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Tool-assisted game movies
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Submission #3786: Grincevent and Cooljay's GG Sonic the Hedgehog - Triple Trouble in 19:19.98

Console: Game Gear
Game name: Sonic the Hedgehog - Triple Trouble
Game version: USA/Europe
ROM filename: Sonic The Hedgehog - Triple Trouble (USA, Europe).gg
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 1.1.1
Movie length: 19:19.98
FrameCount: 69509
Re-record count: 18473
Author's real name: Greg and Jarrod Cordeiro
Author's nickname: Grincevent and Cooljay
Submitter: Grincevent
Submitted at: 2012-12-13 05:11:05
Text last edited at: 2013-01-14 13:42:31
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (8448 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Sonic Triple Trouble is the sequel to Sonic Chaos, they are also known in Japan as Sonic & Tails 1 and 2. Long story short, Dr. Robotnik is after the chaos emeralds again and convinced Knuckles that Sonic and Tails want to steal them, again... But here comes a new challenger! Nack the weasel is here and wants to, guess what, steal the chaos emeralds too! (but just because they are shiny and might sell well on eBay)

Gameplay

The player can choose either Sonic or Tails at the beginning of the game. They both have the now classic spindash, but have access to different moves or powerups. Sonic can do a "super peel out" by pressing up and jump (like an inverted spindash); this dash-like move doesn't lose speed over time and has some invulnerability frames for a short while. Ok, it's not technically invulnerability, but it can be used to kill enemies for example. For Tails, this is replaced by flying for a short duration. This can also be used in the air to have a little distance (and height) boost. Another nice feature is the "flying spin attack". When in the air and not in ball form, maybe after using a spring, pressing 1 or 2 turns the character into a ball for a short time. Useful for dealing with enemies, bouncing on tv boxes, etc... It can only be done once per "jump". About powerups, Tails can use some kind of submarine in water levels, Sonic has rocket and propeller shoes, etc...

Goals:

  • Aims for fastest time (ingame for normal acts and real time for boss acts)
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Abuses programming errors
  • Makes speed/entertainment trade-offs
  • Uses Sonic (because his name is on the title screen)
  • Doesn't steal the chaos emeralds, resulting in a "bad ending", without credits
  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.1.1, actually started on 1.1.0a

Why not 100%?

The lack of credits at the end is disturbing, but we thought it was better to show the fastest time we could get for every act. Getting the emeralds would mean "sacrificing" five acts in the process.

Time(s):

First of all, where are the speed/entertainment trade-offs? They all happen after hitting the end panel in all non-boss acts. Since the timer stops as soon as Sonic touches the panel, lag is a little ignored after that to make some moves before going to the next act. There is an exception in Tidal Plant act 2 where 1 frame was lost due to lag to demonstrate a glitch inside the level.

Lag is nasty in this game, because it counts towards ingame time: the timer is apparently the only thing that doesn't stop when the game lags; managing lag was the main challenge of this run...

Even if it doesn't show it, the game keeps track of the decimal value between each second, we called it "sub-seconds" (we were really inspired) and there are 60 per second, one for each frame.

And now, just before writing the times, know that in boss acts the timer is hidden, but still there and running like in any other act. The difference is that it doesn't stop until the next act begins, so we have to choose an arbitrary point to note their time. This point is when the player loses control of Sonic. For the final act, the last input was the "finish line", time wise.

Act Time with "sub-seconds" Conversion in real time
Great Turquoise 1 0:18 - 24 0:18.40
Great Turquoise 2 0:17 - 22 0:17.37
Great Turquoise 3 0:27 - 50 0:27.83
Sunset Park 1 0:19 - 40 0:19.67
Sunset Park 2 0:21 - 58 0:21.97
Sunset Park 3 1:09 - 53 1:09.88
Meta Junglira 1 0:29 - 42 0:29.70
Meta Junglira 2 0:27 - 52 0:27.87
Meta Junglira 3 0:35 - 43 0:29.72
Robotnik Winter 1 0:22 - 07 0:22.12
Robotnik Winter 2 0:36 - 00 0:36.00
Robotnik Winter 3 0:29 - 59 0:29.98
Tidal Plant 1 1:17 - 34 1:17.57
Tidal Plant 2 1:03 - 45 1:03.75
Tidal Plant 3 0:17 - 53 0:17.88
Atomic Destroyer 1 0:40 - 21 0:40.35
Atomic Destroyer 2 0:36 - 49 0:36.82
Atomic Destroyer 3 2:36 - 41 2:36.68
Note that the conversions are rounded to the closest 2 digit number.

