TASVideos

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

Submission #2103: Ferret Warlord's Genesis Sparkster in 27:51.32

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Sparkster
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Sparkster (U) [!].bin
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 27:51.32
FrameCount: 100279
Re-record count: 15811
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Ferret Warlord
Submitter: Ferret Warlord
Submitted at: 2008-10-01 04:11:00
Text last edited at: 2008-11-04 18:45:07
Text last edited by: Ferret Warlord
Download: Download (9570 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

The Introduction

Wherein is provided an introduction to the submission

Heedless of the community's current strifes, sufferings, bickerings, and debates, the Ferret comes forth and presents to you all the run you haven't been waiting for. Shame on you people. It really is a nice little run. :|

Anyways...

The Story So Far

Wherein is given a brief synopsis of the plot

The kingdom of Zebulos, ruled by talking possums, is once again attacked, this time by the neighboring Gedol Empire, who decides to kidnap Princess Cherry, who is as blonde as possums can get. The reason for this is unknown. The other times the princess was kidnapped, it was for a practical reason, seeing how her necklace had on it the Key to Destroying Everything. Not this time. Maybe King Gedol looked up to his cousin Bowser and decided that he can a big ol' jerk like the best of them. "See, I can kidnap princesses too!" he could then brag at family reunions. If only he survived long enough to see the next one. Poser.

Moving along, Cherry's sister Sherry begs our hero Sparkster, rocket knight errant, to go and rescue her. He thinks that espionage is boring, so instead of infiltrating the Gedol empire with stealth, he goes in sword swinging and jetpack blazing, cutting down swaths of whatever poor lizardmen decide to get in his way.

The Game

Wherein is explained the game itself

This game, by all accounts, is the official sequel to the underground hit Rocket Knight Adventures, whereas the Super Nintendo version by the same title is simply some sort of spinoff. This is bizarre, because it is obvious that nowhere near as much effort was put into this one as was put into the other two. The graphics aren't as imaginative, the music suffers, and the controls - as can be read here - "have been run through the mud." Still, the game is more than worthy of being given the tool assisted treatment. Yeah, it's not as graceful as the RKA run, nor is it as manic as the Super Nintendo edition, but the speed and pacing is generally good, and there's a bunch of exploitable tricks that make some bosses fall very, very fast.

The Run

Wherein is generally expounded a few things about the run itself

In this game are seven different, hidden swords. Grabbing all seven causes Sparkster to go Super Saiyin for the final battle. Collecting them is optional, but this run goes for them anyway, mainly for the sake of completeness. Even though it does speed up the last boss a great deal, I doubt it saves any time simply because the first one takes about a minute to get.

Sadly, there's about a 9 minute block of autoscrolling, with a brief boss fight in the middle. That probably hurt this run more than anything else. Add on top of that the autoscrolling portion in the first level, and nearly half the run is auto. Gah! You have my permission to fast forward past these parts.

One of the nicer things about this game is that the jetpack charges automatically. This means I can attack to my heart's content while I'm holding onto a charge and not release it early. There were only a few times this got in the way because I only wanted a half charge instead of a full charge, but those were easily taken care of with a rolling attack.

Damage Charts

Wherein is shown and explained how damage is dealt

  Attack           Damage Dealt
  Weak Slash       1
  Strong Slash     2
  Half Charge      2
  Rolling Charge   2
  Full Charge      3
The difference between a weak slash and a strong slash, both air and ground, is positioning and timing. I haven't quite narrowed down the specifics, but it seems you want to hit your opponent with the later end of the attack. Sometimes this doesn't work. I don't know.

Rolling Charge does the same damage, whether it be half or fully charged.

Fire Sword does double damage. However, mechanical foes (later marked as mech.) have a +1 fire defense, so fire attacks do one less than they would normally do.

In addition, some opponents have arbitrary defense (later marked as arb.). This means that regardless of what you hit them with, an attack will deliver only one point of damage.

The Fire Sword does not transfer between levels.

Sparkster's attack power does not go up when he goes gold. Instead, Gedol's health is cut in half and rounded up. The effect is nearly the same, though.

The Bosses

Wherein is laid out some stats and strategies for bosses and sub-bosses

Important Note! If you're using the memory watch, you'll notice that Gens reports values one less than what I give her for most of these values. This is because the game determines defeat not when the value is equal to or less than 0, but simply when it's less than 0. For reporting them here, I decided to go with the more conventional, former method so I just added 1 to them.

