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

Submission #2608: Randil's NES Rolling Thunder in 10:59.55

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Rolling Thunder
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Rolling Thunder (U).nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 10:59.55
FrameCount: 39638
Re-record count: 15950
Author's real name: Johan Södling
Author's nickname: Randil
Submitter: Randil
Submitted at: 2010-03-25 20:17:12
Text last edited at: 2010-03-29 22:28:57
Text last edited by: flygon
Download: Download (5053 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
It probably shouldn't come as a big surprise by now that I've TASed yet another NES platformer. This run improves the published run (which is also a 2005 movie) by 50 seconds by new strategies, using the machine gun, and more. See below for details.

About the game

Rolling Thunder is a pretty basic platformer. There are 10 levels in the game, and the goal on each level is simply to reach the end of the stage. The last stage also has a boss fight at the end.

You can fire your weapon both high and low. Shooting high won't hit enemies who are crouching. There is only one jump height, and if you jump forward, you can't turn around in mid-air. This will make some parts of the run look a bit sloppy, but there's no helping it.

You can only take 2 hits before dying, and you regain all your health after each level. This means that you can take at most 1 hit per level. Still, damage boosting saves quite some time in this run, just like in the published movie. You also stop for a few frames after each jump, so that needs to be taken into account too.

You can enter ammo rooms to pick up ammo for your machine gun. I found a trick that allows me to fire the machine a lot faster than the gun. More on this below.


Many new routes are used throughout the run. I will not go into detail, but all levels have new strategies, saving quite a few frames.

A lot of time was saved thanks to a trick that allows me to fire the machine gun really fast. Normally, firing you gun when standing wastes 12 frames, and firing while crouching wastes 14 frames. When using the machine gun, if you press down+B to fire, you only stop for 2 frames, and by pressing down, down+B you can fire a crouching shot, wasting only 9 frames. This only works with the machine gun. Although using the machine gun saves a lot of time, you also need to pick up ammo for it in the ammo rooms. This itself wastes some time, but overall this saves a lot of time in the end. I carefully planned which ammo rooms to visit and which to avoid. The amount of ammo in the rooms vary too.

When you reach the door at the end of the level you automatically start walking towards it very slowly, as you can see in the published run. By making a jump towards it as late as possible you can avoid some of this walking animation, which saves quite a few frames. I realize that this is a cheap way to save time, but most of the time saved in this run come from in-level improvements.

There is quite a lot of luck manipulation going on in this run, to some extent, enemies behaviour can be manipulated. I'm not 100% sure how manipulating luck works in this game, but I tried to get good luck when I found it to be manipulatable.

I also reduced lag some, compared to the published run. This game doesn't lag horribly, but the run does have a few seconds of lag in total.

I also need to address the final boss, as this will probably raise some questions. When you enter the boss room, you will be attacked by enemies, and a timer starts. When this timer hits 0, AND you have no machine gun rounds left, the boss will come down. That's why I don't save up on machine gun ammo for the boss. In theory, the best way would be to enter the boss room with 0 machine gun ammo left, but I got really bad randomness with this, so I stuck with 3 shots left.

The reason why I don't kill many enemies before the boss is because I need 33 bullets to kill the boss as fast as possible. The best stragegy is to stand as far away as possible and fire at him under or over his bolts. He won't shoot another bolt until the one in air right now is destroyed, so by keeping that one on screen, I can take my sweet time and fire at him.

Big thanks to FODA for his published run. I hope you enjoy watching this TAS!

Truncated: I liked it. The user feedback has also been OK. (The proportions of Yes/Meh votes are almost exactly the same as for the previous movie, heh.) I will go ahead and accept this.

I also tried to play the game a little, but that led to death within seconds.

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