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Submission #5139: theenglishman's PSX Metal Gear Solid: Integral "all-bosses, BIGBOSS rank" in 1:28:02.29

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Metal Gear Solid: Integral
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Metal Gear Solid - Integral (J) [SLPM-86247].bin
Branch: all-bosses, BIGBOSS rank
Emulator: BizHawk 1.11.4
Movie length: 1:28:02.29
FrameCount: 313202
Re-record count: 61552
Author's real name: Noah Tomlin
Author's nickname: theenglishman
Submitter: theenglishman
Submitted at: 2016-06-12 02:14:28
Text last edited at: 2016-06-17 17:56:06
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (291675 bytes)
Status: published
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Encode with audio commentary:


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Bloopers and miscellanea (recommended for viewing after watching the run): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRo3mRAtA0hzpn7Mssek_GwVTQwwNCkjY

Verification file

To run a multidisc bundler for Integral, either create a custom .m3u playlist or use the following xml code (huge thanks to Spikestuff for this one):

<BizHawk-XMLGame System="PSX" Name="SNAKE">

   <LoadAssets>
     <Asset FileName="[your file path goes here]\Metal Gear Solid - Integral (J) (Disc 1) [SLPM-86247].cue" />
     <Asset FileName="[your file path goes here]\Metal Gear Solid - Integral (J) (Disc 2) [SLPM-86248].cue" />
   </LoadAssets>
</BizHawk-XMLGame>

NOTE: While the difference in input file length between this TAS and my 2013 publication is 3:46.71, the actual gameplay improvement is significantly larger. Due to differences between the PCSX and PSX-BizHawk cores, loading times are closer to the console (i.e. longer) on BizHawk. This affects the timing on everything from loading screens between rooms, to how long cutscenes load, to how long it takes to call someone via CODEC. If this run had had loading times comparable to the previous run, it would have been under 1h25m.

Intro

Not content with merely breaking the laws of reality, Solid Snake returns to Shadow Moses Island for a victory lap, this time making sure to bring down every member of FOXHOUND in the process - though sometimes he gets up to his old tricks when he thinks no one's looking.

About the Run

This category acquires the BIGBOSS rank (Extreme difficulty, 4 or fewer alerts, < 25 kills, 0 or 1 rations, under 3 hours) while completing all boss fights.

Boss Analysis

Most of the differences between this run and my 2012 TAS are discussed in the audio commentary, but I have provided a breakdown of each boss fight below.

Meryl Ambush

The objective here is to kill as few enemies yourself as possible, either by initiating friendly fire or getting Meryl Silverburgh to kill them for you. On the first wave, Meryl will not shoot, no matter what you do (she's never even pointed a gun at somebody before and her first-ever kills are the three guards who spawn during the next cutscene). It's possible to get two enemies to kill each other and then kill the third, but it's much faster to kill all three yourself.

So now it's up to us to manipulate a teenage girl who's never killed before to do all the dirty work for us. But hey, whatever saves us time, right?

Meryl's RNG is programmed dynamically: the harder the difficulty, she fires less often and is less accurate. That being said, there are a few ways to manipulate her AI. A single burst of auto fire from Meryl's FAMAS assault rifle is enough to kill one guard on Extreme; however, that's not good enough for us, since we'll need her to double- or triple-kill as often as possible so the guards don't go towards our own kill count (for an optimal route, we want our kill count to be 18 by the time we get to Liquid Snake). To get around this, I shoot the other guards just enough to leave them mortally wounded without actually killing them, then move around the map,

The game never spawns more than three guards at a time, but will also spawn guards from other waves early if another guard is killed too soon, which makes quick kills even more important. In the end, I spent a ton of time making sure Meryl got the final blows as quickly as she could, Good going, kiddo! Hope the emotional scarring from being manipulated into mass murder from the stealth master you hero-worshipped as a kid won't last for too long.

Revolver Ocelot

While watching this boss fight, keep in mind that canonically Ocelot has the best aim in the Metal Gear universe.

There's a hostage rigged with explosives in the middle of the room and he will blow up if you cross the yellow line. Ocelot uses a Single Action Army revolver, and once he has fired all six bullets he will be forced to reload (and talk really creepily about how much he loves reloading). I start off the fight shooting him once as soon as possible, and then I set up a stunlock. For some reason, by shooting Ocelot as soon as he yells "Draw!" it puts him into a state where he is only able to fire just to the left of you. From there, as long as I keep firing at him as soon as his invincibility frames run out, he will keep trying and failing to shoot me until he runs out of bullets.

