Jade Empire: Speed Run

By Shamus
on Apr 12, 2007
Filed under:
Game Reviews

There was some musing in earlier comments about how long it takes to beat the game. This got me to thinking about how fast the game could be beat. So I tried it out.

My Kung-Fu hero, "Speedy" He’s level 16 at the end of the game, with 3:24 elapsed. His stats are rubbish, but he still made the bad guys eat righteous fist in the end.
My Kung-Fu hero, "Speedy" He’s level 16 at the end of the game, with 3:24 elapsed. His stats are rubbish, but he still made the bad guys eat righteous fist in the end.
I skipped through the dialog as fast as it would let me and skipped all cutscenes. I used turbo run everywhere I went, and I didn’t do anything that wasn’t required to complete the core quest. At the end of the game I was only level 16. My previous trips had taken me to level 21 and 24. That is a really big delta. I should note that the game wasn’t that much harder at the end. I’m not sure if it was because I was better at the fighting or if the game does some devious auto-leveling. This merits further investigation.

According to the savegame at the end I beat the whole thing in 3:24. Three hours and twenty-four minutes to get from the tutorial fight with Jin Woo to the final boot to the head at the palace throne room. I do notice that this provides an interesting view of the game. It strips the beautiful parts away, like pulling the body panels off of a car. What you are left with are the bare ugly essentials. It is interesting to see how a majority of the game (over 70% of it, quest-wise) is optional. I like that. I also note that in my “long” trip through the game (22 hours) I still missed several sidequests.

Upon reflection, I can see my Speed Run path wasn’t optimal. In the swamps I took the right-hand path, which leads to rescuing Fen, which is a bit of a time-sink conversation / cutscene. I closed the dam, because I didn’t realize I didn’t have to. I fought the cannibals instead of promising to kill the Forest Spirit in exchange for the crystal. I fought Master Shin’s acolytes, which I suspect is optional. At the final confrontation I chose to fight instead of accepting the sucker’s ending. I’m sure there were other shortcuts I missed here and there. I’ll bet the game can be beat in under three hours.

For anyone wanting to try this, here are a few tips: (I’m not sure why anyone would, but then again I’m not sure why I did it in the first place.)

  1. There isn’t much you can do to speed things up in Two Rivers. The sidequests here are more simple diversions and are easily avoided.
  2. In the swamps, do make sure to take the left-hand path to the bandit camp.
  3. Tien’s landing is a hub with three main quests which you need to do in order to proceed: You must get the Inscrutable Power Source at the dam site, get the wind map in the Southern forest, and get the flyer at the pirate camp. Make sure to do the pirate camp last. This way you will fight Gao the Greater and Inquisitor Lim together, instead of fighting each man plus a bunch of extra guards. Also, this path cuts down on the dialog you have to wade through.
  4. At the dam site, don’t mess with the dam at all, as it only results in a fight. The only thing you need at the dam is to get Chai Ka / Wild Flower, because they have the missing part for the flyer. If you keep your distance from the golems you can speed by without even speaking to them.
  5. In the forest: You must go to the temple first, then to the Inn. Once there, just agree to kill the forest spirit. You have to, as the other route (destroying the Mother) will eat up a great deal of excess time. This is pointlessly evil, and I can’t think of any other reason to make this decision besides the desire to save time. Evil Jerk indeed.
  6. At the pirate camp, it’s obviously faster to drop that hanging gun on the pirates than fight them. Then just make a beeline for the top, ignore the side-rooms, kill the bad guys at the top, and you’re ready for the imperial city.
  7. At the imperial city. I haven’t figured out which is the fastest way to join the assassins. Replacing Minister Sheng’s bribe with turtle eggs seems pretty fast, although getting Judge Feng to resign in shame by having his consort swipe his ring for you might be faster. Both have a lot of dialog to click through and a few cutscenes that can’t be skipped.
  8. When fighting the big bosses, use Jade Golem form. It’s lame, but it does such tremendous damage and is immune to two-thirds of their attacks. The AI doesn’t switch to an appropriate style, so often you can stand there and wail away at the bad guys with impunity. The battles where this is particularly helpful are Inquisitor Jia, Sun Hai, your three dopplegangers, and Death’s Hand. It works well against the final boss as well, but in a speed run you should opt for the sucker’s ending and finish the game with dialog, thus sparing you that fight altogether.
  9. Go for the “good” choices once you are brought back to life. Taking the evil route with death’s hand or the Water Dragon will only earn you long debate with your team.

I don’t know what possessed me to do this. Or write about it. But there it is. If you think of any more shortcuts or try this yourself then please share.

