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Submission #4548: JoshButro's SNES Q*Bert 3 in 1:02:59.19

Console: Super NES
Game name: Q*Bert 3
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Q-bert 3 (U) [!].smc
Emulator: Snes9x v1.53
Movie length: 1:02:59.19
FrameCount: 227125
Re-record count: 1166
Author's real name: Josh Buterbaugh
Author's nickname: JoshButro
Submitter: JoshButro
Submitted at: 2015-01-16 02:49:10
Text last edited at: 2015-02-05 14:25:33
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (6736 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Q*Bert 3 is the next puzzle game in this long running series starring Q*Bert, Coily and the rest of the bad guys. Q*Bert's objective is to jump around the board changing the color (paint) of each of the blocks into the final color, while multiple enemies chase him.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: SNES9x ver1.53
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Forgoes time-saving deaths
  • Manipulates enemy spawning
  • Contains speed/entertainment tradeoffs
  • Genre: Puzzle

About the game

Q*Bert 3 is a puzzle game in which Q*Bert jumps on the blocks to change their paint by the paint rule for that level. There are many different paint schemes, some more complex than others. The paint schemes are 1>2, 1>2>3, 1>2>1>2... 1>2>3>2>3..., and 1>2>3>1>2>3. These different paint schemes change the way a level is played.

Also in dealing with paint, a player has to take "polarity" into mind. Polarity is the term used for if a level is solvable as is or not. The only levels this applies to are the 1>2>3>1>2>3 paint scheme. There may become a point, where Q*Bert is standing on the last square to be painted, and can not complete the level. By jumping on an adjacent block, only changes the next block, and it will end up as the only block with Q*Bert standing on it. There are three ways to fix polarity: 1-Deathwarp, 2-Discs, 3-Sam/Slick. This run uses discs and Sam/Slick. To execute a polarity deathwarp, Q*Bert has to jump off the board from an even numbered row, most easily the second row. Discs can be used if jumped on from an odd number row, which may be harder to count during gameplay. Sam/Slick can be used in the easiest way if they jump on an odd number of blocks.

There are also different enemies and objects the can help or hinder Q*Bert. The first and simplest enemy is the Red Ball. It falls from top to bottom following a set path. Q*Bert just needs to dodge these. The main enemy in the game is Coily the snake. He starts as a purple ball that falls down to the bottom, then transforms into a snake and chases Q*Bert around the board. The only way to kill Coily is to have Q*Bert jump on a disc and Coily will follow and jump off the side of the board, which also clears all enemies (except for Frogg).

Frogg is a frog that jumps around the board following the movement of Q*Bert. He moves at half the speed Q*Bert does, so out running him is a good solution. The only way to kill Frogg is to have Q*Bert jump into him and die. After this, Frogg will reappear if Q*Bert jumps off the board.

The other major enemies in the game to deal with are Beacons, Ugg/Wrong Way, and Derby/Top Hat. The Beacon shoots small fast red balls like a cannon, these can be easily dodged. Ugg/Wrong Way travel across the board using the edges of squares as their surface. This can sometimes be difficult to tell exactly where they are. The Derby/Top Hat just jump between 4 or 2 squares, and can be timed to miss their movements.

Sam and Slick, the little green guys as everyone knows them by, can be the toughest enemies of the game sometimes.They change the paint of every block they land on, either 2>1, 3>2, or 1>2 which can help Q*Bert.

The only other items in the game that help Q*Bert are discs and freezeballs. The disc will transport Q*Bert to another part of the board and can be used to kill Coily. The freezeball does exactly what it says. It will freeze time and allow Q*Bert to continue playing, but all enemies are frozen, and Q*Bert can not be killed even if he jumps through an enemy. These two techniques are used extensively throughout the run.

Stage by Stage comments

Level 1 (Paint scheme 1>2)

This level is the easiest, and fastest to complete by not using discs. Also, backtracking the least amount of times saves jumps.

Level 2 (Paint scheme 1>2>3)

This level is pretty straightforward. Coily manipulation starts on this level. Based on how close Q*Bert is and when he jumped on the adjacent block will determine, if Coily continues on his path, or turns back to chase Q*Bert. The same manipulation is used with Frogg.

Level 3 (Paint scheme 1>2)

This level is the same as Level 1. Discs are used to minimize number of jumps.

Level 4 (Paint scheme 1>2>3)

A fairly simple level with heavy Frogg manipulation.

Level 5 (Paint scheme 1>2>1>2)

This level more Frogg manipulation, and also shows how much of a level that Sam/Slick could mess up a level if not caught.

Level 6 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>2>3)

This level is a combination of previous levels using the same techniques. This level also shows off how the jump on extra blocks while waiting for enemies to clear the path.

Level 7 (Paint scheme 1>2>1>2)

This level shows that any enemy can be jumped through using a freezeball. The Beacon has its block painted then repainted.

Level 8 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>2>3)

This level is pretty straightforward with Coily and Frogg manipulation.

Level 9 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>1>2>3)

This is the first level using the most complex paint scheme. Discs are used to change polarity and Sam/Slick are caught before they can change any paint.