Also, I made up many of these names. I list them chronologically.

Keep in mind that these following values are based on the Very Hard difficulty, where many of these values are higher than on lower difficulties.

Axel Gear Mech

  • HP: 32
  • Tricks: Sometimes when he moves back, he'll get stuck in place once he reaches the edge of the screen, allowing you to move towards him. Fake out a punch of his and he'll remain wide open.
  • Notes: A jab will deal 2 points of damage to him; an uppercut will deal 4. Obviously uppercuts are preferable.

Flailing Trucks

  • HP: 11 mech. each
  • Tricks: None
  • Notes: None

Tree Face

  • HP: 17 norm/arb
  • Tricks: He's open for attack for a few frames after he stops rubbing his nose.
  • Notes: His health operates differently from everyone else. If you hit him with an attack that would usually kill him, his defenses go from normal to arbitrary. Example: He has 5 hits left. Hit him with a fully charged fire attack, which deals 6, and he'll only take 1 point of damage because that attack should kill him.

Fatso

  • HP: 21 mech.
  • Tricks: If both of you are flashing after being hit, he'll take damage from a boost for every frame you boost on top of him. To get this to work: Hit him in such a way that both you and he get hit; doing a half charge into the wall underneath him will do the trick. After that, just boost into the wall again, and watch as his health rapidly drains away!
  • Notes: In order for this damage trick to work, you *must* be boosting into him *after* his flashing ends. If your boost ends beforehand, his health will simply linger in the negatives while he continues bouncing around. Another boost after this will take him out.

Robot Weapon

  • HP: 11 arb.
  • Tricks: None
  • Notes: None

Fire Face

  • HP: 25
  • Tricks: None
  • Notes: It doesn't matter when you hit him each time he opens up. It will always take the same amount of time for him to go to his next attack. The only time it matters is for the last hit.

Snake God

  • HP: 17
  • Tricks: When he's doing something aside from standing around and moving, his hit invulnerability is significantly shorter. This lets you hit him twice with each boost using the recoil.
  • Notes: None

Ninja Mage

  • HP: 13
  • Tricks: None
  • Notes: Try to manipulate it so that he doesn't reassemble without exposing the sparkley mini-him.

Pig-Face Guards

  • HP: 41 mech. each
  • Tricks: The second one will go to the bottom after being attacked. Time your attacks right and he'll be there the whole time.
  • Notes: None

Robo Guard Mini Bosses

  • HP: 16 mech. each
  • Tricks: The mines they throw out can be knocked back. Hit them right and they will deal massive damage.
  • Notes: None

Robo Guards

  • HP: 25 mech. each
  • Tricks: The green one can be hit twice with a single swipe before he comes out of the wall.
  • Notes: None

Axel Gear

  • HP: 13 arb.
  • Tricks: Like Tree Face, there's a window of a few frames that you can hit him in after he finishes recoiling from your attack. Use this time to prevent him from using his jetpack!
  • Notes: None

Gedol

  • HP First form: 49
  • HP Second form: 65
  • Tricks: None
  • Notes: As stated before, Gold Sparkster reduces these values by nearly half to 25 and 33 respectively.

The Levels

Wherein comments are given concerning each of the game's levels
  • Notes are made primarily in chronological order; if I start making reference to a hallway after referencing a miniboss fight, it's the hallway that comes after the fight in the run.
The Prologue
I'm not entirely certain where this whole incident fits into the story; it seems Sparkster was on some archaeological dig before the game started for some legendary sword (the first of seven picked up) when Axel decided to interfere.
  • Getting the sword at the end requires playing through this sequence, which would be repeated in level 4. Any attempts to skip the slow, boring cutscenes would result in skipping the entire thing (pressing start would cut straight to the first level; this whole thing is optional) which would rob me of the first sword. Memory watching was used to determine the first frame the game counted me as having pulled the sword out, so I could skip around a second of fadeout.
  • I end up taking a missile to the face. I couldn't manipulate him out of launching it, and taking the hit was somewhat faster than blocking.

Level 1
Princess Cherry gets kidnapped by the traitor Axel while she, Sherry, and Sparkster were on some kind of trip.

