TASVideos

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

Submission #3291: AKheon's DS Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses in 06:47.13

Console: Nintendo DS
Game name: Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses
Game version: USA
ROM filename: 0663 - Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses (U)(Legacy)
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 06:47.13
FrameCount: 24357
Re-record count: 25763
Author's real name: Hannu Ratilainen
Author's nickname: AKheon
Submitter: AKheon
Submitted at: 2011-09-20 19:14:47
Text last edited at: 2011-12-05 20:58:10
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (7476 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:

Played on DeSmuME v. 0.9.7 x64 msvc 1500

About the game:

It was developed by Wayforward, who are currently involved with the making of Silent Hill: Book of Memories. Cool, huh? The game is mainly a standard platformer, but at least it's pretty well made and more than a string of random mini-games.

About my inspiration for this run:

Well, the idea of rescuing bad game choices fascinates me, and I like finding worthwhile TAS material from the strangest of places. This is one pretty strange place, I guess. I just saw that this game had potential, especially close to the finale when you get the skill of... running. Yes, you have to wait until the end of the game to learn how to run. Anyway. Perhaps even unnaturally enthusiastic about the prospect of TASing a Barbie game, my critical senses shut down for a moment and I forgave the fact that most of the game is actually nothing but very banal platforming through unchallenging, contrived levels. The game was nice looking and sounding, and I even found a few cool glitches from it. And just like that, I was sold...

In addition, I was under the impression that the TASvideos community wanted some sort of Barbie run, so here you go. Hey, it's completely fashionable and not embarrassing at all to TAS a Barbie game if it's made by a decent developer, right?

...right?

...I'll get me coat.

Why a password?

Basically, most of the gameplay in a TAS of this game is slow-paced and repetitive. It takes about 24 minutes to reach the last worlds and only then do things take a big turn towards the interesting. Now, this isn't to say that all of the level design in this game is poor, or that there is absolutely no TAS worthy material in the first worlds of the game. It's just that aside from a few TAS-only strategies, it's... just... not... worth it. As much as I'd like to believe otherwise. So I made a new version of the run that uses a password to skip the repetitive parts of the game and get directly to the world from which you get the running skill.

This is not the first TAS to do something like this, but I was still uncertain if it was kosher in this instance. So I asked around... not getting answers and realizing that this abridged format was the only format I was probably ever gonna submit this TAS anyway, I got tired of waiting and just submit it.

Here's the uncut .dsm file which is mostly optimized in case you want to try out the full 30 minutes of Barbie for comparison.

About rerecords:

The rerecords number is a bit misleading. You see, I first made the full version of the TAS. Then I made this abridged version from the same file with hex editing and remaking various bits (like boss fights that didn't sync, plus I found improvements in the process too). So, I'd say that the parts featured in this run only took around 5000 rerecords as a whole.

About GBA/DS differences:

This game was first published on GBA and only later on DS. I picked up the DS version for this run because of a few factors: first, I wanted to try to TAS using DeSmuME. Second, the DS version of the game has a new level early on and new fire obstacles here and there that you have to blow out... although that doesn't show here at all since this is the abridged version of the run. Third, shuffling between seven skills is arduous to do in real time with only one button on GBA. DS has the stylus menu for this, helping matters, not to mention the menu also allows a few light glitches during the run. Fourth, DS has a far better music quality, which is nice because the game has quite good music.

About the structure of the game:

The game begins with a prologue that is a few rooms long. Then you get to a central hub through which you access the game worlds. There are six worlds in total, you get a new power from each, and after that there are still two separate levels Clock Tower and Mirror Room. Then, final boss.

The password I use skips to the beginning of the sixth world, and that's where the running skill is found. It would be possible to use a password to go directly to Clock Tower, but I think doing that would leave the TAS pointlessly short and not as well-rounded (even: entertaining) as it is like this.

(so, it's a speed/entertainment trade-off?)

About difficulty:

The player has the option to choose between easy and normal modes, but I think there's no other difference between the modes than Genevieve's life. On easy she never dies, on normal she dies of three hits.

It's a tough game in the sense that you'll probably die on normal some times if you're not careful. Genevieve has a big hitbox, can't crouch and typically moves slowly. Meanwhile, enemies come in groups or move swiftly, and are often located in annoying locations like outside camera right where you are about to land or when you have to use other powers extensively and can't have the butterfly net (your only weapon) active. There are also some enemies you can't kill.

About your powers:

Yellow dress gives you the butterfly net. Small enemies die of one hit, but larger ones are unaffected. One of the most useful skills.

Blue dress gives the stilts. This allows you to walk over some areas where there'd normally be a chasm. Almost not used in this run.

Purple dress gives you the string ability. You can lift up temporary diagonal platforms at places indicated by a sign.

Pink dress is the mallet. You shoot croquet balls to flip switches for the most part. Using it can also manipulate boss behaviour, which is useful.

Deeper blue dress is the pile of books. A small pile of collision that you can use to get higher or further than usual. Unfortunately only one pile can be out at the same time.

Wine red dress is the running dress, or as I like to call it, the steroid dress. Genevieve's performance becomes over the top and very aggressive as soon as she wears it. Her voice may also drop in pitch after an extended period of use.

About tricks & glitches:

Jumping is slightly faster than normal walking, so I jump all the time. While running it is equally fast to run and jump, although it is slower to run up stairs than jump over them.

