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

Submission #3002: andymac's GBA Wario Land 4 in 40:04.88

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: Wario Land 4
Game version: USA/Europe
ROM filename: Wario Land 4 (UE) [!].gba
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 40:04.88
FrameCount: 144293
Re-record count: 56880
Author's real name: A. Pritchard
Author's nickname: andymac
Submitter: andymac
Submitted at: 2011-02-10 00:42:53
Text last edited at: 2011-03-13 10:12:58
Text last edited by: andymac
Download: Download (14365 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)

Wario's back! And he's going on a treasure filled adventure fuelled by his enternal greed. That's right, wario doesn't care that there's a princess to be saved, he's there for the money. Wario doesn't waste time either, as 40 minutes later, he's out of there with as much loot as he can hold.

Basically, the premise of this game is that wario is looking for treasure after he hears about a newly discovered pyramid. He succeeds by the way.

You have to play through 18 levels, in each one, you must collect 4 jewel peices to unlock the boss door, and the keyser to unlock the next level. You also have to hit the frog switch which will reopen the entry portal so you can leave. A lot of the time, this restricts the oppurtunities to pursue alternate routes. If the goal was to enter a level, hit a switch, and get out, then there would be some really incredible shortcuts, unfortunately, since all these six things per level are mandatory, most of the levels resemble the normal routes. Some of them don't however. (see 40 below fridge for a good example of this)

You might be confused as to the level names of each level. You only see the level name at the menu screen AFTER the level has been completed. So when reading these comments, make sure you know what level you're on.


This is by all means, a very large improvement to the previous movie (22 minutes 20 seconds) and the improvement comes from two major sources, each one saving about as much as the other:

Cutscene Skipping

Wario land 4 saves the game the frame you finish a level, or the frame you make the last hit to a boss. So I take this oppurtunity to soft reset the game, because it's faster than watching 10 mintes of extra cutscenes. It's not possible to skip the pre level whirly vortex cutscene using a soft reset, but it still saves a lot of time.


Stands for X/Y Zipping. I was going to go with IVZ (Insane Vertical Zipping) but XYZ is a far more awesome acronym, and it's more accurate anyway, since the zipping is diagonal and not vertical (i.e, both the X and Y axis). It works because if you do a butt stomp for one frame in the air, you get an extra bit of height. A little less than if you jumped for one more frame. If you do this underneath a ceiling, Wario inserted far enough into the ceiling that the game ejects him out of the block. However, you can use this to eject wario into a wall, and from there, you can zip around by repeatedly pressing A and the direction away from travel. You might be surprised at how little the zipping glitch affects normal gameplay. Personally, my money was on this glitch breaking the game into an unrecognisable pulp. This isn't the case. This is because there are some fairly big limitations associated with it. Foremost of which, that you can't zip from one room to another directly, you have to trigger an entrance/exit tile. Also, a lot of levels have limited height, and since you can only zip diagonally, it means you can only zip as far to the left or right as you can up or down. A lot of the time, this means you can't get anywhere useful.

Other Improvements

I would really really love to say that there was a third major improvement to this run, and that would be "the pure awesomness of andymac". Unfortunately, even though a lot of improvements did come from my own new strategies or greater optimisation, it's really minimal compared to these two whoppers above.


I'd like to detail a few things in Wario Land 4 that are useful here.

Firstly, when entering a level, or changing out of a status affliction like puffy wario, you have one frame where wario acts as if he is on the ground. The most useful thing to do here is press B (no, you can't jump on this one frame) which will make Wario barge. This makes Wario's speed increase rapidly to 3 pixels per frame, and only takes a little while on the ground to increase his speed to the maximum of 4 pixels per frame. This frame can also be used to duck.

I'd also like to mention ememy throwing, as it's an invaluable tool, and is used significantly to get to places otherwise unreachable. Basically, throw an enemy, and then jump at the right time to land on it. For some reason, you always have to wait a certain number of frames before you can interact with the enemy you've just thrown. Also, you have to be careful not to regrab the enemy you've just thrown.

Entry passage

For those who have never played the game, all the moves are shown in the background as paintings. This level is pretty straightforwards, with all the chests along the normal playing path. The frog switch strategy is short and sweet, and the timer doesn't even go down to 0:14 by the time I get to the exit.

The boss is easy to beat in real time. The whole boss is a soft spot until the very end, where you have to hit her from the back. I get around to the back as early as possible, and this saves a time for two reasons: it takes a shorter time to get around to the back earlier on (you have to do it anyway eventually) and because of the way that speed works in Wario Land 4, it's actually faster to hit the boss from the right side by a few frames each time.

Emerald Passage

All the levels here are nature themed. We have a beach (which curiously has no water around) a flowery meadow, a lake\cave and a jungle. The music is generally very light and simple.

In wildflower fields, I skip all three times I would have needed to get puffy Wario. Twice by using an enemy throw, and once by using a double enemy jump and a zip.

Sometimes, Like in the tall water passage in wildflower fields, you can't zip up to the top because there's empty space surrounding the level.

Swimming is hard to optimise. It's hard to optimise even when there aren't walls or enemies around to bump into, and it's even harder when there are.

In monsoon jungle, when I get fat wario, I hit an enemy immediately. The reason is that the "becoming fat wario" animation gets cancelled, and replaced by the shorter "oh my god I weigh 300 kilos and I need to get back off my ass again" animation.

