Cannon's Core for Dummies

speed/glitch - Cannon's Core for Dummies

Submitted by SadisticMystic

Ah, Cannon's Core. The 31st and final "true" stage, and one that's no stranger to apocalyptic countdown timers. You're supposedly given 27:53 to complete the stage (though strangely this time can be exceeded without incident). In Mission 4, your "hurried-up" limit is 7 minutes. But how fast can it really be done?

Let's find out. Go start up Cannon's Core Mission 1, and play for speed. Try to get to the end as fast as possible. Now! Come back when you're done.

There. What was your time? If you haven't practiced much, and don't know the way around, it probably ended up around 5:20. Someone with basic knowledge and execution should be able to complete it in 4:00, maybe a bit less. And if you know all the tricks, the time should be in the range of 2:20 to 3:05. For reference, the old record was 2:04.15, a time believed to be within a second or two of maximum (this was later disproven as the TSC record stands under 1:40 today, and claims as low as 1:19 have originated from Japan, but the technique used for both 1:40 and 1:19 is difficult to explain and definitely not something that you just stumble into).

Today, we're going to learn how to complete the stage...not in 27:53, not 7:00, not even can do much better than that. I'll show you how to finish Cannon's Core Mission 1 in LESS THAN SEVEN SECONDS.

Yes, Tails has to make a perfect run just to hit the first timestop switch at 5.4 seconds. Yes, Eggman has to wait almost 30 seconds before a switch appears there. Yes, Sonic's controls are completely unresponsive for a full five seconds at the start of his portion of the stage. But yes, it's still possible to finish under 0:07, and it's such a crazy procedure that you'll wonder how anyone even discovered it.

The secret to this absurd speed on Mission 1 is...NOT TO SELECT MISSION 1.

That doesn't mean "If you selected Cannon's Core 1 AT ALL from the Stage Select menu in the past, you're doomed!" It merely means that if you select Mission 1, you will not make six seconds this time.

Select Mission 2 instead.

"WHAT?" you all say. It's true. During this whole procedure, you're not going to select Mission 1 of Cannon's Core...or of anything else.

Now, play through Mission 2 as normal. Be sure to collect every last ring, and never get hit. There are 42 in Tails' section, and Eggman can finish off the 100 just before you get to the third timestop switch (and only checkpoint) in that section. Time is irrelevant here...whether you got 1:10 or 3:00, all that matters is you get all the rings here.

Here's what's happening: In missions 1, 3, 4, and 5 of Cannon's Core, only Sonic can finish off the objective (by tagging the Chao or reaching the Goal, as appropriate). However, mission 2 can be completed by any character (even Tails, if you go to the end of Sonic's section and tag the Back ring with somewhere between 58 and 99 rings). In this case, you just completed it with Eggman.

What follows is a quirk in the game programming. I'm going to describe as much as I know, as best as I can.

Cannon's Core is actually five separate levels (which I will call 31.0 for Tails, 31.1 for Eggman, etc.), and some special triggers are in effect for this level. As far as I know, the following triggers are involved with what we're trying to do:
"When mission 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 of a level starts, SAVE the values of the current level and mission"
"When end of level condition is met in a subset of LEVEL 31, WITHHOLD completion information"
"When a level ends, if LAST KNOWN LEVEL is 31.X, AND X is not 4, AND completion information is not displayed, immediately START level 31.(X + 1) and SAVE the new level number"
"When player TAGS (GOAL RING/LOST CHAO/100th RING), THEN display completion information"

So you completed the level in Eggman's area, level 31.1. The next time a level ends, if your level number is still 31.1, you'll advance to 31.2 (Rouge). However, to do that, you'll have to find a way to end a level without entering one.

Surprisingly enough, there's a way to do that.

Go into Chao World.

Chao World has a default mission number of 1 whenever you enter it, but it doesn't save its level number because it doesn't have one (this is why, when you're loading your SA2 or SA2B file, it never says that your last played level was "Chao World"). So you've entered a level that doesn't save its number. Now get out of Chao World right away--this DOES count as exiting a level!

After the white screen, you're transported not to Stage Select, but to level 31.2, Rouge's portion of Cannon's Core (in Mission 1, no less)! And look how low the timer is! NOW try to set a fast time.

