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

Submission #2414: mike89's GBC Wario Land II "100%" in 1:51:36.1

Console: Game Boy Color
Game name: Wario Land II
Game version: any
ROM filename: Wario Land II (U) [C][!].gbc
Branch: 100%
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 1:51:36.1
FrameCount: 401766
Re-record count: 28817
Author's real name: Mike McKenzie
Author's nickname: mike89
Submitter: mike89
Submitted at: 2009-10-04 18:02:47
Text last edited at: 2009-11-02 08:31:43
Text last edited by: OmnipotentEntity
Download: Download (20241 bytes)
Status: published
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Run summary

This is a 100% run of Wario Land 2, collecting all treasures, completing the picture panel and completing the extra time attack stage (the Really Final Chapter) in a grand total of 1h51:36.10. Sadly, a large part of that is taken up by the two types of mini-game (treasure game/panel game) required to get to the Really Final Chapter in the first place.

Emulator information

VBA v21, L+R on, etc.

Background information

...Wow. This has been a long time coming. The idea of doing such a run goes all the way back to 2005. My attempt at this category started in September 2008, but I had the same problem as everyone else: I couldn't work out the pattern to the silver coins (which give 100 instead of the usual 1 on defeating an enemy or breaking certain blocks).

Then this happened:

Sep 03 15:34:08 <pirate_sephiroth> mike89!

Sep 03 15:34:12 <mike89> ?

Sep 03 15:34:12 <pirate_sephiroth> found something!!

Sep 03 15:34:28 <pirate_sephiroth> I'm here just thorowing the enemy against a wall

Sep 03 15:34:45 <pirate_sephiroth> and I found that it drops a silver coind every 64 frames

Sep 03 15:34:50 <mike89> 64?!

Sep 03 15:34:53 <pirate_sephiroth> without fail

Sep 03 15:34:55 <pirate_sephiroth> yeah

Sep 03 15:34:55 <mike89> wow that's quite common

Sep 03 15:35:05 <pirate_sephiroth> it's not random at all

Sep 03 15:35:11 <pirate_sephiroth> it always drops it

Sep 03 15:35:14 <mike89> the downside to which is that it appears to require you to throw an enemy which is quite slow

Sep 03 15:35:30 <pirate_sephiroth> well, it must not be required that

Sep 03 15:35:35 <mike89> well let's see

Sep 03 15:35:40 <pirate_sephiroth> let me do more tests too

Sep 03 15:37:07 <mike89> hah!

Sep 03 15:37:23 <pirate_sephiroth> works?

Sep 03 15:37:26 <mike89> works with a standard punch too

So, pirate_sephiroth, the first round of thanks goes to you, because without a silver coin I would not have so much as made it out of the first level!

With that I was able to start the run.

One other thing - those of you who have followed my progress will have noticed that I got through the last three chapters reasonably quickly. That being the case, why has it taken me so long to get here? I think it just comes down to motivation. At various points I've had my doubts that anyone would watch a two hour run of a pretty simple platformer, and certain levels were enough to drain anyone of motivation (eg. the giant bee). But what matters is that I got here in the end, right? :)

Basic techniques

Dashing is of course Wario's fastest means of movement, and jumping greatly increases the acceleration to that top speed. In open space this is almost always preferred... unless there's a hill around. Also, jumping the frame Wario touches the ground enables a dash to be continued indefinitely (normal dash length is 50 frames).

Undoubtedly the fastest way to handle long one-block gaps. Also gives even faster acceleration than a dash-jump, so can be useful to reach a door quickly (depending on how far you are away from the door).

Enemy jump
Any enemy that can be jumped off allows you to get three blocks worth off its head. Therefore, by bouncing off a smaller enemy your maximum jump height increases to four blocks, and off a larger one it increases to five.

Wario can stroke every 15 frames. While underwater, his controls are a bit weird: Moving directly up or down, he can't move horizontally at all, but moving left or right he can move vertically at an angle shallower than 45 degrees. Moving diagonally, you can't move horizontally or vertically off that line, however, if you collide with a wall on the left or right and are holding only the horizontal direction, you won't move off the wall. Additionally, if you're moving diagonally upwards and collide with a wall above you, you will bounce off the wall and not be able to stroke for a few more frames.

