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Tool-assisted game movies
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Submission #3027: Tanooki Teabag's NES Monster Party in 14:58.07

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Monster Party
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Monster Party (U).nes
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 14:58.07
FrameCount: 53973
Re-record count: 10858
Author's real name: R.K
Author's nickname: Tanooki Teabag
Submitter: Tanooki Teabag
Submitted at: 2011-03-02 06:56:06
Text last edited at: 2011-03-07 06:47:31
Text last edited by: sgrunt
Download: Download (7881 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)

Monster Party features a baseball-playing kid named Mark who is summoned by an alien gargoyle named Bert to use his baseball bat (which Bert considers a powerful weapon) to destroy the monsters on his home planet. They accomplish this by merging into one being who looks like Mark but can change into Bert for a short time after taking pills dropped by dead enemies. Mark and Bert use their combined powers to defeat 20 bosses, including a bubble-spitting carnivorous plant, a caterpillar named Royce, dancing zombies, a punk rocker, a javelin-throwing haniwa, and a fried shrimp the size of a small car. It seems as if the game designers were taking some of those pills as well...

Goals:

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Uses warps
  • Takes damage to save time

This run of Monster Party is:

  • 7384 frames faster than Dasrik's cancelled submission
  • 5240 frames faster than Josh the FunkDOC's cancelled submission
  • 2598 frames faster than my test run
  • 1181 frames faster than my first improvement

The biggest improvements over the unpublished movies are better health management, better use of Bert, and the use of the hidden warps in the second stage. Compared to my test runs, this run uses more edge boosting and defeats the bosses more quickly.

Tricks and Glitches

Damage Boosting

When you take damage, your character is launched backwards at high speed. By turning around three frames prior to getting hit, it's possible to be launched forward instead. Sometimes, the act of turning around delays the hit by one to three frames, making the damage boost barely worth the lost health. To boost through stationary enemies, you have to either get on top of them or inside them by hitting them just before walking into them. This is seen mainly in stages 2 and 4.

Edge Boosting

When Mark or Bert falls off a platform, his x position is increased by 2 (3 in stage 7 for some reason). This generally translates into a gain of two frames. Jumping, however, usually costs two frames - one on takeoff, and one upon landing. Thus, the best way to gain frames by edge boosting is to fall instead of jump wherever possible.

Hovering

By alternating A and B every other frame, you can make your character hover in mid-air. This is used to quickly defeat stationary bosses and against several moving bosses to deal damage while staying close to the exit door. This trick only works when ascending - using it on descent generally doesn't work.

Flight

Bert has the ability to fly, but there is a bit more to it than just flapping your wings. The fastest way to ascend is to autofire A every other frame. When moving laterally, you will occasionally freeze for a frame when Bert's flying sprite changes. This can be avoided in one of two ways - either by ascending again or by pressing down to glide. Gliding wastes one frame at first, but the lost flight frames add up, so it's better to glide than fly long distances.

Ducking Shot

After Stage 4, Bert gains the ability to shoot two projectiles at once. When ducking on the ground, Bert will only shoot one, which will travel in a shallow arc before disappearing. It still does the same 3 damage as the full double shot, but it can be rapid-fired, making it ideal for taking out bosses.

Stage-by-stage Commentary

Stage 1

This stage is one of three in which I edge boost enough to visibly alter Mark's position on the screen. It doesn't appear to be possible to avoid the long transformation scene in the middle of the stage (although it can be delayed by edge boosting far enough to the right).

Stage 2

There are hidden warp zones in this stage that greatly shorten the route. Right after the fight against Medusa, I have to go through an enemy that's situated right next to a ladder. Because of the way ladders work in this game, it's impossible to damage boost through this enemy, and since it takes six hits to kill it, the fastest way to get past it is to get hit, boost in the opposite direction, and just run through it. It looks a little sloppy, but it's the fastest way to get to the warp zone.

Stage 3

This stage also contains a fair number of edge boosts. I end the stage with more than one health left because I need all the health I can get for the following stage. Two of the three bosses here can be manipulated into moving right next to the exit door and staying there.

Stage 4

This stage contains tons of damage boosting thanks to tight spaces and copious enemies. I transform into Bert here to take advantage of a shortcut that saves more than the six seconds of transformation time.

Stage 5

This stage is fairly relaxing, and there are only two bosses this time. The first one doesn't even require any effort to defeat - you simply have to watch the zombies dance for about thirty seconds and they'll disappear (they'll start all over again if you hit them). The second boss, a giant haniwa, can be manipulated into throwing a constant stream of javelins that can be deflected right back at him for three damage a shot.

Stage 6

I take a slight detour to beat pills out of a chair with a baseball bat. After this transformation, I remain in Bert form for the rest of the game. There are constant lightning flashes in this stage, and every time it strikes, your character freezes in place for a frame. This lightning can be manipulated by jumping, attacking, or changing the frame upon which you enter a door. Several times I burned a frame at a door in order to save two or three frames due to better lightning.

Stage 7

There are actually three bosses in this stage, but you only have to fight two to get the key. In fact, if you fight all three, you lose the key and can't get it back. I chose to fight Royce and Spider II, since the Grim Reaper is a stationary boss that takes too long to kill with Bert.

Stage 8

This level is very long and has lots of platforms for edge boosting. I end up stretching Bert's transformation time to the limit here, getting pills just a few frames before the timer runs out. The final boss battle involves dodging eyeballs and waiting for the boss's weak point to be exposed. Somehow, taking damage made it appear more quickly.

Possible Improvements

This game is very, very random. Everything down to the lightning in Stage 6 (which causes you to freeze in place for a frame when it strikes) can be manipulated, but I suspect that any major improvements would require the RNG to be reverse-engineered. The final boss battle could probably be improved if the mechanism behind its randomness was figured out.

Useful Memory Addresses

  • 03D6: X position
  • 03CB: Y position
  • 0054: Bert Transformation Timer (counts up from 00 - 22h)
  • 0366: Boss HP
  • 0367: Boss 2 HP (only used in Tempura battle)
  • 0368: Boss 3 HP (only used in Tempura battle)

Special Thanks

  • Josh the FunkDOC and Dasrik, for doing the first runs of this game.
  • DeceasedCrab, for his hilarious Let's Play of this game.
  • DarkKobold, Kirkq, Zeupar, Dwedit, and Ferret Warlord, for providing feedback on my WIPs.

feos: HD encode embedded.


DarkKobold: Congrats on your first publication. Good work optimizing, and not just taking your first run!

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