TASVideos

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

Submission #2155: FractalFusion's NES Rocman X (Thunder Blaster Man) in 13:22.48

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Rocman X (Thunder Blaster Man)
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: Rocman X (Unl).nes
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 13:22.48
FrameCount: 48228
Re-record count: 10791
Author's real name: Justin Chan
Author's nickname: FractalFusion
Submitter: FractalFusion
Submitted at: 2008-12-19 20:49:51
Text last edited at: 2012-12-23 14:02:53
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (8106 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
FractalFusion's Rocman X (Thunder Blaster Man) in 13:24. An infamous unlicensed game with pirated box and title screen. Other than that, the "Ready!" shoutout, and a few small references to Mega Man game mechanics, this game has nothing to do with Mega Man.

Uses FCEU 0.28, and works in FCEUX 2.0.3 when the FCM is converted.

Aims

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Abuses programming errors in the game
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Uses quasi-death as shortcut
  • Uses death as shortcut
  • Attempts to make sense of this game
  • Does not color a dinosaur

About the game

Unlike what the box and title want to indicate to you, this game is an original creation. It has a story too. The main character, Thunder Blast Man (not "Thunder Blaster Man", not "Rocman X") must save the city from an evil crime syndicate (heard that before?) who has kidnapped Miss Lucy and overrun the city with its many robotic enemies.

The graphics are surprisingly decent for an unlicensed game, although there are some obvious graphical glitches. The music ranges from decent to Mega Man II (GB) bad. It is, however, the gameplay design that is utterly atrocious, and what the game is known for. It is explained in the next few paragraphs.

Thunder Blast Man starts with a super-weak boomerang. It can only shoot one at a time, in any of four cardinal directions, and cannot pass through walls. Only the weakest of enemies die in one hit. Most standard baddies take three or more hits to kill. Some take a lot more, even as many as 20 hits. I haven't even talked about the bosses yet.

During the game (before a boss fight), it is possible to upgrade to a triple shot of super-weak boomerangs, or even the batarangs. The batarangs are the most useful, since they are three times stronger than a normal boomerang and can travel through walls. In fact, this run goes out of the way just to buy one ASAP.

To buy upgrades, however, you need money. As one will eventually figure out, the city level is entirely devoid of coins (except from enemies), and the sky level has very few. This leaves only the ocean level, which is a good starting spot as it has many coins. Fortunately, there is a continue/game over glitch to respawn coins.

There are two types of continues in this game, literal continues (you start off in the same spot you died or float out of a pit), and game over continues. You can only possess at most one literal continue, and can choose whether to use it or take a game over continue. Did you know that if you die without a literal continue, you lose all your upgrades, but you don't if you select "No" when prompted to use a literal continue? As if it wasn't weird enough.

Thunder Blast Man has 16 health. That sounds all right at first (even Mega Man X starts with 16 health), but the problem is that most enemies in the game do 4 damage. Yes, any contact with an enemy is an automatic 4 damage. This includes spikes (thankfully they don't automatically kill in this game). The enemies are very hard to take down (with the starting boomerang) and very hard to avoid, especially the bird robots. The gunner enemies are cheap and cannot be killed unless you get behind them.

Physics does not favor you. TBM has quite a short-distance jump and cannot cross pits if it weren't for a very useful feature: the air-dash. When charged up, TBM can perform a horizontal air-dash or even air-dash upwards. However, you lose the charge if you are hit. Problem is that much of the game was designed around this air-dash. If you fall in a spike pit, good luck getting out. You cannot stop an air-dash in the middle, nor are you invincible when doing the air-dash. As a result, some parts of the game practically require an air-dash of faith. Hello, sky level.

Normal boss fights take a very long time. Even with the batarang, bosses have long recoveries and many invincible actions. The actions are set and cannot be luck-manipulated. Normal bosses have 26 HP. They take 9 hits with the batarang (ranging from 45s to 75s) to 26 hits with the normal boomerang (about 3 times as long). Oh, and yes, the sky miniboss. Hopefully, you didn't spend 15 minutes there just to die. I didn't, but I can envision someone who did. In contrast, this run takes 10 seconds.

There are some nicely done parts like the highway stage and boss (TBM's motorbike acts just like Mega Man here), and the minecart ride (though there's some cheapness involved), but this game is generally a sadistic exercise as a result of shoddy design.

More info: http://www.themechanicalmaniacs.com/articles/RocmanX.php (Note that the information about being unable to pass the Ocean level without upgrades is incorrect).

About the run

I made this run in 9 days (Dec. 8 to Dec. 16) as I wanted to make this project a quick but careful making. I had already made a couple test runs beforehand, each less than 4000 rerecords, and one in a couple days.

