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Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is a game made up of a series of downloads for the Nintendo Wii. The first chapter was released in June of 2009 with the subsequent chapters following over the next several months. This game revisits the characters and locales of the original game along with a few names and faces. Many characters were given their own scenario to help deepen the main storyline as the cast must once again fight to save the overworld, underworld, and moon.

 

Edge run: 0:26:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 7 segments

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Seg. Title Clock Actual Time Rand Enc Fixed Enc Items Strategies
01 Introduction 0:03 03:48.161 0 1 None No comment.
02 Gekkou 0:06 06:34.127 1 0 Kodachi, Leather Cap, Foot Ninja Gear, Iron Gloves I manipulated so that a Bloodbones/Skeleton fight would occur as soon as I went to the next screen.
03 Izayoi and Zangetsu 0:12 12:44.464 3 0 Kodachi x 2, Leather Cap x 2, Foot Ninja Gear x 2, Iron Armlet, Iron Gloves

I manipulated the Cliff Eagle fight to be on the first step of the 2nd Floor of the Tower for maximum efficiency.

I choose the Waning Moon for Zangetsu because he has the weakest enemies, needing the greatest power boost to kill him off quickly.

I made a small mistake with Tsukinowa right at the end of the segment, but the rest of it was so good I couldn't improve the time.

04 Tsukinowa 0:13 13:47.894 1 0 Kunai x 2, Leather Cap, Foot Ninja Gear, Iron Gloves Once again, I manipulated the Cliff Eagle fight to take out Tsukinowa. Otherwise, nothing going on there.
05 Path to the Tower 0:15 15:13.446 2 0 Hi-Potion x 10, Metal Boomerang, Rune Armlet, Cross Shuriken, Kogarasu

I finally sell everything that I got from the others, buying Hi-Potions and a Metal Boomerang which allows me to attack from the back row with no penalty, even if I have a sword in the other hand. I grab what I need to survive the Tower on my way through the cave.

06 Tower of Babil 0:19 19:38.177 5 4 Battle Axe

I mess around before the Flamehound fight because it sets one of them to miss me with an attack (otherwise I'd have been dead). Also, moving a little before picking up the Battle Axe will set the encounters in the next room to a minimum.

07 The Tale Ends 0:26 26:12.838 0 6 None

No comment.

 

Conclusions

This run is only about 12 seconds away from 0:25. It pains me, but I can't see where I can cut the time. Messenger on the message board gave me some ideas, and though they're good and they may shave some time, I'm still not sure if I can get it down by 12 seconds. I do plan on trying in the very near future, but the run is excellent and will most likely stand.

Other than what I would estimate to be about 7 or 8 seconds of error (including messenger's tips), this run is optimized as hell.

Yang run: 0:30:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 12 segments

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Seg. Title Clock Actual Time Rand Enc Fixed Enc Items Strategies
01 Introduction 0:02 02:22.309 0 1 Hermes Sandals, Bacchus's Wine I picked up the sandals and wine for the Adamantoise fight, then I save to manipulate a fightless Segment 02.
02 To Mt. Hobs 0:02 02:42.896 0 0 None I change the Battle Speed and Message Speed right before saving so that I only have to visit the menu once.
03 Mom Bomb 0:07 07:14.601 3 2 Hi-Potion x 6

My job here was to kill the Mom Bomb as quickly as possible and leave only Yang to collect the experience. To make things harder, Yang had to have enough HP left to take on two hits from Gray Bombs later in this segment and two hits from Splashers in the next segment, plus a few ticks from Domovoi.

Note that one does not need to attack the Mom Bomb once it has "blown up," because it explodes on its own. To get to this point I only have Yang attack because the other characters don't do enough damage for the time they take. When the Mom Bomb is ready to inflate, I turn all attention to the Monks; I don't have the luxury of just using Yang here because the battle would end before his turn came up enough times to kill them.

The order in which I attack the Monks (including Ursula's miss) sets up the proper Gray Bomb/Bomb attack sequence. This sequence involves Ursula getting killed by the last explosions, but not before using Chakra on Yang to keep his health high.

The last issue is fighting a Domovoi/Goblin group. The eventual goal is to get to Level 17 so Yang gets an additional attack multiplier for the two boss fights.

04 The Crater 0:09 09:13.086 3 0 Metal Knuckles, Hi-Potion I grab the Metal Knuckles to raise Yang's attack multiplier for the final fights. The extra Hi-Potion is necessary because I need a total of 7: I use 4 during the Kain fight and 3 during the Adamantoise fight.
05 Hobs Peak 0:10 10:35.769 2 0 Tent Another Domovoi/Goblin group completes my random encounter quota. The Tent is an unfortunate side effect.
06 The Descent 0:10 10:58.058 0 0 None No strategy, just getting down the mountain.
07 To Fabul 0:11 11:16.243 0 0 None Just going home.
08 Invasion 0:17 17:25.178 0 7 Metal Knuckles

This is just a series of fixed encounters.

2 Baron Marines, Captain - I wait for the Captain to flee without attacking and wasting time.

Sahagin, Leshy, Domovoi - I skip Monk A and Monk B's turns because they can't kill the Sahagin in one hit. The second one of these nets Yang his level, improving his overall damage.

Gargoyle - I use this opportunity to take the Metal Knuckles off Monk C.

Kain - I'm just keeping Ursula alive until Yang pops in. I then equip him with the Metal Knuckles and it's then a matter of using Cover Counter and Hi-Potions while Yang attacks. I found a pattern where I threw Chakra in and it caused Kain to attack Ursula for the rest of the combat, allowing Yang to put the damage on him each time.

09 All Aboard 0:20 20:14.981 0 1 None In the fight with the Sahagin and Splashers, I skip Monk B's turn. He's useless when it comes to dealing damage.
10 A Forest 0:23 23:25.772 3 0 None I just run to the last save spot; nothing to say about this one.
11 Adamantoise 0:26 26:49.576 1 1 None Adamantoise is easy with the Bacchus's Wine and Hermes Sandals.
12 The Tale Ends 0:30 30:57.724 2 0 None And a nice, boring run back to the ship to finish up the tale.

 

Conclusions

I started working on this run in September, finishing a 7 segment 0:35, believing it to be the best I could do. Without my errors, I thought the time could be reduced to 0:34. I then posted in the forum regarding segments and realized that I had a false understanding of segmented runs. I thought that if I used too many segments that it would look bad and the run could be rejected.

With my new knowledge I started running this again on October 18th, 2009. My hopes were to get the time down to 0:33. By the end of October I had a 12 segment run with only miniscule errors that came to 0:31. By the game's clock I found that I was only 7 seconds away from getting 0:30. I tried and tried to get the timer on that final screen to read 0:30, but no matter what I did the best I could pull off was getting it to 0:31 and 3 seconds. I put the run away for a couple of days, and then on November 4th I came up with a strategy to reduce the time.

I found that it was possible to get Yang past the Mom Bomb with enough health to get through the Crater and return to Fabul. This meant that I didn't have to pick up a Hi-Potion in Fabul. The problem was that this was in the first segment, so I had to redouble my efforts and redo the entire run.

I was going to make a laundry list of my mistakes, but I decided that my runs are so awesome that from now on I should focus on the good parts and my strategies since verifiers tend to focus on the bad anyway, unless I have some 'splainin to do. There is nothing in this run that needs explaining. There are no improvements to be made. Every fight is optimized. The decisions on how and where to level are optimized. The items are planned out to the point where all that is left at the end of the run are one dropped item (a Tent) and a formerly equipped weapon (Flame Claws). In order to improve this to 0:29, one would have to find a way to reduce the time by almost an entire minute. This thing maybe has a second and a half worth of error.

Palom run: 0:38:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 33 segments

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Seg. Title Clock Actual Time Rand Enc Fixed Enc Items Strategies
01 Introduction 0:03 03:24.371 0 0 None This is just the intro, and a save is made to manipulate out encounters.
02 To Troia 0:04 04:56.396 0 0 None

It helps to put the most often used spell, Fira, at the top of the Magic Menu (I learned this the hard way during Rydia's Tale). I change the Battle Speed and Message Speed right after and go get a Chocobo. The rest is self explanatory.

