Ah, it's great to see that this project is finally done! Those long four weeks of working on this were really long indeed, but hopeful. I spent a lot of time and energy not just on the run itself, but also worked very hard on the testruns, glitch-and-trick hunting, and other testing that needed to be done. Now, after all that work, I give you this Victorious: Taking the Lead
100% TAS in 44:29.04; something that no one else but me probably would have done. I have high hopes that the judges will accept it, seeing all the hard work I put into this, but I also realize there's a good chance that they won't. So, I submitted this run here to give to the site, but the site can do with it what it wishes. Nonetheless, some people will find this run interesting, and some people will "freak the freak out". :)
- Time: 44:29.04
- Frames: 159678
- Rerecords: 2668
- ROM: NTR-TH2E-USA
- 100% completion
- Genre: Rhythm
- FREAK THE FREAK OUT!!!!!!!!!1!!1!ONE!!
Tori and her schoolmates are auditioning for a school play called "The Vampire Queen". In this play, the lead role, the Vampire Queen herself, gets to kiss the school's heartthrob Beck. In this run, Ready Steady Yeti dances superbly to assure that Tori gets that role in record time, as well as unlocking every item.
So, a lot of you might be wondering, "Why did you do this TAS?" Well that's actually a long story. So, it all started about a month or a month and a half ago when I went Christmas shopping for some stuff ahead of the game. So I was at Target, and was looking around for DS games to see what I could shovel out. They didn't have much. I dug through a shelf full of shovelware games, and I found this game and a Hello Kitty game (and there was one more but I forgot what it was and didn't want to buy it anyway). One of the people I was buying for was my nine-year-old cousin, who is really into dance and all that. I knew she had a DS. So, I bought the game (seeing how it was less expensive than Hello Kitty), in hopes of getting it to her for Christmas. Well...the bad part is... I called my aunt (the cousin's mother) later that day, and asked if they still have a DS. Well... (unsurprisingly) it turned out they sold their DS because the cousin hasn't played with it in years. My budget was tight; I wasn't about to go buy another DS, especially seeing how it wasn't really what they wanted.
SO... I kept the game. You know, since I already spent $7.99 on it. I was thinking about selling it, but then I was like, "well, I have a (half-broken) DS, so why not try this game out myself? You know, just for the hell of it." So I put the cartridge in and started playing. I realized that it was not really a great game, but I also realized that some people might disagree, since it has some features that certain audiences would enjoy in a game. I played the whole game through (any%) and tried to unlock a few things too. I was playing as Jade.
Anyway, so after that, I was like, this game might be good TAS material for me if I did it right. So I got the ROM, got out DeSmuME and started playing it on there some more. I beat it 100%, and decided that was the run I wanted to do. I did about 4-5 testruns after that, and finally confirmed the route I was going to use, the gameplay tricks, and everything. I was ready!
This TAS took me about 3 weeks (minus the testruns) to complete. Don't worry though, I can pretty much guarantee that this run is fully and completely optimized. I've tested basically every single corner of the game to come to that conclusion.
Basically, for a 100% run, you have to do all of the following:
- Complete every level (any% material already) and unlock all minigames (which happens in any% already)
- Win every item in that level by completing it very well
- Not only do you just have to WIN everything, but you also have to go to the Customize menu and BUY most of the items you unlocked (a few are free). That's where the money part comes into play in the run.
The routing was tough to figure out completely. However, I have actually compiled a formula that explains the route perfectly:
This equation is almost meaningless to the reader until I explain it. So, the maximum amount of coins you can obtain per level is 50. Furthermore, you can get any of the following coin amounts in a level: 0 (only in minigames), 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50. Regardless of the amount of points you get in that level, it never exceeds 50. Every item you have to buy costs 20 coins. Now, I'm not even kidding, this is actually ironic, but EVERY SINGLE ITEM costs 20 coins.
Anyway, there are 18 total levels in the game that you have to complete to beat it. Minigames are included in this number, and there are 3 of those that must be completed.
Anyway, so in the game there are 51 total unlockables (for Tori) that we have to buy, so that adds up to a total of 1020 coins that we have to get while completing levels.
So then how do we get to that? 50 * 20 by itself would equal 1000. But 1000 isn't enough; there's still that extra 20. So that basically means we have to do 21 level EXECUTIONS, but waittttt there are only 18 levels. Well, guess what that means? We have to do a level over again, and I had to go and test to see which level was fastest to redo. All tests concluded that the first level, "The Basics", is the fastest level, and therefore I redid that one. I believe "Getting Groovy" (the third level) was the one I compared it to, and even that, surprisingly, is about 7 seconds slower than the first level.