The part where I get puffy wario in monsoon jungle can be skipped, saving several seconds, unfortunately I found out way too late (when I was doing doodle woods), and it didn't hex in. I suspect that this improvement might bring the time below 40 minutes. I did, but it didn't get below 40 minutes. Thanks to DarkKobold for replacing the submission file.

The boss is pretty simple, the best strategy is to just hit it repeatedly, and if you hit it soon enough, it doesn't move. I only saved 2 frames here.

Ruby Passage

The theme here is man made as opposed to emerald passage, which is nature themed. We have a factory, a landfill, a fridge and pinball, probably supposed to represent production and consumption. The music is generally noisy, or loud.

The rotating platforms in The Curious Factory were extremely hard to optimise. I think I did pretty well though.

I skip flat wario in the curious factory by using a zip. I also skip it in the big board, so we never see flat Wario during the entire run.

The Toxic Landfill is the first time where I do a properly long zip. I use it to skip the use of springy wario three times. It also makes you realise how annoying the camera movement during some of these zips can actually be.

40 below fridge is easily the most destroyed level. I made this level less than half as long as it was in the previous movie through the use of various zips and other tricks. A part of note is the zip just after the frog switch to get above the ceiling, and then to run accross it to fall down the ladder. What's interesting is that in some levels, the ceiling is made of some blocks with the strange property that they will halt you every time you land on them. As such, it's a good idea to jump as little as possible above the ceiling of these levels.

Pinball zone was, as you can imagine, hard to make. It's difficult to find the best way to go for all the balls in what order. I eventually figured that the time the ball eating cubes is open is large compared to the time they're closed, which made route planning a lot easier. Before, I was planning routes based on what cubes were open and when, but I soon found it didn't matter that much at all.

I save a lot of time in pinball zone because I skip the last two rooms. I also save my sanity, because they are the hardest two rooms to TAS. I also mainly skip the room with the last jewel peice in it by an enemy jump and a zip, but that doesn't save nearly as much time as the other two rooms.

Topaz passage

Everything here is sort of play themed, there's lots of toys, drawings, pencils, and ABC's.

There is one simple zip that I do here, which saves significant time, just before the frog switch, because it means I can skip a long part where I would have had to be fire Wario.

The big board was really hard to plan for, because of the game. I eventually figured out a good strategy, which allowed me to roll a lot of sixes in the "get a goal" room, therefore saving one roll over superhappy.

I expected to save a lot more time than I did in doodle woods, because I completely skip two long rooms. This is also where I discovered how to enter areas from below using zipping.

One of the domino setups in domino row I don't even activate, so I win before the dominos even start toppling!

Apparently, you need to be 100% pixel precise in order to beat aerodent without him flipping back up again. That's completely false. I actually hit the mouse when Wario is in front of him. So much for pixel precise.

Saphire passage

I collect the CD in crescent moon village because it's in the way when I roll to the third jewel peice.

The ghost is very annoying. Numerous times it threatened to steal my key, so if you see me doing something weird or slow, it's probably to dodge the ghost.

The flying carpets in arabian nights are a pain to optimise. I think I got a good strategy though.

For the fiery cavern, my decisions for which columns of fire to take damage at were significantly simpler: Take damage at pretty much all of them. I managed to bypass a few columns, so I didn't have to wait for as many as superhappy did

An interesting thing about the fiery cavern is that it is actually two levels, an ice level and a fire level, and only the room with the frog switch, and the entrance room are common to both. There are some parts that are the same, and in some places, items appear in both the fire and ice sections. These include the CD, a gem and the keyser. Unfortunately it seems you can't collect the same item twice, as this could mean you might no need the key in a leter level.

In hotel horror, I go "backwards". Taking the fire escape straight from the start is pretty much the opposite of the normal method.

Hotel horror was supposed to be the only level where I didn't zip at all. But I did, after I found the shortcut to the room with the pipe.

Catbat is the only stage where I didn't save any time over superhappy. I had the idea of becoming puffy Wario, because after you switch back to normal Wario,you have one frame where you can do a barge. Unfortunately, when you're invincible for a short period after you're puffy, you can't hit the boss.

Golden pyramid

This is a pretty short level, as you can see, it only take 1:10 in game time according to the frog switch clock. When you start the level, there are invisible blocks to either side of wario that only dissapear when he hits the switch. so that means you can't do the TAS trick of pressing B on the first frame out of the vortex.

The strategy for golden passage most players of Wario Land 4 will find pretty unusual. I don't think the game developers expected you to swim against the current, however, this route saved a lot of time.

An oddity with golden passage is that only the outsides of the walls are solid, the insides are hollow. This affected me a few times when I wanted to do some zipping. For example, when I zip to the red triangle blocks, I do two zips, one to get inside the wall, and one zip to get out of the wall. It's not noticable in real time though.

The boss was really difficult to optimise. For example, for the first few hits where I throw the floading heads, you have to wait for them to come to a complete stop on the ground before grabbing them. and letting them fall closer to the ground means they come to a stop sooner. I didn't realise this until I lost 17 frames to superhappy.

The End

After that Wario goes home with the loot and then buys all you can eat steaks. In my opinion, that's a pretty good way to celebrate raiding a pyramid :P

Thanks for watching the run! I hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks go to everyone who ever said a kind word about the run, and superhappy, for making the previous run.

DarkKobold: Replacing the submission file at the author's request.

Flygon: That video took forever to encode and upload. Enjoy it, dagnaggit!

Baxter: Great improvement to the published run. Accepting.

sgrunt: I will publish this in the next day or so.

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