Note from the future
This article was made when I was very new to speedrunning and optimising Unreal movement. It still works for getting all the times, so remains for that, but there are likely better sources for getting much faster times in Unreal games/mods nowadays.
This is a speedrun guide to Team Vortex's Operation Na Pali. It tells you how to do all the levels in ONP, getting the ubergoaltimes and goaltimes. This guide was done in easy difficulty so that I could hunt the shortcuts without 20 Skaarj chasing me. If you play on a harder difficulty, then the only difference is that there are a lot more monsters to block your path and slow you down. Because of difficulty, I won't mention monsters unless they are "unique" or are just really annoying. Also, if there are no shortcuts in a level then I won't waste time telling you how to do the level - this isn't a walkthrough! I presume that you have already finished ONP and know the level layouts, as this guide has spoilers in it.
DavidM sent me a few things I missed but I haven't tried yet; these have now been included.
Here's what each section means:
- Level name: you already know :)
- Goaltime: the time you have to beat the level before for points.
- Ubergoaltime: beat this supertough time and you get tons more points!
- Some levels have both goaltimes and ubergoaltimes, while some only have one of the two. I will only note the hardest time limit, so if there is a goaltime and ubergoaltime I will only tell you the ubergoaltime.
- Difficulty: How hard the goaltimes are to beat (irrespective of creatures). I have three ratings - easy, medium, hard.
- My finishing time: This is how long I took to do the level while I was writing this guide.
Here are some general speedrun tips:
- Rockets are your best friend for speedruns - if you are going to grab anything, grab them.
- If there are some items that won't take much off your time then get them.
- As you'll be doing lots of rocketjumps and stuff it helps to grab as much armour and health you can find.
- Try to only kill stuff that blocks your path, also try to clear areas that you will have to come back to later.
- Don't bother with helpers when speedrunning.
- You go faster dodging sideways than running.
- When translocating, waiting for "teleport pod" to fly as far as possible before you teleport as this seems faster than lots of quick teleports.
- Keep your flashlight on as long as possible.
- Look for opportunities to rocket jump onto ledges and cut a few second off you time.
Level 1 - Beginning Cutscene
Nope, there's no way to make the cutscene go quicker.
Level 2 - Prisoned
Goaltime: 5:02:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 3:07:10
The first tip is that as soon as you get out of your cell, run to the panel where you have to enter a code and save your game, then run to where you get the code. Memorize it, then load the game and type it in - this should cut off a few seconds and is VERY helpful, and I think its intentional.
Second, when you reach the air vent to the pupae hive, turn left as you fall, and you should be facing the way onward when you land.
Other than those, just play the level normally and you should get it easily. Try to get as many enforcers and as much health as you can though as it could save you later.
Level 3 - Escape from the Skaarj Base
Ubergoaltime: 0:23:00 - Difficulty: Hard - My Time: 0:22:50
Both of the ship levels' goaltimes are hell of a hard job to get (is the second one even possible?), as one slip and you lose. This is because if you save and load then your speed resets, meaning you have to speed up again, which takes far too long and the time is tight enough as it is. At the bits where the path splits, always choose the left route, and at the church near the end go right across the middle to do it quickest. At the tight bit at the end, stay low and it seems to be a lot easier to not crash. Follow this and you should beat the time by a couple of milliseconds. The ship levels don't seem to give you points when you beat the goaltimes so don't bother with them if you don't want to.
Level 4 - The Betrayer's Path
Goaltime: 5:01:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 3:??:??
The krall coming through the doors in the village seem to be timed, so just walk about a bit and the krall will come, don't forget to grab the pulsegun! Your nali helpers are acctually a good distraction for the krall. At the spiral stairs, go left first for some pulsegun ammo, also at the village lake there's another pulsegun thats easy to get. Other than that just play the level normally. The evil nali at the end has a rocket launcher, so now you can start some serious speedrunning!
Level 5 - Gore Mine Crossing Entrance
Goaltime: 3:56:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 2:16:08
Not really any shortcuts or anything here, but I recommend getting the Superhealth on the right hand side down the elevator, and also don't forget the Flak Cannon! That's about it.
