TASVideos

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

Submission #4980: Baruch's Genesis The Smurfs in 19:44.71

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: The Smurfs
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: Smurfs, The (E) (M5) [!]
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 1.11.2
Movie length: 19:44.71
FrameCount: 58882
Re-record count: 20175
Author's real name: Hadrien Lepousé
Author's nickname: Baruch
Submitter: Baruch
Submitted at: 2016-01-22 02:27:43
Text last edited at: 2016-01-30 20:04:09
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (22441 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.11.2
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Difficulty : Medium
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Takes advantage of programming errors
  • Manipulates enemies
  • Re-record count : 20175

General comments

  • Why not playing in hardest difficulty ?

There are 3 difficulty options in this game : Easy, Medium, Hard. In Easy mode, 5 levels of the game are skipped, so Any% = Any% Easy. Compared to Medium, Hard difficulty adds a few ennemies, but more important, it gives more life to bosses, and makes The Descent (autoscroller) longer. As a result, Hard difficulty makes down times of the run even more boring, and is not worth it compared to the few number of enemies added. On top of that, the game is only speedrunned in Easy and Medium (I'm a speedrunner myself), and the two already existing TASes of the game were done in Medium.

  • Why Genesis over SNES ?

Here are the main differences :

SNES : looks better, sounds better, lags in Lake and Cliff, no cutscene skip bug

Genesis : no lag, cutscene skip bug, health refilled every level, RNG in Cliff

The cutscene skip (see below) saves overall ~40s of non playing time. The health being refilled at the start of every level makes a lot of time saving damages possible, resulting in a more interesting run.

  • Other TASes of the game

Gaming-Jok's TAS in 22:55 : Here

Glink555's TAS in 22:18 : Part 1, Part2

  • Language choice

I lose 1 frame to choose english instead of french, but actually it makes the map overview loadings faster, saving 1 - 2 frames everytime.

Techniques

  • Stars

You can collect stars in the levels, and when you have 25 of them, you get a bonus stage where you can get some health and lives. We obviously don't want these bonus stages, but more important : at the end of a level, the game counts the stars you collected, which wastes time for every star you got. Because of that, I will almost always dodge the stars. The only exception is in The Caves 2, where it is not worth it to dodge a star. The other 3 stars I take cannot be dodged in any way.

  • Air walking

After landing, the smurf has a few frames during which he cannot fall, as if he was walking in the air. This is used several times in the run to save time.

  • Cutscene skip

After defeating a boss, you have to take a key and open a cage. After opening a cage, you cannot control the smurf anymore. However, you can still die. On the SNES version, the game just ignores your death, and continues as nothing happened. But on the Genesis version, it skips everything until the start of the next level. By everything, I mean : the star count, cutscene(s) with Papa Smurf, Password, Map overview. Fun fact : if you collect stars, then do a cutscene skip at the end of the level, the stars will be counted for the next level. For example, if I take stars in Black Forest, then do a cutscene skip after defeating the Smurfivore Plant, I will get a star count at the end of Lake 2.

  • Jump before exit

For some reason, if you jump at the right time before hitting the exit of a level, you save 2 frames. In some levels I have no time to jump, and some I couldn't get this 2 frames save.

  • Damage projections

When taking damage while running, you are projected to the opposite direction, and you have to wait some time to be able to move again. This recovery time is faster if you are in the air when taking damage (jumping or falling). When crawling, taking damage doesn't affect your speed.

  • Enemy manipulation

Enemies and moving objects (ducks, leaves, ...) have a rectangular zone around them, following them, and they move only if you go into this zone. This can be used to make the enemies start moving at a timing that makes me save time.

  • Subpixels

Every pixel is divided into 256 subpixels, in both direction. Subpixels are reset to 0 when changing level. Just jumping without moving changes the vertical subpixel value, which makes this value very hard to control.

  • Gifts

When you have the control of Jokey Smurf, you can throw/drop gifts that explode. They explode 100 frames after they stop moving. What I mean is that is doesn't matter when your throw them, only when they stop. So I have to take care of the gifts bouncing.