Advanced techniques

Double jump
I only discovered this near the end, but it has the potential to be a real game breaker. Any time Wario changes states (eg. punching an enemy, dropping off an owl, there's a couple of others) into walking mode, Wario actually acts as though he's on the ground for a single frame. This means you're able to jump, dash, or both. It pops up a lot in the last two chapters - and it's pretty easy to tell when it's being used.

Boosted enemy jump
Only used in one level, this plays off the fact that an enemy in its "paralysed" form will jump off the ground slightly as it returns to normal. In "Awaiting Syrup!" this means I can jump up to the treasure room without wasting a whole cycle of Bouncy Wario.

Abuses of gravity
Stopping a dash resets your vertical velocity to zero, so if you're already falling and you stop the dash at just the right place, it can give you just enough distance to make a jump. See "The Final Battle!" for one such use.

Fighting currents
You can't actually beat a current, but by hitting B every other frame and by taking an angled path it is possible to fight it for long enough to escape. See "Move through the water!"

Triggering switches from above
If you crouch and jump next to a switch, and release down at the right time, Wario will assume normal size again, which will trigger the switch. See "Capture the ghost!"

Quick pick-up of enemies
If you jump just before you would pick up an enemy you will be able to pick it up without the roughly 15 frame animation that you would get if you were standing on the ground. This one eluded me for a little while, so the early enemy pickups look pretty sloppy compared to the later ones.

Half-jump off enemies
If you hold A later than you would for a regular enemy jump, you get a kind of hover-like bounce instead. This mostly finds its use against the multitude of giant spear men in the game, but it has one clever use in "Storm the castle!"

Moving the stoves
Depending on when you make contact with the stoves, they will move forward somewhere between "a long way" and "hardly anywhere" on an eight frame cycle. Obviously the former is preferred in all cases (except for the last punch, where you want to move it just enough to be able to jump out of the gap, assuming that is quicker).

Wario's alternate forms

In various levels a different form of Wario might be needed to progress. The forms used in this run are as follows:

Flat Wario
Some gaps are too long and/or narrow for regular Wario to pass, so in these cases it's Flat Wario to the rescue! Flat Wario moves much faster in the air than he does on the ground, but if there's no room above him to jump, jumping only wastes time.

Fat Wario
Not to be confused with Flat Wario, this form occurs when Wario has a little too much cake. In order to return to normal, Fat Wario has to "run it off". Any and all time he spends running counts down until he returns to normal. However, jumping, landing from a jump and turning around on the ground do not count toward returning to normal.

Fire Wario
Comes in two forms. The first is Wario running around uncontrollably with fire streaming from him. You can jump in this form, but it's the only control you have, and like Fat Wario, the only way out of this form is to stay on the ground for a certain amount of time. After that amount of time he transforms into Burning Wario, at which point he can break the fire blocks and then can either walk into a pool of water or wait for a second timer to run out before returning to normal.

Tiny Wario
Gets a slightly higher jump. Needed to clear two rooms in the entire game.

Zombie Wario
A very slow form of Wario, but the only one that can fall through semi-solid floors. Changes back to normal once he sees the light.

Bouncy Wario
Much like Fat Wario and Fire Wario, Bouncy Wario requires a certain amount of movement frames to go back to normal. The only difference is his frames need to be in the air. Therefore, optimal movement is to hold A for a higher jump so more of his frames are in the air.

Individual level notes

Chapter 1: One Noisy Morning

  1. Turn off the alarm clock!: Nothing particularly special here. You will notice that the second room is a bit slower than it could be; this is to manipulate the silver coin which appears every 64th frame. You'll see this quite a bit, though I try to spread the losses out so it doesn't look so bad.
  2. Turn off the giant faucet!: By luck moreso than by design, I ended up with exactly 50 coins here going into the treasure room. Towards the end I manipulated not one but two silver coins... it only cost me two frames, and I didn't know if I'd need coins for the panel game in the next few levels, so it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
  3. Let the water out!: Nothing special here.
  4. Go down to the cellar!: I'm fairly sure you're supposed to be squashed straight away here...
  5. Defeat the giant snake!: This is absurdly easy.

