TASVideos

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

Submission #1041: Aqfaq's Genesis Wonderboy in Monster World in 42:10.45

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Wonderboy in Monster World
Game version: USA, Europe
ROM filename: Wonderboy 5 (MonsterWorld 3) (UE) [!].bin
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 42:10.45
FrameCount: 151827
Re-record count: 30351
Author's real name: Jaakko Järviniemi
Author's nickname: Aqfaq
Submitter: Aqfaq
Submitted at: 2006-04-02 00:01:55
Text last edited at: 2006-07-30 17:21:32
Text last edited by: DeHackEd
Download: Download (10797 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Hello! Monster World is invaded by monsters. Shion is a hero. He saves everybody. Enjoy the movie!

You can read further if you want, but that's probably not necessary.

BASIC THINGS

If you keep these basic things in mind, you'll understand more about the movie:

- If I stop moving for a while, that's for dodging/manipulating the enemies. Generally, the enemies are not very manipulatable. They check their movements from the in-game clock and position of Shion, but to some extent they are affected by damaging other nearby enemies or by entering the screen at different time. The manipulation is usually done by choosing between waiting, sword usage, magic usage and damage-taking (using magic wastes least time). The manipulation spans multiple screens. The number of possible decisions grows exponentially. This makes finding the optimal solutions very difficult. The imaginary super player would know exactly how the enemies move in any screen at any time, but I believe that it's not possible to run past all enemies even with perfect manipulation. Normally the enemies come on the way much more often than seen in this movie.

- The inventory can be used only in a standing position. It's not possible to change equipment while jumping, climbing or swimming.

- The inventory screen stops the in-game clock, so any inventory handling sequence can be changed (hex-edited) without desync. This helped a lot to test different choices.

- There are some helpful allies that can join Shion, 4 to be exact. They follow Shion and do their own stuff here and there. They are useless in a movie that aims for speed.

- The acceleration is hard to optimize. If some move looks strange, it's done because of acceleration (or enemy manipulation).

Ok, you decided to read further. If you still feel like it, here's the movie (and the game) explained chronologically...

THE BEGINNING (00:00-02:17)

Shion leaves home and meets an old lady. Got news: Princess is kidnapped! Got item: Elixir (Restores half of the health if all hearts are lost. Can't be used manually.) Got magic: 3x Fire Storm. The magic comes in slots, just like hearts.

Then Shion collects 30 gold and buys Leather Boots to increase speed. There are some guards standing in front of the Purapril castle. They don't let anyone pass because the princess is kidnapped. Shion ignores the guards.

THE FAIRY VILLAGE and PURAPRIL (02:18-06:55)

Shion arrives in Alsedo, the fairy village. It has been invaded by mushroom creatures. Talking to some fairies makes an ocarina appear in the nearby cave. The ocarina is used to open magically sealed doors. Shion plays the ocarina beautifully and adnvances deeper into the cave. He takes a heart container on the way. See the small fairy thing that follows Shion? Just ignore it.

The Myconid is defeated. Got 3x Fire Storm. Alsedo is saved!

Soon after that, Shion goes in a tunnel under the Purapril castle and saves the princess. Then talking to some random lady triggers the castle doors, they are no more locked. Now Shion has access to Purapril, the center of Monster World. Buying Ladder Boots now would be very slighlty slower than buing them later.

THE JUNGLE (06:56-13:20)

After some difficult luck manipulation and carefully used Fire Storms, Shion arrives in Lilypad, the dwarf village. Luckily, there's enough gold to buy Marine Boots. They increase speed on land and under water.

Shion continues forward and meets cannibals. This is a hard part because the enemies move on the way a lot. Then Shion saves a dwarf child. This guy joins Shion and hits down some walls for him. He also digs coins every now and then, preferably not too much (to avoid lag). Together they travel inside a temple that has been invaded by monsters. They collect a heart there even though it takes an extra minute. I'm very satisfied with how the enemies moved here.

The boss: Gragg & Glagg. It is possible to kill Gragg (the left one) earlier, but then Glagg would have 2 boulders. It is supposed that there are always 2 boulders rolling. However, in this movie Shion kills Gragg at the exact frame it was going to release the boulder. This timing annihilates the boulder completely so that there's only one left to dodge. (Call it a small programming error if you like.) See how long it takes for the one stone to move all the way? Notice that it is not possible to jump over a boulder (without taking damage) if it's rolling downhill.

Got Trident, an average weapon that let's Shion breath underwater. A door back to Purapril is opened.

In Purapril, Shion buys the Ladder Boots and a Potion. (Potion is same as Elixir, but can be used at any time.) For now on, the Ladder Boots are used whenever it saves time. It's also a good thing to visit Inn. For now on the Return magic gets Shion back here. The secondary purpose of visiting Inn is to refill all magic and health.

