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    Speed Guide by breslin_

    Version: 1 | Updated: 09/08/06 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    =======================================================================
    ==                      Freelancer "Done Quick"                      ==
    =======================================================================
    
    2006 Steve Breslin
    
    License
    =======
    
    You will be welcome to republish this howsoever you like, but please do
    not alter the text in any way, and please let me know in advance. My
    contact information is at the end of the file.
    
    Introduction
    ============
    
    This walkthrough should get you the best possible time for the regular
    single-player campaign.
    
    One of the main reasons I like this challenge is that it forces you not
    only to do things as quickly as you can, but to change your style of
    play to the fastest technique -- "speed kill" generally speaking -- and
    to choose your ship, weapons and path, not only for what makes things
    faster immediately, but what will maximize time saved in later missions.
    It's a fiendishly delicate balance.
    
    Note that it is possible to beat certain sections of the game faster
    than recorded here: for example, you can beat Mission 1 faster if you
    buy a Javelin at the beginning, and keep the Starflier for the entire
    mission; or you can get a Catapult before the battle with the Schiller
    battlegroup. But doing these things puts you at a disadvantage later on,
    either for equipment or cash, and ultimately for time. 
    
    I have tried literally dozens of alternatives, and even after
    establishing the plan I tried everything I could think of to improve or
    disprove it. By my testing, it is rock-solid best.
    
    Naturally, I will be extremely happy to hear if you find any change of
    plan to beat the game faster. (Such as flying a different ship, making
    different stops, a significantly more efficient loadout, etc.) I would
    very much like to learn about any improved plan, and would be very happy
    to update this walkthrough and credit you. My contact information is at
    the end of this file.
    
    Lame Time-Saving Techniques
    ===========================
    
    Unfortunately, the game permits "lame" time-saving techniques: lame
    because they do not require any skill or planning, just a little
    creative exploitation of game features.
    
    It's unfortunate, but we are going to exploit these features
    nevertheless -- not because we wish to be lame, of course, but to
    eliminate all ambiguity about what we mean by "fastest time." The only
    way to safeguard the "fastest time" against false or accidental
    inflation is to adopt lameness as an absolute principle from the
    beginning.
    
    Many of the cutscenes can be skipped by exploiting Freelancer's
    load/save and autosave features. These techniques are fairly simple and
    will be detailed at each point where they become relevant.
    
    I have performed the on-planet menu operations as quickly as I can
    (buying and selling items, etc.). I normally rehearse once to figure out
    the operations and their order, and then just try to do it fluidly. I
    frequently make use of [F1] (Pause), when traveling between location
    screens.
    
    If you load "Autosave" after exiting a jump (through a jump
    gate or jump hole), you will cut a few seconds off your time.
    
    Also note that the "LOADING" time during jump gate/hole traversal counts
    on the game clock, so if you have a faster computer you have a small
    advantage.
    
    Finally, I have not allowed myself to be lane-jacked, except in the two
    instances where this is part of the mission. (The first part of Mission
    1, where the Rogues jack the lane between Ft. Bush and Pittsburgh; and
    the middle part of Mission 7, when the two Rheinland Cruisers jack the
    unfinished lane in Tau-31.
    
    So, I seriously apologise for the lameness; I figured this is the only
    way to level the field, so that fastest times could be compared evenly.
    
    Good Time-Saving Techniques
    ===========================
    
    Always either thrust or cruise all the way to the trade lane, hitting
    "Dock" or [F3] only at the very last second. The same goes for jump
    gates and jump holes: wait until your distance is very nearly "0", then
    dock. (In other words, never use the docking autopilot.)
    
    If the trade lane is farther than 1700m, it's faster to cruise to it.
    Less and it's faster to thrust to it.
    
    Docking on a planet can be sped up if you cruise or thrust *past* the
    pincher thingies, between the stationary bars, and *then* dock. You
    can't [Esc] the docking animation if you do this, but I think it's still
    a tiny bit faster. Note that this is also useful
    
    Other general strategies are noted in the body of the walkthrough, as
    they become relevant.
    
    Preliminaries
    =============
    
    When you get to the Manhattan screen, save immediately. (We'll call this
    "Start" so we can refer back to this file.) There's no way to skip the
    intro, so the time is exactly...
    
    0:02:45
    
    The next few things to do in the game involve cut-scenes. These can be
    skipped (although it's a tiny bit tricky), and we will do this to
    preserve time on the clock.
    
    First, go to the bar. When the cutscene begins (talking with the
    bartender), load your "Start" file. (Seems kind of pointless, yes, but
    it's not....) After that, simply load "Autosave" -- you have skipped the
    bartender conversation.
    
    (If yours is a clean install of Freelancer, or you have deleted your
    "Autosave" file, talking to the bartender will produce an "Autosave"
    file, which you can load, skipping the intermediate step -- but it
    doesn't matter either way.)
    
    Now, talk to Juni in the bar. As soon as the cutscene begins, load the
    "Start" file. Then, load "Autosave" -- you have skipped the first
    conversation with Juni.
    
    Finally, go to the equipment dealer screen. You cannot skip the first
    half of the final introductory cutscene. When you hit the [ACCEPT]
    button, your first "Mission 01" file is created. Load this file to skip
    the end of the cutscene.
    
    You will now be in possession of your Starflier, with a minimum of time
    passed on the game clock:
    
    0:03:53
    
    Mission 1
    =========
    
    Overview:
    
      On Manhattan...
    
        Sell nanobots, shield batteries, and shield.
        Buy 16 units of Pharmaceuticals.
    
      Perform the "rogue bounty" maneuver for an additional 750 credits.
    
      On Pittsburgh...
    
        Sell Pharmaceuticals, nanobots, and shield batteries.
        Buy a Rhino, one Javelin launcher, and one Stunpulse Turret.
    
        New loadout:
          Javelin
          2x Justice I
          Stunpulse Turret
    
      Loot the DSE H-fuel depot on return to Manhattan.
    
    Note:
    
    Mission 1 can be completed faster, but only if you put yourself at a
    disadvantage for the rest of the campaign. If you begin as recommended
    here, it becomes feasible to skip the Balboa, acquire a Crusader in
    Bretonia, and the Lugers at Bruschal. Plus, the moment you get the
    Rhino/Stunpulse combo, you start recuperating the time lost in the first
    leg of Mission 1, and by the end of Mission 3 the time stands dead even.
    (Although Mission 2 is a bit slower with a Rhino than it is with a
    Patriot.)
    
