What Melody? and Why it Isn't So Mystic

Handicap quest - What Melody? and Why it Isn't So Mystic

Submitted by SadisticMystic

Handicap quests are a classic way of making games harder , and they've been around almost as long as the games that can be handicapped. "Complete the game without using a sword!" or "Get as far as you can without spellcasting!" are good examples.

Super Mario 64 players organized a popular handicap quest in that game: "get as many stars as you can without shooting out of cannons or picking up morph caps". From this, it seems natural to create a Sonic Adventure 2 challenge where you don't collect certain character upgrades. Because there are 6 characters each with a different set of abilities, the impact of any given upgrade is negligible (except that with all upgrades gone, you can't get past stage 6 Hero, or stage 5 Dark). But there's one upgrade that appears 6 times, to span all characters. The manual says Mystic Melody is required for all Lost Chao missions...

...OH REALLY?

Excluding that upgrade makes for a nice handicap. In a majority of the stages, you can find a way around places that would normally require the use of that blue stone block, and therein comes the challenge: Get as many emblems as you can on a save file that doesn't have any of the Mystic Melody character upgrades picked up.

After plenty of trials, almost as many errors, and the moment of redemption when everything pays off, the current number of emblems believed possible under this condition is 172, of which 172 can be obtained on Dreamcast and 169 on GameCube. Here you'll be shown how to get your count up that high.

Three things to remember about this challenge:
1. Missions only get unlocked in order, so if you can't clear #3 you'll be unable to play 4 and 5.
2. In order to get an All-A emblem, a character has to be able to clear all of their levels, and whatever methods are necessary to do their mission 3s can't be so convoluted that it's impossible to clear the A rank times for those missions.
3. The ONLY items prohibited are Mystic Melody upgrades. You may think this also excludes the Treasure Scope, since MM creates platforms for you to stand on while opening the path to that room, but you don't need that to get the scope. Instead, just climb right below the boxes, jump up, get a ledge grab, and then you'll have a very brief time in which to kick the box out, and from then on it's simple. You can even go up to the top floor, dive down the inside of the Security Hall, and land in the Scope room without even needing Iron Boots! It's not currently relevant for anything (the Scope itself is needed only in Egg Quarters hard mode), but will be if Egg Quarters 3 gets solved.

EDIT 2006-01-13: Added a second method for Dry Lagoon.
EDIT 2006-01-21: Hidden Base is no longer system-exclusive.
EDIT 2006-01-23: Neither is Dry Lagoon.
EDIT 2008-10-03: The section on Treasure Scope thought to be impossible, long known inaccurate, is finally updated since there's an update on something else. Eternal Engine has finally been solved, leaving just 2 levels to go.

Let's run through the list of levels:

