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

Submission #1530: alden's NES Dizzy the Adventurer in 07:49.67

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Dizzy the Adventurer
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Dizzy The Adventurer (U) (Aladdin).nes
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 07:49.67
FrameCount: 28180
Re-record count: 8408
Author's real name: Alden S.
Author's nickname: alden
Submitter: alden
Submitted at: 2007-04-23 03:48:03
Text last edited at: 2007-06-28 16:01:12
Text last edited by: adelikat
Download: Download (2298 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Dizzy the Adventurer (U) (Aladdin) in 28180 frames (07:49.67)

Dizzy is an egg creature whose series of games was quite popular in the late 80's and early 90's. Most gamers in the US however have never heard of him (including me before I saw a reference to the games on this list of game ideas: http://tasvideos.org/ListOfIdeas.html ). If you've never played this or the other Dizzy games I would suggest playing around in it for a few minutes to get a flavor of it.

Goal:

  • Fastest completion

To this end there are several sub-goals:

  • Shortest route

  • Least items collected/used

  • Fewest cherries collected (they take 100 frames of inaction to eat)

  • And generally fastest speed as measured in the game's memory

Compatibility:

This was recorded on FCEU 16 with default settings. It has also been tested successfully on FCEU 15. There is at least one other ROM with a different checksum value that this movie will also work with.

Recommended, but not required, is to enable the "Allow more than 8 sprites per scanline" option in the View window. Remember to turn this off as it causes instability in other games.

Game Information

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dizzy_series

"The Dizzy series of computer games was one of the most successful computer game brands of the late eighties. They were all based around a central figure, an intelligent egg-like creature called Dizzy."

"Most of the games were arcade adventures. Dizzy would run, jump, and roll around various locations in order to collect objects, interact with other characters, and solve logical puzzles."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dizzy_Prince_of_the_Yolkfolk

"Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk is an adventure video game published in December 1991 by Codemasters.... It was the sixth game in the Dizzy adventure series."

...This was probably the smallest Dizzy adventure game in terms of the number of rooms, but this meant that it was maybe the game with most critical acclaim. Magazine Amstrad Action was noted in its dislike of walking from one area of the map to another to complete problems which it said was tedious. The smaller map helped to counteract this.

The game in November 1992 was enhanced and re-released with the illfated Aladdin Deck Enhancer under the title, Dizzy The Adventurer."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aladdin_Deck_Enhancer

"The Aladdin Deck Enhancer, produced by Camerica, was a device that one would plug into a Nintendo Entertainment System. It contained a bypass chip which would work with the lock-out chip inside the Nintendo Entertainment System. With this hardware in the deck, one would then insert a much smaller cartridge containing a game into the Aladdin Deck Enhancer."

General Technique

This game boils down to choosing the shortest route to collect and drop off the needed items, then running and jumping through the route while maintaining the highest speed.

To track speed there is a RAM address (72) that holds speed. It starts at 0, and increases by 1 every frame a direction is held, up to a maximum of 48. If you let go of the direction for a frame, it gets divided in two, rounding down (ie if you are running at 47 it will drop to 23). If you press the opposite direction it reduces immediately to zero.

If you hit a wall, speed reduces to 1 (you don't move, but this allows you to jump over the wall). Similarly, if Dizzy runs into a small dip in the ground his speed will reduce to 1. It will also go down it you run into a corner or sometimes when you hit his head into an overhanging corner.

Also, if you run between screens his speed will usually halve itself for a few frames. Presumably this is because the game is not accepting input, so the game thinks you've "let go" and slows Dizzy down. So, you will see him usually jump as he transitions between screens as this helps maintain maximum speed.

