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Submission #4942: adelikat's PSX Star Trek: Invasion in 38:25.05

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Star Trek: Invasion
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Start Trek - Invasion (USA).cue
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 1.11.3
Movie length: 38:25.05
FrameCount: 136673
Re-record count: 139639
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: adelikat
Submitter: adelikat
Submitted at: 2015-12-20 02:59:27
Text last edited at: 2016-01-02 02:06:27
Text last edited by: adelikat
Download: Download (97024 bytes)
Status: published
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adelikat


(Link to video)

Intro

Star Trek: Invasion is an amazing looking game for the PS1. One of the most impressive I've seen for the platform. It is a space shooter. It is Star Trek themed but the game-play isn't based much on Star Trek. At least, I've never seen star trek episodes that involved small fighters. You get a variety of weapons and movement options. The plots of missions are typically to blast a lot of bad guys then move on to another scene to blast more bad guys. Other interesting objectives are sprinkled in there from time to time such as towing disabled ships or collecting escape pods.

There are 15 required missions in this game and several optional levels. This TAS has an any% goal so it only plays the required missions.

I chose this game to TAS because it is an impressive game and because it is one of the few PS1 games I owned and played back when PS1 was still current gen. As I expected though, this turned out to be a huge and challenging project. I broke my personal record (set by Dragon Warrior 4 many years ago) on rerecord count, logging in at nearly 140,000. It truly took this level of effort as the game is extremely difficult. It is a true 3D game, unlike most 3D games where only 2 dimensions are commonly considered in movement optimization, or 2D games that are really just 1D (left to right). Here you have to get from a point in 3D space to another point in 3D space, where all dimensions are an equal consideration. And it isn't just about point A to point B. It is about flying in a trajectory at a speed, attacking another ship flying at a different trajectory at a different speed. Space physics are confusing! To complicate matters, you have a variety of weapon and movement patterns to choose from. Also, auto-fire is never a viable option as you are constantly making small adjustments in your movement and firing. When you see me spraying tons of blasts into a bad guy, each one of those bullets was carefully aimed and optimized. At some point during the making of this TAS, I think I lost my mind. If you see it somewhere, let me know (jk, I lost it years ago, when I thought creating inhuman play-throughs of videos games was a good idea).


Tricks

Side-ways towing

Normally towing is very slow, 165 speed. In towing missions you sometimes are intended to spend minutes towing and dodging bad guys. However, you can bypass this by double-tapping L1 or R1 for a slide (you can slide in space?) and hold it. You will then "skid" sideways at 550 speed. This is a HUGE speed up to all towing scenes saving several minutes.

Weapon toggling

Normally some weapons have a very slow firing rate. For these weapons, you can switch to another weapon and switch back, and it will allow you to shoot again. This is especially useful in the later levels where I have the disruptor. It is the most powerful and slowest phaser and this trick is exploited for huge gains.

Lag Management

This game can lag, particularly with fire. Fire happens on hulls when they get low on damage. If you are too close the game lags. While it is harder to do so, you want to keep your distance for ships as you blast them to smithereens.

Mini Warp-jumps

Going to warp even for the minimum frames can get you going very fast for an objectionable amount of time. However you can do a warp jump followed by a reverse warp jump to get over a small amount of distance quickly.


Weapons

The heart of this TAS is weapon choice. In each level you get a handful of phaser types and 3-5 torpedo type weapons. Each level gives you a different set of options where the weapons tend to get more powerful as you progress in the game. You can also unlock hidden weapons though none were done in this TAS (only one is accessible in the required missions, and due to the weapon toggling trick, it was no where near as useful as the disruptor so it is not obtained)

There is a brief rundown of some of the weapons considered in this TAS

Early Mission Weapons

Type-10 Phaser

Given in the early missions of this game, this is a super awesome and useful weapon. You shoot 2 blasts, each of which do 15 damage to shields and 10 damage to hulls. It also has the fastest possible firing rate of every 6 frames. When you see me not using this is later missions it is because the game rudely takes it away :(

Type-9 Phaser

Useless for TASing, a single beam that stays on the enemy and drains HP every frame, but not enough to be worth it

Pressor Beam

Laughably useless. If you fire it at enemies it looks like it does damage, but RAM watching will show it does 0 damage! The weapon can be charged, and a fully charged shot will fire a beam that does a little bit of damage. Worthless for TASing, Speedrunning, and casual play. Just worthless. Despite being so worthless, this is the only weapon they make sure to provide in every single mission! Gee, thanks.