City Escape (5 emblems): The first level is the most versatile. There are a full 5 ways to avoid the Melody in this level.
1. As you go down the building, jump near the top. Then move in midair, to get around the invisible wall and over to the other side. You can grab a pulley and ascend.
2. Before the loop, charge a light attack. Fall through the air again, and release your light attack near the bottom, next to the lowest enemy (hard to get the timing right). You can bounce off that enemy and grab the pulley, then go up.
3. Jump in a way that you go above the top of the loop, and above the Chao building. Head over so you're above that building, and just fall. You can land in the pocket where the Chao is without having to go down and back up.
4. Head near the shrine, and use a super bounce (stand next to the wall, spindash into it, and immediately press A and B very close together to get a big bounce). You get enough height to reach the first pulley.
5. Go past all that. Get to the top of the stairs, then turn around and do a spindash jump. The added elevation should leave you high enough to get there.
Pick whichever way you like best and use it.
Wild Canyon (5): An easy one. There are two ways into the Chao room. One of them requires you to open a door at the Mystic Shrine. The other doesn't: just follow the same path as you use to get the second piece in Hard mode. Faster, and it doesn't get redirected when it comes time for 5.
Prison Lane (5): You know the place you normally climb up to the Chao? Go past it. Keep following the main path until you take the riser where the gold beetle appears. From that point, jump backward onto the roof of the path, and follow it back. When you get to the end, you can jump and hover around the corner (while fighting a difficult camera) to the top platform, where you can just shoot everything and walk in for the Chao.
Metal Harbor (5): A low platform in the middle of the water, but still in sight. If you do a spindash jump from the edge of the carrier, to the left of the 26-ring chain, you can just make it there to get the Chao.
Green Forest (5): Ah, the power of scenery. Don't head down to make the platforms appear, just get closer to your target. On the left side, you'll see a log, but it's tilted. The end of it is a flat surface, at about a 60-degree angle, and you can walk on it. Do so, then spindash up it and jump before the surface runs out. You get big air, and can land on the Chao.
Pumpkin Hill (5): Possibly the most well-known Melody skip. Use Church Mountain instead of Pumpkin Mountain. Take the rocket at the top, and glide forward once the rocket disappears. You can reach the small floating platform way up in the air, and from there it's simple to follow a path.
Mission Street (5): There's an invisible wall preventing Tails from walking on the flat red railing on the side of the road. You can still use the slanted part of the road, but that's too far away to get where you need (slopes are a disadvantage to Tails' mobility, unlike Sonic). But back to the flat surface at the top, you can use the police barricade instead. Jump from the very edge, and follow the camera around to stay in a straight line, and you can just make it on top of the missile storage box, then just follow the path you would take after the warp dumps you there.
Aquatic Mine (5): Once thought to be a freak accident that required hours of trial and error with a wall, the situation here has improved considerably and there's now an easy method that often succeeds in getting to the Chao within 10 seconds (along with some harder methods that are slower). To over to the right side of the starting room, and where you see the water level sign, jump up against it and attempt to glide where the top corner intersects the wall. Sometimes you'll just go straight through the wall, and if you continue going right you'll be in the Chao hallway (or under it but submerged, so you can just rise up with A) and it should be simple from here. In Hard Mode you'll do the same thing to get a piece.
Route 101 (5): A kart level that has nothing to do with character upgrades. Moving on...
Hidden Base (5): In the maze full of breakable blocks and walls, go past the first wall. The next blockade is another wall followed by a block one level up, but on GameCube there are some breakable pots on the right side, and even on Dreamcast you can go over the left side, jump between blocks, and hover to the top of the door. Heck, a perfect hover jump is able to clear the top of that door in a single bound! Whatever you do, jump from the wall and land on the block (there's a gap between the two--try not to fall down), then jump off the left side of the block, hover around the red wall, and land on top of a breakable wall behind it. Jump to the right there and you'll pass through the right scenery at a height above where it stops functioning as a wall. Go forward and you'll eventually see a room with blocks. Come to a stop slightly before the closest block, and the floor you land on, at the side of the room, will finally show up (if you try to hover all the way to the block, you might just clip the floor and land in quicksand). Go to the next room ahead, and then up to the Chao.
