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Speed Guide by breslin_
Version: 1 | Updated: 09/08/2006
======================================================================= == Freelancer "Done Quick" == ======================================================================= 2006 Steve Breslin License ======= You will be welcome to republish this howsoever you like, but please do not alter the text in any way, and please let me know in advance. My contact information is at the end of the file. Introduction ============ This walkthrough should get you the best possible time for the regular single-player campaign. One of the main reasons I like this challenge is that it forces you not only to do things as quickly as you can, but to change your style of play to the fastest technique -- "speed kill" generally speaking -- and to choose your ship, weapons and path, not only for what makes things faster immediately, but what will maximize time saved in later missions. It's a fiendishly delicate balance. Note that it is possible to beat certain sections of the game faster than recorded here: for example, you can beat Mission 1 faster if you buy a Javelin at the beginning, and keep the Starflier for the entire mission; or you can get a Catapult before the battle with the Schiller battlegroup. But doing these things puts you at a disadvantage later on, either for equipment or cash, and ultimately for time. I have tried literally dozens of alternatives, and even after establishing the plan I tried everything I could think of to improve or disprove it. By my testing, it is rock-solid best. Naturally, I will be extremely happy to hear if you find any change of plan to beat the game faster. (Such as flying a different ship, making different stops, a significantly more efficient loadout, etc.) I would very much like to learn about any improved plan, and would be very happy to update this walkthrough and credit you. My contact information is at the end of this file. Lame Time-Saving Techniques =========================== Unfortunately, the game permits "lame" time-saving techniques: lame because they do not require any skill or planning, just a little creative exploitation of game features. It's unfortunate, but we are going to exploit these features nevertheless -- not because we wish to be lame, of course, but to eliminate all ambiguity about what we mean by "fastest time." The only way to safeguard the "fastest time" against false or accidental inflation is to adopt lameness as an absolute principle from the beginning. Many of the cutscenes can be skipped by exploiting Freelancer's load/save and autosave features. These techniques are fairly simple and will be detailed at each point where they become relevant. I have performed the on-planet menu operations as quickly as I can (buying and selling items, etc.). I normally rehearse once to figure out the operations and their order, and then just try to do it fluidly. I frequently make use of [F1] (Pause), when traveling between location screens. If you load "Autosave" after exiting a jump (through a jump gate or jump hole), you will cut a few seconds off your time. Also note that the "LOADING" time during jump gate/hole traversal counts on the game clock, so if you have a faster computer you have a small advantage. Finally, I have not allowed myself to be lane-jacked, except in the two instances where this is part of the mission. (The first part of Mission 1, where the Rogues jack the lane between Ft. Bush and Pittsburgh; and the middle part of Mission 7, when the two Rheinland Cruisers jack the unfinished lane in Tau-31. So, I seriously apologise for the lameness; I figured this is the only way to level the field, so that fastest times could be compared evenly. Good Time-Saving Techniques =========================== Always either thrust or cruise all the way to the trade lane, hitting "Dock" or [F3] only at the very last second. The same goes for jump gates and jump holes: wait until your distance is very nearly "0", then dock. (In other words, never use the docking autopilot.) If the trade lane is farther than 1700m, it's faster to cruise to it. Less and it's faster to thrust to it. Docking on a planet can be sped up if you cruise or thrust *past* the pincher thingies, between the stationary bars, and *then* dock. You can't [Esc] the docking animation if you do this, but I think it's still a tiny bit faster. Note that this is also useful Other general strategies are noted in the body of the walkthrough, as they become relevant. Preliminaries ============= When you get to the Manhattan screen, save immediately. (We'll call this "Start" so we can refer back to this file.) There's no way to skip the intro, so the time is exactly... 0:02:45 The next few things to do in the game involve cut-scenes. These can be skipped (although it's a tiny bit tricky), and we will do this to preserve time on the clock. First, go to the bar. When the cutscene begins (talking with the bartender), load your "Start" file. (Seems kind of pointless, yes, but it's not....) After that, simply load "Autosave" -- you have skipped the bartender conversation. (If yours is a clean install of Freelancer, or you have deleted your "Autosave" file, talking to the bartender will produce an "Autosave" file, which you can load, skipping the intermediate step -- but it doesn't matter either way.) Now, talk to Juni in the bar. As soon as the cutscene begins, load the "Start" file. Then, load "Autosave" -- you have skipped the first conversation with Juni. Finally, go to the equipment dealer screen. You cannot skip the first half of the final introductory cutscene. When you hit the [ACCEPT] button, your first "Mission 01" file is created. Load this file to skip the end of the cutscene. You will now be in possession of your Starflier, with a minimum of time passed on the game clock: 0:03:53 Mission 1 ========= Overview: On Manhattan... Sell nanobots, shield batteries, and shield. Buy 16 units of Pharmaceuticals. Perform the "rogue bounty" maneuver for an additional 750 credits. On Pittsburgh... Sell Pharmaceuticals, nanobots, and shield batteries. Buy a Rhino, one Javelin launcher, and one Stunpulse Turret. New