100%, which is most commonly referring to the 100% Item Completion speedrun, requires you to collect all 100 items before completing the game. There is one exception to this list which is the Varia Suit, because after defeating Charlie and receiving your fully powered Gravity Suit, you will automatically receive Varia at the same time if you don't already have it, and it counts towards your item percentage. All other 99 items must be collected as intended.
SRC Video Guides
Before I jump into the written wiki guide, I want to link some of the SRC video guides that are already great resources for getting started:
- Comprehensive 100% tutorial by john_unfil, samthedigital, and CScottyW
- Hundo route for Beginners by john_unfil
- 100% Beginners Segmented Tutorial by whalerynth
- 100% lategame tutorial by john_unfil and samthedigital, updated for Early PBs
There are quite a few major routing decisions that are all roughly similar to each other in terms of times. Most of these routing decisions are decided based on difficulty vs consistency, or just preferring to do some speed tricks over others. The biggest routing decisions are:
- Early Brinstar vs Late Brinstar
- Ice First Norfair vs Newfair
- Powerbombs Door Clip vs Lottery
For a quick example of how viable each of the above decisions are, the current leaderboard has 1st and 2nd place doing completely different routes for all three of those decisions. Your time in 100% will largely depend on your movement skills and consistency and choosing one route over another will not necessarily guarantee you a better time unless you are better able to execute that route.
Near the end of the run is a trick known as Glass Tube which, if done correctly, will save time by avoiding some extra backtracking and room transitions. If you fail the Glass Tube trick you can choose to accept the timeloss and backtrack to gather the Etank, or you can continue past the item on what's known as the "Old Route" before the glass tube trick was found. This isn't so much a route choice but more of a recovery option in a racing situation to minimize the timeloss from failing the trick, but you can also choose to do this route if you have trouble getting the Glass Tube trick. It should be roughly about 10 seconds slower to go straight for the old route without attempting the glass tube setup at all. If you attempt glass tube, fail it, and then decide to switch to old route, you will lose that same 10 seconds plus the extra time you spent setting up for the trick.
One last major routing difference I will cover here for the sake of completeness is the HBJ route in Kraid's Area. This route will mainly be preferred in the Hard Mode version of this speedrun due to ammo differences, but it is still a viable route for Normal mode. The reason it's not included in the main list above is because it is much more difficult to execute this route optimally and there is hardly any time difference between this route and the much easier route in Normal Mode.
Every run will start off this way up to the Bombs item. After picking up the missiles behind Bombs is when you decide if you're going up to the Early Brinstar route, or back down for the Late Brinstar route.
The benefits for the Early Brinstar route is having the extra missiles for the Acid Worm fight and the extra health for the Norfair Heated Rooms later in the run. The major downside is this route requires three Infinite Bomb Jump sections that all need to be done quickly in order to stay on pace with the easier option, the Late Brinstar route. It is not only harder to just do all three infinite bomb jump sections without mistakes, but it is also even harder to optimize every bomb jump to maximize all of the time save in this route with Jump Bomb Jumps combined with maximum height bomb jumps.
This route is recommended for beginners only if they are able to pull off the bomb jumps with at least some consistency, and that they also have trouble with staying alive in the upcoming Kraid->Norfair sections of the run, because the extra Etank from this route helps make those sections easier to survive.
Early Brinstar Alternate Route
This map just illustrates the difference between the normal Early Brinstar route, and at the end of the yellow line you will finish the rest of Brinstar just like the other route.
There is a lesser used version of the Early Brinstar route that has the benefit of skipping the first Infinite Bomb Jump, meaning you only need to do the other two. The downside to this alternate route is you do not get the statue refill that you would normally get after the first Infinite Bomb Jump, which means you will still need to rely on some drop luck to have enough missiles for the upcoming Acid Worm fight.
This route is useful if you really need that extra energy tank from the Early Brinstar route but you have trouble with the infinite bomb jumps, and you're still farming or refilling before the Acid Worm fight anyways.