Photon Torpedoes

Yeah baby! These do 100 damage, and if that 100 damage takes down the enemy shields, it will do another 100 damage to the hull. In the early missions, most enemies have 100/100 health, so these babies take them out in 1 shot. Unfortunately the game takes these away after the first few missions. You only get 10 of these, they have to be used wisely.

Quantum Torpedoes

Same as photon torpedoes but 70 damage. The true Star Trek fan will find this egregious! Quantum torpedoes are introduced into the later series in the new more powerful ships (Deep Space Nine is the first to show these). Sure, they don't ever say how powerful anything is, but this is the new technology, surely it is more powerful. Simply terrible that the game makes these less powerful. Like the photon torpedoes, you only get 10.

Middle Mission Weapons

Compression Phaser

This weapon is okay but not as good as Type-9, but unfortunately in later missions they take the Type-9 away, leaving this as the best option. It fires a beam that does 50 damage (60 at the right angle). It has a really slow firing rate, and you have to hold your ship in place for the time it takes for the beam to come out or else you lose your aim. Not very good, but with accurate shooting, it has a better damage/speed rate than the other puny weapons you are stuck with at this point.

Trilithium Mines

Oh yes! These do an initial blast of 90 damage, followed by secondary blasts that arc back into the enemy doing 20 damage each. But more importantly, these temporarily disable the enemy shields which is a huge time saver. You can shoot one of these into shields, and then blast away at the hull while they are down.

Gravitic Mines

The game LOVES to give you mines instead of other torpedo types. But they are worthless. You fire them behind you, they take a long time to explode, and if they touch and enemy before they explode they simply go through it! If you by luck manage to hit an enemy with them, they only do 100 damage. By the time you turn around, fire a bunch of these and wait for them to explode, you could have blasted the baddie away with your phasers. Worthless.

Pulse Phaser

Does 10 damage, with a firing rate of 6 frames. Less powerful than the Type-9 phaser but chargeable. Not very useful except in one part of one level.

When charged it creates a barrier around you to protect from enemy fire which is worthless in a TAS.

Late Mission Weapons

Polaron Beam

This is a nice weapon. It does 100 damage to shields but only 10 to hulls. The firing rate is decent, 10 frames a shot (weapon switching trick can be used here to lower that). This is nice to use to drain enemy shields, then switch to something else do damage hulls. You will see this used in several places in the TAS. The shots move kind of slow but are big blue balls which are generally easy to hit a ship.

This weapon is chargeable and will shoot out some torpedo looking blasts. This isn't useful and takes a long time to charge. There was one place I could have used it though but didn't. See mission by mission notes for more details.

Disruptor

Boo-ya. Does 100 damage but has a slow firing rate (about 14 frames, sometimes 16). But with the weapon switching trick, you can fire at the same rate as the Type-9 phaser! Using this trick, you can take down powerful ships in no time. With the trick, it is by far the most brutal weapon in the game. Without the trick, it is marginally better than Type-9 and the best choice you have in the later missions.

Protomatter Missile

Oh yes! These are two massive green torpedoes each of which does 300 damage for a total of 600 with perfect aim. You get 10 of these, so you can do some massive damage to enemies. The down side is they are super slow, and you can run into your own shots. You need to be close to the enemy if possible.

Trilithium Mines

The game loves to give you mines. Many levels you get 10 of these, 12 gravitic mines, and skimpy on the torpedoes. Yet, these are as equally worthless. Ugh, thanks for all the mines.

Charged Polaron Beam

Two tiny shots that do 10 damage a piece. Not a very good firing rate but you can hold it to fire at the highest rate. Probably okay to use in regular place but worthless in a TAS.

Pulse Disruptor

Almost useful. It is a small pink blast that does 10 damage with the smallest (6 frame) firing rate. Not as good as the disruptor though. I don't end up using this in the TAS. Can be charged and will do a beam of damage that lasts for a few seconds. The beam doesn't do any more damage so this isn't so useful either.