Jumping with lesser power in places with low ceilings makes your jumps longer.

There's some surface to the edges of platforms that takes more jump power to land on, as if that area was slightly higher. It comes in handy sometimes, because it is in fact faster to land on this edge if you continue moving sideways afterwards... at least before you get running.

Sometimes you can also land quicker if you jump one frame longer than the minimum it takes to land on a platform (depends on the height).

By dropping towards stilts-surface and equipping the stilts at the last possible moment, Genevieve falls two frames longer than normal. At best this saves subpixels and lets you visit ground less times during a level, although it mostly doesn't help. Just done for the sake of doing it, and it becomes obsolete once you can run.

It's sometimes faster to walk into a cutscene than jump into it.

If you hit with the butterfly net right as you walk off a ledge, you fall down extra quick and can also jump again mid-air. This doesn't come in handy in this abridged version of the run, though.

It's best to activate string locations from as far away as possible to have Genevieve instantly move closer to the location - saves a little bit of time each time.

While you can control the power of the croquet mallet using the stylus, you can't control the angle of the shot. Targeting takes time, so I usually get to a position from which I can do the shot without having to target at all.

You can make some chasms zip you to a wrong direction, saving time. It's in fact the fastest way to move in this game.

You can pass through retractable walls/floors or have most enemies spawn elsewhere by taking the camera to a far away location using L, then letting it return.

It's possible to zip up walls using the books in a correct circumstance, but I didn't find any locations where this would actually save time, so it's not done in this run.

I know a total of three ways to go OOB in this game, and one of them is used for entertainment in the run. However, it's unclear if OOB could be used for something useful in this game. There is some room to move there, and even ways to get damaged. However, without a camhack it's not possible to see anything and thus testing is not easy at all.

Interesting fact:

A day after posting the first Barbie video on my Youtube account, I noticed I had gotten 3 more subscribers. The number has since continued to increase. Can't be just a coincidence!


Level-by-level explanation:

First, I just get to the last door from the central hub.

6-1 and 6-2: The solution to those ant swarms wasn't obvious. I found a way to deal with them without having to stop to walk at all only after beginning to make this abridged version.

6-3: Ah, running dress. Zipping saves a decent amount of time. While making this version I found a faster way to do the trick, saving more time.

6-4: Zipping again saves some time, this is actually a new location I use this trick compared to the first version.

6-5: The monkey can't be avoided using this route, the ceiling is too low.

6-7 (boss): This guy is crushed in TAS conditions. However, his behaviour changes depending on what frame you enter the room, so I actually had to waste about 5 frames to get this outcome... which isn't even optimal.

You must have him walk away from you at the start of the fight and then do the stomp as quick as possible, that's the best outcome I know of.

He may start the fight walking towards you, which is unacceptable because you get hit unless you evade first. Another bad alternative is that he will not stop and do his stomp until further away. If this happens, you can't manipulate him to turn around from your starting location, which again wastes too much time.

Clock tower: While waiting I show a small glitch in which I run with blue dress on and can stay on stilts surface although the usual stilts graphics are missing.

You can conveniently set up books while waiting for the platforms to move.

Running and jumping like this actually skips many individual sections of the rooms down below.

Mirror room: I had a few zipping strategies in mind (using the books) for this area, but none of them either save time or work like they should.

The long camera movement is to let Genevieve through the wall right above (you can see it in the mirror).

Rowena 1: If you jump on her side and whack the mirror she summons, you actually skip phases of this boss fight and get right on to firing her damaging projectiles back at her.

At the end I show a random OOB glitch... because I can!

Transition: Genevieve moves through the place so fast that Brutus the monkey doesn't even notice to attack her!

Rowena 2: She starts the fight with another projectile you send back at her direction for damage. Then she always casts three enemies. Then she may either teleport uselessly or try to do her projectile which you send back to her for damage. In her last phase she will summon Brutus the monkey, and after that either more enemies or the projectile which'll kill her. Some manipulating was in order, which was annoying.

At the middle there's a camera glitch which occurs because I switch to mallet during the butterfly net swing. At the end I show another glitch in which the aiming graphic for the mallet gets stuck after the short cutscene.

Closing words

When that My Little Pony TAS was submitted on the site some days ago, I thought that this was going to be a whole new zeitgeist for TASvideos, with less inhibition for playing and TASing little girls' games instead of just the dumb ol' Action Man and such. Only time will tell if I was correct and the dam of years of social oppression and force fed masculinity breaks, hopefully flooding the site with other refreshingly atypical and girly submissions that I suspect many other players have harbored as their dark secret until this day... or if my reputation just crashes and burns into a blazing inferno and a few misguided souls may remember me years later as a martyr for the cause.

yeah, don't take everything in this submission text completely seriously

Thanks for browsing!


DarkKobold: I will judge this.


DarkKobold: This has sat on the workbench for too long. I would have loved to accept this game - but I really can't justify breaking a rule for it. The decision to start at a latest level to get the red running dress is far too arbitrary. Given the overall positive feedback in this thread, I would suggest the author submit the complete game TAS, as it is already finished. While I did originally see this as similar to [802] SNES Biker Mice from Mars (USA) "final round" by Baxter in 05:12.62, these are not repeated racing levels - they are individual levels in a very sequential matter. Starting in the middle of the game with a power-up is not something I wish to encourage. Please submit the full run. Rejecting.

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