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

Submission #2239: klmz's GBA Megaman Zero 4 in 37:07.48

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: Megaman Zero 4
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Megaman Zero 4 (U).gba
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 37:07.48
FrameCount: 133649
Re-record count: 89399
Author's real name: K.H.
Author's nickname: klmz
Submitter: klmz
Submitted at: 2009-04-24 05:25:49
Text last edited at: 2011-03-01 12:08:59
Text last edited by: klmz
Download: Download (11590 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Megaman Zero 4 TAS 15578 frames, or 259.63 seconds faster than the published run by Xaphan. By the last score screen, it is 11821 frames, or 197.02 seconds faster.[1] The dialogues and some non-action scenes in the USA version are far over 30 seconds longer than those in the JAP version. For whoever is interested, the in-game time at the end is 00:19'34.

There are many humourous delights hidden in the movie by the author. See if you can spot them all!

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: VBA 1.72 + Rerecording v19.3/v19.4/v19.5/v21.0-interim
  • Aims for fastest real-time
  • Trades time for entertainment
  • Manipulates luck
  • Takes damage to save time
  • And so on

Comments

About movie end point

This movie ends skipping the ending scene and staff scroll. If you think they should be shown, I may upload such one.

About entertainment/speed tradeoffs

Extra parts dropped from enemies were manipulated, like this:

It's a pity that I couldn't reproduce what had happened in my old WIP without desynching the movie, which is shown below:

Luck manipulation

The Pseudo Random Number Generator, or PRNG for short, plays a very important role in this game. Item drops, boss movements and some visual effects are all affected by it. Zero can only affect it in limmited ways:

  • Clinging to a wall to desend
  • Kill an enemy
  • Do nothing but wait

Boss manipulation

Bosses may seem to have some frame rules on their patterns of action. This is because every time a boss fight start, the PRNG that is used by the boss to decide its movements, is restarted with the current value of the level timer. As result, a boss's first few possible attacks are limmited, if not decided.

Most of the time, since it's quite time-attack-unfriendly for Zero to cling to a wall during a boss fight, the only way to manipulate a boss is to wait and spare some frames before engaging it.

At times, there is a one-frame window on the first controllable frame when you can affect the boss's action, by going towards it, or simply not.

Some bosses's attacks have some prerequisites that may be:

  • A or higher rank of Zero
  • Certain distance between Zero and the boss
  • Low HP of the boss
  • Weather condition(?)

Health Management

Every damage-taking in this movie was intentional and faster than not to do so.

Taking damage gives Zero temporary invincibility that enables touching spikes without dying, or simply prevents from taking more damage in 1.5 seconds. It also interrupts Zero's movement like attack recovery. As a result, it saves time during both level attacks and boss fights.

Recovering health pauses all in-game actions for a short while, whose length depends on the amount of the recovered health. Generally, this is avoided in the movie, while it is used unavoidably in rare cases.

Double Jump Chip

I hadn't planned to make and use the double-jump chip before I found it did save time in Ragnarok Control Room. Then, I went back to Particle Beam stage and re-manipulated luck there to obtain the required parts and made it along with the Junk Armor.

However, making it any earlier for use before Settlement under Attack would require an extra trip to and fro the lab, which would be just too long to save any frames, but become slower than the current stategy in the end.

Junk Armor

As long as Zero is equiped with the full set of Junk Armor with the Cyber-Elf disabled, all received and delivered damage (except for grabbed/discarded weapons, Skull Crush, Ice Blade wave and Sky Chaser rocks) is doubled.

The route used in this run is overall based on producing and utilizing the Junk Armor as soon as possible.

