While speedrunners are finding new angles and breaking records all the time, the nature of some levels and games means that some records truly do stand the test of time.
One quirk of the original DOOM was the in-game timer that you see at the end of every level. Rather than rounding up or rounding up or down on the precise time a level was finished, the game always rounds down, regardless.
Now if you’re dealing with a larger level or a speedrun of a full game, that’s not a big deal. But what if you’re doing a speedrun of a very specific level – a level that takes nine seconds at most to complete?
This is the crux of the issue that has seen a DOOM world record stand since September 1998, a record that has recently been broken. As outlined by speedrunner enthusiast and YouTuber Karl Jobst, the record has hung around for so long because of the difficulty involved in shaving a full second, rather than a half second or fraction of a second.
The run is an Ultra Violence Speed, meaning that players have to run through the level as fast as possible on Ultra Violence difficulty with enemies enabled. That means there’s a good deal of randomness involved in runs – will they give you a straight line to the finish? – and a very, very small margin for error.
It’s a great breakdown of how these DOOM speedruns work, and how the community was able to discover use new techniques to help shave time off the record. There wasn’t much time to save either. Had 4shockblast wasted one extra frame at any point in their run, the frame rate at which DOOM runs means the speedrun would have clocked in at 9 seconds.
You can see the full run from 4shockblast, which sits alone at the top of the Hangar speedrun rankings, can be seen below.