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

Submission #3493: nicklegends's SNES Whirlo in 44:58.54

Console: Super NES
Game name: Whirlo
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: Whirlo (E).smc
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 44:58.54
FrameCount: 134927
Re-record count: 41381
Author's real name: Ed Foley
Author's nickname: nicklegends
Submitter: nicklegends
Submitted at: 2012-03-15 11:52:33
Text last edited at: 2012-03-19 09:29:33
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (10052 bytes)
Status: decision: cancelled
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Author's comments and explanations:
Whirlo is a platformer/action-adventure hybrid produced by Namco that was released in Japan and Europe in 1992. The eponymous hero seeks the Water of Life, promised to cure Whirlo’s son of a sickness caused by a poisonous ash cloud. En route, Whirlo must collect seven celestial orbs that are spread across the land. Pitchfork in hand, Whirlo saves his child in quick fashion.

Objectives

  • Aims for fastest time

No U.S. version of this game was released. The European version is the only one with English text, so it is used for this run.

Emulation

  • Emulator used: Snes9x V1.51
  • Allow left+right / up+down disabled
  • Volume envelope height reading disabled
  • Fake mute desync workaround enabled

Comments

Unlike most platformers, Whirlo places a large focus on momentum and inertia. In particular, Whirlo is extremely sensitive to changes in elevation. While no drop causes instant death, falls from too far lead to extremely long delays upon hitting the ground—especially if Whirlo’s pitchfork is drawn. It is difficult to convey just how crippling these delays are in a TAS because I obviously try to avoid them; regardless, please recognize that each jump’s height was calculated very carefully to keep Whirlo’s motion as fluid as possible.

If Whirlo suffers a single hit, he must restart the level; thus, it is impossible to take damage to save time. There are no warps in the game, so every level must be played in sequence (except those at the brief parallel spit at Tree Island).

Controls and terminology

A button

  • Stationary charge jump: Press and hold A while completely still. Whirlo leaps directly upward in loose proportion to how long the A button was held. He cannot alter his horizontal velocity in midair, though he can use his pitchfork.
  • Charge jump: Press and hold A after Whirlo establishes a direction of motion on the ground. The speed at which Whirlo was previously traveling determines which of two heights Whirlo leaps to. He cannot change his horizontal velocity, but can use his pitchfork.
  • Dash: Tap A on the ground after Whirlo establishes a direction of motion to dash. Like the charge jumps, Whirlo cannot alter his horizontal velocity in midair but can use his pitchfork.

B button

  • Normal jump: Press B any time Whirlo is on the ground. He leaps upward, his height and loft dependent on how long the button is pressed. Unlike a charge jump, Whirlo can influence his horizontal velocity in midair and also use his pitchfork. On the downside, he cannot jump as high as with a charge jump.

Y button

  • Side-stab: Press Y while Whirlo is on the ground to attack an enemy in front of him. The amount of time he holds out his pitchfork is related to how long Y is pressed.
  • Air stab: Press Y while in the air to attack the area on both sides of Whirlo. The duration of the attack is related to how long the button is pressed.
  • Downward stab/downward thrust: Press Y and down while in the air to attack beneath Whirlo. This move is three times stronger than side stabs and air stabs.
  • Rope stab: Press Y while climbing a rope to attack in front of Whirlo. Its duration is again linked to how long the button is held.

X button

  • Whirlowind: Establish a direction of motion, press X to charge, then release X. Whirlo soars through the air horizontally, attacking enemies in his path. If Whirlo does not contact an enemy when performing the attack, he will incur a long delay upon hitting the ground. Whirlo is able to use his pitchfork and manipulate his velocity if and only if he has hit an enemy. At all other points in the attack, he cannot change his speed or draw his weapon. Like the charge jump, the height Whirlo reaches is dependent on how fast he was moving prior to the command.

R, L, and select have no effect. Start pauses. Whirlo cannot duck.

General behaviors, techniques, and glitches

Attack strength

Whirlo's attacks do different amounts of damage:
  • Side stab (ground or air): 1
  • Downward thrust: 3
  • Whirlowind: 8

When Whirlo attacks a typical enemy, it becomes transparent for a short time during which neither Whirlo nor the enemy can damage one another. Because this grace period allows enough time for Whirlo to dash by, the amount of damage dealt is usually not a concern. The two major exceptions are bosses and the two levels in the game where all enemies must be defeated to progress.

