Back last year in Speed Demon, I wrote how I still had the urge to get through games quickly, even though it’s no longer necessary. There is another aspect to that, which comes when I’m just about ready to leave the game behind.

It’s the moment when I’ve pretty much wrung the game dry, and the only thing left is to see how fast I can get through it. How much I can bypass and still reach the end.

Not every RPG lends itself to this procedure, especially the more recent ones with linear paths. Even buffed up, your party or character must go one step at a time, from point to point, with no way of skipping ahead.

But when a game allows room to maneuver, I take full advantage of the ability. Typically, I run a cheat party or cheat solo character for these events. That could mean using “undocumented features” (player-friendly bugs and oversights in the code), Tepees (Third-party enhancement software, a.k.a. editors) or even going in and doing some hex-editing myself.

For example, in the original Fallout, for the final run, I created my boy Ninja. As you might guess, he was built for stealth. And knowing the game as I did, he was able to bypass 95% of it.

He never even bothered with the water chip. At level 3, he blew up the military base. At level 6, he took out the Mutant Master. Only a couple of months (or maybe three max) had passed since he stepped out of the vault.

My best group was in Wizardry VIII. Using strong (very strong) hex magic, I made a party of maxed out, Level 50 Bishops, armed with uncursed Canes of Corpus (I’d been delving into the database, too ;). As you can imagine, nothing could stand against this bunch.

Of course, I avoided as much combat as possible; the goal was to see how fast they could reach Ascension Peak. So I had little time for smashing gnats (and just about everything was a gnat).

In fact, I ran several such groups, each beating the last one’s time, until the final group achieved the unbeatable. From the monastery to Ascension Peak, in just under 24 hours, or one game day. That’s speedy!

And they, alas, were my last speed party. Party-based games aren’t in style these days (I don’t count the ones where you pick up rag-tag NPCs; besides, those are linear anyway). I guess you could say they retired undefeated.

Comes to that, I haven’t had any solo speedsters, either. None of the games I’ve played in the last few years have allowed for any short-circuiting. RPGs are just too scripted these days.

I miss doing speed runs. They were the last challenge left in the game. Maybe one of these days an RPG will come along (a good one, mind) where I can do it again. Yeah, zip right along, faster than light. What a rush!