Level 1-1
Sparkster starts his rescue mission by wailing on some trucks equipped with maces. The first one was dealt with about 7-8 times as I developed things like optimal approaches, maxing speed, and attack patterns.

  • By moving as fast as I did, the pile of rocks that is supposed to sit in front of the second truck didn't render. It was still there, as I could interact with it and the enemies popped out of it like they should, but it just didn't appear to be there.
  • The rest of this portion involves Sparkster going through some ruins. Here I pick up a fire sword without slowing down to use in 1-3.

Level 1-2
Sparkster continues by working through some more ruins that have been retrofitted with newer technologies.

  • The second sword is picked up right at the beginning with a grace that is impossible in realtime.
  • The route I picked to get through here seemed to offer both the shortest route and fewest obstacles.
  • I tried pretty much every combination, but everything resulted in the last bit of that pillar in 1-2 taking two spins before I could get to that screw.

Level 1-3
Sparkster now continues his way through a jungle. Here, the first bosses get faced.

  • I had my first major desynch here. I had everything in here done, but because Gens is picky with how you handle savestates, I had to redo everything. Didn't seem to save any time in the process. :(
  • Also here was where I encountered my first troubles with the level design. Twisty, narrow corridors are pesky to handle and often require awkward placements, especially since Sparkster's jetpack can ricochet him in bizarre ways when corners are involved. Still not as bad as most of level 5.
  • The fire sword picked up earlier gets its first real use against Tree Face. I'll later get exactly one hit with it against Fatso, but It doesn't really serve much good as I get hit to deal more damage with that trick I described earlier.
  • I *really* like how the twisty corridors before Fatso turned out. Thank goodness for those jetpack items!

Level 1-4
Sparkster comes across an enemy truck and decides to hitch a ride.

  • The first of three autoscrolling portions. One of my greatest failings in this hobby is making them entertaining to watch, but I tried my best.
  • Yes, Sparkster took a hit here. No, it didn't serve any practical purpose. You see, Sparkster got haughty after tearing the preceding miniboss apart, and let his guard down long enough to get punched in the back. He was on his toes after that.
  • There's a fire sword item in this part of the level. Why? All the enemies take one hit, the boss has an arbitrary defense, and fire swords don't carry between levels. What were the level designers thinking with that one?

Level 1 Boss

  • The main survival tactic against the first boss is to stay in the air as much as possible, using diagonal boosts to hit him and launch yourself into the air to avoid dealing with the wildly swinging arm. But this is TASVideos! Why should we deal with such safe tactics when you can get away with being reckless?

Level 2
After taking out Gedol's secret weapon before it could be deployed, the truck wanders off aimlessly and eventually crashes in front of a desert pyramid that is being used as an enemy stronghold.
  • Throughout this level are torches that Sparkster can temporarily put out by attacking them. Doing so affects some things in the room: gems turn into soldiers, soldiers turn into gems, items appear, walls disappear, and the invisible is made visible. Nothing was particularly useful for a speedrun.

Level 2-1

  • Nothing too special here. I briefly duck underground to avoid running into a dust devil that would throw me back. Aside from that little interruption causing me to delay my boost for a few frames, every boost was done first frame.

Level 2-2

  • Again, nothing really special. I had to work with my positioning to clear the ledge at the top of the shaft, that being the extent of difficulty here.

Level 2-3

  • Ah, now things get shaken up a little bit! This is my first of two run-ins with some spiked pistons in this level. Getting past them efficiently and effectively requires some tight sup-pixel positioning and boost timing.

Level 2-4

  • Man, I *hate* this section. The jetpack behaves very strangely whenever there's slopes involved. So slopes + tight corridors = something that didn't turn out as clean looking as I wanted.

Level 2-5

  • Sword #3. Getting this sucker in real time is a pain, since once you enter that hallway, it starts collapsing on you quickly, and a misplaced boost (very easy to get) will send you flying back into the part that's collapsing for an instant death. But again, this is TASVideos, so I make the difficult look easy and somewhat graceful, even with a bat right in the way. ;P
  • It's intended that the player press a button on the right side of the pool of lava to summon a slow moving platform to aid them in working through this next sequence. But with tool assisted precision, it can obviously be skipped.
  • These pistons frustrated me to no end. Most of my attempts to get past them were defeated by being a frame too late or a pixel off. Thankfully I eventually found something that worked.

