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

Submission #4912: slamo's GB Pac-In-Time in 27:31.45

Console: Game Boy
Game name: Pac-In-Time
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: Pac-In-Time (USA).gb
Emulator: Bizhawk 1.11.0
Movie length: 27:31.45
FrameCount: 98637
Re-record count: 544716
Author's real name: MRT
Author's nickname: slamo
Submitter: slamo
Submitted at: 2015-11-18 20:15:11
Text last edited at: 2015-11-25 09:20:14
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (23106 bytes)
Status: published
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(Link to video)

NOTE ABOUT RERECORDS: This run was partially made with TAStudio before the rerecord counting was fixed. The exact count is not known, but I estimate it to be in the 120000 range.

Pac-In-Time for the Game Boy was released in 1994 as a port of the DOS version of the game. It remains faithful to the original, minus the Mountain world and with obviously downgraded graphics and music, although both are still quite good for the console. Pac-In-Time is in turn a re-skin of the game Fury of the Furries for DOS and Amiga, which was licensed to Namco and rereleased with Pac-Man instead. This game is a departure from normal Pac-Man gameplay involving mazes and ghosts, and is instead a platformer.


Pac-Man can jump, although the jumping system is based on bouncing and momentum. He can jump a minimum height from an idle position, and can reach his maximum jumping height by falling from a certain distance, whether it's from falling off a platform or building up jumps from the idle position. He CANNOT jump out of water: all water exits can only be done if the surface is level with a solid platform (or there is some drain on the bottom or sides).

There are four powerups Pac-Man can use. The powerups he recieves at the beginning of a level are predetermined and don't carry between levels. Powerups can be gained or taken away within a level via gates marked with the powerup's icon. The powerups are:


The best powerup! Without this the run would be a lot less interesting. Many of the glitches center around exploiting the rope's physics, with which huge amounts of momentum and displacement can be achieved. The rope can be shortened to a minumum length of 20 units and a maximum of 100 units. Any attempt to latch on outside of this range will result in nothing.


Pac-Man can shoot fireballs to kill enemies with this powerup. The damage ranges from 4 to 12 HP depending on how long the shot is charged. It's generally the most efficient to shoot minimum-strength shots in rapid fire, but often it's good to charge shots during downtime.


With this powerup Pac-Man can swim effectively. He gains the ability to dive and also has a weak bubble attack to kill enemies.


The only use for this one is to destroy certain blocks. Cracked blocks take 1 bite and intact ones take 2.


Rope clip

This glitch takes advantage of large displacements that can happen when swinging at high speeds. If Pac-Man gets far enough into a tile, and the rope is released at the right frame, he'll clip through. Rope clipping requires a decent amount of swinging space; if there's a place where it looks like rope clipping should have been used, there probably isn't enough room.

Wall zip

A very useful and quick glitch to execute, but only under specific conditions. An east-facing wall is required, along with a ceiling above it that's within rope range. East-facing walls can be partially clipped into without ejection, provided there is a way to enter them from the top or bottom. While as far into the wall as possible, doing specific inputs with the rope activates the wall zip. This glitch zips Pac-Man to the next available open tile above the wall, and if this extends all the way to the top of the level he's either stuck at the top or placed out-of-bounds. It won't work for west-facing walls, as ejection is instant if clipped into.

Infinite spin

A self-explanatory glitch, given a floating platform you can spin forever. Momentum builds slowly but indefinitely with each spin, and this can be used to obtain absurd slinging speeds. This speed is often enough to clip through pretty much anything you want. The major downside to this glitch is that it takes a long time to set up.

Unrelated to the speedrun, but still kind of interesting: momentum will increase forever but the slinging can start to have mixed results at very high angular velocities. At a certain point Pac-Man starts getting launched in the wrong direction, and high enough above that, he doesn't get launched at all.