So I had to do the first level four times (LOL) but we're not done yet. It was clear I had to get 50 coins for 20 level executions, but then there was an extra 20 coins I needed. So, I had to get that from somewhere. Luckily, there's the level "Stage Combat", a minigame which actually does not require you to do anything past the tutorial part, so you can literally just decide to die at 5 points if you want. So, since it lets you choose how much of it you want to do anyway, I decided I'd just collect 20 coins from there rather than going back to another level and sucking at it on purpose to get only 20 (which would've been much slower anyway).
There's one more thing that the route factors in. You may be wondering why on the next to last level I went to Customize, bought a few things, and went on to the last level. Well, here's why. Though there are 1020 coins worth of unlockables, the game actually has a 999 coin limit. It stops you at 999, which causes several problems. The first problem it causes is that, after you buy things, it makes every number of coins you have from in the 10s to in the 9s, which actually is pretty bad. One coin could make a hell of a difference, especially seeing how you can only actually win coins in the 10s. Had I just done the last level without going back and unlocking those 3 items, I would've stopped at 999, and would've had to do a level over again (AGAIN) to make up for it, since I just wouldn't have enough coins.
So here's the route:
- Start game, Tori
- Level 1 four times (LOL)
- Level 1 to Stage Combat unlocking 50
- Stage Combat for 20
- Stage Combat to Level 17 for 50
- Customize, Outfits, buy all 3 outfits, go to last level
- Last level, Extreme
- Skip credits, go to customize again, buy all decals and backgrounds, back, buy all special moves, back.
To give you an idea about the math: (50*19+20)=970-60=910+50=960-960=0
Take out the subtracting, and you have this: (50*19+20)+50=1020
Why Tori and not Jade?
That's a good question. I didn't just pick Tori just because, and there's a reason I'm not labeling this run "100%, Tori" or something. It is actually significantly faster to use Tori than Jade in 100%. Yes, it is true that, when choosing Tori at the beginning, the "Cool let's do this" is 6 frames slower than Jade's "Good choice". But those 6 frames are nothing compared to the amount of time wasted in Jade later in the run.
Oddly, some of the items in Jade's Outfits menu are completely different than the ones in Tori's Outfits menu. Also, most notably, there is one EXTRA item in Jade's Outfits menu. This means that there are 52 purchases for Jade, meaning an extra 20 coins we have to get in levels. That means we have to get 40 coins in "Stage Combat" rather than the 20 coins we'd need to get with Tori. That actually wastes close to 30 seconds of gameplay.
On another note, since there is nothing to be bought in any%, Jade would be the faster character in an any% run because her intro clip is 6 frames faster. The extra unlockable is a big reason, but the only reason, that I saw that you need to pick Tori for 100%.
Yes, there are 4 different modes in the game. For regular levels ONLY, there's easy, medium, hard, and extreme. There are five levels, however, that do NOT have any modes. These levels include the two tutorial levels; "The Basics" and "Getting Groovy", and the three minigame levels: "Stage Combat", "Stay in the Spotlight", and "Northridge Girls".
In direct comparison, the modes don't actually make any time difference at all. Why? Because the songs that play all have to have the same tone times. Even if you miss every single move, the song will play relatively similar. Yes, it does have more movements, but they are faster and elapse to the exact same time. I've tested it, and I actually find it quite ironic how it's like this. I'm also glad. It would have been a hellhole to test all 4 modes for each level I did, so I'm glad I only tested with around 10 before the run.
Now, in this run, I stay on Easy mode until the end. Why? Because it's the default. It wastes a few seconds to go back out of the level again and pick Extreme for that again, and the viewers would notice. This run aims to be as fast as possible.
Then again, since it makes no time difference at all whatsoever, I decided to pick Extreme for the last level. Why? Remember how I said before that I have to go back to subtract coins so that it doesn't stop at the 999 coin limit after the last level? Well, since I go back there anyway, when I go back in to the level select and select the final level, it already asks me which mode to use. So, I pick Extreme, since, in this instance, it is not a time-waster at all and I could just as conveniently have picked Easy, Medium, or Hard.