Timeline of TAS-making:

Dec. 8 Ocean 1-2
Dec. 9 Ocean boss, City 1-2
Dec. 10 City boss, Sky 1
Dec. 11 Sky 1 miniboss, Sky 2
Dec. 12 Sky boss
Dec. 13 Highway, highway boss
Dec. 14 Building 1-2
Dec. 15 Flying boss, Cave 1-2
Dec. 16 Final boss

Anyway, this proves that one doesn't have to spend months on a TAS project (something that often plagues me).

There are a couple cheats for testing. In FCEU(X) select Tools -> Cheats...

Infinite health: Address 5C, Value 21
Infinite literal continues: Address AC, Value 1
In FCEU, Read Substitute must be unchecked.

Run info

Note: The levels have no official names.

Pre-game

Notice how they ripped off the title screen from the J version of Mega Man.

Ocean 1

I start here because I want $500 fast. I grab $30 and take the alternate (longer) route where a room in Ocean 2 has $235.

Ocean 2

I grab the $235 from the room and kill myself off to respawn the coins. I grab another $235, raising money to the $500 needed to buy the least expensive batarang. Completion of the level follows.

Ocean boss

The boss is a gunner. He has 26 HP. He can only be hit after landing from a jump or shooting a fire grenade.

City 1

Some quick air-dashing through here. Damage taken in one place.

City 2

I air-dash into the dinosaur robots twice, taking damage and failing to color them. The bubble from one of the dinosaurs follows me throughout, and glitches away some of the enemies. Note that, in contrast to the better Ocean level tunes, the city tunes are pretty bad.

City boss

I don't know what this thing is. It has 26 HP. Anyway, it only takes damage when it is juggling a fireball. I don't have to hit him as soon as possible, except on the last hit. I show off a double-death glitch here, which costs 10 frames.

Sky 1

Zombie (0 HP) TBM! He dies in one hit though. I use my literal continue here. The cannons on Sky 1 miniboss have 30 HP apiece. TBM can shoot the batarang upward through all three of them.

Sky 2

I use the shortcut here which skips half the level. More damage is taken.

Sky boss

The boss is a ninja that uses hadoken and rains spikes from the sky. He has 26 HP. He can only be hit when standing still doing nothing. Again, I don't have to hit him as soon as possible, except on the last hit. There is a glitch where TBM can stand in him without being hit if he is flashing. Double-death does not work without a literal continue.

Highway

At the beginning, health is restored. This stage is an autoscroller. The boss is the pod thing that has spikes surrounding it. It has 101 HP. A normal shot does 1, and a charged shot does 10. However, the normal shot can be autofired here, so I can do 17 damage per jump. With timed pausing (5 frames B _ BS _ S looped), it is possible to do 24 damage per jump; however, there is a frame rule so pausing only increases the time. I carefully arrange it so as to minimize damage taken to 12. The following bonus run allows me to recover most of the health, and then TBM inexplicably gains two more afterward.

Building 1

There's a room full of coins about underneath the starting point, but of course I don't need it. I take one hit on the rhino robot. It shoots a large bullet that glitches out the gunner robots at the end.

Building 2

Short level.

Flying boss

Flying robot. 26 HP. Can be hit when it is not resting in the upper-right corner.

Cave 1

The super-weak boomerang is useful in some places because it doesn't cause lag like the batarang. I make the minecart ride seem easy.

Cave 2

I take the shorter route here (the small space is normally hard to enter unless you do a ducking air-dash from the right platform). I also wonder why they had to play the City level music here.

Final boss

I decided not to buy health restore, saving 2 seconds. As for the final boss, it's just jumping and shooting that guy out of the window. The window has 65 HP. I manage to dodge one of the eyeball attacks from the eyeball beast without losing time.

Enjoy the ending. If you want to see the prologue, wait until after the credits, and wait at the title screen.

Improvements

There are some parts where using the starting boomerang causes less lag than using the batarang. In addition, careful studying of the frame rule and switching City and Sky as the second and third stages may save some time.
NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. Oh! I also corrected the ROM name.
  • You indicated Rocman X (Unl).nes
  • I updated it to Rocman X (Sachen) [!].nes

adelikat: The audience doesn't appear to enthusiastic over this one. Doesn't seem to be a terrible game but just a bit to meh. Sorry, but I am rejecting this movie. Better luck next time.
turska: Unrejecting.
Nach: Since unlicensed games are allowed for the vault, and this was decent, accepting.
Guga: Looks like I missed a lot of things lately. Processing...

FractalFusion: Cancelled because the status of unlicensed games for Vault publication is still debated.

FractalFusion: Uncancelled since the issue has cleared up.


Mothrayas: Resetting to accepted.

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