In recent times, players have pushed the game to its limits. Although Super Metroid, like the other games in the series, is a very non-linear game by it's nature, there is a general intended path of progression; certain items are normally required to access others, such as the Wave Beam requiring the use of the Grapple Beam in order to gain access to the room where it is located. However, by using advanced techniques such as wall jumping, bomb jumping and shinesparking, players can reach certain parts of the map before having the items normally required to do so. This concept is referred to as Sequence Breaking because it defies the developers' intended path of natural progression through the game. For example, many players skip the Grappling Beam because nearly all areas that normally require it, such as the aformentioned Wave Beam's room, can be reached with skillful trick jumping or other similar exploits of the game mechanics. After the Space Jump is acquired, the Grappling Beam becomes all but obsolete, save the collection of the Spring Ball, which can not be accessed at all without the Grappling Beam. Sequence breaking was so popular among Metroid fans after being unearthed in Super Metroid that it has become a staple of the Metroid saga that is still practiced by fans today, as it can also be performed on many, if not all, other games of the series.
Sequence breaking has also allowed players to reach the end with extremely fast times, as well as other notable feats. Players have been able to finish 100% of the game in under one hour, or in less than 40 minutes without 100%. Other players attempt to complete the game with as little or as much as possible within certain boundaries. Some players have been able to complete the game with only 14%, and others are able to obtain up to 81% of items without fighting any boss or mini-boss beyond the Torizo fight for bombs. Additionally, a glitch called the Space-Time Beam has been found that resets most of the game to its initial state, allowing players to play through the game again with all of their current weapons except missiles.
Speed Demos Archive contains videos of world record speedruns for Super Metroid in three categories. The fastest completion time with 100% items is 55 minutes, set by "Red Scarlet." The fastest completion time without collecting all items ("any%") is 32 minutes by Satoru "Hotarubi" Suzuki, recorded in a single segment. The best any% time recognized by Twin Galaxies, whose rules disallow exploitation of many undocumented features in the game's physics, is 42 minutes, set by Brian Hodge. The tool-assisted records are 39 minutes for a 100% completion, and 27 minutes for any%.