Super Metroid: Project Base is a hack for the original game that adds some new missile packs to collect, reroutes the map a bit, and most importantly: plays even faster thanks to tighter controls.
Image via Advanced Pillow
StuntCoyote knows Project Base like the back of his hand. Probably better, in fact. He's been speedrunning the hacked ROM since for years now and just set another world record in the game late last night. The 104 per cent run now sits at 46:03, 15 seconds better than the previous one he set last October and tantalisingly close to the sub-46 minute time he's been coveting for a while now.
Project Base takes the original Super Metroid ROM and tinkers around with the layout and Samus' movements to create a new version using the same engine. The graphics aren't improved but the handling of the main protagonist is.
As a result, some players prefer it to Super Metroid proper, and for speedrunners the improved manoeuvring is a dream come true, at least in the case of StuntCoyote, a runner who holds the world record for cult classics like Bushido Blade 2 and focuses almost exclusively on hacked versions of the classic SNES platformer. It's not hard to appreciate why after you take in the rapid elegance of one of his Project Base runs.
A few other things about Project Base: the game is called that because the hacked ROM is used as a base version for other hacks to use and build on, it has a 104 per cent speedrunning category instead of the normal 100 per cent because of four extra missile tanks added to the game and for which the progress tracker has never been fixed, and finally one of the game's many changes includes the ability for Samus to dash at full speed while in ball form.
As the ROM hack's most prodigious runner, StuntCoyote even put together a small but thorough guide to the best Project Base exploits. One of the most important is called "Back Door Draygon", referring to the game's waterborne crustacean boss who needs to be defeated in order to unlock the all important Space Jump ability.
You can see it in the above run just before the 21:00 mark and involves a "Segmented Short Charge" in order to access the boss room from behind, allowing the player to not only use the Space Jump for the fight (wherein Samus can double-jump at the top of her arc) but also save a lot of time not backtracking. As StuntCoyote explains:
"What you need to do is shoot a Super and then immediately on the next frame press angle up and jump to diagonal spark up right and the 2 pixels you scroll to the right from the spark is JUST enough to keep the Super on screen and hit the Super Block allowing you early access to Space Jump, the Draygon fight and eliminating back tracking."
It's just one example of the weird ways the Project Base hack leads to different speedrunning permutations because of what players are able to accomplish and how new secret passages between sections of the game allow them more options for the order in which they tackle different bosses.
You can see more of StuntCoyote's runs over at his Twitch channel where he'll no doubt be closing in on a new, 45-minute world record any day now.