Tricks and Glitches

Sonic's speed

Looking at the horizontal speed value with RAM watch (1516, 2 bytes, signed) teaches us many useful things, obviously. There are two distinct speed limits:
-1024, the basic limit, reached simply by moving normally, on ground or not.
-1536, the real max speed, but this one requires the player to "break" the first limit by performing specific actions.

How to break the first limit?
Some powerups make you go at max speed, like the rocket shoes or the snowboard (named Jet Board in the manual, but who cares about manuals?) for example. Obviously, doing a spindash or a super peel out work too. And one useful "breaker" is simply rolling on the ground; this is not intuitive because you lose speed while doing so on flat ground, but rolling for one frame then jumping will get you far. And fast. Most of the time, when you land after a jump, Sonic goes back to 1024 and the speed limit has to be broken again. While in water, these techniques won't help Sonic go past 1024.

For other speed tricks, note that being in ball form in the air helps gain or lose speed faster... most of the time, because there are always weird exceptions.

The ceiling glitch

If sonic hits a ceiling during a jump after breaking the first speed limit, when he finally lands, he will keep max speed for some reason, and still be in ball form. It was useful here and there. Even if the limit is still 1024, the "stay a ball" part applies anyway.

Flying spin attack's hidden property

Using this move (after bouncing on a bumper for example) influences Sonic's vertical speed. The result is that this can change the height and/or lenght of a jump.

Corner murdering

Excuse the violence in that name... This just describes a technique that consists of being caught in a jump between a boss and a wall, Sonic then bounces back and forth, left and right, hitting the boss many times in a row (but usually less times than it looks due to invincibility frames).

Ending from above

In some acts, it's possible to reach the end panel from above. With enough height it can skip the slow horizontal scrolling that usually happens when approaching the panel.

The propeller shoes glitch

It's really a shame that it is not useful in that run... These shoes that let you move freely underwater have a timer, and when it runs out, you lose the boots, how predictable! The other option is to cancel them by pressing 1 or 2, which makes you lose the shoes (again) and fall while in ball form. Now here is the glitch: if the player presses a button to cancel it at a specific frame (there are multiple, arbitrary or random frames where it works), the powerup music stops and Sonic keeps the shoes. Indefinitely. Pressing jump again cancels correctly the powerup, this time.

Lag!

This game is laggy as L (L for "Lag"). TASing it is like playing a lag management simulation game, and not the fun kind. It was really the biggest obstacle in the run, especially because lag frames count towards ingame time. Even when standing still, most of the time lag can happen... Let's not talk about moving, jumping or doing flying spin attacks, and breaking blocks releases the lag wrath on Earth. So yeah, because of that, any little thing turns into a lot of randomness. This paragraph was a big rant but it needed to be said.

Stage by stage comments

Great Turquoise 1

Heavy use of the flying spin attack to adjust jumps. Other than that, nothing special, except that there is a known improvement (2 frames) in the breakable tunnel.

Great Turquoise 2

There were two hard parts here: managing lag when riding the rocket shoes and getting the good timing to go above the two loops.

Great Turquoise 3

A nice little trick was used: there are 2 blocks to destroy, but when coming from a good angle, Sonic doesn't bounce on the first one, gaining quite some time. The second part of the boss was very tricky since we needed to use a flying spin attack, which doesn't last long; with many many tries, it was possible to hit him 3 times and fall without getting hit (one frame could decide if Sonic lived or died), then it was time for the finishing blow.

Sunset Park 1

Nothing extremely noteworthy here. Ending from above is always a good thing.

Sunset Park 2

The exploding-floor-things are true lag machines. Hopefully Sonic only has to detonate one of them. Then he hits his head on the ceiling just before the end...

Sunset Park 3

OMG, a level that is completely lag free! (except if Sonic gets hit) But it's a little boring by itself: deal with 5 enemies, then jump above 3 holes, encounter 19 more of the same guys, then hit the boss 3 times. The music is nice, though.

Meta Junglira 1

The bubbles were really not fun, the last part was very complex: bouncing and managing speed both ways all the time, while trying to find the right moment to use that flying spin attack. The bouncing behavior can be strange sometimes.

