this route anyway.
Even with the Heart Max Ups I ran into some issues at the end. Oh well.

Isaac w/ Abel

This fight was a bitch, plain and simple. I was debating whether having the Knife Crush target either Isaac or Abel, in both cases to keep them pinned, but realized that because of Isaac's defense being totally nonexistant (and a normal whip strike's only equal to 7 hits from the Knife Crush because of this), I needed to use it on him to speed up the fight.
From there it's just avoiding Abel, who can nearly instantly kill me with his explosion attack, as well as just be a general pest.

Eneomaos Machine Tower

I really, really need that Thunder Whip.
The elevator parts are a real pain sometimes, since the goal's to keep hitting the elevator until you're close enough to enter the door. 'Close enough' is NOT the absolute farthest distance.
Near the end, some bad movement put me in a situation that made my adrenaline spike through the roof, and I had to wait until the next day to calm down enough to even try the next segment at all despite there being plenty of time available to me.

Saint Germain

I determined that in Trevor's game, this guy is the trigger for Trevor Doppleganger to show up in Abandoned Castle, and thus to reach Infinite Corridor. So I'll be skipping Aiolon Ruins in this run.
This fight is the main reason I've been snagging those Heart Max Ups and the Thunder Whip. It's possible to do this with just the heart count you get from Medals, but that ramps up the difficulty and randomness, as you NEED to have 20 hearts when you kill him the first time to cut his second phase short. Ironically, I did not NEED all those hearts this time.
Trevor has the advantage of being able to cut Saint Germain's attacks short immediately, rather than there being the delay that Hector has. Also, Trevor is immune to status effects, so he never can suffer the Poison + Time Advance combo Saint Germain's been known to use.
After the fight begins the trek back to the warp room. I got my torpedo combo interrupted quite a bit here, and use the time in the elevator to practice Perfect Guarding. If you're looking to train a new player on Perfect Guarding, that elevator room is the perfect spot for it.
Back in Baljhet I just make a mad dash to the gondola.

Trevor Doppleganger

I know what you're thinking. "This guy's a psycho! Why's he taking on two bosses in the same segment?" The answer is that a save here would cost more time than I'd likely ever get back on Trevor Doppleganger.
When he has the white aura, NOTHING flinches him. Not moves that throw, not Perfect Guards, nothing. So evasion is critical. Because I find he attacks too much in this phase for my liking, I use Holy Water Crush when possible to damage him more safely. Once the aura drops it's clobbering time - well, it would have been but he didn't cooperate as well as I wanted this time. I barely came out of this one alive, and I really wish I could find an alternative to pushing my luck here.

Infinite Corridor

Since I did not save before Trevor Doppleganger, I take this save so I don't lose all that hard-earned progress. So this is the second area in which I wind up saving twice.
The Thunder Whip and Stopwatch combo makes short work of the Final Guards here. In fact, the Stopwatch is very useful in this entire area for keeping enemies where you want them. Just make sure not to use it if you need the enemies to respawn.
I switch to the Circle Tip at the start of the next part and go back to the Thunder Whip when the swords start showing up - I'm mainly looking at total damage dealt over time here.


Words do not describe the luck I had with this battle, so just watch it yourself and see.

Dracula's Castle

Because of my stupid luck with Dullahan, this becomes the third area where I save twice (well, in this area it's technically three saves, but I consider the final battles their own area).
I contemplated getting the Square Tip, but I ultimately decided it wasn't worth the time. If someone tries to improve this, evaluate just how much time the Square Tip saves on the final bosses. If it's more than two minutes (my estimate for how long the detour takes), getting it might be important.

Isaac alone

Unlike last time we fought Isaac, this is very, VERY easy. At least, with the knowledge that he can't summon if he's constantly attacked. The Knife Crush works wonders for this, so even though his defense almost nullifies the hits, it's far more useful than any other attack would be.


Death is also a pretty simple boss for Trevor to fight. One of those battles where Cross Crush is an exceptional choice - I can use it to dodge as well as attack, even though I screw this up a few times.
As for his attacks, I always prefer to dodge rather than Perfect Guard because Death's attacks are pretty nasty as a whole - more importantly, I believe dodging (early enough) puts you in position to attack faster than Perfect Guarding does. I back off for his massive fireball to make the guarding much simpler - and since Trevor can return to the fight sooner than Hector I find it a viable alternative.

