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

Submission #3883: FractalFusion's A2600 H.E.R.O. in 09:55.78

Console: Atari 2600
Game name: H.E.R.O.
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: H.E.R.O.# A2600.A26
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk v1.4.0
Movie length: 09:55.78
FrameCount: 35701
Re-record count: 7695
Author's real name: Justin Chan
Author's nickname: FractalFusion
Submitter: FractalFusion
Submitted at: 2013-03-07 05:27:45
Text last edited at: 2013-03-19 20:15:12
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (9040 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
FractalFusion's H.E.R.O. in just under 10 minutes. Some people requested a TAS of this game, so I gladly made one.

Emulator: BizHawk v1.4.0

ROM Name: H.E.R.O.# A2600.A26
SHA1: 282F94817401E3725C622B73A0C05685CE761783


(Link to video)

Nicovideo (account): http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm20266979
Nicovideo (no account): http://www.nicozon.net/watch/sm20266979

Mediafire download: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?8swr79h4mar03v7 (~6.7MB)

Goals

  • Play through levels 1-20.
  • No death.
  • Ignore delays caused by bonuses at end of level.
  • Aim for fastest time.
  • Aim for highest score (without sacrificing fastest time).

About the game

H.E.R.O. (backronymed as "Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation" but that is not a subtitle for the title of this game) is a rare fast-paced platformer on the Atari 2600. The plot can be summed up as such: Get to the end of the level to rescue the miner. It's not rocket science.

You are given a flying device of some kind, and sticks of dynamite to blow up walls. Of course, the tunnels would not be interesting if it weren't for all the enemies floating around that kill the player with the slightest touch. There are bats, snakes, spiders, "moths", "underground lava rivers", "magma deposits" (solid glowing blocks, for need of a better description), "lava tentacles", and "floor bumps" (little glitchy bumps on the floor that might as well be called "spear traps"). One wonders if anyone really knows what "lava" and "magma" mean. By the way, the "floor bumps" are glitchy in that sometimes they kill you when you run over them, and sometimes not.

Often, there are thin walls blocking the way. They may or may not be glowing blocks. The way past them is to blow them up with dynamite. Dynamite can only be placed by standing on the ground. Doing so gives you a small 75 points. Or you can shoot down the wall, but it takes a long time, and you don't get 75 points from it. The dynamite can kill you, but only if you are close enough to it (and note the vertical displacement that allows one to avoid getting killed by it is extremely small; you can be floating just above it, or just below it, and it won't kill you). You can also shoot some enemies for 50 points each.

The goal of course is to rescue the miner at the end of each level by touching him. Doing so gives you 1000 points, then a number of points equal to level value multiplied by time remaining, then 50 points for each remaining dynamite.

There are 5 modes of play:

  • Mode 1: Normal mode starting from level 1.
  • Mode 2: Normal mode starting from level 5.
  • Mode 3: Normal mode starting from level 9.
  • Mode 4: Normal mode starting from level 13.
  • Mode 5: Random mode with first level being level 17.

In normal mode, after completing level 20, the game repeats levels 13-20 over and over, even though the level name says "LEVEL:PRO" (whatever that means). So, to get all the levels in this TAS, I use Mode 1 and TAS levels 1-20. No new content really exists after that.

This game does have an ending of sorts, by playing until the score is 1000000. Doing so in normal mode would require me to repeat levels 13-20 three times more (240k points each iteration, adding to the 360k from levels 1-20 in this TAS). That would add another 15 or so minutes to the run and be repetitive. Technically, it is even faster to reach 1000000 by playing random mode and manipulating level 20 every time other than the first level. Doing so would repeat level 20 18 times over (56k each iteration, adding to 29k from the first level), would be super repetitive, and most likely would have ugly manipulation waits at the end of each level. It would last about 10-12 minutes.

That being said, I now present some stats about this TAS.

Frame stats

Level StartLevelFrame EndLevelFrame FrameDifference
1 115 310 195
2 658 1054 396
3 1379 2036 657
4 2338 3252 914
5 3530 4372 842
6 4683 5798 1115
7 6054 7498 1444
8 7842 9376 1534
9 9714 11494 1780
10 11818 13638 1820
11 13958 15943 1985
12 16254 18154 1900
13 18470 20470 2000
14 20782 22635 1853
15 22954 24926 1972
16 25238 27011 1773
17 27334 29175 1841
18 29498 31442 1944
19 31754 33631 1877
20 33950 35702 1752

  • StartLevelFrame is the frame when the level name (e.g. "LEVEL:13") disappears and is replaced by the score.
  • EndLevelFrame is the frame when the miner sprite changes so it looks like he holds up a hand.

Score stats

Level LevelValue TimeRemaining WallsExploded EnemiesKilled DynamiteRemaining LevelScore TotalScore
1 20 78 1 1 5 2935 2935
2 40 75 2 4 4 4550 7485
3 60 71 3 6 3 5935 13420
4 80 67 4 4 2 6960 20380
5 90 68 2 6 4 7770 28150
6 100 64 5 9 1 8275 36425
7 120 58 6 12 0 9010 45435
8 160 57 6 11 0 11120 56555
9 200 53 6 15 0 12800 69355
10 240 52 6 15 0 14680 84035
11 280 50 6 14 0 16150 100185
12 320 51 6 17 0 18620 118805
13 360 50 6 17 0 20300 139105
14 400 52 6 14 0 22950 162055
15 420 50 6 13 0 23100 185155
16 440 53 6 18 0 25670 210825
17 500 53 6 20 0 28950 239775
18 540 50 6 17 0 29300 269075
19 600 52 6 20 0 33650 302725
20 1000 54 5 19 1 56375 359100

  • LevelScore = LevelValue*TimeRemaining + 75*WallsExploded + 50*EnemiesKilled + 50*DynamiteRemaining + 1000.

Note that level 9 has 15 enemies killed, even though upon inspection, it looks like only 14 are killed. The anomaly appears when blowing up the fourth wall, when 125 points are granted upon explosion. Maybe it killed a "floor bump"?

Flying physics

It seems that the player has a fly startup gauge, where pressing up does not immediately make him fly up, but it has to be held for a while. Pressing up is mostly used in this TAS to float (stay at the vertical level).

Flying onto a ledge at the correct height allows the player to start walking on the ledge right away, rather than having to wait to descend. This is used in many places where there is a wall close by to blow up with dynamite, especially in horizontal segments.

Other

The run has potential for frame improvements in a few spots. Flying after planting dynamite instead of backing up is an obvious one, but note that it cannot be done everywhere.

There isn't much else to talk about the run, so enjoy.

Progress Log

Date Progress Rerecord count TAS work time (hours)
Feb. 25, 2013 Levels 1-7 1689 2
Feb. 27 Levels 8-12 3771 2
Feb. 28 Levels 13-15 5266 1.5
Mar. 2 Levels 16-18 6748 1.5
Mar. 6 Levels 19-20 7695 1


feos: Accepting for Moons.

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