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

Submission #2333: Randil's NES Gremlins 2 in 07:00.07

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Gremlins 2
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Gremlins 2 - The New Batch (U).nes
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 07:00.07
FrameCount: 25246
Re-record count: 11934
Author's real name: Johan Södling
Author's nickname: Randil
Submitter: Randil
Submitted at: 2009-07-16 15:31:19
Text last edited at: 2009-07-25 03:37:34
Text last edited by: ShinyDoofy
Download: Download (5422 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
This is a 4.05 seconds (243 frames) improvement to the published run of this game. The improvements come mostly from a faster boss fight on stage 2-3, the rest comes from small optimizations here and there.

The published run is tagged with "Abuses programming errors in the game", but I don't see where any of that is used in either this run or the published run.

The published run is also tagged with "Uses death as a shortcut", probably refering to when Gizmo falls down the ledge and starts flying around with the balloon. To be picky, you don't lose a life by doing this, you just take 1 point of damage, just like when you get hit by an enemy. So this action falls under the "Takes damage to save time" category, I think.

General strategy and tricks

The goal in this game is very simple - make your way to the end of the level to continue to the next one. You can walk and run horizontally, vertically and diagonally. You'll always move at speed 1.5 pixels per frame in the direction you're moving in - so if you are running NW, you'll move 1.5p/f up and 1.5p/f left.

There is no lag in this game, which is very nice, so if I, for example, need to walk from point A to B along a vertical line, I can do it in a zig-zag pattern or just run straight up, it's exactly as fast.

Gizmo is armed with a weapon, he starts with tomatoes, and after each boss fight he gets a new weapon. Whenever you attack you stop for a few frames (with every weapon), so generally it's not a good idea to stop and kill any enemies along the way.

Some enemies I kill drop crystal orbs. This is the currency in this game, and you can buy stuff in the shop. You reach the shop by entering a wooden door (you can see it in a few of the levels in this TAS). Here you can buy extra lives and more hearts, and stuff that are useful if you take a lot of damage. The only thing that is necessary in this TAS is the power canister, which I buy on stage 2-2, just like Blublu does. This item upgrades my weapon so that I shoot more projectiles with each shot. This is very effective against bosses. I collect orbs while waiting for platforms to move, so it doesn't waste any time to collect enough orbs to buy this item.

There is usually a lot of enemies in each level, so it is sometimes tricky to avoid getting hit. Luckily, enemies are very manipulatable (is that a word?), by just moving differently for 1 frame, you can change their entire behaviour. This is both good and bad, because sometimes I want an enemy to behave in a very specific way, and it can take a lot of rerecords to make that happen.

I take damage to save time in a few places, just like in the published run. while falling backwards after taking a hit, you move at the speed 1p/f for a while, so it's a little slower to take a hit than running normally, but it still saves time where I use it.

Stage finish boost: When you've beaten a stage, you can walk around while the ending tune is playing. When it stops, you will stop too. Now, the trick here is how Gizmo is facing when he stops: He will get a 1 frame boost in that direction when the next level starts. For example, after the first level, I make sure Gizmo is facing SW after the ending tune. When stage 1-2 starts, Gizmo will get a small boost to the SW at the very beginning of the stage, which is good, because that is the direction I want to move in at the start of the stage. This trick did not save many frames at all, perhaps 10-15 or so, but I still think it's a cool trick!

The nature of this game leaves quite a lot of room for performing antics. However, since I can't fire my weapon because it wastes time, there aren't many interesting things to do except moving really close to enemies, just barely dodging them. Just like Blublu, I avoided wobbling, because I think that would become quite annoying after a while.

Improvements

The biggest improvement in this run comes from killing the first boss faster. It's possible to deal 3 damage per shot on him if you stand really close to him when you're shooting. This allows me to kill him in less shots.

All levels have ben improved by at least a few frames.

Overall, I was very impressed by the level of optimization in the published run. It was very hard to improve overall, and some parts were extremely hard just to replicate. I looked for new routes and new places to take damage boosts, but without any luck.

Below is a table with how many frames each level has been improved:

Stage Improvement
1-1 4
1-2 24
2-1 12
2-2 12
2-3 132
3-1 16
3-2 4
4-1 8
4-2 4
4-3 8
5-1 4
5-2 15

Thanks to Blublu for his published run.

Enjoy!

EDIT: Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4olliUcvt9g


adelikat: Accepting for publication as an improvement to the published movie.

ShinyDoofy: Processing...


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