loadout: Javelin 2x Justice I Stunpulse Turret Loot the DSE H-fuel depot on return to Manhattan. Note: Mission 1 can be completed faster, but only if you put yourself at a disadvantage for the rest of the campaign. If you begin as recommended here, it becomes feasible to skip the Balboa, acquire a Crusader in Bretonia, and the Lugers at Bruschal. Plus, the moment you get the Rhino/Stunpulse combo, you start recuperating the time lost in the first leg of Mission 1, and by the end of Mission 3 the time stands dead even. (Although Mission 2 is a bit slower with a Rhino than it is with a Patriot.) (However, if you really want to do Mission 1 the fastest by itself, I would recommend starting out by selling all batts/bots, your shield itself, and one of the Justices, and buying a Justice II and a Javelin on Manhattan, then replacing your remaining Justice I with an Eraser when you reach Pittsburgh. (Incidentally, this is the fastest way to get to Pittsburgh.) Note that the Javelin/Eraser technique is a bit tricky -- you must fire the Eraser a half-second before you fire the Javelin, or else the Javelin is ineffective.) So, the first mission in detail: The first thing to do is sell your nanobots, shield batteries, and shield. The first part of Mission 1 is pretty lightweight, so ditching the shield isn't as suicidal as it may sound. You could buy a third Justice I, and hope that you get enough batt/nano drops to compensate, but this happens very rarely, and you'll sell that third Justice as soon as you hit Pittsburgh anyhow. In any case, spend the rest on Pharmaceuticals to sell on Pittsburgh. (At this or any later point, you could optionally acquire a mine dropper, but we're not using mines at all for most of the walkthrough. I simply couldn't find any place where their use would speed things up significantly, and their cost-to-damage ratio is the worst of all munitions. -- Doing it quick means we're extremely short on cash until the middle of Mission 10.) Once out... "Mission 01: Avenge the Donau" 0:05:35 ...dispatch the Order as quickly as possible. Try to score as many kills as possible here, because each kill is another chance for an additional shield battery or nanobot -- and at this point you desperately need every credit you can get. After the Order ships are destroyed (and without waiting for King's instructions), fly directly to the Fort Bush trade lane. You should have just enough time to actually get there before King gives you the waypoint. You'll burn a few seconds waiting for King to catch up, but it's best to remain in front rather than add extra time to the clock. "Mission 01: Join the Convoy" 0:07:56 Cruise to the USV Brandt, join formation, and proceed as usual to the Liberty Rogue ambush. Destroy the pirates quickly, and during the short interval before the second wave appears, reorient yourself and fly in the direction of the Pittsburgh lane. Destroy three additional Rogues, then hop the lane to Pittsburgh, docking there as soon as possible. Mission 1 Interlude =================== The savegame file automatically generated "Mission 01: Pittsburgh, New York" is created just after you dock with Pittsburgh and *before* King starts talking. Load it, and you effectively save the time spent on King's first dialogue with Trent, and go directly to the "Planet Menu" screen. "Mission 01: Pittsburgh, New York" 0:12:02 Sell any acquired loot (including shield batteries and nanobots), plus the pharmaceuticals, and buy a Rhino. Before you buy, repair your Starflier if it is at all damaged. Ships are worth a lot more when they're in tip-top shape. (Yes, it's much more than the repair cost.) Ships are the only piece of equipment which are better to repair before selling. Buy one Javelin missile launcher and a Stunpulse Turret. Buy also as many Javelin missiles as you can afford. (If you were at all lucky with loot drops, you will be able to afford enough Javelins to complete the mission comfortably, and still burn a few on the DSE depot. If you were very unlucky with loot drops, you might have to reload the Donau savegame.) (You probably already know this, but it's essential, so I mention it: Your missiles are *significantly* faster if you are moving at top speed when you fire them. They also do more damage when they're moving faster. I almost always hit THRUST before firing a missile, to maximize the speed and damage of the missile.) Mission 1 Continued =================== Thrust to your wing, and join formation. You will then fly to rescue the prison ship, all as usual. Defeat the Rogues with the regular barrage of Justice/Stunpulse and Javelin. The guns are really for the shields, and the missile for the hull. I highly recommend the "fire and forget" technique -- turning to the next target as soon as the missile leaves the tube. "Mission 01: Continue the Search Pattern" 0:15:24 After you knock out all the Rogues, fly directly towards planet Manhattan, on the other side of the nearby moon. When the waypoint pops up, you should already be very near it. You'll run into a couple waves of Rogues. Dispatch them quickly. "Mission 01: Beta 4 Reports" 17:01 Then, fly towards the left side of the brown nebula cloud, towards another waypoint soon to appear. When you get inside the cloud, you'll probabably be pointed directly at the base, but it's possible you'll have to look around for a second. Spot the base, and ignore everything except the weapon platforms. You've gotten to the base before you're supposed to, so the weapons platforms are a little funny. You can deal them damage, but you cannot entirely destroy them. (You can get them all the way down, though.) Therefore, flatline one of them, then move on to the other. Flatline it also, and when King makes his announcement about the "weapons platforms," destroy them quickly. Without further ado, fly immediately out of the cloud, more-or-less between Manhattan and Pittsburgh. You'll be well on your way when the little mini-cutscene appears where the base is destroyed. "Mission 01: Criminal Base Destroyed" 0:20:00 Simply cruise your ship between planets Pittsburgh and Manhattan, and you'll encounter a trade gate easily. If you fly at an angle, more towards Manhattan, you'll decrease your time spent in the trade lane, and decrease your chance of being lane-jumped. You have to wait for Juni to finish talking before you can dock with the trade lane, so plan your docking gate appropriately. When you get to the Fort Bush intersection, destroy the silver-colored DSE depot on the other side of Baltimore Shipyard. It contains H-fuel, which sells well on Manhattan, and (just as important) you will proceed directly to Mission 2 when you reach Manhattan. (If you're lucky, there will already be pirate activity in the area, which takes some of the heat off of your piracy.) Use guns and missiles to destroy all four pods. Then, fly to Manhattan. You can save the game as you're setting down on Manhattan. I recommend this, since you can then load the game effectively skipping the time spent on the landing-sequence animation. 