Hetfield90 and nrg_zam's PSX Rockman X3 "all stages" TAS in 34:42.5. Emulator used was BizHawk 1.11.6.
- Uses no passwords
- Clears every stage
- Aims for fastest time
- Abuses programming errors in the game
- Manipulates luck
- Takes damage to save time
- Dies to save time
The main reason for choosing to do an all stages run on this version is because it's one of two main categories which utilize the Doppler Skip glitch to offer completely unique content from the SNES version. While an PSX any% run shows off a buster-only end game, all stages shows how the z-saber can be used in the Maverick stages.
The 35038 rerecord count on this run is far from accurate. We worked on the majority of stages in this run simultaneously in separate bk2s from the main one, and then hex edited everything together at the end. The 35038 figure comes from only a handful of stages, plus what it took to fix RNG/sub-pixel desyncs. This game version has practically no gameplay lag outside of the Virus climb, so it's very hex-friendly. The intro, Catfish, Vile, Doppler 2, Buffalo, Seahorse, Hornet, and Doppler 4 stages were primarily worked on by Hetfield, with Tiger, Crawfish, Doppler 1, Rhino, Beetle, and Doppler 3 being primarily worked on by Zam.
Version Gameplay Differences
- Wall Jumps - Wall jumping animation has a 2 frame delay to it, as opposed to the 5 frame delay in the SNES version. Since wall jumping is optimized by balancing maximizing average speed while minimizing the frames of delay from extraneous wall jumps, more frequent wall jumping is much more effective in this version. In particular, contrary to the SNES version, double kicks are given priority over single wall kicks in static single wall climbs. Here's a table showing the average speeds of different wall jumping patterns.
- Slope Jump Anywhere - When walking down a slope in SNES Mega Man X games, you walk faster and jump higher and faster than if you are walking on flat ground or just dashing in general. This mechanic still applies to PSX Rockman X3, but you can also get gentle-gradient slope jump speed from walking on flat ground. This is useful for getting over ledges that would otherwise require a wall jump. It should also be noted that gentle-gradient slope jumps do not go quite as high in PSX as they do in SNES.
- Doppler Skip - By highlighting a stage adjacent to the Doppler stage, you can skip directly to the Doppler stages before beating any of the 8 mavericks by pressing the correct directional input and confirm on the same frame.
- Since the PSX version handles left+right inputting differently than SNES, reverse wall kicks are not possible.
- Doors do not open until the camera is centered vertically.
- Catfish can fire a triad thunder at any distance from the wall he is facing, but only to the right(on the SNES version he can fire it at one of two distances from a wall in either direction).
- The Doppler 1 miniboss does not damage X with the side of his hitbox.
- Regaining control in between Vile phases via damage boosting is not possible.
- The saber cannot be delayed nearly as long by chaining hops after slashing.
- Inputting a non-dash wall jump shortly after a dash jump will yield a dash wall jump regardless.
The general idea behind the all stages route is to kill Vile in his secret stage as quickly as possible, obtain Zero's saber from Doppler 2, and then use it to expedite the remaining Maverick stages.
The route we ended up going with initially went Buffalo>Tiger>Vile(in Catfish) and used death abuse to skip the Vile escape sequence altogether, and return to Catfish's stage later with the saber. We actually finished the entire TAS using this route before realizing that it was faster to go Tiger>Beelte>Vile(in Catfish) with the same death abuse. Right around this time, FractalFusion figured out how Catfish's AI worked differently from the PSX version, and showed that you can still 1 cycle him on PSX without drill or saber, which I previously thought to be impossible. This opened up two more potential routes, those being Catfish>Crawfish>Vile(in Catfish) with the same death abuse, and Tiger>Catfish>Vile(in Crawfish) with no death abuse. The Tiger>Catfish>Vile(in Crawfish) route ended up being faster than the other two routes by about 500 and 600 frames respectively, and 843 frames faster than our intial Buffalo>Tiger>Vile(in Catfish) TAS. Even though that run is already obsolete, it does show off saber tech in Catfish's and Crawfish's stages that the submission TAS doesn't, so here is an encode encode
if anyone is interested in seeing it.
The Maverick route after the Doppler skip mostly boiled down to minimizing stage select inputs, with the only restrictions being getting Beetle's airship out of Hornet's stage as well as having Triad Thunder for Crawfish.
