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So I've been thinking about this game, and going Phantoon first.  Smokey estimates the time saved at around 2-3 minutes, but I peg it at 1-2.  Anyways, I have some more musing to go along with this.

If you go phantoon -> kraid/norfair items -> draygon -> ridley, you have no reason to collect the spazer.  The charged wave/spazer for phantoon is useless, and I don't believe you need the spazer in maridia.  Then you get the plasma, which overrides it anyways for ridley.

So that's about 20-25 secs you could save there.

However, I've also been thinking about going phantoon -> ridley -> kraid -> draygon.

If you can bomb jump into lower norfair quickly, and if you can bomb jump up the one tall room in norfair right before the acid room, and if not getting plasma doesn't waste ages on ridley, then I think that the shorter overworld route might override all that.

But if you do this, you may want to get the spazer to save time on ridley.

Now, there's four ways you could go ridley first.

1. You could get the ice beam, then get the speed booster (and wave, maybe.  does not getting wave cut off a bunch of damage from charged shots?  somebody who has it post the damage lists kej made), then go to lower norfair.

2. You could get only the ice beam, then pb the blocks and head down, then go through the long room and sj right.

3. You could get only the speed booster and wave, then head down.

4. Get the ice beam, then go right and get the speed booster/wave.

The second is the shorter overworld route, but if you skip the spazer and do it, you're basically looking at a 15% ridley fight with a few more missiles.  Then there's a varying degree of extra damage you could do per charged shot based on which beams you collect.

I'm not liking collecting the spazer and doing option 2, mainly because the ridley battle will take ages.  But you don't have to make an extra trip to get to the speed booster/wave - you get those as you exit.  Dunno how long the extra trip takes, and dunno how much time is actually saved after you waste time going to get the spazer too.  And there's no way skipping the spazer would be faster.

Option 3 hinges on whether or not the extra travel time incurred by leaving norfair, getting to the entrance of maridia, and going back to the way to ln is more than the time the ridley battle takes by doing lesser damage.

Option 1 kind of defeats the point of having a shorter overworld route, and going draygon before ridley only has like 20 secs extra of travel time total.  That's easily cancelled out by the SJ and plasma.

4 might work, since there's only like 10 secs more of travel time from option 3, and I think the ice beam on ridley would save at least that much.

And going draygon first would not only be easier, and not only do you have the plasma, you could have as much as 20 extra supers, depending on how long you want to take collecting.

I say we skip hi-jump in any case, as we don't have to go up red brinstar mainstreet without the sj anymore.

Again, someone who has ridley's damage lists post them so we can find out just how much time is lost by getting lesser amounts of beams.
Thread title: 
I also think skipping "Spazer" is a good alternative, however fighting Ridley first without Plasma which makes about 4 times more damage than Spazer will lose many time since most of the fight you need Charge Beam (cause of few Missiles) and Ridley have tons of HP. I guess going to Draygon first would be faster in the end result.

You don't need to bomb-jump to lower norfair if you don't have the Space Jump. Just use the High-Jump Glitch which works only in the liquid areas. But again, I'm not sure if it will work without the HJ-Boots.
Time bomb set get out fast!
I think the glitch you mean is the Gravity Jump.  That doesn't require Hi-Jump Boots as far as I know, but it definitely requires the Gravity Suit -- and you can't get that till you beat Phantoon.  It won't help in a Ridley-first run.
Forgot about the grav jump... that makes it easier.

Yeah, I'm currently agreeing that draygon first is still faster, but I think spazer -> ice -> speed -> wave -> ridley may infact be better.  I'm trying to get the damage lists off of irc now.
Embarrasing Fact: Power suit made by lowest bidder
0.  Normal beam : 10
1.  Wave beam : 25
2.  Ice beam : 15
3.  Ice/Wave beam : 30
4.  Spazer beam : 20
5.  Wave/Spazer beam : 35
6.  Ice/Spazer beam : 30
7.  Wave/Ice/Spazer beam : 50
8.  Plasma beam : 75
9.  Wave/Plasma beam / Speed Echoes : 125 / 2,048
10. Ice/Plasma beam : 100
11. Wave/Ice/Plasma beam : 150
12. Missiles : 50
13. Super Missiles : 150
14. Bombs / Space/Time Beam : 30 / 45 per 1/3 of second
15. Power Bombs : 100, can hit twice
16. Speed Running : 250 a frame
17. Super Jump : 75 a frame
18. Screw Attack : 1,000 a frame
19. ALL Charge beams / Hyper Beam / Special Beams / Murder Beam : 3x beam combo / 500 / 150 (45 for ice) / 100
20. Psuedo Screw Attack : 100
21. Unknown

Ridley's damage multipliers:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Nonzero values: Missiles, Supers, Power Bombs, Charge beams.