03 To Tower of Trials 0:05 05:25.492 0 0 None

Swapping Palom and Leonora's equipment allows for her to overcome her trials more quickly as it powers up both her Defense and her Intellect. I know that I take an unneeded step outside of the Chocobo Forest but it made the Chocobo easier to catch (wormy little turds...)

04 The Fire Doll 0:08 08:17.797 2 2 None

This is where things get tricky. In order to get the fastest time, one must have a high enough level to run from battles efficiently and survive the Dark Elf. The challenge comes primarily from determining when to fight for experience, when to run, and when to manipulate out battles. I found what I believe is the best experience scam in the tower (more on that later), so in this case, I manipulated out what I could and only fought a Bloodbones/Skeleton fight that would have taken almost as much time to run away from.

05 The Blizzard Doll 0:09 09:50.256 0 2 None

I opted to manipulate out all encounters in this segment. In the next segment, I will start my level grinding by manipulating a Bomb x 3 fight to occur one space away from the save spot, fighting it by casting Fira, then returning and saving. The goal is to get Palom to Level 19, which will net him the Warp spell to get the party out of the tower quickly, and which will also ensure that both he and Leonora are at a sufficient level to run effectively from enemies and survive the Dark Elf fight.

06 Level Up 1 0:10 10:07.940 1 0 None

Palom Level 13. Leonora Level 7.

07 Level Up 2 0:10 10:26.525 1 0 None

Palom Level 14. Leonora Level 8.

08 Level Up 3 0:10 10:44.243 1 0 None

Palom Level 14. Leonora Level 9.

09 Level Up 4 0:11 11:03.596 1 0 None

Palom Level 14. Leonora Level 9.

10 Level Up 5 0:11 11:21.747 1 0 None

Palom Level 15. Leonora Level 10.

11 Level Up 6 0:11 11:39.131 1 0 None

Palom Level 15. Leonora Level 10.

12 Level Up 7 0:11 11:57.416 1 0 None

Palom Level 15. Leonora Level 11.

13 Level Up 8 0:12 12:17.436 1 0 None

Palom Level 16. Leonora Level 11. Cured Leonora.

14 Level Up 9 0:12 12:35.454 1 0 None

Palom Level 16. Leonora Level 11.

15 Level Up 10 0:12 12:53.706 1 0 None

Palom Level 16. Leonora Level 12.

16 Level Up 11 0:12 13:11.424 1 0 None

Palom Level 16. Leonora Level 12.

17 The Thunder Doll 0:15 15:05.371 1 2 None

At this point, I have no magic left to cast Fira on the Bombs, so I have to replenish. The easiest way to do this is to go forward and clear out the Mini Blues, then proceed to the 5th Floor and take out the Thunder Doll. Before the training all status is restored to normal. I can then return to finish my level grinding madness, running into a nice Bomb fight before hitting the save spot again.

18 Level Up 12 0:15 15:24.023 1 0 None

Palom Level 17. Leonora Level 13.

19 Level Up 13 0:15 15:40.339 1 0 None

Palom Level 17. Leonora Level 13.

20 Level Up 14 0:15 15:57.189 1 0 None

Palom Level 17. Leonora Level 14.

21 Level Up 15 0:16 16:13.205 1 0 None

Palom Level 17. Leonora Level 14.

22 Level Up 16 0:16 16:29.855 1 0 None

Palom Level 18. Leonora Level 14.

23 Level Up 17 0:16 16:46.505 1 0 None

Palom Level 18. Leonora Level 14.

24 Level Up 18 0:16 17:03.277 1 0 None

Palom Level 18. Leonora Level 15.

25 Level Up 19 0:17 17:20.038 1 0 None

Palom Level 18. Leonora Level 15.

26 Up the Tower 0:18 18:19.030 2 0 Healing Staff, Sage's Miter

So finally, it's time to continue. Not quite at Level 19 yet, but two more fights on the way will ensure it. The first is the Gargoyle / Cockatrice x 2 encounter on the 5th Floor, and the second comes in the next segment. I also pick up the Healing Staff and the Sage's Miter, but they won't be equipped until the end of the run; they have the dual purpose of boosting Leonora's Spirit and making it easier to re-equip Palom's gear.

27 Down the Tower 0:20 20:58.089 1 1 Cottage, Hermes Sandals

After defeating the Mini Yellows I get the final necessary encounter to get Palom to Level 19, then I go to grab the chests in the corner to get the Hermes Sandals and Cottage. The initial idea was to use the Cottage in the Lodestone Cave in order to push to a Full Moon, figuring that the moon would have changed from New to Waxing via being past 0:30 at said time. Fortunately I made it to the cave so fast that the moon didn't have time to change until it didn't matter anymore, so the Cottage went unused. I then Warp out of the tower rather quickly.

28 The Crystal 0:24 24:16.788 0 0 None

This is all just exposition aside from the initial Chocobo gathering/ride. I have to step around the old lady on the way in to the Epopts, but that's only like a half second extra.

29 Under Troia 0:24 25:07.111 3 0 None

Now that I'm at Level 19 I can run away from everything very easily without taking much damage. Only three random encounters and I'm through the first half of the waterway.

30 Out of Troia 0:25 26:03.167 1 0 None

The second half of this is just text scrolling. The first half is nothing to write home about.

31 Lodestone Cavern 0:27 27:56.447 2 0 None

Right at the beginning I take off Palom's Iron Armlet to prevent the party from instantly losing the game when inside the Lodestone Cavern. I'm very happy with how quickly I was able to catch the Black Chocobo, and that I only had to get through two encounters in the cavern before the save.

32 The Secret Way 0:29 29:26.270 2 0 Sage's Surplice, Rune Armlet x 2

Here's a small error; I buy the remainder of the equipment that I need from Shoppingway and only equip Leonora. The reason is that I was used to grabbing the Polymorph Rod to increase Palom's Intellect for the final fight with the Dark Elf. When I realized that the small amount of Intellect didn't matter, I decided to forgo the rod, but I had gotten into the habit of waiting until after the next save to Optimize Palom. Basically I pick up two seconds or so, maybe even less, by having to access the menu twice.

I think it's great how I have just enough money for the goods I want to buy, too. It's as if the game were made for Palom to be at Level 19 in a speedrun :)

33 Final Battle 0:38 38:32.149 0 2 None

The Dark Elf fight isn't the cleanest in the world. There are two places where I flub around in the menus, once during the Dark Elf form and once during the Dark Dragon form, while selecting Leonora's Cura spell. It doesn't cost me more than a second or so. Other than that, the fight went very well. I figured out that the fight with the Mysterious Girl ends after a certain number of attacks, so I didn't have to use Particle Bomb on her and waste all that time, I just used Palom and Leonora's miserable attacks.

 

Conclusions

I started working on this run in September 2009, finishing a 6 segment 0:43. I thought it was a very solid run, but as it was with my other runs on this game, I thought if I had too many segments it would make the run look weak and get it rejected. I started running this again on November 8th, 2009, and finished the final segment on November 17th. I wasn't sure how much I could cut the time by, but 5 minutes is a definite improvement on a run this short.

The big challenges were finding out how to level up quickly, and deciding what to bring into the fight with Dark Elf. I could have the New Moon or the Full Moon, or even the Waxing Moon if I wanted it - this would have required grabbing an extra Tent or Cottage, however, because I had counted on the time to change a moon phase for me. I could have grabbed either or both the Polymorph Rod and the Mage's Robe. There was an extra pair of Hermes Sandals across an invisible bridge in the Lodestone Cavern, but grabbing these extra items also would have meant running into another battle. I opted to go bare bones and it turned out it was the fastest way to go after all.

Is the run perfect? It has minor flaws near the end but nothing major. The route and running is near perfect with no extra steps taken. The combats are all pulled off as quickly as possible with the exception of Dark Elf/Dark Dragon, as noted above. An extra Cottage is picked up, but it doesn't impact the final clock, nor do the other mistakes. If the time can be improved it would have to be done via running this at a very low level in order to make up for the time saved Warping and finding a strategy to fight the Dark Elf that allows one character to survive the two Dark Breaths and two attacks when in dragon form, let alone the double or triple casts of -ara spells. My vote is that it can't happen. Can the run be improved to 0:37? Maybe. I'd have to cut 30 seconds to get there, but by removing my mistakes I don't think it would shave more than ten. Maybe there's something I'm missing? That's a challenge to future runners :)

Porom run: 0:27:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 14 segments

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Seg. Title Clock Actual Time Rand Enc Fixed Enc Items Strategies
01 Introduction 0:02 02:57.177 0 0 None No comment.
02 Graves 0:03 03:57.004 0 0 None No comment.
03 A Passage 0:04 04:34.174 1 0 None No comment.
04 Underground 0:05 05:11.411 0 0 None No comment.
05 Cooler Mammoth 0:09 09:58.798 1 1 Tent

I switch the spell orders at the beginning to ensure the fastest casting during the boss fight.

