KSR4 - The Pillar of Autumn

This shows a kill 'em all speed run of The Pillar of Autumn on Legendary in 8:14, on PAL Xbox. Restrictions: Plasma weapons only, once at least one can be safely acquired. The run time starts exactly 13 seconds into the movie when the prompt "Find Captain Keyes on the Bridge" appears (prior to which the controls have been left alone as per the rules), and ends when the whiteness appears for the final cutscene. This beats my old plasma combo time by 15 seconds (see BCM22) and includes a good performance at the stairs and a very speedy exit of the first access way - the two biggest danger points. One other distinction is that I never lose any health! That wasn't a target, it just turned out that way, for possibly my first time ever.

Released April 2nd 2015, gameplay recorded March 31st 2015.

Commentary

00:02 (Reaching the bridge) My run to the bridge is good, except for being briefly held up by a crewman in the bridge. It's frustrating that you can't even melee these guys. Stay clear of the cyborg!

01:13 (Mess hall) The mess hall fight is the first of several sections in which I gain significant time compared to my BCM22 run. I'll mention those and also the places I lose significant time. I gain about 4 seconds here. One of the two Elites goes down quickly under my pistol fire, along with the Grunt, and I waste little time moving in for plasma weapons. With the second Elite being killed as I head off, I kill a Grunt with long-range zapping from the plasma pistol, and soon get two more from closer range. In dealing with the first of the three Elites I miss a whack but get him next time, which leaves me pointing in the right direction for tackling the other two. With the third, I'm just in time to save a Marine from getting whacked. Meanwhile the final Grunt has run off, but gets zapped as I head for the airlock.

02:09 (First airlock) At the airlock my work is fine, using two plasmas as in BCM22, but I lose about 2 seconds because of pausing to get a plasma grenade. I did that because I was keen to have four by the time I reach the next lot of Marines, and quite often I get none from the Elite and Grunt in the dark. This time they each drop grenades though, so I end up with the four I want.

02:43 (Corridor skirmish 1) My first grenade tags a Grunt and causes a chain reaction which clears the area nicely. That allows me to move in and stem the advance of the remaining covies. That's just what I wanted, and is the main reason I end up gaining about 5 seconds. Could've gained a few more, if only I'd done a swifter job of finishing the rest.

03:19 (Corridor skirmish 2) At the start of this section I'm about 7 seconds ahead of my old run, but sadly I drop about 6 here. I tag the red Elite, which is good, but I'm a bit slow killing Grunts, and then lose time going down the side-passage for a plasma grenade (actually I pick up two). I'd wanted four for the airlock area, but in retrospect I wish I'd settled for three. I'd seen the one on the floor ahead, and that one wouldn't have cost me any time of course.

03:37 (Second airlock) A nice speedy passage here, thanks mainly to the effect of my two plasma throws. BCM22 was similarly fast though.

04:03 (Before the stairs) I drop about 5 seconds here, due to an ineffective opening throw. I think I threw that plasma too far, and it landed well past the doorway. It didn't even kill a Grunt, let alone any of the Elites. My next two throws tag a Grunt and the blue Elite though, and the second blast takes out the dangerous red. Situation retrieved!

04:33 (Stairs) My performance at the stairs is good, going according to plan. I wipe out the initial covies fast enough to be able to then throw a plasma down to get the lower reinforcements - an Elite and Grunt - then another throw takes care of most of the upper reinforcements. Only a Grunt survives, and he gets a plasma ball in the face.

05:07 (After the stairs) This is the first of three consecutive sections in which I make a significant time gain over BCM22. I gain about 2 seconds tackling the covies just after the stairs, then another 5 dealing with the covies in the corner, who never even saw me coming. To save extra time I was advancing on the Grunt even before that plasma went off. At the end of this section I'm practically level with my BCM22 run.

05:51 (First access way) I kill the three Grunts about as quickly as in BCM22 but the access door opens about 4 seconds sooner, hurrah! The door was exceptionally slow in the old run.

06:22 (First access way exit) Things go really well here, and my exit is a whopping 14 seconds faster than in BCM22 - my biggest time gain in the whole run. When I see that the red Elite is the closest of the two guys on the left and has already noticed me, I opt to tag him and head behind the pillar (rather than trying the double tag routine seen in KSR3), then I attack the blue from the pillar's other side. Moments later there's only a blue Elite left in the exit passage, who's easily ploughed through with plasma fire. This is the fastest exit I've yet shown - over 2 seconds faster than in KSR3.

06:50 (Second access way) I drop about 2 seconds here due to missing my opening tag attempt on the Elite. But it was fun getting him with the second throw, leaving him growling.

07:16 (Second access way exit) Unfortunately the Elites are already moving around even before the exit door opens, so it's not that surprising when my first plasma fails to tag either of them. It does eventually kill the red, which is a relief, but I'm cautious about advancing while my shield is bleeping. Eventually I charge out though - can't afford to hang around long - and soon things are cleared up. Overall I lost about 2 seconds compared to BCM22, but I'm still about 14 seconds ahead.

07:39 (Penultimate covies) After wiping out some Grunts, a couple of tags help me speed through the dangerous Elite-heavy corner group. You'll notice though that I briefly pause to let some grenades go off. I've been caught by a chain reaction in that area too often! I gain about 4 seconds here.

08:07 (Third airlock) This final section gets off to the ideal start when I tag one of the two reds. On the minus side, a frag thrown to the distant right corner falls short, causing me to throw another, and actually I think all the Grunts up there were already dead (courtesy of an earlier frag), so both of those throws wasted time. I drop about 3 seconds over BCM22, but still end up about 15 ahead. Unusually, Cortana doesn't even get around to giving her lifeboat line!

Closing remarks It's a pity I dropped bits of time here and there, but on the positive side I'm left with a clear and viable target to aim for: to crack the 8 minute mark. Actually, if everything were to go fairly optimally, a time around 7:45 might be achieved; but obviously that's easier said than done! I plan to come back to this later, and also to improve my time for pistol & AR. Plus I'm interested in seeing how fast I can manage without grenades, a significantly harder prospect.