The Metroid series is a unique and memorable experience that has received much praise over the years for its wide variety of exploration, puzzles, bosses and combat. The fifth installment in this popular Nintendo franchise carries on with these aspects while adding features like the infamous morphing ball enemies which make it an even more dangerous adventure.
Metroid Dread, like the other games in the series, has rapidly become a favorite of the speedrunning community. The game specifically encourages rapid thinking, with bonus pieces of artwork available for players who finish the game in under 4 hours. But, if you think that’s a difficult order given how long the game generally takes to complete, these techniques will have you flying through ZDR in no time.
1. Recognize when the timer is running out.
As you fight your way through ZDR’s hazardous fauna and vegetation, it’s easy to lose track of time. Because there is no in-game meter, the only method to find out how long you’ve been playing is to quit the main menu and check your save file. However, there are a few things to bear in mind while you investigate that will assist to put your mind at rest.
To begin with, reloading a save or a checkpoint, as one would anticipate, resets the timer to that point. So don’t worry if you can’t quite get your E.M.M.I. numbers down – death is just a temporary setback. You may also take advantage of this by going to the System menu and manually reloading from a save point or checkpoint if a section is taking too long and you want to redo it.
When you’re on the map or choices windows, the game timer also stops. As a result, if you need to ponder about your next move, use the + or – buttons. It’s also worth noting that, although cutscenes may be skipped, their length is added to your meter regardless of whether you watch the movie. So, if you want to take a break to appreciate a scene from the tale, go ahead. Scenes featuring traditional dialogue (such as checking in with ADAM in a Network Station) do not count against the timer, so mash through them.
2. There’s no need to kill every adversary.
Metroid Dread has some thrilling fighting, particularly with Samus’ melee-counter ability, but selecting your bouts is an important part of any effective speedrun. There are lots of foes in ZDR that have a grudge against you, but ignoring them and continuing on your journey will bring you to your goal far faster than knocking out every mook in your way. Use Flash Shift to sprint easily over their heads for extra points. In relation to that…
3. Make heavy use of Flash Shift and Speed Booster.
Image courtesy of Nintendo
This may seem self-evident to anybody who has actually played Metroid Dread, but Flash Shift and Speed Booster will be your greatest friends in a Metroid Dread run under four hours. You should use Flash Shift at every chance from the minute you get it up in Burenia to rush your way to victory quickly. You may utilize the Speed Booster to annihilate whole screens full of foes en way to your next goal after you beat the Yellow E.M.M.I. for the Speed Booster.
The Speed Booster is more beneficial than it seems at first glance. Some of the game’s boss battles may be won in seconds if Samus uses the Shinespark ability, which allows her to store the energy from the Speed Booster for a few seconds before taking off like a rocket in any direction. If you can pull off this tough manoeuver, Experiment Z-57, for example, will disintegrate at the start of its second phase, saving minutes off your play time.
4. Experiment with a few sequence breaks.
The Metroid series is known for its sequence breaking, and Dread is no exception. Sequence breaking, the bread and butter of the speedrunning community, is one of the key reasons why some players were able to complete runs in under 90 minutes. They’re difficult to pull off, but talented players can go around whole parts of the game.
Unless you’re trying for a record, you won’t need to master every technique, but a few of them might come in handy for a sub-4-hour run. Getting the Gravity Suit early on is one of the most successful strategies, since it makes exploring the underwater portions of zones like Burenia a breeze. That one may also put you on the fast track to getting the Screw Attack, which will be beneficial.
Sequence breaks, on the other hand, are not all created equal. For example, you may collect Bombs and the Grapple Beam before confronting Kraid in Cataris, which will provide you a unique technique to kill him if you do happen to cross paths with him. However, as long as you’re somewhat good at battling Kraid, the time it takes to achieve this isn’t worth it, therefore speedrunners are better off knocking him out first.
5. Do not be alarmed.
When it comes to attempting a world record speedrun, every second matters. However, if you’re mainly going for a run of less than 4 hours to obtain the ending bonuses, there’s plenty of time if you prepare ahead of time and have a cool mind. Don’t worry if you make a mistake along the way; there’s usually some leeway, and if you’re concerned, you can always reload a checkpoint and try again. Also, remember to take a breath throughout cutscenes and, if necessary, at the pause menu. You can do it.