Level 6 - Gore Mine Crossing
Ubergoaltime: 1:28:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 1:11:44
The ubergoaltime is easy if you find out the trick: go to the bit that sticks out (the metal bit with all the crates up the top of the canyon), and then go to the far top left corner of it. Load up all 6 rockets to do a mega rocket jump to the wall on the other side of the level (the Superhealth from the last level is VERY helpful here). Now, hug the wall all the way down and you should get stopped by some sort of barrier at various points on the way. You should land right down the bottom with the only damage being from the rockets. If hugging the wall isn't stopping you, just try different parts of the wall (the left hand side was best for me). Now, just play normally and rocket jump over the banister on the mini-bridge at the end. The only problem is you miss both the sniper rifle and GES Biorifle. Although, you start the next level with the sniper rifle anyway.
Apparently, the way you are supposed to do this ubergoaltime is by riding a spaceship but I haven't tried this yet. I think it's faster than my way.
Level 7 - Skaarj Outpost
Goaltime: 4:26:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 2:45:39
Another level with nothing to note except that when you are going up the stairs stick to the banister things on the sides to avoid falling when they break. The Skaarj Berserker in the flooded room MUST be killed to open the exit.
Level 8 - Skaarj Outpost
Goaltime: 5:20:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 4:04:41
Nothing at all here really to note - just do it quickly. I couldn't resist getting the "Noobs won't notice it...." secret though :).
Level 9 - Lil' Spire
Goaltime: 4:43:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 3:03:78
If you are running low on pulse ammo, then when you reach the bit where the laser thing blows up the Nali, rocket jump into the dropship for some. Try and run past the Stone Titan even though he is super weak. After the bit where the bridge is blown up, turn right and walk along the edge of the cliff. It's worth it for the box of Flak Shells as this adds little to your level time, then exit.
Level 10 - Entering the Mercenary Base
Ubergoaltime: 1:15:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 0:39:65
This is unbelievably easy if you know how: when you reach the base, rocket jump on the roof then turn right and you should see some glass, Walk over it and you drop right through it.
Level 11 - Mercenary Base
Ubergoaltime: 1:22:00 - Difficulty: Hard - My Time: 1:16:48
This goaltime seems impossible until you find the secrets... At the beginning, WAIT for your character to finish talking or else you get frozen on the spot. Now just zoom through (use the elevators as quick as you can) to the outside area with all the plants (where your main character says "WOW! These Skaarj seem VERY aggressive!") and there should be a ledge with a broken elevator leading to it. Rocket jump up there, pick up the Shield Belt, blast the air vent up here, crawl through (it takes a while), and exit.
Level 12 - Ride With Me
Ubergoaltime: 1:30:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 1:25:95
This one's easy but I always find it tight, just play normally until you reach the laser fence, then just rocket jump over that. At the bridge at the end just drop off to the right and hop across the rock to get to the other side, then just run past the Skaarj guarding the exit.
Level 13 - Sharuk Crossing
Ubergoaltime: 3:15:00 - Difficulty: Hard - My Time: 3:10:98
This one is very hard, as there are no tricks or anything I that could find. Just charge through as fast as possible, and NEVER spend more than about 3 seconds fighting. Avoid combat as much as possible. The only tricks are when you reach the laser barrier, rocket jump on the crate, and when you go back to the elevator at the start and a brute comes up it, just jump off to the right and land on a beam there. At the computer that tells you a Skaarj ship is coming you MUST kill the Skaarj there before you can use the computer to open the door.
Level 14 - Thra Fortress
Ubergoaltime: 2:38:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 2:31:89
This is just like the last level but it's a lot easier, just play through avoiding combat when possible, also, you HAVE to kill the "boss" Nali at the end to unlock the exit door.
Level 15 - The Lost Sanctuary of Kalishr'a
Goaltime: 7:11:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 3:17:83
Just play this level normally, but more quickly, and you should do fine. At the beginning, though, kill the Krall quickly and you can just walk across the wooden bridge to enter, which is much quicker (if you don't they lower it). At the bit with the ripper and the Skaarj that come out of the "coffins", charge up the Biorifle and shoot the lid of the "coffins" and you will kill them even though they have the lid closed!