Pyramid Cave (5): Two ways to do this...
1. Use the railing by the mystic shrine to do a super bounce, getting up to a roof where you can continue.
2. Before you reach the Mystic Shrine, there's an uphill hourglass run. Don't bother getting through the door; stand on the slanted railing instead (close to the top, but not all the way). Do a spindash jump, and you can get high enough to land on one of the square arches above you. You'll see the roof has a fence across it. The half between you and the fence is guarded by invisible walls, so don't try using it. Instead, go to the edge of the arch, and do a spindash jump around that half of the roof to get to the far side. Then just cross the big gap as usual.
Death Chamber (5): Take the path toward the green room. In the halfway room there, you can dig into a mural. Use that to get to a room with an hourglass door embedded into the floor. Get into one of the front corners of that pit, and keep using jump and dig into the corner until you eventually pass through the floor. From there, glide back in the direction of your entrance to that room, and you'll eventually reach the large circular room. Follow that along to the left, and you'll see the path that's behind the hourglass door. By now you should be considered underwater, so you can press A to go up and not worry about falling out. You can go back inside the walls of the level any time now, as long as you make it to the Chao. Hard Mode is done the same way.
Eternal Engine (5): This level involves a trick known as the hover jump. Observe that if you double-tap A quickly, you'll get higher up than if you did a full jump and started hovering at the top of your jump. With practice, this can be used to clear obstacles that are 2 boxes high, with considerable success. However, 2 boxes isn't enough for what we need to do. The Mystic Melody in this level creates some platforms that staircase up to a rising platform out in space. If we can just get to that platform without the staircase, the rest of the level is easy. Get on the catwalk that runs beside the mystic shrine, and look off to the left. You want to position yourself perfectly to the right of that platform, and jump onto the left railing. This gives you the shortest distance to the target platform, and it's still a stretch. In order to do the perfect hover jump, the goal is to tap the A button twice, ideally 2 frames apart. This can be difficult, but it's made much easier through the use of pausing. Practice cascading presses from A to Start, and from Start to A, attempting to push one button a frame after the next. Once you're ready to try this application, from the rail, jump with A and pause with Start the next frame. You should see Tails' walker just barely starting to leave the ground. With that down, unpause with Start and attempt to hover by pressing and holding A on the next frame, while moving left toward the target platform. If you did it right, receiving the full benefit of hover jump height, and moved in the right direction, you can just barely make it onto the platform, and can then rise up and proceed as usual in what's probably the toughest level to clear MM-less.
Meteor Herd (5): The Chao is kept in a vertical container, up high. The walls of that container are actually made of 2 rectangles each, and on Dreamcast there's a small seam between those rectangles that you can pass through with a glide from the right spot. GameCube users can still get in by striking from the top.
Crazy Gadget (5): Get to the yellow block, on the face that has a spring shooting you up. Spindash jump from there to the sticking-out front of the red block. Walk off the top edge and make sure you hug the edge as you fall. If you stay in the middle, you'll manage to tag the Chao before you would fall to your doom.
Final Rush (5): After the long rail up to a spring, you'll have two choices of rails to proceed. Take the purple one, on the left. See those slanted platforms that stick out from the walls? When you get close enough to one on the left, jump of the rail and land on that platform. Spindash jump forward from there, and you can get enough height to land on another, higher slanted platform. Do another one from there, but see that the space station as an obstacle runs out shortly in front of this second position. You'll want to do a U-turn around the end of it, then land on a blue walkway...from there, you should recognize the path to the Chao, and you've skipped both Mystic Shrines.
Iron Gate (2): Impossible so far. The level takes on a downhill path, so if there were a way to pass through a wall early on, that would be promising. Jumping from the pipes in the level 3 region, the pulley to the upper floors seems just out of reach; even if you could reach it you still have to get up one more level to reach the Chao, so this level just doesn't seem very likely to crack.
Dry Lagoon (5): Two ways to do this.
1. This one's a doozy, and works only with Dreamcast. Ready?
-Take the turtle into the Huge Oasis.
-Turn around and stay at the surface of the water. There's a platform above you, and its underside comes to a stop slightly above the surface. Grab onto that narrow space. (A GameCube user reports this to be impossible, rendering the rest of this procedure useless.)
