In this new submission, we clip 1857 frames off my 4th draft submission, making this a new record. And be forewarned that as you read this submission, the number of frames will be in big numbers. This is like high-stakes when it comes to RPG TAS'ing, there can be big gains and then there can be big losses. You just have to deal with what you can get.
- Tweaked Thunder Mountain/Tir Asleen route
- Different Nockmaar strategy
- Severe abuse of "inaccuracy of MP" glitch during level-grind
Gold Statue acquired
No significant changes, movement/strategy may vary.
Result: even. (6738 on 5th draft/6738 on 4th draft) [E]
Bogarda's cave entrance
No significant changes, movement/strategy may vary.
Result: even. (10363 on 5th draft/10363 on 4th draft) [E]
I chose to ignore getting the 10 experience pts. from a bat. Instead, I settled for 700 ex. + 2 level promotions.
Result: 34 frames early. (16566 on 5th draft/16600 on 4th draft) [-34]
Left Bogarda's cave
I didn't wait several frames too long to restore HP/MP status because I was on a lower level and I discovered a better positioning technique that allowed me to cut through a certain part of this cave just to go through a door. No, it's not a glitch. It's just the limitations of 8-bit gaming and poor programming on Capcom's recent behalf.
Result: 61 frames early. (22204/22299) [-95]
Entered Po's house at Forest of Death
I guess I was moving slightly quicker, I thought it was the same. Other than that, not a lot of significant changes.
Result: 13 frames early. (30053/30161) [-108]
Entered Matanda's cave
And again, faster movement perhaps. But still, not a lot of significant changes.
Result: 31 frames early. (35607/35746) [-139]
Left Matanda's cave
Well, there was no telling what I might've got caught up in, besides the bats. Two times in a row that I went to cut through a part of a cave to go through a door. I guess not a lot of significant changes.
Result: 8 frames early. (49936/50083) [-147]
Reached the Bar
Now what got me here was simply the fact that after I grabbed the key, it was extremely hard to manipulate taking two damage boosts from floating statues. I was only able to score one instead after a lot of trying. I bet that was the reason I felt almost slower.
Result: 9 frames late. (62045/62183) [-138]
Entered under-island cave
Slightly faster here as well, but no significant changes.
Result: 15 frames early. (70979/71132) [-153]
Okay, I'm afraid this is the first part where speed shifts into entertainment. This is to demonstrate what it takes to defeat Muzh on the lowest level that Willow can get, and that is 3. You can't go any lower than level 3 or 300 ex. which is needed for level 3 - because right off the bat, Bogarda gave you 700 ex. after defeating him back at Dew village. Once you get this 700 experience, there is no turning back!!! Due to slower and more sluggish sword control (although inflicting three hits per swing), and very limited HP where Willow was able to die from one Muzh needle, those are the reasons why I gave up a large number of frames. But at the same time, I would call this entertainment because of the positioning and movement that TheAxeMan once demonstrated. I took this into heart, no doubt.
Result: 128 frames late. (85605/85630) [-25]
Reached the World Trade Center
I figured I would call this place the WTC simply because it has two towers the way that New York had theirs before its mega-disaster in 2001. There is no North and South tower here, though, the East and West instead. But this WTC is far away. No airlines, no people to push you around as you walk down the line, and of course it's a great place to visit, just watch out for monsters and feel free to pay a visit to Elora Danan. To get back on the subject, no significant changes.
Result: 1 frame late. (90238/90262) [-24]
Got Blue Crystal from East tower
Of course, The East tower is five stories high and contains a fair risk of enemy encounters, usually more in the rooms than along the stairways. Faster movement, and once again no significant change.
Result: 23 frames early. (97500/97547) [-47]
Got Red Crystal from West tower
And then you have the West tower. It is six stories high and contains a greater risk of enemy encounters, both in rooms and along its stairways. This perfectly explains why there is a big difference between both towers, because the West tower (as you notice) takes longer to climb. Luck manipulation is the key not only to avoid enemy encounters, but also to better manage Willow's MP condition to say the least. Make sure he has 40 MP minimum before he gets the Red Crystal - so he can Fleet out of the West tower and later safely warp back to the Bar. Otherwise, yes, problems. More faster movement, but still tough.
Result: 21 frames early. (107756/107824) [-68]
Stepped into Thunder mountain
It seems to be a different positioning method after I first saw the comparison between the frames. I just hope the positioning method doesn't haunt me in a way that I would give up frames. Positioning appears to be a factor in this game, just so you know.
Result: 16 frames early. (114554/114638) [-84]
Well, I guess the falling rocks did impact my strategy as HP was limited and there was no other way of manipulating in a way to avoid most of them. I still got the "Monster's Bone" anyway. And in the next leg, from that treasure chest to the Thunder house, I chose not to use Scepter.
Result: 29 frames late. (119234/119289) [-55]
Entered the Thunder house
Well, look at that! After I said I chose not to use Scepter on this leg of the race, look what I got now! Gimme my frames back. =/
Result: 67 frames early. (123717/123839) [-122]
Entered Red cave
Not a lot of significant changes, route is the same, except I didn't expect to be a little wobbly.
