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

Submission #4905: WarHippy & Spikestuff's SNES Eek! The Cat in 18:43.5

Console: Super NES
Game name: Eek! The Cat
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Eek! The Cat (US).sfc
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 1.11.3
Movie length: 18:43.5
FrameCount: 67521
Re-record count: (unknown)
Author's real name: Scott & Adam Stamatakos
Author's nickname: WarHippy & Spikestuff
Submitter: WarHippy
Submitted at: 2015-11-11 05:51:56
Text last edited at: 2015-11-16 13:29:33
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (10872 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Eek! The Cat is a puzzle/adventure game based on the old cartoon series of the same name. Your goal is to kick and shove an NPC to the exit of each level while avoiding enemies and obstacles, and all to the tune of some sweet music. So sit back, relax, and let the fun begin!

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.11.3
  • Fastest Completion Time
  • Uses Hardest difficulty
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Bashes the elderly with an Orangutan

Comments

Eek! The Cat is a unanimous flop by critics. With terrible controls and a bad physics engine, you end up getting hurt just as often as your average cartoon cat. But with the help of TAS, guiding grandma back to safety has never been so smooth. This whole run was created using the TAS Studio tool in BizHawk.

Character Movement

LEFT and RIGHT move the cat - Everything is based off of momentum in this game, so you start off slow and then build up into great speeds. It also does not matter which direction the character is facing when you're pushing them to gain speed. UP and DOWN have no effect unless you're in Water, in Bat form, or getting out of a handhold B is Jump - the longer you hold it the higher you will jump A is used to kick the NPC while you are pushing them from behind, or it will push the character away if they are facing you Y is your attack - it's almost exclusively to reduce Eek's momentum after running or falling off a ledge X switches the position of the NPC and Eek - this can only be used while both characters are standing still and facing each other
The reason that this game is normally so hard is that you cannot turn around in midair. You can, however, hold the opposite direction or use your attack to reduce your momentum and the length of your jump or fall.

If you go over an edge while sliding, then you will be stuck in the classic animation in which you look down and realize in surprise that there's no ground underneath you. If you get hit during this animation, then you will immediately recover and be able to move again.

Beginning with chapter 2 there will be spots where the gaps are relatively small (and have red handholds in them). If you run over the edge of these gaps, then you will fall into them and make a bridge for the NPC to cross over.

NPC's will move on their own, lemmings style, when they're not supervised

There is no time limit for a level, but the NPC's health will decrease by a slight amount as they run into a wall to turn around. This becomes a major hindrance to work around in later levels as health management becomes very important.

You get a different character to guide at the beginning of each chapter.

Stage by stage comments

Misereek (Chapter One - 3 parts)

Part 1:

A nice, quick level. The orangutan at the end will send the character flying whichever direction it's facing. It is possible to get to him a few frames faster, but they would just be idled away waiting for the right positioning of the monkey.

Part 2:

This is where I learned a lot about character movement. You have to turn your character around quite often in this level. I also had to figure out how to kill a porcupine with a salmon.

Part 3:

The first play-around section while waiting for the barrel. The NPC's will die if they get neck deep in water. Later in the level I had to stop for a few frames to dodge a coconut, but that's about it.

Eek! vs. The Flying Saucers (Chapter Two - 3 parts)

Part 1:

The character for this chapter is an Alien Cow Pig. This is the first stage where I discovered the disappointment of finding improvements only to have them lost by unlucky enemy movements later on. Specifically, the second to last alien right before the transporter was just awful. I spent hours trying to find ways to to get past him faster, but to no avail. The aliens and drones in this chapter all start firing their lasers based almost entirely on your x position. As long as they're on the screen and facing your general direction they will fire if you even hint at going near them, and their weapons stay out for a long time.

I discovered in later levels that no two lasers are alike. The invisible hit boxes on them are shifted towards you based on where the game designers thought you would approach them from, so it may look like I'm not being terribly precise when avoiding some of them, but I assure you I clip it as close as possible.

Part 2:

Now this level was interesting. First, we start off with the circling platforms of doom. The goal was to push the alien cow pig as close to the transporter as possible, so that when the switch is flipped she will be transported up right away. The difficult part was that there was no way of telling how close she was to the transporter when the switch was flipped, and the moving platforms meant that the entire section had to be re-done every time I wanted to move the NPC a few more pixels.

There was freedom of movement on the second half of the stage as the NPC did not need to be dragged along

Part 3:

A small delay in the beginning to wait for the laser beam in the doorway to go away. More bubbles!

Halloweek! (Chapter Three - 4 parts)

Part 1:

Now I'm accompanied by a spooky walking egg. Very short level. The stalactites won't fall down until something moves under them. Hours were spent trying to improve the last part of this level, but simply waiting there is the fastest way.

Part 2:

This level was the bane of my whole TAS. I spent a week getting this level just right, but a new route forced me to re-do the whole thing again. At the beginning you have to wait for the water level to drop before moving on. It is possible to get past all of the water before it rises, but doing so costs about a 1/3 of your health. As a result, you have to go back and rescue the egg before you touch the candle or else its health will run out and you'll lose. By not sacrificing any health in the beginning I'm able to complete the whole level and take a much shorter route back to the egg.

