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

Submission #2486: mmbossman's FDS Arumana no Kiseki in 08:26.67

Console: Famicom Disk System
Game name: Arumana no Kiseki
Game version: FDS
ROM filename: Arumana no Kiseki.fds
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 08:26.67
FrameCount: 30450
Re-record count: 13078
Author's real name: Nick Mong
Author's nickname: mmbossman
Submitter: mmbossman
Submitted at: 2009-12-09 04:12:34
Text last edited at: 2009-12-19 22:51:36
Text last edited by: flygon
Download: Download (5020 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
This is my run of the Famicom Disc System (FDS) game Arumana no Kiseki, completed 1456 frames (24.27 seconds) faster than Max12187566’s run. Max did a pretty good job of planning in this game, particularly with the glitch allowing the character to walk through walls, however a lot of optimization was possible, particularly with the later levels and bosses. I initially chose to do this run to add the FDS to my list of consoles that I’ve TASed, but later on found out that it’s a rather challenging game to work with that still fun.

Some info:

This game features a character who eerily resembles Indiana Jones, but due to copyright regulations by the Disney Corporation, his name is actually Mindiana Mones. Yes, I just made that up. Mindy Mones (HA!) is blessed with the ability to use a grappling rope to climb onto higher ledges, but his (her?) gift is a curse as well, since the damn thing is so hard to control well in real time. The hook is also used to exploit a couple oversights in programming, which will be explained a little later.

The Ammo

Also at Mindy’s disposal are several types of munitions: Standard Knife (1 hp), Pistol (2 hp), Bomb (5 hp), Nunchucks (3 hp), Flash Grenade (1 hp), and Spiked Bomb (2 hp). All of these can be picked up in-level, except for the knife, which will regenerate after supplies are depleted. Clearly, using the regular bomb for all enemies would be best, except that some of the mechanics make it a rather suboptimal choice. The player is allowed to control when the bomb is detonated, which is a pain in the ass in real time, but minimally irritating for a TAS. However the player is not allowed to throw another bomb until after all the detonation animation has stopped, which delays boss fights quite a bit. The bomb is unique in that you can throw one at almost any time, even when another weapon projectile is onscreen. Because of this limitation with the other weapons, a mixture of close attacks with weaker ammunition intermixed with bomb attacks is usually the optimal boss fighting technique.

The Glitches

There are really a few glitches present in this movie, but one is more noticeable than the others. Normal play with the grappling hook involves shooting it into a wall, climbing the rope, waiting approximately 20 frames for the character to climb up onto the top of the hook (usually onto a platform), and repeating as necessary. If there is no platform, Mindy will just fall. However, because of the height that Mindy can jump and the rate at which the hook can be shot, it is possible to jump repeatedly onto higher and higher hooks, in effect creating an infinite jump. If Mindy ends up climbing onto the top of the hook and is near the top of the screen, another hook shot followed by turbo jumping will lead to infinite mini-jumps across the screen, which is seen regularly throughout this movie. Also, if the hook is shot into the junction of a wall and platform, Mindy will climb onto the hook but more than half the character sprite will be inside the wall. This allows for walking through walls using a combination of the two techniques mentioned above to create infinite distance wall walking. If the sequence is performed incorrectly, Mindy will slowly walk down the wall towards the edge of the screen, then die. Speaking of the screen...

Screen Scrolling

This is one of the biggest pains in the ass in this game. Vertical and horizontal screen scrolling are controlled by two different mechanisms, and if the character reaches either the top, bottom, or side of the screen without it scrolled, the game will not progress normally. This affects play in several ways. First, a grappling hook will not attach to an area that does not appear on screen, which leads to longer climbing sequences that involve waiting on rope for the screen to scroll upwards, which is achieved by standing still. Second, if the character reaches the right hand side of the screen and cannot progress any further, the screen will not scroll, which will cause objects (such as moving platforms) to not load. This is fixed by walking some distance back towards the center of the screen then returning around for the screen to scroll and the objects to load properly. Third, Mindy will be killed if the character sprite is more than halfway above the top of the screen while standing on a solid surface (not a wall). This goof is not shown in the run, but is pretty funny. So, if you see me standing still for a period of time, or see me retracing my steps for no reason, it is to affect the screen scrolling.

Improvements

  • Title Screen
Pushing start at the earliest frame will cause the title screen to glitch. Useless, but funny. It also happens to be the third glitched title screen in all my runs (Solitaire, Spider-man: Web of Fire) Total time saved: 8 frames

  • First level & boss
I optimized the rope climbing and sideways running, but overall this level was pretty tight already. The boss has 15 hp, and was started off and finished with bombs,but was unimproved.. Total time saved for level (24); boss (0) -- 32 total frames saved

  • Second level & boss
Lots of optimized climbing with a slight change in technique which saves some time, but doesn’t allow me to get more pistol ammo. The setup for the infinite wall walking is more optimized as well. The boss was also improved slightly. Total time saved for level (113); boss (33) -- 178 total frames saved

  • Third level & boss
A new shortcut at second upwards climb segment allowed me to save several seconds, but kept me from collecting additional flash grenade ammo. My first WIP for the game didn’t collect the nunchucks either, but I found out that I wouldn’t have enough firepower to kill the final boss without making a slight adjustment. Thankfully I was able to collect them and still perform the glitch without wasting much time at all. The last half of the level is particularly tough to work with due to screen scrolling. I also managed to catch one of the moving elevators early, saving a couple seconds. The right side of the boss is most quickly taken down with bullets, and while I did find that the left side of the boss is vulnerable to regular bombs (unlike what Max found), it was faster to use a combination of other weapons. Total time saved for level (269); boss (278) -- 725 total frames saved

  • Fourth level & boss
Almost the entire level is skipped, but I did optimize the setup for infinite wall walking. The spider boss is tough to plan for, since it is very quick and spends a good amount of time in the air, away from possible attacks. However, I found that hanging from the hook allowed me to get in a large amount of weak attacks while still getting the most out of bomb attacks. Probably improvable by a little bit, but it’s much cleaner than the previous version. Total time saved for level (42); boss (59)-- 826 total frames saved

  • Fifth level & boss
I cleaned up the first spot where the character falls through the wall by exiting lower down. Since half the level is essentially an auto-scroller, I try to make things as entertaining as possible. Imagining the cart as a skateboard may help some. The fifth boss is simply ammo spammed to death. Total time saved for level (149); boss (37) -- 1012 total frames saved

  • Final level & boss
A lot of improvement comes from infinite wall walking in the final half of the level, instead of repeatedly working up and down like in the previous movie. The final boss is faster in spite of having to use more nunchucks than the previous run, since I skipped the flash grenades in level 3. Overall I believe the tradeoff is faster. Oh, enjoy the glitchiness for the first few seconds of the fight, it comes from hitting the boss before he fully loads, I believe. Total time saved for level (293); boss (151) -- 1456 total frames saved

Final thoughts

I hope you enjoy this run, but I think the entertainment level is hampered by the constant FDS loading screen. If a quick and dirty encode is made prior to publication, editing out the loading screens may make for a more enjoyable experience. The final publication will obviously have them included, however. Finally, I’d like to thank Max for a good previous run for me to compare strategies with. Any questions will be happily answered in the discussion. Enjoy!


adelikat: Accepting as an improvement to the published movie.

Flygon: Processing.


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