- For some reason, I was unable to dodge the spike ball at the top of the Zero climb the way Paosidufygth did in his any% run, even if I copied his inputs from the start of the stage exactly due to the spike ball moving slightly differently. The way spike balls move doesn't seem to be related to global timer or RNG, because I couldn't fix it by delaying frames, so I guess I'll chalk it up to possibly being due to PSXjin emulation error.
- This stage is mostly horizontal, so it looks nearly identical to a SNES version run of the stage, except for lack of the miniboss's weakness, Frost Shield.
- Since Catfish can only Triad Thunder to the right this version, keeping him up against the left wall after bringing him below hp to force him to do 3 consecutive jumps allows for a 1cycle without drill or saber. Because of this, I have to fire 3 consecutive buster shots in the middle of the fight since I have to keep him on the same wall as me.
- There's a camera lock in place after the stage turns that will halt your progress if you don't stay low, so some time needed to be wasted before climbing up.
- The climb at the beginning of this stage is significantly more difficult to pull off on this version since you have almost no leeway to manage your subpixels while doublekicking, and need very specific X and Y subpixel values to wallkick underneath the small ledges quickly enough to dodge the 1 frame pose change 10 frames after wall jumping. Since walljumps are much faster in this version, it's better to just stay on the right wall instead of jumping back and fourth to utilize every platform.
- Glitchman also discovered that it's possible to perform a double Ray Splasher hit with one ammo during the second Vile phase, saving you the time you would have to waste by doing an additional charged shot. This is only possible to do once during the fight, since it has to be done while Vile is jumping from left to right so you can hit him point blank with the first shot and max range from up high on the wall for the second. It can't be done while he is jumping from right to left since the final ray splasher shot fires up while facing left, and you would need 1 more frame of travel time to hit him from underneath.
- X accidentally stumbles into Dr. Doppler's hidden fortress, so he decides to complete exactly half of it.
- The miniboss in this stage has a small portion on top you can occasionally safely stand on; I assume its hitbox moves up and down during its walk cycle.
- Mosquitus doesn't actually have to reach zero during his death animation in order to blow up, he just has to reach a wall or floor. Under normal conditions, he won't fly close enough to the wall to trigger his explosion, but getting grabbed near a wall and staying closer to the wall than him when he is deciding his next direction will allow for it. Even though the setup for this glitch takes longer to pull off and leaves you further to the left than otherwise, it saves time by completely eliminating his descent sequence. This also gets rid of the single most difficult thing to manipulate in any of the SNES Mega Man X games, since normally during his descent he flies in a random direction once every 4 frames, and you need to get to a place in the RNG sequence with around 30 consecutive favorable directions which usually takes multiple stages worth of manipulation and redoing boss fights.
- By weapon swapping the frame before you hit the ground while in saber animation will cause your next saber to not come out, allowing you to weapon swap off it at any time, which allows you to do much more optimal wall climbing with saber boosting. Alternatively, if you don't have time to set up a saber whiff, you can weapon swap off any saber jump up to 9 frames into the jump before the actual saber comes out. This type of saber jump is usually enough to get over small ledges that would normally have to be slope jumped.
- Because of the glitch with automatic dash wall jumps, it's impossible to gap jump the first ladder in the stage after starting the climb on the left wall since you have to input a dash jump after a doublekick on the semifinal wall jump.
- Glitchman discovered a couple of slippery surface movement mechanics in his SNES any% run that aren't been seen in any of the published X3 runs. The first being that if you let go of forward the frame you hit the ground, the first frame of your dash will be dash speed instead of walking speed like it normally is. The second is that if you do a slope jump on ice(there is a glitch in both versions where you can slope jump while moving left on flat slippery surfaces) and leave the directional inputs neutral while you're in the air, you retain a lot of the slippery surface speed, which is a bit faster than normal slope jump speed.
- Despite already killing them both in their Ultima Weapon form, Bit and Byte come back from the dead just to get a taste of Zero's saber. It saves one frame to fight Bit on this stage since the post-fight dialogue turns you around backwards during the door transition, and you have to immediately jump on the other side of the door anyway(it doesn't waste a frame to dash jump from facing the wrong direction, but it does waste a frame if you have to dash for more than 1 frame after turning around).
