In computer and video games, sequence breaking is the act of performing actions or obtaining items out of the intended linear order, or of skipping “required” actions or items entirely. Sequence breaking is often used to beat a game unusually quickly, to beat it while only completing a few objectives or obtaining a few items, to obtain useful items early in the game, to make the game more difficult, or to help push a game as far as possible in some other way.
History of the term
Though sequence breaking as a concept has existed almost since the inception of computer games complex enough to have sequential storylines, apparently the first documented action in a video game to be called a sequence break occurred in the Nintendo GameCube game Metroid Prime[verification needed], in a thread called “Gravity Suit and Ice Beam before Thardus”.
The rock monster Thardus was designed to be a required boss before the Gravity Suit and the Ice Beam could be obtained, hence the novelty of bypassing the boss while still obtaining the items. When a gamer named Steven Banks achieved this feat on January 18, 2003, he posted his discovery on the Metroid Prime message board on GameFAQs. The thread attracted a number of interested gamers, and the term sequence breaking was incidentally coined. The term has since grown in popularity and is now often applied to unintended shortcuts in any game.
The term has become so pervasive that it has begun appearing in video games itself.[note 1]
There are many examples of sequence breaking in computer and video games, of which the Metroid series of games are perhaps the most famous example. In Super Metroid, by using techniques like the Wall Jump, Bomb Jump and Mockball to jump and run into places normally not accessible, players can skip bosses, acquire items before intended, take shortcuts, etc. This is usually done to cut down on backtracking and allow for 100% speedruns.
Some other notable examples are:
- Baldur's Gate — Using the spell Dimension Door to enter Baldur's Gate and Candlekeep and then repeatedly exploiting the Chapter 7 introduction trigger to place the game into the final chapter.
- Castlevania: Circle of the Moon — Using a summon spell while simultaneously exiting a room by its upper exit causes the game to scroll two rooms up instead of just one, even if a lower entrance to the next room up does not exist.
- Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow — By interrupting the succubus bullet soul ability with the cinquedia's special attack, a teleporting backstab, the player may retain the succubus aura for a limited time. With proper timing, the player may execute another special attack as the aura wears off, which cancels the special attack animation before the player returns to the starting position. This can be used to teleport past walls and barriers.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - By jumping as wolf form on the stairs in the Clock Tower, you can jump to the high platform without the double jump, and essentially do the entire rest of the area backwards.
- Deus Ex — Using gas grenades, you can manipulate the AI to do unintended things, such as opening a door that lets you skip the entire first level, making a boss open the exit door for you, and attaching the grenades to walls to scale entire buildings.
- Diablo II: Lord of Destruction for PC — Completing the Eve of Destruction quest by proxy in a group allows the player to get a level 1 character into Hell despite not being a high enough level to enter the Worldstone Keep.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind — Using various items in game, a level 1 character can collect two of the three items in the Kagrenac's Tools set, reach the final boss, and defeat him. Use of Kagrenac's hammer without Kagrenac's brace is intended to kill the player, however the Hammer can be quickly used before its damage over time effect kills the player.
- Fallout 2 - After leaving the starting village of Arroyo, players who venture south can access the location Navarro and acquire power armor before acquiring leather armor or even a gun.
- Half-Life 2 - Using several glitches in the physics engine, huge amounts of content can be skipped. For instance, the infamous bridge battle on Highway 17 can be entirely skipped using a flying glitch.
- Jak II — In one level, you can swim to the island where you fight Juice Goons if you are fast enough.
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening — Pausing the game during a screen transition causes the game to scroll two screens instead of one, even into areas that were impossible to reach otherwise. This bug was fixed in later ROM versions.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time — Utilizing the newly found "wrong warp" it is possible to complete the game in under 20 minutes by interrupting a warp from the warp point that appears after killing Gohma, the first boss and then exiting the room. This leaves the player at the final boss.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask — It is possible to warp freely between areas that are connected by "Fairy fountains" using a glitch called "bomb hovering". This allows the player to obtain all vital items needed in the dungeons and their prerequisites in the beginning of the game. This in conjunction with several skips that allows entire dungeons to be skipped is enough to complete the game from beginning to end in less than two hours.
