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

Submission #4773: Doc Skellington's GBA Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories in 1:19:09.77

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Kingdom Hearts - Chain of Memories (U).gba
Branch:
Emulator: VisualBoyAdvance v24 svn480
Movie length: 1:19:09.77
FrameCount: 283692
Re-record count: 47197
Author's real name: Staquet
Author's nickname: Doc Skellington
Submitter: Doc Skellington
Submitted at: 2015-07-24 12:04:18
Text last edited at: 2015-08-13 12:02:57
Text last edited by: Doc Skellington
Download: Download (18578 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is the second instalment of the Kingdom Hearts saga. This game is about a boy looking for an other boy but also about memories, hearts (love, friendship and so on), saving Pooh and killing some annoying guys (and one girl). For the rest ? I... I'm... I can't remember...

Game Objectives

  • Emulator used: Visual Boy Advance v24 svn480
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Heavy luck manipulation


(Link to video)
Please, note that the credits are removed because of copyright on Simple and Clean.

Comments

This TAS beats the game an hour earlier than the current RTA run.

RNG

The address is 0x02034030 (4-bytes data). RNG determines a lot of things in this game : enemies' pattern (including bosses), the number and the kind(s) of the Heartless, objects on the exploration field (they can drop cards, Moogle Points or HP), rooms' generation and map cards.

The RNG rolls once each time :

  • Sora jumps,
  • Sora breaks an object,
  • Sora hits a door,
  • A bubble (of EXP, HP or Moogle Points) or a card bounce on the ground.

The RNG rolls many times each time :

  • Sora starts a battle,
  • a room is creating,
  • an Heartless moves,
  • shining particles pop (they appear when you buy a Premium card by the Moggles).

Rooms' generation has specific rules : with the same RNG and the same card, the room you create is different at each frame. This is used to get the fastest way possible trough the world.

Exploration

The game is subdivided in 13 worlds. Each world has many rooms (the number depends on the floor). You get the cards that allow to create this worlds (except for Castle Oblivion) during the run.

To create a room you must use a map card. If you use a card 1 on a door, all the doors to get out of the new room will ask 2 (or more). If you use a 2, you will have to use a 3, and so on. If you use a 9, you still must use a 9. Using a 0 card reset this counter which starts again at 1. The room created depends on which card you use, e.g. a Moment's Reprieve will create a room with a save point, a Teeming Darkness will create a big room with a lot of Heartless, a Sleeping Room will create one with 2 or 3 sleeping Heartless. There are special rooms, usually 4 per floor : Room of Beginnings, Room of Guidance, Room of Truth and Hidden Chamber. They need a special card and some other cards. The 3 first are related to world's story. Hidden Chambers contain sleights or cards (attack, magic and Enemy) and any of them won't be opened.

Touching a Heartless triggers a battle. Each time you win a battle, you earn a map card (except if you have already 99 map cards).

Battles

Sora has 5 types of cards :
  • Attack : basically a hit made with the Keyblade. The ones used in this TAS are Kingdom Key, Lady Luck, Three Wishes, Divine Rose and Crabclaw.
  • Magic : Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, Cure, Gravity, Stop and Aero
    • Summon : Simba, Genie, Bambi, Dumbo, Tinker Bell, Mushu and Cloud
  • Item : instantly reload cards (attacks for Potion, Magic for Ether and both for Elixir). The first versions only reload cards that can be reloaded normally (so, not the first card of the Sleight for example). The further versions reload all cards and some resets the reloading counter.
  • Enemy : (almost) each time you defeat a boss, you receive his/her/its enemy card. The ones used in this TAS will be explained when they're got.

During some boss' fights, if you cardbreak him/her/it, you'll get the Gimmick Card (aka Trick Card). It will trigger an effect that makes the battle easier for some seconds.