Jumping

Jumping is fairly strict in this game. If Dizzy's speed is 0 he jumps straight up and down a set distance which is unrelated to how many frames you hold the A button. You can't steer in the air. If his speed is greater than 0 he maintains the same speed during the jump and moves up the same distance as he would from a standstill. During the jump, he flips. One flip takes exactly the amount of time it takes for him to go up from and back down to the same altitude as when he started the jump. If he ends up in the air longer than one rotation he starts another. So, if he jumps to a lower level, he will usually land in midflip, which causes him to roll along the ground until he completes the flip. You cannot control him until he comes out of the roll when he completes the flip. But, while rolling he maintains the same speed as the initial jump.

So, jumping before you reach max speed is slower, but jumping at max speed is at worst the same as running, and at best is a good way to avoid various slowdowns on the ground. Sometimes Dizzy has to land and run for a couple of frames before jumping again, but sometimes he can jump a few frames before he even hits the ground!

Falling is similar in that Dizzy maintains his speed and you can't steer until you hit the ground. One technique that saves time when dizzy needs to fall off a cliff and run back in the opposite direction is to steer in the opposite direction at the last frame before falling off. This reduces his speed to zero so he falls straight down instead of going off in the wrong direction during the fall.

Normally you have to be on the ground and stopped to go into Dizzy's backback. When he's falling at zero speed you can start the process of going into the backpack even though he's not on the ground. If by the end of his animation he is not on the ground the process cancels and nothing happens. But, if he's on the ground it goes as normal. I use this a couple of times to save a few frames.

Negotiating Menus and Dialog

It takes 92 frames from when you press B to go into inventory for you to be able to push A to select an option.

It takes ~30 frames to clear a dialog with the A B Start or Select buttons, but only 7 or 8 to do so with a button on the D-pad, so this is the way I always do it.

Movie commentary (caution: long and somewhat tongue-in-cheek)

Start

I emulate a soft reset on frame 37. Doing so allows you to push start to clear the Codemasters screen faster. As they put it... "Absolutely Brilliant!"

Title

The title screen features Dizzy wearing a turban, brandishing a scimitar and a genie-style lamp while riding a flying carpet. You will see none of these things again in this movie. Only one, the flying carpet, is in the game at all and I skip it.

I push start as soon as possible, which freezes the graphics for a moment before they are fully loaded which looks kind of cool. I love that it actually talks briefly... "Let's play Dizzy!" Are there any other talking NES games? I remember being bowled over the first time I heard Mario talk (on the N64 no less).

"The Hermits Cave"

Here we get our first taste of the game -- picking up objects and using them in the correct place. It's hard to see at full speed, but I use the "going into inventory while falling" trick for the first time as I go off the ledge towards the match. I also pick up a little time by getting far enough to the left so that I can pick up the bucket and use the hay with only one trip into the backpack. Then I run a few screens to the...

"Top of Oak Hill"

Bouncy mushroom! Um... I get as far to the right before bouncing on it for three reasons: I end up as high as possible on the cloud above, I end up not having to move left or right before picking up the oars up there, and in my opinion it looks cooler :)

"A Fluffy Cloud"

This cloud gets the distinction of hosting an annoying "tutorial" message explaining that, yes, you will fall through clouds. I start going into inventory as soon as possible as Dizzy does not fall while doing so, but it's cancelled when the message comes up. Once I dismiss it I immediately go again to pick up the oars and drop off an empty bucket in the same go. And then I plunge off into the unknown, make a few carefully timed jumps and land on another

"A Fluffy Cloud" (with Juggling Balls)

This is the first major "sequence break". This screen is designed only to be reached from above, which can only be accessed from the far shore of the river, which can only be accessed with an item I have yet to pick up. I land as far to the left as possible and after rolling, jump to the left to pick up the star and land barely touching the Juggling Balls so I can pick them up. Next I jump to the right, and run left and jump off. Why jump to the right first if I am going left? The next jump needs to be very precise, and I need to be able to pick up enough speed and be as high as possible when I take off. I grab some logs and run back the way I came to go visit the Jester at

"The Cave Opening"