I couldn't find a way to get rid of that encounter and beat Cooler Mammoth in one go, so I had to keep the encounter in there.

I use the Hermes Sandals on Palom because attacking is more important than curing for speed. There is one mess up during the fight when I push the button one too many times when selecting Palom's spell and end up selecting Attack with Porom, but luckily I don't go through with the actual command. I get a stupid Tent from the fight.

06 Mist and Dwarves 0:13 13:26.506 0 0 None No comment.
07 Passage 0:13 13:41.588 0 0 None Short segment just to manipulate out battles on the way to the Feymarch teleporter.
08 To the Feymarch 0:14 14:55.829 0 0 None No comment.
09 The Lunar Whale 0:17 17:25.846 0 0 None No comment.
10 To Mt. Ordeals 0:17 17:47.801 0 0 None No comment.
11 Up the Mountain 0:18 18:17.397 1 0 None No comment.
12 The Voice 0:20 20:03.436 0 0 None No comment.
13 To Mysidia 0:21 21:04.997 1 0 None No comment.
14 The Tale Ends 0:27 27:37.956 0 2 None

The final two battles are fairly straightforward. No one matters but Kain. In the last fight, one can time Kain's jump with the Gaze ability so that it always strikes when he is in the air.

 

Conclusions

I watched the run that I made in September and thought, what a load of crap that is. It was sloppy as all hell. It was a 0:28 and I knew that was pretty close to the best that could be done, but boy, it looked ugly and I don't think I would have verified it if I were a verifier. So on the 25th of November I started redoing it. It didn't take long because it's not all that complicated, but I got it down another minute and a half (not that the half matters).

As can be seen by the multitudes of "no comment"s, there really isn't much to say about the run. It's pretty much just button mashing and fight manipulation. The only super challenging part was Cooler Mammoth, but that was a matter of just getting the right fight sequence to keep both characters alive until Porom could cast Cura. The majority of improvements in this run came from manipulating out combat. There was a huge improvement in the play quality. I should have finished with zero items in the inventory if it weren't for that damned Tent. No leveling was required. The last fight could have gone a wee bit better but it served its purpose. The run is almost 40 seconds away from 0:26, so I don't believe it's possible to get that low.

Rydia run: 0:36:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 12 segments

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Segment No Title Notes Time Lost (seconds) Total Time Lost Error /
Time Error Occurs
01 Introduction

I made the decision to pick up the chests with Potions in them as long as they were on my way. In my previous run I needed more Potions than what I had, but in this run I needed fewer. I added a second to the time wasted just because of that. Even though I grabbed them I still made 3 seconds on my old time by maneuvering through the Feymarch more quickly and by manipulating the menus faster.

I should have also taken this time to swap Fira and Fire on Rydia's spell list, but this ends up waiting until the last segment. I could have saved time in the run by doing so, but as one will see, that time is negligible.

1.868 1.868
Ran into a ledge 3:09.289
Ran into a ledge 4:06.113
Fira select 4:29.169
02 Eidolon Cave I only save 0.5 seconds here from buzzing through the dialogue more quickly. 0.025 1.893
Ran into a wall 0:03.971
03 Dwarven Castle

This is a precision segment when it comes to movement because there are a lot of invisible walls and obstacles in the castle. I finished it 5 seconds faster than in my previous run.

I buy a Tent here instead of picking it up in the Sealed Cave because I couldn't manipulate Blood Flower fights without it (although there may have been other factors in retrospect). Speaking of buying Tents, half of the time I lost in this segment was due to a half second delay in the Sundries shop.

0.747 2.640
Twitched into a wall 0:17.851
Ran into a wall 0:18.151
Ran into a wall 0:20.787
Ran into a pot 0:34.601
Ran into a wall 0:34.768
Hesitation in shop 1:03.897
Stopped for a Dwarf 1:09.236
04 Tomra & Kokkol's

This segment shows a 7 second improvement over my previous run. I made up some time with better maneuvering but most of the time came from fast menu selection in Kokkol's armory.

I exit the Sealed Cave after the dialogue so that I can manipulate Blood Flower fights for high experience gains, so I don't count this as time lost since it is strategy.

0.734 3.374
Veered in Airship 0:42.342
Turned too wide 1:19.279
Turned too wide 1:24.585
Correction delay 1:25.118
05 Level Up Part 1

It took awhile to set up this and the next segments; I had to do a good deal of testing to determine when the Blood Flowers would appear and restart the game before it happened. It lead to two such fights in a row, allowing for 2400 or so experience point gains during each segment. I considered going again but I was able to complete the game just fine on two farmings.

I save over 1:30 during this segment. I also had to time when to cast the Fira in order to kill off Calca and Brina to prevent them from thieving my experience.

For some reason the sound is about 1/4 - 1/2 second off in both this and the next segment.

0.434 4.268
Fira select 0:57.324
06 Level Up Part 2 Lost about one second with the Fira problem. As mentioned before, sound is slightly off. I save 1:40 over my previous run in this one segment. 1.034 4.302
Fira select 0:16.049
Fira select 0:48.115
07 The Sealed Cave

I use Potions at the onset so that I can just make it to the Save Spot. I fight each battle because I need another level by the time I get to the Demon Wall and it's actually faster for the most part. I improved this by 37 seconds, mostly by my avoidance of random battles. I picked up two Phoenix Downs that I didn't end up using, so I counted that against time I could save.

The laundry list of errors only amounted to under 3 seconds, but at the time of recording I wasn't aware that the Downs and the Firas were mistakes. The time lost is so small, however, that I didn't feel it was worth going back and redoing the entire run for the 3 seconds.

2.704 7.006
Ran into a cliff 0:20.754
Got Phoenix Down 0:21.989
Fira select 0:29.162
Fira select 0:55.389
Got Phoenix Down 1:14.041
Ran into a wall 1:15.943
Fira select 1:28.455
08 Demon Wall

At the onset I use the Phoenix Downs I had collected in the Dwarven Castle and the town of Tomra to heal up the dolls. They take a couple of hits from the Demon Wall that would otherwise have hit my girls.

There are a couple of mistakes here but what clinched my keeping of this segment was the Purple Bavarois encounter after the Demon Wall boss fight. Usually I got a Cait Sith/Needlehog x 3 surprise fight after the Demon Wall but by some strange fluke the Bavarois popped up, which saved about 15-20 seconds because it's a shorter fight. After that I lose a step in the next room but I couldn't get the Bavarois fight to pop up again so I kept this seg.

I saved 2:42 over my last run because I used the Bacchus's Wine here instead of on Titan. It made more sense because when I fought Titan it was a full moon and the Wine's benefit was questionable, whereas here there was no attack penalty. It was also faster to not cast Fira or otherwise do anything but use Potions with Rydia, and thank goodness because I would have lost a big chunk of time with my Fira problem.

At the very end I was afraid of saving over some data so I did a double-take on the save menu. This cost me just over a second.

1.968 8.974
Ran into a cliff 0:09.543
Ran into a doorframe 3:28.775
Extra step 3:32.312
Ran into a cliff 3:35.048
Ran into a wall 3:28.775
Save error 3:41.288
09 To the Underworld

I have Luca kill herself to level up Rydia, who must be in top form for the final two boss fights since they will rely almost entirely on magic.

In retrospect, I'm not sure why I didn't do this segment over again. Sure, it's only 2 seconds that I could have made up, but the hesitations and missing that door don't look very good. Regardless, the rest of the run went extremely well and I don't think those small errors are worth redoing it considering it won't affect the final time. I saved 1:11 over my old run from avoiding random battles anyway.

2.034 11.008
Ran into a wall 0:13.614
Missed a door 0:14.047
Fira select 0:27.728
Fira select 0:56.557
Hesitation 1:12.906
Hesitation 1:19.413
Ran into a wall 1:24.284
10 Kill the Dolls

Destroying Calca and Brina goes well. Destroying Brina first may hurt due to Calca's offense being dependent on his remaining health, but it saves a turn due to Brina's inability to heal him after he takes damage.