POSEIDON'S WORLD (13:21-15:38)

In the morning, Shion equips the Trident and goes for a swim. He arrives at a tropical scenery. There's a chest containing a Pygmy Sword. This is one of the four Pygmy items that are needed later in the game.

Swimming is fast, but hard. Kicking the water raises speed, but also produces movement upwards. Pressing up/down while swimming affects the speed direction a bit. Fire Storm can be used a lot now without having to plan it much because Shion returns back to the Inn pretty soon. That made dodging enemies easy.

Got item: Amulet

The Amulet opens Poseidon's Shrine. From there Shion collects a heart and 1x Return magic. Notice that it's not possible to swim against the rotating fans in real time. Kicking the water 30 times in a second is just enough.

A major water part is skipped here. Normally Oasis Boots would be needed to cross the upcoming desert. Getting them from the Poseidon's Shrine would cost about 2 minutes. Luckily, there's just enough hearts and healing stuff available to cross the desert without the Oasis Boots. This is not an obvious route. This saves only less than a minute (because it takes time to get the hearts), but makes the movie much more interesting.

MAUGHAM DESERT (15:38-21:47)

After returning to the Inn and sleeping overnight, Shion runs through the desert. Elixir and Potion are used here.

The Pyramid has 3 doors that all require a key. Inside, Shion takes an Elixir and visits a secret room full of magic. Got a load of magic: 3x Fire Storm, 3x Quake (not used at all), 3x Thunder, 2x Power, 2x Shield (not used at all). The Power magic doubles weapon damage temporarily. This saves a lot of time in the later boss fights, because they have an invulnerability period of 30 frames.

Then there's the Sphinx. It likes quizzes. The set of 5 questions is determined at the moment when the door is entered. One letter costs 6 frames and the text can't be sped up. I wait some time (48 frames) before going inside to manipulate the questions. This is more than 2 seconds faster than entering the door as early as possible.

Here are all the possible questions and their lenght in letters, bold is what I got:

  • Which of these items is not sold at the Wanderer weapon shop? (61 letters)
  • After defeating Gragg & Glagg, what did you receive? (52)
  • What’s the name of the queen in the elf village? (48)
  • What item helped you to traverse Maugham Desert? (48)
  • Which of these monsters did you battle first? (45)
  • Which of these stores does not sell weapons? (44)
  • What’s the first type of magic you acquired? (44)
  • Which key do you need to enter the Pyramid? (43)
  • What’s the name of the dwarf village? (37)
  • How much does a charmstone cost? (32)

I'm very satisfied with this result.

4/5 answers must be right to pass. It is slighlty faster to answer wrong once. Too bad the Sphinx did not ask "What item helped you to traverse Maugham Desert?". The correct answer would have been Oasis Boots. ;)

Before leaving Shion collects a Pygmy Shield closeby.

By the way, nice amount of health left after the Pyramid scene! You made it Shion!

Begonia, the dragon village is behind the mountains. Shion gets the Fire Bracelet from the old dragon and returns to the Inn.

THE ICE WORLD (21:48-30:00)

In the next morning, Shion goes for the Ice World, knowing that the Fire Bracelet will destroy a seal that blocks the entrance. The Ice World is one of the hardest parts of the game.

Trident has a bad hit range for the destroyable blocks. It's much faster to use the sword here. Almost all magic is wasted on the skeletons, but that's worth it. One difficulty is that destroying the blocks fast makes many particles appear on screen at the same time. This combined to the Fire Storms causes some lag.

The penguins are irritating, but they move very nicely this time, although I need to take damage once.

Hey, there's some village! Let's ignore it!

The good thing about ice is that it increases speed. The bad thing is that it slows down acceleration so much that accelerating in the air (aka. jumping) is faster. There's a necessary Pygmy item again: Boots. There are also two large creatures guarding two gems. The 2nd creature seems to always drop an Elixir if you don't have one already.

The two gems are used to access the Ice Bomber. It is possible to get stuck here if the Ice Bomber is kiled off-screen so that the chest that it drops can't be reached. The chest contains some important looking item called Old Axe.

Ceramic Boots are bought to increase speed again. With the increased speed it is good to go and get the last piece of Pygmy equipment, the armor.

THE VOLCANO (30:00-34:32)

Now that the whole Pygmy set is gathered, it is time to get into a volcano! What else did you expect?

With frame perfection it's easy to be efficient here. There's plenty of Fire Storm for enemy manipulation and the Pygmy Shield deflects enemy projectiles nicely, even though you can hardly see that because it happens in 1 frame.

Good, there's 2x Power magic right on the route!