Level 2-6

  • Nothing too unusual around here. I had to take a hit right before fighting the miniboss because my boost put me into a bad position and avoiding it would have slowed me down.
  • Sadly, there weren't any conveniently placed fire swords for me to pick up, leading to a longer miniboss fight than I would have liked. -_-
  • Normally, when you're in the back of the room when he launches his high grenade, you're pretty much guaranteed to get hit by the wave of flames. I toy around with this by using what tiny amount of overhead space I have to dodge it.
  • The reason why I don't boost immediately upon the platform stopping is because the game denies you control until about 30 frames after it has stopped.
  • This next section ended up throwing off the optimal boosting pattern with invisible platforms that were placed in inconvenient places. You can see some of them when I end up hitting one of the torches.

Level 2 Boss

  • This guy can be a headache. That hand launch attack of his is hard to dodge, does one heart and a half, and takes a long time for its animation to finish if it connects. Naturally, I mocked him by getting up in his face and dodging it regardless.
  • I'm impressed at just how *fast* he fell. In my many playthroughs of this game, I never imagined his health was so low. o_o

Level 3
After taking out the base's general manager, the soldiers stationed at the pyramid realize that they are WAY over their heads with this possum, so they call for back up from the army's main air unit. Little do they know what this little punk can do to them.

Level 3-1
The goal of this section is to take out all the propellers and board the ship. To get to them, you enter into some portholes that shoot you out elsewhere. The whole time you're doing this, mines are fall from the sky. On very hard, these things are downright nasty since their increased lateral movement makes them very difficult to dodge, plus there's more of them.

  • Each of the pillars takes four hits to destroy. The ones I full boost into look like they're taking three, but that's because the boost lasts longer than their invincibility.
  • Sword #4 is had here without a hitch.

Level 3-2

  • Ah, great, another autoscroller. Thankfully I could play a around a little more here. I went and collected everything and beat down everyone but a single soldier who was a *little* too fast; this is very hard to pull off since the level branches partially towards the middle.
  • Also involved was beating some foes in unique ways. During the underbelly portion, I manage to nail two soldiers that weren't supposed to be taken out, but rather act together as a single soldier who panics and eventually sets himself on fire. A nice and amusing little touch that I ruined. :)

Level 3 Boss

  • As demonstrated throughout the fight, he can't be attacked until I make him go chibi.
  • The skulls he shoots out shrink Sparkster, making it so he can't attack or dodge as easily. Very difficult to avoid without boosting across the screen, but I didn't care.
  • It doesn't matter where he is when you beat him. Upon defeat, he will hop the same number of times regardless of where he is, compensating by adjusting the distance between each hop so he always ends up in the middle.

Level 4
Our hero, upon trashing Gedol's airship, calls up his mech to raid the Gedol capital. Obviously an attempt to retread RKA's flight through the enemy city.
  • Man, I really dislike this level. The music is obnoxious, the background is ugly, the robot and its various animations look stupid, and there's little I can do to make it look somewhat interesting. About all I could really do was do the arm-swinging bit, and that idea was actually stolen from one of the game's demos!

Level 4-1

  • Progress here is dependent on the hoppers. You have to take out a certain number to continue, they appear at certain intervals, and you can have no more than two on the screen at a time. A trick I abused here was that if you knock them off the screen, they are counted as defeated. The last one, however, I decided to take out the usual way. This is because there is a fixed amount of time between when the last one appears and when the level will continue, so to prevent the viewer from having to tolerate a terribly animated robot run for ten to twenty seconds before the screen goes down, I fight something and reduce the wait.

Level 4-2

  • Goodness, the jumping animation is lousy...
  • I jump at various moments and run right through some of the fire bombs so I have a better rhythm that will allow me to take these guys out as fast as possible. I was amazed at one point that I didn't take any damage, even though I didn't jump.

Level 4-3

  • Same as 4-1, but with two jumpers coming out at a time instead of one.

Level 4-4

  • Getting past this part requires throwing Axel's missiles back at him. His pattern cannot be manipulated and he can only be hit by the missiles he launches from the right side of the screen. Thus I have to wait three cycles before I can get past this part.