Chapter 2: SS Tea Cup

  1. Return the hen to her nest!: I was fairly sure at the time that rolling into the chicken was the quickest way of being able to make the jump into the underground area afterwards. You can't make a jump off the blocks at the bottom, so you have to go through the chicken. The other option, I suppose, would have been to ground pound on it and kill it.
  2. Escape from the woods!: This has the distinction of being the only level in the game where I didn't collect 50 coins on the fastest path, and collecting more coins was faster than manipulating. In the end it only meant changing the position of a couple of jumps, nothing particularly outlandish.
  3. Get in the Tea Cup: Landing on those seagulls instantly breaks your dash, with no chance to continue, which is why it looks a bit slow. There are a few other items in the game that do this, most notably those damned stoves, which take forever to move and just as long to use.
  4. Drop the anchor!: This one might need to be explained to me. You see, the enemies you knock out with Fat Wario are exactly 64 frames apart at full speed (which you would imagine is to make what would otherwise be a very likely silver coin rather unlikely). Of course, why they couldn't just put one enemy there instead... but I digress. I plowed straight through all of them and picked up exactly two silver coins. I'm confused as all hell about it, but I'll take it. Later, I manage to dash-jump off of nothing - this is unrelated to the double jump, I would say it's a minor clipping glitch: I seem to be standing a tiny bit inside the breakable blocks which allows me to stand on the one below.
  5. Defeat Bobo!: Nothing special here.

Chapter 3: Maze Woods

  1. Get to Maze Woods!: This is one level that could really do with the double jump glitch.
  2. Defeat the giant spear man: I hate those turtles.
  3. Through the thorny maze!: The owls are way too slow. I think I'll just damage boost my way to the end instead.
  4. Escape from Maze Woods: Nothing special.
  5. Defeat the giant bee!: This level gave me nightmares. On top of the usual frustration of having to manipulate a silver coin, there was THAT BOSS. After what seemed like forever, I finally discovered a pattern to its movements: the giant bee will only attack every 256 frames, and the smaller bees will only begin their attack sequence if you lure them back to the exact same position they started from, and you force them to turn around at exactly that spot. This explained to me why sometimes it seemed to be over quickly and sometimes it would take forever. I do think I finished the fight off with a bit of class, if nothing else.

Chapter 4: In Town

  1. Stop that train!: Dashing mechanics get a little weird at the top of the train. Basically, any dash takes you straight to maximum speed. Feel free to postulate over why they did that.
  2. Up on the rooftop!: I managed to skip one entry into the building. I might be able to skip a second with the double-jump, though.
  3. Down in the cellar!: Another ridiculously annoying level. Cake-throwing enemies everywhere, it needed a silver coin... I did find one awesome thing though: what I did was punched into an enemy just off screen and got pushed onto the platform above... which should have scrolled the screen up. However I couldn't make use of it, because the screen had to scroll up anyway. Oh well.
  4. Escape from the factory!: If you punch on the second available frame on the conveyor belts, you can get instant full speed dash much like on the train. However, I didn't know this at this point. I should also have done the treasure room on the second trip through. Whoops!
  5. Anyone for B-Ball?: This is one of the more fun bosses in real time, and in TAS this was no exception.

Chapter 5: Syrup Castle

  1. Get to the castle!: I still hate those turtles. This level is also notable for the first use of the double-jump glitch (though I had no idea what caused it at the time).
  2. Storm the castle!: Luring that pelican across to make the high jump, in doing so skipping not one but two switches, is one of my favourite parts of this run.
  3. Defeat four ducks!: The silver coin in this level was completely unexpected. I wouldn't have lost all that much time getting six more coins in part 4, but I'll take it. I also particularly liked juggling the cube all the way through part 3, and then part 2 ends in unusual fashion... I actually managed to jump straight through one of the 2x2 blocks!
  4. Find the hidden door!: This is a pretty boring level, but getting two silver coins in a row from blocks was pretty hilarious.
  5. The Final Battle!: In the second room, there's actually a 2x2 block in the way up the top there (it's off screen, so you can't see it, but if you're quick you'll see some of the debris). Then I give myself just enough run up and launch myself up there again, and cancel the dash to just make it up. That saves me going all the way around, and having to pick up and throw one of those enemies.

