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

Submission #1520: Aqfaq's Genesis Humans in 43:19.22

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Humans
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Humans (Introducing The) (U) [!].bin
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 43:19.22
FrameCount: 155953
Re-record count: 43107
Author's real name: Jaakko Järviniemi
Author's nickname: Aqfaq
Submitter: Aqfaq
Submitted at: 2007-04-15 12:21:35
Text last edited at: 2008-03-05 02:43:17
Text last edited by: Aqfaq
Download: Download (15139 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Eighty puzzle flavored levels with solutions never seen before. Action scenes include jumping into the mouth of T-REX and choking it with a spear.

Normal gameplay

Humans is something between Lemmings and Lost Vikings. It has puzzles, but also action elements. Some of the later levels are quite challenging. It can take several hours to complete the game. Normally you spend a couple of minutes with each level, even if you know them by heart, but due to some very difficult tricks the average level completion time in this TAS is 19 seconds.

Only one human can be controlled at a time, but with careful planning you can move many of them simultaneously, because they move automatically during climbing, falling, jumping and dying. Jumping is faster than walking, so it's a very good method to jump as often as possible and switch to other humans between each jump. Sometimes humans are switched very rapidly, which causes the screen to move from side to side. It also makes following the movie difficult at times. Many things happen off screen too.

The two initial skills are (1) picking up items and (2) climbing on each other to form a "human tower". (Note: Humans can't jump without specific tools.)

Here are the four different tools that become available during the game:

Spear is used to jump, but it can also be thrown as a weapon.

Fire is used to burn bushes out of the way. Burns humans too.

Wheel is used to jump. It rolls fast on downward slopes.

Rope is used for climbing.

Shaman is a special unit that can transform humans into tools.

Some levels have large boulders that block the way. There's a trigger somewhere in the level that makes them vanish. You can't switch humans or use skills while the boulder-vanish-animation is happening, so it's good to stand on the trigger at a time when you would need to wait some other event anyway. (Note: Some triggers need more than one human standing on it to activate. Wheel counts as a human too.)

There are a few levels where the objective is to save an animal. For some reason, the animal can only be caught when it is walking to the right (that's strange programming).

Tricks & Bugs

Climb bug. This is the most useful bug in the whole movie. It requires three humans (A, B and C). Human A stands still the whole time. B climbs on top of A. Then B climbs down and C climbs up simultaneously. Now, B came down, but C got stuck on his way up. Then B climbs up. This causes C to continue climbing and C reaches the top (before B does). However, C is now registered as being on top of B, because B was the upmost guy when the whole process began. (C behaves as if there was an invisible human between A and C.) What would happen now is that B would finish climbing at his correct position between A and C. However, if C climbs down at the exact moment, B continues climbing upwards forever. If you kill A now, B falls down. (Note: Instead of killing A, you can also ride wheel on his toes.) Super effective shortcuts (upwards) are possible with this trick. The trick is used 43 times. The problem with this trick is that it wastes lives, so careful planning is needed to gain extra humans without losing much time.

Levitation (human floats still in the air) can be achieved in many ways. There are two types of falling in the game. The special type of falling (after releasing the wheel in mid-air or walking off the top of a human tower) allows input at the first frame of the fall. Pressing up at that exact moment causes leviation.

First levitate, then walk left or right to teleport. This makes your human appear in the left side of the level. Most levels have nothing there, so it usually results in death, but it can also be used as a huge shortcut in a few levels. Certain type of levels make the teleported human zip to the upper left corner of the level, which allows very cool routes.

There are many rope tricks available. The most effective one is abusing the fact that the humans walk automatically a bit when they reach the top of the rope. This can be used to make them walk in places that are out of reach otherwise. You can also kill the rope guy to duplicate the rope. Rope can be used as a tool for levitation and teleportation, although it's never done in this movie. Other rope tricks are not useful and can crash the game completely. (For future tasers: Test how many humans you need to win time with "continuous rope walking".)

Respawn tricks. When a human dies, it respawns back to the latest spot (of solid ground) it was standing on before it died, but there are some special cases. (1) Getting eaten by a beast respawns you to the edge of the beast's patrol area. (2) If human dies by fire, it gets respawned at the exact spot it died. This is used to respawn mid-air, avoiding a deadly fall in level 53.

Wheel tricks. You can survive a deadly fall by releasing the wheel before hitting the ground, heh, that is classic video game physics. Wheel can also be used as a tool for levitation (level 19) and teleportation.

Grabbing ladders while walking past them saves a few frames. Classic.

Collision abuse. With inhuman precision, spears can be thrown through solid ground.

A few more minor tricks exist: (1) falling on the bird causes no death no matter the height of the fall, (2) in certain special conditions you can stand in the middle of a ladder, (3) pressing up before turning around is faster than simply pressing left/right.

