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Submission #2419: FatRatKnight's SNES E.V.O. Search for Eden in 40:31.17

Console: Super NES
Game name: E.V.O. Search for Eden
Game version: USA
ROM filename: E.V.O. Search for Eden (U).smc
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 40:31.17
FrameCount: 145870
Re-record count: 18429
Author's real name: Leeland Kirwan
Author's nickname: FatRatKnight
Submitter: FatRatKnight
Submitted at: 2009-10-08 02:03:57
Text last edited at: 2009-10-26 18:26:44
Text last edited by: ShinyDoofy
Download: Download (8162 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
At last, we get to see Earth's ancient history in a game! In which the whole world revolves around a single creature, the aliens invaded, and there are a few other creatures that are actively trying to ruin the world. Quite an amazing history lesson!

Basic stuff about this run:

Options for movie file:

I have created lua-scripted subtitles for this run. They can be found in the forums here. If you're viewing the forums itself, just scroll down!

About this game

In this action/platformer game, you are a wimpy little creature guided by Gaia in an effort to reach Eden. You don't stay wimpy long, since after killing a few enemies and chowing down on their meat, you can evolve various parts to improve your capabilities whenever you like. Of course, along the way, plot happens, and the road to Eden is a little tougher than expected.

For this run, our hero is in a hurry to reach Eden, and goes through a few hundred million years of Earth's history in about 40 minutes. Seems that he did his homework and knew exactly what to do. And likes to jump through each level, using poor creatures as stepping stones. Hey, all in the name of Eden!

Mechanics

I'll talk about a few details in general here.

Evolution

In order to speed through places and beat stuff up in a timely manner, I need to evolve a few things. While there are many things that you can improve, this run focuses entirely on Agility and Strength, and Jumping is important as well. These three stats work together well since most of the things that add Agility also provides Jumping and Strength.

Whenever a Great Power gives you a new body, you revert to a rather weak form with none of the upgrades of your previous form, except size and neck length. When becoming a Mammal, even the size is lost. I seek a few ways to get around this shortcoming, generally involving crystals.

There are a few crystals that you can eat to temporarily transform yourself into something else. The required Red Crystal can pick a manta or an eel at random. The Green Crystals can transform you to an earlier, recorded form. I record my fish just before leaving Chapter 1 and use that to maul a boss, and record the amphibian to completely skip evolving Reptile parts.

One primary reason for the whole detour to become the bird is that the higher potential speed and strength lets me get through battles faster. 12 Strength and 20 Agility manages to beat the time the detour takes, compared to the 8 Strength and 18 Agility the reptile can get. The flight just helps out even more.

Movement

Seeing as a great deal of stuff depends on getting from point A to point B, you can imagine why I seek the fastest method. In order from fastest to slowest form of movement: Dash-Jump, dash, jump, walk. As a bird with enough Agility (more than 16, I believe), repeated tackles is slightly faster than dashing.

To dash, double-tap in a direction. The direction you tapped is in 0x7E074B and the timer is in 0x7E074B. When the timer is 12 or higher, you can't initiate a dash on your next tap, so you'll probably need to double-tap again. You can hold down one direction and walk in that direction and initiate a dash in another direction, which is done at times when I need motion away from something but still need to tackle it.

When you are currently in the middle of some action, the timer freezes. After you get out of your dash through whatever method, it is possible to initiate another dash with a single tap thanks to this timer.

Left+Right or Up+Down moves your creature up. That's fine while swimming or flying, but if you're standing on ground and hit Left+Right, you'll move up, off the ground, then have to wait as you land once more. Left+Right and Up+Down has proven useful on occasion, especially that part I mentioned where I need to move away yet still need to tackle.

The jumping mechanic is rather restrictive... You can either jump as high as you can, or make a short hop designed to drop down through certain platforms. There is no in between, short of reducing your jump stat. In all my jumps, I hit B for one single frame, and it's often max height. That limits the usefulness of jumps for precise maneuvers, but dash-jumping is still the fastest by quite a fair margin.