Air stab behavior

Two attacking frames, not one, determine the total effect of using the pitchfork in midair. The first frame determines the damage dealt and the second determines Whirlo’s physical response to the attack. For example, performing a side-stab immediately prior to a downward thrust will cause minimal damage but allow Whirlo to bounce off the enemy. Because they are so important, each variation of this technique is covered individually. I consider this behavior as a glitch, but its status is debatable. I utilize it wherever possible regardless.

Air stab glitch

If Whirlo is airborne and performs a side-stab on an enemy for one frame, then immediately stabs downward, he will bounce upward off the enemy where he typically would not be able to otherwise. This is used to great effect throughout Mt. Alsandra 1 and Goblin Valley, among other places. The downside is that the attack only inflicts damage for the side-stab and not the downward thrust, but this is hardly an issue because the attack maintains Whirlo’s horizontal velocity.

Thrust bounce canceling

Whirlo typically bounces of enemies when using a downward thrust, but if an enemy is hit by a thrust that lasts only a single frame, Whirlo will hit the enemy and proceed directly to the ground. This is useful if bouncing off an enemy would fly Whirlo to an undesirable location, such as off the stage or into a wall. Sometimes clearing one enemy with a thrust bounce cancel allows me to do the air stab glitch on an adjacent enemy. This subtle move is sprinkled throughout the run. See if you can pick up on it.

Platform edge grabbing

Jumping on the most extreme edge of a platform shoves Whirlo a pixel toward the platform’s center for free. This convenient trick is used quite frequently in Mt. Alsandra 4 and elsewhere.

Ground delay canceling via jump

If Whirlo jumps off platforms of a particular height by holding B for either one or two frames, he will not incur a delay upon hitting the ground. Interestingly, this delay does occur if simply walking off the platform. Because of this behavior, I frequently leap off platforms’ edges instead of walking off. Sometimes this looks weird—for example, in Pirate Ship 4—but it does save time.

Ground delay canceling via rope

Briefly pressing up or down when next to a rope will reset the game’s counter describing Whirlo’s maximum height, so it is possible to fall from a large height, brush a rope, and incur no delay upon hitting the ground. Nifty. I use this plenty of times in the Tree Island levels.

Downward thrust on rope

I have no idea what causes this glitch, but grabbing a rope, jumping for a single frame, and performing a downward thrust causes Whirlo’s vertical motion to be extremely slow. I use this only once in the entire game (see Tree Island 5) but it proves to be a critical maneuver.

Dash edge clipping

If Whirlo hits the last pixel of a platform while dashing, he maintains his dash velocity from there to the next platform at the cost of not being able to draw his pitchfork. This behavior actually happens with every type of jump, but the others do not give useful results.

Partial Whirlowind

Passing upward through a one-way platform using a Whirlowind is faster than charge jumping or regular jumping in most instances. The Tower 1 is a good exhibition of this.

Stage by stage comments

For consistency, I consider it a new level every time the screen fades in from black. This leads to some extremely short “levels,” but it makes the guide easier to follow. The name of each section (except for the first one) is adapted from the text at the bottom-right of the screen, even if its spelling differs from other references in the game.

Menu and Introduction (frame 1)

Not much TAS flexibility here. This game has a lot of text for a platformer, but it also lacks a button that skips story segments entirely.

Sandros 1 (frame 2139)

This level sets up the standard for most of the stages to follow. Whirlo moves nearly twice as quickly when sprinting as when running normally, so I sprint frequently throughout this level and the game as a whole. Whirlo can prolong his sprinting speed by using a downward stab on an enemy with or without the air stab glitch, so this too is used whenever possible. At frame 3057, Whirlo leaps and seems to be stopped in midair. This is done to avoid a text bubble that is supposed to show up, uttered by the character in the background.

Haunted Forest 1 (frame 3772)

Not much to be excited about here. I Whirlowind often when there is a change in elevation because it’s faster than simply running and jumping. Down-thrusting the crocodiles is also a convenient way to save time.

Haunted Forest 2 (frame 5224)

This level requires a large number of Whirlowind maneuvers to get through the snow walls. Technically speaking, the Whirlowind allows for faster travel than any other move, but the quantity of frames it takes for Whirlo to wind up means that the move is usually only viable when it is necessary to progress. Because I would have to perform a Whirlowind to get past each snow wall anyway, there is no downside to using the attack liberally. At frame 6174, I briefly change my direction so that I can perform a Whirlowind at full height (necessary to reach the snowball below). This maneuver of skidding to build up speed seems counter-intuitive, but it works. I avoid a long delay by performing the Whirlowind at frame 6435—the earliest point at which the snow falling cut scene is triggered. Typically, Whirlo hits his head on the trunk and falls stunned, but because the attack was performed so early, this does not occur and I can grab the rope early.