I like how fast Dizzy stops in front of the Jester. Mysteriously, the Jester says "The King may return anytime, and I have committed a crime." What sort of crime you ask? I have no idea. He also has nothing to juggle and Dizzy vows to return someday to help. Well, actually he returns immediately and gives him the Juggling Balls in exchange for a Jokebook. Then he runs down the platforms to

"The Gate House"

There's a big green troll here, but Dizzy ignores him. The Jokebook will be used inside past the troll and I need the inventory slot so I drop it off as close to the pickaxe as possible, then move over one pixel and go into inventory... It stills looks like he's mostly over the Jokebook but the game picks up the leftmost item Dizzy is touching so he gets the pickaxe and heads back once again past the Juggling Joker and Dizzy's lazy cousin (?), makes a few careful jumps and lands smack dab between a rock and a

"Hillside"

That jump was really tricky by the way ;) Here Dizzy uses the pickaxe to smash the boulder. When I run through the cave I pick up the only Cherry of the run. It's unavoidable because it's so close to the ceiling. I jump just before touching it though, so Dizzy flies into the next room, rolls, then take a break and chomps it down (for 100 frames). This is why I avoid the rest, including the one in

"Aladdins Cave"

Yeah, they had to plug the system somewhere right? It's just called "A Secret Cave!" in the dos version of Prince of Yolkfolk I have. Missing the cherry here involves jumping slowly and as far away from it to still land on the ledge and have room to jump up to the right to underneath the Top of Oak Hill where a Dubloon lies in wait. Wait, didn't Aladdin have a lamp or something? Should have called it "Pirates Cave"... arrr! I "stop drop" and barely scrape by that cherry again, then run out of the cave, neatly getting the two stars in one jump. Outside I make my way to the

"Swift River"

Arrr indeed. The river was one of the more annoying aspects of the TAS. The boat moves excruciatingly slowly. More aggravating is the fact that it is well nigh impossible to jump onto. It is so narrow that Dizzy generally rolls off into his watery grave. Try it yourself at 100% (or in frame advance for that matter). Here I manage to roll onto it in one piece. I have two lives to spare, and 4 crossings to make over the movie, so I wait it out until I can jump onto the far shore. In the meantime Dizzy develops a bad case of epilepsy. At the tip of the boat the ground is apparently not well defined so he cycles through three elevations in quick succession, giving him a case of the jitters. Finally I run to the left and run to the right to pick up speed to land on

"The River Bank"

Home of the River Guy (or "Ferry Man" if you will). He's a mean looking dude, with a big axe and a hood. I think he tried out for Grim Reaper and was rejected (in Yolkfolk it is the river Styx...). Apparently, since Dizzy used the boat he owes River Guy big time. You actually need to give him two items to finish the game. I give him the oars first, which he trades for the fishing net on the dock. Not enough to let Dizzy pass though. OK, have the Dubloon, you cheapskate. For that he grants Dizzy unlimited rides and that axe to boot! I do this in this order on purpose -- if you give him the dubloon first, you have to talk to him an extra time before giving him the oars. The music changes, and Dizzy heads off into

"Yolkfolk Village"

Village? Um, all I see is a mouse... I mean, "Fluffle". Apparently Dizzy and Daisy were chasing this thing when they were jumped by the Evil Wizard Zaks and then we had to play this game. So blame him if you're bored by now! ;) I ignore him and head over to

"The Castle Moat"

What, two castles? This one is clearly evil due to it's darker, scarier purple color. Here we find a gentle hippy egg by the name of Dylan, who is apparently not having luck fishing.

Dizzy: "Hi Dylan. Have you caught many fish?"

Dylan: "Like, none man. I think all the fish can sense my presence."