-Press Up here and you'll go through the wall. Glide to the left; the camera will still be stuck within the walls until you get far enough away.
-You'll see some objects above you. They actually form the underside of the Statue's Pool, and when you get underneath that area, a water level will again be defined and you'll float up to avoid falling out of the stage.
-Right now you're really low down, and won't make it very far if you try to continue gliding. Go up and you'll just pass through the floor and be bound again to the walls of the stage. What do you do?
-There's a small chance for safety. The water patch around the Lonely Statue area is square, but the walls there cut a slight piece out of the corners. From the direction you came, look for the back corner and get just behind the wall there, making sure you're still swimming instead of free-falling. Press A to resurface; you'll see the small strip of out-of-bounds water that allows you to pull this off.
-Facing the back edge of the water here, jump and glide left with a slight forward angle. You'll see nothingness, and more nothingness, and then the screen gets a blue tint to show you're below the water level (though you're not classified as swimming and won't get a drowning timer), and then...you come across four small rooms. When you dig through a mural or use Mystic Melody to warp, those rooms have to be stored somewhere, so they may as well use somewhere remote. No one was supposed to be able to spot them relative to the rest of the map. If you went through all these steps, you just did.
-So you have four choices of room. The first room is completely empty and has no way out; you don't want it. The second room is what you want, so get in there and claim your lost Chao.
2. This one's simpler to explain, but it works less often because of a need for timing--but GameCube players can actually complete it this way.
-Climb up as though you were taking the normal path to the Chao (get one ring from the opening circle of 8). When you get to the mural, before digging, stop.
-Wait for the tank to lob a bomb at you. It should bounce to make the top slightly visible through the black boxes; if not, it traveled through a hole and you'll have to reposition yourself so it shoots another bomb.
-Try to anticipate when the bomb will explode, and dig just before then. If you got the timing right, then you'll see the screen fade out, then hear the ring-loss of a hit, and you'll reappear in open blue space.
-Start a glide, and move the camera around, falling a bit if necessary, until you see the four isolated rooms in a row. Turn yourself so you're facing the farthest one of those rooms, and glide, but land in the closer of the two rooms that has a sunroof. This room holds the Chao.
Hard Mode: One of the pieces was supposed to require Treasure Scope, which you can't get. Again, there are 2 ways:
1. Follow the instructions of method 1 above to get out of bounds, then get to a lower altitude. Go underneath the floor and look for the cylinder that sticks out. Dive underneath that, then shoot up through the middle for an easy piece.
2. Follow the instructions of method 2 above to get out of bounds, then play with the camera to see the line of rooms. Face the far end of those rooms, and turn about 30 degrees right. Your goal is to get under the statue's pool before you lose enough height that you fall through the kill plane. Find the very corner of that pool, which was used in method 1 of the Chao mission as a takeoff point to reach the Chao, and come to the surface. Then face the oasis, glide around the wall to it without passing through, and dive down low so you can get under the stage and get to a submerged area. Find the cylinder as in method 1, get under it, and shoot up.
Sand Ocean (5): The natural path here doesn't use Mystic Melody to begin with. If you take the warp early on, you actually have to go backwards to get to the Chao--faster, but less convenient.
Radical Highway (5): Once you get to the top of the first bridge span, don't head to the middle. You can stand at the left or right peak, and spindash jump from there to the floating platform with the Chao.
Egg Quarters (2): Nothing apparent that can be used to get out of the level such that you can land in either of the two hidden rooms that allows access to the Chao. Note that the rooms are a long way back from anything else in the level, and that the closest point to them in on the path from the green room to the Snake Altar room.
Lost Colony (5): After the LONG upward platform ride, you'll head out into open space near the end. Don't go forward or drop down here; instead, head to the right some amount then turn backwards. (Unlike the shortcuts here and in Eternal Engine, this involves going to the right to a point where there is NO wall, instead of a fake wall, so this isn't system-exclusive.) You might see a red digital wall here; that's the outer wall and it's safe to pass through. You don't want to pass through a second red wall, or else you're back in bounds and you have to ride the platform all the way back up. Steer around this tower so you're in front of it, then move toward the screen some more, then you can just free-fall. If you didn't come far enough to the front, you're at the base of the platform ride. If you did, you're in the upper hallway next to the Chao. Grab it! The 2:30 limit for A here is extremely tight in this challenge, but unless Iron Gate gets solved, your rank won't matter.