    (However, if you really want to do Mission 1 the fastest by itself, I
    would recommend starting out by selling all batts/bots, your shield
    itself, and one of the Justices, and buying a Justice II and a Javelin
    on Manhattan, then replacing your remaining Justice I with an Eraser
    when you reach Pittsburgh. (Incidentally, this is the fastest way to get
    to Pittsburgh.) Note that the Javelin/Eraser technique is a bit tricky
    -- you must fire the Eraser a half-second before you fire the Javelin,
    or else the Javelin is ineffective.)
    
    So, the first mission in detail:
    
    The first thing to do is sell your nanobots, shield batteries, and
    shield. The first part of Mission 1 is pretty lightweight, so ditching
    the shield isn't as suicidal as it may sound.
    
    You could buy a third Justice I, and hope that you get enough batt/nano
    drops to compensate, but this happens very rarely, and you'll sell that
    third Justice as soon as you hit Pittsburgh anyhow.
    
    In any case, spend the rest on Pharmaceuticals to sell on Pittsburgh.
    
    (At this or any later point, you could optionally acquire a mine
    dropper, but we're not using mines at all for most of the walkthrough. I
    simply couldn't find any place where their use would speed things up
    significantly, and their cost-to-damage ratio is the worst of all
    munitions. -- Doing it quick means we're extremely short on cash until
    the middle of Mission 10.)
    
    Once out...
    
    "Mission 01: Avenge the Donau" 0:05:35
    
    ...dispatch the Order as quickly as possible. Try to score as many kills
    as possible here, because each kill is another chance for an additional
    shield battery or nanobot -- and at this point you desperately need
    every credit you can get.
    
    After the Order ships are destroyed (and without waiting for King's
    instructions), fly directly to the Fort Bush trade lane. You should have
    just enough time to actually get there before King gives you the
    waypoint. You'll burn a few seconds waiting for King to catch up, but
    it's best to remain in front rather than add extra time to the clock.
    
    "Mission 01: Join the Convoy" 0:07:56
    
    Cruise to the USV Brandt, join formation, and proceed as usual to the
    Liberty Rogue ambush. Destroy the pirates quickly, and during the short
    interval before the second wave appears, reorient yourself and fly in
    the direction of the Pittsburgh lane.
    
    Destroy three additional Rogues, then hop the lane to Pittsburgh,
    docking there as soon as possible.
    
    Mission 1 Interlude
    ===================
    
    The savegame file automatically generated "Mission 01: Pittsburgh, New
    York" is created just after you dock with Pittsburgh and *before* King
    starts talking. Load it, and you effectively save the time spent on
    King's first dialogue with Trent, and go directly to the "Planet Menu"
    screen.
    
    "Mission 01: Pittsburgh, New York" 0:12:02
    
    Sell any acquired loot (including shield batteries and nanobots), plus
    the pharmaceuticals, and buy a Rhino.
    
    Before you buy, repair your Starflier if it is at all damaged. Ships are
    worth a lot more when they're in tip-top shape. (Yes, it's much more
    than the repair cost.) Ships are the only piece of equipment which are
    better to repair before selling.
    
    Buy one Javelin missile launcher and a Stunpulse Turret. Buy also as
    many Javelin missiles as you can afford. (If you were at all lucky with
    loot drops, you will be able to afford enough Javelins to complete the
    mission comfortably, and still burn a few on the DSE depot. If you were
    very unlucky with loot drops, you might have to reload the Donau
    savegame.)
    
    (You probably already know this, but it's essential, so I mention it:
    Your missiles are *significantly* faster if you are moving at top speed
    when you fire them. They also do more damage when they're moving faster.
    I almost always hit THRUST before firing a missile, to maximize the
    speed and damage of the missile.)
    
    Mission 1 Continued
    ===================
    
    Thrust to your wing, and join formation. You will then fly to rescue the
    prison ship, all as usual. Defeat the Rogues with the regular barrage of
    Justice/Stunpulse and Javelin. The guns are really for the shields, and
    the missile for the hull. I highly recommend the "fire and forget"
    technique -- turning to the next target as soon as the missile leaves
    the tube.
    
    "Mission 01: Continue the Search Pattern" 0:15:24
    
    After you knock out all the Rogues, fly directly towards planet
    Manhattan, on the other side of the nearby moon. When the waypoint pops
    up, you should already be very near it. You'll run into a couple waves
    of Rogues. Dispatch them quickly.
    
    "Mission 01: Beta 4 Reports" 17:01
    
    Then, fly towards the left side of the brown nebula cloud, towards
    another waypoint soon to appear. When you get inside the cloud, you'll
    probabably be pointed directly at the base, but it's possible you'll
    have to look around for a second.
    
    Spot the base, and ignore everything except the weapon platforms.
    
    You've gotten to the base before you're supposed to, so the weapons
    platforms are a little funny. You can deal them damage, but you cannot
    entirely destroy them. (You can get them all the way down, though.)
    Therefore, flatline one of them, then move on to the other. Flatline it
    also, and when King makes his announcement about the "weapons
    platforms," destroy them quickly. Without further ado, fly immediately
    out of the cloud, more-or-less between Manhattan and Pittsburgh. You'll
    be well on your way when the little mini-cutscene appears where the base
    is destroyed.
    
    "Mission 01: Criminal Base Destroyed" 0:20:00
    
    Simply cruise your ship between planets Pittsburgh and Manhattan, and
    you'll encounter a trade gate easily. If you fly at an angle, more
    towards Manhattan, you'll decrease your time spent in the trade lane,
    and decrease your chance of being lane-jumped. You have to wait for Juni
    to finish talking before you can dock with the trade lane, so plan your
    docking gate appropriately.
    
    When you get to the Fort Bush intersection, destroy the silver-colored
    DSE depot on the other side of Baltimore Shipyard. It contains H-fuel,
    which sells well on Manhattan, and (just as important) you will proceed
    directly to Mission 2 when you reach Manhattan. (If you're lucky, there
    will already be pirate activity in the area, which takes some of the
    heat off of your piracy.) Use guns and missiles to destroy all four
    pods.
    