Something new that I tried (and that was successful, obviously) was buying a Wizard Hat and a Rune Armlet instead of stocking up on Hi-Potions before fighting the Agart Turtle. Since I don't use potions in the Agart Mine I decided that the turtle's bounty would be enough to purchase potions later. The +6 to Intellect that I recieved was a noticeable boost to my magic damage against both bosses.

All of the hesitations and running into the villager happens within a two second span and costs me only 1.2 seconds so I let it slide. I improved this segment by almost 8 seconds.

1.202 12.210
Ran into a ledge 4:20.293
Hesitation 4:20.560
Hesitation 4:20.894
Hesitation 4:21.261
Ran into villager 4:21.461
Ran into villager 4:22.162
Ran into house 4:22.729
11 The Agart Turtle

Getting through the mine went perfectly; I didn't bump into a single wall.

The Agart Turtle fight goes well. I waste 3/4 of a second right off the bat by instinctively selecting Black Magic. The Fira debacle doesn't apply to the Blizzara usage in this fight because each time the spell is selected the Agart Turtle is going through his animation. After wasting the turtle and warping out, in total I shaved 33 seconds off my time.

1.368 13.578
Almost cast a spell 1:06.066
Almost selected Sleep 2:57.978
12 Titan

This is where the Fira problem is corrected. I was getting 0:37 by only a few seconds and I needed to shave those off, and I decided to do it by eliminating the time that it took to select Fira. It's only about 0.5 seconds per selection, but it adds up (as can be seen). If the game counted time in minutes and seconds I would have done the whole run over again, but as it stands, just doing it at the end garnered me the best possible time. I use Lightning Brain Buster at the beginning because it's faster than casting Fira, but I only have so many charges before Luca runs out of magic power.

This final segment saw me cut 50 seconds off my previous run.

0.000 13.578
None

 

Conclusions

This run was formerly 8 segments but I expanded it to 12 to allow for fewer random battles and to perfect some maneuvering and menu selections. My biggest time cutters were my new leveling strategy and the boss fights. In all, even with the Fira mess up, this run was only imperfect by 13.578 seconds, which isn't nearly enough to cover the approximate 49.408 needed to get the time down to 0:35. I could have redone the run just to make it 12 seconds prettier, but it is a beautiful run nonetheless, and new strategies will have to be discovered in order to beat it because it maximizes this strategy.

The amount of improvement over my last run is phenomenal. I cut 10 minutes off the old time. The number of random battles that I had to fight went from 23 to 11. The amount of improvement in my last run (from errors) was a possible 35.739 seconds and in this it was only 13.578.

 

Item Not Used Reason in Inventory
Potion x 8 Bought and picked up a bunch of Potions without being concerned about quantity.
Hi-Potion x 5 Bought a bunch of Hi-Potions without being concerned about quantity.
Phoenix Down x 2 Picked up in the Sealed Cave for "insurance."
Diet Ration Dropped by Blood Flowers.
Lilith's Kiss Dropped by a (surprise) Lilith.
Hammer Replaced with the Tomahawk.
Leather Cap Replaced with the Wizard's Hat.
Iron Armlet Replaced with the Rune Armlet.

 

Seg No Start Location End Location Random Fights Fixed Fights Clock Actual* Seg Time
01 Introduction Passage of Eidolons 0 1 0:04 4:29.603 4:29.603
02 Passage of Eidolons Dwarven Castle Overworld 0 0 0:06 2:08.428 6:38.031
03 Dwarven Castle Overworld Tomra Overworld 0 0 0:09 2:40.394 9:18.425
04 Tomra Overworld Sealed Cave Overworld 0 0 0:11 1:55.582 11:14.007
05 Sealed Cave Overworld Sealed Cave Overworld 2 0 0:12 1:10.070 12:24.077
06 Sealed Cave Overworld Sealed Cave Overworld 2 0 0:13 1:01.495 13:25.572
07 Sealed Cave Overworld Sealed Cave B2 3 0 0:15 1:53.747 15:19.319
08 Sealed Cave B2 Sealed Cave B2 1 1 0:19 3:40.887 19:00.206
09 Sealed Cave B2 Sealed Cave Overworld 2 0 0:21 2:34.855 21:35.061
10 Sealed Cave Overworld Agart Overworld 0 1 0:26 4:27.701 26:02.762
11 Agart Overworld Agart Overworld 1 1 0:29 3:12.392 29:15.154
12 Agart Overworld Rydia's Tale End 0 1 0:36 7:34.254 36:49.408

* Actual times from screen fade in until button is pressed to go to File Select screen to save. Times can be off by up to a minute as the game clock times things strangely.

Edward run: 0:25:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 17 segments

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Seg. Title Clock Actual Time Rand Enc Fixed Enc Items Strategies
01 Introduction 0:04 04:10.684 0 0 Tent x 2 I pre-emptively change the moon phase so that I can later acquire the Sand Ruby, and so that the monsters deal less damage.
02 Into the Crater 0:05 05:26.593 3 0 None This and segment 04 are the biggest bitches in the entire game. The random number generator actually WORKS in the crater here, and the encounter rate is at least double, maybe even triple the normal amount. It took me hundreds of attempts to get it down to three random encounters.
03 Harley 0:05 05:57.257 0 0 None This is the segment in the crater where the random number generator only partially works. If you wait any length of time or run in different areas, the encounters will be randomized, but if you constantly follow the same path and never pause then you'll get the same ones. It took me about 30+ tries to get an encounterless segment, but if I screwed up a step I had to start over again. Pain.
04 Out of the Crater 0:07 07:29.216 5 0 None The other nasty segment. The biggest problem here is that Harley actually reduces the party's escape value from 9 to 8, which means that all of the monsters that didn't have time to hit anyone on the way into the crater now get free shots when you run. I wanted to get 4 or less encounters here but every time I managed to, the last one was a back attack or a surprise, making the attempt moot. I was lucky to have gotten what I did.
05 Baron Emissary 0:09 09:23.897 0 0 None No comment.
06 Up the Waterfall 0:09 09:53.493 0 0 None No comment.
07 Harley's Illness 0:10 10:47.047 0 0 None No comment.
08 Out of the Cave 0:11 11:11.838 0 0 None No comment.
09 Desert Fever 0:13 13:19.432 0 0 None No comment.
10 Back to the Cave 0:13 13:43.556 0 0 None No comment.
11 Across the Chasm 0:14 14:09.715 0 0 None No comment.
12 Down the Falls 0:14 14:37.509 0 0 None No comment.
13 To Antlion Cave 0:14 14:46.385 0 0 None No comment.
14 The Sand Ruby 0:16 16:05.898 3 0 Sand Ruby No comment.
15 Back to the Waterfall 0:16 16:14.707 0 0 None No comment.
16 Gimme the Ruby 0:18 18:10.089 0 0 None No comment.
17 The Tale Ends 0:25 25:16.081 0 0 None No comment.

 

Conclusions

I believe this run is much better than my previous Edward run, as is made obvious by the time. More segments = fewer encounters. It makes sense that Edward, the perennial wuss of the Final Fantasy series, would have a tale that requires absolutely no combat. As is noted, the most challenging part of the run is the Crater, but even that just takes a long time to grind out as few encounters as possible.

Making the 16 seconds is definitely possible, but I put the chances way out there. As I mentioned in the forums, the only way to make up this time is in the Crater, and it requires only running into three fights on the way out, and they must be against Sand Worms and/or Hundlegs because that's the only thing that you can run away from without taking an attack (which eats time). Since these monsters don't appear in the lowest portion of the Crater, you would also have to have a fightless first screen. All of these things, combined with the requirement of no surprise or back attacks, makes the chances to garner 0:24 quite astronomical.

