Now we come to the decider; Hard to the Core.
You need to do a speed run of under an hour without dying once (this must be done in a New Game). Before doing this, I recommend you go through the game once or twice so you know all the encounters, how to do them quickly and where you keep dying. If you die during these test runs, keep going. Record your deaths, and use chapter select to practice the parts you are struggling on. I link two videos below; the first one does the game extremely quickly and should be looked at for the optimum route through the game, the second one (Maka91) gives commentary on each specific point.
There's no point being scared of this achievement, it just takes practice and perseverance. It is frustrating but also very rewarding upon completion. I go into detail on the "legit" method (i.e. doing it in 1 run), but also mention a more temperamental, possibly easier method of cloud saving instead.
Timing Under an Hour Tips:
Timing is extremely tight. There is also no in-game timer (I actually recommend you don't as it'll make you more nervous).
Load screens do not count towards the timer. There are 4/5 load screens, each about 45 seconds long.
Pause screens do not count towards the timer. If you are doing well but have come to an uncertain part you can pause and look at a guide without adding time.
The intro cutscene (approx 45 seconds) and the ending walk sequence (about 2 minutes, 30 seconds) do count towards your timer.
If you have managed to pause and restart a checkpoint / quit to the menu before the autosave symbol has appeared at the bottom you are fine. If you have died, whilst online, and see an autosave symbol after your death then I am afraid your run is over.
If you restart from checkpoint before the autosave you are fine, but this will add time to your timer.
As a recommended alternative to checkpoint restarts, quitting out to menu when you anticipate death, then resuming from the main menu does not add time (as far as I am aware.)
Do not attempt to collect any collectibles.
If you do decide to time this, don't be alarmed if you're nearly at 30 mins by the end of Ch. 2. The last 2 chapters are considerably shorter, so you'll make time there.
No Death Tips:
Practice the game 1-2 times before attempting this.
Any instance where an enemy grabs you (i.e. janitor, chefs, guests) or emits light at you (geisha) are instakills with instant autosaves. If you are even close to being caught, you are better playing it safe by pausing, quitting out to the main menu, then resuming the game.
Any instance where you are about to fall to your death (i.e. off a pipe) is not instant. As soon as you know you're going to fall, pause, then quit out to the main menu, then resume the game.)
I've attached Maka91's Twitch highlight for "Hard to the Core; he did an excellent run hours before mine which was speed-efficient and rather safe. My run was similar to this, albeit doing a few different things in different places.
On top of Timing advise, no Death advice and providing Maka's video for reference, i'll also provide bullet points below of the areas I found difficult and my route through the game.
My Tips for Harder Sections (Special Attention to Chapters 2 & 3):
Easy for the most part. Only 2 "tricky" sections are the light puzzles.
For the 2 light puzzles, hide behind the first object (a pillar in the first instance, a wardrobe in the second) and then go "around" the light sphere by hugging the background wall. Watch Maka's video for reference.
For the only Janitor encounter of the level, simply sprint through the room(sprint/jump for a boost). If you are quick enough, he shouldn't notice you.
Run through until you see the Janitor for the first time. Sprint jump past him, through the gap (screen side right) into a dark room, and move back into the previous room when the Janitor enters. Enter the dark room one more time and he should close the door. Pull the lever and run.
Shoe room; make a running jump start, move calmly but quickly through the shoes to the next suitcase, and each timemaking
a sprint running jump to the next suitcase. You should have buckets of time here, and should also be able to easily anticipate a death if you royally screw it up.
Chase scene. Stay calm, slide under the pipe. When you're in the elevator, pick the box in the top left or top right and hide.
When you're under the floor, follow the exact same strategy as before. Wait for him to exit right, grab the monkey whilst crawling on the carpet and throw it as far to the left as you can. Staying crouched the entire time, move through the gap, hug the front of the screen and make your way up the shelves. Easy unless made difficult. If he chases you before you reach the shelves quit out and resume.
In the clock room, it will again be the same exact strategy as before. Sprint to the right and slide/crouch to the general screen right area by the button (making sure you're on the carpet.) When he moves left, stay crouched on the carpet, grab a shoe and throw it at the elevator when the clocks go off. Then sprint.
Move through the first book room and complete the piano platforming section as normal until you see the janitor again. Crawl behind him, until you reach the next room and, you guessed it, the same strategy as before. Climb the top of the books screen-left, run and jump off and when on the floor again get through the gap straight ahead, before climbing more books to the gap in the wall. Hover over pause here as it is normally a close call. Then activate the TV, grab the lever, crouch in the corner by the suitcase and move around him to the gap in the bookcase. Move through, and run around (or through the 2nd gap in the bookcase nearest the door if you can see it), activate the lever and platform with the piano to the gap on the far right side.
After the steam room with the cart, make sure you hold onto the door until it is fully open!
Now is the unpleasant, nerve-racking ending. When you reach the area with the two arm holes in the wall move past the first and hide by the pipes so you are slap bang in the middle of the 2 holes. When you see his right arm move up the pipe, sneak past and sprint to safety. In the chase sequence, just sprint to the right side of the train tracks and slide under the door.