    Then, fly to Manhattan. You can save the game as you're setting down on
    Manhattan. I recommend this, since you can then load the game
    effectively skipping the time spent on the landing-sequence animation.
    
    0:24:04 (on Manhattan, 64 H-fuel in the hold, ready for Mission 2)
    
    Mission 2
    =========
    
    Overview:
    
      On Manhattan...
    
        Sell all 64 units of H-fuel, and both Justice I guns.
        Buy one Justice III, another Javelin, and two Justice II Turrets.
        Replenish your missiles.
    
        New loadout:
          Justice III
          2x Javelin
          Stunpulse Turret
          2x Justice II Turret
    
      Loot the DSE H-fuel depot during the Rogue encounter at Fort Bush.
    
    Note:
    
    You could optionally have Lavablades instead of Justices, but the speed
    is a poor match for the Stunpulse Turret. That said, I am biased against
    Lavablades -- I find them too unforgiving, and I don't like the short
    range -- but others swear by them, so this is obviously a personal
    thing.
    
    In detail:
    
    Talk to Juni.
    
    IN GENERAL: You cannot skip the first half any cutscene which gives you
    the Accept/Reject Mission screen.
    
    Juni will shortly ask you: "The LSF has an important mission for you.
    Are you interested?" After you hit the [ACCEPT] button, a savepoint will
    occur, and you will have begun...
    
    "Mission 02: Manhattan, New York" 24:46
    
    This walkthrough assumes that you load this file, thereby skipping the
    time spent on the rest of this dialogue.
    
    When you hit the launch-pad button another cutscene occurs. At this
    point, another savepoint will occur: "Autosave." However, if you attempt
    to load this file, you will be forced to watch the Lonnigan cutscene
    again. So, load any *other* file, "Mission 02: Manhattan, New York" for
    example. Then, load "Autosave": the standard launch-pad screen appears,
    and you have skipped the cutscene (and the time spent on it).
    
    This walkthrough assumes that you have followed these steps, thereby
    skipping the time spent in the Loony Lonnigan dialogue.
    
    Launch to Mission 2 proper.
    
    When you get to Colorado, begin to cruise immediately, straight ahead.
    The waypoint will appear; reach it and drop out of cruise, cutting your
    engines. Reach the waypoint quickly enough, and the reward is that you
    skip a brief piece of King's dialogue, saving a couple seconds of time.
    
    Turn on the Ships readout, and back up an extra 250-M or more from the
    tradelane. Wait a few seconds, and "Unknown" will appear. If you scan it
    quickly enough, you'll skip another small snippet of King's dialogue.
    Wait until he's about to turn red, then rush him, shooting full missiles
    and gun blasts. If you perfectly time your run at him, you'll be able to
    take immediately this otherwise extremely slippery enemy.
    
    When he is done, set cruise for the gate to Peublo. Time it right, and
    you'll get an automatic savegame when you're just outside the trade
    lane. You'd think this is a good thing, but if you load this savegame,
    King will not enter the lane as soon as you do. Why does this matter? If
    you kill any Rogue at Pueblo before King gives you the objective to
    defend the station, the story will not advance to the next objective.
    (You will find that the upcoming battle at Willard Station has a similar
    constraint.)
    
    At Pueblo, destroy the Rogues as quickly as possible, after the "Defend
    Pueblo" objective has flashed, using the Javelins and Erasers liberally;
    you'll get another savegame, and another waypoint to chase.
    
    You could load this savegame, to skip the brief dialogue with Pueblo
    Station, and to pop up the waypoint, but it's faster to fly into the
    Silverton asteroid field, towards Ouray.
    
    When you get to Ouray, destroy all the fighters and, as King says,
    ignore everything else. When Ashcroft appears, cruise after him as he
    attempts to escape.
    
    (It may be possible to make this last leg of the Ashcroft chase shorter,
    by hitting him with a cruise disruptor. (King's always misses.) I
    haven't been able to do so, and in any case the only places to acquire
    the Wasp by this point are Rochester and Buffalo, both of which are too
    far out of the way to justify the trip: the entire Ashcroft chase is
    considerably shorter than a round-trip to either of these bases.)
    
    When you reach him, use a few Javelins to finish him quickly, tractor
    him in...
    
    "Mission 02: Return Ashcroft" 0:35:21
    
    ...and cruise for the New York jump gate.
    
    When you arrive near Fort Bush, cruise directly to the trade lane facing
    you. When you attempt to dock, Rogues will appear.
    
    First, quickly loosen up the Rogues, so that King, plus the extra Delta
    wing dispatched by Fort Bush, will probably finish them off. Then, fly
    back to the silver DSE Storage Depot, the same one you looted earlier.
    Loot this H-fuel again.
    
    Then, turn to finish the Rogues as necessary with your remaining
    Javelins -- you will probably have just enough. Then, dock with that
    lane.
    
    When you reach the Battleship Missouri, dock quickly: cruise directly
    towards it, to its left-side underbelly. Just as you get under it, hit
    dock, and you'll be able to shave a few seconds, and skip almost all of
    King's departing speech.
    
    When the cutscene starts, load any game EXCEPT "Autosave," then load
    "Autosave" and you will have effectively skipped Juni's cutscene.
    
    This walkthrough assumes that you have used this technique to skip
    Juni's cutscene, and the time spent on it.
    
    0:40:50 (on Battleship Missouri, 64 H-fuel in hold, ready for Mission 3)
    
    Mission 3
    =========
    
    Overview:
    
      On Battleship Missouri:
        Sell most cargo, keeping exactly 16 units of H-fuel.
        Replenish your missiles.
    
      Loot the DSE H-fuel depot on the way to Manhattan.
    
      On California Minor...
        Sell the Justice III.
        Buy a Slingshot, Heavy Thruster, and Cuisse Shield.
        Replenish your missiles.
    
        New loadout:
          2x Javelin
          Slingshot
          Stunpulse Turret
          2x Justice II Turret
    
      (Destroy "LSF Transport 2" for his Artifacts, to sell on Manhattan.)
    
      On Willard...
        Sell all 80 units of H-fuel.
    
      On California Minor...
        Replenish your missiles.
    
      On Manhattan...
        Sell any looted cargo.
        Purchase 80 units of H-fuel.
        Go to the landing pad, save the game, then load that savegame.
    