- Interestingly enough, I've never seen Buffalo's stage have these effects on it before because no other category or route does the bosses in this order. I'm assuming that it is caused by defeating Volt Catfish before Blizzard Buffalo, similarly to how Eagle's airship crashes into Spark Mandrill's stage and takes out the power generator after you defeat him in X1. The differences here are the street lamps flickering at the beginning of the stage, and in the underground room after Bit the lights are on and the ice is melted. Having no ice there actually sucks since I lose 2 pixels with every dash input, and can't do a neutral-dpad ice momentum slope jump up to the left wall before the first ladder and have to settle for a normal slope jump instead.
- Since gentle-gradient slope jumps have a slightly lower peak on PSX, I'm not able to get over the first large wall after the 3-ladder section without a saber jump.
- This stage has a lot of fairly short climbs that benefit from starting a saber swing, then canceling it just before the saber comes out. It's also dense with enemies, so there's some Ray Splasher use to kill enemies in the way while also managing to charge up fully.
- Having the saber trivializes the miniboss fight, which is normally fairly annoying to deal with using just buster shots, and Tunnel Rhino himself doesn't fare much better.
- Slope jumps are incredibly useful in this stage, most notably the elevator section. The walls are a bit out of reach for a single jump in the SNES version, but in this one you can pretty comfortably reach.
- The door at the top of the elevator section won't open until the camera's centered, and jumping helps pull it up into position. The movement looks rather goofy, that's just what I found got X the furthest on the other side of the door.
- Sometimes the height of certain walls are too awkward to be able utilize a saber whiff that doesn't have a setup saber before it, the middle of first climb in the stage being just one example.
- Since Blast Hornet's explosion does not start until he falls to the ground, baiting him to the ground with his stinger move is the best possible time to kill him. As far as I know, it's impossible to get him this low in any other category that doesn't start the fight with a preloaded saber.
- Glitchman's strategies for a lot of these bosses couldn't be used very effectively. What he goes for is a somewhat delayed first saber swing, but is just delaying the actual attack animation by hopping in place and using that time to charge. This allows him to fire the next charged buster shot into the boss which allows you to use the saber much quicker than firing offscreen. As far as I can tell, it's not possible to delay the swing nearly long enough to make a large impact in that way, though it was slightly useful in the Buffalo refight.
- Taking damage following saber hits was the idea for many of the mavericks, to stop the animation and allow charging immediately, so HP had to be considered. Damage didn't need to be taken from three mavericks (Hornet, Seahorse, and Crawfish), and taking damage from all of the other 5 would kill X. Tiger was initially going to have a damage boost, but Rhino was being entirely impossible to manipulate favorably, even changing the order of mavericks wasn't helping.
- The Dr. Doppler fight is fastest triggering his regeneration at the start of the fight. Short hops delay the first saber swing and get a small headstart on charging for the second saber use, so you can use it from a distance and avoid his attack without losing time.
- It's possible to fit a saber jump into the ladder climb, but doesn't even save a full frame over back and fourth wall jumping, so it's better to just use the saber whiff on the next wall instead.
It was pretty fun to make a TAS of this category. I've wanted to see one for a while but didn't have the motivation to make it myself until Zam also expressed interest in it. This run also turned out to be a lot more interesting than I thought it would because of the new saber tech discovered by Glitchman which was utilized all over the Maverick stages.
This category was fun to work on; the 8 maverick stages with use of the z-saber is sick. Glitchman's SNES version WIP fully utilizing the saber for movement, as well as Paosidufygth's glitched password TAS reminding me that this version(and category) exist made me want to work on this. It was also nice having Hetfield take care of all the stupid RNG parts and just let me cut stuff with swords.
- FractalFusion: for help with lua scripting, figuring out how to 1 cycle Catfish with buster on the PSX version, and figuring out how to replicate the Mosquitus explosion glitch.
- Glitchman: for his recent work on the SNES version of Mega Man X3, where he discovered a lot of tech that was also applicable to the PSX version.
- Paosidufygth: for his recent password glitch any% run, where he made a number of discoveries applicable to this category as well.
- Inflames90: for discovering the Mosquitus explosion glitch 2 years ago in an RTA and Allbeert for bringing it to our attention.
: Sync note: this movie uses SCPH-5500 for the PSX bios.
: This is a nice category choice for this version of the game, showing off unique situations compared to other runs of the game with some nice Z-Saber usage throughout many of the Maverick stages. It makes good use of the PSX port's unique glitches and features. Accepting to Moons as a new category.