Mockball

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The mockball, which has various alternative spellings ("machball", "mochball", et cetera), is an extremely important technique for speedrunning, primarily because it allows for Super Missiles to be acquired without needing to defeat Spore Spawn. The only requirement to performing a mockball is having Morphing Ball active.

The easiest method for performing the mockball is the following:

  • Start running (hold the dash button and a direction on the directional pad) in the direction you desire (holding dash after this step is optional)
  • Press and hold the jump button
  • Release the direction
  • Tap down on the directional pad (Samus should now be facing directly downwards)
  • Tap down again, just before you hit the ground (Samus should perform a "soft morph" on the ground)
  • Press and hold left or right (whichever of these directions you are traveling in, from the first step) immediately afterward

A more difficult method that allows you to control your jump height is the following:

  • Start running (hold the dash button and a direction on the directional pad) in the direction you desire (holding dash after this step is optional)
  • Press and hold the jump button
  • Release jump at the desired height
  • Press and hold jump again
  • Release the direction
  • Tap down on the directional pad (Samus should now be facing directly downwards)
  • Tap down again, just before you hit the ground (Samus should perform a "soft morph" on the ground)
  • Press and hold left or right (whichever of these directions you are traveling in, from the first step) immediately afterward

Some information to keep in mind when attempting to perform a mockball:

  • If you are holding jump when breaking out of a spinjump and aim down, you will keep your speed. Aiming down when you no longer have jump pressed will cause you to stop.
  • Your momentum value will be slightly higher in spinjump than when you stop spinning, so optimally you should aim down as close as possible to the morph
    • Beginners will usually want to aim down at the peak of the jump to allow an easier morph
  • "Soft morph" means to morph on the ground in a manner where Samus does not bounce, which is a requirement of all mockballs
  • "Hard morph" means to morph on the ground in a manner where Samus bounces, which will reset Samus's momentum, and happens if you morph too early when attempting a mockball (simply put - if you see Samus bounce when attempting a mockball, then you morphed too early)
  • The quarter-circle motion to shift your thumb from down to left or right is often likened to a "hadouken"

A demonstration of the mockball during its most important and common usage in speedruns:

However, learning the mockball for the first time might be easier in Statues Hallway, given that the Early Supers Room mockball has a door transition in the middle, along with a fairly tight space between the ceiling and the platform.

Speedball

The speedball is a variation of the mockball. A speedball is any mockball where Samus is blue from Speed Booster.

A benefit of the speedball is that it can destroy any block that normally requires Bombs, saving time in rooms such as Wasteland and Basement.

A speedball is required to generate a temporary blue suit.

Technical Details

During a mockball, speed temporarily drops to 0 then temporarily increases above the steady state speed. Here is an example from the mockball into alcatraz from sniq's any% tas.

23550: 2.49k (running)
23551: 1.24k (jumping)
23552: 1.16k (jumping)
23553: 1.16k (jumping)
23554: 1.16k (jumping)
23555: 1.16k (jumping)
23556: 1.16k (morph animation started)
23557: 1.16k (morph animation started)
23558: 1.16k (morph animation)
23559: 1.16k (morph animation)
23560: 1.16k (morph animation)
23561: 1.16k (morph animation)
23562: 0.49k (first frame as ball)
23563: 0.16k
23564: 0
23565: 0.49k
23566: 1.32k
23567: 2.16k
23568: 3
23567: 5.49k
23567: 5.16k
23568: 4.49k (starting to fall)

Mockball with Bombspread Charge

In order to carry a bombspread while Samus is doing a mockball (or speedball), there is qualitatively (at least) three different approaches to do this.

I. One method is to execute a continuous walljump (CWJ) while holding a charged beam (in form of Pseudo Screw Attack) - with the Shot button being released while Samus is spinjumping before the walljump happens, in order to not break out of the spinjump as result of the walljump - and pressing Down (followed by holding Forward for the mockball) just before landing on the ground (the same way as one would do it for a normal mockball) together with pressing and holding the Shot button again (as it had to be released previously for the CWJ to not break Samus out of the spinjump pose) during the morphing animation, while the Jump button press from the continuous walljump is held at least until Samus morphs (in order to keep the walljump pose state of Samus up which is what allows to morph from a spinjump with only 1 Down press).