Level 10 (Paint scheme 1>2)

The simple paint scheme returns, however the speed everything moves is ramped up. Also adding difficulty is the small size of the board requiring faster jumps to complete the stage and avoiding more enemies.

Level 11 (Paint scheme 1>2>3)

The speed from Level 10 is still there, but most screens are bigger, and are quicker to complete discless. Heavy Coily manipulation is used to have him follow Q*Bert around the board.

Level 12 (Paint scheme 1>2>1>2)

This level shows that the fastest way to get past the Top Hat is to wait. It has a set pattern and speed for jumping, and can be faster to wait for it to move, rather than take extra jumps and changing paint in the process.

Level 13 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>2>3)

This level is straight forward using previous techniques.

Level 14 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>1>2>3)

The complex paint scheme returns in this level. Sam/Slick polarity change is used more frequent in this level, and show it can be slower. However enemy spawn manipulation is used to ensure that the Sam/Slick spawns in the correct order. This can be done by changing when Coily is killed.

Level 15 (Paint scheme 1>2)

Another quick one paint level.

Level 16 (Paint scheme 1>2>3)

This level shows off very heavy Coily and Frogg manipulation. Their paths can be changed by the timing that Q*Bert jumps onto the adjacent block, and can be used if frame perfect to actually chase Coily around a circle.

Level 17 (Paint scheme 1>2>1>2)

This level shows more of the minimizing jumps to complete a screen.

Level 18 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>2>3)

Another level using previous techniques, and showing off how complex board layout can get.

Level 19 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>1>2>3)

This level shows how changing speed can affect Q*Bert after getting used to faster speed, this level changes speed to very slow which can throw off rhythm.

Level 20 (Paint scheme 1>2>3>1>2>3)

The final and most difficult level. All previous techniques are used to clear this level, with very heavy Coily and Frogg manipulation to maintain the run deathless.

Other comments

Coily and Frogg manipulation

As long as Q*Bert is onscreen with Coily and Frogg they will chase him. When Q*Bert jumps to an adjacent space and is more than 4 frames from jumping into the block that Coily is on before jumping to the next space, Coily will continue to jump forward and not turn around to chase Q*Bert. The same is true for Frogg. This can be abused to do frame perfect jumps to control Coily/Frogg in them continuing their path or turning around to jump into Q*Bert. This is used very heavily in the run to control their path and dodge them.

Enemy/item spawn manipulation

This is done to control which enemy spawn and to control when and where a Sam/Slick will spawn. The spawn order are in a set pattern, however it can be affected. The way enemy spawns works is this: The spawn order is a set order, and the blocks that enemies drop onto is set. So if the order is 1-Red Ball on the left, 2-Sam on the right, 3-Red Ball on the left, 4-Freezeball on the right, 5-X enemy on the left. I can affect this by killing Coily between spawn 1 and 2. Coily regenerating takes priority over all spawn order. So if 1-Red ball spawns and Coily is immediately killed. His respawn is given priority in the order but the order of the blocks remains the same. So the spawn order becomes: 1-Red Ball on the left, Coily is killed. 2-Coily spawns on the right, 3-Sam spawns on the left, and 4-Red Ball on the right, 5-Freezeball on the left. So if we made Coily jump off the board on the left, we have set ourselves up for Coily to spawn on the right, and a Sam and Freezeball to spawn on the left, making those easier to catch.


As described, polarity affects any 1>2>3>1>2>3 paint scheme. There are a few ways to change polarity, with Sam/Slick and Disc being used in this run. Deathwarp can be used the easiest as the only #2 paint square can be set to an even number row (preferrably row 2), and jumping off the board, then when Q*Bert is reset at the board starting square, all he has to do is take one jump and paint the last square. Disc polarity only works if it is an odd number of squares away, because polarity is thought of in 2 block pairs. Bouncing back and forth between two block cycles them through the paint colors on the same phase. To change phase an odd number has to be introduced, done by even number disc warp (because you land on the odd square where the disc drops you off), or an odd number Sam/Slick as they only change one, three, five, etc odd number blocks.

This movie can be improved by using deathwarps on 1>2>3>1>2>3 screens as that is faster than waiting for the Sam/Slick, plus a death also resets the timer for enemy spawning. A few screens can probably be completed faster by waiting for Derby/Top Hat, or possibly by killing them. A death only takes approximately 3 seconds to reset Q*Bert, and also affects enemy spawns.

Thanks goes to a few players that helped with some routing: Yogidamonk and Absnerdity. They also played through this game, and i studied their videos and saw some better routing and tweaked what they had made to make an even more optimal path. Thanks also to the help I received in the forums, and all the new people i have interested in this game.

Screenshot at frame 174794 shows how Frogg and Coily are looking the way I just jumped from and they follow my path as i am behind them chasing them, instead of those two chasing Q*Bert for a change.

Nach: Judging.

Nach: Replaced movie file, as discussed in thread.

Nach: Unfortunately this movie has not seen much scrutiny from the viewers. My feeling is that some level strategies can be improved further, but nothing jumps out at me at being highly noticeable that should prevent publication. Lukewarm audience response (if any), accepting to vault.

feos: Processing...

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