TASVideos

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

Submission #4176: CoolKirby's Coleco Frogger II: ThreeeDeep! in 11:50.38

Console: ColecoVision
Game name: Frogger II: ThreeeDeep!
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Frogger II - ThreeDeep! (1984)(Parker Brothers).bin
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 1.5.3
Movie length: 11:50.38
FrameCount: 42568
Re-record count: 7117
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: CoolKirby
Submitter: CoolKirby
Submitted at: 2014-01-29 00:59:53
Text last edited at: 2014-02-01 20:42:53
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (8844 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
A run of the last of the three games named Frogger 2!

This is the original sequel to Frogger, released in 1984 for a few systems including the ColecoVision. It's called "Three Deep" for two reasons: because the game is three screens deep, and as a pun on the sound people in the '80s thought frogs make, "Redeep", though today we know it as "Ribbit".

About the run

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.5.3
    • Skip BIOS Intro unchecked (though it doesn't seem to matter for this game)
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Plays until there is no new content (end of Level 5)
  • Abuses a programming error in the game
  • Genre: Action


(Link to video)

There are three screens in this game: sea, surface, and sky.

  • The sea is a lot like the highway in the original Frogger, except there's a current that always pulls you either to the right or left which gets stronger as you increase in level. There are always 3 holes to fill on this screen, inside logs. You can ride the white turtle through enemies, though it's slower than hopping around them. You can also zip through the yellow fish if you're facing them. The rest of the fish are instant death though.
  • The surface is, unsurprisingly, like the river in Frogger, but you can actually jump on the mouths of whales and crocodiles without dying. The only way to die besides going off the edge of the screen is being trampled by the mother duck. Normally, you can hop onto the mother duck to take to the sky, but if you stomp on her ducklings, she'll get mad and try to kill you (unless you hop off of them, then she's fine again). Your goal is to fill the 1-3 life preservers trailing behind the tugboat.
  • The sky has a forward perspective like the sea instead of a top-down one like the surface. Your goal is to bounce on the cloud and climb the birds to reach the cloud-hole(s) at the top. There are also some red bonus point birds that open up holes in the clouds when hit. Falling through these holes puts you back into the sea.

Here are some memory addresses for Frogger's position and the level timer:

Address Set #55: Frogger II: ThreeeDeep!
System: ColecoVision
Download .wch file for: BizHawk
Domain Address Data Type Signed Endian Description
Main RAM 0100 Byte Unsigned Little Y-Position
Main RAM 0101 Byte Unsigned Little X-Position
Main RAM 010D Byte Unsigned Little Time Left

Lag reduction and strategy

The game runs at 30 fps, probably due to the large amount of sprites that are always onscreen.

Entering another screen seems to reset everything except the score, number of lives, and clock (unless you've just filled a hole and returned to the sea). This includes enemy and platform positions and lag patterns. The only exceptions are the spawn points of bonus point birds in the sky and the positions the hippos on the surface will stop and shake Frogger off. I think they're both on a global timer, since only changing the frame number seems to affect them.

For the first four levels, the game seems to lag more when there are two white/red frogs on the screen, so I avoided this as much as possible by completing the sky screens first (because they are hopped across the least), followed by the surface screens, and lastly the sea screens (where extra lag there would waste the most time). Oddly, I didn't notice this additional lag in the first or last levels.

Every time a hole is filled, the game will count down your bonus points. Frogger normally respawns in 64 frames if no bonus points are collected, and the countdown for every hundred bonus points earned adds 20 frames on to that. Because of this, bonus points are usually avoided. Note that Frogger will always get at least 200 points from surface screens because he has to hop across two Pac-Man lilypads to reach the raft(s).

Frogger moves pretty far with each hop. Sometimes, if he needs to hop to a precise position in/on a hole or platform, he'll have to wait for the water current or platform he's on to move him to where he can actually jump into/on it. While it may look like I could be hopping around to entertain while waiting, I usually can't without messing up the optimal position.

I managed to find a couple of wraparound glitches and a floating glitch, but unfortunately none of them saved time. I did use the floating glitch a few times in the run for entertainment though.

