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

Submission #3380: Exonym's Genesis Tinhead in 18:33.53

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Tinhead
Game version: USA
ROM filename: TinHead (USA).md
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 18:33.53
FrameCount: 66812
Re-record count: 39778
Author's real name: Josh VanHoose
Author's nickname: Exonym
Submitter: Exonym
Submitted at: 2011-11-26 13:36:34
Text last edited at: 2014-11-23 14:35:05
Text last edited by: Exonym
Download: Download (8290 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Take your time. Since Tinhead isn't a timed game, you can be patient with your movements and don't have to hurry from Sector to Sector. -Tinhead manual.

Emulator used: Gens11a

Takes damage to save time.

Entertainment/speed tradeoffs.

Here's a TAS of a game I'm sure hardly anyone has heard of (I hadn't until I started downloading random games for TAS ideas). The game wouldn't be that bad if the jumping wasn't atrocious. Actually, it's the falling that sucks, not just jumping. I'll explain more about this below.

For now, about the game: Tinhead can shoot 3 types of shots (from his head): Straight shot, Bounce Shot, and the Angled shot. Straight shot: shoots as straight as you might imagine. Bounce Shot: The bullet acts as a ball and bounces off any floor or hard surface. Angled Shot: This shot shoots at a diagonal and ricochets opposite that angle when striking a surface. All three shots are useful in certain situations.


Multi-Shot Powerup:

Normally, Tinhead can only fire 1 bullet at a time. There are powerups however that allow him to shoot up to 5. Even though you can shoot 5 bullets, there is a waiting period between shots that you must wait.

Random Points Objects

There are tons of items that are useless for a TAS, such as these objects that only give points.


Hearts give you extra lives, which are totally unnecessary here.

Lightning bolts

These powerups refill Tinheads health to full (5).

Bonus Game

These round objects send you to a bonus room, usually filled with random points objects.

Bouncy Ball Powerup

This is the lamest transformation item in the game. It transforms Tinhead into a slow bouncing object. It is awkward and avoided everywhere except the one place in the first world where it is necessary to complete the level (and then as quickly discarded).

Rocket Powerup

This is a cool powerup first seen in World 2. Tinhead travels faster horizontally than normal (5 to the right and 6 to the left for some reason.) Normal Running speed for Tinhead is 4 in either direction. Shooting is permitted.

Helicopter Powerup

This is probably the most useful object for a TAS, as you can skip large portions of the levels. It travels pretty fast vertically (upwards anyways; falling is pretty slow in this form) AND horizontally. You cannot shoot while in this form but the propeller can kill any enemy in one hit.

Uni-motorcycle Thing

This transformation item is only found in World 4 (that I know of). It travels at a very high speed on flat ground and down ramps (but only normal speed traveling up). A max speed traveling on flat ground is 8, while going down slopes it maxes out at 10. Also, jumping while in this form is great for reaching distances TinHead can't reach in standard form. Jumping allows you to move at a speed of 4. In no-powerup form, jumping will reduce your speed to 1 while falling.

If I'm forgetting an item, don't hesitate to tell me so. Most likely anything I've forgotten isn't useful anyway, but I like to be informative.

Now, the game consists of 4 worlds with 6 levels and 1 boss in each. That makes a total of 4 bosses and 24 levels. More information on the worlds can be found in the level by level comments below.


Non-steep slope traversing

This trick is only used in the first world, where the slopes are not very steep. I learned of this trick by watching Sonikkustar's WIP of the first 2 levels. When running up a slope, if you let go of all buttons for one frame, Tinhead enters slide formation. If you immediately start moving again he will be slightly farther forward. This saves a couple of frames each time.

Backwards Flying

Flying backwards in either Rocket or Helicopter form can be achieved by pressing R+L for one frame and then L+D, L+U, R+D, or R+U. Failure to press any of these combination of keys will make Tinhead face the correct direction again. I prefer when he looks like he knows the levels so well he can fly backwards without looking!

Magnet Sliding

In world 3, magnets can be sped up slightly by use of L+R. Normally after attaching your Tin Head to a row of magnets, it will take quite a few frames before you're allowed to slide. By pressing L+R, you trick the game somehow and manage to slide much sooner. Your Tin Head is much happier.

Some weird World 4 glitch

You'll notice the graphics screwing up a bit at the end of 4-3. In most slopes, performing this trick would cause the game to freeze infinitely, or either just eject you farther back into the level. This is the only place I could find that didn't do that, albeit a small time saver it's funny to watch.

More random info about the game:

- Health management is a big part of this game. The reason behind this is: Health carries over from level to level AND from world to world (very annoyingly).

- In each level you must collect a star before finding the exit, otherwise nothing will happen.

- Dying is never advised as your star disappears and it takes an unreasonable amount of time to respawn.

- The bosses can be hit during their "invincibility" period. This was a reason I had to start over once, I'm an idiot and assumed they were actually invincible. I was wrong.

- Rocket thrust can be increased by letting go of acceleration for one frame and resuming.

Now enough of that rabble:

The World of TinHead

World 1: Crystal World


Blue Orb: 1 shot

Pink tornado: 1 shot

Pink hopper dude: 1 shot

Green stretchy: 1 shot

Spaceship dude: 1 shot

Spiky roller: 2 shots

The Duck shot: Shooting at the same frame as ducking slows you down but allows you to shoot low-lying enemies relatively quickly (especially when there's no ceiling to bounce shots off of).