0:24:04 (on Manhattan, 64 H-fuel in the hold, ready for Mission 2) Mission 2 ========= Overview: On Manhattan... Sell all 64 units of H-fuel, and both Justice I guns. Buy one Justice III, another Javelin, and two Justice II Turrets. Replenish your missiles. New loadout: Justice III 2x Javelin Stunpulse Turret 2x Justice II Turret Loot the DSE H-fuel depot during the Rogue encounter at Fort Bush. Note: You could optionally have Lavablades instead of Justices, but the speed is a poor match for the Stunpulse Turret. That said, I am biased against Lavablades -- I find them too unforgiving, and I don't like the short range -- but others swear by them, so this is obviously a personal thing. In detail: Talk to Juni. IN GENERAL: You cannot skip the first half any cutscene which gives you the Accept/Reject Mission screen. Juni will shortly ask you: "The LSF has an important mission for you. Are you interested?" After you hit the [ACCEPT] button, a savepoint will occur, and you will have begun... "Mission 02: Manhattan, New York" 24:46 This walkthrough assumes that you load this file, thereby skipping the time spent on the rest of this dialogue. When you hit the launch-pad button another cutscene occurs. At this point, another savepoint will occur: "Autosave." However, if you attempt to load this file, you will be forced to watch the Lonnigan cutscene again. So, load any *other* file, "Mission 02: Manhattan, New York" for example. Then, load "Autosave": the standard launch-pad screen appears, and you have skipped the cutscene (and the time spent on it). This walkthrough assumes that you have followed these steps, thereby skipping the time spent in the Loony Lonnigan dialogue. Launch to Mission 2 proper. When you get to Colorado, begin to cruise immediately, straight ahead. The waypoint will appear; reach it and drop out of cruise, cutting your engines. Reach the waypoint quickly enough, and the reward is that you skip a brief piece of King's dialogue, saving a couple seconds of time. Turn on the Ships readout, and back up an extra 250-M or more from the tradelane. Wait a few seconds, and "Unknown" will appear. If you scan it quickly enough, you'll skip another small snippet of King's dialogue. Wait until he's about to turn red, then rush him, shooting full missiles and gun blasts. If you perfectly time your run at him, you'll be able to take immediately this otherwise extremely slippery enemy. When he is done, set cruise for the gate to Peublo. Time it right, and you'll get an automatic savegame when you're just outside the trade lane. You'd think this is a good thing, but if you load this savegame, King will not enter the lane as soon as you do. Why does this matter? If you kill any Rogue at Pueblo before King gives you the objective to defend the station, the story will not advance to the next objective. (You will find that the upcoming battle at Willard Station has a similar constraint.) At Pueblo, destroy the Rogues as quickly as possible, after the "Defend Pueblo" objective has flashed, using the Javelins and Erasers liberally; you'll get another savegame, and another waypoint to chase. You could load this savegame, to skip the brief dialogue with Pueblo Station, and to pop up the waypoint, but it's faster to fly into the Silverton asteroid field, towards Ouray. When you get to Ouray, destroy all the fighters and, as King says, ignore everything else. When Ashcroft appears, cruise after him as he attempts to escape. (It may be possible to make this last leg of the Ashcroft chase shorter, by hitting him with a cruise disruptor. (King's always misses.) I haven't been able to do so, and in any case the only places to acquire the Wasp by this point are Rochester and Buffalo, both of which are too far out of the way to justify the trip: the entire Ashcroft chase is considerably shorter than a round-trip to either of these bases.) When you reach him, use a few Javelins to finish him quickly, tractor him in... "Mission 02: Return Ashcroft" 0:35:21 ...and cruise for the New York jump gate. When you arrive near Fort Bush, cruise directly to the trade lane facing you. When you attempt to dock, Rogues will appear. First, quickly loosen up the Rogues, so that King, plus the extra Delta wing dispatched by Fort Bush, will probably finish them off. Then, fly back to the silver DSE Storage Depot, the same one you looted earlier. Loot this H-fuel again. Then, turn to finish the Rogues as necessary with your remaining Javelins -- you will probably have just enough. Then, dock with that lane. When you reach the Battleship Missouri, dock quickly: cruise directly towards it, to its left-side underbelly. Just as you get under it, hit dock, and you'll be able to shave a few seconds, and skip almost all of King's departing speech. When the cutscene starts, load any game EXCEPT "Autosave," then load "Autosave" and you will have effectively skipped Juni's cutscene. This walkthrough assumes that you have used this technique to skip Juni's cutscene, and the time spent on it. 0:40:50 (on Battleship Missouri, 64 H-fuel in hold, ready for Mission 3) Mission 3 ========= Overview: On Battleship Missouri: Sell most cargo, keeping exactly 16 units of H-fuel. Replenish your missiles. Loot the DSE H-fuel depot on the way to Manhattan. On California Minor... Sell the Justice III. Buy a Slingshot, Heavy