Ceodore run: 1:09:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 20 segments

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Segment No Tale Notes Time Lost (seconds) Total Time Lost Error /
Time Error Occurs
01 Prologue Nothing to say here; this went perfectly. 0.000 0.000
None
02 Prologue Again, nothing went wrong. I get Potions to use on the Sand Worm because they're faster than casting Cure and they restore more health. I need a 4-Goblin fight before I fight the Worm and I manipulated to get it out of the way during this segment. 0.000 0.000
None
03 Prologue I used to combine this segment with the next one but I split them so I could manipulate a better Belphegor fight. After the Sand Worm I re-enter the boss room. This looks like a mistake. The first time I ever did it, it was one, but then I realized that it manipulates out an extra combat and it became a part of my run. Lost 1/3 of a second on bumping into little things. 0.334 0.334
Ran into a rock 3:24.771
Ran into a wall 3:48.228
04 Prologue Another perfect segment. Great luck during the fights. I had to take an additional step with Cecil (after grabbing the two treasure chests) in order to manipulate away a random battle. The Zuu fight ended earlier than normal due to good damage and a critical hit that reduced the turns by one, relieving me of two attacks from the Zuu and an attack animation from Cecil. 0.000 0.334
None
05 Ceodore I could have split this segment right before the three boss fights, but I chose not to because I got the best combination of fights only if I played straight through. This was by far one of the more challenging segments because of its length and the difficulty in getting the proper attack sequence in the final three fights to minimize time spent.
  • First, if Cecil doesn't hit his second attack in the two Belphegor fight before the Belphegors hit their second attack then the front Belphegor won't die as quickly as possible, and the Ahriman won't cast Doom on Cid (important).
  • Second, if Cid doesn't kill the last Spirit soon enough, it will cast Fire which adds a couple of seconds.
  • Third, if Cid wasn't Doomed then he won't get Haste cast upon him, which means waiting longer for Cecil's next turn to come up to use the Heavenly Wrath. There's a BUNCH of mess-up when selecting said Heavenly Wrath but it doesn't affect the time due to the Holy Blade animation that goes on simultaneously.
One note is that attacking with Cecil is faster than using Holy Blades. While I could have saved time by using one fewer Holy Blade on the Strato Avis, with this manipulation using continual Holy Blades up to that point is the only way to go because it prevents the Strato Avis from using Tornado on Cecil, which always is followed up by a deadly attack before Rosa can get a Cura off. I estimate the additional Holy Blade to be 1.500 seconds slower than an attack and adjust my records accordingly.
1.934 2.268
Ran into a pot 0:13.046
Ran into a chest 0:13.313
Used Holy Blade 5:59.956
Extra step 9:31.838
06 Ceodore Just lost a half second by bumping into walls, otherwise, perfect. 0.433 2.701
Ran into a wall 1:25.385
Ran into a wall 1:26.787
Ran into a wall 1:42.603
Ran into a wall 2:04.291
07 Ceodore No time lost. Bought Spider Silks for the three hard fights near the end of the run, and as many Hi-Potions as I could afford. 0.000 2.701
None
08 Ceodore Nothing to say here, self explanatory. 0.267 2.968
Ran into a mountain 3:53.099
Ran into a mountain 3:54.601
09 Ceodore The goal is to ensure The Hooded Man gets all experience and a few levels to make things easier by the time I get to the end. A fight with two Lamia helps to that end. I split this and the next segment up, requiring me to run a little out of the way to save. I don't count this in time that I could save; it was necessary in order to manipulate the next segment, which can be tough otherwise. 0.133 3.101
Twitched into a wall 0:32.866
Ran into a wall 1:18.779
10 Ceodore The amount of time that I lost running into walls and the menu error during the boss fight totalled about a second, and I wouldn't have accepted these small early errors if it weren't for the fact that I had amazing luck in the Tunneler fight that I couldn't replicate. In my last run attempt, the Tunneler did four Earthquakes and I needed to use four Hi-Potions. In this fight he only used one Earthquake and I only had to use three Hi-Potions, and he missed me once which let me get in hits sooner as well. Fantastic luck. 1.067 4.168
Ran into a rock 0:20.387
Ran into a wall 0:23.423
Ran into a wall 0:23.891
Ran into a wall 0:37.004
Ran into a wall 0:42.276
Spider Silk error 0:58.125
11 Kain Segments 11, 12, and 13 were originally one segment, but I split them up into three segments and ended up saving almost twenty seconds by avoiding all random encounters (except for the two here). Kain's armor will help The Hooded Man. 0.000 4.168
None
12 Kain Perfect except for that little ding on the wall. 0.667 4.835
Ran into a wall 1:12.506
13 Kain For a weird reason I was afraid of saving over one of the files and so lost almost a second switching. 1.069 5.904
Extra step 0:22.422
Save mistake 1:41.234
14 Kain I picked up a Heavenly Wrath that never got used. It was one step away from an Arctic Wind that I actually did use, so I only lost about a half second on it. The Bone Wrist gives extra protection vs. undead and so helps to survive the Zombie Infantry (who can pack a really powerful punch without it). The Sleep Blade is for cash to buy the Flame Sword. 1.035 6.939
Unused item pickup 0:31.431
Ran into cliff face 1:07.367
Ran into cliff wall 1:21.214
Ran into cliff face 1:47.641
15 Kain Hermes Shoes help with Octo-Kraken. Otherwise, straightforward. 0.000 6.939
None
16 Kain None of the Zombie Infantry used Drain during that battle, which saved several seconds. 0.067 7.006
Ran into a pot 1:22.716
17 Kain The Phoenix Down must be used on Ceodore because he has to be alive for those particular groupings (or lack of groupings) of monsters to appear. During the previous run attempt, Ceodore was alive at this point so the Down didn't have to be used, but since I didn't want to create a ten second segment to get to the cave opening without a random battle, I chose to use the Down instead. The Ice Shield is imperative; this with the Flame Mail help me survive Octo-Kraken's spells. During my last run I combined this segment with the next one. As can be seen there were a lot of instances of running into walls and ledges with the "hair turns" in the passages, but all of those added up to less than three-quarters of a second. 0.743 7.749
Ran into a wall 0:06.240
Ran into a ledge 0:06.440
Ran into a ledge 0:11.478
Ran into a wall 0:11.612
Ran into a ledge 0:11.778
Ran into a wall 0:11.979
Ran into a ledge 0:12.279
Ran into a wall 0:19.586
Ran into a wall 0:46.346
Ran into a ledge 0:50.350
18 Kain I tent at the beginning of this segment because energy is refilled after the waterfall anyway. Since the Bone Wrist was primarily to survive the Zombie Infantry, I also re-equip the Power Armlet to boost The Hooded Man's attack multiplier. I found that during the Octo-Kraken and Kain? fights, that makes a huge difference. 0.200 7.206
Ran into a wall 1:09.703
Ran into a wall 1:15.976
19 Kain Holy cow. After comparing the Octo-Kraken fight with my next best run attempt, I found the following:
  • Octo-Kraken used 2 fewer Blizzaras on me, and attacked 7 less times.
  • I used half as many Hi-Potions and didn't use my Decoy.
  • When i fought before, it took me 18 strikes to kill it, whereas this time it took me 13 (two of which were critical).
This is nine turns that were saved during this run. What a great difference the Power Armlet makes, along with some good old fashioned luck. I don't think a boss fight could go more perfectly.
0.743 7.949
Ran into a wall 1:36.430
Ran into a wall 1:36.763
Ran into a wall 2:13.467
20 Kain I didn't go out of my way to get the Hermes Sandals in Baron as my fight against Kain? went perfectly without them; the time saved by the sandals wouldn't have been worth the time it took to get them. 0.000 7.949
None

 

Conclusions
I previously had 14 segments in the run but I knew that if I used more I could get a better time, so I set out to do just that. The reason I wanted to do this run is because I wanted to get the lowest time humanly possible, and the only way to do that was to avoid every random battle that I possibly could. As can be seen, my mistakes barely equaled eight seconds, and that is including every small collision with an obstacle. My menu navigation skills improved tremendously in my opinion, with only one minor error in the run. The biggest mistake I made cost me one and a half seconds, and that was simply an attack animation that took too long. I don't feel this run will be beaten, but if someone does, they are truly a master of this game and they deserve to dethrone me, as I doubt I will run this Tale ever again.