Stage by stage comments

Time sheet

The stage orders in this submission were different from that in the published movie (reordered in the sheet).
Published movie This submission Improvement
Check Point Frame Length Frame Length Frames Saved
Title Screen 72 72 225 225 -153
Game Start 81 9 225 0 9
Truck Chase Start 287 206 426 201 5
Event Skip 1718 1431 1741 1315 116
Sub-Desert Start 1754 36 1777 36 0
Event Skip 2000 246 2022 245 1
Sub-Desert Core 2330 330 2352 330 0
Desert Score 3474 1144 3439 1087 57
Event Skip 3648 174 3612 173 1
To the Lab 4159 511 4203 591 -80
Back to Mission 4911 752 5017 814 -62
Area Zero Start 6535 1624 6762 1745 -121
Carnage 0 9419 2884 9429 2667 217
A.Z. Score 10880 1461 10730 1301 160
A.Z. End Event 11292 412 11113 383 29
To Alouette's 12203 911 12084 971 -60
Event Skip 12899 696 12708 624 72
Dialog End 13478 579 13341 633 -54
Level Selection 30453 - 13341 - -
Particle Beam Start 31339 886 14293 952 -66
Spy Larue F 32513 1174 15401 1108 66
P.B. Halfway 33369 856 15904 503 353
Heat Genblem 35962 2593 18422 2518 75
P.B. Score 37510 1548 19639 1217 331
Dialog End 38194 684 20323 684 0
Level Selection 38194 - 20323 - -
Hibernation Chamber Start 39084 890 21239 916 -26
Gear Bank 40889 1805 22794 1555 250
H.C. Halfway 41792 903 23267 473 430
Fenri Lunaedge 44824 3032 25885 2618 414
H.C. Score 45902 1078 26927 1042 36
Dialog End 46572 670 27580 653 17
Level Selection 71523 - 27580 - -
Artificial Sun Start 72408 885 28538 958 -73
Tyrine 73843 1435 29730 1192 243
A.S. Halfway 74588 745 30071 341 404
Sol Titanion 76394 1806 31538 1467 339
A.S. Score 77855 1461 32755 1217 244
Dialog End 78559 704 33438 683 21
Level Selection 21348 - 33438 - -
Living City Start 22241 893 34361 923 -30
Ribops 24843 2602 36674 2313 289
L.C. Halfway 25736 893 37418 744 149
Popula Cocapetri 28624 2888 40279 2861 27
L.C. Score 29766 1142 41333 1054 88
Dialog End 30453 687 42020 687 0
Invasion 46572 - 42020 - -
Settlement Start 47745 1173 43234 1214 -41
Conversation 51642 3897 47018 3784 113
Craft (1st time) 52196 554 47592 574 -20
Settlement Score 53278 1082 48599 1007 75
Event Skip 53393 115 48712 113 2
Dialog End 54006 613 49317 605 8
To the Lab 78559 - 49317 - -
Back with Junk Armor 79530 971 50069 752 219
Level Selection 54006 - 50069 - -
Prison Start 55739 1733 51918 1849 -116
The Giant 57545 1806 53814 1896 -90
Event Skip 59118 1573 55058 1244 329
Prison Escape 59291 173 55231 173 0
Prison End 62062 2771 57884 2653 118
Prison Score 62748 686 58577 693 -7
Dialog End 63645 897 59476 899 -2
Level Selection 13478 - 59476 - -
Underground Forest Start 14405 927 60388 912 15
U.F. Entrance 14752 347 60731 343 4
Fire Renant 16344 1592 62108 1377 215
U.F. Halfway 16839 495 62459 351 144
Noble Mandrago 19218 2379 64756 2297 82
U.F. Score 20647 1429 65577 821 608
Dialog End 21348 701 66306 729 -28
Level Selection 63645 - 66306 - -
Deep Sea Start 64529 884 67257 951 -67
D.S. Drill Entrance 65696 1167 68428 1171 -4
Spy Larue I 66074 378 68804 376 2
D.S. Halfway 66912 838 69115 311 527
Tech Kraken 69749 2837 71223 2108 729
D.S. Score 70846 1097 72018 795 302
Dialog End 71523 677 72698 680 -3
Level Selection 79530 - 72698 - -
Hanging Gardens Start 80423 893 73629 931 -38
Spy Larue E 82468 2045 75589 1960 85
P.B. Halfway 82988 520 75900 311 209
Pegasolta Eclair 85280 2292 78050 2150 142
P.B. Score 86299 1019 78839 789 230
Dialog End 86960 661 79494 655 6
Level Selection 86960 - 79494 - -
Magnetic Zone Start 87887 927 80428 934 -7
Clabanger NS 90420 2533 82858 2430 103
M.Z. Halfway 91004 584 83261 403 181
Mino Magnus 93401 2397 85504 2243 154
M.Z. Score 94312 911 86293 789 122
Dialog End 94966 654 86958 665 -11
8 Initial Stages Cleared 94966 - 86958 - -
Ragnarok Control Room Start 97724 2758 89959 3001 -243
R.C.R. Halfway 99025 1301 91234 1275 26
Craft (2nd time) 101432 2407 92986 1752 655
R.C.R. Score 102353 921 93805 819 102
Event Skip 102439 86 93890 85 1
Teleport Base Start 106150 3711 97735 3845 -134
Random Bandam 117050 10900 108041 10306 594
T.B. Score 118112 1062 108933 892 170
Dialog End 118770 658 109601 668 -10
Teleport Circuit Start 119825 1055 110723 1122 -67
T.C. Halfway 121547 1722 112371 1648 74
Cyball 123150 1603 113967 1596 7
T.C. Score 124317 1167 114902 935 232
Dialog End 125012 695 115593 691 4
Ragnarok Core Start 126073 1061 116675 1082 -21
8 Boss Rematches 127807 1734 118221 1546 188
R.C. Halfway 139145 11338 128664 10443 895
Weil (Form 1) 141790 2645 130979 2315 330
Weil (Form 2) 142560 770 131602 623 147
R.C. Score 145061 2501 133240 1638 863
Input End 149227 4166 133649 409 3757