Enhanced Polaron Beam

This is the one hidden weapon that is obtainable in this TAS but I chose not to. It is basically a Type-9 phaser but does 10 instead of 15 damage. The disruptor has a slightly better damage/rate ratio even without the weapon switching trick.

Mission by Mission Comments

Mission 1 - Raw Recruits Part 1

If you saw my WIPs in the thread, you saw this mission. It is a training mission and it is boring. Fortunately, I discovered after the fact that you can simply skip this mission. At the beginning of the game you simply press right and go straight to mission 2. Never noticed this in regular play (especially since I had no reason to try to skip it). Glad I found this in the TAS to avoid an embarrassing oversight :)

Mission 2 - Unusual Suspects

The mission is to blast Romulan fighters then go after the War-bird. The Romulans were attacked and assumed it was the Federation. Turns out there's a mysterious new enemy. You have some helping fighters but these guys are always useless.

The first phase is the fighters. They have 100/100 health so can be taken out with a single blast. Unfortunately there is about 15 of them, and 10 torpedoes. I make sure the last 3 ships are taken out with the torpedoes. This is because they cloak as soon as they take any damage and you have to wait for them to decloak. Btw, cloaking in this game doesn't just make the ship invisible but also invincible. This is a lame way the game drags out battles that is just annoying not to mention bastardizing the Star Trek technologies.

The War bird appears in phase 2. This giant ship has 6000 shield health. When the shields reaches about 4500 and 3000 it will cloak and you have to wait for it reappear. The intent is to get you to battle the fighters during this time but that's pointless in the TAS because more reappear as soon as you destroy them. The strategy here is just to Type-9 phase blast the Romulan ship until it cloaks. Where it decloaks is random and it tries to find a spot away from you. This is why I fly around seemingly randomly. It is to manipulate it to a less objectionable place. When the war-bird appears, any weapons that are in its sphere will instantly do damage to it at the same time. I make sure to fill this sphere as much as possible before it appears.

Once the shields are down, a few blasts will cause the Romulans to surrender and end the mission.

Mission 3 - Rightful Masters

You are supposed to protect a Bajoran convoy. Of course this ends up not being a quiet mission as you are introduced to the new enemy species of this game, the Kam'Jahtae. Most of your missions in the game revolve around their plot lines as they invade the Federation, hence the name of the game. You have some helper fighters but these guys are useless as usual.

Most of the ships have 100/100 health and can be taken out with a single photon torpedo. Of course there are more ships than torpedoes so you have to use quantum torpedoes and phasers too.

The enemies take you out in waves, simply blast them as fast as possible. The appearance of ships is random and they tries to appear relative to your position so you can't simply fly up to a spot and wait for them. So you see my flying around trying to control where they appear.

The final phase has a potential improvement. It has 4 ships that you have to blast. But in one of my earlier versions of this level it spawned only 1. I suspect they managed to blow themselves up with their own mines. I was unable to reproduce this though, it only happened the one time as a fluke. If possible to manipulate it would shave a second or two off this TAS. Fortunately I blast these guys pretty fast anyway.

Mission 4 - Bad altitude

More Kam'Jahtae blasting here. The plot is that they attacked the federation or something, blah blah. The point is, bad guys = blast them. This time in the atmosphere of a planet. The physics are a little different here but not really. The game says watch your altitude but nothing happens if you just warp straight down at the planet.

Phase 1 is a lot of fighters. They are tougher too. Some have 300/300 health. I make sure to use photon torpedoes on the 100/100 ones to take them out in one hit. The planetary effects have the effect of making the game more lag prone. Definitely want to keep your distance from the ships to avoid fire caused lag.

Phase 2 is you have to defend the Typhon. Again, just blast all the enemies as fast as possible. However, the Typhon's shields are a pain when it comes to TASing. Getting in the shields disables your weapons. So I have to go around it which is why it looks like I take a sub-optimal path to the ships, I have to go around the shields.

Mission 5 - Alien Chronicles

There's a disabled shuttle craft and it is useful or something. You have to go tow it back to the Typhon. Of course the Typhon doesn't show up until later, and of course there are bad guys that will hassle you.

The first step is to take out the ships that are making a green energy fence. This will follow you and drain your energy. You have to take it out to do anything useful in the mission. I take it out with a well aimed torpedo.