  • Trampolines

These are plants you can use to reach higher platforms. You can carry them and drop them. You cannot drop them while in the air (unlike SNES version), and you drop them if you get hit. You can drop them in a gap and then they respawn, but I found no use of this in the run. After using a trampoline, your horizontal speed cannot reach its maximum until you reach the ground, so I only use them when necessary. If you don't press the run button while bouncing of a trampoline, you jump lower.

  • Detonators

They are used to explode rock barriers. If you keep pressing the jump button while activating them, you will bounce higher. This bounce makes a skip in Mountain 2 possible.

Stage by stage comments

  • The Village

Linear level, I cannot do it faster than this since I never stop. Puddles make you lose time. The jump after the well is frame perfect.

  • The Forest 1

Same as the village, I cannot save time because I never stop. Dodging the hedgehog is slower than getting hit, because of the apple.

  • The Forest 2

I take the damage by using the apple, because otherwise I would get hit by the squirrel's nut, and anyway I have to wait for the leaf to fall.

  • The Bridge

After the first 2 birds, I could bounce on the mushroom to climb on top of the bridge, but this route would be slower because it messes with the cycles of the incoming birds.

  • Black Forest

Black smurfs behave like ghosts in mario, they don't move if you look at them. After collecting the 3 leaves, it is possible to jump to the right of the black smurf, then jump over the hole, however it is slower than just killing it.

  • Smurfivore Plant

This fight is hard to optimize, since the plant movements depend on yours. You're supposed to use the trampoline, but it's slower. You have to hit each head 4 times. The black smurfs can spawn on the left or on the right, but I manipulate the last one to spawn on the left side. Then, I never stop looking left so that it doesn't move. After deafeating the plant, I setup the cutscene skip bug : I will die using the black smurf. I bait it near the cage so that I can die after opening it.

  • The Lake

Maybe the level that took me the most time. It is the longest level of the game AND there are a lot of waiting times AND you have to manipulate ducks/enemies. I manipulate the 4th duck to come faster. I manipulate the firefly flying around the star by going back to the duck.

  • The Lake 2

At the second hourglass, I go back to the left to manipulate the incoming fireballs. I get hit by the gift to be able to go through the ghost. When I get hit by a spider before an hourglass, it is to ignore the gift damage, thus entering the hole as soon as possible. It is possible to run under the 3rd ghost, I can do it when playing with a controller and jumping at a precise timing, but here I couldn't do it again. I couldn't get the 2 frames save jump at the end of the level.

  • The Field 1

Nothing to say, except that I do not jump when coming back to the left of the screen, otherwise it messes with the droplet cycle at the top left.

  • The Field 2

I could take damage on caterpillars to save time, but it is more worth it to save my hearts for the spiders at the end of the level. At the 4th star, after the first hedgehog, jumping over the platform without touching it is frame perfect. To avoid falling into the 3rd hedgehog next to the platform, I do an air walk. You cannot do that otherwise. The spider part is very interesting. Because I don't want to wait for 1st spider cycle, I take a damage on it, while jumping so that I have a shorter recovery time. Between the two helmets, I do a very precise jump : a frame perfect 1 frame jump. This jump allows me not to get hit by the 3rd spider, but by the 4th one. You can see that after getting hit, I lose a bit of time hitting the bottom of the helmet. If I hadn't done that, I would've been able to go through the 6th spider without getting hit. However, I would've had to get hit by the 7th spider, which is too slow. Instead, I get hit by the 6th spider, where I manage to turn around, so that I get projected to the right, AND into the helmet hole, which is very precise. With this last damage I can go through the remaining spiders and end the level.

  • The Dam

This level is a bit of a maze, you have to use the trampolines wisely in order to reach the top right of the map. I keep droping and taking back the trampoline just for entertainment. In this version, it is not possible to drop a trampoline while in the air (unlike SNES), but you drop it if you get hit. I use it to drop the trampoline quickly at the end of the level. I could have used the Howlibird, makes no difference in time.