Elders House (frame 7239)

I acquire the first gem. Huzzah.

Sandros 2 (frame 8155)

Platforms are skipped when possible. Sometimes riding a platform down for a bit is actually faster than leaping off it immediately due to the delay incurred from falling the extra height. Jumping over the boulders near the end of the level was by far the hardest part of this level to speedrun due to some very finicky collision detection.

Valley of Sizus (frame 10029)

The speed that the snowball rolls down the hill is independent of Whirlo's motion, so I get the opportunity to fool around with the snowball a bit and demonstrate some of the delays forced by poorly-timed maneuvers. Whirlo is supposed to shield himself from the snowball by hiding on the icy blue platform at the bottom of the slope, but due to a programming oversight, he can jump in the air and use the snowball to squeeze by the stone pillar just as it gets destroyed. By the way, the short hop at frame 10582 is faster than dashing off the rock platform because Whirlo doesn’t hit the ground as hard.

Mt. Alsandra 1 (frame 14304)

Of all the levels in the game, this was the most fun to record. The enemies are distributed at nearly perfect intervals for a series of downward thrusts with help from the air stab glitch. The boss, with 15 HP, is defeated swiftly by two Whirlowinds.

Mt. Alsandra 2 (frame 17245)

This level is unusual in that many of its enemies are completely immune to Whirlo's pitchfork. As a result, I have to use regular jumps much of the time and withstand a few excruciating delays (such as the one at frame 17857) before it's possible to move on. Opening the gate at the end is also a tedious process because Andy (the pink character) waits for a minimum amount of time and Whirlowind attempts before helping out. Andy is supposed to jump on the left crescent to slow it down, but because of a programming oversight, I hit the crescent out of the way first. As a result, Andy falls to the ground and jumps each time I hit the crescent for some mildly amusing results.

Mt. Alsandra 3 (frame 21293)

This level is filled with platform edge grabbing and some air stab glitches. I use partial Whirlowind maneuvers when the lava rises above Whirlo’s current platform. This proved more effective than using any other jump. Sadly, I was unable to find an expedient way to get past the flame pillars toward the end of the level. They cannot be jumped over when they reach their full height, and the Whirlowind move is ineffective since there are no enemies around that would cancel a painfully long delay upon hitting the ground.

Mt. Alsandra 4 (frame 23999)

This vertical level provided plenty of opportunities to ascend platforms using partial Whirlowinds. The odd-looking backward maneuver at frame 24919 is necessary so that I hit the following enemy at a precise location and land on a particular pixel of the vertical platform. A pixel farther and I would not be able to recover from Whirlo’s momentum. Sometimes it costs frames to make up frames—this is a perfect example. I use a Whirlowind to approach the boss platform, which works well since the King of the Crescent Moon cancels Whirlo’s stupor. I let the boss skip to the opposite side of me, enabling me to defeat him with three swift Whirlowinds.

Cauldra Castle 1 (frame 29896)

It’s hard to believe, but the cute little water-spouting fish throughout the level are completely invincible, forcing me to do regular jumps throughout most of the stage. The Whirlowind at frame 30131 is a rare example of my using that move between two spots on the same elevation to save time.

Cauldra Castle 2 (frame 30820)

A very brief cutscene.

Gramps Dock 1 (frame 30998)

This is the only time in the run where a button must be pressed to cause an action during a cut scene that isn’t advancing text. …Not that it’s very interesting.

Gramps Dock 2 (frame 32578)

Ugh, this level… Landing on a moving platform stops that platform, but also increases its speed the next time it moves. The only way to start a platform moving again is to transfer to the other one—or more specifically, overlap the opposite platform’s horizontal location. I make the distinction because it’s possible to jump to the side then back in midair and trick the game into thinking I’ve transferred platforms when I actually haven’t. Because the left platform is so slow to start with, I devote the start of the level to increasing its speed as quickly as possible, which inadvertently displays some very strange platform collision detection in the process. At a certain point, the platforms max out their speed and the rest of the level becomes a series of well-timed jumps.

The Princess 1 (frame 34854)

Nothing noteworthy. She sure can cry!

Catacomb 1 (frame 36126)

Falling.

Catacomb 2 (frame 36341)

Falling and dashing.