Block clip

Pushable blocks are not well-programmed, and there are multiple ways to take advantage of it. One way is to take advantage of the fact that blocks stay solid while teleporting and can be ridden through walls. Also, normally blocks will kill Pac-Man if they fall on him, but this can almost always be avoided with some rope or jumping shenanigans. If not killed, he will zip to the left or right side of the block. If there is a wall on that side, he will zip again to the top of it.

Out-of-bounds exit

Out-of-bounds is a strange place. Reaching it is no guarantee, as clipping there can often result in just getting stuck at the top of the level. Whether this happens or not is fairly arbitrary and sometimes changes by doing arbitrary things. It's not fully understood. Once out-of-bounds, Pac-Man will automatically start zipping to the left, although the direction can be reversed by holding left (not a typo, the game doesn't want to obey you). Zipping speed can be increased or decreased by using the rope on specific frames. On certain out-of-bounds tiles, using the rope on top of them will trigger an exit. There is a guaranteed exit at x = -816 that's used as a last resort, but sometimes there are closer ones.

Level comments

World 1 - Desert


Rope boosting finds a use right away. I try to stay under platforms to take advantage of it.


This served as the main testing grounds for optimum rope boosting. Each cycle is about 16 frames of swinging, which is shortened up for the last several cycles to optimize the turn around. The asymmetry in rope swinging is immediately apparent when traveling left. Pac-Man moves much faster in this direction and also only needs to swing one frame at a time to keep momentum.


The first use of Pac-Man's biting and swimming powers, no ropes here though. The fish take 12 bubbles to kill, although it's not really necessary to get rid of them here.


You're supposed to wait for the platform to come to the left side which requires a lot of downtime, but, nah. It's just barely possible to catch it early with some precision rope boosting. This first OoB exit is here as well - it doesn't save a ton of time due to the exit location but it's still faster.


This level would be primarily swinging if it wasn't a few seconds faster to clip OoB to reach an exit far to the left.


The first section of this level is a good demonstration of the constraits involved in jumping. It's necessary to take the top path because the cactus can't be jumped over.


Again, the top path is preferred. The rope powerup is not helpful for speedrunning purposes here...


...but in this level it's quite helpful despite the gate being a bit out of the way. Clips can be useful inbounds as well.


The rope is actually very helpful in cramped passages like these because it removes the need for some annoying jumping. There are a couple instances of canceling a big bounce after a long fall by triggering the rope for a brief period. There are actually two exits in this level, but the one that's chosen is easily faster.


The first leg of the level is annoying because you can't get by the grub in time. There are two really useful clips here: a wall zip to skip the teleporter and then a swing clip to reach the top of the level.

World 2 - Lagoon


Extremely simple, just stay out of the water as long as possible.


This level looks pretty simple at first but there are some serious time saves involving the rope that you can do here, the most substantial one being slinging yourself into the water and using the momentum to bite deep underwater (it's not possible to start a bite underwater and I would have to wait for the excruciatingly slow water level to lower enough). Also, the game doesn't really expect you to make it through the next section very fast since there's some mysterious floating water visible.


We finally get to see the hadouken here, which is used to break a water plug. The block has 28 HP, and the maximum damage you can do with the hadouken is 12, so it requires at least 3 shots. A minimum damage shot of 4 HP is done on the way down to maximize travel above water (hadouken screws around with your acceleration) and the last 2 shots have to be maximum damage to break the block. For the moving platform, there is a pixel-perfect position on the left side of it where you can pass through, and after pulling the two blocks out you can do a zip back up through the same gap by clipping slightly into the wall and then letting go. Not only does this zip skip the platform cycle (not too useful since you have to wait for the water level to lower), but it also bypasses the rope gate, making the last section much faster with rope boosts instead of swimming.


Most of this level is almost skippable by going over the palm tree on the right side, but it wasn't meant to be. There are currents in the water and you need to dive to reach them, otherwise you just float to the top.


There's a huge skip here. Normally this level is a puzzle where you have to push blocks into the pool before the exit to raise the water level and swim across, but it turns out you can sling yourself across it with a very precise rope swing.


Fairly boring and not a lot of places to save time. You need to ride the log to the exit, otherwise the current will take you under.


