For over two decades, he golden 007 players have been trying to figure out how to get the fastest time on the game’s toughest level without grabbing a piece of armor out of the way to help them survive. Turns out all speedrunner Gus Riolo needed to jump the bulletproof vest on and claiming the new world record was a bit of a trick.
Based on the movie Moonraker , the Aztec Bonus in Golden Eye level requires players to walk through a gauntlet of elite soldiers and turrets while waiting for a shuttle launch. Yellow-clad guards are everywhere, backed up by powerful robotic guns that can even be found in the level’s air ducts. It’s a tough level to beat on any of the game’s three difficulty levels, but especially brutal at the highest, 00 Agent. Each enemy hit drops Mr. Bond’s health by two levels, meaning he can take five hits in total before the game ends.
As speedrunning documentarian Karl Jobst explains in his comprehensive video on the subject, runners’ only salvation for over 20 years was a bit of body armor located in one of the level’s ventilation ducts. Grabbing it wasted precious seconds, but it effectively doubles the player’s health, making surviving the final challenge more possible.
But what if armor could be ignored? Riders have tried and failed to cut their times by skipping armor for years. The tricky part is that there are sections of the Aztec level where Bond is guaranteed to get hit. Specifically, there’s a turret in one of the vents that’s guaranteed to mess up a secret agent.
Or it was, until a few riders discovered a stupid turret trick. Instead of just running straight into the vent and getting shot at, players can move forward just enough to get the turret’s attention and then back up, causing it to turn around to follow them. This gives players enough time to run down the hallway without getting shot. This, in turn, gives players full health leading to the final room, which speedrunner Gus Riolo used to set the new world record for 00 Agent Aztec of 1:34 late last month.
Now that the new strat has proven itself, it’s only a matter of time before someone else uses it to shave another second or so. That’s what speedrunning is all about, finding new ways to achieve faster times, even after decades of failed attempts that suggest it can’t be done.