Catacomb 3 (frame 36955)

This level requires me to visit all four rooms at least once. Whirlo’s current state doesn’t matter when it comes to entering doorways, so I perform some maneuvers, such as a long dash at frame 38425 and a Whirlowind at frame 39396 that would typically lose me time but end up saving it instead.

The Princess 2 (frame 39787)

More tears.

Catacomb 4 (frame 41086)

You’d think a water slide would take me to a different location than before, but no.

Catacomb 5 (frame 41565)

Just a bunch of dashes. Nice of the designers to space the starfish so evenly.

The Princess 3 (frame 42811)

I bring you a gem and you reciprocate by flooding me with even more tears? Are you kidding?

Catacomb 6 (frame 43989)

I guess we circumvent the water slide altogether this time. In any case, expect more dashes.

Catacomb 7 (frame 45079)

This level is tricky to speedrun because the delays between messages depend not only on timing, but also Whirlo’s position and speed. I can only continue past each point when the thief is done talking, but oddly, standing at the far edge of the screen when this happens prevents progress. As a result, I go as far to the side as possible without causing this glitchy “wall” to hinder me.

Catacomb 8 (frame 47416)

Even more dashes.

Dragon Forest (frame 49580)

The flame enemies are invincible, so I do my best to avoid them with normal jumps. I skip an unnecessary story sequence by foregoing the hut. It’s not like anybody wanted to read more text anyway.

Toadstool Cave 1 (frame 50926)

The boulders in this level are my worst enemy because they happen to be a pixel or two too large for me to squeak by them. A dash edge clip and a convenient Whirlowind at the end help me feel better.

Toadstool Cave 2 (frame 52032)

The hitbox on the laser-shooting statues is extremely strange—it’s far to their backs, allowing me to jump on the statues’ platforms without injury much of the time. I use the rope at frame 52433 to avoid a delay on hitting the ground. The Whirlowind shortly thereafter lets me clear the entire network of ropes from there to the other side of the chasm. Like the boulders in the previous level, the spikes seem to be unavoidable, so I make my best of the downtime.

Toadstool Cave 3 (frame 54042)

A nice change of scenery. The moving platforms are activated on first contact, so I Whirlowind into them, stunning Whirlo, but ultimately saving time. I cheat death for the rest of the level.

Toadstool Cave 4 (frame 55992)

A really late, yet effective, air stab glitch helps me out at frame 56390. I wanted to do something fancy with the black slugs around frame 56589, but everything led to my demise. Thankfully, I get a huge air combo shortly afterward before attacking those pesky rocks once again. I tried extremely hard to squeeze by the two boulders at frame 57269. After hundreds of re-records, I finally decided it wasn’t possible, so I moved on. The two statues toward the end of the level are supposed to fire before I can attack them, but they can’t beat Whirlo’s speed.

Toadstool Cave 5 (frame 58277)

Nothing special. It’s nice to be done with this place.

The Anconda (frame 58946)

Barely visible, I perform a thrust bounce cancel on the Anconda just as it becomes active. I time the next Whirlowind to hit at the peak of Whirlo’s flight, then land the next possible attack. Fights like this really display the effectiveness of the Whirlowind attack—had I used normal stabs (as a casual player might be inclined), it would have taken 18 hits!

Sea of Sirrah 1 (frame 60886)

I can’t do much to change the timing of the boats, so most of this section is me dancing around. The second half of the level is far more fun because I get to pull off a huge air stab combo that puts me right near the end of the stage.

Sea of Sirrah 2 (frame 63265)

The ice in this level is programmed extremely poorly, but it would be tough to notice without trying this level out yourself. Holding right during the text boxes at the beginning somehow allows me to skip an acceleration period when Whirlo gains control. The whale travels faster than I do on foot, so I use the momentum to leap over it at each ice pillar, saving loads of time. If I were too slow to jump, the whale would actually crush Whirlo at the ice pillar—stuck between an orca and a hard place, I suppose.

Pirate Ship 1 (frame 65038)

Possibly the most tedious level of the game for human players looks harmless in a TAS. Nothing too special here—just well-timed charge jumps.

Pirate Ship 2 (frame 67130)

Whirlo falls a lot in this game, doesn’t he.

Pirate Ship 3 (frame 67310)

The height of the boxes allows me to perform a ground delay cancel right off the bat. You’ll see a lot more of these in the upcoming levels.