Level 4 Boss

  • Exact same fight as was in the prologue. This time it managed to be a little faster. I'm not sure if my luck ended up being better or if I came across a better strategy, but this fight makes me think that the opening can be done a bit faster.

All in all, a very boring five minutes. As I said earlier, go ahead and fast forward through this.


Level 5
Infiltration successful, Sparkster forges ahead inside Gedol's castle to pull Cherry out of it.
  • Ah, finally, back to boosting! Sadly this whole level seems to be against looking efficient. Twisty corridors, bizarre enemy placement, and freakin' yellow pillars made things look much rougher than I would have liked. If this movie is going to be improved, much of it will probably come from this level.

Level 5-1

  • Getting past the gates requires destroying those gargoyle heads, but you probably gathered as much. Nifty thing: Sparkster's horizontal momentum is preserved when he presses those switches, and the gate gets counted as "open" the moment he presses it. This results in Sparkster looking like he's going through a solid gate.
  • The first and only time the bonus drop ever got in the way. I did the best I could with it.
  • Those jetpacks before the yellow pillars couldn't have been positioned better.

Level 5-2

  • Here's where those stupid yellow pillars start to become a problem. >_< Boosting into them causes you to bounce back (boost glitch notwithstanding; see the notes), and the rolling charge causes Sparkster's hitbox to become larger, thus pushing him back. I probably should have used more jump slashes than rolls. Oh well. -_-
  • Konami decided to make a throwback to Castlevania's Medusa heads early on here.
  • While I wanted to pick up that fire sword power up, I actually wasn't trying to get it. Grabbing it was incidental to me positioning myself to make use of a boost glitch. Makes me happy. :D
  • I found a glitch with one of the yellow pillars: by falling on top of it, you will be inside of it. I couldn't continue to the left as it would eject me to the right, but I could boost to the right and use the recoil to move left.
  • The buzzing noise you hear soon after the conveyor belt portion is the result of me taking down a group of cyber soldiers in rapid succession.
  • The electrical wall is another part that's painful to get through in real time. Touch it and you're dead.
  • I was originally planning on getting to sword #5 before the wall caught up to me, but I changed plans when I observed that it stretched into that room. No way I was getting around that!

Level 5-3

  • Anyone who's played this portion can attest to how annoying this opening gauntlet is here. Spiked missiles will come at you from the sides, starting out fairly slowly, but quickly gaining frequency until you have practical no time to react nor room to maneuver. Pressing the buttons in the hallway resets the frequency back to low to buy you some time to get to the next. Thus it's amazing that I managed to get through there without getting hit and pressing only one button!
    • Originally, I wanted to get through that portion without pressing any of the buttons, but I had a missile coming up from behind and had to take care of it with a jump slash. Sparkster's trajectory landed him right on the third button. *sigh*
  • I wish that miniboss wouldn't hang out so high on his pole. Makes it difficult to hit him.
  • This hallway required some very, very precise positioning to allow that last diagonal boost to get Sparkster out of there like that. Stupid corner of the ledge kept sending him backwards.
  • Unlike the last guy, this one *likes* to stay on the bottom. Oh joy!
  • This next hallway of electrical missiles wouldn't allow for boosting like the previous one did. On these ones, Sparkster would simply recoil off of them, so I had to deal with them with jump slashes.
  • Machine #3 found a middle ground between the last two.

Level 5-4

  • Alright, I'll be honest: I'm not sure what's going on with this section. Something happened during the third boost in this section that caused Sparkster to achieve some glitchy state. The two effects of it are as follows:
  1. Sparkster does not interact with enemies. This allows me to pass through those two eye gates without destroying them. He can still interact with enemy projectiles, and, thankfully, the gargoyle heads and the button used to open to gate (which I can't get through with the glitch).
  2. Unless he's boosting, Sparkster's leftward speed will level off at one subpixel every 1-2 frames. Thankfully I don't have to travel leftward very much.
  • I first noticed the glitch on the first gate. When I passed right through it, I freaked out because that probably meant I missed something on the earlier gates in the level. However, I noticed that I could walk nonchalantly through the other gate and that movement to the left was impaired, and then realized that something weird was going on in just this room. I did a little testing and learned that the glitch was triggered during the third boost.
    • What I think is happening is happening is that during the third boost, Sparkster got caught for a few frames in a corner of a wall that would later collapse. I'm thinking that this short time in a non-standard wall object did weird things to his interactive condition.
    • I have no idea if this glitch is usable in other levels.
  • Boosting through the first and last piston groups is simple enough in real play. I'm amazed I got it to go through the second group the same way.