Thruster, and Cuisse Shield. Replenish your missiles. New loadout: 2x Javelin Slingshot Stunpulse Turret 2x Justice II Turret (Destroy "LSF Transport 2" for his Artifacts, to sell on Manhattan.) On Willard... Sell all 80 units of H-fuel. On California Minor... Replenish your missiles. On Manhattan... Sell any looted cargo. Purchase 80 units of H-fuel. Go to the landing pad, save the game, then load that savegame. Recommended loadout: Javelin missile launcher Javelin missile launcher Slingshot missile launcher Stunpulse Turret 2x Justice II Turret In detail: On the Battleship Missouri, buy a load of Javelins, and sell most of your cargo, reserving 16 units of H-Fuel. On the way to Manhattan, knock over the DSE depot the final time, and you'll have exactly a full load, which you will keep to sell at Willard. (The Javelins will speed this along a bit.) On Manhattan, when you reach the cutscenes, load any *other* file, then load "Autosave." Upon entering California space, skip the Navy/Rowlett incident by loading "Autosave." On California Minor, trade in your Justice III for a Slingshot, and load up on missiles. Also buy a Heavy Thruster and a Cuisse Shield. Then go [ACCEPT] the mission. (Remember that you cannot skip the opening cutscene if it involves accepting a mission.) Skip the second half of the cutscene by loading... "Mission 03: Cali. Minor, California" 48:38 Run the first part of the mission as usual. (While the Outcasts attack, it is possible to destroy "LSF Transport 2" for his load of Artifacts, which you can sell on Manhattan. I have not tested this thread, but it may be feasible to then skip the DSE depot by New London -- and this would mean probably thirty seconds.) When you get to Willard, move to the #3 dock, around to the right. Dock here, and you won't be competing with Juni for placement in the docking queue. Land on Willard... 54:20 ...and sell your load of H-fuel. You don't need to do anything else, not even reload missiles, so just take off again right away. Proceed back towards California minor, quickly dispatching the Valkyries, and when you get back to California Minor, skip the cutscene by loading any *other* file, then loading Autosave... 56:57 Replenish your missiles and save your game. The next part is tricky (certainly skill-wise, but also in a couple rather dumb ways), so do save your game when you're on California Minor. (Don't rely on autosave.) Run to Walker, and when he says "There you are," remain in cruise and head directly to Willard rather than join his formation. You'll get there well before him. However, if you start killing things before the objective pops up, the objective will freeze (just like at Pueblo if you get there before King in Mission 2). Probably the best thing to do is soften up the Gunboats, and then bully the fighters until Juni says "Good God," after which you can unleash. The objective also freezes if you destroy all the visible ships before the last group (three Rheinland Bombers) pops, so leave a couple fighters alive until the bombers appear. For reference, a decent time to finish the battle is 1:01:20. After you defend Willard Station, fly directly to Manhattan, and upon landing... 1:05:48 ... sell whatever cargo you've collected, and fill your hold with H-fuel. This will put you over the level requirement for the next mission. Go to the landing-pad screen, save the game, then load that same savegame. You will automatically enter the Mission 4 cutscene. It's very silly, yes, but this is the best way to do it. Do not skip this cutscene, but after you [ACCEPT] Mission 4, you can load the "Mission 04" file to skip the rest of the scene. "Mission 04: Manhattan, New York" 1:07:20 Mission 4 ========= Overview: On Mactan... Sell all 80 units of H-fuel. Replenish your missiles. On Leeds... Buy a load of Optronics. Visit Tobias. Sell the Optronics, then buy back 35 units of Optronics, and fill the rest of your hold with H-fuel. Buy two Advanced Stunpulse guns. (Or you can loot both H-fuel depots by New London, on the way to Battleship Norfolk. -- Optionally you can even buy a Clydesdale for an even more lucrative trip past New London. -- But I wouldn't recommend this very difficult challenge.) On Battleship Norfolk... Sell all H-fuel. Buy a Crusader, first selling the shield that comes with it. Buy an Advanced Cuisse shield. Sell all your guns except for the two Advanced Stunpulses. Buy two additional Slingshots and a Windstalker. Replenish your missiles. New loadout: Windstalker 3x Slingshot 2x Advanced Stunpulse On Cambridge... Buy 35 units of Diamonds. In detail: Re-stock your missiles if you're low (you probably won't need more than 15 of each), and blast off. Until the Unity is destroyed, go into cruise and circle around. When Walker tells you "The trade lane is clear!" proceed with the rest of the mission as usual. There's really nothing interesting you can do to speed up the time, at least until you reach Magellan. (By the way, there's no skipping the van Pelt cutscene, but it produces an additional delay if you load from it, as the end of the cutscene plays again -- so ideally you won't get killed until you reach Magellan, where the standard system-jump AUTOSAVE occurs.) When the Bounty Hunters appear, if you attack immediately you will be able to destroy them all before the Hackers enter the battle. Head to Mactan ahead of time as well, and you will be able to beat Juni into the base, saving quite a bit of docking-queue time. (But be careful not to leave Juni entirely in the dust, or you'll have to backtrack to collect her.) Or, rather than waiting for Juni to dock, you can circle quickly around to the other side of Mactan, where you'll be placed in a docking queue not competing with Juni. On Mactan... 