Even without any further tricks, it's entirely possible that this run will beat the old record of 2:04. Get your time and make sure it's saved.

But we're aiming for 0:06, so if you got 2:04, there's still a minute and 58 seconds to go. And some of you may have already figured out how to cut out a lot more time.

If you completed Eggman's section and got warped to Rouge after Chao World, then imagine if you got the 100th ring as Knuckles...

That's right, you'll start playing from Sonic's section! If you start as Sonic from a timer of 0:07 or 0:08, you could break a minute without any further help. But I'm sure you want to do better than that...

You may already be familiar with the next timesaving trick. Play through Sonic's stage normally (after repeating everything else you've learned, of course): kill the three Chaos enemies and into the spawner, nail the one over the pit and blast back, through the two doors, over the lasers, and into the timestop switch.


Stand on the timestop switch, then charge up a spin dash forward. Release it, and make sure you avoid all enemies and black blocks that are up and around the curve. If you do hit something, run back and hit the switch again...Notice anything?

Time is stopped, but there's no beeping noise! You have just stopped time permanently! When you spun through the switch, you caused that switch to shake back and forth from its base; however, it has to come to a stop before it'll start beeping down the time before it's restored. By moving fast enough, the switch does not get that chance: by the time it comes to a stop, you're so far away that the switch isn't even in your visual plane; the game doesn't draw it, and until you return close enough (which isn't advised) it's as though that switch doesn't exist.

Now somersault under the barrier, through the tunnel, and run down the slide of orange-flavored Kool-Aid (which is now stationary). Tag the Goal Ring, and if you were fast in getting to the switch you could have a time of 26 seconds. 20 more to go.

Now for some saddening news: If you want 0:06, you're not going to do that. Remember the procedure, but don't try it this next time.

Your next attempt should cut the time in half, from 26 seconds all the way to 13. Repeat Mission and out of Chao World...starting Sonic's section...

Run up, hit the switch, and STOP.

You've already used the second timestop switch to put a permanent halt on the clock. It's actually possible to do the same from the first switch, which is how we cut off 13 more seconds...but a lot trickier.

Anyway, go ahead and blast into the FIRST (and only the first) of the three Chaos enemies in front of you. Once you've started to blast, HOLD DOWN the A button...this will give you a higher bounce off its head. And as soon as you collide with it, start holding Down on the control stick.

Your objective is to land back on the platform you jumped from. If it works, go back and hit the switch again so that time doesn't start up again.

Now, stay on the switch. Charge up a spin dash just like you did last time, then release it...and as soon as you do, JUMP as far as you possibly can.

You have to jump far enough that when you try a blast attack, you don't head backwards into Chaos enemy #3. When you get that far, BLAST...if you don't make it far enough, the timer will start beeping again just like it would if you hit a black block on your first attempt at a permanent time stop. You didn't get far enough away, and it's still within drawable boundaries.

If you did succeed, time is now stopped permanently, just as before. The spawner won't try to spawn, but you can still hit it. The Chaos-in-the-Pit won't go after you. The lasers won't be there to impede your progress. Just as long as you don't make any silly mistakes (such as falling into the pit, or tagging the second timestop switch), whatever time you have right now will be your final time, and it should be around 13 seconds.

For the next step, down to 7 seconds, I'd like you to recall those last three runs. When you first entered level 31.4, what did the timer say? It may have said 7.6, or 8.1, or even 10 seconds. What determines the number on the clock?

This may sound silly, but while you're in Chao World, there's actually a timer tracking how long you've been there (even though it isn't displayed). The time you see is the time you spent in your last venture to Chao World.

So to minimize the final time, you want to get out of there as soon as possible. Two things will help.

First, if you don't move at all, you can be prompted for the exit menu just by jumping up once. Jumping and selecting "Yes" both use the same button (A). So if you mash A, you should jump up as soon as possible (since you're not holding A for very long, you won't jump too high either), and upon landing, the screen immediately fades to white...

Except that most likely, at least one of those A-button taps will take place in midair. What happens when you tap A in midair?
-Sonic and Shadow blast-attack forward, moving out of the portal;
-Knuckles and Rouge will glide, not only putting them out of range but also slowing the rate of descent;
-Tails will fly, which prevents him from coming down;
-Eggman does nothing!