Frames saved in total: 15578

So it's very clear that the dialogues in the USA version are much longer.

Some per-stage comments

Area Zero

  • I delayed the last final slash on the boss for a few frames for the boss's missile to hit Zero at the same time. Taking this damage interrupted Zero's standing slashing animation and repelled Zero down to the ground during the boss's death animation, in which the game would prohibit any user control. This trick averted the need to manually jump down the platform after the score screen, saving much more frames than the delay cost.

Further comments to be added....

Credits

Thanks to Inti-Creates and Capcom for producing and publishing this game.

Thanks to all the VBA and VBA-variant developers for making such a brilliant rerecording emulator of GBA.

Thanks to gocha for making VBA Watch. It didn't work with VBA-rr v21.0 due to some CR+LF problems, though. Now it's solved.

Thanks to Maximus for making TAS Movie Editor.

Thanks to (in alphabetical order) Bag of Magic Food, BoltR, computerbird, jaysmad, KaitouKid, McBAIN, mikwuyma, moozooh, mukka, NrgSpoon, OgreSlayeR, shikarii, Too_Bored, Truncated, Wren, Xaphan, zefiris, zhangsongcui and Zurreco for various route and strategy suggestions as well as other constructive comments.

Thanks to (in alphabetical order) Iriasu, McBAIN, Vector188, Xaphan, zefiris specially for their excellent speedruns.

Thanks to computerbird specially for making various tests.

Thanks to every whoever hosting, administrating, contributing to and/or visting this site.

Random Screenshots

Footnotes

[1] This submission has been updated once with a 41 frames faster movie than the old one. Only the improvement from the last boss fight is visually different. Previous savestates are likely to fail again. I'm sorry for the convenience.


adelikat: Replaced submission file with a new one by the author. This new one is 41 frames due to some minor improvements.

also, accepting as an improvement to the published movie.

ShinyDoofy: Processing...

klmz: Wow ShinyDoofy you are still here with us!


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