The 2nd phase is to slowly tow the ship while hordes of bad guys shoot at it. In real play this is the most frustrating level and is way too difficult. Fortunately, I can do side-ways towing here. Normally you would spend minutes heading for the Typhon. However, I manage to get there at about the time it arrives, saving several minutes. The Typhon always arrives at a specific spot at a specific time. It wasn't trivial to fly to a seemingly random point in 3D space, only to have the Typhon arrive exactly there all the while, bad guys are trying to blast the ship. All the damage and explosion sounds you here are actually the bad guys shooting each other, heh.

The 3rd phase happens when the Typhon take a hold of the ship. This is when 2 Kam'Jahtae Marshals appear. These vessels have 2500 hull health (no shields). But they have a weakness. The blue underbelly of the ship when hit will do double damage. In this game, when ships get hit in their weak spot, they blink. Obviously I warp to the underbellies of the ship and deliver all the damage there. With 2x damage, it doesn't take long to take them out.

After taking out the Marshals, you have to finish off the remaining fighters to end the mission.

Mission 6 - Prey for Danger

This time the Kam'Jahtae are hassling the Klingon's. Your mission is to go help the Klingon's blast those bad guys.

Phase 1's first scene ends when 3 ships are destroyed. So I take out 3 with Photon torpedoes as soon as possible. At that point there will be 5 fighters to take them out as fast as possible.

Phase 2 has two more marshals. Same health and weakness as before so I take them out quickly by firing at the underbellies.

Phase 3 involves helping Klingon's take out more fighters. The Klingon's are as useless as any NPC in this game. An improvement in this TAS in general would be to possibly manipulate NPC's to hit the enemies more. But the help is minimal since optimizing TASing can destroy the ships so fast anyway. I try to keep my distance and also turn away when the blast happens in an effort to minimize lag.

Phase 4 involves a very large boss. It has 8500 health, by far the most seen so far. It has 4 wings. I take out two of these as soon as possible because when it flaps its wings, Kam'Jahtee fighters appear, one for each wing. To end the mission I have to destroy all stray fighters that remain. I can only take out two wings before its first flap so I do. I destroy the boss before a 2nd flap so there's no need to take out the other two. Note that when you shoot a wing, it blinks but it doesn't inflict double damage..

The boss has a weakness when is a small part of its side. It isn't clearly marked and only the blinking clues you in that it even has a weakness. I shoot most of my shots in the weakness but not all. The ship is moving too much to get all 100% of the shots into this small place.

Once the boss is destroyed, I take out the two fighters that spawned to end the mission. Whew, this was a long mission!

Mission 7 - Red Sunset

More Kam'Jahtee this time near a star, so you get a cool fiery background. Other than looking cool, the physics are unaffected. The Kam'Jahtee are sending Marshals loaded with explosives directly at the Typhon. If they make contact, it is destroyed and you fail your mission.

Phase 1 is 2 Marshals. The strategy here is just to warp to the Marshals and fire at the underbelly. Don't get there too quickly though. They have 2500 health, but it drops to 1200 at a specific point (that is several seconds after they spawn). I guess all those explosives are damaging the ship. Anyway, wait for 1200 then blast away.

Phase 2 starts with taking out a wave of fighters, before having to take out 2 more Marshals. After the 3 marshals, the remaining fighters have to be destroyed to spawn the final 2 Marshals.

Phase 3 is an awful situation for TASing. The goal is to keep the Typhon alive for 120 seconds. So basically this is an "auto-scroller". I take out enough fighters such that the Typhon survives the attack. At that point i play around and let the Typhon take care of itself. I apologize that I didn't make this part more entertaining. Fighting causes lag, and there's only so much I can do that wouldn't get old. But really I made a poor attempt and just flew around randomly waiting for the timer to go down. At one point I decide to just commit suicide and fly directly into the Sun. My attempt failed, because the sun isn't real it is just background, doh. Also, the 3D space of a given level doesn't extend forever, it is just an illusion, so really I'm just hanging around at the edge. I thought it would be nice to show off the facade. This phase is boring, feel free to go grab a snack during this time.

Mission 8 - Edge of the Abyss

You are near a black hole and you need to rescue some escape pods. The gravity of the black hole is shown by cool distortion effects. However, these effects are purely visual and don't affect the gameplay (other than disorienting the player).