Cardbreaks

Each card has a value written in the lower right corner. If anyone uses a higher value card, a cardbreak will occur stopping your attack and letting you defenceless (you can't move or attack until the animation is over... Actually, you can attack two frames earlier than the visual end). Of course, it's the same for the enemies.

A 0 card can break any other cards and sleights but it can be broken by any other card, so it's useful and dangerous at the same time.

Attack cards

Each attack card has specific value of damage and speed. The damage dealt depends on the animation : Strike, Thrust and Finish.

For information, here are the damage dealt by the used Keyblades (Strike/Thrust/Finish):

  • Kingdom Key : 10/10/15
  • Three Wishes : 20/10/30
  • Lady Luck : 20/20/10
  • Crabclaw : 15/15/35
  • Divine Rose : 35/10/20

As you can see, some cards must be used for a particular animation to be really useful (e.g. Crabclaw is only powerful when used for a finish move).

Sleights

You can stock up to three cards to create a sleight. The value of this sleight is the sum of the 2 or 3 cards. If you fulfil some conditions, you'll have a Sleight (I mean, a special attack), e.g. a sleight with 3 attack card of the same type with a sum between 10 and 15 is Sliding Dash, 3 Cloud cards are Omnislash, and so on. Of course, you need to have learned the sleight to be able to use it. The first of the 2 or 3 cards can't be reload (except with some item cards, such as Hi-Potion).

Leveling

Unfortunately for a TAS, getting a level up heals Sora. The game is finished with a 42 level, 41 CP bonuses and 1 HP bonus. You can also learn new sleights but they are useless here.

Worlds

Here we go ! But first, a long cutscene.

Traverse Town : 93557 frames

Basically, the tutorial and farming world. Marlu... An unknown member of the Organization explains how to use cards and how to move.

Donald's attacks are directly into Marluxia which has 2240 HP (he can't be beaten of course). When you have to press L and R to roll the deck, firing L and R at the same time is faster. Using the first two animations of a combo (Strike and Thrust) are faster than a complete combo because you have to empty the deck.

The aim in this world is to get enough card to do the first part of the game. Unfortunately, we can't get a Blue card. I also had to get 6 Blizzard cards, a lot of Moggle Points (for later), 2 Blue Rhapsody and 1 Red Nocturne. Blue Rhapsody/Red Nocturne card's effect is Blizzard/Fire Boost which improves damage done by Blizzard/Fire by 50% but it disappears after a reload.

Traverse Town is optimal to farm because it's the only world where you can fight just 3 Shadows. You can't find them in a Temming Darkness room but this one improves enemy cards' drop, so I used 2 of them in this farming session. I finish this world with around 70 map cards.

The second tutorial (the Room of Beginning) introduces a new card (Simba). Having a new card reduces the luck to get a Blizzard, so it's done only at the end (when farming session is almost over).

And then, the first boss : Guard Armor : 200 HP but it has 2 gauntlets and 2 hammerlegs to destroy : each has 200 HP. Using Blizzaga with Blizzard Boost deals 97 HP and it can touch the four parts with a single attack. So, in 2 Blizzaga and 2 hits of Keyblade, the Guard Armor itself can be destroyed (also by Blizzaga and Keyblade's hits).

Normally, it's faster to appear at the top of the ladder but I need to manipulate the next boss, Axel (because he teleports around the battle field) and, with that data, it's faster to climb the ladder.

Second and first Organization boss : Axel : 320 HP. As I said, he moves only by teleportation and he does that very often, so I have to make him go where I want (inside a Blizzaga, for example). Two Blizzaga and he's done. We get the Fire card.

Olympus Coliseum : 10537 frames

As for Traverse Town, I manipulated luck to get the fastest battles possible. I still have to get some cards because I need blue ones to open some doors (and they open easy rooms). I also wanted to use as less attacks as possible. So, sometimes I had to wait to kill many enemies with a single blizzaga (enemies usually don't pop during a Sleight). The Calm Bounty room contains a sleight : Blizzard Raid : Sora throws his Keyblade with Blizzard effect (it's basically a magic version of Diskobolos, if you've played Kingdom Hearts).