If falling off a ledge to an enemy it is usually best to use the bounce shot. It should reach the enemy before you land because of the slow falling speed.

When a ceiling is present, the diagonal shot is usually the best, because it travels at a reasonable speed. Most of the time, I need to turn around for 1 frame to avoid contacting the enemy before my shot does.

When falling off a one-way ledge (can jump up through them but still land on it) it is best to let go of the direction for one frame. The game acts weird and sends you backwards almost to the previous frame, but you will still fall. This is good for quick cuts around these ledges.

Jumping into exits on certain frames results in quicker transition (usually about 1 frame).

I think the rest of this world should be pretty self explanatory.

World 2: Space Port


Double Barrel Hopper: 2 shots

Rocket Kiting Guy: 1 shot

Giant Stationary Gun: 5 shots

Little Flag Dudes: 3 shots

John the Tank Engine: 3 shots

By the way, I have NO idea what the official names of these enemies are. I think my superior naming skills should suffice.

By jumping at an angle into the elevator buttons, I was able to keep the direction so that I didn't have to stand around and wait. If you jump into it normally it will automatically change direction at the next stop.

In rocket form, it was best to injure myself near the exit. Flying into an exit in this form causes the transformation animation, which is quite long. Getting hurt is faster and doesn't cost any lives (powerups serve as an extra health of sorts).

Once again letting go of the thrust in rocket form for one frame and then resuming allows Tinhead to travel faster upwards.

In 2-4, I go out of my way to collect a lightning bolt. It might seem like a waste of time, but damaging myself on those stationary enemies is necessary (they take 5 hits each, and it's not worth it to grab a multi-shot powerup here).

This next part makes me mad: I had found a way to kill myself on the lasers and unkill myself the next frame. It worked perfectly at first but after I recorded into World 4, it stopped working as intended on playback. Now TinHead just moves back and forth really quickly. I don't know what caused it to stop working, but I didn't feel like going back by then.

World 3: Star Hulk


Pink blob: 4 shots

No-eyed hopping blob: 3 shots

Green Alien Saucers: 4 shots

Speedy Green Aliens: 2 shots

2-Legged Walking Thing: 2 shots

One "duck shot" on the pink blobs causes their hit box to expand, making it only necessary to perform a straight shot to hit.

Originally in 3-2, I thought I had to come back and grab the helicopter powerup after I killed the 2 green saucers in the way. Fortunately I found a way to kill them with the blade of the copter, and this saves a good number of frames.

In 4-4 I grab all the multi-shot powerups surrounding the helicopter powerup. This sacrifices a few frames, but I deemed it made the next level more entertaining; I could shoot more enemies on the way up. This is one of the speed/entertainment tradeoffs I decided to make.

It was this world that I first realized collecting stars that were on the ground could be done faster. If letting go of the direction on the exact frame you collect the star, it sends you back 1 frame, and you can almost immediately run left at full speed. This makes turnarounds quicker.

You might wonder why sometimes I don't shoot some of the pink blobs. Reason: they eject these green balls when first hit, and it's pretty much impossible to hit them without losing time trying to avoid their counterattack.

Sometimes shooting a diagonal shot into the corner of a wall or platform will cause the bullet to come back at the exact opposite direction. This makes for a cool way to hit certain enemies.

World 4: Inctec Plant


Horned Zombie Dinosaur Thingies: 5 shots

Pterodactyl: 2 shots

Piranha Shooting Plant: 3 shots

Dart Blowers: 5 shots

Spiky Stegasaurus Wannabes: 5 shots

The Pterodactyls in this World make for good ways to wind up in higher places by getting hurt. You'll see it fairly often here.

This is the only world that contains the Motor-uni-cycle powerup, and it is pretty fast. Since it is so fast, preserving it (not getting hit and losing it) is almost always a timesaver. Even as long as enemies take to kill this powerup is faster than normally walking as you can reach longer distances with the improved jump.

I included a couple more entertainment/speed tradeoffs here. Most occur right when exiting a level, for a last minute kill. These only waste 1 or 2 frames at the most, so I figured it was worth it.

As oddly as this motor-uni-cycle powerup is, it almost seemed like there HAD to be some kind of glitch associated with it. I was right, but I was only able to find one small use for it in 4-3. With the updated file, I found uses for this glitch in more places, most of which are only a short timesaver. It occurs when Tinhead is in fast-sprite mode at the very edge of a right ledge (over a slope). In most places I did this it would lag the game infinitely, rendering it frozen. Other places it just didn't send me to where I wanted it (in the first level it sent me back to the beginning).


Thanks to anyone who supported me in the forums/IRC. Also thanks to Sonikkustar and Electrospecter for their short abandoned WIP's. I would probably never have figured out the slope trick without them.

It's such an odd platformer (jumping anyway), but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway!

Truncated: Movie replaced with 492 frames faster version. Also, judging.

Truncated: So! This movie is pretty good. The earlier levels are a bit bland, but the transformations make up for it. The last level was nicely glitched out. Overall I think this is worth publishing. Accepted!

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