1:21:15 ...sell the H-fuel, and resupply your missiles. When you exit Mactan, fly upwards a bit and you can intercept the Rheinland fighters as they rain down from above. Knock them out and fly to the Leeds jump hole. After landing on Leeds, but before going to the equipment room to speak with Tobias, buy a load of Optronics. Skip the Tobias cutscene by loading any *other* file, then loading "Autosave." (Note, however, that the "After meeting Van Pelt" file overwrites "Autosave" -- so don't load that one.) Sell the Optronics for another cheap and easy levelup, then buy back 35 units of Optronics (to sell at Cambridge). Fill the rest of your hold (45 units) full of H-fuel (to sell on the Battleship Norfolk). Also be sure to buy two Advanced Stunpulse guns. (Note that it is more profitable to trade the Rhino for a Clydesdale, and fly empty to Planet New London, where you can fill the entire 125 unit hold with H-fuel pirated from the nearby depots. However, you can scrape by without this cash, and it's both time consuming and difficult to survive.) When you get to the Cambridge system (not the planet), take the dog-leg by Cardiff to Norfolk, where you can finally shed the Rhino. Sell the H-fuel and purchase the Crusader. Before you finish the purchase, be sure to trade in the Guardian shield that comes with the ship. Far better is the Advanced Cuisse, also available from the Norfolk. It is the ideal shield for all the enemies you'll encounter between here and New Tokyo. Sell all your guns except for the two Advanced Stunpulses (now equipped), buy two additional Slingshots, and a Windstalker, and restock your missiles. Windstalker 3x Slingshot 2x Advanced Stunpulse Or if you want to experiment with an alternate loadout, you could try... 2x Ripper 3x Slingshot Advanced Stunpulse. By this point you've probably picked up a countermeasure dropper as battle loot, and it will have been automatically equiped. You can stock up for it, although you probably won't find a great use for it for another mission or two. You might want to lay a few on your escape from Prague. Proceed to Cambridge, sell your hold of Optronics, and buy a load of Diamonds. The first half of the cutscene here involves accepting a mission, so go through that as usual. After you hit [ACCEPT], load the Mission 5 file. "Mission 05: Cambridge, Cambridge" 1:34:17 Mission 5 ========= Overview: On Baxter... Replenish your missiles. Switch your loadout. New loadout: Windstalker Javelin 2x Slingshot 2x Advanced Stunpulse On Leeds... Sell 35 units of Diamonds. Buy 35 units of Mining Machinery. Although you're packing an amazing loadout, single-shot success will be rare at this point in the game. No big deal -- just be ready to fire a second salvo before the Rheinlander burns. Like the Binford Station cutscene, you cannot skip the Sprague cutscene. When you depart Sprague, just run straight for the cloud, then bear right towards Baxter. To skip the Baxter... 1:44:37 ...cutscene, load any *other* file, then load "Autosave." Otherwise, there's nothing to do on Baxter, probably no need to reload missiles even, assuming you have thirty or thereabouts, so just blast off. Use missiles liberally during this fight. For reference, a good time to finish this fight is 1:46:30 Proceed as usual to this mission's only remaining savepoint... "Mission 05: Route to Leeds" 1:49:55 ...and proceed to the far easier fight near the Leeds jump hole. Dispatch the Rheinlanders as quickly as possible, and when you get back to Leeds... 1:54:24 ...load any *other* file, then load "Autosave." Sell the Diamonds for a quick levelup, and fill your hold with 15 units of Mining Machinery (for sale on the Battleship Hood). No need to restock missiles or anything else. At this point it is possible to get a Catapult (or two), but they'll eat your cash too quickly, and they don't speed things up considerably, at least not at this point. Certainly it takes longer to collect the resources to support a Catapult, compared to the time saved. Anyway, a pair of Slingshots does more damage than one Catapult, at almost half the cost per shot, and you won't run out if you fly right. Head to the Hood. After landing on the Hood go through the Dexter Hovis cutscene and [ACCEPT] the mission, then skip the rest by loading any *other* file, then loading... "Mission 06: Hood, Dublin" 2:01:56 Mission 6 ========= Overview: On the Hood... Sell 35 units of Mining Machinery. Buy 35 units of Gold. Also buy a Starkiller torpedo launcher, and a load of torpedoes. Replenish your missiles. New loadout: Windstalker Javelin 2x Slingshot 2x Advanced Stunpulse Starkiller Win the race the first time, of course, to save time, then, when you return to the Hood, skip the rest of the Hovis dialogue by loading any *other* file, then loading Autosave. Sell your Mining Machinery and top off your looted Gold with an additional 15 units. Pick up a Starkiller torpedo launcher as well, fill up on torpedoes and refill your missiles. In case you're not experienced with using torpedoes, I'll explain a little bit: They perform just like missiles, but are somewhat slower and have a wider turning angle. Like the Stalker missile follows its target more closely than the Javelin missile, so the Javelin maneuvers with greater agility than the Starkiller torpedo. If the target starts turning, the torpedo will probably not be able to turn in time, and will shoot past into empty space. Definitely use a torpedo or three on the upcoming Gunboat, and perhaps on one of the fighters on first approach. When I use a torpedo on a fighter going head-to-head, I shoot it at a distance of about 1000K (and moving at maximum thrust), then follow up with enough Stunpulse to take out the shield. Land on Glorius, and load the file... "Mission 06: Quintain Found" 2:07:35 The rest of the mission is quite straightforward, but great practice for the torpedo technique. Attempt to land a torpedo on a fighter during first approach in each of the two remaining battles. If you can reliably destroy two fighters with torpedoes on approach, you're zen. For reference, a good time for entering the Leeds system is 2:10:00. When you land on Leeds, do *not* attempt to skip the (quite long) dialogue, and go straight into... "Mission 07: Leeds, Leeds" 2:13:48 (ahead 3:16) Mission 7 ========= You may not even need to fill up on missiles after accepting the mission, but acquire two Advanced Skyrails for later. (Revert to your old loadout after buying the guns.) Escape from Leeds using torpedoes and missiles liberally. In Tau-31... 