Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #1014: primo's SGB Pokémon Red in 1:46:19.05

Console: Super Game Boy
Game name: Pokémon Red
Game version: USA/Europe
ROM filename: Pokemon Red (UE) [S][!].gb
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 1:46:19.05
FrameCount: 382743
Re-record count: 52561
Author's real name: Mike Tryczak
Author's nickname: primo
Submitter: primorial#soup
Submitted at: 2006-03-15 08:23:24
Text last edited at: 2006-03-16 23:16:48
Text last edited by: Bisqwit
Download: Download (12536 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Overview: This is a TAS of the English version of Pokémon Red, finishing with a in-game clock of 1:45. The emulator used for recording was VBA 1.7.2 (Nitsuja rev. 10), and the run itself was completeld over the course of approximately two months (not including test runs).


Description: As the game begins, Prof. Oak (the hero's mentor) sends the hero and his rival, Prof. Oak's grandson, on a quest to make a complete guide of all the pokémon in the world (to "catch 'em all" so to speak). In the original Japanese versions of the game, upon completing this quest, if the hero returned to the Celedon office building, he would be rewarded with a Mew, pokémon number 151. Thus, obtaining a Mew was meant to be the crowning achievement of the game. But in a publicity stunt, Mew was removed completely from subsequent versions, and the only way to receive one was to attend an officially sponsored Nintendo event (I'm pretty sure there was never one in my area). Mew is coveted not only for it's rarity, but also because it is a very strong pokémon, and can taught be any move, allowing for nice battle situations.

There are actually two quests going on, though. First, to fill the PokéDex, and second, to become the Pokémon League champion, which is the quest this run focuses on. As you may have already guessed, this run features Mew. By abusing a glitch, I am able to obtain one very early on in the game. Within 10 minutes of obtaining it, Mew is one-hit-KO-ing everything it encounters, which speeds the game along nicely (although some sections, particularly those which include a lot of dialog, tend to be more interesting at 5x speed).

Luck Manipulation: The pseudo-random number generator in this game is highly dependent on user input. Thus, nearly everything factor in the game can manipulated by either delaying actions, prolonging button presses, or a combination of both. Things that were manipulated include: starting pokémon stats, critical hits, attack damage, opponent misses, avoiding random encounters, causing encounters, causing people in my direct path to move, the location of the switches in vermillion gym, and the list goes on, and on. Adjusting the duration of a button press was particularly useful for battles, and I found it increased the number of possible attacks by about a factor of 20, and doesn't take any additional time.

Glitch Abuse: The glitch used to spawn a Mew is most often referred to as the "Trainer/Fly" glitch. Less well known, is that this glitch can also be performed by using Teleport, Dig, or an Escape Rope. The Abra I catch serves this purpose nicely, and also saves time backtracking from Vermillion. The other glitch I manipulate isn't really a glitch per se; the item is functioning correctly. Using a Poké Doll ends a wild battle instantly. I use this to end the Marowak battle, without having to actually obtaion a Silph Scope (which would take several minutes).

Possible questions and answers: Pewter Gym takes a really long time. Why Charmander? Since I'm ditching my starter as soon as I have Mew, the difference boils down to a foot race from Pallet Town across Nugget Bridge. It turns out that Charmander wins by a good margin. Almost a minute in fact. One of the reasons for this is that there are simply so many bug pokémon in this section, which Charmander kills effortlessly. Other factors that help are that he's faster and stronger than Squirtle, and learns more powerful attacks at lower levels.

You heal twice in Cerulean. Couldn't that be avoided somehow? The short answer is, yes it could, but the alternative is quite a bit slower. On the pokémon scale of time, using a poké center really doesn't take all that much time, only around ~850 frames or so (compare to one round of attacks, which takes around 300). I could avoid healing by picking up the hidden Ether near Bill's (which takes around 250) and using when I have 10 or less Mega Punches remaining (which takes about 400). Sounds like an improvement, but the ether alone still doesn't give me enough attacks, I'd be about six short in all. This would mean I would end up sacrificing OKHOs for two hits, in about six places, adding up to around 1800 frames. Healing was a faster option.

You use a Rare Candy in Safron. What's that all about? First off, accessing menus in this game is really, really slow. The more it can be avoided the better. After battling Giovanni and before Sabrina, I have four things I need to do: use escape rope, use fly, get on the bicycle, teach both Surf and Strength. The last of these needs to be done before Sabrina, because if it's not, when I need to use an escape rope in Cinnibar, I'll have to scroll back up a few hundred frames to get to it. Teaching these before I get on the bike, and by using a Rare Candy in between, I can seemlessly go from one to the other, whithout having to access the menu twice. Basically, I am able to use a Rare Candy at the cost of ~100 frames, but it saves me an additional round of attacks in Safron Gym, due to having learned Psychic beforehand.

Why do you take the time to deposit your pokémon before the Elite Four? Well, I wouldn't, except that there happens to be two button presses after showing the Hall of Fame credits. Depositing them takes a lot less time then allowing them to appear in the credits. I'm not sure how this affects the in-game clock (whether it is calculated before the credits, or after), but it makes the movie file shorter.

Possible Improvements: This run is not optimal; there's always somewhere where one or two frames can be saved. However, I have done my best to ensure that whenever time could be saved, it was never more than one or two frames. There are a few possible exceptions to this however.

Lorelei of the Elite Four gave me a hard time. Her Slowbro was one hitpoint outside of the manipulatable OHKO range, and her Jynx was two hitpoints outside. The Mew I rolled had an attack DV of 14/15 and a special DV of 13/15. If these had both been max, these attacks might have been doable in one hit (but only if the Mew's acutal stats happen to be higher at that specific level, which often is not the case for a slightly higher DV). The Blastoise in the last Rival fight was also two hp away from a OHKO. These were the only close instances throughout the entire game. Unfortunately, rerolling a Mew would mean redoing 80% of the run.

Moving the boulders around in Victory Road takes a really long time. If a way could be found to glitch around the the fake barriers, this could cut around 2 minutes off the run, not only from not having to shove the rocks around, but from not having to get and learn Strength. I was unable to find such a way. If I ever do, you can be sure to see an improved run ;)

Recognition: First and foremost, I would like to thank Tilus, who gave me a lot of great suggestions for optimizing this run. He also pointed me in the direction of a great web resource, namely Azure Heights Pokémon Laboratory. I also used a few other sources quite extensively: The Ultimate Pokémon Center and necrosaro's Pokémon Page. I would also like to thank OmnipotentEntity for introducing me to this awesome site, Bisqwit for hosting it, and all other users who gave feedback and suggestions on the discussion forum.

Bisqwit: Processing this movie. Mew really belongs into this Pokémon timeattack :)

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