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Tool-assisted game movies
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Submission #5206: Fz-last, klmz & Pike's GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "all souls" in 17:06.41

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Game version: USA
ROM filename: 0999 - Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow (U).gba
Branch: all souls
Emulator: VBA-rr 24m svn422, VBA-rr 24m 480 lrc1
Movie length: 17:06.41
FrameCount: 61305
Re-record count: 397485
Author's real name: 王帆, K.H. & 齐麟
Author's nickname: Fz-last, klmz & Pike
Submitter: Pike
Submitted at: 2016-08-27 01:04:22
Text last edited at: 2016-09-04 19:54:48
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (9251 bytes)
Status: published
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ALERTS POSSIBLY COMPROMISING MOVIE INTEGRITY:

Movie begins from a reset; should begin from power-on.

Author's comments and explanations:

Game Object

•Emulator used : VBA-rr 24m svn422, VBA-rr 24m 480 lrc1

•Starts from SRAM (the same as Kriole used)

•Uses hard difficulty

•Aims to collect all souls at fastest input time

•Takes damage to save time

•Abuses programming errors including glitched warps

•Heavy luck manipulation

Comments

The previous submission had some flaws given that we (the previous team) spent only 3 months on it. With all the helpful suggestions and further study, we concluded that an improved version should come. And here it is.

The Route

Let's review the previous run first, focusing on the route decisions. We could immediately spot on some flaws:

1.Skeleton Blaze and Malphas came too late.

2.Claimh Solais was neglected and skipped.

3.Travel to Dance Hall was too long.

4.Time was wasted in Clock Tower on enemies that could actually be found in other areas.

To fix the problems above, we revised the route design:

1.To collect Skeleton Blaze and Malphas earlier.

2.To invest time in getting Claimh Solais. (However, we needn't do this deliberately thanks to the first route change.)

3.Instead of going from Dance Hall to Inner Quarter, we want to visit them in reverse order.

4.To visit only the upper section of Clock Tower, for Great Armor's, Death's and Gremlin’s souls etc.. There are other minor changes and tweaks on the route. We just don’t enumerate them here.

Enemies Engagements

Most enemies were engaged only once each. So to be said that the biggest challenge making this run was how to acquire their souls efficiently. For some monsters coming successively in a line, we wouldn't have enough free frames for rolling the Pseudo-Random Number Generator (abbr. PRNG) forward. This left us only the solution to “compress” the adjustment for the PRNG in advance, for which high jumps were used to create random “debris” off the ceilings.

There is also the same story as with absorbing souls right away from enemies with Blocking Mail. Have we mentioned the manipulation of rare item drops among the flying souls?

MP Management

We never had more than enough MP. Or maybe, we wouldn't ever have had enough MP. Giant Bat is too hungry for MP. Despite that we obtained a Mana Prism on the way, we had to spend some frames to recover MP with hearts dropped from candles and torches. We found this way more efficient than to manipulate large Heart drops from enemies. Needless to say, we managed MP better this time compared to that in the previous run.

New Items

Zhangsongcui suggested 3 more equipments: Blocking Mail, Black Belt and Claimh Solais for use, which did play their respective roles faithfully in this run.
  • Claimh Solais: Pwns Shadow Knight, Demon Lord and other Holy-susceptible enemies in Chaos Realm, as well as Legion.
  • Blocking Mail: Neglects enemy attacks, helpful for bypassing enemies and assimilating souls instantly without getting hurt from enemies being killed.
  • Black Belt: Increases Soma's offensive powers, including weapons and Red souls.
Undoubtedly, we utilized the power of “old” weapons like Final Sword and the awesome Chaos Ring as we did last time.

New Soul in Use

We used Sky Fish for the last round against Chaos. It took time in praying but the increased unmatched power (STR) was worth the cost. Honestly, this is nothing new as it has been abused in everyone's Boss Rush mode. However, there's indeed a new problem with this boss itself...

The Chaos Core Issue

It's well-known that every 256 frames there's a 1-frame window in which Legion's core can be destroyed and crashed without its long death-animation. (Un)fortunately, Chaos's core shares some similarities with Legion, regarding the waiting after its death. Basically, there's a timer controlling the “rotation and breath” animation of the core, whose duration of the first phase (out of three) is randomly initialized when a loop starts. This looping animation plays through the “dying phase” of the core too, and will hold the phase back until certain frames have elapsed and the end of a loop is reached. In other words, the durations of loops can be manipulated. However, the odds that a favorable outcome runs into one is rare (which could explain why seemingly no one has discovered it before), and the ideal outcome for the fight in this run has very little chance, being interfered with other random stuff and lags. The best we could come up with is about 10 frames slower than the theoretical optimal solution, which is already 50 frame faster than daily “optimal” attempts unaware of this “trick”.

Thanks

Thanks to everyone who has paid their attention and contributed to the TASing of this game.

Anyone can feel free to ask questions or give suggestions about the run. Your voices might turn out to be constructive to a third iteration of the run in future. :)


GoddessMaria15: Judging!

GoddessMaria15: Excellent work on this TAS, everyone! I was surprised that more was squeezed out of what seemed to be a flawless movie. This is indeed a very solid improvement over the published TAS and the audience response was very positive! The entertainment value is also top notch!

Accepting as an improvement to the previous movie!

fsvgm777: Processing.


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