Mid-Boss : Cloud : 274 HP. 2 Blizzagas with the boost and some Keyblade's hits are enough to kill him. We get the Hi-Potion card which allows to reload all cards.

I didn't immediately slam the door because I needed the change Hades' pattern (by rolling the RNG), so I used a Heartless but it had to appear on the field. I changed the positions of Blizzard Cards to be able to use Blizzard Raid faster.

Boss : Hades : 439 HP. This battle might be faster if Hades didn't move so much (but I couldn't get better because of the RNG). Blizzard Raid has the capacity of dealing damage each time it's possible as long as the keyblade touchs the sprite (so touching an enemy when the Keyblade starts to go back to Sora is really useful). We get the Hades Card, a really really really powerful card for a speedrun/TAS : its effect is called Berserk : Doubles the power of attack cards when low on HP (when the gauge is flashing red).

Wonderland : 15807 frames

Crescendo can be meet in this world... And they have a good enemy card : Summon Boost : Disables use of magic cards to power up summon cards. As you can imagine, this asked a heavy luck manipulation to get it as fast as possible. I still got some map cards on the road.

Mid-boss : Cards Soldier : really weak enemies. Using Blizzard Raid is the fastest strat. We get the Card Soldier card (yes, it's a card) : Attack Haste : Increases the speed of attack cards.

Trickmaster is really slow to attack but I needed to get Berserk. So, I used some enemies.

Boss : Trickmaster : 597 HP : He is too high to get hit by Blizzaga or Blizzard Raid, so Keyblade is needed here (along with Berserk, of course).

Agrabah : 17844 frames

Mid-boss : a simple group of enemies. We get the Ether card : quickly reloads magic cards with no charge time required. It does not work on cards that cannot be reloaded.

And here comes a heavy luck manipulation : Moggle Shop. 10 Lady Luck, 5 Three Wishes, 5 Fires and 5 Cloud must be found. Premium cards have some shining particles that make the RNG rolls three times. The content is the same for all packages of the same price.

Once it's done, I could create a new deck with Lady Luck, Three Wishes, Cloud, Blizzard, Hi-Potion, Blue Rhapsody, Card Soldier and Hades.

Boss : Jafar : 646 HP : Only Iago can be touched. Berserk is once again used.

Monstro : 21606 frames

Calm Bounty room contains Fire Raid (the same thing as Blizzard Raid but for Fire).

Boss : Parasitecage : 764 HP. The ground of the battlefield is acid and it damages Sora after some frames but it doesn't hit him enough to start the "hit animation". So, it can be used to stop combo and attack faster (especially with Attack Haste).

Before continuing, I added Fire and Red Nocturne cards to the deck.

Mini-game : Kill Heartless as fast as possible ! And what's better than Fire and Blizzard Raids ?

Hallowen Town : 19492 frames

Nothing to say about the exploration part.

Boss : Oogie Boogie : 744 HP. The fastest way to hit him is cardbreaking him and get the Gimmick Card, that drops the metal wall. If you use only the two first hits of a combo, you can kill Oogie in one cycle.

Boss : Larxene : 1120 HP : simply attacking with the Keyblade.

Traverse Town 2 : 21743 frames

Basically, a farming session with Blizzaga. I got 25 cards (+ the ones used to create rooms) and it's all I needed. From that moment on, it's going to be boss rush.

Hollow Bastion : 11907 frames

So, I ran to the boss BUT I need to get stronger attack cards : 6 Divine Rose (I need only 5 but I preferred avoiding low values and I couldn't get a high value card sooner).

Boss : Maleficent (Dragon) : 951 HP. Berserk is once again used. We get Maleficent Card : Overdrive : Sacrifices reload speed to power up attack cards.