2:19:08 ...remain in cruise the whole time after you exit the first lane until you finally dock with the other one: as you approach the ambush; turn towards the other lane; and proceed to the finished part of that lane. You can't speed up the battle with the two Gunboats (or if you can, the paper-thin gain is definitely not worth the munition), so don't even waste any missiles on them. Just follow them around so you don't suffer much damage, and run as soon as you're permitted to do so. Shinkaku always wants you to dock at bay 1, so you'll save yourself a bit of time if you cruise around back of the right side. Because the "Shinkaku" savepoint saves outside Shinkaku, not on the station itself, you may want to save when you land on Shinkaku... 2:24:35 At this point, change your loadout to... 2x Javelin 2x Slingshot 2x Advanced Skyrail Starkiller Also, replenish your missiles. Now all you have to do is... "Mission 07: Engage the Rheinland Fleet" 2:27:47 2:31:18 The first part of this battle would be rather difficult, but it's rather simple if you run to the Schiller and duck into one of its three holes: behind one of the giant bars running along its side, or in the hole at the very front. From any of these locations, you can lay into the battleship with your guns while it provides you cover, even drawing enemy fire itself. Plus, if you set yourself far enough away from the sidewall, you'll be able to use your missiles without blowing yourself up in the process. When the Schiller is destroyed, focus on the remaining gunboats, then take out any remaining fighters. On Cali, do not attempt to skip the cutscene: even though this cutscene does not involve the acceptance of a mission, the objective only updates at the end of it -- otherwise the objective freezes (and you'll have to restore and go again through the battle with the Rheinland fleet). When the cutscene is over... 2:35:17 2:39:50 Proceed to Kyushu as usual, and skip the cutscene by loading any *other* file, then loading autosave. Proceed directly to New Tokyo. On Planet New Tokyo... 2:41:41 ...gain a level by selling all the Gold in your hold. Move to purchase the Barracuda, but before you select "Buy Ship," select the shield icon on the left panel, to sell the gravitron shield that comes with the ship. Hold onto your Pyros turret for later. Your loadout is the same: 2x Javelin 2x Slingshot 2x Advanced Skyrail Starkiller Sell most of your torpedoes, and buy a full hold of Light Arms, or however many you can afford. (If you have shot torpedoes with too much enthusiasm, you might be a little short, but note that you need at least 39, or you won't be able to level up in Kyoto.) (If you can't afford 39, it's probably because you were too liberal with the torpedoes. The best thing to do is go back to a savegame, probably Mission 7 in Leeds. An alternative might be to sell the Starkiller or Slingshots, which you can replace when you get to Kyoto, but this wastes scarce funds, and makes the next mission take longer.) When you are done on New Tokyo, proceed to Shinagawa... 2:43:38 ...to [ACCEPT] the next mission. Mission 8 ========= The capture of Tekagi's transport is probably the simplest mission in the game, certainly as far as "doing it quick" is concerned. Just fly it like normal, using any remaining torpedoes and missiles you have to speed things along. Go through the last sortie as usual, and when you get to Kyoto... 2:54:33 ...skip the cutscene by loading any *other* file, then loading "Autosave." Then sell the Light Arms for a quick levelup. At this point you have no further use for your Javelins, so you can sell them off also. Mission 9 ========= On Kyoto... Replenish your missiles, torpedoes, and countermeasures. New loadout: 2x Advanced Skyrail 2x Advanced Stunpulse 2x Slingshot Starkiller As Ozu hails Ryuku base, fly towards the arch (a bit up and to the right of the sun, which should be visible through the haze). Destroy the patrol as usual, but do it especially quickly, since you've encountered them closer to the arch than you're supposed to, and a timeout is ticking. Try to avoid the next fight by flying directly toward the arch. Sometimes you will fail for fleeing the battle, sometimes Alpha shows up quickly enough and you get away with it. I think this is mostly a matter of luck, but you might vary your approach vector if you're having trouble skipping this fight. You might want to link the countermeasures upon approach to the arch. Destroy the generators as usual, with your guns, torpedoes and missiles. Do not attempt to skip the Tekagi cutscene. In the final fight, take advantage of the Stunpulses, and target the fighters first. Use your torpedoes liberally on the gunships, and be picky about what cargo you tractor, as there will be more than you can carry. Note that Pharmaceuticals are best, and H-fuel second. Skip the landing scene upon return to Kyoto, and proceed to the bar for the next mission. As always, the mission dialogue cannot be skipped until you [ACCEPT], but the rest can be skipped by simply loading... "Mission 10: Kyoto Chugoku" 3:11:33 Mission 10 ========== Overview: On Kyoto... Sell cargo looted from the previous mission. Buy two Catapult missile launchers. Replenish your missiles. New loadout: 2x Catapult 2x Slingshot 2x Advanced Skyrail Starkiller Loot the two Old Imperial Navy Fighters by the New Berlin jumphole. On New Berlin... Sell the looted Onyx and Diamondback guns, and buy 45 Light Arms. Replenish your missiles and torpedoes. New loadout: 2x Catapult 2x Advanced Stunpulse (two gun slots empty) Starkiller On Bruchsal... Sell the load of Light Arms. Buy four Lugers. Replenish your missiles. New Loadout: 2x Catapult 4x Luger Starkiller At this point, you get to choose between a mixed loadout of Catapults and Starkillers, which will speed the upcoming battle along nicely, and an Advanced Sentry, which will make it much more comfortable. As a compromise, you might want to go for a (regular) Sentry, and only fill up the munitions halfway. My strategy, however, is to keep the Cuisse shield I already have (on the theory that the Sentry isn't going to help that much anyway), and link a full load of countermeasures to my guns. Proceed to your second major encounter with the Rheinland fleet. You need only take out the