At that point, he retreats and tries to reload. He has just enough health left that a grenade explosion will kill him. I saved a few frames over my old WIP improvement by making a very precise throw that allowed me to start cooking the grenade instantly without blowing up the hostage. The only thing blocking my grenade from killing him was a single concrete pillar.

Tank

This is the only boss fight in the game that goes toward your kill count, since technically you're killing two regular enemies.

The game expects you to use a chaff grenade to scramble the tank's cannon's aiming system, but there's just enough time in between the cannon's shots to get within ineffective close range, at which point the gunner switches to his machine gun.

The only way you can deal damage in this fight is to throw grenades into the tank's open hatch. Depending on how close your throw is to the centre of the hatch, the grenade's explosion will either take off half the gunner's health (a quarter of the total health bar) or kill him instantly (half the health bar). I make sure to start cooking the grenade as soon as possible so that it explodes as soon as it comes in contact with the gunner.

For the second gunner, while it's possible to throw a grenade into the hatch during his introductory cutscene, it ends up being ineffective since he has invincibility frames that last longer than the detonation timer for the grenade, even when thrown optimally.

Cyborg Ninja (Grey Fox)

Grey Fox deflects all bullets you shoot at him and dodges all explosions, so you're forced to fight him hand-to-hand in homage to his fight in Metal Gear 2. Unlike with Liquid Snake, Grey Fox starts his invincibility frames as soon as you break your combo, so you can't use the infinite combo trick on him.

After the cutscene where Grey Fox complements you on using your fists like a real man, I briefly unequip my grenade - keeping it out breaks his no-weapon rule, which causes him to stare in shock that I would dare to cheat, when I want him to charge towards me so I can punch him quicker. He doesn't seem to care about the whole "no weapons" thing after this one part though.

For the first phase of his fight, he alternates between the same two attacks; a cartwheel followed by a punch, then rising into the air to do a stomp attack. The direction in which he cartwheels is random, while his stomp attack homes in on you. For the stomp attack, there is a one frame window where you can punch him out of the air before he lands.

In phase two, he will disappear and reappear twice at different parts of the map, taunting Snake if you can't find him soon enough. This is entirely random and can easily be luck manipulated.

During phase three, he will kneel at your feet begging you to attack him - but get too close and he slowly walks forward, then teleports behind you for a quick cheap shot. However, there is a very small window where you can start punching him before he teleports by standing just close enough to them to get within punching range, but not close enough to cause him to instantly teleport out of the way.

Phase four kicks in when he's down to his last sliver of health. He'll start going crazy and shoot out electrical pulses that can do some serious damage. You're meant to shoot him with the SOCOM once after each of the three electric bursts. However I found that you can actually hurt him during this phase with grenades, and since I only need two more grenades for the rest of the run which are easily acquired elsewhere, I save about 30 frames of menu time from not having to switch to the pistol.

Psycho Mantis

Prior to starting the boss fight with Psycho Mantis, you need to deal with Meryl, who Mantis is currently possessing. The first part of the boss fight won't trigger until Meryl reaches a certain step counter. I take Meryl on a specific path around the boss arena so that when her step counter ends, she'll end up in exactly the same spot where she normally has to run to start the next cutscene. After that, a single stun grenade knocks her out once Mantis has fully taken her over, and then the fight properly begins.

Psycho Mantis has a rather unusual gimmick: he's a telepath, which means he can read minds - or in this case, your controller input. In order to beat him, you need to use the second controller port, which he can't read. That being said, if you're planning on beating this boss quickly, there's a lot more going on to this fight.

Mantis randomly teleports between various spots in the arena. Normally his hitbox disappears while teleporting, but it actually still exists for brief periods of time. The game tries to make sure you don't hit him by accident by removing your ability to lock-on to him while he teleports, but if you run and gun, and know where he's going, you're able to hit him in transition. After several rounds of teleportation, he switches to shielding himself with telekinetically controlled furniture and paintings, which will also hurt you if touched.

Here's where things start to get a little complicated. Normally, Mantis does not take any damage from explosives such as grenades or C4, even if you're using controller 2. However, the game represents this by having Mantis take the damage and then instantly regenerating it, so for a brief period of a few frames he's still hurt. After 19 shots from the pistol, Mantis is at low enough HP that a point-blank grenade will lower his health enough to trick the game into thinking that we're much further ahead in the fight than we are, and the game will skip ahead to the part where Mantis plays around with the possessed Meryl.

