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.|
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.)
- 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.
- In the swamps, do make sure to take the left-hand path to the bandit camp.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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