- Little Big Adventure — Running through the museum on Proxima Island quickly enough (before being hit by the guard) enables the player to open the sewer grate without the red access card. Also, by luring the Yellow Grobo clone at the docks over to the Rabbibunny who sells the tickets you can interact with the Rabbibunny and bring out a Green Grobo clone. By running circles around the Green Grobo clone you can manipulate him into beating up the Yellow Grobo clone and thus getting the key to open the docks gates without obtaining the first level of magic.
- Maniac Mansion — It is possible to trigger a cutscene in the room with the purple tentacle so that you may freely walk past it.
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance — The character Deadpool can be used to skip several areas with his teleportation ability.
- Mega Man — "Zipping" through the ceiling allows the player to gain the Magnet Beam in Elecman's stage without either the Super Arm or Thunder Beam.
- Metroid Prime - In the beginning of the game, it's possible for the player to move Samus Aran over a tall cliff by doing a "scan dash" to obtain the Space Jump Boots, which are usually acquired much later, as the first item, opening up the ability to perform many tricks and obtain other items early.
- Metroid: Zero Mission - In Brinstar it is possible to obtain the Super Missiles after obtaining the Speed Booster. It is also possible to use bomb jumping and wall jumping to defeat the main bosses out of order, or getting items such as the Screw Attack and Hi-Jump boots before the first boss, Kraid. In addition, when the Ice Beam is used to obtain the Varia suit, it is possible to bomb jump to get the suit early, before even the first boss.
- Monsters, Inc. - In the marketplace level it is possible to bodyslam up to a level that usually requires the trampoline to access and collect all 10 monster tokens, theoretically allowing you to obtain the silver and gold medals without getting the trampoline.
- Myst — By immediately retrieving the white page from the dock switch, the primary puzzle (and thus the entire game) can be completed without ever leaving the main island.
- Pokémon Red and Green (Japanese) — It is possible to swap items with Pokémon since the 'select' button doesn't wear off when cancelling the item screen. When swapping an item with a Pokémon a part of the game memory is changed. Using the aforementioned glitch with the Oak's Parcel will let you warp to the map with the number of steps you've walked until the door you walk in. Using this glitch, it is possible to complete the game within 5 minutes by directly warping to the Hall of Fame. This glitch is called the 'Dokokashira Door Glitch', Dokokashira being Japanese for 'door bug'.
- Pokémon Red and Blue (International) — Buying a Poké Doll to be used instead of the Silph Scope, thus skipping all of the Game Corner. Also, the ability to trade Pokémon between games makes the S.S. Anne skippable by allowing the player to use a Pokémon's Cut ability before they should be able to. Unusually, neither of these sequence breaks were fixed in rereleases, though a separate one involving Pokémon Stadium 2 and the Fresh Water item being used to skip Cerulean Gym was fixed in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen.
- Portal — The early levels in Portal teach techniques you'll need later. At the start of level 14, the player must learn to fling himself vertically to reach a tower. The same technique will immediately reach the exit. The game designer chose to allow the shortcut in the final game because it does teach the technique.
- Prince of Persia — Luring a guard in the first level out of a narrow corridor and then going around him to the level's exit allows the player to essentially skip most of the first level.
- Prince of Persia: Warrior Within — Buggy sand time portals allow the player to skip greatly ahead of the storyline.
- Shining Force — In the beginning of the game, it is possible to nudge a villager into the space through which the guards move so that when they try to stop you from leaving Guardiana before talking to the king and getting the first few characters, there is a gap that allows you to leave anyway; this is necessary to finish the game with the minimal party of 12 characters.
- Super Mario Bros. — The "minus world" warp zone glitch can be used to skip from World 1-2 to World 5-1, possibly the earliest major sequence break in a video game. The warp zone in World 1-2 is intended to go to World 2-1, World 3-1 or World 4-1.
- Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS — By taking advantage of several glitches, including the 'backwards long jump' glitch, one can complete the game with less than the 70 stars required to climb up the endless staircase, even to the point of collecting no stars at all in the Nintendo 64 version.
- Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! - By pressing square while jumping one can "double jump" and reach scrapped areas. Other games in the series also have secret areas that were scrapped but can still be found.
- Carless, Simon (2004). Gaming Hacks. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 0-596-00714-0.
- "Ice Beam + Gravity Suit before Thardus using Triple Jump". metroid2002.com. 2003-01-27. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- "Metroid Prime Sequence Breaking (v. 4.0) [Previously Ice+Grav before Thardus]". metroid2002.com. 2003-02-11. Retrieved 2009-03-27.