There's something interesting around the time 31:52. I walk through an enemy! How is that possible? Well, I guess it's a very small programming error (or a game feature that nobody ever talked about). The trick works because there are 2 different types of damage in the game. 1) Normal damage caused by most enemies. Throws Shion in the air. 2) Environmental damage caused by desert, lava and ghost enemies. Type-2 damage does not move Shion. What I do here is that I take type-2 damage from the lava and then walk through the enemy by pressing down while walking. I believe Shion is not supposed to walk through enemies even when flashing, but press down while walking and it works!

The volcano is quite easy part, but the boss isn't. I managed to get to the boss 21 (and 20, 19, 18...) frames faster than this, but the Tyrant Dragon just didn't act nicely. Shion is very lucky to keep the purple tyrant that calm while slashing it with the Pygmy Sword. Got item: Fire Urn.

Now the blacksmith of Begonia can use the Fire Urn to forge the Legendary Sword out of the Old Axe. Wow! The work is not finished until Shion talks to the old dragon once more. Maybe the old dragon is getting a bit too old, because it gives Shion an ally which is completely useless at this point.

THE END (34:32-42:10)

With the Legendary Sword Shion can travel to the Sky Castle to meet the source of the monsters. There are some climbing parts and minibosses that require planning and make equipping sequences a bit complicated here. There's also the Legendary Armor that must be picked up for later use.

The Almighty Demon King has 3 heads that drop off and start to move around. If I remember correctly that was a quite a tough battle on a console. Even now I had to lose a couple of frames to manipulate the other head to run right instead of left. After the short battle it turns out that the Prince of Dark World was under the control of Biomeka, a deadly creature from outer space.

So, Shion travels to some other planet and refights all the bosses to get access to their creator, Biomeka. (The refights contain a small mistake: The Ice Bomber has a long dying animation and Shion can leave the room before the Ice Bomber is counted as dead. This way the Ice Bomber can be refought again and again.) There are some annoying little guys jumping on the hallways. They are very annoying without a shield, but I guess the absence of shield makes this part one of the highlights of the movie. (Shion has the shield after the credits at 44:50 though... haha...) The enemy manipulation is not much visible here and you probably can't tell the exact projectile/enemy I'm trying to dodge because there are many of them.

In the last scene, Biomeka is invulnerable and tries to kill Shion with it's energy gun. Biomeka is supposed to hurt Shion until the Prince of Dark World comes to aid. Shion would die here without the Legendary Armor because he has so few hearts. (Uh-oh, Biomeka, you killed the actor!) It looks like I take damage slowly, but only Biomeka's 2nd shot matters. I move so that the Prince appears as close to the Biomeka as possible. Biomeka has only 15-frame invulnerability period, but 1x Power magic is left to use here because it didn't fit any other place.

I wrote all this to make the movie a bit more understandable to the ones who are not familiar with the game. Those who know the game will probably love every moment.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

This game is known as Monsterworld 3 in Japan. I tested that version too, but it has longer text parts. I don't know wether to call this game Wonderboy 5 or Wonderboy in Monster World. I use the latter now because it's on the title screen.

This game is very hard to optimize. Especially collecting gold, manipulating enemies and deciding where to use magic cause much trouble. All these in conjuction makes things extra complicated. Things that are far away in the future must be foreseen.

I managed to find a couple of bugs. (The game is well programmed. I think that's because it has evolved from the earlier Master System games.) At one place I can get inside a wall, but nothing interesting happens, no zipping or anything. The screen just wraps around if you walk straight for 30 minutes. I found a trick that saved 53 frames in the passage that leads to the Ice World. Almost all that time came back in the next few screens. The remaining few frames were lost some minutes later. That was amazing! Maybe I didn't try hard enough? That's possible. Anyway, improving some early part by a second doesn't mean anything. To prove an improvement the whole game must be played through.

There are thousands of rerecords that are not registered in this file because I made many versions of some parts to test different choices. For the same reason, there are some stylistical things that I'm not fully satisfied about. The style disappeared in the gmv-file mess.

This movie must be improvable with better luck manipulation. Hopefully someone beats the record someday. Under 42 minutes is probably possible with better tools and deeper understanding of the randomness.

In my opinion the game has nice graphics and good music. It's not the fastest game around, but there are some nice moments anyway. Just relax and enjoy!

THANKS

Angerfist, thanks for extra motivation. maTO, thanks for your movie that helped me to understand many things more easily. Fabian and maTO, thanks for giving feedback along the way. But there were others too! Thanks to all who discussed the route, watched the WIP and encouraged me! Details here: http://bisqwit.iki.fi/nesvideos/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2323


adelikat: Angerfist in Irc wrote: "I'll kick your arse if you reject it!"

so it seems I have no choice ;) Fortunately it is a good game, well planned run, and has received good response.

Accepting for publication.


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