Here comes a bunch of info about a game that very few people have heard of or played (or will ever play for that matter). Rex must save his girlfriend Rexanne and the rest of his dinosaur buds (which you kill a lot of...) from the evil wizard Sethron. I'm really not sure what Sethron's goals are but he must die nonetheless. Needless to say, things in this game like to 1 hit kill you. These are the things that will instantly kill you: Lava, Spikes, Acid Water, Tentacles, Smashers, Spikes that shouldn't be spikes, those Leapsnakes if you dont press anything when they eat you, those underwater plants in the Forest levels, and.. I think that's about it.
Takes damage to save time
Emulator: BizHawk-1.8.1 (should sync on anything after that as well as I switched to TAStudio at some point).
Plays on the Hard difficulty (more explained on this later)
Colors a dinosaur! ... When you char their asses with your super cool firebreath (or super hot I guess).
So I'll start off talking about how speed is handled in this game, which is quite the reason why it was much harder to optimize than I originally thought. Your max speed when casually strolling along the ground is 2 + 0/256 (or just 2). However, when you jump your speed decides to go on a cycle for whatever reason, which is this pattern: 1+240/256, 1+224/256, 1+208/256, 1+192/256, 1+240/256, 1+224/256, etc etc. This means that jumping or anything that requires airtime is usually slower than walking but the game forces you to make quite a lot of jumps. Luckily a trick exists to cut down on this some. Every time you use your flame ability it freezes your subspeed value for one extra frame, so by pressing Y every other frame (the button for your flame) Your speed in the air looks like this instead: 1+240/256, 1+240/256, 1+224/256, 1+224/256,.. etc. Doing this gives you more of the higher velocities and less of the lower ones. This also comes in very handy for slopes where you can preserve your momentum twice as long as it would last otherwise, which makes for some interesting sections. When landing on uphill slopes it puts your speed on an awkward cycle, so by turning left or right for one frame, your speed is back on it's normal track. You'll see me turning around for 1 frame a lot for this reason.
This was explained just above, but I'll do a quick summary. Using the flame powerup extends your speed value for 1 extra frame, so in essence it lengthens your deceleration period so that you maintain the boost from slopes longer. This is used just about everywhere there's a slope or movement speed boost.
Through the floor
This is only possible in one level sadly. In the first Swamp level, the swing is setup just in the right position so that I can get a high velocity and travel at the right angle and Rex just ignores the slope.
Also only used in the first swamp level. Having the exact right angle and speed when releasing from this swing you can get 1 frame of Rex standing on the side of a tree. That's just enough to jump up and over it and skipping about half of the level.
This is only possible in the Inner Works levels. Using roar (which requires you to have 0 xspeed by the way) just as you're about to get a movement boost, you maintain that speed until your roar animation is over. Also you're invulnerable during a roar so you can slide right past enemies. This is only useful for the first innerworks level however, as I need the roar powerups for the boss in the second one.
Gotta give credit to Omnigamer for finding this one, as it's pretty useful for bosses. It turns out taking damage resets your "can shoot flame" flag, even underwater which doesn't stun you when taking damage. And when your original flame ends it resets it yet again, so you can just keep on shooting multiple flames. That allows for setting up triple flame to kill the bosses much quicker.
In the inner works levels you can jump on the same frame as getting a boost from the bouncy things which allows for some quicker sections, but only in the second inner works level. There's nowhere it's useful in the first one.
Dino graveyard 2 boss skip
Also found by Omnigamer. By kicking into him when taking damage from him it somehow makes it possible to just damage boost right through him to the exit.
Now before I go on to the level by level commentary, I'll explain what the Hard mode of this game does. First and foremost it adds about twice as many enemies in some levels as the other difficulties. You also take slightly more damage, and enemies have slightly more hp. Bosses hp values remain the same however. Then there's the powerup differences. Certain items are in different locations, such as the flame powerups that are needed to increase damage on the bosses. Apparently there are also less checkpoints, but that's irrelevant for a TAS anyway as killing yourself has no rewards.