Ridley has 18000 health.

Side notes: It's bad to use a power bomb at the start of the battle, it's good to use one as soon as he drops to 0 health, then let him grab you.
(edit: completely missed something)

Kej, when you say '3x beam combo', does that mean triple the damage of a normal shot?
Embarrasing Fact: Power suit made by lowest bidder
So you'd start off with the normal beam, 10, triple it for a charge beam, 30, then double it for normal damage multiplier, 60.

So, if you start with 25 missiles and 10 supers, you bring ridley down to 9500 health by default.

Now, for the evaluation of the beams, first not taking spazer into account.  And if we assume that each charged shot takes 3 seconds, then...

Normal: 9500/(6*10) = 159 shots/7.95 minutes
Wave: 9500/(6*25) = 64 shots/3.2 minutes
Ice: 106 shots/5.3 minutes
Ice/wave: 53 shots/2.65 minutes

The wave beam clearly shows it's worth being collected.  Getting ice on the way may save like half a minute on ridley, but it takes a while longer getting to it without the speed booster.  It needs to be timed...

Now, if you add the spazer in...

Wave/spazer: 46 shots/2.3 minutes
Ice/spazer: 53 shots/2.65 minutes
Wave/ice/spazer: 32 shots/1.58 minutes

Now, let's assume that the spazer takes 15 seconds to get, that the wave takes 20 seconds to get, and that hte ice takes 10 seconds more to get earlier.

Normal: 159 shots/7.95 minutes, no extra time
Ice: 106 shots/5.3 minutes, 10 seconds extra
Wave: 64 shots/3.2 minutes, 20 seconds extra
Ice/wave: 53 shots/2.65 minutes, 30 seconds extra
Ice/spazer: 53 shots/2.65 minutes, 25 seconds extra
Wave/spazer: 46 shots/2.3 minutes 35 seconds extra
Wave/ice/spazer: 32 shots/1.58 minutes, 45 seconds extra

According to all that, the best route for ridley first is spazer -> ice -> speed booster -> wave -> ridley.  10 more seconds than the next best for about 40 seconds saved in the ridley fight.

Now, to compare that to going draygon -> ridley and getting the plasma.

Wave/ice/spazer: 32 shots/1.58 minutes
Plasma: 22 shots/1.1 minutes
Plasma/wave: 13 shots/0.63 minutes
Plasma/ice: 16 shots/0.79 minutes
Plasma/ice/wave: 11 shots/0.52 minutes

Definitely looks as if the plasma makes a big difference - about a minute in the ridley battle.  The ice is necessary to get at some point (metroids), and since you loose no time from getting the ice anymore (you have the speed booster by the time you get it), normal plasma shouldn't be looked at.  Getting the wave takes about 20 seconds but only saves about 0.27 minutes, or 16.2 seconds if my proportions are correct - but then you take Mother Brain into account, and you want to get it anyways because of that. >_> And if it takes 20-30 seconds extra travel time to do draygon before ridley, but you save 15 seconds from not collecting the spazer... yeah.

So the best route is phantoon -> speed booster -> wave -> ice -> draygon -> plasma -> ridley, skipping the hi-jump entirely.

But then you get into the question of whether or not you could just skip the plasma entirely, and then whether the extra minute it would take on ridley and the extra 2-3 minutes I estimate it would take on MB would be worth it, and whether or not you should go ridley first then, which you probably should...
I think for the first time I finally get what you (Kej) mean by bombs and Space/Time beam being the same type, and the others like that.  But, can you even use S/T offensively without crashing? 

Was going to ask what 21. Unknown is, but I suppose that's a stupid question.  Does anything have a nonzero multiplier for that?  Or is it just some unused type?

This stuff is so interesting.  I need to start saving all this.
I'm trying to get someone to do a < 0:35 speedrun.  That's why I'm posting all this stuff. :P

If nobody picks this up by like easter holiday or some obscenely long time I might actually try it myself.  I used to be really good at this game - I tied smokey's old 0:43 before he went 'rawr' and smashed all records, at which point I went '-_-' and stopped playing.  That was like a year ago, so I've lost most of my skills...

Maybe tomorrow I'll try timing how long it takes to get the plasma beam and how long it takes to skip it.  Kej, I remember mb having the same 18,000 health, but what are her multipliers?

Oh, and someone check my math.  :/
Embarrasing Fact: Power suit made by lowest bidder
There's also the question of getting the screw attack or not. I'd say it's better to get it, but the point is easily debatable.