Normally, this level would have to be done by pushing a block on top of another block and pushing both of them together to the far left side so the top block can be pushed further and serve as higher ground so you can jump on the moving platform to get the 2nd key. Yeah, not doing that. Let's go out of bounds again.


Another block puzzle, except I actually have to do it this time. The fan pushes the block most of the way, but despite the force diminishing with distance the fan still gets priority over pushing until it's out of range.


This level is kind of boring and dictated by platform cycles...until the zip. I'm surprised this glitch got past testing, but all you have to do is be on the left side of the platform while it's rising. It has the added effect of completely screwing up the camera and showing junk data outside the level, although the actual level geometry is intact. Going in and out of the menu resets the camera, but that takes time, so it's navigated in its glitched state.


The intended solution for this level is completely ignored. After biting through the wall you're supposed to go back and get the hadouken to kill the scallop (although you can bring both powers at the same time with some clever swinging), but the geometry in the cave works out so that you can do a wall zip directly to the exit.

World 3 - Forest


A fairly straightforward swinging level, not a lot of touching the ground here. The main source of difficulty in World 3 will be enemies, of which there are plenty already.


One nice thing about this world is that it's full of branches, which are thinner than regular blocks and much easier to do rope clips with. This is used extensively here to go through branches rather than around them.


Rope clipping works from the top, too!


This level would be really short even without the rope clip, but doing one lets you finish before the opening jingle ends.


Unfortunately, the fastest way to the exit is to sail on the leaf, which travels at half the speed of walking. The best you can do here is to jump off the leaf as early as possible.


You don't get a rope here, otherwise the level would be a lot shorter. It's still extremely simple to TAS since it's basically hold right and then hold left.


Another ropeless level. It's faster to take the teleporter path at the start rather than wait for the platform. The rest of the level depends on falling coconuts(?) to use as stepping stones. You're meant to push them to the wall and build up a jump to get to the next section, but you can jump off them while they're bouncing with some good timing.


Quite a similar level and approach as 3-2. Just clip your way to the top. There is one case where it's faster to swing around a branch to get enough height to do the next rope grab.


More swinging. The enemy hanging in front of the exit is a nuisance, but the little vine in front of it offers some flexibility in dealing with it.


The last level in the forest is mostly swinging once you get past the rope gate. There's a big bush that has to be cleared to reach the exit.

World 4 - Pyramid


Let's talk about slopes. If you try to walk right up one, it will either be really slow or Pac-Man will completely stop and decide it's a good idea to try pushing the slope. Jumping up the slope tends to have worse results, as landing in the wrong spot will zip you almost an entire tile back down the slope. The best option in this case is using the rope. Although the rope isn't great in cramped places, the other options are much, much worse.

Anyway, the rest of this level is setting up another OoB exit. This one is particularly fast because so many tiles above the level count as exits.


The recesses in the winding passage are meant to help you hide while boulders pass, but the tops are thin enough to allow rope clipping even with very little space to work with. The programmers also anticipated people doing this, evidently, because if you take the fastest possible clipping route to the block you're supposed to destroy, it will be indestructible. There's an arbitrary position in the lower right corner that you have to reach for it to flip over to being destructible. Really. At least everything can be done quickly, and there's a neat little clip to skip the backtrack. I should mention that it looks like an out of bounds exit should be possible here, but Pac-Man refuses to zip outside of the level and just gets stuck in the ceiling.


The plan for this maze puzzle is to head straight for the exit. Clips are few and far between without a rope, but there is a huge one here that lets you clip around the block in front of the exit with some very precise positioning. Normally the block would have to be moved by hitting a switch on the other side of the level.


About as easy as it gets, there are plenty of traps here but the challenge is lost if you have rerecording.


This out of bounds exit is strange, as without the pause Pac-Man stops just short of the ceiling and gets stuck there. Why this works in this level and not others, I have no idea. It's still a massive time saver as the intended solution has an excruciating wait time to reach the exit.