    Recommended loadout:
    
    Javelin missile launcher
    Javelin missile launcher
    Slingshot missile launcher
    Stunpulse Turret
    2x Justice II Turret
    
    In detail:
    
    On the Battleship Missouri, buy a load of Javelins, and sell most of
    your cargo, reserving 16 units of H-Fuel. On the way to Manhattan, knock
    over the DSE depot the final time, and you'll have exactly a full load,
    which you will keep to sell at Willard. (The Javelins will speed this
    along a bit.)
    
    On Manhattan, when you reach the cutscenes, load any *other* file, then
    load "Autosave."
    
    Upon entering California space, skip the Navy/Rowlett incident by
    loading "Autosave."
    
    On California Minor, trade in your Justice III for a Slingshot, and load
    up on missiles. Also buy a Heavy Thruster and a Cuisse Shield.
    
    Then go [ACCEPT] the mission. (Remember that you cannot skip the opening
    cutscene if it involves accepting a mission.) Skip the second half of
    the cutscene by loading...
    
    "Mission 03: Cali. Minor, California" 48:38
    
    Run the first part of the mission as usual.
    
    (While the Outcasts attack, it is possible to destroy "LSF Transport 2"
    for his load of Artifacts, which you can sell on Manhattan. I have not
    tested this thread, but it may be feasible to then skip the DSE depot by
    New London -- and this would mean probably thirty seconds.)
    
    When you get to Willard, move to the #3 dock, around to the right. Dock
    here, and you won't be competing with Juni for placement in the docking
    queue. Land on Willard...
    
    54:20
    
    ...and sell your load of H-fuel. You don't need to do anything else, not
    even reload missiles, so just take off again right away.
    
    Proceed back towards California minor, quickly dispatching the Valkyries, and
    when you get back to California Minor, skip the cutscene by loading any
    *other* file, then loading Autosave...
    
    56:57
    
    Replenish your missiles and save your game.
    
    The next part is tricky (certainly skill-wise, but also in a couple
    rather dumb ways), so do save your game when you're on California Minor.
    (Don't rely on autosave.)
    
    Run to Walker, and when he says "There you are," remain in cruise and
    head directly to Willard rather than join his formation. You'll get
    there well before him. However, if you start killing things before the
    objective pops up, the objective will freeze (just like at Pueblo if you
    get there before King in Mission 2). Probably the best thing to do is
    soften up the Gunboats, and then bully the fighters until Juni says
    "Good God," after which you can unleash.
    
    The objective also freezes if you destroy all the visible ships before
    the last group (three Rheinland Bombers) pops, so leave a couple
    fighters alive until the bombers appear.
    
    For reference, a decent time to finish the battle is 1:01:20.
    
    After you defend Willard Station, fly directly to Manhattan, and upon
    landing...
    
    1:05:48
    
    ... sell whatever cargo you've collected, and fill your hold with
    H-fuel. This will put you over the level requirement for the next
    mission.
    
    Go to the landing-pad screen, save the game, then load that same
    savegame. You will automatically enter the Mission 4 cutscene. It's very
    silly, yes, but this is the best way to do it.
    
    Do not skip this cutscene, but after you [ACCEPT] Mission 4, you can
    load the "Mission 04" file to skip the rest of the scene.
    
    "Mission 04: Manhattan, New York" 1:07:20
    
    Mission 4
    =========
    
    Overview:
    
      On Mactan...
        Sell all 80 units of H-fuel.
        Replenish your missiles.
    
      On Leeds...
        Buy a load of Optronics.
        Visit Tobias.
        Sell the Optronics, then buy back 35 units of Optronics, and fill
        the rest of your hold with H-fuel.
        Buy two Advanced Stunpulse guns.
    
        (Or you can loot both H-fuel depots by New London, on the way to
        Battleship Norfolk. -- Optionally you can even buy a Clydesdale for
        an even more lucrative trip past New London. -- But I wouldn't
        recommend this very difficult challenge.)
    
      On Battleship Norfolk...
        Sell all H-fuel.
        Buy a Crusader, first selling the shield that comes with it.
        Buy an Advanced Cuisse shield.
        Sell all your guns except for the two Advanced Stunpulses.
        Buy two additional Slingshots and a Windstalker.
    
        Replenish your missiles.
    
        New loadout:
          Windstalker
          3x Slingshot
          2x Advanced Stunpulse
    
      On Cambridge...
        Buy 35 units of Diamonds.
    
    In detail:
    
    Re-stock your missiles if you're low (you probably won't need more than
    15 of each), and blast off.
    
    Until the Unity is destroyed, go into cruise and circle around. When
    Walker tells you "The trade lane is clear!" proceed with the rest of the
    mission as usual.
    
    There's really nothing interesting you can do to speed up the time, at
    least until you reach Magellan. (By the way, there's no skipping the van
    Pelt cutscene, but it produces an additional delay if you load from it,
    as the end of the cutscene plays again -- so ideally you won't get
    killed until you reach Magellan, where the standard system-jump AUTOSAVE
    occurs.)
    
    When the Bounty Hunters appear, if you attack immediately you will be
    able to destroy them all before the Hackers enter the battle. Head to
    Mactan ahead of time as well, and you will be able to beat Juni into the
    base, saving quite a bit of docking-queue time. (But be careful not to
    leave Juni entirely in the dust, or you'll have to backtrack to collect
    her.) Or, rather than waiting for Juni to dock, you can circle quickly
    around to the other side of Mactan, where you'll be placed in a docking
    queue not competing with Juni.
    
    On Mactan...
    
    1:21:15
    
    ...sell the H-fuel, and resupply your missiles.
    
    When you exit Mactan, fly upwards a bit and you can intercept the
    Rheinland fighters as they rain down from above. Knock them out and fly
    to the Leeds jump hole.
    
    After landing on Leeds, but before going to the equipment room to speak
    with Tobias, buy a load of Optronics.
    
    Skip the Tobias cutscene by loading any *other* file, then loading
    "Autosave." (Note, however, that the "After meeting Van Pelt" file
    overwrites "Autosave" -- so don't load that one.)
    
    Sell the Optronics for another cheap and easy levelup, then buy back 35
    units of Optronics (to sell at Cambridge). Fill the rest of your hold
    (45 units) full of H-fuel (to sell on the Battleship Norfolk).
    