Personally, I don't think high jump should be skipped, either. You get another tank and missile along the way, which will obviously be useful, and the high jumps make it possible to avoid bomb jumping in a few places, and save seconds all throughout the game just from (vertically) faster jumps.
I'm not really sure when to get it, though. Pathwise, it'd be best right after you get the speedboots, but they help on the path to the speed boots.

I think your estimated time to pick up wave is a bit fast, wave takes about 1/2 a minute.

Ice saves time against metroids and with the Zebetite glitch, and saves a good chunk of ammo. It probably saves time overall just from that, since you can pick that up instead of an extra 3 or 4 missile tanks, or a run to reload after Zebetites.

Now, to consider something significantly different, Phantoon --> Ridley --> Kraid --> Draygon.
Phantoon first is likely the best regardless, you get power bombs early and gravity suit which are necessary for a speed run. After that, you'd go down past Kraid. High Jump boots will definitely be needed. Run through, grab Speed boots, probably all Spazer, Ice, and Wave beams(that order), then go straight on to Ridley's place. It's about the same time for going up from wave beam as going down, but I think going up is easier.
In Lower Norfair, grab the Screw Attack with the GGG, then do a running jump from the energy tank room to manage to wall jump all the way up. It's tricky, but it can be done on NTSC (It's either much harder or plain impossible on PAL).
I think you'll have to use a power bomb and bomb jump to get up the next vertical room though, that'll hurt your time, and the next room will take longer as well without spacejump. The screw attack should make it immensely easier, regardless.
The elite pirates shouldn't take any longer, with their odd resistances:
0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
1800 hp
Supers will work well, but you'll likely only have 10. A quick triple shot can kill them in one jump though. With any luck, they'll drop plenty more supers, so you won't really lose anything.

Then Ridley. Technically, a charged shot takes about 1 1/2 seconds. If you play aggressively and take care to never miss, you can probably fight Ridley with about a shot every 2 1/2 or even 2 seconds. Since you have the screw attack, you can use it plenty as a last-second escape... I probably have a bit too much practice against Ridley. Meh.

With this path, it's questionable if you should grab the Plasma beam or not. The only real use would be for Mother Brain.

Also, with Draygon last, there are three viable path to Mother Brain: Through the WRecked Ship, through the area with the first power bombs, and through the old Tourian.

And I think I need to go now.
Yeah, ice is necessary, all that stuff was about whether to get it before getting the speed booster or not.  And yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if wave took that long to get.  I was just estimating off the top of my head.

You probably have a point about the high-jump, as I just remembered another room where it might be needed to complete a particular jump without bjing or taking a long way around: the bottom of maridia mainstreet. :/  Then the grapple room in maridia just before draygon also scares me.

And if we do get it, the question is whether going ice first and freezing a ripper in the bubble room is faster than dropping down to get it and getting ice when we have the speed booster.  Or if dbjing up the bubble room is faster than dropping down to get it.  Or if that psycho-walljump you can use in the bubble room even without the hi-jump is prohibitively difficult.

By concentrating on the ridley fight, I was trying to see whether there was a significant difference in the two routes based on the only thing I could calculate without spending time using a stopwatch and going through some rooms.  Thus the whole ridley thing, which managed to prove (assuming my math skills haven't failed) that, if you're going to get plasma, go draygon first.  That saved me time. :P

The only room I'm really concerned with spacejump-wise is the one vertical  room in lower norfair you mentioned, just before the acid room.  But you could possibly freeze a pirate along the wall and stand on top of him to jump...  the acid room would just take ~5-8 secs longer if my memory is correct.

I don't believe we should go for the screw at all.  You can avoid/go through all the enemies without it, and I don't know if you can even damage-boost off of enemies if you have it (without disabling it, which makes it worthless).
Just wanted to note that you don't have to fight the Golden Torizo to get Screw Attack. Just use the Green Gate glitch and you can get it directly from the exit. But even on this way I'm still not sure if it will be faster or slower. I guess someone have to test it to know more.

What I wonder is how do you want to skip Kraid and go for Phantoon first? You need the Speed Booster and have to go through the heat which the normal suit won't stand. ANd fighting Kraid first won't take more time than fighting later since you can kill him with 4 quick Super Missiles before he even raises up.

Or have I missed a even faster trick/route?
Time bomb set get out fast!
Your point about not saving time by delaying the Kraid fight makes sense to me.  Having the Plasma Beam shouldn't help, because it takes two charged Plasma shots to kill him (though only one to kill Phantoon, IIRC from my space-time beam experimentation).

As for the Speed Booster, however, it's possible to get it without Varia if you have enough Energy Tanks.  I've done it before.  For that matter, you don't need the Speed Booster to get to the Wrecked Ship any more than you need the Grapple Beam -- bombs are all it takes if you have the skill.
Doing Ridley before Kraid  would be pretty stupid imo, because you would need 10 or more Energy Tanks for that.