Chapter 2a: Invade Wario Castle

  1. To the castle!: This whole chapter is very similar to the secret chapter TAS, and I do mean very similar, but I did manage to make one significant improvement: just after the treasure room I was able to force one of the bag-like enemies to damage boost me in the right direction: something I tried for a long time to do in the making of that TAS with no luck.
  2. Storm the castle!: Nothing you haven't seen already.
  3. Defeat the giant spear man: As above.
  4. Go through the grand hall: And again...
  5. Kick 'em out!: And again! I told you it was similar.

Chapter 2b: Go to the cellar!

  1. Defeat the giant spear man: Oh boy. Now we get to start playing sections of levels blind. The way I got through this and other such levels is flipped the switch to turn the lights on and had a savestate with that so I knew where to go.
  2. Avoid the rocks: This was a pain because the rocks that drop aren't in any set pattern, and just by changing your input slightly you can get the wrong drop and be screwed. Now add to that the fact that I had to hex this level afterwards... yeah, it was pretty evil the second time around.
  3. Stop that train!: A train in a cellar? Am I reading that right? Plays very similarly to the first such level, nothing special here.
  4. Find the exit!: My solution to the room after the treasure room is possibly my favourite in the whole game. For double the awesome points, this area is in full light by default, so you can actually see what's going on. It might have looked a bit weird in darkness.
  5. Defeat the cave master!: Actually, no, I think I like this one almost as much. Having the cake thrown practically half way across the room? Yeah, that's pretty awesome. The boss is a little weird: in normal circumstances, after the first hit he'll jump up dashing at you, but I was able to stop him from doing this by jumping far enough out to the side that the game thought I had no chance of making it back. It then doesn't jump and I take full advantage.

Chapter 3a: Ruins at the Bottom of the Sea

  1. Escape from the Tea Cup!: Nothing special here.
  2. Defeat the giant spear man: This isn't the quickest way through the first room, but it got me a silver coin. This level had no enemies I could get a silver coin off, so I had to get it out of a block instead. Since blocks are far more common, the rate of incidence of silver coins is adjusted accordingly from 1/64 to 1/256. That's right, I could be sitting and waiting for four seconds for one of the bastards. Sacrificing 30 or so frames on a slower path and not having to worry about manipulation therefore seemed the best (and sanest!) way of approaching the problem.
  3. Inside the ruins!: The original run I did of this level had me spawn a silver coin and deliberately ignore it. This run gets 50 exactly, but doesn't spawn the silver coin. Oh well. Aside from that it's probably the most straightforward level in the entire game.
  4. Escape from the ruins!: I think my method of reaching the treasure room is a bit cleverer than the double jump, but the latter may have been slightly faster. I didn't know about it at the time, though, so it's all academic really. There's also a boss in this level (which doesn't produce an ending, it just takes you to chapter 4), but there's no need to fight it to complete the game.
  5. Captured Syrup!: I could've sworn the boss wasn't that easy...

Chapter 5a: Mysterious Factory

  1. Defeat the giant spear man: I'm beginning to see a pattern...
  2. Into the factory!: It doesn't look at all special, but this level contains the first intentional use of the double jump. The wall enemy I punch into in the middle of the level was being particularly painful: no matter what I tried I just could not make the next platform and would've had to turn around on hitting the enemy, which I just couldn't allow. Then I discovered the double jump. Watch out for it in the next few levels.
  3. Move through the water!: TAS-speed swimming allows me to fight the current long enough to escape it and skip two switches in the process! I still have to hit the third switch, though, which takes a long time and goes right past the exit door, which I found incredibly annoying.
  4. Don't shock the owl!: Wait for it... wait for it... BAM! Yeah, that's right. As well as being able to dash out of mid-air, let me tell you something else about the owls. After you jump off one you have about 30 frames of invulnerability. This means you can dash wherever you like in that time. As a result, I skipped a substantial proportion of the area that was supposed to be flown through. Then I used the double-jump again to sneak around to the exit.
  5. Awaiting Syrup!: This had some interesting timing to be done. There were two enemies I could take a silver coin off, the first penguin and the first gorilla. The penguin needed about 32 frames of manipulation, but after I killed it, the damn coin fell in the water. Hence a lot more than 32 frames were lost. The gorilla only took nine, but for whatever reason it refused to respawn after I did the treasure room. That meant I had to go over to the second gorilla to get Bouncy Wario, but that would last all the way up to where I needed to go comfortably. As a third option I decided to test picking up 50 coins, which came close but didn't quite cut it. So I ended up with the solution you see here. Complete with a higher than usual enemy jump to skip an initial cycle of Bouncy Wario which would've taken about 1000 frames to wear off.