Pirate Ship 4 (frame 67895)

One must break all the vases in order to reveal the key. Interestingly, there is a game-stopping glitch in this level that causes the key not to appear if the shattered porcelain from another pot is still on the screen, so I had to adjust my timing accordingly. At first glance it appears I lose time by hitting my head on the boxes toward the end of this level, but this maneuver is necessary for ground delay cancels and to change directions more easily. Likewise, it may seem slow to break my fall with a row of boxes at frame 68462, but this is also faster than falling directly to the next row.

Pirate Ship 5 (frame 69373)

A level with plenty of downward thrusts, including one off an arrow at the end of the level which aligns me perfectly with the final rope. Awesome.

Pirate Ship 6 (frame 70237)

A brief cutscene. You’d think they’d have learned by now that I didn’t want to talk to them.

Pirate Ship 7 (frame 70541)

A short, sweet level with plenty of downward thrusts—even in areas with short clearances.

Pirate Ship 8 (frame 71270)

One would typically kill these enemies with a Whirlowind, but I let them live another day.

Pirate Ship 9 (frame 71768)

What rope?

Pirate Ship 10 (frame 71862)

After his uncharacteristic nice streak in Pirate Ship 8, Whirlo relapses and goes on a rampage, damaging ten enemies without hitting the ground. The boss has 24 HP—the perfect amount for three Whirlowinds.

Tree Island 1 (frame 75877)

I am not going to lie; this is a slow portion of the game. If you’re feeling impatient, I recommend fast-forwarding all the way to Goblin Valley (frame 109543).

Tree House (frame 76768)

Just text.

Tree Island 2 (frame 78394)

Just more text.

Tree Island 3 (frame 78801)

This and Tree Island 5 were two devilishly frustrating levels to record because of extremely poor enemy programming and flat-out bad level design. All the vine-crawling critters need to be disposed of to complete the stage. The standard way to do this is to Whirlowind into walls repeatedly to knock down all the bugs within range, then attack the enemies while they bounce on the ground. But because using the Whirlowind into a wall is so ridiculously slow, I do my best to damage the bugs without knocking them down the rope first.

The spiders dash out of range as soon as Whirlo approaches them, meaning that Whirlo cannot damage them unless he has a significant vertical advantage. This is why I seem to jump higher than necessary when attacking bugs still on the ropes. To further complicate matters, each bug has 9 HP, meaning that a single direct Whirlowind is insufficient to knock them out. Finally, the spiders like to slide around when they are attacked on ground level, occasionally killing Whirlo even in his attacking animation. This last point cannot be demonstrated in a TAS, but feel free to try it yourself.

There is a little-known secret cave in the far left wall of this level, but it affords no time savings, so I have to skip it.

Tree Island 4 (frame 81308)

One would think that Whirlo wouldn’t have time to find some kid’s cello when his own son is dying.

Tree Island 5 (frame 82462)

Another one of these levels. The tactics are mostly the same as Tree Island 3, but I do get the opportunity to perform the elusive downward thrust rope glitch at frame 84206. Throughout this level, I utilize rope as a ground delay canceller. Sometimes the nearest rope is away from the direction I want to go, but brushing the rope and switching directions there is still faster than hitting the ground directly. At frame 83537, I attack away from an enemy. As a consequence of sloppy programming, this actually pushes the spider backwards.

Tree Island 6 (frame 84879)

Nice to be done with spiders. Now I get to read some more text (which cannot be skipped). Using partial Whirlowinds proves effective through the rest of the level. Also, snagging the rope at frame 87608 saves countless frames. It’s interesting that Whirlo cannot draw his pitchfork when falling from huge distances, but grabbing a rope is no problem.

Tree Island 7 (frame 89489)

The only thing noteworthy about this stage is the choice I make at frame 93853. It determines whether I play Sea of Sirrah 3 or do another logic puzzle in the same vein as Catacomb 3. Fishing for sharks ends up being faster—sorry to disappoint the NPCs.

Sea of Sirrah 3 (frame 94096)

Whirlo: perhaps the only game where fish are invincible but sharks have 1 HP. Like everything else in this game, the whale’s motion is fairly glitchy. I do normal jumps at the start of the level so that it can keep up while I need it. The sharks are initially spaced too far apart to perform any crazy stunts; thankfully, enough of them appear at the halfway point to enable a combo of downward thrusts.

Pirate Ship 11 (frame 94960)

I ride a whale to see a boat. Usually it’s the other way around.

Tree Island 8 (frame 95171)

Buck wields his knives with uncanny control. Unimpressed, Whirlo crashes through a window.

Store (frame 97371)

More text. At least we’re almost done here.

Tree Island 9 (frame 97871)

A lightning bolt saves the day and Whirlo gets his sixth gem.