The key to this level is that the blocks remain completely solid while teleporting, so you can use them to push you through walls and ceilings. This glitch exit is a little bizarre in that it requires a second block to pull while being pushed out of the wall. It's a massive time save.


It's hard to notice since it only pops up for a frame, but the destroyed vase had a key in it. Two things are required to finish this level: the ghost must be killed to drain the sand and the bite powerup has to be obtained. The sand takes a while to drain, so it's faster to kill the ghost first and get the powerup while the sand is draining.


The way the vase room is programmed is that you have to destroy every vase and the key will appear in the last one, so it can be a bit slow getting past the door. Alternately, you can do an infinite spin on the center platform and launch yourself right through the ceiling. There are supposed to be some hazards before the exit, but the trigger for them spawning is opening the door, so they never show up.


The chains are important for the skip in this level. They are about half the thickness of a normal block, so they require less momentum to clip through. The clip at the start skips a fairly lengthy torch-lighting segment.


Passing the first room requires you to destroy all 3 flames under the vents. The middle one spawns more flames, so it's extinguished first. After that room, two gates are passed through and then bypassed on the way back up thanks to a wall zip. Another wall zip gets Pac-Man out of bounds for another exit. This ONLY works if the rope is not used in specific, arbitrary places on the way back. I have no idea.

World 5 - Factory


The chains here take up a full tile, unlike in 4-9, so they can't easily be clipped through. Vertical levels are really nasty to optimize and this one is no exception. An infinite spin is possible here but not useful.


After getting the rope, it's about 10 seconds faster to reverse course and rope clip to the top section instead. There's plenty of room at the top to do a rope clip out of bounds instead of returning with a key.


A rare level where there's a skip but no glitch abuse. Normal level progression requires you to hit a lever to lower the crate, which can be used as a platform to reach the key. However, with some acrobatics on the moving hook you can swing straight to the key for a quick exit.


I have no idea what they were thinking here. You're supposed to go get a hadouken powerup to kill the enemy, but it's trivial to just juke it.


This timer starts at 82, I wonder how they came up with that? The sludge pit is kind of obnoxious because the bubbles that pop up actually kill you. After that it's another clip for a glitch exit.


I think the level wants you to ride the mine cart to get higher, but you can fairly easily sling yourself up there. After that there's an obvious good place to wall zip and glitch exit.


This has got to be one of my favorite skips. You're supposed to free a girl prisoner, who then distracts the guard that's firing the supposedly impassable bullet spray. Turns out that all the bullets can just barely be dodged, revealing a mysterious invisible bullet spawner as the true culprit! Apologies to the prisoner.


This level entirely has to be done as intended, although I'm not sure if it's supposed to be possible to skip the fight at the bottom.


Another level with the intended route, with some waiting time added. The token Factory Kraken takes 35 hits to kill and doesn't actually waste any time.


They really cracked down on any skips for the last few levels of this world, unfortunately. This is mostly timing jumps around hazards.

World 6 - Village


The guy in the window is supposed to fire four bullets, but likely for sprite limit reasons, these can be prevented by firing your own. It doesn't actually save any time, but it's cool to make it just look like a confused NPC unless you read these comments. Some of these village exits are a little different in that you only have to touch the sign instead of the ground underneath it.


The hay pile has 36 HP, which means that 3 fully charged shots, 9 weak shots, or some combination of those will set it ablaze. Doing this is the real bottleneck in the first section so any loss in speed after passing the ghost doesn't matter. With some precise positioning, only one block needs to be moved to get underground.


You're supposed to kill the cop and steal the scooter to ramp over the pigs, but I go for the faster and less controversial solution of swinging over them. A teleporter could take you to the roof but again this is subverted by swinging.


This is a rare instance of there being enough room to clip into a wall instead of a ceiling. This zips Pac-Man up much higher into the level. The game really doesn't like moving that fast so the camera is screwed up, but the level geometry remains the same and the exit is only a short distance away.