Level 5-5

  • A miniboss gauntlet. Each of the robots has a different battle field, but the AI is essentially the same. I make use of a trick where throwing their mines back at them can cause a ton of damage, taking them out all the more quickly. However, I don't understand the mechanics behind it (I saw one mine do ten points of damage while a group of three only did two), and it was thus quite random for me to get the results I wanted. In order to do so, I admit that I did most of the mine knockbacks at 50% speed; frame advance was, in this case, too precise to work.
    • Something that should be noted: The mines of the first two can't be knocked back until the are moving downward, otherwise they'll just explode. The other three's mines can be hit back while moving upwards.

Level 5 Boss

  • A tag team of two robots that are more unique than the ones that just fell. The yellow one has a spread gun that is virtually impossible to dodge whilst up close (didn't stop me ;P) while the green one does a variety of Russian dances while throwing mines. We don't get to see most of these attacks.
  • The first "twoing!" you hear against the green bot actually didn't deliver any damage. The second one, however, delivered two with one strike, effectively doing the damage of a normal full fire boost.
  • Upon defeat, the green robot will surrender sword #6.

Level 6
Our hero's journey reaches its climax as he penetrates the heart of Gedol's stronghold, which leads him to some other dimension. The empire was based out of a different universe this whole time!

Fight With Axel

  • Finally, after two encounters in a mech, we get down to business and have a good ol' duel, sword against sword, jetpack against jetpack. It was a very lopsided battle. I batted him around like a ferret does with a pingpong ball.
  • The buzzing you hear for most of the fight is Axel's jetpack indicating that it's charged and ready to be used. Usually he'd use it after he gets hit, but there's a tiny threshold of time where I can hit him again and prevent him from using it.
  • Defeat him and you get sword #7. Kaiyo ken!

Gedol 1

  • Goodness, Zebulos's threat is not only a poser, but a cross dresser as well! What makes it even creepier is that he's dressing up as a different species. (A furry transvestite furry oh goodness get the images out of my head I'm going to have nightmares now)
  • Although Konami did a good job getting the overall atmosphere for the fight right (I find his laugh plus that sound effect that plays during it rather unsettling), the fight is easy easy easy. He's just sitting there saying, "Attack me!" He can raise up an empire, but he doesn't know anything about fighting tactics. Poser.
  • No, me walking through the lightning isn't a glitch. Attacking each lightning strike renders it ineffective.

Gedol 2

  • Let this guy be a lesson to you: If you decide to use your magic powers to increase your size by several magnitudes, please do more than simply shoot your eye laser beams at your opponent. It strikes of those old Godzilla cartoons where the monsters would simply breath fire on each other. Use your now massive hands to crush him! Demolish the building where he stands! Anything in addition to laser eyes!
  • That being said, the lasers can be annoying. Stupid diagonal lasers...
  • The reason for the pause before delivering the last strike was because a sword swipe wouldn't kill him. Attacking him with one would cause me to lose a frame.

Well, that's it for Gedol. Time to rescue the princess, return her to her family, and give up this new found power.