Level by level comments

Level 1

  • I start by getting the first sea hole out of the way since it doesn't cause any extra lag.
  • The sky screens are where you'll see most of the fairly precise tricks in this run. Normally, you would have to wait for that pink pterodactyl to carry you to the hole, but you can reach it much faster with a good enough bounce.
  • While going to the right to reach the middle sea hole may seem faster, Frogger actually can't make it into that hole with his long hops without waiting over half a second for the current to move him and the log into position. That log is still useful though, as touching its side is the fastest way to make it to the surface.
  • I can't make it onto the first top log on the surface, but that's fine since I have to wait for the boat and life raft to slowly wrap back around the screen anyway. So I decided to anger the mother duck as much as possible.

Level 2

  • Among the minor differences in this stage are a second raft on the surface screen and slightly different positions for the birds on the sky screen.
  • I actually need to step on the ducklings in order to survive without stepping on the lily-Pacs. If I stayed on the first crocodile that passes Frogger's spawn point, there would be nowhere else to hop and I would die at the edge of the screen. But it's fun messing with the mother duck anyway.
  • The bubble that appears in the sea screen doesn't cause extra lag. The lethal black algae that appears later does, but it's unavoidable because the algae can't be killed.
    • However, because of the different lag, it's actually 2 frames faster to make a precise hop into the middle log instead of the leftmost one.

Level 3

  • There are more fish in the sea, son ... and also another hole in the sky.
  • The mother duck has a new starting position right behind the ducklings. Normally, when she touches one of the ends of the row of ducklings, she'll turn around and swim in the opposite direction. Since that would waste way too much time, I force her to swim left by stepping on and off her duckling, giving me just enough time to hop back onto her back and take to the sky.
  • The sky level is harder since there are fewer birds to hop on, plus an airplane and dragon that will kill you on contact.
  • The second round of the sky level requires precision and clever strategy to make it around the dragon, especially without hitting the bonus point birds. While there is a route that would allow Frogger to make it to the hole 8 frames faster, it would mean hitting one of these birds, which would be 12 frames slower overall. Also, the pink pterodactyl is barely far enough away that it can't be hopped onto; otherwise, the hole could be reached 6-7 seconds earlier.
  • Despite the extra hundred bonus points, hopping across two lily-Pacs to reach the second raft actually saves 14 frames over only hopping across the third lilypad. I use this for the rest of the run to save time.
  • Messing with the mother duck never gets old. At one point, I even partially clip through her when she wraps around the screen.

Level 4

  • Here the sea screen's current becomes stronger, which makes it more difficult to traverse. There is also another raft and an instant death shark swimming around on the surface.
  • Though I had originally planned to copy-and-paste the input from the previous level for the sky screens, I actually had to redo both screens due to different positions of the bonus point birds. This was a good thing, though, as the different positions allowed faster routes that saved 8 frames for the right hole and 30 for the left.
  • I jump on the ducklings a bit to provide some relief from the shark's "theme".

Level 5

  • The last level! And also the longest and most difficult. The current is now even stronger, the enemies, platforms and birds are in their toughest positions yet, and a ninth hole has been added in the sky.
  • The mother duck is surprisingly in a near optimal position in this level. You only need to step on and off her ducks as fast as you can and she'll be right there to hop onto.
  • In the first sky screen, the birds and plane are in positions that prevent me from going to the middle hole right away, so I have to wait for another high-flying bird to come from the right.
  • Due to the dragon's position, there's no faster way to reach the left sky hole than waiting for the pterodactyl to fly over and help you in.
  • Because there's no lag in this level, I get the sea holes out of the way before going on to the last raft.
  • The last raft is very difficult to reach in real time without running out the level timer. The timer starts when Frogger spawns in the sea, so every movement from the spawn point to the raft has to be almost perfect. You'd think you would have plenty of time to reach the raft, or even to wait on a lily-Pac for the boat to drive by. But with everything moving so slowly, only one badly positioned top log and whale, and the endlessly circling shark, this raft is designed to make you race the clock...and lose.
    • By the way, if time runs out, you instantly die and lose a life (like in most games). You only have three extra lives, so that's only three tries to reach that raft or it's game over, no continues.
    • And to add to the frustration, a horrible repeating noise plays, just so you're aware that time's running out.
  • But since this is a TAS, Frogger reaches the raft with 5.4 seconds to spare (58 frames if you didn't think to hop over the lilypads). No problem for our theoretical superhuman player!
  • And this is where I end the run, as Level 5 repeats endlessly after this point.

Suggested screenshots

992, 7520

Thanks to

  • The BizHawk devs for the awesome emulator
  • IceQueenZer0 for her helpful FAQ for this game

feos: Judging...

feos: Updated the submission file with the 502 frame improvement

feos: Accepting to Vault.


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