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

Submission #1134: JXQ's NES Little Samson in 14:13.08

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Little Samson
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Little Samson (U).nes
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 14:13.08
FrameCount: 51185
Re-record count: 13409
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: JXQ
Submitter: JXQ
Submitted at: 2006-07-26 02:46:06
Text last edited at: 2006-07-28 21:56:11
Text last edited by: Bisqwit
Download: Download (3751 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Little Samson TAS by JXQ

Essentials:

This run satisfies the following criteria:

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Uses warps

  • Emulator Used: FCEU 0.98.16, last improved by Luke

Overview

This little known gem of a game has incredible potential for a TAS. You control four unique characters with very differing abilites, and, most importantly, the ability to switch between them at any time.

About the Game:

The first four levels are introductory levels, one for each character. The real fun begins when they all team up and can be interchanged at any time. Here's a rundown of the four characters:

  • Little Samson

The all-around character. Samson walks with an average speed, and can shoot projectiles left or right that pack a small punch. He also has the ability to grab onto, climb, and jump off of walls, as well as hang from ceilings.

  • Kikira the Dragon

Kikira moves at the same speed as Samson, but can jump much higher and hover in mid-air for quite a while. Her projectiles arc down slightly and then back up as they travel forward (somewhat parabolic), making the shots difficult to aim. She can also charge up to three different levels of multi-shots.

  • Gamm the Golem

Gamm attacks by a stretching arm punch (think Dhalsim, but much much cooler) that can be aimed up, down, or forward. This attack is more powerful than the shots of Samson or Kikira. Gamm is a good amount slower than the rest of the bunch, but has a much larger life meter, and can walk on spikes. Your standard "slow but strong" player.

  • KO the Mouse

90% of this run will be played with KO because he has the fastest walking speed. KO attacks by dropping bombs that pack quite a punch if the enemy happens to run into them (or be near them when they explode). Like Samson, KO can climb walls and ceilings. The downside is his life meter is the smallest of the bunch.

Detailed Analysis

I used two of Mazzic's runs to gauge my performance. The practice levels and first three normal levels were compared to a different, more optimized run. The remaining levels were compared to his first run.

Practice 1 (Samson)

  • Samson climbs optimally when jumping for 14 frames for each jump. By quickly grabbing and jumping off the walls, Samson basically jumps constantly up walls.
  • 11 frames gained.

Practice 2 (Kikira)

  • By catching the whirlwinds that travel to the right, time is gained. Otherwise this is a pretty standard level.
  • 7 frames gained.

Practice 3 (Gamm)

  • An extra life container and life potion are grabbed here to be used MUCH later.
  • 4 frames gained.

Practice 4 (KO)

  • The mouse has cool music. This is good because you'll be hearing a lot of it.
  • 14 frames gained.

Boss

  • You apparently beat the nonsense out of Kikira because she is too busy whining to want to help save the world.

Level 1

  • Here you can see the true potential of KO's speed during horizontal sections, and Samson's climbing during vertical sections.
  • Getting KO an extra couple life bars here speeds up strategies in the next couple levels.
  • The boss strategy is quite effective: get invulnerability from damage and spam KO's bombs.
  • By delivering the last hit on this boss as the Mouse, a warp is activated to skip the next four levels.
  • 21 frames gained.

Level 6

  • Bubbles damage for 1/2 of a bar, while their projectiles damage for a full bar. Because of this, it's often better to take damage from the bubble in order to destroy it and stop it from shooting.
  • KO's life meter is maxed out at 6 bars here.
  • 114 frames gained.

Level 7

  • Damage is taken often to destroy the plants before they shoot seeds and cause lag.
  • By not having a life potion for Samson when leaving the level, Level 8 (Ice Palace) is skipped.
  • 4 frames gained.

Level 9

  • The best place to avoid taking a hit to save time is the beginning of the spike pit on the second floor (versus the other spiked pits and the boss).
  • 305 frames gained (mostly from lag reduction).

Level A

  • We now see some scenarios that don't benefit from switching to Samson. With walls closer together, KO can climb walls as fast as Samson, minus the time to switch twice.
  • Three frame delay when entering the boss room to manipulate his position after reappearing.
  • 120 frames gained.

Level B

  • Very careful management of KO's health, combined with some luck manipulation, allowed for quite a bit of damage taken to save time throughout the level.
  • 248 frames gained.

Level C

  • Different music!
  • The "stairs" do not look optimal, but they are. Horizontal movement isn't enough to slide through more than one stair at a time when a ceiling is in the way.
  • After this level, health is no longer refilled between levels.
  • 273 frames gained.

Level D

  • Although I take the heart that is farther away, less lag is created by this route. Surprisingly, this is also faster than taking the heart manipulated from the skeletons above.
  • 380 frames gained.

Level E

  • Note that KO takes a life potion just before the boss, to be used on the next level.
  • 69 frames gained.

Level F (and escape)

  • Finally, Gamm gets to play an important role, by using his life potion to take two hits against the final boss, allowing for a much quicker kill with KO.
  • 290 frames gained.

  • In total, 1874 frames gained.

Suggested Description & Screenshot:

Little Samson and his team are out to deliver tool-assisted fun!

This game consists of four heroes with very different strengths and weaknesses. The object (and fun) of the game is to use these traits to your advantage depending on the situation.

In this run, however, one hero ends up being used the vast majority of the time, with the others usually standing in as little more than extra life meters.

Good screenshot: Frame 26185.

Thanks to...

  • Mazzic for his previous runs to compare to, and for ideas and strategies.
  • Truncated for critically watching my progress.
  • Bag of Magic Food for helpful game information.
  • Guybrush, Bablo, Baxter, Adelikat, Tailz, and others for support and so forth.


adelikat: Excellent game choice for TASing; especially with wall & ceiling climbing and multiple characters. This run is typical JX-quality. Accepting.

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