Level 16 - The Lost Sanctuary of Kalishr'a
Ubergoaltime: 1:45:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 1:44:21
When the Skaarj smashes through the wall, run past him and rocket jump to the other side of the room, then just walk across the planks to the room where the walls close in. When you reach the long staircase, stick to the right and make sure that the Krall running up doesn't stop you. If you keep to the right you shouldn't fall when the stairs collapse, and watch out as on one of the later steps you have to jump up it for some reason. When outside, rocket jump over to the bridge and run across it making sure you don't fall when it collapses, then take the cable car thing to the end and just hope that it doesn't put you over the time!
Level 17 - Nali Mountain Fighters
Ubergoaltime: 3:13:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 2:47:35
The only tough things in this level are the huge swarms of Skaarj that block your way onward at certain points. Just blast a hole for you to run through and let your Nali sacrifice themselves for you. When you reach the end, building there are a few Skaarj you MUST kill to open the way further, but when you reach the lookout point with tons of Nali helpers just hop off the building and exit before the army of Skaarj kill you.
Level 18 - Nali Mountain Fighters
Goaltime: 6:12:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 3:20:66
This ones easy, just play the level normally. If you feel like you need some action then go kill the Stone Titan :). Also, at the end building with the exit, search in the top left corner of the ruin (in the dark area) for a Superhealth (it only seems to give about 50 health though).
Level 19.1 - The Volcano
Ubergoaltime: 3:10:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 3:08:59
DavidM told me you can dodge across the canyon on this level so try it! It would make this quite an easy goaltime. Be sure to use the "learn the code then load" trick on the force field deactivation console though. As I didn't know about the dodge trick I took a lot longer.
Level 19.2 - Inside the Outpost
Ubergoaltime: 2:19:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 1:46:37
This ones easy, in the room after the pupae hive just rocket jump to the upper level and continue from there.
Level 19.3 - Wipeout
Ubergoaltime: 1:19:00 - Difficulty: Impossible - My Time: 1:39:01
The reason I haven't even attempted this one is because you would have to go through the whole thing without loading once, which would be insane!
Having called this "impossible" in my original guide I've added a video showing this being done (in 1:08.72), as the description says there's enough time to spare that you can slow down or probably save and still have enough time to make it.
Level 20 - Entry to the Fire God Temple
Ubergoaltime: 0:39:00 - Difficulty: Hard - My Time: 00:38:86
This ones VERY tight but you should just make it. Rocket jump over the broken bridge, and when you reach the room with the big crate just rocket jump over instead of shooting the chain, then carefully aim at the crack to make the water come to open the exit and rocket jump up to the ledge the doors are on.
Level 21 - Fire God Temple
Ubergoaltime: 00:51:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 00:36:45
This one may sound harder than the last one but it's one of the easiest in ONP! At the beginning, get up to the switch to open the door as fast as you can, then use the beams to get down safely, rocket jump over the pool of lava in front of you, go on to the room with all the little gaps in the wall and onto a walkway in lava, then rocket jump into the bottom right gap and keep going to the exit.
Level 22 - Lands of Rostivelt
Goaltime: 6:11:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 1:15:54
Be sure to get the (weakened) Superhealth from the "mound" in the beginning area, then when you get to the cave where you enter a code to get to the end of the level, save, and go on and use the "Learn the code then load" trick. After going up the elevator after the code door, jump in the window on the right hand side of the platform there for a shield belt, then exit.
Level 23 - Forgotten Gods
Goaltime: 4:00:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 1:31:14
EASY! Just keep out the water and you will have no problems whatsoever, you'll even have time to grab a bit of ammo if you want to.
Level 24 - Old Nali Ruins
Ubergoaltime: 3:26:00 - Difficulty: Hard - My Time: 3:07:79
As well as being one of the harder levels in ONP it also happens to have one of the toughest goaltimes to beat. At the beginning run to the drawbridge ignoring the building the "bogey Skaarj" goes into and continue to the warlord arena. In the arena just rocket jump out on the other side, you should be in the courtyard with the well, and although I haven't tried it you can jump down the well and land on some platforms which would make this goaltime a lot easier. Go on to the "tavern of the forbidden caves", rocket jump over the debris in the tunnel past the tavern (don't go in) now go on to an elevator that takes you to the surface to the area where the meteor crashed, enter the meteor building and in the first room before the meteor rocket jump up to the switch to open the way further, in the big open area through the door rocket jump over the massive gates and use the rock for a safe landing then just swim across the lake to exit.