Chapter 5b: Uncanny Mansion

  1. Defeat the giant spear man: The way the lobby in this level works is that you get one type of enemy depending on which room you came in through. Only the chicken room is available to you at first, so you spawn the chickens, break the enemy barrier, take your silver coin, and move on.
  2. Hold on to the owl: All the manipulation in the world won't tame this beast. Why? No enemies, no blocks. No silver coin opportunities. And there's only about 20 coins on the path I take. So I'm going to have to go out of my way for coins. This is the only level in which I do this. The double-jump invulnerability takes away a lot of coins but also saves something in the order of 20-30 seconds. No, not frames, seconds.
  3. The way to the open door: The way the lobby in this room works is that each room opens a new set of doors. At the start, only room 5 is open. 5 unlocks 4, 4 unlocks 1 and 5, 1 unlocks 3, 3 unlocks 2 and 4, and 2 unlocks 2 and 4. room 2 also contains the switch required to complete the level, raising the floor in room 5 high enough to use the exit door.
  4. Coming back is difficult: All hell breaks loose as soon as you hit that switch. Unfortunately, you also need that switch to complete the level. And use the treasure room for that matter.
  5. Capture the ghost!: Hit a switch from above early on. This is the single worst level in the game, because it takes forever. You have to send the stove down to the lower level to flip the switch, then send it across to the upper level to reach the treasure room, then flip the switch again just so you can get out. And then there's the boss, who I made look hilariously inept but really is very difficult in real time.

The Really Final Chapter

I know you've all been looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, the level is so well constructed that even TAS tools can't take a significant chunk out of the level. I did manage to skip one room (I'll give you one guess as to which!) and I made a significant break through the conveyor belt room which is probably possible in real time, but for the most part it was pretty standard (if you count perfect jumps up those indented ascents as "standard"). I tried everything I could to sequence break the room with the zapper enemy that has to be thrown but the level would not bend to my will, so I eventually backed down.

The final time on this level was 1:35. To put it into perspective, the best time I can find on YouTube is 2:48, so TAS tools significantly help in this one. If nothing else, it is hard enough just to complete this level without making mistakes.

Potential improvements

Having found the double-jump mechanic very late in the piece, it would be quite possible to find uses for it earlier in the game. In particular any level with an owl benefits significantly (I'm thinking "Get to Maze Woods!") but there would be other small improvements here and there.

Finally, two things I'd do differently given the chance: First, I would have waited on the treasure room in "Escape from the factory!" and picked it up on the second trip, when I had to unlock the Factory chapter. This would've condensed the first trip to just flipping one switch (I tried desperately to avoid needing a switch at all, but Wario just couldn't slide far enough), while on the second, after you exit the treasure room it's just a short trip across to where the secret exit is.

Second, I would do the Invade Wario Castle chapter first. Why? Well, a few things change once you complete any story:

  • You go to the world map before every new level. (This is slower)
  • The picture panel game changes, enabling you to jump in and answer on the fly. (This is quicker)
  • You can skip cutscenes at the start of each world. (This is substantially quicker, affects 1 in every 5 levels)
After that I would simply do each of the secret chapters as they appeared in the main story.

Special thanks

  • pirate_sephiroth (as above) - for finding the pattern to the silver coins which made the run possible to complete
  • Xkeeper/Swordless Link - for convincing me that this category deserved its own run
  • Quartz (of TSC) - looked over the later WIPs for me, and a damn good thing too: I made a very embarrassing mistake in the Ruins chapter which forced me to hex edit four levels or so.

Enjoy the run!

adelikat: Replacing the submission with a file that fixes a desync in the last chapter.

mmbossman: Well, this sure was a looong watch, but people like it. Congrats on getting a big project done mike89, and on producing a quality (accepted) submission.

OmnipotentEntity: Encoding.

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