WORLD RECORD RECORDING
3% is a category previously defined as Low% Glitched, superseding 5%, but was itself superseded by 2%, then by 0%. At the time it was the lowest item percentage while beating the game by any means necessary.
The basic route for single-file 3% is now used in 4%, which is the lowest number of item pickups a player can acquire while beating the game by any means necessary.
As shown above, 3% collects Morphing Ball, Power Bombs and X-Ray Scope. The category also collects Missiles (the first pack in the game, also known as "Awakening"); however, as Ceres Station is visited for a second time, these missiles are removed from Samus's inventory as a result, which causes 4% to be reduced to 3%. The reason this occurs is because the Samus shown in the introduction cutscene is the same Samus as the player. When a player starts a game normally and watches the cutscene, Samus has Missiles when fighting Mother Brain, but no longer does upon starting on Ceres Station. The same thing is happening here.
Note that if you are using the multi-file method, GT Code and X-Ray climbing are utilized.
The beginning up to the "Climb" is basically the same. Once the "Parlor" area is reached, the save station is used there, and a file is copied over from the save to another file. From there, the player will obtain GT Code on one of the files and return to the Parlor area. The player cannot use the effects of "space time" to speed up the return trip, as it will cause the player to return to Ceres Station, as well as be forced to watch the intro cutscene, if they save and reload a file that previously used space time.
A frame perfect shinespark during the Landing Site -> Parlor door transition is required to become stuck in the right Parlor door. From there, the player will X-Ray climb out of bounds and manipulate part of the out of bounds with the X-Ray Scope in such a way that, on the other file, the Parlor will then contain a "81" transition block. Once the out of bounds has been manipulated, the player will have to safely exit the out of bounds without returning to the ship area and kill themselves.
If the ship area is ever accidentally entered, it will completely erase any previous out of bounds manipulation, so it is important that the player knows how to, and when not to, enter the ship area in this run.
After successfully modifying data and exiting the out of bounds, the player has to kill themselves instead of saving a/o resetting because resetting the game, or simply causing the intro scene to play, will change what the out of bounds contains. The menu after dying also has to be taken cautiously, because accidentally showing the intro scene there, like previously stated, will ruin the previous manipulation. For this reason, it is optimal to remove both suits after acquiring GT Code so that Lower Norfair's rooms and lava (such as the lava dive room, the primary damage dealer in this scenario) will take care of most of this issue, before saving the GT file at the Parlor save station for later use. (The Gunship cannot be used as a save point because it will refill health)
Afterward, the player should access the other non-GT file, and perform a 2x frame perfect trick involving a frame perfect pause while falling down to the Parlor -> Climb vertical door, then a frame perfect position change (such as angle up or firing the beam) while falling through the door transition. When executed perfectly, the player should fall through the door transition itself, into the out of bounds, where the newly-created 81 block will be nearby, which will place the player out of bounds in the ship area, where they can then reach the Power Bombs in the top right room with proper out of bounds navigation.
The player will repeat the above process of manipulation and frame perfect tricks to enter the out of bounds additional times in order to get past the ship area right green door and obtain X-Ray Scope, to cause the player's save file to place the player on Ceres Station when used again (which as explained earlier, will reduce 4% to 3% by removing Missiles), and to trigger the escape sequence once the player is finally at 3% items.
Single File Method
This method is basically the same, except once the Parlor save station is used and the game is reset, a separate file is not created. Instead of performing setup on the second file to modify the out of bounds for every 2x frame perfect trick, the 2x frame perfect trick is attempted immediately and a different, much more complex navigation of the out of bounds is performed to access the out of bounds in the ship area. If the 2x frame perfect trick is failed and the player enters the Climb room, the game must be reset (and the save file reloaded to attempt it again) as entering the Climb room will remove a block from the out of bounds necessary for the creation of the ship area transition.
The multi-file method can potentially be much slower than the single file method as the single file method does not have to spend 20+ minutes on obtaining GT Code on a file and performing multiple setups with the file, but the multi-file method is considered safer as it does not have to reset if the 2x frame perfect trick is missed, and does not have to successfully navigate the Parlor's out of bounds to the same extent of the single file method to progress.
For reference, Sniq's fastest 3% time using the multi-file method was 1:00:05 and Sniq's current best 3% time is the 26:15 listed above which uses the single file method, perhaps interestingly making 3% the third fastest category which beats the game. (Any% Glitched being the fastest, followed by Any% GT Code)