When I become a bird, I gain the power of flight. Although flying is slower than dash-jumping, flight allows for a few shortcuts and provides a much better method to tackle stuff. As well as stats, but that's another thing.

Offense

A quick overview of attack methods and the time they take for each repeat:
  Bite: 30 frames; uses Bite
  Tackle: 18 frames under optimal conditions; Uses Strength
  Bounce: Instant, but requires downward motion from jump; Uses HALF of Strength
  Horn: Instant, just dash; Uses Horn; Usually breaks after 3 hits
  Kick: Did not measure; Uses Kick
  Strike: Did not measure; Uses Strike
There are quite a few methods you can use to pummel your enemies into submission. Of which, I primarily use one: Tackles. Strength pretty much goes up with Agility, so that's a plus. Then there's the fact they're faster than bites, another plus. Bosses, when still stunned from the last hit, are invincible, but if they didn't get pushed from your tackle, it's usually shorter than the 18 frames needed for your next tackle.

However, tackles can push bosses around -- This motion extends their invincibility time. They need to come to a complete stop before they can recover from their stun. The three ways they will stop are when they:
run out of momentum (slow)
hit screen edge
hit the ground when previously airborne

Although I never let bites exceed one damage, it is fairly crucial in Chapter 2. As a fish, I can't bounce, so I need to stun enemies by bite. Just long enough that I can get through, hit-free. Then there's the boss bees, both of which needs a bite to bring them to the ground where I can then tackle them dead. Plus, bites can eat meat, too!

Then there's bouncing. Has roughly zero use for speedy offense thanks to the jumping mechanic, but is freaking useful in avoiding landing lag. That's about all I use bouncing for, utilizing enemies to travel a little faster.

Horn was used in a test run, but I found it's unneeded here. They last 3 hits, far below what you need to do to most enemies. Evolving with a horn will restore the horn back to 3 hits, but then there's the flashy yellow animation.

Kicks and Strike are never used because I never become a Mammal.

Luck

The RNG addresses are at 0x7E00DE and 0x7E00DF. If you want flashing meat, these two must sum to some multiple of 16, 32, 64, or 128, depending on the enemy. They change every frame, and may change more than once in a frame if an enemy has to think or when determining flashing meat.

I should thank Dromiceius for helping me out with cracking the RNG. After I fully understood how the RNG generates its next number, I created my own program that spits out a list of frame numbers I should try, bringing a LOT of guesswork out.

Aside from a nifty program, the enemies also uses the same RNG when deciding their actions. I spend a few frames here and there so that enemies don't get in my way. Or move into a better position to bounce off of. Those work too.

Glitches

There aren't many glitches I could take advantage of. However, there are two that sticks out.

One is an upward zip glitch. This is only possible on certain terrain, where you can stand on a platform and be blocked from simply walking off one of its sides. This block is what's important. When you jump, hit Y and bite nothing in particular. After the bite, you can hit B at any time you're inside this block to zip straight up. Saves a small amount of time for a better jumping position, while adding a bunch of WTF when the sky has a band of strange red stuff suddenly.

The other allows me to make one action on the elevator when I activate it. Upon finishing an animation on the ground, such as landing from a jump or finishing a tackle, you have one frame in which you can act, prior to the earliest possible frame in which down or up would move the elevator. If you walk for that frame, you will continuously move until you hit a wall. If you jump, you have control over where you go, but you can't do much else. Control is limited, but the one extra jump can put you someplace closer to your goal.

Random notes

Dialogue has a 4-frame rule.
Optimal conditions for tackling is a bird in flight, with one frame spent to dash again.
Less optimal conditions probably isn't slower by more than a few frames anyway. Swimming seems to be worst.
Downward tackles from flying bird is godly. Left/Right would push things around. Up would lift them off the ground and delay things.
There is a day/night system in the game. I just go too quick for night to ever show.

