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

Submission #2977: Aqfaq's GBC Evel Knievel in 15:03.12

Console: Game Boy Color
Game name: Evel Knievel
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Evel Knievel (U) [C][!].gbc
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 15:03.12
FrameCount: 54187
Re-record count: 47214
Author's real name: JJ
Author's nickname: Aqfaq
Submitter: Aqfaq
Submitted at: 2011-01-11 23:48:50
Text last edited at: 2011-11-07 00:57:32
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (4057 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)
Evel Knievel rides a crazy motocross bike in a game strongly reminiscent of Elasto Mania, Action Supercross etc.

Movie attributes

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Uses death to save time
  • Genre: Sport
  • Recorded with VBA rerecording v22


First I visit options to change game mode from "5 bikes, passwords allowed" into "10 bikes, no passwords". It saves time between levels by skipping password screens.

Before each level, the bike statistics can be modified according to circumstances. Too fast bike is hard to control in narrow tunnels and too powerful brakes easily turn the bike upside down. Anyway, I went with maximum stats... for everything... for every level.

The game has 25 levels + 5 bonus levels. The goal of each level is to reach the goal. The goal of each bonus level is to perform a jump over various objects. Four of the bonus levels are identical. I failed to do anything entertaining there, so I just went with fast completion. I even copy-pasted the input for the bonus levels. Sorry about that.

The final bonus level is a jump over a canyon. I ended input early, so it takes some time for the game to end, but at least it looks a bit different than all the other bonus levels. Hopefully the next player manages to pull off something more interesting there.

Health does not refill between levels, but going fast requires taking damage, so the brown repair bags need to be collected, most of which lay directly on the route. My health management went nicely, I guess. At least I was able to die about half-way through the game just while touching a checkpoint in the middle of a level to refill all health with little time lost. Also, I have very little health left when the game ends, which would be expected for a well-planned run.

Individual level times are not recorded by the game and they would make little sense in a full TAS anyway, because health management is a global issue. For any full-game run it is necessary to either waste time to collect health or use death. It is hard to tell whether collecting more repair bags would be faster than dying. I went with my intuition and used the death sequence.

The movements are very hard to optimize, because tiny changes make huge difference on how the bike behaves. Due to the chaotic nature of the bouncing bike, I recorded most of the run in 25-100% emulation speed, just trying to keep the bike speed to the max with random input variations (and mostly succeeding flawlessly!), then frame-advancing through the hard spots (mostly not succeeding flawlessly). I hope somebody polishes the run in the future. One second per level would make a 30-second difference! Also, optimizing score screens with lower digits would save time, as dunnius pointed out.

Level by level comments

The level design is not as interesting as in other games of this genre, but it allows fast-paced gameplay and I was happy to find some unexpected routes, especially in the more non-linear levels. Please ask for more explanations, if you need any!

Las Vegas:

1 Casino Cashpot Hard track, because it requires going back and forth. Can be improved easily, but very difficult to get optimal.
2 Las Vegas Strip Straightforward level. Should be close to optimal.
3 Easy Rider There are lots of obstacles, but otherwise the same as above.
4 Dam Trouble It is hard to go back and forth here, but I found satisfactory ways to turn the bike around quickly.
5 Heart Break Hotel It was hard to fit into the narrow space with high speed and right after that perform a big jump. It is a very lucky bounce made possible by the tiny slope, the "V" of the heart, which the rear tire touches causing enough lift to grab a ledge and fly away. This is impossible to do consistently in real-time. The rest of the level requires some precise jumps over obstacles, but nothing too hard.
6 Bonus level Jump over portable toilets.

Los Angeles:

7 L.A. Shake Down Straightforward.
8 Sunset Boulevard Straightforward level, but there are some difficulties in avoiding slowdown while hitting the obstacles.
9 Venice Beach Straightforward level, but there are mild difficulties with the ascensions.
10 Hollywood Heights Straightforward level, but there is one hard part with big stair steps.
11 Beverly Hills This level has two layers, the top-one being on the roofs of the houses allowing good speed almost throughout the level. The goal is located in an awkward place and getting there faster will probably look very cool in the next player's TAS.
12 Bonus level Jump over portable toilets.


13 Going Underground The largest shortcut in the whole run is seen here. Basically the whole level is skipped with a very hard wall jump. Setting up the jump could be done faster, but it is very difficult to fully optimize.
14 The Thames In this level, I destroy the bike just when touching a checkpoint flag. I then respawn on that same spot with full health. Soon after that I get stuck on some stairs and maybe lose some time, but it looks funny and I couldn't find a better way to reach the goal.
15 Oxford Street Boring street.
16 Heathrow Fly-by Boring fly-by.
17 Tower of London Short level. Probably one of the closest to being perfect. Well, accelerating in this game is kinda difficult, so just studying it in more detail would result in little improvements in all levels.
18 Bonus level Jump over portable toilets.

San Francisco:

19 Union Square Dare Straight.
20 Fisherman's Wharf Straight.
21 Escape From Alcatraz This is the longest level, when played normally. It rises slowly and loops from right to left multiple times. Luckily, there are some gaps on the upper parts of the level from which you would normally fall back to the lower parts of the level. With some very hard bounces, I was able to use those gaps as shortcuts.
22 China Town Straight.
23 Golden Gate Bridge Straight.
24 Bonus level Jump over portable toilets.

Snake River Canyon:

25 Rapid River High bounce for a nice shortcut. It can probably be done more smoothly, if you get a stronger upward bounce. It seems that I also needed to slow down to avoid bumping into the ceiling of the narrow tunnel, so that part looks improvable too.
26 Crazy Canyon Short, but hard to optimize. Requires precise maneuvering.
27 Rust in the Dust One of the hardest levels to optimize due to lots of steep rising slopes and an unconventional bounce to the goal.
28 Cave Maze Fast driving in narrow tunnels. Also, riding in the ceiling. Hard, but funny.
29 Rocky Ride Large level with many pathways. It went OK, I guess. The ending is similar to the previous level.
30 Bonus level Jump over a canyon. Ends input early. Maybe a bit sloppy for an ending. Sorry about that.

I hope you enjoy this crazy ride as much as I did!

Also, thanks to Sonikkustar for encouragement.

Screenshots (optimized)

Flygon: Added YouTube module.
Mister Epic: Optimized screenshots. Corrected Flygon's YouTube module.

DarkKobold: Evel must have a real big headache after this run. Good audience feedback, good TASing tricks, fun little quirky movie. Accepting.
Mister Epic: Using Flygon's stuff for publication.

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