Moving on to the levels:
Max speed when on a skateboard is 8+0/256. Jumping at the right time on the first skateboard allows me to keep a higher speed than just riding over the ramp normally. Pressing r releases the skateboard and your speed immediately drops to 5+0/256. The skateboard continues on for a little ways and can actually damage enemies. That's useful later on. I grab the projectile flame ability here because it allows me to kill enemies without actually jumping, and from a distance so I can avoid taking damage or waiting. The large dinosaur enemy (called a Bossasaur) that's just a head sticking up from the ground can be manipulated to do a certain animation so that I can jump over him. If he ends up spitting at me too early there's no way to cleanly jump over him. So I use the flame attack to manipulate him to not do that. The last enemy is also manipulated in this way. On the last skateboard section it's necessary to lose a slight amount of speed so that Rex notices the slopes in order to gain speed from them. Rex likes to not want to go down slopes and instead fly off the top of them, so some adjustment is needed.
Jumping on the right frame into the log initiates the auto slide sequence a few frames faster than just walking into it. Abused the momentum using the flame trick here. I found that with the right speed you can use one of the swings to actually project Rex fast enough and at the exact right angle so that it doesn't recognize the slope and he passes right through it. This prevents all the tedious stuff down below. In this same section I take damage from the bee so that it prevents the dazed animation from falling too far. That animation is quite a bit longer than the damaged animation, and luckily the damaged animation cancels your vertical speed. I used the swing at the bottom only because it's possible to get a double boost from the slope further in the level. When you get Rex to notice that slope (which was annoying), it's possible to preserve enough speed for him to get the max boost at the bottom of the slope. Slopes only give you that boost when they are connected to the ground however. Next up I use the tree clip to skip nearly half of the level.
Inner Works 1
These are the best stages in the game and I wish there were more of them. Every little bump in the ground can give you a momentum boost, though it's not always possible to use them. For one thing there are tons of enemies in these levels and they are often right on top of them. First trick worth noting, that Omnigamer pointed out in his RTA runs, is that landing on the ground just as you're entering one of the tubes allows you a 2 frame window to jump when exiting it. This allows you to just jump straight up to the other tube. After exiting said other tube, I found that you can turn around for just a few frames and bypass bouncing off the wall. I waste a couple of frames to grab a roar powerup, but it will more than make up for it just a little ways into the level. Using Roar as you're about to be boosted from the bouncy things you maintain the initial boost speed until the roar animation is over. Which means you have a speed of 5+0/256 for every frame that you have the roar animation. Also you're invincible during a roar, so I bypass the amoeba later on when I do this trick a second time. You can manipulate that amoeba to be out of the way entirely but I like to leave it in the way for emphasis on the trick. The bird at the end can't be avoided or killed without losing time (at least that I could find) so I just opt to take damage from him so he doesn't interrupt my jump to the exit sign.
Dino Graveyard 1
In this level, dinosaur skeletons can float in the air apparently. I take damage from the ball of bones and meat (or whatever it is, the manual doesn't have it listed as an enemy) so that I can kill the scorpion faster and use him to take a small shortcut. The Zomb-T-Rexes can only be killed by kicking them and in this instance it's actually faster to jump over him. I take a couple routes that avoid using the elevators because it actually ends up being faster. In the end I was about 90 or so frames away from completely beating the wind cycle, but unless there's a way to save that much time from a trick I don't know about, I doubt it's possible to beat it. I used a bouncing bone to damage boost up onto a ledge which allows me to reach the elevator faster than going left. Other than that the level is pretty straight forward, using momentum boosts and killing pterosaurs when necessary.