Result: 4 frames late. (130069/130187) [-118]
Left Red cave
Now this is where improvement starts to pick up despite carrying a handful of frames saved along the way. It starts with a nice tweak from here. Yes, I do pick up some pace. What'cha gunna do now, Muzh! =/
Result: 258 frames early. (132806/133182) [-376]
Entered Barney's cave
Barney's Cave?!! Ewwww, gross! NO! I don't like that dinosaur, period! He's the Devil! 666! NOOOOOOOOOOO! And what's even worst is that I had to give up a number of frames just to get 10 MP. As I explain, a new goal was set. All I needed was at least 40 MP and only use it for Fleet -- to get out of the Red cave and out of this one. But in the 4th draft, I also needed MP to call Ocarina back to Tir Asleen after I met with their elder. So, you wonder how I can get two Fleets' and an Ocarina out of 40 MP when I obviously can't? There is a way out of this! You just have to dig deep and think about it as you continue watching. Enjoy Barney's cave now because I promise you that you won't see another purple nightmare like this for the remainder of my run! May that stupid dinosaur rot in Hell.
Result: 275 frames late. (136234/136335) [-101]
Red cave revisited
Okay, the game forced me to go back to the Red cave so I get the Witch's shoes to cross a cursed bridge that was located footsteps away from Barney's cave. But this leg of the race also includes a nice tweak where I did not stop for more MP. I got a little out of this, but it's not over yet.
Result: 140 frames early. (142351/142592) [-241]
Reached Tir Asleen
Ahh, at last! My favorite part of the game, Tir Asleen. Though it's quiet and deserted, I get excited everytime I reach it. But now I have a reason to not stop here to rest. I go straight to the cliffs, saving more frames in the process.
Result: 111 frames early. (150702/151054) [-352]
Spoke with elder at Tir Asleen cliffs
This time, I saved a lot of HP. 120 was not enough for me but fine. I had to hand-defeat one of the four brute enemies on the straightaway before the left sharp curve to save the HP I had, but I was able to take damage from the other three. Yep, I know we all love saving frames, but the game continues.
Result: 161 frames early. (156278/156791) [-513]
A WAKE-UP CALL!
Did you think that I was going to walk all the way back to Tir Asleen just because I didn't have enough MP to call Ocarina? Think again. Although I wasted 870 experience points in the process, my goal was to use death as a shortcut - not only to go back to Tir Asleen but also to be well-prepared to face Eborsisk at their castle.
Result: unknown (157331/This never happened in the 4th draft) [???]
So as of today, I learned that Eborsisk has 120 HP up his sleeve just like Willow does on a level 5. And I tell ya, using death as a shortcut really helped me get there quick!
Result: 655 frames early. (161903/163071) [-1168]
Secret cave and first stairway of Thunder mountain
It's a pretty long walk, no doubt. You just have to fight through it, that's all. The route stays the same, and I chose a different strategy here. Instead of inflicting more than 10 hits to defeat a big gray monster on the first stairway, it was faster for me to just inflict only four on the green viper at the secret cave. Plus, this allowed me enough HP to take an extra hit to save time, where you'll notice that I only have 4 HP to play with! As I approach the second stairway toward Nockmaar castle, it was time for me to stop for a moment, to put my all-new improved "inaccuracy of MP" glitch to work!
Result: 79 frames early. (176162/177409) [-1247]
Level-grind before reaching second stairway
Due to a major breakthrough with a new positioning and movement pattern, I was able to abuse the "inaccuracy of MP" glitch to the extreme! I was able to use the Thunder spell six times in a row before MP counts its way up to 60. I would use the Thunder spell nine times before I would have to hand-defeat 8 more red ghosts. The game never knew it the whole time! Ha. The downside was that I lost 870 experience points from using death at Tir Asleen, making me have to play catch-up where I have to get that 870 ex. back. I settled at 29,620 ex. before entering the second stairway toward Nockmaar.
Result: 58 frames early. (196003/197308) [-1305]
Scared away Nockmaar's guardian
Doesn't look like a lot of significant changes here. Just another touch of quickness.
Result: 13 frames early. (198223/199541) [-1318]
Tir Asleen elder revisited
Ha ha ha! Another WAKE-UP CALL! Not only using death is good for warping back to where you once went to at the right time, but also it's good for recovering any MP you desperately need! In this case, I had no MP and this time I didn't feel like hand-defeating ten zombies at Nockmaar castle for 100 MP. Instead, I had to hit the self-destruct button for a third time after I left Nockmaar - to get 204 MP instead. After I adjusted HP/MP status, then I called Ocarina back to Tir Asleen to get the Nockmaar key.
Result: 1354 frames early. (206051/208723) [-2672]
Gen. Kael defeat
Yep, back downhill almost. Because of game-based limitations, this is where exp. adjustment is a pain in the ass. I had to give up a huge number of frames to make sure I had at least 31,340 ex. before facing Gen. Kael to get an additional 8000. I already tried every other workaround, strategy, and move that I could, and this was the best I could pull - all other methods made me lose more frames. This involved having to go around Nockmaar Castle just to use Thunder over several Nockmaar guards while defeating three by hand. From this point, I've learned that by obtaining experience points, it takes one frame to count 10 ex. So here it will take almost 800 frames (about 14 seconds) to count 8000 ex. after I defeated Gen. Kael. I literally had to sit there and wait which I thought was ridiculous.