Vampire Dracula

I refuse to take a lot of damage here because I need a one- or two-hit leeway for the next fight. Taking no damage at all is extremely rare, but it helped me when it happened here.
Abusing Holy Water Crush is the way to go, but I realized after about ten failures at the segment as a whole (all due to the next fight) that Trevor's air attacks deal a lot of extra damage. I tried to incorporate this when possible.
The fire pillar attack is one I usually Perfect Guard, but I was far enough away both times he did it here that I didn't need a Perfect Guard at all. This is one of those instinctual Perfect Guards - I don't fully understand the right timing of this block myself. Instead I nail the Perfect Guard while trying to Quick Step away.

Demon Dracula

You do NOT know how many fights I lost at the very end here - I had to use a separate DVD JUST for this fight. Despite that, it's not actually difficult. The insane damage this guy dishes out just means there's literally no room for error.
I use the Knife Crush for this fight because there's almost no opportunity for the Holy Water Crush and the Cross Crush leaves me occupied. With as little damage as I do per strike, each Knife Crush means a couple of attacks - if Demon Dracula stays close. As long as he's not near the platform he's invulnerable.
To finish this fight with as much leeway as I had tells me I'm not nearly the reckless player I see in myself. Or maybe I've just learned this game to a point where player personality no longer matters (which is nowhere near the level of proficiency where raw talent doesn't matter - will gladly explain my system of tracking gaming proficiency if you're confused). I'm not sure, and I'll let you, the viewer, answer that one.

I'm not yet done with this game, but I need a break from it. There's four things that would need to happen for me to be done with this game:

  1. Either a Hector any% SS or an improved Hector any% segmented
  2. A Hector Boss Rush
  3. An improved Trevor any% segmented (no idea how much improvement's possible)
  4. A Crazy Mode run
My attempts to do #1 are stalled indefinitely, and I've never completed Crazy Mode, so I could not do #4 for a long while. I was actually working on #2 for a bit, but I need to test a few more of the IDs before I'm ready. As for #3, like I said, I need a break before I do anything in that regard.

Boss Rush, Trevor run: 0:11:59.05 by Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols

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It's about time I got this run through,
Since a better time's what I can't do.
The game's bosses are pains,
They like rattling my brains,
And screwing up strategies too.

To get below 12 minutes of time,
I don't need to switch equipment on a dime.
I just dish out the hurt,
make bosses hit the dirt,
And escape when opportunity's prime.

With thunder, Crazy Armor swiftly molted.
Once this happened twice, I just bolted.
Then the Wyvern gets ripped
with the deadly Square Tip,
Since nothing else leaves him as jolted.

My fake self got dodgy on me,
So ugly the plain eye could see.
And I can't pull a MacGyver
To stop Skeleton Diver
From being the time-waster he'll be.

I catch up on the bull-golem-man,
Minotaurus, as best as I can.
But Isaac's too slick,
And the tag team is quick
To erase the time surplus I ran.

Now for a fun boss, Saint Germain.
My damage output here's insane.
Yeah I know my time is piss.
But I'm good if I pass this -
From here on I've good chance to gain.

Despite the stupid moment with the Cross,
I now got to be the real boss.
Plus eight seconds on my fake -
Silly turkey to take -
Though Dullahan was a bit of a loss.

Don't know if I fought Isaac the long way
On the previous try, but that's okay -
I get right back on track;
With a knife and a whip crack
I'm back to being on top for today.

Death wasn't what I would call "rad"
Maybe it's because his breath's so bad,
But I get scuffed up twice
Since he doesn't play nice
Before I conclude his tormenting fad.

My knives start the work on Legion's blob.
If you're doing well, he always likes to rob.
You see it here a bit,
And his core just won't sit,
But with me, he couldn't even steal a fob.

Good ol' Dracula liked blocking here,
It's a tactic he thinks I'll truly fear.
But when his demon side shows,
I offer him no repose
And conclude this fight with bruises austere.

While my start was a little bit raw,
The performance as a whole that you saw
Should get this game going,
As far as people knowing
That more than one smashed this game's jaw.

Send stuff to SDA, no one bites!
...except maybe on full-moon nights.
That's all I will say.
...oh, and by the way,
Who claimed that no speedrunner writes?

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