  • The Swamp

Landing on frogs coming out of water nullifies your speed. Dodging the third star is frame perfect. The water striders change direction when you land on them. This forces me to wait a bit before jumping on the first one, and to land as soon as possible on the second and third ones.

  • Snake

Easiest boss. I wish I could land the 4th hit while the snake is still on the upper platform, but it's impossible. I have no way to die here, so I can't do the cutscene skip. As a result, this is the only password you will see in this TAS. I suspect that you can do the skip by dying when the timer reaches 0, but of course this is not worth waiting for it. Haven't tested this though.

  • The Cave 1

I don't know why on this version they swapped Cave 1 and Cave 2, compared to SNES version. You have to activate detonators to explode rock barriers, in order to progress in the level. To dodge the very first star, I'm doing an air walk. This way I don't have to wait for the rock to fall AND I don't take the first star. It is the only way to do that. Actually, you can also jump from the upper platform to the bottom one, then do an air walk above the gap. The problem is the rock rolling down the slope, you would have to wait for it to fall. I'm getting hit by the falling rock, it is faster than waiting for it. I'm jumping just before the hit to get a fast recovery. The star I'm taking is the first star of the game that you cannot dodge.

  • The Cave 2

Same gameplay as Cave 1, just more like a maze. When landing on the trampoline at the bottom left of the map, I stop pressing the button to run to jump lower, thus saving some frames, because a trampoline jump cannot reach maximum horizontal speed. I think it's the only time of the run when I release the run button. The jump over the star that reaches directly the higher step is frame perfect. I could have dodged the next star by using the bottom way, but it is slower than taking the upper way and taking the star. It is the only time in the run that I do that. I'm bouncing on the last detonators to save some frames : I don't have to land in the gap, then to jump to get out.

  • The Mountain 1

Still the detonator gameplay, but on these two levels it is possible to skip some, because exploding all the rock barriers is not necessary. I'm using the 3rd bird to cut the level. Normally, you have to pass by the bottom of the map, then to come back to activate the detonator. It is possible to bounce on the 4th bird without landing on the upper platform. It saves a very few frames, but to do that you only have a tiny subpixel window. I got it the first time I did the level, but then I optimized the climbing at the start, which changed the subpixel value. I tried to manipulate it but couldn't reach the correct window. Instead of this jump, I'm using the property that getting hit while crawling doesn't push you. Only one frame of crawling is needed. I don't like the next part of the level because I feel like it would be possible to save some seconds, but this would require subpixel manipulation. What I do here, is that I don't take the star above water, I activate the detonator, then I use the rabbit to go to the upper platform. I could amost use the rabbit to take a damage that would push me on the platform it's jumping on, it's so close... Maybe it would work with subpixel manipulation, but it's so hard to manipulate. It is possible to take the star instead, then using the rabbit to get the damage boost, but it is not worth it. I cannot manipulate the rabbit cycle, because I have no waiting time. Notice the air walks above water.

  • The Mountain 2

I'm doing a skip here using the bouncing on a detonator to reach the higher platform. Normally, you have to activate the detonator, then go left to get a trampoline, then come back right and use it. The jump I do from 2nd detonator platform is frame perfect, you normally have to step down before jumping. Again air walk above water. I'm doing another skip to avoid snow part by just using the trampoline under the end of the level. I'm using the butterfly to push me higher, saving a jump.

  • The Mine

Damn autoscrollers. I was thinking about doing some stuff in rhythm to follow the music, but I realized it's way too much work for the little entertainment I could get. Let me explain the gameplay. If you press jump you use your arm to activate a trigger. You must activate triggers to change the rails, otherwise you crash into a wall and restart the level. You can also press down to dodge the doors and the stars. Getting hit by a door slows you down. You can also use left and right to slow down the cart, but unfortunately you cannot speed it up. Now about the stars. There are 5 stars in the level, you can only dodge 3. You cannot dodge the two first ones even if you press down. The 3rd star is hard to dodge with a controller, because if you crouch too early you will not activate the trigger, and die.