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17Just 17 comments.

From the Archives:

  1. theonlymegumegu says:

    “For anyone wanting to try this, here are a few tips: (I’m not sure why anyone would, but then again I’m not sure why I did it in the first place.)”

    Because speed runs are just a part of video game uber geekness ^_^ I will still never attempt to beat Super Metroid in under 1:30 again, as my best time was 1:33, and I know *exactly* where I wasted those few minutes. So. Much. Anger.

  2. Thad says:

    Yeah, speed runs are geeky funness. :) As someone showed: Oblivion, about 8 minutes!

    BTW, you getting the Jade Empire: Special Edition with extra characters and stuff?
    (I saw it over here in our local stores, so presume it’s around in the USA.)

  3. MintSkittle says:

    Man, I love watching speed runs. Where’d you see the Oblivion one, I wanna check it out.

  4. Thad says:

    Just search on YouTube for Oblivion speed run and you should be able to find it.

  5. -Chipper says:

    Shamus,
    Sorry to go off-topic here, but I can’t find an email address for you on your site. Carl the Bold keeps having Internet Explorer crash when he tries to open a thread on 20Sided. I have no trouble w/ Firefox, but also crash when using IE & clicking on a thread. There’s an error report, but it doesn’t allow you to copy it, so I’m not sure how much help beyond that I can be. Email me if you want more details.

  6. Joshua says:

    I wonder where the euphemism of “beating” a game arose. It’s not as if the game challenged you personally – it gave you a task and you completed it. You don’t “beat” a book by reading it and you don’t “beat” the DM by finishing a campaign successfully. I always thought “finish” described the act much more accurately.

  7. Shamus says:

    Well, the game is sort of trying to stop you: Enemies in the game try to kill the player, which halts progress. You can’t get the end until you overcome the enemies.

    Still, if “making you want to stop” is a challenge. Then there are a number of truly awful movies which I have indeed “beaten”, and a few which I found to be unbeatable.

  8. Deoxy says:

    “beat” – because most games (especially in times gone by) invovled combat, essentially you vs the machine. When you complete the game, it’s because you “beat” your opponent in combat (as in two of the three endings for JE).

    And yes, almost all speed runs do that (remove the beauty) – it’s just the way it is.

    SMB 3 in 8 minutes? Yeah – you skip almost literally the whole game (seen the video).

    Actually, I rather enjoyed speed runs through Metroid 3. I once pickd it back up again after a few years away from it, and it took me almost 3 hours to beat it again… ha ha. Actually, the Metroid series is one that actually loses little from a “speed run”, as the only things that really slow you down on your first play is trial and error in learning how to play and trial and error on where to go.

  9. Deoxy says:

    Oh, and I often hear the term “finish” for puzzle games, so I think that supports my thesis.

  10. -Chipper says:

    Shamus said, ‘Still, if “making you want to stop” is a challenge. Then there are a number of truly awful movies which I have indeed “beaten”, and a few which I found to be unbeatable.’

    LOL! There’s some movies I sincerly wish I had let beat me, rather than having the worthless victory of watching them thru & then being unable to extract the junk from my memory.

    P.S. The IE problem went away for me.

  11. Joshua says:

    I’m gonna have to disagree on this point. Neither the game nor the computer are trying to stop you by any means. In fact, their objective is exactly the opposite. They want you to continue and will do whatever is necessary to entice you. And if you were in fact competing against the computer in these games, they’d be completely unbeatable by any human – after all, they set the rules, they know the secrets, they control the very physics by which the environments operate. The term is a misnomer by any standard.

  12. hypnoangel says:

    Ah, Grasshopper, there is another much faster way. It is the way of “Playing Without Playing” in which man and software exist in harmony, neither striving to best the other, all inessentials are avoided, and the game is completed in a single moment. That Way is not to play at all. And so you are enlightened.

    That will be three easy payments of $19.95.

  13. Jeff says:

    When you ‘beat’ the game, haven’t you overcome the challenges it offered you?

  14. Thpbltblt says:

    Okay, I’m behind the times, having only just finished Jade Empire yesterday May second. I came back here to see what all the posts were about (I ignored them all earlier, because I hadn’t played JE with as much fervor as someone else), and now I find out there’s a sucker’s ending that I somehow missed. I thought I chose my dialog carefully enough, but I guess not. If someone bothers reading this old thread, please enlighten me.

  15. Shamus says:

    The sucker’s ending is available at the last conversation of the game. Sun Li offers you a deal, where you die but he will use his power to make you remembered forever.

  16. Thpbltblt says:

    Ah, thanks so much.

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