As for Ridley before Phantoon, the Ridley fight would be much slower because you don't have Plasma AND the one Super Missile Tank. That would mean 10 Super for Ridley= 6000 Damage, so there is quite much left.
You could get the second Super in Wrecked Ship though. I actually think that this could be useful for Kraid-Phantoon->Draygon->ridley,too, because it doen't take all that much time to get it.
Embarrasing Fact: Power suit made by lowest bidder
It's probably theoretically faster to skip the screw attack, but it makes it so immensely easier that I think you'll get a better time anyways when getting it.

Phantoon first only requires a good wall jump. It's really just as fast as super jumping across, though you won't be able to super jump through the next room.
It also takes a frame-perfect jump, but there's a convenient save just a bit before it for quick retries.
Phantoon would take 3 charged plasma/ice/wave shots. Not that it matters, since getting Plasma before Phantoon would be an utter waste in a speed run.

The wall jump up to speed boots is real easy, even without the high jump. Just go in the save room, then run out and jump at the last moment. Getting up the *left* wall without high jump boots is a real nightmare, though.
The room that will cause the problem is the first heat room. It's just a quick mid-air morph and two double bomb jumps, but it's still a waste of time.
Time bomb set get out fast!
You can get across with a wall jump?  Funny, that was never mentioned in the 15% Walkthrough by -- oh yeah.  You.  Well, you should update it.
Quote from XtraX:
Doing Ridley before Kraid  would be pretty stupid imo, because you would need 10 or more Energy Tanks for that.

The Gravity Suit protects one from heat.
The reason I want to delay kraid till after upper norfair items is so you can use the speed booster in that one long hallway.  There's no other reason. :P

Phantoon before kraid saves a couple trips up and down brinstar.  He can also be easily killed in one round via missiles (run closer to him slowly so that he doesn't break his stun time - doppler effect!)... at least, I think so.  The TASer whom I'm stealing this strat from said it was easy to do, but I haven't ever tried.

And since you don't need the wave/spazer charge for the phantoon fight anymore, there's not much need for spazer unless you go ridley before draygon.

As for the screw attack, I seriously didn't notice any lowering of the difficulty.  Every pirate is easily avoided, and you can easily just shoot and go through the kihunters without taking damage (or damage boost!).

I think you can make it up the first heat room without bjing.  I swear I did once.  Try crouching, turning around, jump while turning, and see if samus spins as she jumps. (edit: yeah, I just tried, that fails.  I must have had hi-jump and not realized it or something.)

Btw, kej, what are MBs damage multipliers?  The same as ridleys?
I('d) like to watch (some MP3 runs)
Quote from Maur:
The reason I want to delay kraid till after upper norfair items is so you can use the speed booster in that one long hallway.  There's no other reason. :P

Phantoon before kraid saves a couple trips up and down brinstar.  He can also be easily killed in one round via missiles (run closer to him slowly so that he doesn't break his stun time - doppler effect!)... at least, I think so.  The TASer whom I'm stealing this strat from said it was easy to do, but I haven't ever tried.

I was told by the TAS'er that found this that you'd need turbo to actually pull it off on a console.
Yes, its the Phantoon quick Kill and I highly doubt it will be possible to make on console. You not only have to use the shot button on the earliest possible frame, but also have to move exactly step by step foreward. Just going foreward without stops during the doppler effect will make Samus reach Phantoon too early and you can't get enough shots in this time to kill him that way.

I also started to work on a TAS on this game and will try to complete it in less than 24 min, with the Phantoon first route maybe even faster! I haven't even noticed this route before so I want to thank you guys for writing such usefull hints here.
Nevermind then. :/
I('d) like to watch (some MP3 runs)
It's just the passing of the baton, whether the holders want to pass it off or not.

Wouldn't Draygon first be horribly slow for how long it takes to get up in some rooms without the gravity suit? Half the run (or more) would be in Maridia.
How about Phantoon->Draygon->Kraid/Ridley->Ridley/Kraid?

Also, is there any way to get across the area with the Missile before Wrecked Ship?
Yes, Kej mentioned it already. You need a frame perfect jump or bomb-jumping skills.

Maridia without Gravity is definitely out of question IMO. The movement is just to slow no matter what you do.

Fighting Draygon after Phantoon will lose some speed because you don't have Speed Booster HJ Boots and also the Wave Beam which would cut off the fighting time however the early Plasma is good.

Man I even start to believe that a sub 20 min run would be possible with the best route.  In a TAS you don't have to fear about errors and maybe a Phantoon -> Ridley -> Kraid -> Draygon route would be indeed even faster. The only question is geting Plasma for MBrain or not.