Part 3:

The one nice thing about these caves is that I can use the walls and ceilings to control my momentum. After I get passed the first ?dragon have to let the egg get hit by the stalactite. If I keep pushing it to the edge so that it dodges the stalactite, then it will move to far ahead of me at the very end. I would have to sacrifice several seconds to retrieve it. I also abuse two programming glitches in a row on the bottom platform with the ?dragon. The first is that I get hit by the fireball while sliding off the edge which lets me recover instantly from being hit. The second is a bit stranger. If you're pushing a character and you slow down and change direction, then the NPC is still considered connected to you for the frame that you turn around. If you also happen to start pushing another object on that same frame, then the NPC will be dragged along with you regardless of the direction you're facing. This was faster than pushing the barrel and then going back to retrieve the egg.

Part 4:

Back outside among the treetops. This level is fairly straightforward. I only have to pause a few frames to dodge the moving sparkles in the middle of the level.

Bearz 'n The Hood (Chapter 4 - 3 Parts)

Part 1:

I guess I have to guide a lost, sickly green bear through the city. Right off the bat the timing to get Eek and the Bear through the trash can cat was super tight. You also have to close the hatch on the roof that he lands on or else any character that walks into it will be unceremoniously dropped down. I slowed down on the rooftop right before dropping the bear down the elevator shaft because there's a pole at that spot that will hurl you backwards if you run into it too hard. No time lost, though, since you need to wait for the elevator to move back up, anyways.

Part 2:

The clothe lines are quite the hassle. You have to space the timing between both characters trampolining off of it. If you try to land on it too soon after the bear jumps off of it, then you will just fall right through.

Part 3:

You start off at the exit of this stage, and you need to go retrieve the policeman and bring him all the way back. The policeman can't be knocked out until he's tried to attack you once, so I run right past him and smack him with a salmon the frame that he hits the ground. Lots of solid parkour action to be had. Lots of time lost, though, waiting for the barrel at the end.

It's A Wonderful Nine Lives (Chapter 5, 4 parts)

Part 1:

Your new companion is a Gift Box. It is much smaller, and it moves faster than the other characters. We also move to a classic cartoon setting - the construction site. Similar to the stalactites in the caves, the 10 ton weights won't drop until something gets underneath them. The only difference is that there is never enough clearance (in this entire chapter) to simply run past them with the box in front.

Part 2:

The wind turbine in this level is so frustrating. The box has to be moving into it from the right-hand side in order for it to be deposited on the upper level. I try and do it as fast as possible, but the delay causes me to miss the elevator right afterwards. While waiting I perform some careful health mismanagement. I get caught up again at the wrecking ball. I had to wait until it started to swing away from me before I could run through.

Part 3:

It is possible to kick the box onto the elevator at the beginning (just kick it the frame before you reach the dog), but Eek will be just a few pixels shy of being able to land on it as well before it goes out of range, and the box will fall back down by the time I can get to it.

Part 4:

Nothing more exciting than a nice long wait at the beginning. I do a small glitch when moving onto the ice platform. If Eek steps onto the platform the instant it leaves, he starts to fall for a frame but immediately resumes standing. As a result, the box is now facing forward and walking away from me, but it's still stuck to me as if it were facing me. It's rather hard to tell the difference from front or back on the box, but the direction the feet are facing can prove it. Another trick used in this level (and this one is actually useful) is that I get squished by the 10 ton weight while sliding off the edge which immediately recovers me from the sliding animation. Finally, you manage to guide the gift box all the way to the orphanage, but what's inside is actually a little present for you. Enjoy!

Possible Improvements

Exonym pointed out that Level 1 can be finished 124 frames faster by going right at the outset of the stage and approaching the center portion from the bottom instead of jumping onto the branch at the beginning.

Route optimizations in other levels will need to explored.

I wasn't always thorough when deciding whether to jump in front of a character and then spin 'em around with X or to build up speed and then jump up to them. I did what felt right, but whole levels (or at least large sections of levels) would have to be re-done to really know.

This is also my first TAS, so I'm unfamiliar with tools such as RAM Watch or LUA scripts. It's possible that these could help power out some further optimizations.

Other Comments

The level doesn't actually end until the character you're pushing touches the floating EXIT sign. So, on some levels it's faster to kick the character up to the sign instead of waiting for it.

Collecting all of the hamburger items unlocks a bonus level. I've only seen one of them, but it's pretty entertaining. It might be feasible to do an 'All Bonus Levels' run at some point in the future.

It looks like the only difference between Easy mode and Hard mode is that you take twice the amount of damage from enemies in Hard mode (this is untested beyond level 1). I'm not sure if this also applies to falling damage or spikes. If it does, then there can probably be around a ~10s improvement; mostly from Chapter 3, stage 2.

Special Thanks

SpikeStuff for fixing desync issues and improving stage transitions

Exonym for pointing out possible improvements

Suggested Screenshots

13255 and 41278


Samsara: Submission file replaced with a shorter, fixed version that properly syncs. For his work in syncing and improving the run, and with the author's permission, Spikestuff has also been added as co-author.

Previous Time: 19:11.07

Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: While a few improvements are known, the run as it currently stands looks solid enough with no particularly obvious issues. Viewer response was scarce but votes appear good. The game is clearly not the best, but the run has decent action and pacing and a nice gimmick to set it apart somewhat from other platformer runs. Accepting as a (slightly weak) Moon.

fsvgm777: Processing.


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