Gunboats; the fighters are optional (though they drop welcome shield batteries and nanobots, and other goodies). My technique is to fly towards the Gunboat on the left side, belting it with the heavy munitions and guns, then fly past it and target the one behind it, then fly past and circle back around as usual, to finish the second one, then fly past it as it's exploding and finish the first one. (The idea is, you waste less time circling.) Then you'll have time for one more, maybe two, before your allies have destroyed the remaining Gunboats and Hakkera gives you the waypoint. Loot whatever is dropped, but if you have a choice, know that the best is Silver, then Pharmaceuticals and Niobium, which are equal in value, then H-fuel and Consumer Goods, which are also equal. Bear *well* right of the waypoint (and make sure you're flipped around properly by exiting mouse flight for a second -- so you can easily tell which way right is), and as you approach the neighborhood of the jump hole to New Berlin a derelict will appear on your map: "Old Imperial Navy Fighter" -- carrying two ONYX guns (plus various other goodies). Take that, and cruise more directly towards the waypoint, but a little bit to the right, and another wrech of the same description will appear, this time carrying two DIAMONDBACK guns, plus some other cool stuff. Collect this loot and cruise to the jump hole. On New Berlin... 3:16:58 ...skip the cutscene as usual by loading any *other* file, then loading "Autosave." While you're on New Berlin, sell the Diamondback and Onyx guns, and buy a full load of Light Arms. You can also afford a full load of countermeasures, Catapults and Starkillers, and might even want to splurge on an Advanced Thruster. (It's possible to get an Advanced Thruster as early as Cali, but it's prohibitively tight between there and Kyoto. It's also possible to get one on Kyoto, but it doesn't really help at all at that point, and the funds are still pretty tight until after selling the loot from the two Old Imperials.) Also on New Berlin, you can say goodbye to your trusty Slingshots -- you won't be needing them anymore. You can ditch your Advanced Skyrails as well. Switch to your Advanced Stunpulses, making your loadout: 2x Catapult 2x Advanced Stunpulse (two gun slots empty) Starkiller After docking with Holstein, the "Autosave" file is automatically updated (provided you load any *other* file first), but it is updated to before the cutscene displays. To minimize the time spent in the cutscene, watch the cutscene, then load... "Mission 10: After Meeting Von Claussen" 3:22:33 The fight outside Bruchsal is very easy in comparison to the previous one, but you might want to drop a torpedo or three to speed things along. At Bruchsal, there's no skipping the cutscene. When it's over... 3:25:15 ...sell the Light Arms and buy four Luger Type A guns. While at Bruchsal, you might buy a load of H-Fuel to sell at Buffalo, or you might fly with an empty hold to the "experimental shipyard" and destroy two of the Gunboats while you're waiting for the green light to flee the area. If you're lucky, a single Gunboat will almost completely fill your hold with H-Fuel, Silver, and/or Niobium. Gunboats are somewhat worth the trouble, even if you factor in the expense on the necessary munitions, but it's not a big deal either way. (You easily have time to take down a pair of them before the objective updates, which means you can be somewhat picky what loot you collect: H-Fuel is best, Niobium second, and Silver third.) In either case, the single way to minimize time here is to destroy that first Experimental Battleship as quickly as possible. The sooner you destroy it, the sooner you'll be allowed to leave the area. I would have thought that a Driller would speed up the destruction of that battleship, but I tried it that way several times, and for some reason it didn't help at all. (And I'm quite sure the Driller was indeed hitting the Battleship, not the scaffolding.) Do not try to skip the cutscene when you land on the Osiris. After you click [ACCEPT] (not that you have a choice), you can load... "Mission 11: Osiris, Texas" 3:33:00 Mission 11 ========== Remember to repair your ship before you trade it in for the Anubis. Definitely get a Debilitator Turret, and it's about time to splurge on a Driller mine launcher, but otherwise the weaponry sold on the Osiris is far inferior to what you already have. Thus, your loadout now is... 2x Catapult 4x Luger Debilitator Turret Starkiller Driller Silver or Niobium sell just as well on the Osiris, but H-Fuel sells better on Buffalo. To sell a commodity on Osiris, go to buy an Anubis, and during the purchase finalization, click the cargo icon in the left panel, and you can sell whatever cargo you've acquired, for average profit. You have to complete the purchase of the Anubis for the deal to go through, but this ship is only 1000 credits, so you're almost sure to make a profit. Use a torpedo or two on the Navy fighters, and proceed to Buffalo. When you land, you can simply load... "Mission 11: Buffalo Base" 3:36:01 Nomads don't use shields, so that Debilitator Turret isn't going to be of much use during the two final missions. The Sapiel Turret available from Buffalo is no shining diamond, but it's the best hull-damage turret you can come across in the "Done Quick" campaign, without going a couple minutes out of the way, and one slightly better turret is certainly not worth that much time. (From Buffalo you could buy Light Arms, which make a net profit of 85 each when sold on the Osiris, but you're better off looting the Navy fighters.) Exit Buffalo and fly in the general direction of the lane to West Point. The waypoint appears shortly. For the upcoming battles, I link my torpedo launcher to my guns. You'll waste a few shots this way, but it's very quick, and you can worry less about cash at this point. When you reach the satellite installation, take out the fighters first, then the satellite itself, but ignore the weapons platforms. Fly to Walker, and join formation with his cruiser. As you approach the jump gate, a wave of Navy fighters appear. Dispatch them quickly with the assortment of torpedoes, missiles, and