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

Submission #2614: FatRatKnight's NES The Guardian Legend "Password" in 00:03.31

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: The Guardian Legend
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Guardian Legend, The (U) [!].nes
Branch: Password
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 00:03.31
FrameCount: 199
Re-record count: 60
Author's real name: Leeland Kirwan
Author's nickname: FatRatKnight
Submitter: FatRatKnight
Submitted at: 2010-03-31 18:39:37
Text last edited at: 2012-07-29 07:51:25
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (554 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:
The final chapter of The Guardian Legend takes place here, as our protagonist leaves NAJU in a damatic fashion! Using all her skill Sitting back and letting her sub-weapons do the work with glitched defense and CHIPS, the Guardian must escape alive, fighting the horrors that once stood in her way.

The input file itself is 199 frames long. However, I depend on the auto-hold feature to carry me the rest of the way. The ending music loops one more at around frame 28642 with the New PPU, so for those who care, the media/input movie lengths ratio is around 144. Should be a record.

The almighty password!

The above password has the following (important) stats:
  • 0 SHIELD. A glitch or debug value.
  • Enough Life to survive everything
  • Completed the 10 main corridors
  • Location: X 9 Y11
  • 32768 CHIPs (displays 9999)
  • A specific sub-weapon at level 3
  • Score has to be just right...

Yes, I leave in blank spaces because I'm too lazy to bother filling them in. The game itself doesn't seem to care -- It's also too lazy to read the darn thing anyway.

Either that, or use the more logical explanation that spaces acts exactly as though I put the capital letter A in there. Hence why leaving in blank spaces even work.

Password Details

The effects of having 0 SHIELD divides all incoming damage by 32 and sets your base attack power to 64. Normally, the maximum SHIELD you should get is 7, which divides incoming damage by 7 and doesn't actually affect your attack power. By the way, with 4 ATTACK, your base attack power is 5, but 0 SHIELD ignores ATTACK and substitutes the number 64. Damage to bosses cap at 5 per hit, so this 64 power hardly matters.

While I could start with something like 1 or 2 Life, it won't be enough to survive being hit by the various things. I need at least enough so that colliding with bosses don't end the run prematurely.

All the main corridors need to be completed before the final one, Corridor 21, shows up. I set the password so that Corridors 1 through 10 are already done. It really cuts down on all that time spent in corridors.

Yes, passwords have the power to place you in any room, not just save rooms. This fact is very much abused in order to cut down on the travel time to Corridor 21. That is, make sure I'm already in the very room I need to be in.

While the game allows picking up 10 CHIP power-ups, to a maximum of 6000 CHIPS, that counts for 11 different values. With 4 bits, there's 16 possibilities, meaning there's 5 "glitch" values. Three of those have somewhere over 30000 CHIPS. I need at least that many CHIPS if I plan to let the auto-held sub-weapon last long enough for victory to happen.

The sub-weapon of choice is the highly expensive homing orbs of doom. At 120 CHIPS per second, they fly around the screen at an insane pace, helping to clear out bosses in a timely manner. The perfect "hands-free" weapon for when my movie stops for the auto-hold to take over.

As for the score... Well, I have to set it to that exact value. It makes the entire run precisely one-thousand, three-hundred, thirty-seven times as stylish as a run without that score value. I mean, seriously! You'll agree once you see the run using New PPU!

About the run

Just like the King's Bounty submission, I will explain every frame, considering how short this run is.

   Frame  - Btn
    0- 22 - nil            Waiting for game to load
    23    - Start          To begin
   24- 28 - nil            Transition to next menu
    29    - Select         Move cursor
    30    - Start          Confirm option: PASSWORD CONTINUE
   31- 78 - nil            Transition to password screen
   79-139 = ???            Password input
  140-179 - nil            Waiting for room to load
   180    - Up
   181    - Up
   182    - Up             These ups are to position
   183    - Up             the Guardian for gate.
   184    - Up
   185    - Up
   186    - Select         Open menu
  187-197 - nil            Loading the menu, please wait
   198    - Down           Move cursor
   199    - Right + Start  Move cursor + exit menu; End movie
From this point on, I let the auto-held A button do its thing. Strictly speaking, no further changes in input is required. All one is doing is setting up the emulator to play the movie properly. Even if said set-up holds down a button, it's still a feature of the emulator. After all, the input no longer changes after the movie ends.

This game works differently between Old PPU and New PPU. In spite of that, this movie still completes this game in either old or new! Such a stable movie! However, the New PPU is more dramatic, and is quite strongly recommended.

You get to see me fly through the final corridor... Or rather the auto-hold fly through it. The effect of the indefinitely held A button is to keep the sub-weapon working when those dancing orbs fly off-screen.

Those dancing orbs slay all my foes with great ease. Fueled by my seemingly endless supply of CHIPS, no foe lives long enough to outlast my sub-weapon. Then the exploding sequence takes place as I fly safely home through space... Or do I? One more boss makes an appearance, and my CHIPS aren't 9999 anymore. The auto-hold can't guide the Guardian, so all hope rests soley on the sub-weapon doing its job! So the question is, will the sub-weapon defeat the final boss, or will I run out of CHIPS first? Only time can tell!

Reasons why this should be accepted:

  • Provides an interesting detail of the game: An absurd password
  • Freakishly short input movie with plenty of gameplay
  • Demonstrates a well-timed event (in New PPU) long after the input file ends
  • Actaully does reach the ending!
  • No external cheats or modifications to the game. Just like a real TAS!

Reasons why this could be unacceptable:

  • The Guardian blows up humiliatingly against the first boss with null input following the movie
  • Does not demonstrate super-human reflexes in gameplay
  • Uses a password to access otherwise impossible values
  • Fails to reveal the ENTIRE ending (won't show PASSWORD TGL in there)
  • Is an April Fools' submission

Final thoughts

Seeing as I already put down a rather convincing argument why this could be unacceptable, especially the dependency on auto-hold and the lack of super-human gameplay, I expect a home in Grue-food. Hence the submission on April Fools'.

Technically, the input no longer changes after the movie ends. There is an indefinitely held button, but this fact does not ever change when I release control. Did I break a rule doing this?

Practically, the player does nothing after I release input, other than keeping the dancing orbs going. But other than that, there is no insanely accurate shots or precise movements taking place. Sure, these colorful orbs zip around, but that's the weapon itself. Did I break the spirit of a TAS by not acting in a super-human manner?

Regardless, don't let my thoughts get in your way of judging this submission. Surprises happen. I'm not expecting this run to get published, but it's still a fun demonstration!

As a note, I edited the rerecord count to 60. I had earlier versions trying to work out the password stuff, so I added those rerecords in. This version had a rerecord count of 1 before this edit.

As for suggested screenshot... Uh, frame 137? 182? 199? There aren't a lot of possibilities one can pick...

FractalFusion: Though a novel concept, it doesn't make a strong case for itself. The choice of autoholding A after the movie is arbitrary and undermines the idea that the input ends after 3 seconds, when, in fact, input really goes on for 5-6 minutes.

As for the movie itself, it's mostly boring and the "twist ending" is not obvious to a casual viewer (though the score may be a tip-off but you still need to know why). It is not known whether giving it actual input during the levels would be interesting. In any case, I'm rejecting this submission.

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