City Checkpoint Skip
Normally, you must obtain Inferno and defeat Orochi in the Moon Cave to light the Moegami statues in City Checkpoint, allowing you to light one of Yoichi's arrows to lower the bridge over the gorge. It is possible to skip this and reach the other side of the river, which also skips killing Crimson Helm as well as the entirety of the Moon Cave. This is called City Checkpoint Skip, (aka CC Skip or Moon Cave Skip). This saves a large amount of time in NG Any% (about 25 minutes) and NG+ Any% due to skipping one of the game's longest dungeons, but is still performed in both All Brushes categories to allow runners to obtain double jump early, among other things.
The only major consequence to skipping the Moon Cave is skipping Inferno. Fortunately, Inferno is barely required in the rest of the game. It is only an intentional requirement in Wawku Shrine to melt ice blocks, but it can be replaced there with Fireburst, which can be obtained without Inferno. It is also needed to activate the cannons which destroy the enemy cannons at the end of the dungeon, but destroying them is optional, as their shots can be avoided. In NG+, Wawku Shrine is skipped entirely via Ark Early.
In both NG and NG+, this trick starts by swimming across the river to reach the large pointy rock on the opposite side, just to the left of the raised bridge. First, jump across the river from the lower terrace to the left of the bridge. Mash jump while swimming across the river, aiming for the upstream corner of the big rock. You should reach the corner just before running out of breath, which is critical if Water Lily is skipped. As you approach, stop mashing jump to perform a Corner Jump, then begin scaling the crevice between the rock and cliff-face using Seam Grip. From there, the two methods diverge.
Once on the rock, the NG+ method is fairly straightforward: perform a combination of slope- and free-form- KT's to jump up to the top of the cliff, then dash straight to the Ryoshima loading zone.
The NG method is more difficult and complex, considered to be among the hardest tricks used in Okami speedrunning. It involves using wall jumps to climb to the top of the rock, where the ground is slightly slippery. From there, you must perform the following steps in quick succession:
- Low jump toward toward the rock's tip, but not up to it.
- Neutral wall-jump for maximum height.
- Carefully adjust Ammy's position to green-land on the very tip of the rock. This part is extremely precise and cannot be made consistent except by practice.
- Sliding Air Ground Tackle toward the part of the cliff-side which juts out over the river.
- With some delay, full jump out of the ground tackle, still toward the cliff.
- With precise timing, ideally at the apex of your jump, wall-jump off the jutting-out piece of the cliff.
- Quickly drift Ammy around that piece to get as close to its corner closer to the raised bridge as you can before the apex of your jump.
- At the very apex of your jump, air tackle toward the jutting-out rock, such at Ammy is facing a little left of downstream (South).
- Wall-bounce off the rock and hold toward the cliff to get on top of it.
The exact execution involved in the sequence depends greatly on the camera angle used. There isn't really enough time during it to change it, so the camera must be positioned by the time the slippery ground at the top of the rock is reached.
For most runners, it takes 3-6 hours of attempts to successfully perform NG CC Skip for the first time, and then many more hours of practice to become consistent enough to pull off in runs with good pace. Due to its frustrating difficulty, it is recommended that most runners learning NG Any% for the first time learn the Beginner Route, which omits the trick by completing the Moon Cave.
Video Explanation: https://youtu.be/AjZOtO869Fo
In-Depth Discussion: https://youtu.be/7xH2PrQBIdw
Practice Session Demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL27VJZdLrM