The Notes

Wherein is explained things that didn't fit in anywhere else

  • It's been shown to me by upthorn that it's pretty much impossible to get something that's not a bomb out of the bonus drop on very hard.
  • Unlike the other two entries in the series, bonus screens can be skipped. With this in mind, I decided to end the movie a little later than I really needed to in order to get past the bonus screen and get to the ending a great deal faster than just letting it sit there.
  • Whether you press B for one frame or several, Sparkster will always jump the same height.
  • Generally speaking, half boosts are better than full boosts for movement. They fly at the same speed, with the full being 2-3 times longer, but since it takes longer to go from half to full than from empty to half, the time it takes to get to it makes it very much not worth it. You'll still need it for combat, however.
  • Scattered throughout the game are little jetpack icons. Picking them up will automatically boost Sparkster using the next charge up from what he had. Generally useless, although they are sometimes spaced just right so that I can minimize the amount of time between half boosts or get a full boost in the time it takes to get a half boost.
  • The worst thing you can do to your speed coming off a boost is to move in the direction you were boosting. What you want to do instead is get into the air as soon as possible (one frame on the ground will not affect your speed) and coast until nine frames before the next boost, which is when you *want* to move in that direction.
    • Conversely, if you need to turn around after a boost, moving one frame in the direction you were boosting is the most effective form of braking.
  • There's a glitch with the way the boost handles towards the end. If you hit something on the second to last frame of your boost, you will hit it but not recoil. If you hit it with the very last frame, you will deal one point of damage and then take damage yourself. The former gets used on a small number of occasions.
  • Any time you see Sparkster twitch for a bit while waiting for something like a door to open is not me "wobbling" in an attempt to keep things active, but rather me getting the sub-pixel position to something optimal.
  • The "Main Programmer" is listed in the credits as Lord Unreal. I find that pretty cool for some reason.
  • Helpful memory addresses: http://i354.photobucket.com/albums/r401/Ferret_Warlord/sparkstermemory.png (Axel Health refers to the mech battles; the other health values cover the sundry bosses and minibosses you encounter)
  • Recorded with Gens 10a
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Uses programming errors
  • Manipulates luck (nothing major, just some minor AI stuff)
  • Plays at the hardest difficulty
  • My first Genesis run!

More to come as people ask questions and/or I think of other things

Potential Improvements

Wherein is noted potential goofs and other things can be fixed for future submissions
  • Prologue: Try and manipulate things a little better; replicate the fight in level 4 as much as possible.
  • Level 1-2: I'm open to the idea that I missed something with the spinning pillar. One thing that needs to be explored is letting it go for a spin when there's more than one there's more than one screw left. If something were found, it may be possible to reduce the number of free spins from two down to one.
  • Level 2-4: There's another route over the pit I jump in through this room that would look smoother and be faster; however, when I tried, the boosts just refused to cooperate. Hopefully there exists *just* the right subpixel positioning to make that route work.
  • Level 2-6: Positioning the boost around the sand pit a little to the right might make positioning better for future boosts.
  • Level 2 Boss: It may be possible to get Sparkster's positioning just right so that the boss never shoots his hand while still remaining close. Would be *very* tricky to pull off.
  • Level 3-1: A better chute sequence may exist.
  • Level 4-2: Assuming a frame rule doesn't exist, it might be possible to find a better jump pattern to destroy the hoppers a few frames earlier.
  • Level 5: Try and make everything look cleaner. Especially everything involving the yellow barriers.
  • Level 5-2: Boost earlier to get the electrical wall to start moving sooner.
  • Level 5-5: Find out how to maximize the damage dealt by the mines while minimizing the time spent dealing it.
  • Level 6 Axel: Use a boost to deliver the second hit. I didn't do this because I initially found it put in in a bad position and he'd get his jetpack charge off, but now I'm thinking I didn't test it enough.

Closing Comments

Wherein comments to wrap the submission up are contained

Autoscrolling notwithstanding, I thought this turned out pretty well. It was certainly much easier to make than I anticipated. I guess it helps that pressing a single button causes the game to take over for nearly a second.

I think this is the most fun I had making a run in a while. It's fast paced, but easier to control when tool-assisted. Compare to Metroid II, which was tedious to make because I had to get myself into proper position nearly every single frame, whereas here I could just let the game take over for a little bit. Certainly it's improvable, but it's a step in the right direction.

Thanks to upthorn for explaining to me how the RNG for the bonus drop works. Also to Deign from whom I stole the idea of using character sprites to preface these sections.

Thanks for watching, and enjoy the show!

And Konami, please bring this character back. I don't mean that goof ball in New International Track & Field. Something more respectable than that. :(

Some Screenshots

Wherein an AI script attempts to take some screenshots from the run
NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. I'm not sure I got the right ROM though. (I tried Sparkster (U) [!].gen, which was the closest match to what you wrote.) Well, here goes! Feel free to clean up the list.

The Judgment

Wherein comments regarding the fate of the submission are contained

mmbossman: While this game is slightly inferior to its brethren, it holds up very well to TASing. The platforming was wild and bouncy, and you did a commendable job with keeping the autoscrolling sections as entertaining as possible. And a very impressive submission text, to say the least. I hereby grant this run acceptance.

ShinyDoofy: Processing...


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