This page is dedicated to detailing the current progress of my Final Fantasy VII TAS speed run. I will update this page each time I improve or modify my speed run.
What is a ‘glitched’ Final Fantasy 7 TAS (Speed Run)?
This speed run is called ‘glitched’ because I am aiming to beat the game as fast as possible using all in-game glitches. For this speed run, I will not do any action as to modify the hardware; this includes save corruption by pressing the Reset button, and opening the CD-tray or disc-swapping at unprompted times.
I use an emulator and the following features: Save, Load, Frame Advance, Memory-Watch. There are no cheats or direct memory modification to be used.
So now let’s get to the run!
New Game: FF7 TAS
The FF7 glitched TAS begins with the recently found Emerald Countdown Timer Glitch. As you know, this glitch breaks the game so that battles can be instantly ‘won’ by pressing L1+R1+Select. This obviously saves quite a lot of time that would otherwise be spent fighting bosses or running away from random encounters.
After arriving in the first field I enter the menu to increase the ‘Field Message’ speed. This drastically speeds up the game’s text. I have no need to change ‘Battle Speed’ or ‘Battle Message’ here because I am not planning on fighting any in this FF7 TAS!
I shorten Cloud’s name to ‘C’. This saves a little time as now the game does not have to render all of the letters in the numerous future text-boxes.
Dodge Random Encounters by Stuttering!
You may notice from this field that Cloud begins to stutter as he is running. This technique, which I will refer to as ‘stuttering’, allows me to dodge random encounters. This is one way how I dodge random encounters.
The game contains a DangerValue which starts at 0 and increases with each step. Once this value hits a certain threshold a random encounter will be presented. The issue I take advantage of is that walking increases the DangerValue by half, compared to running. With frame perfect timing, and knowledge of where every random encounter will be, I can ‘walk’ the last step of every ‘run’. To the human-eye this appears as stuttering. And to the game, I gain the speed of running while only registering as a ‘walk’ to the DangerValue. As a result, I am able to dodge many random encounters.
If I am able to dodge random encounters by stuttering, why don’t I stutter-dodge all of them? Stuttering only halves the normal increase of the DangerValue; it also increases the distance I have to travel because of the ‘Walk’ element. This is why I don’t stutter all of the time; it would be slower!
The Guard Scorpion doesn’t scare us this time thanks to the Data Error side effect! The Guard Scorpion battle takes exactly 11.114 seconds. Almost all glitched ‘instant win’ encounters should take this amount of time.
Let’s Save Time at 7th Heaven
You may have missed this little trick the first time. Usually you have to wait until the other members of AVALANCHE get the bar ready. However, as you can see, I run back to the previous field and then run back to the bar.
This saves time because it skips waiting for the other members of AVALANCHE. This trick, as with many others in this run, was found by BrutalAl. It only saves a few seconds, but every second counts in this TAS.
Menu Glitch: Skip Random Encounters
The Final Fantasy VII developers have spoiled us and have given players a second way to skip random encounters.
The Menu Glitch in FF7 is very simple to explain, but not so simple to execute in real-time. Simply press Triangle to enter the Menu on the same frame that you are due to get a random encounter. The menu will open and once it is closed the battle will be skipped.
Why don’t I Menu Glitch every random encounter? The Menu Glitch does not decrease or reset the DangerValue. This means the DangerValue continues to climb higher and higher. While it is technically possible to skip all random encounters this way, it would actually slow you down; you would get a battle for every step you take! Also, Stuttering is faster! So I Stutter when I can.
Wall Market – Cloud is not Chosen
This is quite a big mistake in the current FF7 TAS. I have calculated that it is around 11 seconds faster to have Cloud chosen by Don Corneo if, and only if, two time-saving glitches are performed. A video showing the wall market glitches is available.
The Shinra HQ Elevator
The main elevator at the Shinra HQ is random. The elevator can stop at random levels depending on what frame the button is pressed. I take advantage of this by getting the optimal outcome: Encounter, Employee, Employee, Employee, Destination. The chance of getting this outcome approaches 1/1845.
In the glitched speed run, the password happens to be KING. However, this password changes depending on a random element.
Bike Chase Mini-game
Almost at the end of Midgar! Well, I decided to repeatedly bump into the party’s car in order to get zero kills. Since I haven’t killed any enemies so far, I thought the pacifist theme was quite fitting. There is no speed difference in doing this, simply personal choice.
The World Map
Before reaching the map, I’m required to form a party. I found that you don’t have much of a free choice because the party members have different conversations depending on who you choose.
The fastest method is to choose Tifa and Red XIII. The slowest is Barret and Red XIII; this triggers a rather long scene where the girls accuse Cloud of sexism. The ‘guys’ scene takes a whopping 5 seconds longer.
I reach the world map at 1:34:26.99
The observant of you, may wonder why I walk in a diagonal pattern. Well, this way of traversing the world map is actually faster. The panning in and out of the camera is to remove random battles and to help maintain the faster diagonal walking pattern.
To be continued…