Stages

I'll try to keep it short, since there are a lot of places I go into. Besides, I'll let the subtitles do a lot of the talking.

Chapter 1

First, the Jellyfish dialogue. It is almost unskippable. Almost. You can skip it by avoiding all Jellyfish. Note that this is not limited to the first room. If you manage to avoid them in Ocean of Origin, they'll be glad to inform you in the next area. If you can get around those, they'll ambush you with their speech in Cave of Zinichthys. If you manage to squeeze through that, there's a whole bunch guarding the entrance to Cave of Origin, ready to talk you down. ... Something tells me that avoiding them is more trouble than it's worth.

  • Ocean of Terodus
    To get through here, the enemy counter at 0x7E0766 must hit 50, then clear out any remaining enemies. By swimming back and forth at that one spot, I spawn two of them at once, then scroll them out of existence really quick. I move upwards while avoiding lag so to prepare the jumps out.

  • Coast of Pange
    Choice of name was picked by Dammit. Nice site recognition, anyway.

Chapter 2

I take a significant detour to the Green Crystal. Going back to fish form lets me skip one dialogue, jump through early areas faster, and defeat the first boss with 6 damage tackles. In spite of the length of the detour, the fish wins out by quite a margin.

  • Cave of King Bee
    When I eat the bugs and bones, I actually delay the appearance of the meat by a frame for each meal. I figure I shouldn't be picky anyway, and it's almost impossible to spot this delay in realtime, so why not? This factor actually becomes important inside the cave when I couldn't kill a larva right at the "golden frame", but by eating the nearby bones pile, that one frame delay saved the day.

Chapter 3

Interestingly enough, I don't use the Reptile form. At all. Sure, it's like a major change and all, but for the entire "useful" life of being a Reptile, I'm Green Crystal'd into Amphibian form. The detour to Bird is quite lengthy, roughly 2 or so minutes at a guess, but all that time is saved by better stats and the power of flight.

  • Ocean of Plesusaurus (revisited)
    The reason for the second trip is because I went and tested out that Green Crystal in the Tyrosaurus place. Compared routes and stuff. The Green Crystal route ended up slower than this detour.

Chapter 4

I could become Mammal here, but they have lower max speed (14) and no flight. Besides, I'm back to the basic form if I do become a Mammal.

  • Door to Mt. Snow
    There is an alternate path, but it involves going into the overworld map a few times. Just climb up those steps! Seeing that screen transitions do take a while, I simply assumed that the upper path would be slower.

Chapter 5

Ah, the final chapter. It's the longest chapter, but that gives more of the run for you to see!

  • Cave of Monkey Human
    Bird Flight > elevators. I even skip a dialogue here! Cheers! As for the boss here, he has an incredibly short stun time. Even tackling upwards to get him slightly off the ground doesn't delay his stun long. Yeep!

  • Entrance of Eden
    Cro-Maine gets buried, I jump on the elevators, and I goof off while waiting for Bolbox's next attack. Sure takes a while, but it's finally done. The thing that slowed me down was trying to figure out an entertaining option while waiting for Bolbox to do its thing. Also, for some mysterious reason, most of the summoned critters have a longer than usual stun... It does slow things a bit when I must wait on my next tackle.

Possible improvements

There's a fair chance that there's still frames to be saved. I haven't found any major glitches that allow me to skip stages or something, so barring that, I'm not sure if sub-40 minutes is possible.

I can't think of much off-hand, considering I put in everything I could in here. I'm not sure what can be done, exactly, but go ahead if you want to try things.


mmbossman: What a uniquely different RPG. The biggest complaint I have is actually the lack of variety with the land levels... you jump/fly to the right/left for 5 seconds, and then return to the overworld map. This certainly isn't a fault of the run though, more a fault of game design. People, myself included, seem to think it's publication worthy, so I'll go ahead and set this to 'accepted'.

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