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

Submission #4266: inzult, Rising Tempest's NES Zelda II: The Adventure of Link "no zipping or unintended exits" in 45:42.13

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (U) [!].nes
Branch: no zipping or unintended exits
Emulator: FCEUX 2.1.5
Movie length: 45:42.13
FrameCount: 164799
Re-record count: 42771
Author's real name: Phil
Author's nickname: inzult, Rising Tempest
Submitter: inzult
Submitted at: 2014-04-07 19:51:42
Text last edited at: 2014-04-19 12:36:15
Text last edited by: inzult
Download: Download (22182 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Zelda II is a video game. I made a TAS for it. Even though Rising Tempest had no direct involvement with the run, I did reuse some small sections from the old published movie. I feel it's only fair to leave him as an author.

Goals or Whatever

General Stuff

This movie is 7824 frames faster than the previous run by me and Rising Tempest. This movie uses damage to save time in better ways. It adds death to save time to bring it in line with the forced game overs we've been using since the very beginning. It is smarter about what levels it takes. It uses up&a to bring up the save/continue screen at smarter times. The play is also tightened, but improvements from better play are very minor across the whole run, this is largely simply strategy improvements.

Neat Things

As long as Link's sword is out, whether he is on the ground, in the air, standing or crouching, if he changes direction every other frame, he can hit enemies each time his sword intersects with an enemy's hitbox.

Downstab can be spammed very quickly. Each time the down button is pressed, another hit can be dealt. Downstab has no cooldown period. This means that Link can theoretically deliver 30 strikes per second. In practice, this doesn't work out, because of knockback, but keeping a close eye on Link's speed and enemy knockback, many many hits can still be delivered very quickly.

If down is pressed on the final frame of a sword strike, you will have a frame of attack that is a hybrid of a normal strike and a downstab. Link will bounce as if he's done a downstab, however the hitbox of the sword strike is used to see if he connects or not. This allows Link to find jar drops, break falling blocks, and deal with enemies in creative ways.

Pressing A and B on the same frame will instantly set your speed to zero, and you will be in the air, which allows you to start moving again immediately. If Link ever needs to turn around, it is faster to walk up to your target, jumpturn, then accelerate back up to top speed in the opposite direction. If you just use the D pad for this, it will take extra time no matter when you start your turn. An extension of this is if you stab a wall while turning in the air, it will set your speed to 12 in stead of 0, allowing for a much sharper turn.

Move after having 0 health
I didn't think up a name for this. But Link doesn't actually die until after his hurt animation ends. If Link is a fairy, he can continue moving for a brief time after taking a killing blow. If Link is just Link, he can be knocked into items to get the pickup and skip the celebration for finding a hammer. This can also be used to make link a zombie, if he's knocked into the edge of a screen to load the next area, but that's not particularly useful.

Fairy through doors
Doors do not behave like walls in this game. Walls just set your speed to 0. Doors however allow you to walk slightly inside of them, then they eject you out. If you press against a door as Link, you can see him vibrating slightly. Fairy doesn't have acceleration, however. Fairy either does not move, or moves at Link's usual top speed. The door isn't able to eject the fairy. This is possibly an oversight.

Fairy through doors
You can also go in the other kind of doors as fairy. The ones in towns. This allows you to learn downstab without having to use the jump spell.

Free Time
During the fanfare after placing the crystal, you can pause the game for "free". It only costs the 2 frames to pause and unpause. This is because your life and magic refill at the end of the song, which keeps playing in the menu. This allows Link to queue up his next spell without wasting time later.

Fast Levelup
The sound that happens when you get into a random encounter overrides the ~3 second level up fanfare song. I wasn't able to find a good use for this, but it's a fun fact. So here it is.

Overworld Encounters

There are two types of overworld encounter spawns that can happen. One spawn is based on steps, one on time.

The timer for random encounters counts down, and when it reaches 0 enemies spawn. If you are on a path, it stays at 0 until you step on terrain that can spawn enemies.

The timer is set to 8 ticks upon exiting a side scrolling area. If you are standing on the overworld when it reaches 0, it resets to a new number of ticks. The number of ticks is based on what terrain you are standing on when the time encounter is spawned.

  • Grass, Swamp 32 Ticks
  • Desert, Forest 24 Ticks
  • Graveyard 9 Ticks
  • Lava 3 Ticks

The ticks are counted on a global timer, and every tick besides the first takes 21 frames. The first will be variable depending on where you are in the global timer when it starts counting down.

