The shinespark, oftentimes shortened to simply "spark", is a technique that allows Samus to travel at an extremely high speed at the expense of energy until Samus collides with a surface she cannot pass through with the technique.
Upon colliding with such a surface, a 70 frame 'crash' animation will occur, which will produce a pair of 'echoes' the moment it ends. The shinespark and the echoes it produces can instantly destroy most creatures affected by their damage.
The shinespark can be performed either from the ground or in the air and can travel either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. A shinespark cannot send Samus traveling downwards in any circumstance. Vertical shinesparks have a different flight animation than horizontal/diagonal shinesparks.
Shinesparks can still be performed underwater (or in lava/acid/sand) even without the assistance of Gravity Suit so long as there is a shinespark charge active; however, horizontal shinesparks performed in lava/sand will travel much slower than normal (regardless of Gravity Suit), and diagonal shinesparks performed in lava/sand will send Samus flying directly upwards instead, with very slight pixel shifts forward.
Using the X-Ray Scope with a shinespark charge will immediately nullify the shinespark charge.
Activating a Charge Beam Combo then performing a shinespark will reduce the crash duration of every subsequent shinespark by 31 frames while the combo is still active. After it wears off or all of its particles collide with an enemy, only the next shinespark will have reduced crash duration.
While in midair, Samus cannot activate a shinespark while the shot button is being held.
Unless Samus is in a crouched position, Samus cannot activate a shinespark while the angle down button is being held.
To charge a shinespark, perform the following:
- Have Speed Booster equipped
- Hold the run button while moving forward until Samus turns blue, producing echoes
- Slide your thumb on the directional pad from forward to down
If you were successful, Samus should appear to be flashing white.
The length of a shinespark charge is 180 frames on NTSC (3 seconds) and 143 frames on PAL (2.86 seconds). These lengths can effectively be increased by the Charge Beam. Firing a charged beam shot with a shinespark charge will delay the shinespark timer by one frame each time, allowing up to a maximum delay of three frames.
To perform a shinespark from the ground, perform the following:
- While in a stationary position with a shinespark charged, press and hold the jump button
- Press forward (whichever direction (left or right) you are facing) or up on the directional pad
The Dachora at the bottom of Dachora Room teaches the player how to perform a vertical shinespark of this type.
If you want to shinespark diagonally instead, be holding angle up when you press jump.
Shinesparking in this manner is complicated by the fact that if you press left or right before activating the shinespark (or if you already are holding left or right) away from a wall, you will gain momentum, preventing activation.
The window of time between when you activate a shinespark and when you can press a directional button is half a second -- specifically, if you press jump to activate it on Frame 0, you can press right and jump as early as Frame 2, and as late as Frame 30. Jump technically doesn't need to be held, but that will be easiest for all non-TAS runs. If the inputs aren't correctly done for an angle or horizontal shinespark in this window, it will be vertical.
To perform a shinespark from the air, perform the following:
- Spinjump with a shinespark charged
- Release the jump button
- Press and release up on the directional pad or angle up
- Press and hold the jump button
- Press forward (whichever direction (left or right) your spinjump was traveling in) on the directional pad
If you continue to hold up or angle up when you press jump, you will instead immediately shinespark directly up or diagonally up, respectively.
If you are holding shot and/or angle down (which will break spin), and release those buttons while holding jump, you will activate the shinespark, which will travel directly upwards unless additional input occurs to change its course.
Because of angle down preventing shinespark activation in this manner, it can be used to 'prepare' shinesparks (and prevent potential accidental activations), which can be useful in specific situations, such as fighting Draygon.
Breaking out of your spinjump by pressing shot is different than the above. Pressing up or forward while holding jump after breaking out of your spinjump with shot will cause Samus to immediately shinespark, whereas pressing and releasing forward after breaking out of your spinjump with shot will activate the shinespark.
If you press and hold jump, press shot, then release jump afterward or press and hold jump, press and hold shot, release jump, then release shot, you will be able to activate a shinespark with up or angle up. Pressing angle down instead will place Samus in the 'prepared' state.
The window of time to press right or angle up with an aerial shinespark is almost the same as a grounded shinespark -- 1 to 29 frames after activating it, instead of 2 to 30.
For a grounded shinespark, if you press jump to activate the shinespark on Frame 0, you can press left on Frame 5 to do a horizontal shinespark. Pressing left on Frame 4 will result in a vertical spark, and pressing left on Frames 1, 2, or 3 will actually cause the shinespark activation to not happen, and you will simply jump left instead. This is because it takes several frames from the jump press for Samus to "wind up" her jump before leaving the ground. For this reason you also need to press jump earlier in terms of the 180 frame window to activate the shinespark after charging it. You can press left as late as Frame 33, otherwise you will do a vertical spark on Frame 34.
An "aerial" spark suitless in water has the same window as it does outside of water: 1 to 29 frames after activating it.
The vertical shinespark is the easiest to perform - regardless of if it is being performed from the ground or air - as the shinespark will default to this mode.
To perform a vertical shinespark from the ground, simply press the jump button while in a stationary position. If you are holding up before pressing jump, the shinespark will immediately send Samus flying upward.
To perform a vertical shinespark from the air, simply press up while in a spinjump. If you are holding jump before pressing up, the shinespark will immediately send Samus flying upward.
The horizontal shinespark is always performed in the direction you are already facing, regardless of if it is being performed from the ground or air.
To perform a horizontal shinespark from the ground, press and hold jump, then press forward. Note: You must press up within a narrow window of frames after holding jump or else Samus will do a vertical shinespark.
To perform a horizontal shinespark from the air:
1. Perform a spinjump in the direction you want to horizontally shinespark in.
2. While spinning in the air, press up on the dpad (or angle up) to initiate the shinespark.
3. Immediately press and hold forward on the dpad (and only forward). Note: you must press forward within a narrow window of frames after initiating the shinespark or Samus will do a vertical shinespark.
The diagonal shinespark is also always performed in the direction you are already facing.
To perform a diagonal shinespark from the ground, hold angle up and press jump while a shinespark is charged.
To perform a diagonal shinespark from the air:
1. Perform a spinjump in the horizontal direction you want to diagonally shinespark in (e.g. if you want to diagonally shinespark towards the top-left, you would do a spinjump to the left and vice-versa for diagonal right shinesparks).
Note: It's important that you let go of the jump button when you press it for this spinjump (do not hold it) or else the game's input reader will think you want to perform a different action for your shinespark.
2. While spinning in the air, hold angle up and then press jump. Do not press any directions on the dpad while you do this.
Note: you must perform this input within a narrow window of frames after initiating the shinespark or Samus will do a vertical shinespark. Alternatively you can press jump and then hold angle up, but you also have a narrow window of frames to hold angle up after pressing jump before the game's input reader interprets your inputs as a vertical shinespark.
If you do accidentally start a spark inside lava, you can conserve health, and probably save time, by turning off Speed Booster.
Unfortunately this does not apply to sand, so you will simply need to wait for the shinespark to finish.