Yay water levels, and two of them back to back. These are the most boring levels of the game in my opinion as swimming is generally not very exciting. That and the fact that while swimming your firebreath is nothing but bubbles that do 0 damage to enemies. They do however knock back fish and stuff so there're a couple of places that's useful. Jumping so that you have just the right momentum when landing in the water delays the splash by a few pixels, which saves a few frames each time. At certain points I take damage on purpose to setup a double flame to kill an enemy faster when coming out of the water. Also to note, blowing bubbles underwater does use up your air supply which I found out the hard way when trying to maintain a double flame for a long time. Some erratic movements you might notice are probably because I'm avoiding those certain fish that breath air into you or suck air out of you if you run into them. And that wastes a lot of time. The last skateboard part, it's surprisingly faster to jump onto the mushroom and use a rex only speed boost from the slope. I'm guessing it's faster because the skateboard actually slows down when it goes up there. I set up triple flame by taking damage from those exploding shells, which allows me to hit the boss 3 times per jump. The boss is invincible when he has that white aura thing circling him. With triple flame he's killed in one cycle anyway.
Not much different for this level, more boring swimming. I come to the surface at one point to refill my air supply rather than using the fish which takes forever. I forgot to mention that the walls when swimming are kind of deceptive in that they extend beyond their textures. That's why it might seem like I'm swimming so far away from them sometimes. I wait until the last water section to finish setting up the triple flame because it's impossible to make that large gap jump while maintaining a triple flame anyway. I had to take damage on the boss to ensure I made it onto the platform that spawned. It might be possible to not need to take damage but I couldn't find any pattern that would allow it.
Dino Graveyard 2
More momentum boosting here from the sloped skeletons. At the first section it seems like I miss a jump, but actually it's the only way I can kill that jumping bone and get the full benefit from the next slope as well. The rest of the level is self-explanatory until the boss. By kicking into him when taking damage from him it somehow makes it possible to just damage boost right through him to the exit.
Inner Works 2
This is where a new trick was discovered that I found wasn't useful in the first inner works level. You can jump on the same frame that you get a momentum boost from those lumps in the ground. You'll see it on the first boost in this level. Shooting amoebas is only used when it doesn't cause lag splitting them, otherwise they are just manipulated to be out of the way. I get all the flame powerups so that I can one-cycle the boss here as well, and don't have to wait on additional rising bubbles to be able to reach him. After the boss, instead of waiting on the bubbles I use the Jump Bounce trick to reach the exit instead.
Nothing radically interesting about this level. At one point it might seem like I miss an opportunity to gain another slide boost by my momentum by then is so high that using the slide actually slows me down. And seeing that that particular slope isn't connected to the ground there is no boost at the bottom and it's better to just avoid the slope. The Burster enemies can be manipulated to spew a certain pattern to where I can just walk right by without taking damage. Sadly wasn't possible to 1-cycle the boss even with full flame powerups. I say 1-cycle but I mean before the longer period before he reopens.
And the final level is here. Using X, which does a special attack but does weird thing with your speed, I can make sure that I have a higher speed value than I would by just jumping normally. This is also useful later on so that I can avoid fireballs which were usually right in the way. There is one skateboard section that I believe they put the wall too far down. By letting go of left for some reason Rex stops in place but still triggers the loop, which starts where he stops. This saves about 5 frames and causes Rex to ride on the air instead of the loop. I have to wait for the spikosaur to stand up in order to get one of the flame powerups because he has a larger stunbox and it's the only way to get enough height. Setup double flame right before the boss, which is manipulated to stay in place. Even so he can't be 1-cycled, so an invulnerable period has to take place.
And with that Radical Rex is complete and you can enjoy the super anticlimactic ending with no credits whatsoever. I assume there are still improvements based on the way the game handles movement speed. The biggest area there might be a timesaver is on Swamp 2, where getting 4 flame powerups might be faster than getting full flame because one of the powerups is completely out of the way.
Omnigamer, who does RTA runs of the game. He discovered quite a few of the tricks that I used in this TAS and made it much easier to research the game, considering he already did a lot of it. You should check out his RTA runs, because this game in real time is quite a nightmare.
Anyone that even remotely followed progress or showed some kind of interest in this game.
: Good audience response to the run. Accepting for Moons.