The goal is simply to save the 11 or so escape pods as fast as possible. If you destroy an escape pod, you fail the mission immediately. However, if the enemies destroy 1, you can still continue (but not more than 1). So naturally I make sure to manipulate the enemies to take one out. One star-fleet officer's life? or Frames? Save the frames obviously!

Sideways towing saves a lot of time here, though not as much as the earlier mission since the Typhon is more reasonably close. There's Cardassians here to hassle you while you do this but the side-ways towing makes them a minimal concern, they generally don't get in the way. I did have to take a few hits (avoiding them would costs some frames) but I manipulated this to a minimum.

I managed to optimize this level just enough to use warp power as much as possible without an overload. If you hit a system overload you are stranded in place for awhile while power is diverted. So optimizing frames led to a bigger time saver of not having to go warp speed for one of the pods.

The medal you get in this mission is based on accuracy %. Not shots landed counts as 0% not 100%. After the last pod I could have easily shot at the Cardassian ship to get 100% and the medal. However, I found that this adds several seconds to the post-mission black screen, so I didn't. Who needs medals when you can save the frames.

Mission 9 - Shackled

This is a convoluted mission plot. You have to take out a communications tower on a Cardassian station, but not destroy it. Then you have to fight bad guys, then you have to destroy another space station. Somehow the Nausicaans are involved too. I don't get it.

Phase 1 involves taking out Nausicaan fighters. This is the first time you get the polaron beam. I use it to take there shields out quicker. Then I use the the pulse phaser and/or the compression phaser to take out the hull. I used the pulse phaser some here because I found it slightly faster. With the compression phaser you have to sit there aiming at the ship during the entire slow duration of the beam exiting your ship. In this one situation I found that I could take out the first two ships with the pulse phaser and begin moving immediately to the last one. I was able to do this before the ships got up to speed in which case it would have taken longer to fly to the ships to blast them.

Phase 2 involves taking out the station shields then the communications tower. This is where trilithium torpedoes are handy. I use one of those to take out the shields temporarily, then blast the tower fast. I do a cool trick here where I warp speed into the tower and rebound off it, right in position to start blasting a fighter. It saves a little bit of time, but definitely looks cool. After the tower is taken down, there are a TON of fighters to take out.

Phase 3 involves taking out the station. There's weird slinky looking things that are supposed to be shields or something but they don't stop you from hitting the station. Unfortunately I'm out of torpedoes by now and just have the annoyingly wimpy compression phaser to user here. It is tedious and not fun to watch but they game rudely doesn't give me a better weapon choice here. I could save the torpedeos but they are better spent on fighters where they can do double damage when used correctly.

This level is potentially improvable. I didn't discover the weapon switching trick yet. There is an 10 frame delay in weapon rate that can be squeezed down to 6 for the polaron beam. This would save a handful of frames overall potentially (depending on the difference in distance between enemies, and their random behavior).

The mission is weird in the final phase in that not all have to be taken out but most do. It was a hassle figuring out which ones, and I certainly have no idea why. I was able to leave 2 fighters alive.

Mission 10 - Breeding Grounds

You play space exterminator in this mission. There's these alien bugs and they are pests. And of course the solution to all problems is to blast the bad guys.

Phase 1 is to take out all the small bugs. They have 50 damage so a well placed compression phase shot can take them out. I also use all my torpedoes here. Even though they are overkill in terms of damage, you can shoot them and them begin moving to the next bug. With the phaser, once again, you have to wait around for the whole shot to leave the ship before you can move on.

Phase 2 starts the boss fight with a very ugly and very annoying bug with 20000 health. I'm not sure why they thought this was a reasonable amount of health for a boss.

The bug has a weakness which is its nose. I blast here as much as possible to save time.

I got bad luck here. Or I should say, I failed to get good luck. The first part of this phase is the bug sitting there for 600 frames before cloaking. This is a hard timer that is set at least at the beginning of the level. However, in an earlier version, I was able to get a 2400 frame timer! I swear I spent a long time trying to recreate this, and it stalled and almost killed this TAS. I spent about a month trying and couldn't find a cause. I decided rather than abandon the TAS, I would just plow ahead with my bad timer. If the 2400 frame timer were able to be manipulated it would save several seconds; the time it would take for the bug to clock and decloak the first time it does.