Level 25 - Transport Failed
Goaltime: 8:33:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 5:55:84
I find this one of my favorite levels :). Anyway, this ones easy enough, after you've opened the doors to the turret you control, if you have taken less than 4 minutes to do all this then you should get the Shield Belt and Megahealth in the base (the Shield Belt is at the far end of the base in top left and then following the path there along and the Megahealth is on top of one of the bunkers which is got to using a rocket jump). After that just continue to the end.
Level 26 - Rostivelt Lake
Ubergoaltime: 1:22:00 - Difficulty: Hard - My Time: 1:21:65
This one's very tight but you should make it if you're quick. Ignore the Nali and just rush as fast as possible, and ignore the super hard Skaarj (distract him with a couple of Flakcannon shots) a bit later on. Get to the beach as fast as you can, when you get close to the exit crates rocket jump in and you should just make it.
Level 27 - The Research Lab
Ubergoaltime: 2:30:00 - Difficulty: Hard - My Time: 2:28:19
This is another tight one. Just get to the translocator as soon as possible then shoot out the grate and teleport into it. In the room beyond through the grate here there is a computer you must press (do it as you fight the Skaarj). Go through the door the computer opens after a while and go down the elevator. Use the translocator and in the next big room, jump down the middle and keep going, and when you reach the next open room get ready for a fight (the Skaarj chase you here so it's best to kill them). The next room has the Minigun, then continue to the elevator to the surface. When you reach the surface turn right and teleport outside the barbed wire fence then just translocate like hell back to the elevator (ignore the Skaarj along the way). Teleport up it and translocate up the path through the door to finish the level just in time.
Level 28 - Entry to Rrajigar
Ubergoaltime: 00:59:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 00:56:85
If you find the trick this one is actually quite easy. Speed to the "main room", the one with all the doors and an upper walkway, translocate to the upper walkway and go to the right hand door there. In the top left of it you should see a darker bit. Turn on your flashlight and you should see that this actually leads to the room behind it! translocate in (it might take a while), it will get stuck halfway, use an explosive weapon to shoot it to the other side (the rocket launcher seems to shoot it out the wrong way and the ripper secondary fire seemed best) then just teleport and do the rest of the level normally but super fast.
Level 29 - Skaarjmines of Rrajigar
Ubergoaltime: 1:53:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 1:38:28
Just do this level super fast and you'll just make it, be sure to translocate up elevators and through the door that takes ages to open.
Level 30 - Nyleve's Falls
Goaltime: 2:27:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 00:43:92
Just go to the exit. Go get some ammo here as well if you want.
Level 31 - Vortex Rikers
Goaltime: 4:00:00 - Difficulty: Easy - My Time: 1:58:50
Just play the level normally. At the room where there is a Shield Belt and the lights go out, beside the door to that room is an air vent with a Super Health in it (if you have Unreal 1 it's the air vent that leads to the prison). Turn the gamma up if you can't see it. You can make this even easier by throwing the transocator disc in the "main" room (where the broken computer is) and warping back after you have done the SOS in the comm room.
Level 32 - Prisoned Again
Ubergoaltime: 3:20:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 2:57:45
Another one that you just have to rush through as fast as possible. Don't worry about getting your weapons, as you get them on the next level anyway.
Level 33 - Na Pali Heaven
Ubergoaltime: 2:56:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 2:53:99
BAH! No translocator anymore :(. Grab your weapons as soon as possible (the pulse rifle is gained slightly later). To get the sky platform thing working I think you have to kill the 2 krall guarding the cave to it AND read the sign, then just wait about a bit on it and it should start moving. When you see the platforms you ride on later in the level above you rocket jump up (which can be tough as you seem to go flying after you rocket jump), ride this (move a bit if it won't move) then just play the level normally (the right cave is faster after the ride on the second floating platform).
Level 34 - Na Pali Heaven Part 2
Ubergoaltime: 1:28:00 - Difficulty: Medium - My Time: 1:18:76
At the bit near the beginning where the Skaarj closes the gate, rocket jump over it, then go to the hidden Nali warriors' base (the exit won't open until you "rescue" Chryss). Get Chryss and rocket jump up to the trapdoor, go out it, and exit.
Level 35 - Escape from Na Pali
No goaltime on this one, but do it quickly so it doesn't add to your time.