Pyramid Cave is the 11th stage in hero story. It contains the bounce bracelet upgrade, which adds a whole bunch of movement mechanics to the game. Pyramid cave is generally seen as one of the more difficult parts of a hero story run, as there are many tough and high risk tricks at the highest skill level. As such, it should be one of the more practiced sonic stages for a hero story runner.
Recommended route and strategies
The strategies used in this route should land you times around 1:45 -2:00. None of the strategies in this route are particularly difficult, so it is a good starting point for beginners.
Beginning to checkpoint 1
The first corridor takes a lot of practice to get consistently good times at. checkpoint times as low as 11.9x have been known to be possible, but anything below 13 seconds is generally considered good. In order to do this, you need to take an optimal path down the tunnel
As soon as you start the stage, wait for the camera to change, try to time it so that you hold up right as soon as the camera changes, this will allow you to land in the right spot for the quick start to work. Before you hit the ground, start holding B/X. If you do this properly, you should hit the right dash pad and immediately start charging a spindash. You want to charge this spindash for about a half of a second, then release it while facing slightly inward towards the middle of the tunnel. Doing this properly will stack the speed of the dash pad with the speed of the spindash that is angled slightly downhill. You will be going fast, so fast that in many places, you could come off of the ground. When turning around corners, you want to be cutting the inside of the corners, but you don't want to be so high that you fly off of the wall. finding this balance requires practice and experience. a hint though, the last two corners should not be cut as much, especially the last corner. basically trying to cut the last corner at all will result in sonic flying off of the floor.
After you start barreling down the corridor at a high velocity, you're going to want to avoid the next dash pad on the floor, It will actually slow you down if you're going fast. Hit the next pair of dash pads though, they actually will speed you up. At the end of the tunnel, there is a dash ramp. you should aim to hit the center of this ramp, as it will line you up perfectly for a light dash as soon as you land.
Checkpoint 1 to first door skip/ checkpoint 2
Right after light dashing, continue holding B/X to charge a spindash, the spindash jump into the bottom half of the hourglass in front of you. This hourglass actually has an hourglass shaped collision mesh that can be used to redirect your velocity upwards. Doing this trick will send you flying up to either the left or the right. Optimally, you want to go to the left, so it helps to flick the control stick to the left right before hitting the hourglass.
After landing on the next platform, you should spindash down to the end where you can use the poles to get across the pit. But don't actually use the poles to get across the pit, that's slow, instead, take one of the following routes.
Option 1: Chao box hover (recommended)
Start by spindashing down into the pit. Now wedge yourself in between the wall and the chao box. Hold forward and charge a spindash. Before releasing your spindash, start holding A, this will give you more height. when you release your spindash, you should be launched high into the air. Essentially the game wants to redirect your velocity either left, right or backwards, but since there is a wall to your left, a chao box to your right, and you are holding forward, the game decides that it should launch you into the air. since this puts you into the airborne spindash state, you can get the effect of a spindash hover if your a button is pressed.
After you rise above the next platform, perform a homing attack cancel and try to land yourself on top of the first post and beam. From here you can spindash jump over to the rooftop in front of you, then spindash hover over to the boost ramp at the end of the loop.
Option 2: Pit skip (harder, only slightly faster when perfectly optimized)
Start by learning the chao box hover, as it is easier and a perfect backup if you miss this jump. This route is simple, yet very tight and hard to optimize. Start by jumping up onto the side of the track, get right up to the edge, then spindash jump across. This spindash jump is very tight and the camera often gets in the way. after making it across, flip the hourglass by somersaulting into it, then take the light dash and spindash into the loop. cancel your spindash before going through the loop, as being in a spindash while in this particular loop will not work properly. It is not worth skipping this loop unless you use the TAS method, which hasn't been confirmed to be faster RTA yet.
After hitting the ramp
Right as you land, light dash into a spindash, then jump into the robot in front of you. If you do this right, hitting the robot should give you enough height to make it on to the next platform where the bounce bracelet is. After collecting the bounce bracelet, your camera will have changed, this might be disorienting at first, but with practice, you'll get used to it. Superbounce (spindash towards a wall, then jump and bounce quickly before you hit the wall. the inputs are the same as homing attack canceling after releasing a spindash) into the next wall in front of you, then homing attack into the hourglass.
You now have to maneuver around the enemy and into the spring in from of you, to do this, it is recommended that you jump slightly off to one side, then homing attack forward into the spring, if you do this right, you will either not target the robot, and hit the spring, or you will orbit around the enemy into the spring.
alternatively, you can jump and bounce off of the hourglass then homing attack into the enemy and then the spring. This may be faster, but there is a change you will clip through the hourglass, losing time.
after hitting the spring, spindash cancel into the next room, maneuver in between the raised keyhole platform and the wall on the left, and superbounce over the wall. If your superbounce is high enough, you will reach a part of the wall that is not solid. Homing attack through this part, and land on the rail below. when you are high above the next corridor, you will be able to see the end of the rail, use this as a guideline when aiming for the rail. using this strat skips checkpoint 2
Alternatively, you can pick up the key and throw it into the keyhole, then use a bounce accel and storage or a somersault to get under the door. Now spindash onto the rail (or spindash jump onto it)
Checkpoint 2 to checkpoint 3
While on the rail (if you used the superbounce method), you can jump off and bounce onto the downward part of the rail to gain more speed. if you do this too quickly, you will pass through the rail. there is also a chance you will miss the bounce and fall off of the rail, so use this strat only when you are comfortable with it.
Continue holding B/X after coming off of the end of the rail to charge a spindash. There will be a ghost that will try to give you hugs without consent. It is possible to confuse the ghost's pathfinding AI to distract it for a while. to do this, you will need to direct your spindash over to the right, then jump and turn over to the left within a certain threshold. This threshold begins as soon as you come off of the sloped surface and ends when the wall opens up to a large area to the right.
If you get grabbed by the ghost, it will hold onto you until you make 8 B/X/A/directional inputs
after dealing with the ghost, you need to position yourself for door skip. Door skip saves a lot of time, take your time to learn it and master it. It is recommended to use an emulator with a savestate coming off of the rail to practice confusing the ghost and executing door skip until you are fairly consistent with it. Door skip is a very precise trick that is usually very difficult for beginners. You need to be able to perform a very tight spindash jump, so if you aren't getting this trick yet, try tightening up your spindash jump inputs.
[insert a video explaining door skip here]
Checkpoint 3 to goal
These strats are more risky and should be used in runs only when you feel comfortable with them.