Once the bug goes under 50% health, the final phase begins. Now it starts warping to different places, spawning bugs, and starts shooting you. It also shoots a big green net at you that will freeze you in place for awhile then it will warp to another part of the screen to get away from you. I found that getting hit by this net isn't so bad, if you have perfect TAS reflexes you can still hit the boss where you want. If you notice at the end he turns away from me and I hit him in a normal spot and so not 2x damage. Not being in the net would have let me keeping firing at the weak spot but avoiding the net is slower.

This boss fight was easily the most annoying part of the game to TAS, and it isn't that fun to watch either. If the game had allowed any of the better weapons in this level it wouldn't be so bad. But they thought you needed mines, and a wimpy compression phaser. Ugh.

I hate this level, moving on.

Mission 11 - Killing Time

The mission with the coolest name by far :)

The plot is that there are more Kam'Jahtae and they need to be blasted. In this case they are trying to escape in a wormhole and you have to destroy them before they escape.

FINALLY I GET THE DISRUPTOR. From here on out, fighting bad guys gets fun. The disruptor does 100 damage, and with the weapon switching trick and I can have the best (6 frame) firing rate. Enemies get mowed down with ease now!

The first phase involves taking out more fighters. They have a lot of health, but with the disruptor they get taken out fast. The NPC's attempt to help but I take them all out before they can even get a shot in.

After a wave of fighters, you get 2 marshals. One of them cloaks after the first hit. So I shoot from afar at it, and then go take out the other. By the time I take it out, the other has decloaked ready to be blasted.

Phase 2 is two big bad boss ships. One of them is lame and cloaks. I shot at it enough to force it to clock. Then I take the other out and head back to finish the first. Protomatter missles are useful here since the bosses are big, slow, and have a lot of health.

Mission 12 - Moving Heaven and Earth

This is a break from the norm. The Kam'Jahtee are trying to destroy a planet by sending large asteroids at it. Your job is to blast these planetoid objects to pieces before they hit the planet. (Btw, this strategy would be a terrible idea, just ask Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

Phase 1 of this mission is mostly me flying around bored. There are 4 planetoids that appear at specific intervals. And those intervals are such as to be fair to a normal player. I blast these plantoids in a matter of seconds so I have a lot of time to kill. I played around, but not in a very entertaining way, sorry. Only the last planetoid is relevant in terms of optimizing, but i optimzie all 4, just cuz. Maybe it would have been more entertaining to play around with them? Maybe, but it also would be hard to prevent lag so I didn't bother. I just play around and let my helpers do the work. They almost die, and are begging for help, but I ignore them. Team player, imo.

Phase 2 involves a 5th planetoid and a big bad boss fight. In terms of TASing, I can choose either one to fight first (in real play you had better take the planetoid first). I found taking the planetoid out first to be fastest, which seems obviously really since it is closest to you at the start. The challenge in the boss fight is to optimize torpedo use. Torpedoes are slow so you want to warp closer to shoot them, but warping costs time too. So there's an optimal spot to warp that's tricky to find. Also, minimize lag is tricky here with all those torpedoes flying around.

Mission 13 - The Bigger they Are Part 1

Sweet! The Borg.

The mission is to take out borg fighters (why do even the borg have small fighters?) and then go inside a borg cube and steal its warp core.

Phase 1 is one of my favorite parts to watch. I take out those fighters in with...borg-like efficiency. Protomatter missles for the first wave since they have a lot of health. The 2nd wave has less than 100 health so the disruptors will do

The borg adapt to weapons but that is based on time not number of shots. So for a TAS, I can take everything out before they adapt :)

Phase 2 is the most time consuming part of the game to TAS, ugh. I need to hug all the corners as much as possible here to save time, and so every frame I'm having to test when and what movements to do and this part is loooooooooong.

I had an opportunity here to take less hits. Rather than take hits I could have charged up the polaron beam and use it to take out enemies without having to aim (and thus leave my optimal route in order to aim). I didn't, instead I just took the hits since I had plenty of health to spare. It would have been more interesting take less damage, and show off a weapon that wasn't used, sorry :(

At the core there is these things that orbit around it very fast that protect it. These are hard to take out fast because they are faster than your weapons and orbit around something. I think my strategy was the fastest (the fastest I found at least) but it doesn't look completely clean. After the ...whatever those were, you shoot at the center piece to cause it to open then tractor beam the core and leave the room.