guns. Do not attempt to skip the cutscene that comes after you land on Prison Station Mitchell. Fly towards the end of the corridor, but in the intervening time before Walker decides to make his suicide run, take out as many Navy fighters as possible. You can tractor in their loot, for some minor profit. But don't waste any torpedoes on them -- that more than cancels the gain from the loot. You will automatically drop out of cruise as you approach the Omaha and entourage. Simply go back into cruise and circle the Omaha until the Osiris appears. Do not attempt to skip the cutscene that begins upon your return to the Osiris. After you hit [ACCEPT], simply load... "Mission 12: Osiris, Omicron Beta" Mission 12 ========== Replace your Advanced Stunpulse with the Slingshot launcher you have in reserve. For the first phase, link your torpedo and missiles to your guns. Wait until King says "coordinates" and then begin to destroy the shield generators (satellites). The fastest way from one generator to the next is through the webbing along the perifery of the structure. Ignore the nomad fighters during this phase. As you approach the power generator (the main object you're supposed to acquire for this mission), enter cruise. You may be hit by wasps once or twice nevertheless, but begin to drop your load of countermeasures as you exit the structure, and cruise to the jump-hole. At this time, I un-link my missiles, leaving only my torpedo linked to the guns. Being a heavy hitter, and given that you have a number of powerful allies for cleanup, you will probably prefer to leave an enemy mostly-damaged, and target the next one, rather than focus on one until it is destroyed. Do not attempt to skip the cutscene on Planet Toledo. When you [ACCEPT], load... "Mission 13: Toldeo, Omicron Alpha" Mission 13 ========== Land on the Osiris, and skip the cutscene by loading any *other* file, then loading Autosave. [I haven't finished documenting the final mission, but at this point the correct plan should be fairly clear. Hopefully as this walkthrough matures it will grow a "top ten fastest times" section. I would love to hear from you, how fast you can beat the game.] TOP 10: ======= currently empty (obviously: the walkthrough file is at version 1) please submit your best time; I will post it here in future updates. ======================================================================= Appendix ======== A comparative breakdown of my times for the first three missions, with those of the great Sherlog, the record holder of the classic T-0 challenge (using T-hawk's "Cutscenes Disabled" mod): Breslin in a... Sherlog in a... Savegame ======= ============= ======= ========= ============================= 0:17:14 S-flier/Rhino 0:16:55 Starflier Criminal Base Destroyed 0:21:39 Rhino 0:21:33 Patriot M02: Manhattan, New York 0:32:04 Rhino 0:31:30 Patriot Return Ashcroft 0:44:33 Rhino 0:44:35 Defender Cal. Minor, California 0:54:22 Rhino 0:55:08 Defender Respond to Station Willard 1:01:41 Rhino 1:04:34 Defender M04: Manhattan, New York (T-Hawk's mod is availible from <http://www.lancersreactor.com>, under the name "Campaign Cut Scenes Disabled.")  Really "Criminal Base Destroyed" is not a valid marker for speed runs, because the real race is not to the destruction of the Rogue base (and its fighters), but how quickly one can return to Manhattan, and thus enter Mission 2.  I believe that Sherlog bought and equipped the Patriot before accepting the mission, which would account for the fact that I caught up between "Criminal Base Destroyed" and the beginning of Mission 2. (It's certainly faster to fill a Starflier's bay with DSE loot, which is what Sherlog did in the interim, than it is to stuff a Rhino's, which is what I did, so all other things being equal he should have made it to Manhattan faster than I.) The other possibility is that I was further towards the trade lane when the Rogue base was destroyed. (See note 1 immediately above.)  I admit that Sherlog can fly this part of the campaign faster in a Patriot than I can in a Rhino. I believe his Patriot is outfitted with one Javelin, one Lavablade I, and two Lavablade IIIs.  Again, I can only guess why I have made gains on Sherlog between capturing Ashcroft and reaching California Minor. We both looted the DSE depot again, but I had to destroy four pods, while he took only two at most. It may be partly the time he spent on buying and equipping the Defender, where I stick with the Rhino. It may also be that I autosave-skipped the Rowlett scene, which does take a few seconds.
 The only way to explain the widening gap is that the Rhino with my loadout can run this part of the mission considerably faster than a Defender with Sherlog's loadout. It is certainly not that my piloting skills are superior!  The big difference here is that I skipped the Balboa. My plan makes it feasible to skip the Balboa, and have enough cash to stay in missiles and torpedoes, only really turning to guns when the superior Lugers become availible. Because the Pyros guns from the Balboa are not faster than missiles combined with pulses, from here the gap only widens further. On the one hand, it is conceivable that the gap narrows a bit during mission 7-10, where I use Advanced Skyrails, since the Pyros are better. However, the guns are playing a back seat to missiles and torpedoes at this point anyway, so any difference is probably minimal. Indeed, one main benefit of my plan is that you have enough money to stay in missiles and torps throughout the campaign. ======================================================================= Anyway, I hope you found this walkthrough enjoyable. Let me know if there's anything significant that I have left out. ======= Credits ======= This trail was blazed by Sherlog and T-hawk back in 2003, on the forums of <http://www.lancersreactor.com/> -- I just came later to perfect the plan a bit, and mostly just to revise and document. ======= Contact ======= Steve Breslin versim at hotmail dot com Corrections and suggestions are warmly welcome. Please put [freelancer walkthrough] at the beginning of the subject line, to make sure I don't accidentally delete your mail. === End ===