A really easy level, although there is a bottleneck at the end. You need to jump off of the wolf and little red riding hood to reach the exit, and their cycle just isn't timed well.


Almost completely a "hold right" level. The enemies aren't a problem thanks to frame perfect shots. The knight actually only becomes deadly if you shoot its armor off.


Pretty standard "swing and then turn around" level, but with Shakespeare. You can get a surprisingly good sling here despite the lack of space. Killing the witch doesn't take long and allows you to keep moving.


An enemy spam level? Alright. The only way to gain any frames here is to rope boost in front of the houses.


The exit is close by and would otherwise need two separate keys to access, but there's plenty of room to do some clipping.


Another section where a flaming hay pile is needed, with the twist being that killing a pumpkin lights it instead of directly shooting the pile. The shots surprisingly don't despawn off-screen, allowing it to be killed without actually seeing it.

World 7 - Castle


A horrible level where you have to kite Dracula to the exit to kill him. Its AI is very basic, following Pac-Man in the x direction and then also in the y direction once it transforms. Once it gets to a certain point, it can be killed with a trap where it drops a key. There are ways to get lodged in the ceiling but there's no way to get out of bounds. Enjoy the good music at least.


Finally a classic Pac-Man format! The ghosts are not an issue at all, as you wall zip right up near the teleporter and unlock the exit right away. There's an obvious place to wall zip into the ceiling but again, you can't get out of bounds.


Tally up another prisoner that is callously ignored. His help isn't needed thanks to a couple of rope clips. This is actually the last level we'll have the rope, so the rest of the run is pretty much glitchless!


Another level where you're supposed to wait, and without a rope we really have no choice. After freeing the wizard as quickly as possible he gets to work filling up the pool to reach the exit.


A jumping ascent with only one hazard we actually have to worry about. This is the first appearance of the Gum Monster, the final boss, who we'll be chasing for a few levels. He actually has health and is killable here, but unfortunately it doesn't give you a secret ending or anything.


There are two separate keys here: the first one, which unlocks all the big wooden doors, and then the second one, which is behind one of the wooden doors and opens the regular metal door. The leap up to the top floor is not some glitchy super jump but rather an air current.


There are a couple of traps at the start that require some delays to pass, but otherwise this is a hold-right level. The exit becomes active once the Gum Monster gets far enough out of the level.


The Gum Monster runs just under Pac-Man's top speed, so we have to pace ourselves without actually being able to jump over him. The two enemies he sics on us are kind of an issue since we have no hadouken. You have to sneak in behind them to beat the level.


Final boss time! The first phase involves destroying the crossbow, which takes 15 shots. The boss is still vulnerable before he gets the crossbow, and is actually killable, which skips the second phase! This produces the strange effect of a floating crossbow, and you have to be careful because the game doesn't agree with any of this and will severely glitch and lag if this isn't handled properly. Getting behind it and firing away is the safest thing to do. The third phase takes 12 shots normally, although some jumping has to be done so two stronger shots are charged while airborne. The jumping prepares us for the final phase, which is shooting the cage down. It's at around the maximum jump height and has 6 HP, so two minimum shots or one weakly charged shot will take it down.


The end!

Samsara: Judging.

Samsara: Excellent work, slamo. This is a wonderful addition to the score of great GB runs we've been receiving recently. Accepting to Moons.

It was pointed out in the submission thread that this run does not sync on the perfect ROM dump, and instead was made using a ROM labelled as Beta by GoodGB, however I don't see enough of a difference between the two ROMs to warrant rejection. However, all future runs of this game must be done using the perfect dump.

fsvgm777: Processing.

Addendum re: ROM dump: It seems that even in the No-Intro set, there are inconsistencies. The version labelled (USA) (SGB Enhanced) (which I guess is the perfect ROM) I got is, in fact, recognised by BizHawk as being the (Europe) version (needless to say its SHA1 checksum doesn't match with that of the ROM used), whereas the one labelled as (Europe) (SGB Enhanced) I got is recognised as being the (USA) version by BizHawk (the ROM used for this movie).

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