Just completed a No-Merchant run.. (SPOILERS)

#1BimmyLeePosted 4/27/2012 1:13:41 AM
My first completed "special" run; on Pro. And boy was it hard. Ok, not all of it, but there were certainly some hellish parts (damn you, knights!). There were also a few parts where it didn't make much difference, like the bulldozer sequence or the wrecking-ball room. In any case, I have a new appreciation for that Merchant guy now. I did somewhat abuse those save points towards the end, (mostly because I was striving for perfection at that point), and it took me 9h40m to complete the game, but I wasn't going for speed. I'm sure this kind of run would be exponentially harder if you set yourself a target of, say, less than 5 hours.

I didn't follow any extra rules (like no-rocket launcher); the only rule was that the Merchant didn't exist. So I did pick up the free weapons not found inside the Merchant shop, but obviously, I couldn't upgrade them, nor could I upgrade the attache: I picked up the Shotgun in the Village, the Broken Butterfly in the Castle and the Rocket-Launcher also in the Castle.

The two single most frustrating things of playing like this definitely have got to be: 1.The tiny attache case (10x6), and 2.The lack of a rifle. (The lack of power in your weapons is bad too, obviously.)

1. It's bad enough that you only have 60 squares for all your weapons and items, but since I decided to save the rocket launcher for Salazar, that left me with only 14 squares for ammo, grenades and healing-items from the beginning of chapter 4-1 till the end of 4-4. I decided it was worth it to save it for Salazar because I figured it would take insane amounts of ammo, skill and patience to kill him with non-upgraded weapons, and I think it was the right decision in the end. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if I wanted to use it on Salazar or on Verdugo, but then I realized you don't need to kill Verdugo; you just need to wait 4 minutes (according to the in-game text at least) for the elevator to arrive, so I used the "door trick" to keep him outside the elevator room until I could escape.

2. The rifle...playing without a rifle is simply torture. There are lots of places where not having one really sucks; the two most annoying being the two times you can't reach Ashley and you have to protect her from the waves of Zealots. Also, even in parts where the rifle is not that essential, it's still a shame not to have one, because the game is SO much easier and fun with one. Once I got the Broken Butterfly, I could at least use it to snipe some targets somewhat decently, but up to then, the non-upgraded handgun surely sucks for sniping (and it just plainly sucks at everything in the last chapters, btw). I can see the lack of a rifle being much more bearable if you have the TMP to rely on. (I know some people don't use a rifle and do just fine, so I assume they must use the TMP to supplant it?)

Finally, I have to say that doing this run felt like a knifing-run at times, and like a speed-run at times, due to the extra need for ammo conservation and the inability to properly fight in some sections because of the low firepower. (I had to knife "it" quite a bit, for example, since I only managed to save 3 incendiary grenades for that battle, and I wasn't sure if I could afford to use my magnum ammo to kill him.)
In the end it was fun and, most of all, quite satisfying to be able to beat the game that way on Pro. But I also feel one time was enough, as I'm not planning on ever doing a similar run. (At least that's how I feel now.) Amazing to think how much, much more difficult a knife-only run could be.

Thanks to anyone who read this; I just wanted to share my experience with this run.

...But if someone who's done a similar run (or anybody else) wants to comment, that'd be cool too.
#2heartlessangelPosted 4/27/2012 1:55:13 AM(edited)
The free RL is a massive waste of precious space. Salazar can be defeated quite easily using BB alone. Around 18 shots will get the job done. Anyway, well done for completing this run.
#3HassunPosted 4/27/2012 3:09:48 AM
Congratulations on the run. And yeah it's not a good idea to try to lug around that rocket launcher everywhere.
Normally pick it up and then use it shortly afterwards on Verdugo. Or sell it. And since selling was out the of the question I'd have just used it on Verdugo.
Straight to the pointless.
#4BimmyLee(Topic Creator)Posted 4/27/2012 10:09:26 AM
Thanks guys. Yeah, obviously I did spend some time pondering the pros and cons of holding to that rocket launcher for and entire main-chapter, and there were times when I wondered if it was worth it. But as it turned out, it worked really well. I was not fond on spending all my magnum ammo on Salazar because I thought I may regret it later on in chapter 5, where I would need it for the 2 JJs and for sniping various key targets. I also didn't like the idea of killing him with handgun ammo, because it would take very long and I'm not that good dodging his attacks or hitting the eye for that long, so he probably would have hit me several times if I didn't kill him quickly.

I got around the problem of the very limited attaché space through chapter 4 by: (mostly) knifing the twin-Garradors; avoiding to fight Verdugo; knifing one of the twin-Gigantes (I made the other one fall into the lava, obviously); and speed-running through the 2 Dr.Salvadors area before the Mine. My main problem in chapter 4 was the Knigts room, because I only had 2 flash grenades, and I need 4 to beat that room comfortably.

I did an alternate save in the beginning of chapter 4-1, so maybe I could try things without the rocket launcher some other time. It may be easier, like you both say. An alternative would be to use it early on for the twin-Garradors.
#5red255Posted 4/27/2012 6:16:06 PM
right now I as considering a 'rusty' run thru pro.

which is basically don't play RE4 for 3+ years then boot up the game and try to make it thru pro.

no rocket launchers (even the free one) may be fired. and the normal costumes must be used. but beyond that I haven't thought to restrict myself further for this run.

its probably more challenging than some runs I did of the game back in the day.
If the next one is called, because of his MO, the underwear bomber, you'll know I'm on to something. Calvin Trillin June 16, 2006.
#6HassunPosted 4/29/2012 4:36:41 AM

Yeah, using it on the Garradors is also an option if you are having trouble with them. As for saving the magnum rounds, I don't think it's worth it.
The first time I played RE4 I was still using the old RE mentality of saving those rare magnum rounds.

... And then the game was over and I had an attaché case with 60+ magnum rounds in it.
Straight to the pointless.
#7BimmyLee(Topic Creator)Posted 4/30/2012 1:53:45 PM
I agree. The game does lose much of its challenge when you remember the spawn locations of virtually every enemy in it, so a "rusty" run would likely be tough. Interesting concept, haha!

Definitely. In a normal Pro run, I spend my magnum rounds in such trivial things as armored-Zealots and the Novistador hive, because as you say, if you are too conservative you end up with too many unused rounds at the end of the game. It was only in a No-Merchant run that I felt compelled to save them because my other weapons were cr*p.
#8red255Posted 4/30/2012 2:24:09 PM
BimmyLee posted...
I agree. The game does lose much of its challenge when you remember the spawn locations of virtually every enemy in it, so a "rusty" run would likely be tough. Interesting concept, haha!

Not so much the spawns but the timings for the knife with no damage.
If the next one is called, because of his MO, the underwear bomber, you'll know I'm on to something. Calvin Trillin June 16, 2006.
#9BimmyLee(Topic Creator)Posted 4/30/2012 6:29:34 PM
Btw, I meant shield-bearing Zealots, not armored.

Oh i see. I haven't used the knife that extensively, but from what I have, I know it can be very tricky in some situations.
#10HassunPosted 5/2/2012 6:34:47 AM

The knife is lord and master in RE4.
Straight to the pointless.