The Late Brinstar route immediately goes to Kraid after getting Bombs. This route has the benefit of not having to do those three infinite bomb jumps, but the downside is you will have less ammo for the Acid Worm fight so you will need to pay more attention to your missile count heading into Kraid. On a typical run where you're not slowing down to farm, you want to hope for at least 2 or 3 drops from the Zoomers starting after you grab the first Energy Tank.
You can mitigate the RNG a little bit by using some strategic statue heals. You can heal at the Bombs statue if you want to get it out of the way early, or you can wait and heal at the first statue in the game before you go into the Kraid Elevator Room as a slightly better/faster option.
The numbers you're looking for are at least ~22 missiles by the time you enter Kraid. You need a minimum of 30 missiles to kill the Acid Worm, and you will pick up two more missile expansions in Kraid before the fight which give you 10 more missiles. You will also need to use two missiles to open two red doors on the way to the worm, so 22 + 10 - 2 = 30 for the minimum. We'll go into more detail about pre-Worm ammo in the next section, so for getting through Brinstar just keep in mind if you have a missile count under 20 by the time you're passing the first statue in the game, you may want to take that refill to ensure a smooth start to the Kraid segment.
There are two route options for your first visit into Kraid. Most of the time you will see the Normal route, and the HBJ route is usually only seen in Hard Mode because of the amount of ammo you have at this point. The trade-off for the two routes is the Normal route is much easier to execute while relying on some drop RNG to be fast, and the HBJ route is much harder to execute consistently. In Normal mode you should have enough ammo to kill the Acid Worm in two rounds, and compared to the HBJ route there isn't much of a time difference when you compare both initial visits and both cleanup routes later in the run. In Hard Mode you would have to spend more time fighting the Acid Worm and spending some rounds farming, which makes the HBJ route faster in that scenario.
Regardless of which route you choose, there is one missile pack in Kraid that requires Gravity Suit, Speedbooster, and Springball in order to do a ballspark inside the acid to reach the item, which means you will always have to come back and revisit Kraid at some point after defeating Charlie. There are some other items left behind even in the Normal route, because even though it's possible to get them now it's faster to grab them on the way through your required trip back through Kraid later in the run.
This is a critical point in 100% where you want to be mindful of your ammo going up to the Acid Worm fight, and also right after leaving it. You will need 30 missiles to kill the Acid Worm, and another 20 missiles to defeat two sidehoppers afterwards to open a locked door. You don't need all 50 missiles right away, but you want to have at least 20 when entering Kraid's elevator. You will pick up two missile packs before the Acid Worm which should bring you over 30 missiles, and you will get two more missile packs after the worm fight. This means you still need to get a few drops to have enough missiles to kill the sidehoppers, and with average RNG you can usually expect enough ammo. In a worst-case scenario you can expect to kill the first sidehopper with missiles and shoot the 2nd sidehopper from the safe spot, which loses some time but it won't necessarily lose you the run.
The HBJ route is named after the difficult trick needed to skip the Acid Worm fight immediately after entering Kraid. After grabbing the save room missiles, you will need to do a Horizontal Bomb Jump over the acid and go straight to Kraid without collecting any other items. After defeating Kraid you will also need to recharge a shinespark in order to spark across the reo room and leave the area.
It is highly recommended to be doing this route only if you are also doing the Early Brinstar route so you will have an extra Etank to make up for the two Etanks you will skip in Kraid.
Take the hidden ball cannon immediately after leaving kraid, and then do a bomb jump up to the hidden Etank in the ceiling in the next room. When you enter the morph bomb shortcut back to norfair there is an optional missile you can grab now or save for later in the run. If you're doing the early brinstar route and have trouble with the fast method of collecting this missile while saving a shinespark for the brinstar super in cleanup later, go ahead and grab it now. If you're doing late brinstar, you will have a couple easier times to collect it while you're passing through this shortcut with screw/springball/ice later in the run.
