The Legend of 194: Beating the System

Max rings - The Legend of 194: Beating the System

Submitted by SadisticMystic

You may have heard about the all-ring A. If so, Metal Harbor is usually one of the first all-ring As you get (provided you know about the "secret ring"). 174/174 is fairly easy, but submit that to TSC and...what? With a perfect ring total (as of this writing), you're only tied for 16th place. How can that happen? The trick is to increase the standard of perfection, and you're about to find out how.

Some of the things you do here are going to be the same as in the 0-point path through the level. Familiarize yourself with that guide ( ) if you want to make life easier.

Start out as normal, getting the first 4 rings after the loop. Run forward until you reach the next rings. There's a chain of 4 rings going straight, then it turns left for 16 more. Don't light-dash it just yet, though.

Get the first four rings in the chain, for 8. Then, before the checkpoint, find the other 16. Stand directly under the first ring in that chain, on the edge of the walkway, and jump up into it (again without light-dashing) to go to 9 rings. Run in the direction of the checkpoint, but don't hit it. Hit the springs beyond it instead.

At this point you may be wondering what you can possibly hope to accomplish by taking such awkward actions, so I may as well reveal what it's all about. The key to getting 194 is in the checkpoints.

Depending on your ring count when you hit a checkpoint, you get a different reward.
0-19 rings: Nothing
20-39 rings: +5 rings
40-59 rings: +10 rings
60-79 rings: +20 rings
80-89 rings: Speed shoes
90 or more rings: Shield, or lightning shield if you already have a shield

To get the highest ring total, you want to make the most of these bonuses. In the "standard" path through Metal Harbor, you skip the first checkpoint, hit the second with 69 rings for +20, and hit the third with 110 for a shield instead of rings. With three checkpoints, it's possible to get a total bonus of 40, by hitting one with 40-49 (+10), another with 50-59 (+10), and that conveniently boosts you into the 60s for +20 from the last one. Of course, to make that all work out you have to find a way to get 40 rings before the first checkpoint, and avoid getting rings between checkpoints that would throw you out of the proper ring ranges. Welcome to Metal Harbor.

Anyway, when I left off, you hit the springs beyond the first checkpoint, and you had 9 rings. You'll be dropped off on a square platform. In the upper right corner of that platform, there's a red box. Jump on top of the box, and try to do a big spindash jump to the other side of the gap (using the extra few feet off the ground you get from standing on the box to make it all the way) without hitting any of the enemies. If you don't make it far enough, and have to homing attack the last enemy or two to make it, you're not doomed yet, but it'll be harder when you come back to this section in a bit.

When you arrive on the next platform, you'll see a light-dash chain of 19 rings. Don't get them yet! Instead, grab onto the pulley in the upper left, and ride up to the place you got the Light Speed Shoes the first time you played the level. From there, bounce onto the top platform directly above the pulley. Now that you're way up high, spindash jump across the gap to the carrier.

So you've gone this far, and still only have 9 rings out of a possible 194. That's about to change. By the front of the carrier, you'll see the number 38. See the squares that form the inside of the 8? Line yourself up with the left side of the squares, face the screen, run to the edge, and jump...

Hopefully, you'll be able to press B and light-dash through the reverse! This brings you to 28 rings and drops you off on the platform with the pulley. You're still in backtrack mode, so get on the near side of the platform and spindash jump over the gap.

You've successfully made it through one light-dash chain going backwards, so now it's time to try a second. Line yourself up with the dashed line running down the middle of this platform, jump, and light-dash backward to go to 43. (By the way, the reason for getting the 9th ring when you did is because if you light-dash this chain for 16 rings instead of 15, you'll usually fly off the other side of the walkway and land in the water--not something you want to do after going through two blind reverse light dashes.)

Now that you have 43 rings, what's nearby? The first checkpoint! Hit it for +10 (53), then go through the springs again. If you managed to get a full jump across the gap during your first trip to this point, without taking out any enemies, then it'll be easy this time. Just bash the enemies and cross the gap like normal. If you had to use one or more enemies as a crutch the first time, then this time you'll have to use the red box again and hope you can clear the full gap.

Now that you're on the platform with the pulley, do the same as you did the first time: ride up, bounce onto the top, and clear the gap. This brings you to the carrier, where you can just run across until you get to the other side.

The third light dash chain is here, this one for 26 rings. As you may have guessed, you're not going to hit it yet. Instead, just walk off the edge of the carrier. There's a small platform down here, and it holds a rocket to shoot you across to the other side. The second checkpoint is here, so hit it (53 rings + bonus 10 = 63 total).

There's a small light-dash chain of 10 rings here. The maximum you can have to be eligible for the 20 bonus at checkpoint 3 is 79, so you should be able to grab these 10 and remain safe, but there's a 10 box up ahead as well that causes me to prefer skipping these rings for now, and picking them up later.

You've entered a long stretch of the level that has no rings at all, so proceed forward. When you get to the second pulley, ride it up. This is the so-called "secret ring" that you may have heard of. If you haven't, bounce on top of the platform above the pulley. There's a ring here, for what seems like no reason! No loss in getting it now, and it saves you from forgetting it later and ending up with the rather embarrassing total of 193/194. This brings your ring total to 64.

With that ring safely in your grasp, continue forward to the checkpoint. There's a string of enemies that you can safely pass the "normal" way, and at the end there's a 10 box to get you to land safely. That makes 74 rings, and the checkpoint is right there, for a 20 bonus and total 94. Only 100 rings to go!

Now it's time for a venture that makes Metal Harbor one of the most famed of ring records. You're going to backtrack from checkpoint 3 all the way to checkpoint 2, hopefully without falling in the water and making you restart all the way from the beginning. The camera in this game isn't well suited for traveling backwards, but use L or R where you can to guide yourself for short stretches at a time. Remember to jump over or run around boost plates and spindash-jump across gaps along the way. When you get to the 10-ring light-dash chain, take it for 104.

Now you're back at the 26-ring light-dash chain, and, in true record fashion, you're going to take it in reverse. Note the two orange lines on the walkway. Line yourself up with the orange line on the right and, as usual, jump and try to light-dash the rings to bring yourself to 130. This takes you back to the carrier, and you can drop off to the rocket as you did the first time.

Proceed forward, retracing your steps over the section between checkpoints 2 and 3 yet again. When you get back to checkpoint 3, take the rocket.

You can take your time for every section of the stage except this one, and it presents your last true obstacle. There are many ways to do the missile section. The most straightforward is to charge a spindash just before you walk onto the platform that triggers the countdown, release it and cancel by pressing B again, then turn the corners. If you can get to the first handle with 8 seconds left or better, you should be able to make it. Rather than springing up to the first handle, jump into the gap with beetle enemies, use the homing attack on all of them, then land on the boost plate. Go up and light-dash the chain of 18 rings (finally a light-dash chain that you don't take in reverse!) and spring up into a platform that has another spring that, if you hit it within 15 seconds, takes you to the second missile handle.

Now all you have to do is get the 46 rings in the chute to finish off your 194. If you miss any of the rings, remember that you lose the board when you reach the end of the chute, and you can run back up it on foot to get the remaining rings. When you have all 194, take the loop and blast into the finish!
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