    Also be sure to buy two Advanced Stunpulse guns.
    
    (Note that it is more profitable to trade the Rhino for a Clydesdale,
    and fly empty to Planet New London, where you can fill the entire 125
    unit hold with H-fuel pirated from the nearby depots. However, you can
    scrape by without this cash, and it's both time consuming and difficult
    to survive.)
    
    When you get to the Cambridge system (not the planet), take the dog-leg
    by Cardiff to Norfolk, where you can finally shed the Rhino.
    
    Sell the H-fuel and purchase the Crusader. Before you finish the
    purchase, be sure to trade in the Guardian shield that comes with the
    ship. Far better is the Advanced Cuisse, also available from the
    Norfolk. It is the ideal shield for all the enemies you'll encounter
    between here and New Tokyo.
    
    Sell all your guns except for the two Advanced Stunpulses (now
    equipped), buy two additional Slingshots, and a Windstalker, and restock
    your missiles.
    
    Windstalker
    3x Slingshot
    2x Advanced Stunpulse
    
    Or if you want to experiment with an alternate loadout, you could try...
    
    2x Ripper
    3x Slingshot
    Advanced Stunpulse.
    
    By this point you've probably picked up a countermeasure dropper as
    battle loot, and it will have been automatically equiped. You can stock
    up for it, although you probably won't find a great use for it for
    another mission or two. You might want to lay a few on your escape from
    Prague.
    
    Proceed to Cambridge, sell your hold of Optronics, and buy a load of
    Diamonds.
    
    The first half of the cutscene here involves accepting a mission, so go
    through that as usual. After you hit [ACCEPT], load the Mission 5 file.
    
    "Mission 05: Cambridge, Cambridge" 1:34:17
    
    Mission 5
    =========
    
    Overview:
    
      On Baxter...
        Replenish your missiles.
        Switch your loadout.
    
        New loadout:
          Windstalker
          Javelin
          2x Slingshot
          2x Advanced Stunpulse
    
      On Leeds...
        Sell 35 units of Diamonds.
        Buy 35 units of Mining Machinery.
    
    Although you're packing an amazing loadout, single-shot success will be
    rare at this point in the game. No big deal -- just be ready to fire a
    second salvo before the Rheinlander burns.
    
    Like the Binford Station cutscene, you cannot skip the Sprague cutscene.
    When you depart Sprague, just run straight for the cloud, then bear
    right towards Baxter.
    
    To skip the Baxter...
    
    1:44:37
    
    ...cutscene, load any *other* file, then load "Autosave." Otherwise,
    there's nothing to do on Baxter, probably no need to reload missiles
    even, assuming you have thirty or thereabouts, so just blast off.
    
    Use missiles liberally during this fight.
    
    For reference, a good time to finish this fight is 1:46:30
    
    Proceed as usual to this mission's only remaining savepoint...
    
    "Mission 05: Route to Leeds" 1:49:55
    
    ...and proceed to the far easier fight near the Leeds jump hole.
    Dispatch the Rheinlanders as quickly as possible, and when you get back
    to Leeds...
    
    1:54:24
    
    ...load any *other* file, then load "Autosave." Sell the Diamonds for a
    quick levelup, and fill your hold with 15 units of Mining Machinery (for
    sale on the Battleship Hood). No need to restock missiles or anything
    else.
    
    At this point it is possible to get a Catapult (or two), but they'll eat
    your cash too quickly, and they don't speed things up considerably, at
    least not at this point. Certainly it takes longer to collect the
    resources to support a Catapult, compared to the time saved. Anyway, a
    pair of Slingshots does more damage than one Catapult, at almost half
    the cost per shot, and you won't run out if you fly right.
    
    Head to the Hood.
    
    After landing on the Hood go through the Dexter Hovis cutscene and
    [ACCEPT] the mission, then skip the rest by loading any *other* file,
    then loading...
    
    "Mission 06: Hood, Dublin" 2:01:56
    
    Mission 6
    =========
    
    Overview:
    
      On the Hood...
        Sell 35 units of Mining Machinery.
        Buy 35 units of Gold.
        Also buy a Starkiller torpedo launcher, and a load of torpedoes.
        Replenish your missiles.
    
        New loadout:
          Windstalker
          Javelin
          2x Slingshot
          2x Advanced Stunpulse
          Starkiller      
    
    Win the race the first time, of course, to save time, then, when you
    return to the Hood, skip the rest of the Hovis dialogue by loading any
    *other* file, then loading Autosave. Sell your Mining Machinery and top
    off your looted Gold with an additional 15 units. Pick up a Starkiller
    torpedo launcher as well, fill up on torpedoes and refill your missiles.
    
    In case you're not experienced with using torpedoes, I'll explain a
    little bit: They perform just like missiles, but are somewhat slower and
    have a wider turning angle. Like the Stalker missile follows its target
    more closely than the Javelin missile, so the Javelin maneuvers with
    greater agility than the Starkiller torpedo. If the target starts
    turning, the torpedo will probably not be able to turn in time, and will
    shoot past into empty space.
    
    Definitely use a torpedo or three on the upcoming Gunboat, and perhaps
    on one of the fighters on first approach. When I use a torpedo on a
    fighter going head-to-head, I shoot it at a distance of about 1000K (and
    moving at maximum thrust), then follow up with enough Stunpulse to take
    out the shield.
    
    Land on Glorius, and load the file...
    
    "Mission 06: Quintain Found" 2:07:35
    
    The rest of the mission is quite straightforward, but great practice for
    the torpedo technique. Attempt to land a torpedo on a fighter during
    first approach in each of the two remaining battles. If you can reliably
    destroy two fighters with torpedoes on approach, you're zen.
    
    For reference, a good time for entering the Leeds system is 2:10:00.
    
    When you land on Leeds, do *not* attempt to skip the (quite long)
    dialogue, and go straight into...
    
    "Mission 07: Leeds, Leeds" 2:13:48 (ahead 3:16)
    
    Mission 7
    =========
    
    You may not even need to fill up on missiles after accepting the
    mission, but acquire two Advanced Skyrails for later. (Revert to your
    old loadout after buying the guns.)
    
    Escape from Leeds using torpedoes and missiles liberally.
    
    In Tau-31...
    
    2:19:08
    
    ...remain in cruise the whole time after you exit the first lane
    until you finally dock with the other one: as you approach the ambush;
    turn towards the other lane; and proceed to the finished part of that
    lane.
    