You will have an opportunity to do a spark known as the Charge Spark in the next room on your way to Norfair.
If you are a madman you will have an opportunity to Assert Dominance at this point in the run. Do not attempt to assert dominance unless you are a madman.
After getting the plasma beam you can check out this guide for the various methods of collecting Crateria Super.
After getting power grip you can save a couple seconds with an Infinite Bomb Jump.
There are two major routes you can choose from for your first trip through Norfair. The first route doesn't really have a name because it was the old classic route, but you can identify it as the Ice First route since it grabs the Ice Beam really early in the route. The newer route is called Newfair just because it is the newer route, but it can also be identified as the Late Ice route, or sometimes called the Early Hi Jump route.
Both routes are nearly identical in terms of their times with the main differences being determined by a couple tricks you may or may not be able to attempt.
The major differences between the two routes is the Ice First route can be a little tougher on your health. If you do Early Brinstar you will have an extra Etank and you can just barely skip having to refill from any of the chozo statues if you don't take any extra damage from anything. You will also have the opportunity to perform the Ice Cream Spark which is extremely difficult. Being able to pull off the Ice Cream spark and also not having to heal at any of the chozo statues is what can make this route the potential faster route.
The Newfair route can have one potentially dangerous heated room if you're doing Late Brinstar and you may or may not want to heal at the Screw Attack statue if you are worried about your health or super missile ammo at that point in the run. You will need to perform a shinebreak known as the Newfair Spark in order to save the most time with this route.
Both routes will collect all the same items with the one exception being the missile expansion in the long vertical room next to the Hi-Jump boots room. It's been timed that this missile costs an extra 7 seconds to collect early with the Newfair route, and those same 7 seconds are spent collecting it during cleanup later with the classic route. With this single difference in mind, you can compare your early game times with newfair to another runner's early game times in the classic route by taking this 7 second difference into account.
Newfair / Late Ice
Newfair Spark Failed Late
Failing the spark late means you ran too far into the speedblocks and broke them before you were able to charge your spark. You still want to collect the missile pack and shoot the missile block behind it like you would normally, and then jump up to the ball cannon that you normally would take in the any% route to continue with the run.
Newfair Spark Failed Early
Failing the spark early means you pressed down too fast and didn't break any of the speedblocks. In this situation you want to just go ahead and spark up the vertical room like you would have done after collection the missile underneath you. Since you didn't break the missile block you will need to take the any% shortcut on the right side to get back down the room, and for this reason you want to collect the heated room missile before you get the ice beam.
As soon as you enter ridley's area you will want to turn around and head back to face the Imago Bee boss.
After defeating Imago you will have the opportunity to attempt the Imago Spark.
You will need to do the Ice Floor Clip to enter the first puzzle room quickly. If you really have trouble with this clip and want to enter the room the intended way, you will need to walk two rooms to the right and use the upper platform to store a shinespark, and spark into the slope heading back to the left and run across the map room to break the speedblocks in the floor.
Strats for the Ice Clip Puzzle Room
In the long horizontal room you can choose to spark or farm which is shown in the Sparking Vs Farming section.
Strats for the Bomb Chain Puzzle Room
The Speed Jump Puzzle Room is more of a test of timing instead of a full puzzle, but the timing is very tight. You have about 4 frames to press A and get a full jump that breaks enough speedblocks to get through. This room is all about practicing until you get the timing with no other (practical) easier way to do it. (Some will tell you this jump is easier without Hi Jump but there isn't ever a situation where you will be in this room getting this missile and not have Hi Jump).