Result: 1236 frames late. (217065/218501) [-1436]
Spoke with Fin Raziel
I begin to get some of my frames back as the route toward Fin Raziel's dugout was kinda smooth. I had to stop at the Bar to replenish my MP before seeing Raziel. I conserved a couple-hundred frames just by resting at the bar, instead of wasting several-thousand frames using death, just to replenish my MP. It was worth a try last time, but death wasn't good enough to satisfy me.
Result: 198 frames early. (222609/224243) [-1634]
Bavmorda epic defeat
Other than trashing two zombies to regain the 20 MP I used earlier from Ocarina, I was finally focused on ascending Nockmaar castle all the way to Bavmorda. So I went up there and I kicked her ass twice-in-a-row again. After that, it was all she wrote.
Result: 223 frames early. (236880/238737) [-1857]
Final thoughts on this run:
Even though I had a huge number of ups and downs based on my new strategy being planned out, I knew that based on limitations, the big numbers would catch up with me and slow me down a little bit. And of course, it did at some point. Some of my strategies I planned may have backfired and tried to revert me back to square one. Or nothing else, it was put there for a reason. But I had some improvements during my 5th major attempt where it didn't backfire and kept me under par. I learned from here that if the big numbers catch up to you and try to make you fall back, don't be afraid to look for ways to stay on top of your game. I didn't take a significant loss of movie frames as a failure, like 1236 for example. I took it as a way toward a greater accomplishment. If I can do that, well, the question is this: can you?! ^_^
"Tir Asleen elder revisited" - 1354 frames
"Gen. Kael defeat" - 1236 frames
Lowest deficit under par:
2672 frames (unachieved)
1857 frames early (-30.95 seconds, -0.78%)
I discovered a positioning method where I was able to use the Thunder spell nine times before hand-fighting the red ghosts again. But the problem was that I had to see exactly which coordinates I was positioned. So that was when I went back and ran TheAxeMan's simple LUA script where it will display Willow's coordinates! I strongly recommend you use this as you will be taught exactly how this is supposed to be done.
 There are three straightaway screens, after the first long stairway toward Nockmaar, where they each contain possible red ghost encounters. After you came out of the first stairway, you'll want to go two screens East and that is where my hot spot was for level-grinding. You also want to always start off at Y-coordinate 130. Start traveling to the right, but without leaving the screen.
 By the time you get to (202/130) the red ghosts should perform their first duplication.
 Try not to go too far to the right, I hold my position at (236/130).
 You can move around a little bit while you're waiting, but time is limited before the four red ghosts start approaching Willow again. Make sure you are on (200/146) before they do. Start moving to the right once they're back in direct pursuit of Willow.
 When you reach (235/146), start moving back toward the left.
 Do a normal sword swing when you get to (210/146).
 Move Up+Right until you get to (225/131).
 Move Right until you get to (236/131).
 Start moving Up+Left until you reach (203/98). And yes, those red ghosts are still in direct pursuit of you after all that dancing you're doing! Those ghosts were programmed that way! God bless 8-bit gaming limitations...
 Start moving Left on Y-coordinate 98 until the Red ghosts begin to split again. By X-coordinate 174, they should be ready. Start making your way back to the left side of the screen while the ghosts are almost done splitting and be sure to stay on (23/128) as the 8 red ghosts approach Willow quicker.
 Stay put on (23/128) by poking the sword a couple of times. You may need to reposition and/or wait a frame or two to poke again, because for me, I waited a moment. I wanted to poke the sword where the red ghost(s) that took a hit was one or two pixels in front of me. Being that close allowed me to push seven, possibly eight ghosts back. Grouping them together in a pile was also the key.
 You may need to manipulate the appearance of those green magic balls (don't worry about the first 10 MP you already got) - where you're able to get them all in one sword poke so that the game will start counting up MP. If your sword-poke timing is done right, you might have six magic balls and one more red ghost in front of you. One more sword-poke will kill the last red ghost on that screen and grab the 6 magic balls. For this benefit, what I would do is wait a frame or two for that last red ghost. I want that last red ghost to come as close to me as possible so I won't have to go too far to get the magic ball out of THAT one as I grab the other six, all at the same time.
 If your sword poke ends up like this...
...then you'll see how much more MP still needs to be counted as you grabbed the six magic balls and only having to move one or two pixels to the right just to get the last one - and that last ball is not too far within reach. It's close enough where you can feel it!
After that, start moving screen to screen, manipulating red ghosts' appearance and using Thunder to kill them right on the spot. And that's the best way for me to explain how I used that positioning and movement method to my advantage. If it wasn't for TheAxeMan's simple coordinate LUA script, it would've been tough for me to even guess which coordinates I should've been at. As many times as you will see this technique in this movie, believe me when I say that it works everytime!