 

Item Not Used Reason in Inventory
Hi-Potion x 9 Bought a bunch of Hi-Potions without being concerned about quantity.
Ether Required to pick up at the beginning to proceed in the Adamant Grotto.
Heavenly Wrath Picked up in Mist Village in error.
Flame Sword Dropped here when Kain becomes a Holy Dragoon.
Broadsword Left behind when Ceodore equips the Longsword at the beginning.
Falchion Replaced with the Flame Sword.
Wind Spear Leftovers from evil Kain.
Mythril Shield Leftovers from evil Kain.
Large Shield Replaced with the Ice Shield.
Turban Replaced with the Mythril Helm.
Mythril Armor Replaced with the Flame Mail.
Training Garb Replaced with the Mythril Armor.
Mythril Gloves Leftovers from evil Kain.
Bone Wrist Only used during Zombie Infantry fight, replaced with Power Armlet.

 

Seg No Start Location End Location Random Fights Fixed Fights Clock Actual* Seg Time
01 Introduction Adamant Isle Overworld 0 0 0:02 2:24.811 2:24.811
02 Adamant Isle Overworld Adamant Isle Grotto - B2 1 2 0:04 4:26.399 2:01.588
03 Adamant Isle Grotto - B2 Adamant Isle Overworld 6 1 0:09 9:02.508 4:36.109
04 Adamant Isle Overworld Baron Castle 1F 0 3 0:12 12:51.370 3:48.862
05 Baron Castle 1F Mysidia Overworld 0 7 0:24 24:46.976 11:55.114
06 Mysidia Overworld Devil's Road 1 0 0:26 26:55.037 2:08.061
07 Devil's Road Baron Overworld 0 0 0:27 27:56.065 1:01.028
08 Baron Overworld Baron Overworld 3 0 0:30 31:51.233 3:55.168
09 Baron Overworld Mist Cave B2 2 1 0:33 33:13.215 1:21.982
10 Mist Cave B2 Ceodore's Tale End 2 1 0:37 37:30.572 4:17.357
11 Kain's Tale Start Mt. Ordeals Summit 2 0 0:39 39:44.472 2:13.900
12 Mt. Ordeals Summit Devil's Road 0 0 0:41 41:34.449 1:49.977
13 Devil's Road Baron Overworld 0 0 0:43 43:03.348 1:38.899
14 Baron Overworld Mist Cliff Precipice 1 0 0:45 44:57.495 1:54.147
15 Mist Cliff Precipice Kaipo Overworld 0 0 0:47 46:56.366 1:59.219
16 Kaipo Overworld Kaipo Overworld 1 1 0:48 48:43.206 1:46.840
17 Kaipo Overworld Underground Waterway - B2 2 0 0:51 50:49.465 2:06.259
18 Underground Waterway - B2 Underground Falls Overworld 1 2 0:52 52:30.566 1:41.101
19 Underground Falls Overworld Baron Overworld 1 2 0:59 58:44.339 6:13.773
20 Baron Overworld Kain's Tale End 0 2 1:09 1:09:33.955 10:49.616

* Actual times from screen fade in until button is pressed to go to File Select screen to save. Times can be off by up to a minute as the game clock times things strangely.

Edge run (Single Segment): 0:28:xx by Patrick 'messenger' McElwee

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Thanks to everyone at sda for the awesome work they do in order to fill up all of my free time with speed runs of my favorite games! Special thanks to slowbro, thrillkill, and lordvg for their help with the run. They put me onto a very useful tactic in the forced battles, which I will explain later.

The game is split up into two sections, trying to die very fast and running away from everything. In the first section Edge sends his four subordinates out into the world to do what ninjas do best, spy and kill things. The biggest decision here is deciding the order to do them in because the order determines what moon phase you get. The moon phases modify stats, but the only important stat that is modified is attack damage. Listing of the order:

Gekkou (Waxing Moon: no attack modifier)
Izayoi (Full Moon: decrease attack)
Zantetsu (Waning Moon: increase attack)
Tsukinowa (New Moon: no attack modifier)

People who are familiar with the game may think, "why would you use the attack modifier on Zantetsu and not Izayoi as she is the toughest character to kill quickly!". Well that is true, she is the toughest to kill, so much so that the attack modifier does not end up in her dying very quickly to the first set of enemies. However the enemies on the second floor end up being able to kill her so quickly that the attack modifier is negligible. So seeing as how I have to sink time into getting her up to the second floor anyways, I may as well use the decreased attack modifier on her. Zantetsu happens to be the second hardest to kill so I used the increase attack modifier on him.

I deequip each character of all of their gear so that they die faster and I can sell it for uber equipment later. I got a great fight with Gekkou, first step I get a battle with the best monsters to fight in the area! One miss, but the time is negligible. Izayoi was also great in that I got a fight with strong enemies only a few steps on the second floor (which has never happened to me ever). Zantetsu was plagued with NPCs that felt it necessary to throw themselves in my way and incredible long walking sequences without any battles. I could have gotten into a battle with 3 sahagins here, which is better but the other two were so good I wasn't complaining. Tsuk went decently as I am guaranteed a fast battle from the chest monster, although I have gotten quick fights before getting to the chest.

After that you gain control of Edge. The rest of the game is running from every fight and optimizing the chances of winning the four forced battles. The goal is to balance his damage with his defense so I pick up a metal boomerang and as many hi-potions as I can get. The boomerang allows Edge to hit for full damage from the back rank (which halves physical damage given and taken), even when equipped with a sword in the other hand! On the way into the tower I pick up the rune armlet as that gives me slightly better evade, a hi-potion, a Cross Shuriken, and the kogarasu (The most powerful sword so far). I then optimize my equipment and shift into the back rank in preparation for the four forces battles.

Belphegors:

These guys follow the attack pattern of Tornado - attack - repeat. What always confused me is that all guides say they have 950 health, yet it always took 3 hits of 500 damage to kill on and 2 hits to kill the other. With the help of the SDA forum, I figured out that there is a forced event that is supposed to take place if tsuk were alive were he would join you. Obviously that doesn't happen because he is dead, however the game negates all damage done until that forced event occurs. Since I can kill them in 4 attacks, I heal right after there tornados hit and continue whacking them until they all die.

Flamehounds:

This is rather luck dependent since 4 attacks from them can kill you, and it takes to turns to kill them with flood. What that translates to is they have to miss once, however they missed 3 times in this run, which I thought was hilarious.

Picked up the battle axe to kill the frost beasts

Proto Clockwork:

These guys can be confused by casting shock on them. They will end up attacking eachother and edge just hits the enemies that aren't dead yet.

Frostbeasts:

There is another forced event which negates all damage done that occurs after the first round of attacks from the enemies. I can kill each one with one throw, so all I need to do is wait until they both attack then throw twice and win.

The rest of the run is . . . running. I had a bad battle with some blood bats and an incredibly close call on the last floor. It seems like I always get a back attack without fail on the top floor.

The boss battle is unremarkable except that I ended up criting the girl so I only had to attack twice for her to summon Ifrit, instead of the normal three attacks. Ifrit follows a very rigid pattern of firagax3 then hellfire, so I just needed to heal. Then the rest of the run is . . . more running. Hope you had fun watching!

Yang run (Single Segment): 0:34:xx by Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe

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17 years later, in the land of Fabul...

Speed Run Rules:
* Single-Session
* Completes Yang's Story
* Takes Damage to Save Time
* Suffers Death to Save Time

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, is a sequel to one of my favorite Final Fantasy games of all time. Originally released on cell phones in Japan, Square Enix got smart and released it on WiiWare for everybody to enjoy!

I started working on Yang's Story pretty much as soon as DLC was available. My initial work in the Summer of '09 managed to get me a time of 0:41, but just barely missing the 0:40 mark, which was my goal. I put the game on the backburner for a while as others were working on various sections of the game. Eventually, thri11ki11 pulled out some impressive runs. Though they were segmented, they pointed out a few things I missed. One being that Monk C had a Metal Knuckle that you could steal from him to give to Yang. Second, there's a Hermes Sandals and Bacchus's Wine in the towers of Fabul Castle, which caste Haste and Berserk respectively. Third, Counter Cover is great for the battle against Kain. Last, there was a little shortcut in the trees in Adamant Isles that I missed. Sounds like a lot, but I had already laid out the groundwork for the run, it just needed some polishing. Turns out, 0:40 was a generous goal, as he pulled out a 0:30 (he estimated his time to be a few seconds under 0:31)! I knew that I wasn't gonna reach that, since he could manipulate the RNG between segments to cut out most of the random battles. Since I had to face them head on, my goal was to get as close to it as possible.