Last area, same tactic as before. Wait on the boxes to the top left and watch his right arm. As soon as it flops from the laundry cart to the floor, his arms will straighten - at this moment run to the cage, pick a side and pull. Rinse and repeat, pulling the opposite side of the cage you pulled the first time, and he's down.
Your first time in the kitchen (after pulling the cart and jumping into the pantry) sneak under the chef's table, into the gap and watch out for the cans. Then carefully make your way to the shelves. Take the stairs nearest the cauldron, don't loop around. This is one of the more unpredictable parts of the game.
On top of the beams directly after the last part, don't sprint (even on a speedrun). It's incredibly easy to fall off. You won't die, but you'll have to climb back up with chef now knowing where you are
When you are in the dark bedroom to grab the key, run to the left, jump on the shelf above the radiator, onto the key and swing back and forth. As soon as it drops, grab the key with RT and sprint, sprint, sprint to the right and go straight to the elevator switch. When there, release RT, activate the switch, pick up the key and run into the elevator (DONT try to jump in, you'll throw the key and you can lose it). Even though the chef will be alerted he never got to me in time. If you really panic quit, resume and after grabbing the key hide under the bed instead (adds a good 20 seconds, though.)
Second time in the kitchen take the same route under the chef's table and through the gap minding the pots, and take the stairs closest to the screen instead of the one closest to the cauldron. Be advised that a pot will have dropped and broken from your time on the beams; go around with caution.
After the meat puzzle, swing through and you'll get to the elevator switch. Like we did in Playthrough 1 activate it, and hide in the crate. You can hide in the top right corner but he will sometimes find you. When you can, make a break for it, then on the top level hide in the gap.
When you've successfully hidden, crouch and follow him to the table in this room where he chops the meat, then sprint and jump past him. This will alert him. Keep sprinting into the next room, and in the 2nd room run towards the screen and to the right, where there is a hole in the wall. After sliding through that, sneak under this same hole, so he can’t find you. He’ll look around, eventually, he’ll get bored and leave, allowing you to grab the key on the table and move to the elevator.
Underground washing area; climb through the floorboards until you're at an opening symmetrical to the table. Sprint past, through the gap and into the room with the lever. Wait until the chefs are in there with you, and reload checkpoint. You'll be in the room with the lever without any enemies bothering you. Pull the lever, move carefully to the window and as soon as a chef enters jump through the window, back to the gap we slid through before. Then just wait for an opening and grab the plates. (if you want a safer route, Maka has one, but it does take a bit longer. Its up to you.)
Jump onto the hook, hold RT and jump onto the cart of plates. Pause, as I'd strongly recommend watching Maka's video here for reference. Run through, slide under the table. When you get to the final hook conveyor, don't panic. Wait a mere moment and jump on the first possible hook to your left. Hover over the pause button and pause as soon as you think you have latched onto the hook. Pausing normally beats the autosave if you do die, and you can normally tell if you were successful or missed it. If so, restart / quit and resume.
When you remain calm, this Chapter is very easy, if you panic you can risk cheap deaths. Ironically, the closest I came to dying on my perfect run was falling off the pipes in the opening moments on Ch. 4. Also be careful of when you go outside and climb the long chain, as the light contrast can mess up your timing. Even if you're speed running, it's better to go slower than sprint and waste your run.
There are not many time-saving tricks in Chapter 4. Just go from chase sequence to chase sequence as quick as you can. The hardest portion is probably mid-way through where you have to navigate the table after the initial chase. Go in a zig zag formation, and jump. Again, watch videos on this part.
No time-saving tricks at all in Chapter 5, and except for the single doll it will be identical to the written walkthrough. Run up to the bedroom, sneak past the Geisha, smash the pot, grab the key, sprint to unlock the door. Then run casually until the Geisha is chasing you, then sprint for the gap. After this just grab the mirror, stay calm, and take the Geisha out. If you think you'll be caught quit out and resume.
Don't forget the 2-3 minute sequence at the end of the game where you need to keep moving forward after your final "meal". I think this counts to the timer.
CLOUD SAVING METHOD
NOTE: There is a "cloud saving method" which theoretically allows you to start chapters online, play offline and upon death erase your local save, at which point you can re-download an online save. As amazing a find as it is by Clad Master and Maka91, it won't always work. The method for doing so, if you wish to do so, is the following (credit to, and direct quote of, Maka91; additional shout-out of Clad Master as well)
This strategy goes as follows:
- Disconnect from internet
- Start "New Game"
- Complete a chapter while offline and stop right before it ends.
- Connect to the internet if you are happy with your performance and complete the chapter to "lock-in" that run.
- Quit Little Nightmares
- Repeat the process for every chapter individually making sure you connect and complete the chapter if you are happy with it.
- If you die, dashboard out of the game and connect to the internet. Load the game and "load cloud save".
- Repeat the steps until you beat the game.
You will unlock this achievement right once you ascend the long stairs at the end of Chapter 5 you should pop this right at the very top, as the screen is about to fade to black for the end credits. It is one of the most dramatic unlocks you'll ever experience.
And with that, you should have a very satisfying, fun, and rewarding 1000G! I hope you enjoyed this wonderful game.
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