Neverland 1 (frame 100157)

You know the story by now.

Neverland 2 (frame 101128)

Say, doesn’t that guy look a lot like the baby at the end of Mt. Alsandra 4 whom I met about 24 minutes ago?

Neverland 3 (frame 102139)

Sorry, I can’t stay for your performance.

Neverland 4 (frame 102631)

Sorry for ruining your marriage.

Neverland 5 (frame 102978)

Get a room, please.

Neverland 6 (frame 103954)

The only forced horizontal scrolling level in the game. To kill time, I perform a bunch of daredevil maneuvers. I hit the wall at frame 104648 to showcase a graphical glitch in the game where a tile disappears but maintains its proper physical behavior. The screen releases its auto-scrolling at a precise moment, so I time my final Whirlowind accordingly.

The Monument (frame 107395)

Apparently, everybody in this game but Whirlo insists on bouncing from point to point.

Goblin Valley (frame 109543)

This level is a blast. The eggs, which are treated as enemies, have strangely large hitboxes. Add that to the exceptionally large hitbox of Whirlo’s air side-stab and the air stab glitch, and seemingly impossible maneuvers unfold. The green eggs at the end all need to be destroyed within a certain time—not a problem for a TAS.

Endless Desert 1 (frame 113538)

Considering this is the penultimate environment in the game, the developers sure didn't try very hard to make it interesting. Oh well. This level is pretty much more of the same: dashes with an occasional down thrust.

Endless Desert 2 (frame 114759)

More of the same.

Endless Desert 3 (frame 116764)

What do ya know? The Endless Desert actually has an end.

The Tower 1 (frame 119013)

Even with a slew of partial Whirlowinds, this level is ridiculously long (imagine all those precise jumps as a human player!). I was hoping there would be more opportunities to skip color cycles, but the game designers did a good job at making this level relatively linear, save a choice at the beginning of the level.

The Tower 2 (frame 123537)

This level is pretty novel. To progress, Whirlo must acquire a certain amount of karma via saving birds and helping them to their mothers. Saving a balloon bird nets 4 points; helping a bird to its mother nets 4 points unless there’s a block in the way, in which case the task yields 2; saving a bird from a series of falling blocks is worth 2; discovering a woman in a box nets 2; and hitting a patch of flowers costs 5 points. Of the 36 points possible, 24 are required to progress. I accomplish this by saving three balloon birds (12), clearing two Whirlowind blocks (4), protecting two birds from falling rocks (4), and releasing two women along the way (4). Helping the birds to their mothers takes too much time to be useful, so I completely ignore it. The four ? blocks alternate between woman and monster, regardless of the order they are uncovered. This is why I release a monster at frame 124466 and pass a time-consuming block at frame 124811. Both birds in danger of falling blocks are cleared quickly by jumping up to the spawn point of the blocks, hence the periodic storm of shards.

The Tower 3 (frame 126129)

I only activate the light crystals when they save me time. When they don’t, please enjoy Whirlo’s flight through the array of invisible platforms.

The Tower 4 (frame 129985)

The pirate captain, with 24 HP, is the boss with the most stamina up to this point. The game designers figured that they wanted the final boss to be extra challenging, so they went ahead and gave Malix an absurd 120 HP. Thankfully, a TAS makes this crazy task look like cake. Each block of 40 HP is taken by three Whirlowinds (24), a brief air side-stab (1), and five downward thrusts (15).

Some story needs to be advanced before the credits roll. Consequently, the final input is the button press required to activate the (slow) auto-scrolling text. There you have it!

If you need any evidence that the text in this game was rushed, just read the ending: “The Valkyrie looked Whirlo straight in the eyes. […] And so Whirlo joined forces with the Valkyrie. The golden haired warrior was called Valkyrie. […] And so the Valkyrie and Whirlo joined forces to fight mallix [sic]. Whirlo and the Valkyrie join in battle.”

Yes, the credits do roll eventually. Be patient.

Final remarks

This run was a blast to work on, and I encourage other TASers to experience all this under-appreciated game has to offer. I imagine the greatest potential improvements to this run hide in the underground Tree Island levels. Despite my best planning efforts and a wealth of rerecords, I’m not totally convinced I found the optimal path.

If other players choose to improve upon my run, they are free to copy portions of this movie provided they give me at least some credit.

Thanks to TASvideos.org and its dedicated members and staff, as well as my roommates whom I didn’t see much during this run’s recording.

Please enjoy.

--Ed (nicklegends)