Hey, didn't Dizzy just get a fishing net? Dylan generously gives Dizzy his old fishing rod, which promptly breaks into two parts, a stick and a string. The string is all we need, and fortunately since two slots were full before the stick is left behind. Dizzy runs by the Fluffle again and heads up into

"Daisys Hut"

Well, the Ewok tree house area outside the hut anyways. Here there is an un-bridgeable gap... or is it? Apparently all these platforms are made of logs and string, as dizzy combines them to connect the two. Doesn't seem too sturdy to me. There's one of the really annoying stars to get on this screen, but first he has to run to the right, jump on a cloud and jump back. It's hard to tell from the movie but Dizzy can actually stand on the little twig just to the right of the platform under the left star here. I again run to the right, pass The Narrow Ledge and fall feet first into West Tower which leads down to

"The West Wing"

No, not the president or whatever. Here I "stop-drop" which doesn't really save time but looks cool. There's a harp down there, which seems handy, and I use the same inventory trip to drop the axe, which has shrunk apparently. That green mass is supposed to be a thorn bush that you'd use the axe on (duh!) but nah, I don't feel like it. I have some time to kill waiting for the elevator to go down and then back up so I run very slowly, alternating between standing staring towards the viewer and running left for a frame, which comes off a bit epileptic as well. Once on the elevator I jump as soon as possible to land on the ledge above, from which Dizzy can jump to the screen above... but not quite make it up to the ledge there. He falls back down, but conveniently the elevator has re-spawned back at the top so now he can jump out with ease back to

"The West Tower"

Another annoying star is in the crevice of the castle below some clouds. After taking care of that Dizzy Jumps up and grabs some pliers. From here Dizzy rides the clouds back to the left, conveniently bypassing the "Daisys Hut" screen and going directly to

"The Tree Tops"

More star grabbing, avoiding cranky old Granddizzy and another Cherry, the latter just barely. Whoah, to the left there's Very High Clouds with still more stars, and then, drumroll please...

"Heavens Gate"

No, not the cult or whatever. The *actual* heaven's gate, St Peter included. Somehow he lost his harp (aren't angels infallible? or is that only the big guy;) I have already retrieved it for him, and he awards me with... with... um, well, Special Cheese. What a guy. Now comes the tricky part. You can't go through the gates, but apparently you can go under them. I jump at the last second off the left side of the screen and land on yet another

"Fluffy Cloud" (with Crown)

This is the biggest sequence break in the movie. You're supposed to ride a magic carpet over here near the end of the game. Skipping that let's me bypass two items and talking to one character (who unlike the rest of the characters must remain sad...) I stop drop off the left side to avoid a big fall that will knock dizzy out, and then run to the left to go visit the

"Top of Oak Hill" (again)

I drop off the crown since I won't need it til later, and pick up a cage. Next I stop drop/inventory to talk to the sad lion, which has a thorn in it's paw. Apparently Dizzy understands lion language, which is comprised entirely of Ow Ouch Groan Growl and ROARRRRRRRRRR. I remove the thorn with the pliers, which the lion keeps? Because dizzy decides to take the thorn instead. Makes sense to me. I head back to the

"Swift River" (again)

Where I manage to actually jump onto the boat. And jump off again immediately, so that Dizzy just barely dies in the next screen over and re-spawns on the far bank. Excellent. I run past the Ferry Man who's "flashing the bling" (in the parlance of our times) and return to

"Yolkfolk Village" (again)

What village?? WHERE? There's one house and it's not even on this screen! Sorry. So, now I have a cage, and some Special Cheese, so it seems like we can trap that mou... fluffle thing. This was annoying. He runs in a set pattern around the screen, and when you leave stays in the same spot until you return (even in midair!) So catching him as quickly as possible involved going through this screen as fast as possible the two previous times I visited, so he would run as little as possible. I position the bait just below him and he seems to jump right in! Though he would have jumped there anyways. I pick up the "Caged Fluffle" and continue on my way back to the evil castle, passing the West Tower and running through the Archway Corridor (and intentionally missing a star) to

"Zaks Castle"