    You can't speed up the battle with the two Gunboats (or if you can, the
    paper-thin gain is definitely not worth the munition), so don't even
    waste any missiles on them. Just follow them around so you don't suffer
    much damage, and run as soon as you're permitted to do so.
    
    Shinkaku always wants you to dock at bay 1, so you'll save yourself a
    bit of time if you cruise around back of the right side.
    
    Because the "Shinkaku" savepoint saves outside Shinkaku, not on the
    station itself, you may want to save when you land on Shinkaku...
    
    2:24:35
    
    At this point, change your loadout to...
    
    2x Javelin
    2x Slingshot
    2x Advanced Skyrail
    Starkiller
    
    Also, replenish your missiles.
    
    Now all you have to do is...
    
    "Mission 07: Engage the Rheinland Fleet" 2:27:47 2:31:18
    
    The first part of this battle would be rather difficult, but it's rather
    simple if you run to the Schiller and duck into one of its three holes:
    behind one of the giant bars running along its side, or in the hole at
    the very front. From any of these locations, you can lay into the
    battleship with your guns while it provides you cover, even drawing
    enemy fire itself. Plus, if you set yourself far enough away from the
    sidewall, you'll be able to use your missiles without blowing yourself
    up in the process.
    
    When the Schiller is destroyed, focus on the remaining gunboats, then
    take out any remaining fighters.
    
    On Cali, do not attempt to skip the cutscene: even though this cutscene
    does not involve the acceptance of a mission, the objective only updates
    at the end of it -- otherwise the objective freezes (and you'll have to
    restore and go again through the battle with the Rheinland fleet).
    
    When the cutscene is over...
    
    2:35:17
    
    2:39:50
    
    Proceed to Kyushu as usual, and skip the cutscene by loading any *other*
    file, then loading autosave. Proceed directly to New Tokyo.
    
    On Planet New Tokyo...
    
    2:41:41
    
    ...gain a level by selling all the Gold in your hold.
    
    Move to purchase the Barracuda, but before you select "Buy Ship," select
    the shield icon on the left panel, to sell the gravitron shield that
    comes with the ship. Hold onto your Pyros turret for later.
    
    Your loadout is the same:
    
    2x Javelin
    2x Slingshot
    2x Advanced Skyrail
    Starkiller
    
    Sell most of your torpedoes, and buy a full hold of Light Arms, or
    however many you can afford. (If you have shot torpedoes with too much
    enthusiasm, you might be a little short, but note that you need at least
    39, or you won't be able to level up in Kyoto.)
    
    (If you can't afford 39, it's probably because you were too liberal with
    the torpedoes. The best thing to do is go back to a savegame, probably
    Mission 7 in Leeds. An alternative might be to sell the Starkiller or
    Slingshots, which you can replace when you get to Kyoto, but this wastes
    scarce funds, and makes the next mission take longer.)
    
    When you are done on New Tokyo, proceed to Shinagawa...
    
    2:43:38
    
    ...to [ACCEPT] the next mission.
    
    Mission 8
    =========
    
    The capture of Tekagi's transport is probably the simplest mission in
    the game, certainly as far as "doing it quick" is concerned. Just fly it
    like normal, using any remaining torpedoes and missiles you have to
    speed things along. Go through the last sortie as usual, and when you
    get to Kyoto...
    
    2:54:33
    
    ...skip the cutscene by loading any *other* file, then loading
    "Autosave." Then sell the Light Arms for a quick levelup. At this point
    you have no further use for your Javelins, so you can sell them off
    also.
    
    Mission 9
    =========
    
      On Kyoto...
        Replenish your missiles, torpedoes, and countermeasures.
    
        New loadout:
          2x Advanced Skyrail
          2x Advanced Stunpulse
          2x Slingshot
          Starkiller
    
    As Ozu hails Ryuku base, fly towards the arch (a bit up and to the
    right of the sun, which should be visible through the haze). Destroy the
    patrol as usual, but do it especially quickly, since you've encountered
    them closer to the arch than you're supposed to, and a timeout is
    ticking.
    
    Try to avoid the next fight by flying directly toward the arch.
    Sometimes you will fail for fleeing the battle, sometimes Alpha shows up
    quickly enough and you get away with it. I think this is mostly a matter
    of luck, but you might vary your approach vector if you're having
    trouble skipping this fight.
    
    You might want to link the countermeasures upon approach to the arch.
    Destroy the generators as usual, with your guns, torpedoes and missiles.
    
    Do not attempt to skip the Tekagi cutscene.
    
    In the final fight, take advantage of the Stunpulses, and target the
    fighters first. Use your torpedoes liberally on the gunships, and be
    picky about what cargo you tractor, as there will be more than you can
    carry. Note that Pharmaceuticals are best, and H-fuel second.
    
    Skip the landing scene upon return to Kyoto, and proceed to the bar for
    the next mission. As always, the mission dialogue cannot be skipped
    until you [ACCEPT], but the rest can be skipped by simply loading...
    
    "Mission 10: Kyoto Chugoku" 3:11:33
    
    Mission 10
    ==========
    
    Overview:
    
      On Kyoto...
        Sell cargo looted from the previous mission.
        Buy two Catapult missile launchers.
        Replenish your missiles.
    
        New loadout:
          2x Catapult
          2x Slingshot
          2x Advanced Skyrail
          Starkiller
    
      Loot the two Old Imperial Navy Fighters by the New Berlin jumphole.
    
      On New Berlin...
        Sell the looted Onyx and Diamondback guns, and buy 45 Light Arms.
        Replenish your missiles and torpedoes.
    
        New loadout:
          2x Catapult
          2x Advanced Stunpulse
          (two gun slots empty)
          Starkiller
    
      On Bruchsal...
        Sell the load of Light Arms.
        Buy four Lugers.
        Replenish your missiles.
    
        New Loadout:
          2x Catapult
          4x Luger
          Starkiller
    
    At this point, you get to choose between a mixed loadout of Catapults
    and Starkillers, which will speed the upcoming battle along nicely, and
    an Advanced Sentry, which will make it much more comfortable. As a
    compromise, you might want to go for a (regular) Sentry, and only fill
    up the munitions halfway. My strategy, however, is to keep the Cuisse
    shield I already have (on the theory that the Sentry isn't going to help
    that much anyway), and link a full load of countermeasures to my guns.
    