After that, it's more teleporting and dodging furniture. I consider it something of a tradition now to have Mantis fall into his chair at the end. Sit down and shut up, boy!

Sniper Wolf 1

The first battle with Sniper Wolf is a rather simple sniper's duel. Human enemies do not have locational damage in this game, so there's no point in going for headshots, and my tool-assisted aiming can compensate for Snake's shaky aim which is normally compensated with Diazepam. I luck manipulate her starting position by burning frames while out of bounds so that she starts out running to the right, allowing me to snipe her immediately as soon as I enter. Since I start with less sniper rifle ammo than I need, and grabbing more ammo along the way would be slower, I need to make a quick diversion to the top right corner to grab more.

Hind D

The Hind D is a straightforward fight mechanically: shoot it with a stinger when its i-frames run out. The major difficulty comes from manipulating its AI so that it sits in positions where I'd be able to shoot it on the first possible frame. That being said, there are some scripted points where it forces itself into certain positions (such as behind the door where I enter the arena) where I have to wait a small amount of time before being able to hit him.

Elevator Ambush 1

Free neck snaps for everyone! The guards' AI is determined by your starting movement, and after some testing I found that moving towards the upper-right corner grouped three of the enemies nicely together, to the point where I could start grabbing one enemy on the earliest possible frame after I cancelled out of neck-snapping the first. Only the fourth enemy proved to be any trouble whatsoever, where I had to dodge his gunfire a bit on the way to more neck snapping.

Sniper Wolf 2

The second fight with Sniper Wolf is much like the first, except the arena is larger - so large in fact that it actually becomes possible to luck manipulate her movement by unequipping and re-equipping the sniper rifle, since her character model is out of the draw distance unless you're either using the sniper rifle or a Stinger. I open with the Stinger since it does double damage, but I don't use more than one since the missile is slow and I need two more missiles for Elevator Ambush 2.

Elevator Ambush 2

This is probably my favourite sequence in either TAS. It all began when Drixq sent me a video of an idea he had for speeding up the Disc 2 elevator fight. Intrigued, I played around with concepts for speeding it up until I got this. I genuinely considered doing a tradeoff to get out the smokes afterward. Maybe I should have done that.

Vulcan Raven

Raven is a big guy, so to take him down we need to get out the big guns. Any explosive will work, but the fastest method is to use a stunlock with the Nikita missile launcher - and interestingly, this strategy only works on Extreme difficulty. By hiding around a corner and shooting Nikita missiles at him, I get him into a stunlocked phase where he will try to fire at Snake from behind cover constantly. However, because he can't hit anything when he has invincibility frames, it allows me to get a Nikita missile right up close to him.

Some extra time is saved by unequipping and re-equipping the Nikita to detonate the missile early and skip a brief cutscene that shows off the explosion animation every time the missile hits something.

Metal Gear REX

There are two phases to REX, but they're fundamentally the same, with the second being a harder version of the first. In phase one, REX' weakspot is the radome on his shoulder, in which you're expected to use the lock-on with the Stinger missile. You can, however, blindfire with it and get full damage if you're lucky. Phase two is the same, but with the cockpit as the weakspot instead of the radome.

Liquid Snake

Liquid Snake's boss fight is a straight beat-em-up, but it's not an especially balanced one. Snake's main melee combo has two punches and a kick, but you can actually stop the combo at any time. This allows a setup called the Infinite Combo, where you do the first two punches of the combo, stop, and then press Circle again once the combo timer is reset - when timed correctly, Liquid cannot retaliate. When compared to previous TAS's, I was able to find a setup which did not require me to throw Liquid in order to set up the infinite combo.

There is a 0.6 second speed/entertainment tradeoff so I can show off a...strange quirk I found with Liquid's hitbox. I won't spoil it, but I hope you enjoy.

Suggested Screenshots

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frame 231,612

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Special Thanks

Once again, Team BizHawk deserves a massive shoutout for all the work they've done on making PlayStation emulation TASable. Also a big shoutout to brazilianjoker, an all-bossees runner from many years ago who showed me how the Psycho Mantis grenade glitch worked, as well as everyone in the Metal Gear Solid Runners discord who tolerated my Facebook-esque status updates on the TAS progress, my viewers on my Twitch channel, and everyone at TASvideos.

So now that both runs are done, what's next for me? Well, I think it's time to back to my roots, so to speak. Maybe rewind time a bit.


Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: Solid run. The boss fights remain a joy to watch, and this run shows them all off well. Accepting to Moons as a new category.

fsvgm777: !


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