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These notes are based on Rife's Any% world record route, with some tweaks and improvements. Some levels are lacking notes/parts that might benefit from them, but any other issues that made the guide more confusing are fixed (they were probably my fault anyway). This is of course a web version, but there is also an XML/markdown version for use with the markdown fork of the SpeedGuidesLive component for LiveSplit (for best compatibility use these splits as the split names already match). I'll try to keep these relatively in parity, at least for actual routing information (formatting is already slightly different).
Note that there is one improvement to this route that can be made, but doing so would mean I personally no longer have an accurate comparison against my previous splits or Rife's splits. This improvement is moving B-10 to after C-1, since C-1 uses the same part set as B-9, but if B-10 is placed between the two then you have to enter the equip menu an extra time. The best place to put B-10 would be after finishing the entire C zone, but this may cause its own problems if the missing ~400 experience is needed at some point in C.
I have also considered using the part file function to save time equipping frequently used part sets, but I don't think there are any sets that are used often enough throughout an Any% run (they slowly evolve, and often will have minor changes to boost a stat or two)
The "Mission Report" screen at the end of each level (or after dying) takes a different amount of time in each language, because the title at the top of the screen must be fully printed out before the information cards appear. I couldn't find any other points in the run where there is "scrolling" text or other impact from the game's language, so I measured the length of this text in all six available languages and drew conclusions from there. English is in the slower-middle ground; French is the slowest; German is the fastest; and Japanese is only slower than German by one frame per level/death. (Note that language does not matter for individual level runs.)
The conclusion: if you want to save about 15 seconds, run the game in Japanese/German (whichever is more convenient, although Japanese is about a second slower). To that end, here is a table of zone names in English/Japanese/German (although I would recommend learning the zones by their menu position since the level names use letters instead of the zone name):
Take damage on second bomb before card key spawns
boss takes 5 hits
Lay bombs for 3 just after energy core disappears off screen
Lay bomb for mission 3 at 2 tiles away from wall, when the core is 2 tiles away from whichever edge it is going towards
Lay bomb for 3 at or just to right of 3rd hard block from the left
Spam bombs at beginning and clear blocks. RC LL CL CR
Look into more attack?
Try to have 6 atk
left, right, back, right, right, back.
Remember to clear the path to the warp floor in advance (mission 3)
Rife is good at this level
No need to take damage
use right path from 2-3
AROUND THE LEFT