Strats for the Ball Cannon Puzzle Room
After defeating Ridley your drops will determine if you want to farm speedway or not. Speedway is the group of enemies that are all boxed in a room surrounded by speedblocks for you to run through and kill them all. If you leave Ridley's room with 4 or less super missiles, you will want to farm the speedway enemies for more supers. If you have 8 or more super missiles leaving Ridley, there's no need to farm. If you have exactly 6 supers, it's more or less up to your preference. These numbers are all about maximizing your chances of having full super missiles on your way to Tourian. This also depends on whether or not you're doing Early or Late Brinstar routes. Late Brinstar gives you more chances to get lucky random drops on the way to Tourian and can lean in your favor if you want to risk leaving Ridley with less supers.
Strats for Jumpy Jumpy
Norfair Return Trip
Nothing much on this trip just heading back to Brinstar.
Only major note left for Brinstar is a reminder that you do not have to pick up the Varia suit. Later in the run after you defeat Charlie and activate your fully powered suit, you get the Varia suit at that point in the run and it counts as having picked it up at that point.
Early Brinstar Cleanup
If you already did Early Brinstar you only need to collect the Brinstar Super missile, the missile in the shortcut room, and the Long Beam.
Late Brinstar Cleanup
If you're doing Late Brinstar then this is where you will pick up all the items that you saved for later. After collecting Brinstar Super you will go back through the shortcut room and climb up to the top of the room. Having Hi-Jump, Screw Attack and Power Grip makes this section trivial and much faster.
Check out the Tourian page for an in-depth look at various Tourian strats.
Check out the Suitless page for an in-depth look at the Suitless section of the game.
This section starts off with one of the harder intended shinesparks in the game known as the Charlie Spark. After that trick, and a brief detour to pick up the Lava Supers, it's almost exactly the same as an Any% run to get to the power bombs. Having Screw Attack lets you take a more aggressive trip through Chozodia but it's otherwise the same path.
Door Clip Explanation
At this point is where you're going to make another major route decision, similar to the Early/Late Brinstar decision. This decision will be made clearer later in the guide, but for now just know that both decisions are nearly identical in time. Doing the door clip route is more consistent and removes the potential need for a tough shinespark chain later on, while not doing the door clip has the RNG potential to either be slightly faster or slower depending on if you win the lottery and can make it all the way to the refill without taking any damage for maximum timesave.
Door Clip Route Divergence
This path will show you where both routes initially start out. Once you get to the room marked with the red star, you can follow the next picture to see where that extra power bomb takes you, or you can skip that picture and go to the next section. This detour is the only major route difference specifically for Door Clip so the rest of the guide will be for both routes until near the end. At the end of the guide you'll come back to the Mothership and if you didn't do the Door Clip you will get those items on the way back.
Door Clip Route
The extra power bomb you saved from the Door Clip trick allows you to bomb the floor and collect these two items early without refilling. Once you reach the save station under the ship, you will refill there to get your 4 power bombs back. You'll use one power bomb to open another power bomb expansion pack for 2 additional bombs, which means you'll leave this area with 5 power bombs. This is important because you'll be guaranteed to have that extra power bomb later on and not have to rely on the lottery luck for it.
The Glass Tube is another important trick that may or may not have an impact on your route from here. The fastest route is to do the Glass Tube trick as described on its page. If you fail the trick but don't want to change your route, you can opt to lose time by running into the hallway below the Glass Tube Etank, turning around and running back to get the intended shinespark straight up into the Etank. Afterwards you still have to run back to the broken tube to continue with your run.
Another option after failing the Glass Tube (or if you don't want to attempt it at all) is to just skip it entirely and continue on what's known as the "Old Route", named after the route that was used before the Glass Tube trick was found. If you skip the Etank, you will also want to skip the two Super Missiles and instead just run straight to Crateria. The Old Route leaves Norfair later and comes back this way and that's when you'll grab these two Super Missiles from the opposite direction and get the Etank without having to double back as much.
The Old Route is roughly ~10 seconds slower than the Glass Tube route, and you will also lose more time depending on how much was spent attempting the trick before abandoning it and switching to Old Route.