II. An alternative method (which doesn't lend itself equally far towards being comfortably executed for all kinds of button control layouts) is to do a normal mockball, except that the Start button is pressed suitably at the beginning of the running jump or during the spinjump (depending on the situation) to pause the game while Samus is aiming down and ready to morph (by holding the Down button into the map screen menu) in such a way that the frame in which the pause menu is entered is within the range of frames in which pressing Down would allow to do a mockball (i.e. morphing without bouncing on the ground), followed by unpausing the game with Start and pressing Down the second time during the black screen of the screen's fade-in animation (while still holding Shot to keep the beam charge up, and followed by holding Forward for the mockball). Since Samus keeps moving somewhat further during the fade-out or blackening of the screen when the game is paused, one may be inclined to press Start too late such that Samus actually already lands on the ground before the pause menu is entered, so in anticipation of that one may want to press Start earlier such that the last height at which one sees Samus is still about one to two tiles above the ground. The problem that is circumvented by pausing the game is that without the pause, one would be required to have at least 1 gameplay frame inbetween the (for morphing outside of the walljump pose state of Samus required) 2 Down press frames, and as Shot needs to be held to keep the charged beam up without firing it, Samus would then immediately and on her own swap from aiming down to aiming forwards (and then aiming down again when the second Down press happens, instead of making her morph with the button press). Pausing allows to have 2 gameplay frames next to each other without any gameplay frames between them but with pause menu frames between them to allow the game to register each frame of the two as separate Down presses rather than as 1 Down press that is held. Note that for the rolling phase of the mockball itself, at least the 3 buttons that are Forwards, Shot (or the bombspread charge is immediately lost) and Down (or the bombspread is initiated right away) are to be held^if the Bombs item is equipped and active. Instead of using the pause menu to do this, one can also jump in downaiming pose through a door transition and do the 2nd Down press in the first frame of the next room in which Samus' movement continues, or one can use a text message to do this (for example from a delayed Missile or Energy Recharge Station refill where the game is paused to allow free movement for when the message box appears), or one can use gameplay interruption via Reserves triggering (due to heat for example). Also the breaking of a glass tube can be used for this (e.g. if Dash is pressed while aiming down in the running jump pose to trigger the desctruction of the glass tube). The first (among up to at least two) gameplay interruptions that occur when Mother Brain switches from phase 1 to phase 2 can also be used for this (but just simple lag frames don't allow for it). There might be some further similar situations that allow for it, but they are all the same in principle.

Sidenote: If Bombs are turned off beforehand, then Down doesn't need to be held for the mockball (which may make the execution easier, as it is less inputs to take care of) in order to keep the bombspread charge up, but just Shot needs to be held while morphed (after the morphing animation finished). Afterwards, one can then still turn Bombs on and unpause the game while Down is held in order to prevent an immediate release of the bombspread and to determine when the bombspread shall happen, by releasing Down at any time (up to a point in time at which the bombspread will happen on its own). One can turn Bombs on and off multiple times, but the bombspread charge will only increase but not reset the strength with which the bombs are spread.

Demonstration of the 2nd method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzH4QMNORgQ

III. A third qualitatively different method consists in (as preparation) either perfectly soft-unmorphing (slope-killer) at the right frame (after falling from any suitable pixel-precise height above the ground) to be able to (while the X-Ray icon is green) hold a previously with the Shot button charged beam shot also and then solely with the Dash button instead afterwards, then executing the mockball together with pressing & holding Shot during the morphing animation, or by doing a running jump with a long enough jump (in case this is a possibility in a given scenario) during which one can switch the X-Ray icon on, then charge a beam up and hold it with Shot and Dash, then releasing Shot, followed by a mockball in which Shot is repressed and held during the morphing animation.

See also