    Proceed to your second major encounter with the Rheinland fleet. You
    need only take out the Gunboats; the fighters are optional (though they
    drop welcome shield batteries and nanobots, and other goodies). My
    technique is to fly towards the Gunboat on the left side, belting it
    with the heavy munitions and guns, then fly past it and target the one
    behind it, then fly past and circle back around as usual, to finish the
    second one, then fly past it as it's exploding and finish the first one.
    (The idea is, you waste less time circling.) Then you'll have time for
    one more, maybe two, before your allies have destroyed the remaining
    Gunboats and Hakkera gives you the waypoint.
    
    Loot whatever is dropped, but if you have a choice, know that the best
    is Silver, then Pharmaceuticals and Niobium, which are equal in value,
    then H-fuel and Consumer Goods, which are also equal.
    
    Bear *well* right of the waypoint (and make sure you're flipped around
    properly by exiting mouse flight for a second -- so you can easily tell
    which way right is), and as you approach the neighborhood of the jump
    hole to New Berlin a derelict will appear on your map: "Old Imperial
    Navy Fighter" -- carrying two ONYX guns (plus various other goodies).
    Take that, and cruise more directly towards the waypoint, but a little
    bit to the right, and another wrech of the same description will appear,
    this time carrying two DIAMONDBACK guns, plus some other cool stuff.
    Collect this loot and cruise to the jump hole.
    
    On New Berlin...
    
    3:16:58
    
    ...skip the cutscene as usual by loading any *other* file, then loading
    "Autosave." While you're on New Berlin, sell the Diamondback and Onyx
    guns, and buy a full load of Light Arms. You can also afford a full load
    of countermeasures, Catapults and Starkillers, and might even want to
    splurge on an Advanced Thruster.
    
    (It's possible to get an Advanced Thruster as early as Cali, but it's
    prohibitively tight between there and Kyoto. It's also possible to get
    one on Kyoto, but it doesn't really help at all at that point, and the
    funds are still pretty tight until after selling the loot from the two
    Old Imperials.)
    
    Also on New Berlin, you can say goodbye to your trusty Slingshots -- you
    won't be needing them anymore. You can ditch your Advanced Skyrails as
    well. Switch to your Advanced Stunpulses, making your loadout:
    
    2x Catapult
    2x Advanced Stunpulse
    (two gun slots empty)
    Starkiller
    
    After docking with Holstein, the "Autosave" file is automatically
    updated (provided you load any *other* file first), but it is updated to
    before the cutscene displays. To minimize the time spent in the
    cutscene, watch the cutscene, then load...
    
    "Mission 10: After Meeting Von Claussen" 3:22:33
    
    The fight outside Bruchsal is very easy in comparison to the previous
    one, but you might want to drop a torpedo or three to speed things
    along.
    
    At Bruchsal, there's no skipping the cutscene. When it's over...
    
    3:25:15
    
    ...sell the Light Arms and buy four Luger Type A guns.
    
    While at Bruchsal, you might buy a load of H-Fuel to sell at Buffalo, or
    you might fly with an empty hold to the "experimental shipyard" and
    destroy two of the Gunboats while you're waiting for the green light to
    flee the area. If you're lucky, a single Gunboat will almost completely
    fill your hold with H-Fuel, Silver, and/or Niobium. Gunboats are
    somewhat worth the trouble, even if you factor in the expense on the
    necessary munitions, but it's not a big deal either way. (You easily
    have time to take down a pair of them before the objective updates,
    which means you can be somewhat picky what loot you collect: H-Fuel is
    best, Niobium second, and Silver third.)
    
    In either case, the single way to minimize time here is to destroy that
    first Experimental Battleship as quickly as possible. The sooner you
    destroy it, the sooner you'll be allowed to leave the area.
    
    I would have thought that a Driller would speed up the destruction of
    that battleship, but I tried it that way several times, and for some
    reason it didn't help at all. (And I'm quite sure the Driller was indeed
    hitting the Battleship, not the scaffolding.)
    
    Do not try to skip the cutscene when you land on the Osiris. After you
    click [ACCEPT] (not that you have a choice), you can load...
    
    "Mission 11: Osiris, Texas" 3:33:00
    
    Mission 11
    ==========
    
    Remember to repair your ship before you trade it in for the Anubis.
    
    Definitely get a Debilitator Turret, and it's about time to splurge on a
    Driller mine launcher, but otherwise the weaponry sold on the Osiris is
    far inferior to what you already have. Thus, your loadout now is...
    
    2x Catapult
    4x Luger
    Debilitator Turret
    Starkiller
    Driller
    
    Silver or Niobium sell just as well on the Osiris, but H-Fuel sells
    better on Buffalo.
    
    To sell a commodity on Osiris, go to buy an Anubis, and during the
    purchase finalization, click the cargo icon in the left panel, and you
    can sell whatever cargo you've acquired, for average profit. You have to
    complete the purchase of the Anubis for the deal to go through, but this
    ship is only 1000 credits, so you're almost sure to make a profit.
    
    Use a torpedo or two on the Navy fighters, and proceed to Buffalo. When
    you land, you can simply load...
    
    "Mission 11: Buffalo Base" 3:36:01
    
    Nomads don't use shields, so that Debilitator Turret isn't going to be
    of much use during the two final missions. The Sapiel Turret available
    from Buffalo is no shining diamond, but it's the best hull-damage turret
    you can come across in the "Done Quick" campaign, without going a couple
    minutes out of the way, and one slightly better turret is certainly not
    worth that much time.
    
    (From Buffalo you could buy Light Arms, which make a net profit of 85
    each when sold on the Osiris, but you're better off looting the Navy
    fighters.)
    
    Exit Buffalo and fly in the general direction of the lane to West Point.
    The waypoint appears shortly.
    
    For the upcoming battles, I link my torpedo launcher to my guns. You'll
    waste a few shots this way, but it's very quick, and you can worry less
    about cash at this point.
    
    When you reach the satellite installation, take out the fighters first,
    then the satellite itself, but ignore the weapons platforms. Fly to
    Walker, and join formation with his cruiser.
    
    As you approach the jump gate, a wave of Navy fighters appear. Dispatch
    them quickly with the assortment of torpedoes, missiles, and guns.
    