The RNG in The After Years is very strange. If you know what you're doing, you can create a very predictable outcome for the most part, though the further you go in the more the game will change things up. But with the RNG I kept getting stuck with (no amount of resets, power downs, or whatnot seemed to change much of my luck), I could accurately predict every single fight though the first visit of Mt. Hobs.

Is this run beatable? With a better RNG and some more luck with criticals, you may get it down to 0:33. This run was in the high 0:34s from my calculations, so it would take nearly a minute worth of improvements to get it to that time. There may be some other ideas to improve the time, such as getting Yang up to Lv 17 (as like the segmented run).

This run is Copyright (C) 2010 Nicholas "Sir VG" Hoppe and IMAMYTH Colosseum (http://www.imamyth.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/user/SirVG) and is allowed for downloading and private viewing. Permissions for hosting this run have been granted to Radix and Speed Demos Archive. Public viewing of this run is prohibited without prior permission from the creator. The selling or distribution of this run for profit in any way, shape, or form including (but not limited to) selling on eBay and television for profit is prohibited without prior permission from the author. Video hosting sites (i.e. YouTube, etc) may host this video in part or in full, as long as full permission is granted by the author. Any violation of the above listed may result in legal action. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is Copyright (C) 2009 Square Enix.

Sir VG, signing out.

"We came. We saw. We speed ran."

FIN

Lunarians' run: 0:34:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 14 segments

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Seg. Title Clock Actual Time Rand Enc Fixed Enc Items Strategies
01 Introduction 0:02 02:17.738 0 1 Ebony Blade, Tent x 4 The Ebony Blade is taken from the dream to increase Golbez's Intellect, allowing for more powerful spells. I don't use Golbez to attack, ever.
02 Changes 0:02 02:43.230 0 0 None I separated this segment so I could change Golbez's layout as quickly as possible. I move Bio to the top of his spell list, equip the Ebony Blade, switch him to the back row, change message and battle speed and use two Tents to change to a full moon and increase his spell power.
03 Lower Moon 0:04 04:10.851 0 1 Ether I grab the one Ether that I need during this Tale on Lunar Subterranne B9.
04 Middle Moon 0:05 05:33.367 0 2 Cottage, Tent, Hi-Potion, White Fang I get a Cottage drop from the first fixed encounter, so this saves me from having to pick one up later. One more Tent gives me the items needed to turn another moon cycle later. I use both of the other items in the next segment.
05 Red Crystals 0:08 08:06.420 0 2 None I use the Hi-Potion to revive health because the White Fang deals damage based on your remaining HP. After taking out the Chimera and Gremlins, I get to the Lamia Matriarch and the Goblin Captains, and after their attacks I still have enough HP left so that the White Fang can kill them in one hit.
06 To the Crater 0:08 08:32.246 0 0 None I move Flare up the spell list for FuSoYa, and Thundara up the list for both of them. I also have to put Golbez back into the back row.
07 Rotting Moon 0:09 9:38.179 2 0 None No comment.
08 Mysterious Girl 0:11 11:54.048 0 1 None A quick Cure for Golbez, and then the fight. Asura casta Curaga right off the bat so I don't have to deal with its effects later, and her Shell makes very little difference in the damage done. Once FuSoYa is Blinding Glared, it only takes the already cast Thundaga and another Bio to finish her off, nice and quick. I could have saved a second or so by keeping the Bio at the top of the spell list, but oh well.
09 Lunar Surface 0:12 12:30.818 0 0 None Two Tents replenish all of FuSoYa's MP, and get me to the New Moon so there are no Black Magic hinderances.
10 Lair of the Father 0:16 16:44.605 2 3 None

The goal is to get through three Count Malboro fights as quickly as possible with only one Ether, keeping FuSoYa alive and with enough remaining MP to cast Teleport after it's all said and done.

For the first Count Malboro fight, it uses its only Heal before anything even happens. I make an error when I tap the button too many times after Golbez's command and select Attack for FuSoYa. Luckily I don't go through with it, and it only costs me about 3/4 of a second. 4 Thundagas and a Bio, no status effects. I use an Ether and 4 Cures afterward.

The second Count Malboro has a more preferable battle pattern when I take a couple of extra steps before encountering him. This one still puts a hurting on me, but 4 Thundagas and a Bio later, and he's toast. I end up poisoned afterward, but 8 Cures later and I have what I need to get through the rest.

The third Count Malboro requires a couple more extra steps to get a good pattern. I have just enough resources to give him 4 Thundagas and a Thundara; none of his status effects work on me, and I can still Teleport out after the required story segment.

11 To the Palace 0:17 17:25.746 0 0 None I change to full moon, then I stop short of a random encounter in order to manipulate it out.
12 The Crystals Break 0:20 21:02.509 1 1 None

My initial idea was to leave the Palace after the Mysterious Girl fight in order to create another segment, but the journey afterward went so well that I didn't need to do that.

Same strategy as last time with the Mysterious Girl. Strangely, Leviathan does absolutely nothing the entire fight, but who am I to complain? FuSoYa ends up biting it but that's okay because Golbez escapes untouched, leaving him enough health to delve into the moon by himself.

13 Into the Depths 0:21 22:09.263 1 0 None No comment.
14 The Tale Ends 0:34 34:23.897 3 1 None

I bring FuSoYa back to life with the energy pad before the final fight. Taking a few extra steps ensures a good Zeromus fight. I have to Slow Zeromus because I was never able to beat him otherwise. A Thundaga in the meantime doesn't hurt anything, either. I use Double Black Magic because I like to keep the attacks to a minimum (Zeromus counters everything). Then, when FuSoYa is nearly dead, instead of risking Zeromus breaking up a Band, I use Flare and Thundara, and the first one actually ends the fight.

 

Conclusions

With this run I was looking at nearly a 4 minute improvement over my last submitted run. It's about 30 seconds or so from 0:33, but I cut as many corners as I could; I skipped all of the equipment pickups, I manipulated as many fights as I could, I reorganized the spell lists (which I maybe could have done a little better with), I got through menus with great speed, I didn't take unnecessary extra steps, all fights went as fast as I could get them and still have enough resources left for later ones (I think maybe the Malboro fights could have gone faster, but I had to get through three of them in one shot). I even sucked it up and only used one Cottage, relying on the two Tents and an Ether to get me through the Lair of the Father. Leviathan was a lucky break, Asura was useless, and Zeromus was too little, too late. I don't think things could align more perfectly.

Course, I said that about my last submission and this is 4 minutes shorter. :P

Lunarians' run (Single Segment): 0:39:xx by Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe

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Deep within the caverns of the other moon, the haunting dreams keep a man awake...

Speed Run Rules:
* Completes The Lunarians' Story
* Single Session
* Takes Damage to Save Time
* Counts HP in Head to Save Time, but not Sanity

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years was a long awaited sequel to the great Final Fantasy IV. Initially, this came out on cell phones only in Japan, but then Square Enix got smart and put it on WiiWare. I love you guys.

The Lunarians' Story was one of my favorites to play, as it gave you two kick ass magicians with high HP and MP and let you go to town. Plus it's the first scenario where you not only can beat Mysterious Girl, but are EXPECTED to. It's so nice to give her the beatdown she so deserves.

I started working on this one alongside Yang's Story in the summer of 2009, but put this on hold after getting a 0:43, hoping to find some more improvements. Between some pointers by slowbro and thri11ki11's segmented speed run, I was able to finally bring the run down farther. Not to say that this run doesn't have its flaws. The first Count Malboro fight started with Golbez getting hit with Constrict, making the fight a lot harder to pull off. I also had some extra items that I usually need, but didn't this time. Plus I got an unfriendly RNG, leading me to a back attack by a Chimera in Lair of the Father, a back attack by a Chimera Brain and a frontal attack by another.

A 0:38 time might be possible if you managed to get good luck and a friendly RNG. With that you may cut off the 45-50 seconds needed to bring the run down to a 0:38. Good luck to anybody that tries...it won't be easy.