At this point all hell breaks loose as the ship starts to destroy. Now you exit the way you came but fortunately the game nearly doubles your speed. This meant less painful TASing compared to entering the room. The lightning is a problem and is super cheap. If it hits you, it is an instant kill. Fortunately I was able to avoid getting hit without having to go out of my way and lose any frames.

This was the 2nd worst level to TAS, ugh. Having said that, none of them were easy, so ugh at all 15 of them!

Mission 14 - No Mans Land Part 1

More fighting above a planet. This level gives plot development about the Kam Jah'tee that you get to listen to while I destroy fighters.

There is a hidden weapon in this level and in earlier versions I experimented with getting it. However, it isn't worth getting (even though it would only cost a few frames). Disruptor plus weapon switching renders it and any other phaser useless in comparison.

The final phase of this mission is another lame protection mission. So another "auto-scroller". Fighters show up 2 at a time to attack the Typhon. If you destroy them, more appear, infinitely so. What I found is that ships get a lot more defensive when they are down to almost no health (when they are on fire). So I just disable the ships then go out for a pleasant sight-seeing cruise while the NPC's deal with the bad guys. The Typhon almost is destroyed, but it had enough hull health to survive so they didn't need me. The planet is pretty to look at I guess, but otherwise this is boring. And again, maybe I could have been more entertaining here, but I didn't know what I could show off that hasn't already been seen plenty at this point.

Mission 15 - The Sentinel Returns

The traitors have been found, time to blast the good guys-turned bad guys.

In phase 1, I use the trilithium torpedoes to keep the shields disabled and to blast the hull.

In phase 2, same strategy. However, here I Have a HUGE timer saver. I take out the fighters with protomatter missles. Then I blast the boss so fast he never has time to clock and cause cut scenes.

This final boss fight is supposed to be a very long drawn out battle. You are supposed to damage it and cause it to split into 3 parts. Then those 3 parts are supposed to cloak and decloak and fly at you. It is hard to get in good shots during this time so it should take awhile. Then you are supposed to take out the remaining fighters. Since I took out the fighters, and managed to destroy the boss during the short phase 1 timer, the mission immediately ends.

You can tell the game wasn't ready for such an abrupt ending as it goes black for awhile to wait for the instructions of what to do to finish playing!

Mission 16 - End of Eternity

The final mission!

Phase 1 involves blasting some fighters. These guys are fast and tough. But some crazy maneuvering allowed me to take them out fast. I used a combo of trilithium torpedo to take out the shields and a protomatter missle to destroy them while the shields were down. I didn't need any of these for the next phase since they are too slow to be useful there.

Phase 2 involves taking out the Sentinel, again. Rather than warp to the ship and blast it, I found it was faster to just rapid fire those disruptor blasts from a distance. That weapon switching coming in handy for super time saving once again.

Phase 3 involves a needle in a haystack. Captain Brennan is in one of the escape pods and you have to find it within the specified timer. Since this is a TAS, I know exactly which one and just go straight to it. Once he's captured, you bravely sacrifice your life to take him out. Spoilers, you die in combat, and with honor. Warf is proud.

Final notes

It is worth noting that all the missions have stats at the end and one of them is accuracy. In almost all cases, my accuracy is not 100%. This is because with phasers, you shoot 2 shots at a time, or in the case of the compression phaser, one long beam that is really 6 parts. If you destroy a ship with 1 of those, the other goes past and counts as a missed shot. I assure you, not shot is wasted in this TAS, they are all deliberate.

This was quite a project to take on, I spent over a year dedicated to it and burned though 140k rerecords. But it was worth it. I think the results are amazing, and while it was challenging and drove me crazy, it was also enjoyable. I loved going from a novice to an expert at this game, and finding undiscovered tricks.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: It's very nice to see a tool-assisted run like this, using full 3D space movement to the fullest extent. The combination of motion in all directions, varied action and lots of explosions makes this run very pleasing to watch. Accepting for Moons.

Spikestuff: "Beam me up, Scotty."


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