    Do not attempt to skip the cutscene that comes after you land on Prison
    Station Mitchell.
    
    Fly towards the end of the corridor, but in the intervening time before
    Walker decides to make his suicide run, take out as many Navy fighters
    as possible. You can tractor in their loot, for some minor profit. But
    don't waste any torpedoes on them -- that more than cancels the gain
    from the loot.
    
    You will automatically drop out of cruise as you approach the Omaha and
    entourage. Simply go back into cruise and circle the Omaha until the
    Osiris appears.
    
    Do not attempt to skip the cutscene that begins upon your return to the
    Osiris. After you hit [ACCEPT], simply load...
    
    "Mission 12: Osiris, Omicron Beta" 
    
    Mission 12
    ==========
    
    Replace your Advanced Stunpulse with the Slingshot launcher you have in
    reserve.
    
    For the first phase, link your torpedo and missiles to your guns. Wait
    until King says "coordinates" and then begin to destroy the shield
    generators (satellites). The fastest way from one generator to the next
    is through the webbing along the perifery of the structure.
    
    Ignore the nomad fighters during this phase.
    
    As you approach the power generator (the main object you're supposed to
    acquire for this mission), enter cruise. You may be hit by wasps once or
    twice nevertheless, but begin to drop your load of countermeasures as
    you exit the structure, and cruise to the jump-hole.
    
    At this time, I un-link my missiles, leaving only my torpedo linked to
    the guns. Being a heavy hitter, and given that you have a number of
    powerful allies for cleanup, you will probably prefer to leave an enemy
    mostly-damaged, and target the next one, rather than focus on one until
    it is destroyed.
    
    Do not attempt to skip the cutscene on Planet Toledo. When you [ACCEPT],
    load...
    
    "Mission 13: Toldeo, Omicron Alpha"
    
    Mission 13
    ==========
    
    Land on the Osiris, and skip the cutscene by loading any *other* file,
    then loading Autosave.
    
    [I haven't finished documenting the final mission, but at this point the
    correct plan should be fairly clear. Hopefully as this walkthrough
    matures it will grow a "top ten fastest times" section. I would love to
    hear from you, how fast you can beat the game.]
    
    TOP 10:
    =======
    currently empty (obviously: the walkthrough file is at version 1)
    please submit your best time; I will post it here in future updates.
    
    =======================================================================
    
    Appendix
    ========
    
    A comparative breakdown of my times for the first three missions, with
    those of the great Sherlog, the record holder of the classic T-0
    challenge (using T-hawk's "Cutscenes Disabled" mod):
    
    Breslin in a...         Sherlog in a...   Savegame
    ======= =============   ======= ========= =============================
    0:17:14 S-flier/Rhino   0:16:55 Starflier Criminal Base Destroyed[1]
    0:21:39 Rhino           0:21:33 Patriot   M02: Manhattan, New York[2]
    0:32:04 Rhino           0:31:30 Patriot   Return Ashcroft[3]
    0:44:33 Rhino           0:44:35 Defender  Cal. Minor, California[4]
    0:54:22 Rhino           0:55:08 Defender  Respond to Station Willard[5]
    1:01:41 Rhino           1:04:34 Defender  M04: Manhattan, New York[6]
    
    (T-Hawk's mod is availible from <http://www.lancersreactor.com>, under
    the name "Campaign Cut Scenes Disabled.")
    
    [1] Really "Criminal Base Destroyed" is not a valid marker for speed
    runs, because the real race is not to the destruction of the Rogue base
    (and its fighters), but how quickly one can return to Manhattan, and
    thus enter Mission 2.
    
    [2] I believe that Sherlog bought and equipped the Patriot before
    accepting the mission, which would account for the fact that I caught up
    between "Criminal Base Destroyed" and the beginning of Mission 2. (It's
    certainly faster to fill a Starflier's bay with DSE loot, which is what
    Sherlog did in the interim, than it is to stuff a Rhino's, which is what
    I did, so all other things being equal he should have made it to
    Manhattan faster than I.) The other possibility is that I was further
    towards the trade lane when the Rogue base was destroyed. (See note 1
    immediately above.)
    
    [3] I admit that Sherlog can fly this part of the campaign faster in a
    Patriot than I can in a Rhino. I believe his Patriot is outfitted with
    one Javelin, one Lavablade I, and two Lavablade IIIs.
    
    [4] Again, I can only guess why I have made gains on Sherlog between
    capturing Ashcroft and reaching California Minor. We both looted the DSE
    depot again, but I had to destroy four pods, while he took only two at
    most. It may be partly the time he spent on buying and equipping the
    Defender, where I stick with the Rhino. It may also be that I
    autosave-skipped the Rowlett scene, which does take a few seconds.
    
    [5] The only way to explain the widening gap is that the Rhino with my
    loadout can run this part of the mission considerably faster than a
    Defender with Sherlog's loadout. It is certainly not that my piloting
    skills are superior!
    
    [6] The big difference here is that I skipped the Balboa. My plan makes
    it feasible to skip the Balboa, and have enough cash to stay in missiles
    and torpedoes, only really turning to guns when the superior Lugers
    become availible.
    
    Because the Pyros guns from the Balboa are not faster than missiles
    combined with pulses, from here the gap only widens further. On the one
    hand, it is conceivable that the gap narrows a bit during mission 7-10,
    where I use Advanced Skyrails, since the Pyros are better. However, the
    guns are playing a back seat to missiles and torpedoes at this point
    anyway, so any difference is probably minimal. Indeed, one main benefit
    of my plan is that you have enough money to stay in missiles and torps
    throughout the campaign.
    
    =======================================================================
    
    Anyway, I hope you found this walkthrough enjoyable. Let me know if
    there's anything significant that I have left out.
    
    =======
    Credits
    ======= 
    
    This trail was blazed by Sherlog and T-hawk back in 2003, on the forums
    of <http://www.lancersreactor.com/> -- I just came later to perfect the
    plan a bit, and mostly just to revise and document.
    
    =======
    Contact
    =======
    
    Steve Breslin
    versim at hotmail dot com
    
    Corrections and suggestions are warmly welcome.
    
    Please put [freelancer walkthrough] at the beginning of the subject
    line, to make sure I don't accidentally delete your mail. 
    
    === End ===