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I watched the tool-assisted speedrun of Mega Man 2 "[TAS] NES Mega Man 2 by Shinryuu in 23:38.98," which I believe is currently the fastest run of the game. In this run, they chose to tackle Flash Man's stage first.

Around the 1:20 mark of the video, just before entering the boss room to face Flash Man, Mega Man does a small jump (evident from his sprite change to "jump") and faces left (backwards) instead of right. As far as I know, jumping is generally slower than running in Mega Man 2. So, it's got me wondering—why would he take a little hop here and face left instead of just running straight through?

Mega Man jumping facing backwards in the Flash Man stage

This causes him to land facing left when he drops into the room, requiring him to turn right again to fight Flash Man. Interestingly, this technique isn't used when entering Heat Man's boss room in the next stage.

I noticed that this same move was used in two other top speedruns:

  1. The previous fastest Mega Man 2 TAS: "Mega Man 2 by Shinryuu, aglasscage & finalfighter in 23:44.50"
  2. The current fastest "zipless" TAS (which abstains from using glitches): "Mega Man 2 "zipless" by warmCabin in 27:16.17"

So it seems to be a common strategy among top speedrunners.

Given that this is a speedrun—and a tool-assisted one at that—I assume every move is carefully calculated to complete the game as quickly as possible. Superfluous actions would likely be avoided.

What's the purpose of this maneuver? How does it help complete the stage faster?

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I don't think it fills any purpose at all. I remember jumping up into the boss door just for the heck of it, which would cause it to open with mega man floating in the air during the transition to the boss room.

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  • I'm thinking that since it's a speedrun, and especially since it's a tool-assisted speedrun, the speedrunner would plan each action meticulously to save time. I'd be surprised if this backward jump was just for fun; it probably has some strategic advantage we're not seeing. Commented Jul 4 at 3:34
  • To play Devil's advocate - sometimes TAS just do things to be interesting (when the input is irrelevant -- like when waiting for a door to open). I can't speak to this case in particular, but that it might be nothing is at minimum plausible. Commented Jul 4 at 4:10
  • @d4zed I believe the video I referenced is the current world record. Even the previous record-holder used this backward-facing move, so it seems to be a common strategy among top speedrunners. Commented Jul 4 at 7:10
  • @galacticninja Well in case you jump like I recall doing, you still end up transported to the bottom of the floor. For a speed run it might make sense not to jump then. Maybe turning backwards and not jumping would prevent the walking animation? Not that I think it makes any difference time-wise.
    – Amarth
    Commented Jul 4 at 16:37

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