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Submission #3226: Brandon Evans's NES Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, The "Special Levels" in 04:15.38

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, The
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, The (U).nes
Branch: Special Levels
Emulator: FCEUX 2.1.5
Movie length: 04:15.38
FrameCount: 15348
Re-record count: 1766
Author's real name: Brandon Evans
Author's nickname: Brandon Evans
Submitter: Brandon
Submitted at: 2011-07-18 08:26:23
Text last edited at: 2012-11-25 08:31:39
Text last edited by: Brandon
Download: Download (2941 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is a frustrating action puzzler. In this run, I attempt to complete the 4 special levels as fast as possible. Although these levels are designed to take much longer than the normal stages, using luck manipulation and perfect timing, I manage to complete them all in 04:15.38. Most of this time is attributed to the unavoidable and abnormally long tube scenes in S4 and S1.

Encodes

Introduction

After the publication of my previous Crazy Castle run, taking a break from my major projects (Arcade's Revenge, which is done and will hopefully be submitted soon, and Startropics II which has more or less just started), I decided it might be worthwhile to run the Special Levels. Considering there are only 4 of them, and that the biggest complaint with the previous run was its length, I figured this was a good decision. These levels can be accessed either by the "No Carrot Signs" found in levels 30, 41, 45, and 60 of the regular game, or by a password. For some reason, the programmers messed up the sequence in which the levels are played. The first level encountered is called S3, referring to the third special level encountered in the main game. The second is S2, the third is S4, and the fourth is S1. After S1, the game leads you to a glitched level named S?, where ? is a glitched symbol. This level cannot be completed, let alone played, so this run ends after S1. I will refer to the levels by their original names, but I will document them in the order in which they were played. Although I am also documenting these levels in the submission text this time around, I still recommend watching the movie with subtitles on.

Game Objectives

  • Emulator used: FCEUX 2.1.5
  • Attempts to complete the game in the fastest time possible
  • Heavy luck manipulation

The Run

S3

This level has the most difficult AI in the entire run. In order to avoid them all, I must take quite a roundabout path. I start by moving in the opposite direction that I plan to go in so that I can get the Red Sylvester out of the way. I climb up both flights of stairs, collect the carrot from the first drop, and continue on to the one underneath the upper staircase. I then make my way to the one to the left of the drop. I continue left to the leftmost drop and get another carrot there. After that, I go right and then suddenly turn left to make the red Sylvester continue going leftward (This costs no frames as I will have to wait in this section regardless). I continue right to the next carrot, then dodge all of the Sylvesters on exactly the right frames, for entertainment purposes, as I go up all the stairs. I finally go back to the right section and collect all of the carrots in the obvious order while none of the enemies are around to get me.

S2

Although the beginning of this level is a little tricky, the rest is fairly straightforward. The main time-saving trick I use is freezing the red Yosemite Sam. Like all of the other red enemies in the previous run, Sam will stop if you don't press any directional buttons. As such, while falling, I don't press anything to get him out of the way. I still need to pause for a while in order to prevent the green Sylvester from colliding with me, but overall, considering how hard it is to avoid Sam, this path is very fast. The rest of the level is self-explanitory.

S4

Although the tube levels (S4 and S1) are by far the longest levels in the entire game, they are also very trivial. I start by moving left up the stairs and down the first tube. I collect the carrot there and take the right tube (Which is faster). I then walk left, collect a carrot, pause for a moment to avoid Yosemite Sam, and go through the block (I didn't initially realize I could do this). I go up the next tube, get the carrot, and go back down it. I continue left to the next tube, go up, and go down the next tube to the right, collecting a carrot on the way (Odd, I don't think this happens anywhere else in the game). I then go left, through the staircase, down, and then right to collect yet another carrot mid-air. I continue right to a big tube, go up it, and go off the right edge to get the carrot there. I go up the tube again, ignore the carrot to the left for now, and go up the convoluted tube that goes through the entire stage. I collect the carrot at the end of it, walk off of the right side of it, collect the carrot I ignored before, and wave my hands in joy as I am floating over Wile E. Coyote.

S1

This is actually by far the most trivial level, but it might not seem that way unless you take a look at the level as a whole:

S is where you start, the tubes are labeled by letter, and the carrots are labeled by number in the order I collect them. The minimum number of tubes you need to enter to collect all of the carrots is 4: B once, C twice, A once. If that wasn't enough, D is an abnormally long tube, so avoiding it helps us further. The only question, then, is what order should they be entered in. Because you can cut off the input early if you end on C's right path or on A, I determined that I must finish with one of those. The clearest path to finish on A is very straightforward, while the clearest one to finish on C's right path is convoluted and requires manipulation of the Green Sylvester, which will inevitably waste many frames. As such, I took the path to finish on A shown above. I cut off the input 255 frames before I collect the last carrot. This level seems to have the smallest potential for an improvement.

Results

Again, I define a level's length as the difference between the frame in which Bugs' sprite shows up and the one in which the "1UP" bubble appears.

Level Frames
S3 2609
S2 2442
S4 4182
S1 3894
Total 13127
Average 3282

Although most regular levels are shorter than the shortest special level, these times are still notably fast. Unlike in the last run, there was no seeming potential to gain extra points, as the only way to kill an enemy would be using the invincibility potion in S2, and no enemy is anywhere near me at that time. Also, the rerecord count has been preserved due to more careful editing than in the last run.

Possible Improvements

I haven't learned much since my last run, other than perhaps the value of sometimes not inputting anything to freeze a red enemy. The same possible improvements apply.

Known Improvements

nitrogenesis has reported that I transition from level to level incorrectly, just like in the previous run. Instead of pressing Start, I can press A and save one frame per level. If this was implemented for this run, then, it would be 4 frames shorter. Still, I don't think this improvement alone warrants a new submission, so this will have to wait until a bigger improvement is found. In addition, he has demonstrated that you can kill a grey Sylvester in S2. NitroGenesis: It doesn't save time to kill the Sylvester, but it looks a lot cooler :)

Special Thanks

I again thank Randil for his Crazy Castle script, andymac for his "AVI Heads Up Display" script, and feos for his work with andymac on the on that script. Thanks again to those who have watched my run before submitting.

Suggested Screenshot


Nach: This run is a lot more consumable than the last one. The first two levels are quite tricky to determine optimal route thanks to all the randomness and plenty of possibilities they offer. I'm not sure the routes taken are optimal for the first two levels, but knowing this game, it seems like you found the faster routes possible in them. The last two levels were more straight forward, and the good job was easy to see. Since the run received a pretty good review in the discussion, I'll accept this run as a first run for these levels.
Brandon: Publication underway. Thanks for the speedy judgement. :)

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