Things to know about certain sections of this storyline:

1. You can do Lair of the Father before the meteorite. To the game, it doesn't matter, as long as both are done.
2. All battles leaving the Lunar Subteranne are fixed. On the way down, you do have random battles.
3. The Count Malboros are fixed battles, but once beaten, they don't return.
4. The locations of the Count Malboros are the same spots that the Behemoths sat in the original FF IV.
5. Mysterious Girl has 20,000 HP in both fights. Once she gets below 10,000, her next turn will be Binding Gaze.
6. Asura and Leviathan are targetable, but all attacks will miss, guaranteed.
7. Zeromus has 30,000 HP. While he can use virtually any major black magic spell, he will only use Big Bang once defeated.
8. What spells cast during the Double Black Magic Band is random (There's Thunder, Fire, Ice, and Meteor variations). Usually Double Meteor is rare, but getting it twice in one battle was awesome! GIVE YOUR POWER TO METEOR, BITCH! I believe Double Meteor is a guaranteed 9999.
9. The scenes after beating Zeromus is basically a Cliff Notes version of Golbez's scenes FF IV, in reverse. The underworld battle is odd to time, since I don't believe it's based upon a set of actions (by anybody involved in the battle, "good" or "bad"), but a set amount of time. The Tellah battle is just waiting out all the spell castings. The most obvious scenes skipped with Golbez in it are the ones in the Tower of Zot, except the Tellah battle, of course.
10. Golbez is never referred to by his real name, Theodore.

This run is Copyright (C) 2010 Nicholas "Sir VG" Hoppe and IMAMYTH Colosseum (http://www.imamyth.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/user/SirVG) and is allowed for downloading and private viewing. Permissions for hosting this run have been granted to Radix and Speed Demos Archive. Public viewing of this run is prohibited without prior permission from the creator. The selling or distribution of this run for profit in any way, shape, or form including (but not limited to) selling on eBay and television for profit is prohibited without prior permission from the author. Video hosting sites (i.e. YouTube, etc) may host this video in part or in full, as long as full permission is granted by the author. Any violation of the above listed may result in legal action. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is Copyright (C) 2009 Square Enix.

Sir VG, signing out.

"We came. We saw. We speed ran."

FIN

Crystals, New Game+ run: 1:58:xx by Thomas L. Mallory, Jr., done in 42 segments

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Where to start? First off, quite a few comments regarding this run can be found in the discussion topic: http://forum.speeddemosarchive.com/post/final_fantasy_iv_the_after_years176.html (that's the approximate page that they get started). I'm sure most of the verifiers have kept up with that topic, so they probably have a pretty good idea of what was going on with this.

The major work that had to be done on this was in the preparation; getting all of the characters in every tale to their maximum capacity. I had to discover quite a few things en route to doing this, including some RNG drops, so that I had the best possible setup going in to the final chapter. As mentioned in the discussion topic, the total game time was over 7 days, most of which were spent in tedium farming Megalixirs and Silver Apples to boost HP to 9999.

The key to the run was using Red, Blue and White Fangs as well as Bomb Cores to deal maximum damage in the shortest amount of time. To enemies weak against any of those 3 elements, 9999 damage is pretty much assured with decent health (making the Megalixirs indispensable). Bomb Cores almost ALWAYS deal 9999 unless an enemy has a special defense against them, and there's... like three bosses I think that actually do. Near the end of the run I use all of my Bomb Cores, but this works out because the characters that I use have leveled enough to make their Bands very effective. If I had saved the Bomb Cores, the run would have been shorter at the end but longer at the beginning (obviously), but it wouldn't have balanced out because the characters obviously weren't capable of dealing out the raw physical damage that they are at the end.

So yes, there is a lot of suicide bombing, Phoenix Down using, and many Megalixirs must be used.

Back to preparation: All characters at max level with max HP was the start of it. Max level is simple; 9999 HP is not (well, it's simple, but tedious as all bloody hell). Rosa and Cid were the only ones who didn't make it to 9999 since I didn't find a late Silver Apple RNG in Ceodore/Kain's tale, but that's okay because I didn't use them outside of the required (mostly story driven) battles in The Crystals half of the tale. Golbez was difficult because no one had discovered a Silver Apple drop for him (at least not that I could find... gamefaqs.com tends to be the source for this stuff), so I had to go about finding one myself. It took me a little while but I stumbled upon it with great luck in a short-ish period of time. Edge was also tough because the discovered Silver Apple method required all of the subordinates in the party, and in order to minimize cutscenes I had to pull a solo Edge campaign. Once again, this required the discovery of a Silver Apple drop, which I am proud to say I was successful at (as is obvious when the run is watched).

The next hurdle was the collection of Fangs and Cores. I tried for quite a while to get Fang drops when someone on gamefaqs mentioned that you could find Fangs in Edward's challenge dungeon (making Edward useful! OMG!). This was correct; you can randomly find each of the three Fangs in pots within the dungeon. I am so grateful for this because it would have been even more hellish to have to discover/farm all three of those Fang types (though I didn't use all of the White/Blue ones). Cores were harder; it took me longer than any of the other items to discover a drop, which I did in Rydia's Challenge Dungeon. Of course, no one on gamefaqs had a drop because no one really uses Bomb Cores in any great quantity.

Next, there was equipment gathering. I had to find drops for Cat Claws in Edge's tale because they give the best speed bonus of all the weapons that he could come in to the final chapter with. The alternative was farming two extras from Yangs tale, but I save like 1/2 second not having to equip them since they're already on Edge (I was THAT anal about my planning). I also spent a few hours trying to find Power Sashes in a solo Edge's tale, which was pointless because I opted for speed, but I had to test if the strength bonus added anything to the strategies if I decided to save the Bomb Cores (which it obvously didn't). I also had to determine the best equipment to bring in from each tale, which wasn't necessarily the ones with the most bonuses or best defense; once again I decided to use pure speed, so I brought a lot of crappy armor with good speed bonuses from each tale, and sold the rest of the shit before importing.

Finally, there was the decision of which items to pick up and which characters to use; this came down purely to stat crunching outside of the game. I listed all of the characters by speed, determined what weapons/armor each of them could equip to boost their speed (and how to even them out in the case of unique/limited equipment), and made my decision from that. The characters listed in order of pure, unaltered speed were:

Kain (40), Ceodore (38), Edge (34), Ursula (32), Golbez (28), Rosa (28), Edward (27), Harley (25), Yang (24), Luca (23), Porom (21), Cid (21), Rydia (21), Leonora (18), and Palom (17).

Kain and Ceodore were natural choices, since not only do they have the fastest natural speeds but also the best low-level band. They can also equip most of the best speed-boosting armors. Edge and Ursula were also shoe-ins. The only semi-hard choice was the fifth member, but it ended up being no choice at all. Golbez was out because if he doesn't die some of the cutscenes are longer. Rosa was out because she didn't have as many HP as the others. This left Edward, Harley, Yang, and perhaps Luca. Yang won because of his bands with Ursula (fast, and one slows while the other does decent damage) and his ability to equip armor and weapons that boost his speed to a greater degree than Edward and Harley.

From there, it was on to the run. Many restarts on each segment in order to find the best random encounter setup. The run was pretty easy up until the end (though Eblan Castle at the beginning was a bit of a bitch due to high encounter rate and lots of hair turns). The Crystals was harder than Planet Eater overall because of the difficulty I had getting the airship into perfect placement before landing (which had to be done at the end of almost every segment, meaning a fuck up would require a complete retry of an otherwise perfect segment). I ended up leaving (I believe) only one such airship screw up in the run.

The most difficult part of Planet Eater was the Creator, by far (see my posts in the discussion topic if you like). I took a less-than perfect fight because I got some decent luck regardless of its level of perfection, specifically in the types of attacks it decided to use against me. Before the final segment I had a time of less than an hour and a half. It's a shame the story/credit roll takes up 15 or so minutes.

There were a couple of places I could have improved the run by miniscule amounts of time. There are some points at which I go a little out of the way to pick up speed enhancing armor or weapons that maybe weren't the best way to go, but I neglected to test enough to see; in the end I don't think it would have improved the run by more than a couple of seconds as there aren't many random fights to speak of that sucked time out of those grabs (I think there was one?) There are times where I duck in and out of doors but that's to manipulate fights.

Can the run be beaten? Yes, but I can't see it being beaten by more than a minute or two. Is anyone likely to do it? Probably not, considering the amount of time it takes to prep this run for optimal time. I may do a single segment of this simply because no one else is likely to waste so much of their life grinding out the Tales in preparation, and I still have the saves. I hope to (when I get done with my next planned runs) do a segmented run of this without importing any data (much harder, much longer, but probably more exciting).

That's about it. Any other questions, I encourage messages.

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