... and another troll, this one orange. Allegedly a minion of the guy who stole Daisy and ditched you in the cave. And now Dizzy performs his sole violent act in the movie, cleverly leaving a thorn on the floor to drive away the foul beast. I leave the thorn as far to the right as possible to shorten the time it takes the troll to retreat, and run left a few frames to make sure the troll doesn't hit me. After a hearty laugh (10 seconds!!) Dizzy bounces into the Inner Sanctum where he scoots to the corner and stop drops down, turns around and head to the lower level of the troll screen. Grabs the stars and the Greasy Wrench (Spanner in Prince of Yolkfolk). If you try to pick this up before the troll is dealt with a trap opens and Dizzy falls into the sea below. Strangely, you still get 100 points for visiting this death room, so if you wanted to do a 100% Dizzy run (scorewise) you'd have to sacrifice a life here. (Conversely, this movie is practically a min% scorewise run, as I solve as few puzzles and get as few cherries as possible (and technically stars, though i get them all...) ... the only other scoring is the 100 per screen bonus, and I only visit two that could be avoided completely (though it would take longer

You can't even see the cherry I miss in the corner of the West Tower...

Inside the

"Castle Ballroom"

Dizzy passes a potion which is useless in the game (even if you play the real way) and a trumpet (which is required if you play the real way... I'll tell you when we get there). He grabs the stars (which are the only reason I don't just turn back after getting the wrench) and heads back into

The West Wing (again)

Oh, dear, the shrubbery is still here. And that axe! If only he'd carried it 87 more pixels he wouldn't be in this mess right now. In shame Dizzy hurls himself into the bush:

Narrator: "Dizzy tries to force his way through the bush, but the sharp thorns are too painful."

Dizzy: "I think this could be a problem!"

After a hearty weep (off camera of course) Dizzy looks up, and finds himself on the other side!

Dizzy: Huzzah! Lazy programmers!

(ok I made that line up, and apologies to all the hard working programmers out there)

To celebrate (and because I have to wait for the elevator again), Dizzy decides to go ice skating (or something). If you maintain a fairly constant slow speed by pushing the d pad every other frame Dizzy's sprite never changes, giving a nice hovering effect. I climb the tower again using the same technique, but going up the other side, since Dizzy's diving off into

"The Castle Moat" (again)

OK actually I don't dive into the moat. Though now that you mention it, there is a way for Dizzy to dive into the foundation of the castle, but it involves going up, not down. The whole game is three screens high, and mostly the tops of the top levels are either blocked with invisible walls or inaccessible (or both I guess). There is one exception, a part of sky that is directly above the corner of the castle here. It also happens to be barely reachable from an adjacent cloud. When Dizzy doesn't hit a ceiling, he flies to the screen above, which doesn't exist, so it wraps back down to the bottom of the moat screen, and Dizzy appears drowning in the castle. End digression.

He stomps on Dylan, and makes haste towards the "good" castle. On the way he manages to jump from shore to boat, land without rolling, and jump back to the other side! This took a darn long time so enjoy! ;)

Climb the hill, grab the crown that was abandoned, and pretty soon Dizzy's back at

"The Gate House" (again)

And that first troll again. Immediately Dizzy reaches in his pack and whips out... the Fluffle of course! Heck, I'm scared of the thing, so no doubt that troll is having nightmares tonight. Dizzy enjoys another hearty laugh ... man, that dude must HATE trolls. Now that he has an open inventory slot, Dizzy grabs the previously abandoned Jokebook and heads into