So when you go to Chao World, make sure you select Dr. Eggman as your character. As soon as the level screen appears, tap A like mad, and you should jump, land, and exit very quickly.

However, there's one more hindrance in your way, which brings up the second Chao World timesaver. Do you notice that every time you leave, a "Now Saving" message pops up?

Well, while it's scrolling through the letters, your Chao World timer is STILL RUNNING. This takes up five seconds of time, and there seems to be no way out. But "seems" is far from definite. In fact, there are TWO ways to get around this five-second addition.

1. As soon as you select "Yes" to exiting the Chao garden, press Start. You may not do it fast enough to see the menu, but you'll definitely hear the sound effect of the pause menu popping up. This will STOP your timer! Be sure to hit Start only ONCE, though, or else the time will start up again.

2. This is much easier than part 1, and admittedly much sneakier. It takes advantage of the fact that the game file and Chao garden file are separate entities! It's time to take the drastic step of deleting your Chao file.

Or, if you don't want to do that, simply buy a second memory card, and copy your game (not Chao) file to the second one. Now, using the memory card that doesn't have a Chao file, CLOG IT.

This means "pack it with so many files that there's no room for a Chao file to be created". On Dreamcast, this means filling up 149 or more blocks (Chao files take 52). On Gamecube, the Chao file is 8 blocks, so you'll need to fill either 52 or 244 depending on your memory card. Whenever you enter Chao World from a memory card that doesn't have a Chao file, it tries to create one...but since there's not enough space, it sets up a "Failed" message. As soon as you can see the lobby on screen, a "File was not saved!" message will pop up for five seconds...but this DOESN'T count against your time! While it's up, start tapping A rapidly, and as soon as it goes away, you'll jump, land, and exit...WITHOUT a "Now Saving" message.

Follow Sonic's procedure, and with little trouble you should have 7.3 or 7.4 seconds. But you came here to figure out 0:06, right?

There's one final trick you get to learn about today. The only other procedure that can be streamlined is the hitting of the switch. You need to hit the timestop switch as fast as possible.

You could just run up and tag the switch. But that's not the fastest way.

You could jump as soon as you hit ground, go forward, and bounce on the switch. But that's not the fastest way.

The fastest way to tag the switch is a method called the Somersault Jump. You may have used it already, but if not, here's the procedure: Hold Up on the control stick, then tap B as though you were going for a somersault. AS SOON AS you see orange trails (you do have the Flame Ring, right?) press A. You'll end up jumping slightly higher than a normal jump, but you'll also gain a bit of forward momentum, and as a result you run into the switch faster than ordinary running would get you there.

Now, you might want to tap Down on the stick, just so you don't fly over the edge...

If you did everything right, Sonic starts off the stage with a timer of 1.6 seconds. Get a fast switch, and the timer will stop on 0:06. Don't make any more silly mistakes. If you can do that, you'll have a time that will be close to the record for the entire foreseeable future.

So our basic procedure is:
1. Take your game file (not Chao file) and move or copy it onto a new memory card.
2. Pack the new memory card with so many files that there isn't enough space left to create a Chao file.
3. Start up SA2 or SA2B.
4. Use your recently copied file.
5. Take the Stage Select menu to Cannon's Core Mission 2.
6. Play and complete this mission, making sure that Knuckles is the character that grabs the 100th ring.
7. Select Chao World, and enter with Dr. Eggman.
8. Wait for the "can't save" message, then jam the A button as fast as possible.
9. Keep jamming A until the screen fades to white.
10. You'll appear in Sonic's area of Cannon's Core, with 5 seconds of no-response.
11. Press B then A to Somersault-Jump into the switch, stopping time.
12. Blast into the first of the three Chaos enemies in front of you, then make sure to land back on the platform you came from.
13. Stand on the switch, then Spin Dash, Jump, and Blast Attack at the end to jump as far as you can.
14. Time should be stopped, and you shouldn't hear the beeps. Complete the rest of the stage now that the enemies can't move, and DON'T HIT THE OTHER SWITCHES.
15. Hit the Goal Ring for 0:06!

Until next time, have fun and DON'T DO DRUGS!
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