Crateria / Tourian Revisit
This area is the big payoff for doing the door clip route happens (or winning the lottery). If you only have one power bomb when you enter Crateria you will need to start a shinespark in the water and save it all the way to the area where the ship used to be. There are a lot of slopes available for safety recharges you can take to make the chain easier to maintain, but if you mess up at any point before breaking the speedblocks in the final area then you will need to run all the way back into the water to start over.
If you have the extra power bomb from the door clip route, or if you won the lottery, you can use it to remove the two power bomb blocks in the floor of the elevator room. This allows you to run straight through the room and only have to recharge once to break the speed blocks in the final area. This makes the entire situation a lot less stressful, and it also makes the punishment for messing up a lot less severe.
In most runs you will only need to pick up the missile inside the acid, and the two other missiles that are on the way to Norfair.
HBJ Route Cleanup
If you're doing the HBJ route for Kraid, most often seen in Hard Mode runs, you will first kill the Acid Worm and collect its items before doing a slightly longer lap around Kraid for the rest of the items. Having all of the upgrades makes this entire cleanup trivial, and being able to kill the worm in one round is where the time save really benefits for HBJ Route.
There is a cool space boost here that's simply known as the Norfair Spaceboost. The safer alternative is to store your shinespark before running over the speedblock in the ground, walk into the next room and jump and spark near the ceiling. This loses a few seconds from the time spent stopping, walking, and bonking into the wall at the end of the spark. The return trip also has the option to do a spaceboost or a spark, but the spark loses barely any time at all because you can spark immediately, and the distance is long enough that the spark is almost faster than the spaceboost until you lose all the time you gain by bonking into the wall.
Crateria Back To Chozodia
Depending on if you collected the Glass Tube Etank or if you opted to go for the Old Route, you will take one of two paths through Crateria back to Chozodia.
If you were successful with the Glass Tube trick, you will want to take the top path so that you can store a shinespark and collect the missile without having to leave the area and come back.
If you are doing the Old Route, you will take the bottom path and go straight into Chozodia. You'll be coming back this way later and collect that missile with the intended way of sparking as soon as you enter Crateria again from the right.
Out Of The Way Power Bombs
There is a pack of power bombs all the way up in Chozodia near where you fought Charlie. The only known way to reach them is by already having power bombs so you can blow up the power bomb blocks that are blocking them, which means you're required to leave this area after killing Charlie and come all the way back later. On the way back from the OOTW PBs is the final route divergence between the successful Glass Tube route and the Old Route. The next picture will show where each route continues on after the Star marked in this map.
Old Route Convergence
This is the final difference where you would take a different path after going for the Old Route. The red line shows where you will go directly back to the broken tube if you are doing a successful Glass Tube route, and the green line shows how you will go back to Crateria to grab all those missiles you skipped and end up sparking up to the tube's Etank.
Door Clip Route Convergence
Here is where you will finally see the difference between a door clip route and a non door clip route. If you did the Door Clip route and already cleared the bottom of the ship then you can continue on straight to Mecha Ridley. If you did not do Door Clip route, this is where you will clear those same items with the same path. The only difference is you do not have to refill at this time, so one of the few minor differences with coming here later is you can do a small space boost through the map room to save a little bit of time.
Here is the exact same picture of the path through the bottom of the ship in case you are not doing Door Clip and want to follow along here.
There is one last item to collect before Mecha which is known as the Space Jump Etank. It got its name because the fastest way to collect it is with a challenging series of space jumps through the lasers, and making a mistake means having to leave the room and come back to try again.
An easier alternative is to run back and forth on the top path a second time to store a shine spark, and spark over the lasers. This is roughly ~6-8 seconds slower than the space jumps.
Once you challenge Mecha you will be able to immediately tell if you've successfully collected 100% of the items or not. If you have 100% of the items, Mecha will do twice as much damage and have three times his health. If you kill Mecha in only 6 super missiles, you missed something. If it takes the full 18 supers to kill him, you're 100%!