The step counter for random encounters counts up from 1 to 255, increasing by 16 each step. When it rolls over 255 it resets to 1 and monsters spawn. This means every 16 steps there will be an encounter spawn. Terrain does not affect steps-- the path also counts as a step, so if the 16th step is on a path, no encounter will spawn for that cycle. Resets to 1 upon exiting a side scrolling area.

In northwest Hyrule, the area around north palace and palace 1, the step counter isn't active and as such you can never get a step encounter there.

Save the Frames

In advance of this section of the comments, let me apologize. My notes are a bit rough, since I would periodically go back and fix things but I would not always update the frame counts. As such, please consider every number I list here as approximate.

Hammer Run

As usual, we start by collecting the hammer. However, the jump spell is skipped. This saves 5,073 frames. Some of that time is given back over the course of the run, as there are 3 situations where using jump would save time. It is far less than the time saved from skipping the spell.

The first place where jump would save time is, of course, the jump cave. 425 frames are lost getting the bat into position.

112 frames are lost refilling health in Saria. I attempted to do the hammer run without beam sword, but small amounts of time are lost from not having beamsword in almost every room. Overall, refilling is better. This means that so far, skipping jump has saved 4536 frames.

Compared with previous runs, more dairas are skipped during the hammer run. Only the ones that are directly blocking the path are killed. It is possible to skip all but the red daira at the bottom of the elevator, however the two oranges that are killed would have to be stunned twice, so very little time is given up killing them. This helps define the leveling strategy for this part of the run.

383 frames are saved taking a death at the hammer.

In total 4998 frames are saved during this section of the run.

Palace 1

In the past, palace 1 has been done after palace 2. However, in this case the leveling worked out in such a way that palace 1 needed to be first. We need to get to level 5 magic before palace 4.

While collecting downstab, fairy is used in stead of jump. This means a bit of extra walking. 536 frames are lost compared to what having jump would save. This means that so far, skipping jump has saved 4000 frames.

A small amount of time is lost to horsehead from having a lower sword level.

~700 frames are saved overall, though, from using up&a before the gem bonus in stead of after.

Palace 2

Palace 2 maximizes exp because having sword 2 in palace 3 would waste quite a bit of time.

169 frames are saved from taking a death at the glove.

77 frames are saved on helmethead from having sword 3.

671 frames are saved from using up&a before the gem bonus.

918 frames are saved in this section.

Palace 3

Some time is lost in this palace, since we need to slow down a bit to kill enough stuff to get to magic 5 in time.

137 frames are saved from taking a death at the raft

887 frames are saved from using up&a before the gem bonus.

Time is gained and lost throughout the palace because of enemies, however 80 is gained through the level route and other minor things.

1108 frames saved in total in this section.

The Kid & Reflect

Death is not used when collecting the kid, since the lizalfos takes too long to get in position.

33 frames are saved from better overworld manipulation in this section.

Palace 4

398 frames are saved here, almost exclusively from the leveling plan, but also from very minor optimizations.

Palace 5

We return to the old route of taking the flute first, then fighting gooma, then walking out to the river devil. The alternate route of fighting gooma first, then using up&a at the flute and walking from north palace winds up being slower in this case. The main reason the old route is faster is taking a death at the flute and not having to refill magic somehow winds up saving just enough time.

256 frames are saved in this section, though it is hard to directly compare with the old movie. This is probably entirely from the leveling strategy, with minor improvements and a slightly slower gooma from having sword 5 balancing out.

Palace 6

14 frames are saved from better overworld manipulation :O :O :O

All the leveling changes come to a head here, and we are forced to take a level which is not relevant to the route. Since no matter what happens, we have to take a level at the gem, some extra enemies are killed to have sword 6 in time for barba.

Some time is saved inside the palace from optimizations, most notably 63 frames from skipping one cast of fairy.

However, 29 frames are lost in this section overall.

Valley of Death

34 frames are saved from better overworld manipulation

Great Palace

Some time is saved from not needing to look at the menu for reflect or jump. However, time is lost picking up a red jar and the final room in the game where jump would save time.

91 frames lost here compared to what having jump would save. This means that total, skipping jump has saved 3909 frames.

Overall, 60 frames are lost in the Great Palace

So Yeah.

That's it. I hope you like watching video games done fast. I intend on recording a commentary track with a Z2 speedrunner or two, and will post that whenever I get to it. Hopefully a few days. Just want to get this sucker off my plate and submitted. I started working on this improvement Thursday, ‎March ‎07, ‎2013. So I'm glad it's over.

It's likely that the leveling plan and play isn't perfect yet. But for now, I am happy with the state of this run.

Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: Very nice. Accepting as an improvement to the published movie.

Spikestuff: Muffins.

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