Making the movie

I started doing this in 2005. I thought that if I just started recording, something interesting would emerge. I have done most of my other movies while this movie was on hold. Sometimes I did a few levels in a day, but many times I got stuck for weeks or months in search for better solutions. Many levels were redone more than twice, because new bugs were discovered. I would have liked to provide a perfect movie, but the game is just too long and complex for that. I could save a few seconds right away, but it could take me months to do. Hex-editing works, but not perfectly. Coincidentally, the most used trick, the climb bug, causes most of the desynching. (I suppose desynching implies that there's some unknown (time related) variable that goes beyond the in-level physics. In other words: This movie will probably never be perfect.)

In the main menu I choose sound effects instead of music (you can't have both). The music would have become repetitive at some point and I think the sound effects make the movie easier to follow.

The end

I don't like the ending. I also don't like how this game depicts prehistoric events, evolution and women.

I recommend turning input display off to make the movie a bit simpler to watch. This is not your average dose of a platformer. It's a long movie, but there are funny moments here and there, so enjoy it as much as you can!

Level specific information

Empty objective box means that the level is completed simply by walking to the end. More comments may or may not be written later.

Level Time Objective Bugs used Comments
1 0:41 Discover the spear This is one of the longest levels.
2 0:26
3 0:09 Climb bug
4 0:20 I need to save an extra human to avoid Game Over later.
5 0:06 Save a human Climb bug
6 0:09 Discover fire Climb bug
7 0:12 Climb bug
8 0:17 2x Climb bug
9 0:32 Kill the beast (HP: 3) The beast bit me!
10 0:07 Climb bug
11 0:17 Climb bug I need to save a human to avoid extinction later.
12 0:16 Jump into the mouth of T-REX and choke it with spear!
13 0:06 Discover the wheel Climb bug
14 0:07
15 0:22 The extra human is saved to avoid extinction later.
16 0:19 Kill two beasts (both have 2 HP) Climb bug
17 0:30 Kill the beast (HP: 1) Teleport
18 0:20 Save a human Climb bug
19 0:21 Levitation Levitation is used to stand slightly above the ground
20 0:20 Save a human Climb bug To future tasers: Use more wheel, not spear.
21 0:12 Save an animal
22 0:08 Save a human Prehistoric stone wheel ninja!
23 0:10 Climb bug
24 0:10 Discover the rope Climb bug
25 0:22 Climb bug
26 0:29 Climb bug This level introduces the shaman.
27 0:07 Save a human Climb bug
28 0:30 Climb bug
29 0:28 Save a human
30 0:10 Save a human Climb bug
31 0:30 Climb bug
32 0:12 Save a human Wheel bounces on the trigger and activates it temporarily
33 0:12
34 0:15 Teleport
35 0:09 Climb bug
36 0:21 Climb bug
37 0:12 Climb bug
38 0:08 Save a human Climb bug
39 0:22
40 0:13 Suicide jump on the trigger activates it temporarily
41 0:26 Climb bug
42 0:08 Climb bug
43 0:14 Save an animal Climb bug
44 0:15
45 0:16 Climb bug
46 0:13 Climb bug
47 0:11 Climb bug
48 0:24 Recover the idol 3x teleport
49 0:21 Climb bug
50 0:32 Kill the beast (HP: 2) 2x collision abuse & teleport
51 1:06 Climb bug This is the longest level.
52 0:08 Teleport
53 0:17 Save a human Respawn trick with fire
54 0:03 This is the shortest level.
55 0:23 Kill two beasts (both have 2 HP)
56 0:28
57 0:08
58 0:30 Teleport
59 0:46 Rope trick
60 0:10 Save a human
61 0:16 Teleport
62 0:11 Recover the idol Climb bug
63 0:56
64 0:29
65 0:09 Save an animal Teleport
66 0:09 Climb bug
67 0:22
68 0:33 Rope trick
69 0:19 Climb bug
70 0:17 Climb bug
71 0:28 Kill two beasts (both have 2 HP) Teleport
72 0:19 Save a human Teleport & climb bug
73 0:14 Climb bug To future tasers: Use climb bug earlier.
74 0:29 Climb bug
75 0:24 Recover the idol Teleport Rope trick
76 0:27 5x teleport
77 0:06 Save a human Climb bug
78 0:29 Save two humans Teleport & climb bug
79 0:18 Save a human Climb bug
80 0:19 Climb bug

Total in-game time is 25:30.

Movie attributes

  • plays at hardest level
  • aims for fastest time
  • uses death as a shortcut (Well, about 50 times, but it's not the ordinary death thing, because the player controls many impersonal units.)
  • abuses programming errors
  • genre: puzzle

adelikat: Accepting for Publication.

adelikat: Processing.

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