Weapons Bed (5): The shrine here sends you back in the level, to a closed-off area to the left of checkpoint 2. Why not take advantage of that position? Start by landing on the walkway attached to that floating block, which has 12 rings, then work your way around the side and finally get in at the back corner.
Security Hall (5): Treasure Scope is no good here, but you don't need it. Climb up the back wall instead, and land on the second-highest platform which has a stack of boxes. Get on top and do a Screw Kick, then glide as soon as you can and you'll grab the edge of the Chao platform. In Hard Mode there's another spring that you have to bypass (Dreamcast players laugh at that part entirely and can grab the blue emerald without hitting any switch). Climb to the top of the main room (using the slanted wall), then use the camera to bring the switch into view and get into a straight line with it, perpendicular to the wall. Jump off and glide through the switch, then dive down and open the right safe.
White Jungle (5): After bouncing up, don't go back on the long path, just get up to the tree stump in the right corner and use its slant to launch a big spindash jump to that floating zipline platform. (You can also aim backwards to get to the first zipline in the chain, but why?)
Route 280 (5): A kart level that has nothing to do with character upgrades. Moving on...
Sky Rail (5): When you get to the checkpoint on Pumpkin Mountain, look at the edge of the ground you're standing on. There's a small section with a very steep incline there. Stand on that incline, then get big air from a spindash jump. You'll land near the top with easy access to the Chao.
Mad Space (5 DC; 2 GC): Much like Meteor Herd except the containers are now horizontal. There's a seam on the diagonal sides of each container, and the one that's elevated above the others is the one with the Chao. Again, though, it seems only Dreamcast players have access to it.
Cosmic Wall (5): 2 ways again...
1. Stand on the Chao box next to the Mystic Shrine (or on the shrine itself...finally a way to use one of those in this challenge!), then jump and hover as high as you can. It's just high enough to get to the next platform, where the spring would have put you.
2. Proceed further into the level, up to the first ascent of the colony. Stop before it walls you off, then jump backwards from the last platform you get to and hover all the way to the platform you would reach in option 1.
Final Chase (5): You have a really long light-dash chain (15 rings) that you have to do without. How about a spindash jump across the gap? You can't quite make it, but you come close enough that you can blast into the spring on the other side. Go ahead and do that, then as you're falling...notice the roof of the pulley? Land on it. Now that you're way above where you were before, you can make the jump with ease.
Cannon's Core (5): No need to play any melodies here. Make sure time is stopped permanently in Sonic's section (read the Cannon's Core guide if you haven't heard about that), then get to the Kool-Aid slide section (not much of a slide now). Now that it's not trying to carry you away, do a spindash jump from the top of its upslope. You can get enough height to land way up where the enemies are, and that's good enough.
Hard Mode: The spring in Knuckles' area is now deferred to a Mystic Shrine, and without taking it up you won't be able to unlock Knuckles' path. Fortunately, you don't need to. Find the lasered-off underwater tunnel, and take the tunnel below it instead. This is the path Rouge took in the previous section. No need to do anything about the next tunnel below with its fast-moving blocks, just get in the front right corner of the tall room. Wait for a block to rise, and hold B to stay on the block. Let it carry you up into the acid, and after you get hit, press A. You're now swimming in free space. You can now re-enter the walls at any point beyond the laser barrier and be fine, but it's best if you head down all the way to the ending room, where you can just press the switch and be done, letting Sonic do the rest.
All A Rank (5 GC; 4 DC): Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Shadow can complete all of their levels this way, and none of the provisions for getting around lack of the upgrade require such a roundabout method that it pushes them past the A rank limit. The other three have at least one impossible level, and Cannon's Core has another A that counts only for GameCube.
Trivial Emblems (19 DC; 18 GC) 3 for completing the stories, 3 for kart, and 3 for boss. Rather than the Cannon's Core All A emblem, Dreamcast uses 10 Chao emblems instead of 9. None of these emblems involve Mystic Melody.
Game ID: 4
Hits: 3,152 | Hits This Month: 3 | DB Calls: 16 | Mem Usage: 866.81 KB | Time: 0.02s | Printable

The Sonic Center v3.9
Copyright 2003-2011 by The Sonic Center Team.