  • The Volcano 1

This level is full of rock barriers to explode with gifts. So every time, I make sure of 3 things. 1) I make the gift explode as soon as possible. 2) I go past the barrier as soon as it exploded. 3) I get the highest speed as possible when getting past the barrier. After the 2nd barrier, you can choose between two paths to go up, but right one is faster. Throwing the gift at the left of the barrier saves a few seconds. It is possible to dodge the last raspberry is you have the right subpixels.

  • The Volcano 2

Same gameplay. After the first trampoline, I do a little skip by jumping directly to the higher platform, without using another trampoline.

  • Dragon

You have to throw gifts at the dragon. You cannot just spam gifts, because there is quite a long time before you can hit the dragon again. Touching the dragon hitbox kills you instantly. It is possible to jump behind the dragon and kill it from there, however I would have to wait for the dragon to die before I could go take the key. I'm doing a cutscene skip at the end by falling into lava.

  • The Descent

Autoscroller again. Taking damage slows me down. Notice that I go right through a star and not collect it, I have no idea why. For some reason if you spam jump at the end of the level you can fly.

  • The Cliff

Hardest level in speedrun. Easiest in TAS. Let me explain how this works. You walk on a trunk. This trunks rotates every few seconds by a quarter turn. If you are on the trunk while it's rotating, you fall and die. On top of that, there are enemies, and holes. Because the trunk turns by a quarter turn each time, the holes are either open or closed. On SNES, this level is deterministic. However, on Genesis, the time when the trunk does its first spin is random. I think there are 5 different possibilities. I'm not manipulating RNG here, because I have a pattern for which I don't need to stop running even once. Now the weird part. Sometimes there is a platform under a hole, see for example the star under the second hole. When you are in the hole, the trunk doesn't rotate anymore. I think this is the explanation why when you air walk above a hole, it delays the rotation of the trunk. I do that every time I can, as a result, the trunk doesn't move once in the second half of the level. This creates a sound bug near the end, when you hear the trunk moving but it doesn't actually move. I couldn't get the 2 frames save jump at the end of the level. Notice that I end the level with an usual sprite, by throwing a cake at the last possible frame.

  • Gargamel's Manor House 1

You go into a bubble and you have to find your way through brambles and enemies. Touching them makes the bubble explode, and you have to start again. You can't cut the level by passing at the bottom because there are invisible walls that make the bubble explode.

  • Gargamel's Manor House 2

I have no way to mute Azrael, sorry. Notice the weird cake behaviour. Just before the cauldron, I run into a plant without getting hit. This is because there are frames while these plants are harmless. If I had jumped more to the left, it would have hit me.

  • Gargamel's Manor House 3

I save lot of time here, because I can control the height of my jumps. 1 step = 2 frames jump. 2 steps = 5 frames jump. I prioritize 2 steps jumps because it's faster, but sometimes I need to do 1 step jump to dodge apples.

  • Gargamel

Here I manipulate Gargamel to get a 2 hit kill. Let me explain how you're supposed to kill him. You have to bait the Howlibird into throwing an acorn on the wood thing, and then use it to throw the acorn at Gargamel. Gargamel is constantly walking to the left, but every time he's hit, he steps back. If Gargamel is far enough to the right, he falls from the roof. If you play fast enough, it is possible to make him fall with only 3 hits. However, Gargamel doesn't start moving until you run into a trigger just before the wood thing. I use that to go bait the Howlibird as late as possible, this way Gargamel is as far to the right as possible when he first gets hit. Another hit, and he's done.

A few words

Because I'm a runner of the game in both SNES and Genesis versions, I wanted to see how far I could go with a TAS, and to show people some strats that are too hard to do in a speedrun. I couldn't have imagined doing a sub 20 minutes would be possible. This is my first TAS, but I tried to do things as good as possible. This project took me 3 months, and now I'm happy with the outcome :)

Suggested screenshot : frame 53357


Truncated: Judging!


Truncated: Congratulations on completing your first tas! I think playing this on medium was a good choice. The run itself looks very well made but the game is pretty monotone. I will accept this run for the vault.

fsvgm777: Processing.


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