Meta Junglira 2

A hidden bumper has been avoided in the beginning, saving some time. A difficult part was going up, from the moving platform to the spring powerup.

Meta Junglira 3

Avoiding bubbles and lag... Then killing a boss without moving (but gaining time by triggering the spindash at the exact right frame). And back to focusing mostly on lag management under a rain of fireballs. Then an epileptic seizure from Sonic for a happy ending.

Robotnik Winter 1

The snowboard is a fun toy, particularly if you want to mess with the collision detection with the slopes. It's just a little less fun when you have to slowly climb that mountain while looking closely at your speed value and lag counter.

Robotnik Winter 2

It wouldn't be possible to jump on that last ledge with the snowboard without abusing the collision detection with the slope, so it saves a lot of time because the upper path is full of rings and collapsing bridges (translation: full of laaaag). Neat trick: even if the snowboard allows Sonic to reach max speed, as soon as he lets go of it, he goes back to the lower speed limit (1024). To bypass that, it's possible to "break" that speed limit just before taking the snowboard (rolling for 1 frame), and then the game lets you keep max speed way later, after you jump off the board (the speed limit is still considered broken).

Robotnik Winter 3

This was a pain. Arguably the hardest boss to optimize. The "corner murdering" trick is not really effective, it needs a good setup and Sonic ends up taking damage if he touches the boss at certain times. After many different strategies were tried, getting hit (and hitting him at the same time) to be able to destroy him from below was the best bet.

Tidal Plant 1

A lot of lag, breakable blocks and a reduced speed limit (1024 max) made this level not very fun... In fact the speed limit was broken once, by rolling one frame just before going in the "tube". This allowed Sonic to directly go to the second tube after getting out of the first one.

Tidal Plant 2

That's where a poor frame was lost just for your entertainment to trigger the propeller shoes glitch. It was not useful in the run, but it's used to play with the music: taking the powerup, the special music starts. Using the glitch midway through the powerup timer, the normal level music restarts. Cancelling the propeller shoes to destroy the wall, the normal level music restarts, again. Weird. Aside from that, lag managing and all, nothing speci... Oh wait, ****ing unavoidable bubble!

Tidal Plant 3

Two words: poor knuckles. (really, it was just about keeping an eye on his invulnerability frames)

Atomic Destroyer 1

Two walls of lag were harmed during the making of this level's run.

Atomic Destroyer 2

There is a big nice glitch with the elevators (but it's only used once in this run, not that Sonic didn't try with other elevators, again and again... With strange but useless results sometimes); by jumping and coming from the right angle, with the right speed and the right luck, the elevator can be bypassed. Sonic ends up falling instead of sloooowwwly going down.

Atomic Destroyer 3

A whole bunch of bosses. First, managing lag while being chased by Metal Sonic was not fun at all. The game acknowledged this and offered a lag free battle as a present just after that torture. The hit taken here was for "entertainment" (if you were not entertained, feel free to protest in the comments). The only important thing to do here is to deliver the finishing blow as far to the right as possible. Then we have Nack the Weasel for some figuration, and 3 boss fights vs Robotnik. The second one was problematic, again because of the lag; even when he's defeated he has enough energy left to launch a lag attack on the TASer. Aaaand the last phase. Nothing special except that the strategy used is almost impossible in real time. Note that even if it doesn't look like it, Robotnik gets hit each time he shows up at either side of the room.

Ending

TRY AGAIN
Sorry.


Comments by Cooljay:

Overall this was an interesting game to work on with Grincevent. There was quite a lot of testing and experimenting with various procedures to get the fastest times. Attempts to find some zip glitches were close for me, but the closest I could find ejected me back on track. Lastly the RAM values were probably most useful in the making of this. I can only imagine it would be immensely difficult to optimize blind for a game like this.

Comment by Grincevent:

I hate lag.


Thanks to:

-Zeupar for suggesting TASing this game, even if it was a trap to make us suffer with all the lag. And he provided us with lots of links and info on the game.
-flyingfox from The Sonic Center for explaining the propeller shoes glitch, talking about boss strategy and other interesting things.
-GoddessMaria for finding a way to avoid lag in breakable tunnels by jumping (which in "normal" conditions always adds lag...).


Suggested screenshot: frame 30185, just because Sonic has the snowboard like on the boxart.
FractalFusion: Accepting. The boss fights at the end leave something to be desired, but enough people like it, so it will be placed in Moon tier.

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