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

Submission #1064: trazz's Genesis Golden Axe in 07:30.65

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Golden Axe
Game version: (REV 01) (JU) [!]
ROM filename: Golden Axe (REV 01) (JU) [!].zip
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 07:30.65
FrameCount: 27039
Re-record count: 16402
Author's real name: Clinton L. M.
Author's nickname: trazz
Submitter: trazz
Submitted at: 2006-04-24 11:59:16
Text last edited at: 2009-07-04 22:58:57
Text last edited by: Truncated
Download: Download (2946 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
(Major thanks to Neofix--I consulted his published movie many times while making this one and he noticed several tricks that I would have probably missed. I improved quite a few of Neofix's tricks but some of those tricks were good enough that it was quick difficult to find improvements.)

This movie is now completely obsolete. See http://tasvideos.org/1086S.html .


Genre: Fighting
Golden Axe--this a port of the classic arcade game. There's a few difference--the graphics aren't as good as the arcade game but there's a few Genesis exclusive levels.

TYRIS=FLARE (sic--check the attraction mode sequence), the Amazon, lost both her parents to Death=adder (sic) and is on a quest for vengenance. Perhaps she's seeking a name without a mathematical symbol stuck in the middle, too. In any case, she's got a sword, powerful magic abilities, an absurdly impractical fan-service costume and lots of enemies to pummel.

This movie is 59 seconds, 50 frames faster than the previously published movie (http://tasvideos.org/990S.html). (Edit: Despite popular opinion, this movie is not more than one minute faster than the previous version.) The ending sequence (boss death animation, epilogue, credits, final score screen) is now longer than the .gmv file.

Main sources for improvements:

  1. More scenarios when the player can attack more than one foe at once
  2. Enemies knocked/tricked into pits sooner
  3. Thieves knocked offscreen more aggressively

(Oh, I do use the blue dragon. I only use the blue dragon once, but I do use all (two) of the dragon's attacks. The "Chicken Leg" monster in level 1 sucks and doesn't get used at all.)


Attacks:

Basic attack (B button)

Does minimal damage but can be comboed into another basic attack or more powerful moves. Eventually a basic attack combo will end with a basic knockdown attack or, if close enough, a throw. You can also make basic knockdown attacks without a combo when fighting thieves or mounted foes.

Basic attacks are used for damage and to stun enemies. Basic knockdown attacks don't do much damage and only used versus thieves.

Throws only do a modest amount of damage and are slow. There's exactly one throw in whole game. I have to wait for a statue at the end of level 7 to come to life. There's there's no way to make that happen sooner so I burn up some extra time by using a throw.

Back Attack (B+C)

This is a great attack--moderately fast, good range, can be comboed after a basic attack and great damage. This gets used frequently. This attack also has the wonderful ability to hit foes that are offscreen.

Jump attack (C then B)

Fairly fast but only modest damage. Used to knock foes into pits.

Dash attack (B while dashing (tap left/right twice

Used to knock foes towards/into pits and kick thieves. It's also used for moving around--the dashing attack is quite useful as a long distance, low altitude jump.

Downward stab (Dash, C, hold B)

This attack is very slow but it is the most powerful melee attack in the game. This can hit a foe that has just stood up and is used extensively vs. fallen/stationary targets. The AI is programmed to avoid this attack but it's possible to trick the AI into not dodging this move. The main drawbacks this attack has is that it takes quite a bit of time to set up and can't be used to attack a foe that's offscreen.

The downward stab also knocks the enemy in the same direction as the player is facing. It's possible to turn around at the last possible frame and thus the player can choose to send the foe to the left or right.

Edit: As far as I can tell, damage is as follows:

  • Basic attack: 1
  • Basic knockdown/throw: 2
  • Dash attack: 2
  • Jump attack: 3
  • Any attack while riding animals: 4
  • Back attack: 6
  • Downward Stab: 8
  • (Ax=Battler's) Level 4 magic: 12

Human sized enemies have at least 8 hitpoints--those on later stages have more. Skeletons have at least 12. Giant-sized enemies have at least 16 hitpoints (starting with the two at the end of stage 1) and frequently have many more. Thieves don't seem to have hitpoints; they just lose one jar/meat every time you hit them.

Magic:

Tyris can hold up to 9 jars and needs at least 7 to make a magic attack worthwhile. Unfortunately, you can't keep surplus jars and you can't use a level 4 spell if you have enough jars for a level 5+ spell. Since there's situations where casting a weaker spell is better, I end up dodging jars in two situations.

  • Levels 1-3: Knocks every enemy down, doesn't do that much damage.
  • Level 4: (requires exactly 7 jars) Tyra's level 4 spell extremely fast for a magic spell and can kill most human-sized enemies. Unwounded giant-sized enemies will take heavy damage but will survive.
  • Level 5: (requires exactly 8 jars) Slower than a level 4 spell, does more damage.
  • Level 6: (requires exactly 9 jars) Slower than a level 5 spell, does slightly more damage (less than 8 hitpoints difference) than a level 5 spell.

Animals:

You lose all of your normal attacks and get a moderately powerful knockdown attack and an equally powerful dashing attack instead. Unless the focus of the level is knocking enemies into pits, the animals make for lousy weapons and greatly decrease the player's offensive abilities. I only use a mount once--stage 5 has a blue dragon mount and an extremely convenient pit.