Boss : Riku Replica I : 1120 HP. A new deck is created with only Cloud cards because Omnislash is the fastest way to kill him (+ a combo).

Atlantica : 11430 frames

Here we needed 5 Crabclaw (I took 6 to avoid low values). And a new deck : 5 x (Divine Rose + Lady Luck + Crabclaw), 3x Blizzard, 6x Fire, 3x Blizzard, 1x Hi-Potion, 1x Ether, Red Nocture, 2x Blue Rhapsody, Maleficent, Hades.

Boss : Ursula : 673 HP : Overdrive is used because Ursula deals too much damage to Sora and would kill the Keyblade Barrier.

Boss : Riku Replica II : 1120 HP : Nothing to say.

Neverland : 8425 frames

Nothing to say about the exploration part (just luck manipulation).

Boss : Captain Hook : 712 HP. He is weak against Fire, so let's use Fire Raids !

100 Acres Wood : 5212 frames

Probably the most interesting world ! Nothing to do !

Boss : Vexen I : 1120 HP : He is weak against Fire, too. I manipulated him by making him attack (he doesn't move while he attacks).

Twilight Town : 8939 frames

Guess what I'm going to say ? Nothing to say !

Boss : Vexen II : 1120 HP : it looks a lot like the previous battle.

Boss : Riku Replica III : 1120 HP : He's getting more and more aggressive, but still killed by Omnislash.

Destiny Islands : 17505 frames

3 boss in a single world !

Boss : Darkside : 1914 HP : Overdrive is used while taking damage to get Berserk. When it smashes its hand on the ground, if you let its attack go (no cardbreak), you'll be able to attack it many times.

Deck modification : I deleted the Fire cards and added 3 cards of value 0 (to cardbreak the enemies).

Boss : Riku Replica IV : 1680 HP : This time, Omnislash is a lot slower than Berserk... So, I took damage and I killed Riku (with, of course, a lot of manipulation).

Boss : Larxene II : 1680 HP : One word : Berserk !

Castle Oblivion : 20075 frames

The final world !

Boss : Axel II : 1680 HP : Blizzard Raids ! And some cardbreaks to manipulate him (and prevents him from teleportating).

Boss : Marluxia : 2240 HP : He is really weak against physical attacks (with berserk, a combo deals 270 HP instead of 180). For the first (and last) time, I took a HP bonus (Sora has now 95 HP).

Boss : Marluxia II : 2237 HP but he has 2 scythes to break first (each has 660 HP). Using the "swing" attack has the advantage of touching both at the same time (so, it's a lot faster). To be able to hit Marluxia you must cardbreak him. Some flowers-drones will appear ; when they attack, each of them deals 40 HP (so 80 HP isn't enough to get Berserk). I couldn't get one cycle because I don't deal enough damage (and it would be too long to get stronger cards). When he flies with his Nobody/Machine, it's faster to fall on the floor.

Now, the game is over (just some cutscenes to skip).

Thanks and final word

Special thanks to Ghostwheel, the WR speedrunner of this game, for his support and route planning, FatRatKnight for his LUA scripts, Spikestuff for the temporary encode. Thank to the khwiki.net for bosse's HP and some descriptions used in this submission. I also thank everyone who supported me.

And of course, Thank Namine !

I think this movie can be improved for some parts but this will change the RNG... And it's the better I could get, so to be really faster (I mean, more than one or two seconds), we would need a complete different route planning.

Fading memories... Reconstructed memories... And a dream of you - A dream of you in a world without you.


ars4326: Claimed for judging!

ars4326: Hello, Doc. Impressive work routing out this run! The submission notes were also very useful in explaining strategies and understanding how the game handles RNG. As mentioned in the thread, the initial farming at the beginning was more on the repetitive side. However, the pace quickly picked up afterward with the faster trek through the remaining worlds, including the tactically optimized boss fights. Nice work, all around!

Accepting for publication to Moons!

Spikestuff: Publishing.


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