"The Entrance Hall"

of the castle. Which is cleverly guarded by a cherry! Dizzy stops short and narrowly averts disaster (or 100 wasted frames... man tases put everything out of proportion...) I manage to climb this elevator without waiting, and pass by a rather perturbed looking gentleman (who's wearing a neon green potato sack and purple leggings). Secretly he is a trumpeter missing his trumpet. Dizzy saw a trumpet but it didn't look that important. He is embarrassed and decides not to talk to this poor sad man, a man with nothing to offer but love, and possibly a flying carpet. A flying carpet that could send a legged egg from one cloud over to another cloud, potentially a cloud baring a crown. But oh well, got that crown anyways so, yeah, you're screwed trumpet dude. Dizzy runs through the banquet hall, and ends up at the controls of the

"Castle Drawbridge"

Which can only be opened with, of course, a greasy wrench/spanner. Then he has to back track and go down to the lower hall, (trying to control his hunger pangs and ignoring the bread?) to go through the newly opened pathway. There is yet another cherry trap on the way which is easily avoided. He crosses the bridge and enters

"The Castle Gardens"

Yeah, some gardens there, what, you got your grass, two trees (one enormous enough that you can even walk *around* it much less over it) and the requisite crying woman. Far be it from video games to break down stereotypes. No ordinary woman, this is the Princess, though she can't float while carrying boxes with scrolling words on them, nor can she cleverly hide her identity to aid some elf dude save the world (end of spoiler for oot) No, this princess can only be appeased by that most powerful of items: the Jokebook. She's so happy she gives you her only flag. (Well she might have more... we'll leave that to your imagination.) Dizzy yet again avoids cherry, bread and trumpet man, climbs two more elevators and find himself smack dab in

"The Royal Tower"

Oh man another elevator? Hasn't anyone in this game heard of stairs? Oh yeah, flagpole, should probably put something on it.... if only it weren't guarded by that mean looking cherry! Dizzy narrowly escapes 100 frames of boredom, raises the flag, and nothing happens. Then he runs back down and visits the

"Castle Ramparts"

Cool, ramparts. There's a cowardly cherry here that won't even get anywhere near dizzy. Oh yeah and a scary man with beard wearing plate mail (and possibly smoking a pipe?). It's a King, and apparently he claims that he returned when he saw the flag. Which is odd, because to get where he is he would have had to run directly past dizzy and we didn't see him go anywhere. In fact he doesn't move at all (like all the characters almost?) Then we talk to him two more times (!) and finally give him that crown thingy and then the king tries to set you up with his daughter. Dizzy tells the king he's spoken for, and now that he mentions it there's this wizard that's trapped his true love yadda yadda yadda, so, the king says "you are a knight". Yeah, like that'll help. OK actually it does since for some reason only a knight can break the spell on Daisy. Or something. Dizzy grabs the convenient key and runs.... back through practically the whole game. He's so happy that he starts jumping a lot. At one point Dizzy prevents himself from being knocked out by landing on a rock (because he gets knocked out after falling a certain distance, the rock is barely enough higher than the surrounding ground that it is the only safe landing) kills himself again in the river (no fancy jumping though :( Then looks up and sees he's missing 5 stars still! Man, what's left? Oh yeah, cloud land. Now remember that star I said I purposefully missed? When Dizzy jumps off to the right to get the lone star in the sky he has to fall more than enough to knock himself out. But, when he falls into the bottom star (which is right next to the ground) he gets congratulated for finding all the stars... whoo. Well, when he comes back his fall counter is reset and he safely and gently lands, ready to head into evil castle one last time. Which has one last evil elevator, most evil elevator of all. In that it's slow and long. But, at the top...

"The Tallest Tower"

and there's a pretty egg lady in there! Hmm... key to locked door, power of 50 stars, official knight Royale... now to kiss the girl, wait for 10 more seconds of smug laughter (he's thinking about how much he hates trolls) and end my input! with a ^ no less ;)

"Thanks"

Thank you to everyone. tasvideos.org is awesome. Pat yourself on the back. Double thanks to everyone who responded to my posts on the discussion boards.

Hope you enjoyed the show!


Bisqwit: Author replaced movie file.


adelikat: Good enough. Setting to "accepted", congrats :)

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