Luck Manipulation

There's not that much luck manipulation in the game. Most enemies react based on where the player is and what (s)he is currently doing, not random variables. It is possible to use luck manipulation on bonus stages by pausing and unpausing the game at the very beginning of the stage. Some bonus screen patterns are impossible to complete quickly as the thieves are scattered far away from each other. I use luck manipulation to prevent these patterns from occuring.

Stages:

Stage 1:

The fastest way to deal with the opening text is to hold one button for two frames, another button for the next two frames, the first button for two frames, etc.

The first fight has a demonstration of z-axis positioning. I move up (towards the background) as far as I can while still being able to hit the lower enemy. This means that when the first enemy is dead, I'm as close as possible to the next one. There's many instances of z-axis positioning in this game--it's an important tactic that saves frames in many fights.

The first pair is fairly spread out but the second pair is close enough together that they can quickly be tricked into standing close enough together so that I can kill both at once.

Thieves hold a fixed number of magic jars and once you hit them enough times, they run around like a maniac until they run off the screen. If you can hit them while they are offscreen or if your last attack knocks them offscreen, the thieves disappear without running around like a maniac. Shoving thieves offscreen is another important tactic that gets used frequently.

Basic enemies are extremely likely to head towards an unmounted animal, which makes them very predictable targets. You can see this behavior occur in the middle and the end of this stage.

Stage 2:

The first two enemies can be convinced to jump off the cliff. The next two can't but will go over the cliff with a little "persuasion".

Rejected Olympic Sports, #735: Dragon Vaulting.

I dodge the pots on purpose--the level 4 spell is enough for the end of the level and picking up any more pots forces me to waste frames by using a spell with a longer animation. I have to slow down my attacks on the thief to make sure I don't get hit by a stray pot but, since the stage can't continue until every last villager has run off screen and I knock the thief off screen before that happens, I don't lose any frames.

You can see the tail of a red dragon at the very end of the stage and this is the only red dragon in the entire game. Bit of a shame--the red dragon throws fireballs--and that's the only projectile weapon that the player can use in the entire game. However, it's much faster to use Spell Level 4 and end the stage than to use the red dragon, so the red dragon doesn't even get a chance to step onto the screen.

Stage 3

I use two basic attacks against the giant hammermen before hitting them with a back attack and two downward thrusts. This is to make sure they die after the second downward thrust--if I only use one basic attack, they will have one hit point each left after the second downward thrust connects.

I also make sure to knock the giant hammermen onto the raised platform. Since it takes less time to fall onto a raised platform, the giant hammermen stand up just a few frames sooner and can be killed a few frames sooner.

I use a level 5 spell here and two downward thrusts to finish off the boss. If I use a level 4 spell, the boss requires three downward thrust attacks instead of two and that extra attack wastes all of the time saved by using the faster spell and a few more frames, too. The slower level 6 spell is just a waste of frames--the extra damage is negligible and the boss still takes two powerful attacks before dying.

Stage 4:

The previously published movies used a fancy trick to make the first three foes jump off the raised platforms. Pure violence is much faster here. I don't want to knock the first enemy offscreen with the downward thrust but I don't have much of a choice. The enemy AI loves to be on higher ground and if I send the first enemy rightwards, he'll land near the raised platforms. If he lands there, he'll waste time dancing on the raised platforms instead of rushing back into the fight.

I use a combo-into-a-downward-thrust on the third skeleton. It's important to knock the skeleton to the right and not the left. If the skeleton gets knocked leftwards, it lands on a lower platform. The dying animation cannot start until the skeleton hits the ground so sending a dead foe to a lower platform wastes frames.

Frame 4:21:08--I'm not going to spoil this one with a full description. I just happen to like this move a lot. I get in both a damaging attack and a chance to position a foe for a later two-enemies-with-one-strike attack.

Stage 5

I found a faster way to get rid of the three skeletons by dying. This method is (if I recall correctly) four frames slower, doesn't involve dying and is...oh, I don't want to spoil this one, either. I think this technique is more impressive than dying.

I use the dragon! All of you "You have to ride the animals!" people can stop complaining now. :)

Stage 6

Pretty straightfoward violence.

I use level 6 magic here--the level won't end until Death=adder and both skeletons are dead and only the level 6 spell is powerful enough to damage Death=adder and kill both skeletons. Not having to finish off both skeletons saves quite a bit of time so I can easily justify the slower level 6 animation this time.

I can't hurt Death=adder when he's on the stairs so I can pick up two potions after the spell without wasting frames.

Stage 7

I run rightwards/leftwards/rightwards just before the thieves arrive to luck-manipulate the left thief into stepping onto the bridge. Otherwise, he stays on the left platform and I have to waste time chasing him.

I waste time fighting the skeletons in the statue room--there's no way to make the statues come to life any sooner.

Stage 8

The boss can be killed with 6 downward thrusts and one blast of level 6 magic. By doing the downward thrusts first and the magic attack last, I can stop the recording before the magic animation starts. This saves a few seconds. It also causes a minor graphical glitch--the axe is supposed to end up hitting Death Bringer in the chest. Instead, it misses by a few pixels and get embedded into thin air.


Truncated: Looks very well played, no obvious improvements. Accepting this submission.

Phil: Encoding...


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