Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-08-30 12:41 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier
Yet another technique useful for speedrunning Metal Gear Solid has been discovered by coincidence. Just the other day, news that a streamer doing a regular playthrough of the game had stumbled upon a skip (now referred to as the Boba Skip) that can potentially shave nearly 3 minutes off of a speedrun made the rounds on the internet.
This time the accidental discovery was made on the user controlled Twitch channel TwitchPlaysSpeedruns. During the escape sequence at the end of the game, the guards can be controlled with the D-pad of the 2nd player controller which can help shave seconds off a run.
TwitchPlaysSpeedruns, where this trick was discovered, is a TwitchPlays channel where viewers control the actions in the game by entering commands in the chat. This channel in particular is focused on using speedrunning techniques and routes to clear games. Normal TwitchPlays channels make the chat commands simple, but in order to pull off speedrunning techniques, TwitchPlaysSpeedruns allows for more advanced inputs.
For example, entering “left500ms b500ms right500ms b500ms” into the chat would result in the left, B button, right, and B button inputs each being held for half of a second. There’s also syntax for commands to be delayed, repeated, or done simultaneously (details of available commands). In other words, the chat can have very precise control over the game.
There are also macros available for frequently used sequences of commands. TwitchPlays channels tend to be thought of as chaotic and hard to control as expected, but a noteworthy aspect of TwitchPlaysSpeedruns is multiple players working in sync with each other.
As for how the discovery was made on the channel, the settings for the bot that sends the chat commands was mistakenly set to send commands to both the 1st and 2nd player controllers. This resulted in players noticing strange behavior from the guards during the ending escape sequence and tracking the source back to the 2nd player inputs.
It’s surprising that this peculiarity hadn’t been noticed by anyone for over 20 years, but it’s also still a mystery why this one scene allows for enemies to be controlled with the 2nd player controller. Is it a debug setting that someone forgot to remove? Is it just a bug? These seem most likely, but there’s also that one boss. Metal Gear Solid has a boss called Psycho Mantis who’s gimmick is that he can read your inputs if you use the 1st controller port and can’t if you switch to the 2nd controller port. There’s conjecture that the code for this section could be causing trouble, but the truth remains a mystery.