What's the difference between the modes, you ask? Well, I could go on for a long time about the difference between each mode, but I'll just tell you the clear ones. Easy mode tends to be slower paced (not actually slower, but appears to be slower), and it doesn't cover up the movement signs for the opponent's turn or your turn. Medium also doesn't cover up either turn, but is slightly faster-paced as I've observed. Hard covers up your turn, but does not cover up the opponent's turn. Extreme covers up both turns, and, as the name suggests, is extremely difficult. (TASing it wasn't that hard though)
So, basically, I just left it with the Easy default for the first 17 levels, then for the last level I picked Extreme just because I could. I wanted to challenge your brains there I suppose.
The ending for this movie is a little different than most. I decided, rather than to end the movie when 100% was physically completed (the frame the last special move was bought), I took an extra frame to press the back button. Why did I do this? I want to show the viewers that 100% was indeed accomplished, since 100% doesn't really have a real ending specifically for that category, and the credits were skipped. Besides, if someone actually does complete the game 100%, then they really can't do anything until they go back and see the word "100%" on the screen. Please do NOT label that as a speed-entertainment tradeoff. I have actually designated that ending as the movie's goal. It starts at the very first frame of gameplay, not excluding the preparation of save data, and ends the frame that I press the back button after the last purchase.
This section is about the gameplay not in terms of routing.
Most of the game (as in about 98% of it) relies on the stylus screen rather than the various buttons. As has probably been drilled into your head by the time you finish watching this, there are 5 basic movements that the game expects from you in regular levels: up, down, left, right, and clap. Actually, the movements in this game are quite simple and easy to TAS. You'd think in video games that the gameplay would be the hardest, but actually in this game the hardest (but most rewarding) parts are the text scrolling.
The game has some pretty low expectations. I could do a very simple left/right/up/down sequence of stylus presses (sometimes it only took THREE stylus presses) in order to get a good result. Now, I was careful. When TASing this game, you don't want to do a left/right/up/down sequence too late, or the viewer will be able to see, and it won't look superhuman. But as long as your sequence ends before that ring goes down into the movement image, you should be fine.
As far as clapping goes, it's a very similar concept. I usually held down the stylus for 5 frames while the ring was still on the screen for the clap. Sometimes there are clapping sequences that are not as monotonous, and they are more bundled-together claps at certain times in the sequence. It doesn't really make it much more difficult; you just have to time your claps well when TASing those parts.
This is a part of the run that might have annoyed a lot of people, among other portions. The special moves are basically initiated by a "Pop the Stars" sequence that is initiated after the 5th sequence in a level, and keeps repeating after every sequence.
So, the way Pop the Stars works... Different special moves happen depending on how many stars you click on. In this run's case, we didn't unlock any more special moves until the very last second of the run, literally. We have two special moves throughout the entire run that we can use; Lasso Whip and Vogue. Lasso Whip is activated by touching no stars at all, or I think by only touching one. Vogue is activated by touching two or more stars. I tried to divide up the special moves about half and half to make it a bit interesting, since Pop the Stars does take up a lot of the run.
Special Moves do not pop up until after 5 perfect rows of moves, and generally keep popping up after each move you get right. Special moves are pretty much inevitable in an 100% run, because you can only get 50 coins in a level by getting every move (disregarding stars in the Pop the Stars) right. There's a counter for how many rows you get right up to 4. The turn AFTER that HUD says "5x", special moves happen.
Pop the Stars doesn't actually appear until the third level, "Getting Groovy". This is the tutorial level that teaches you about both clapping and Pop the Stars. After this level, we unlock both of these special moves. Those are some of the few examples of free unlockables, by the way.
Now I know that some Pop the Stars times are faster than others. But the Pop the Stars sequence is one of those things you can't control or skip. Like I said before, everything in the game is built to match the song that's playing and its timing. So, that's why.
Speaking of can't control........ Technically, now don't flip your shit when I say this but TECHNICALLY the run has a desync. Pop the Stars timing is always the same, but the direction of the stars is COMPLETELY random, randomized out of even the player's control. How in the world they did that I have no idea, but it's the only thing in the game that's randomized to that extent. Thankfully. There's another thing I'm thankful for. The desync doesn't matter.
There are certain points on the screen that have very definite outcomes. On very long or somewhat long Pop the Stars sequences, you're absolutely guaranteed to get a few stars for Vogue if you hold the stylus in the center of the stylus screen. If you go back and forth in any direction, Vogue is almost guaranteed. If you go a wide circle around the center, you're pretty much guaranteed Vogue in most sequences. However, even IN the rare case that the run might accidentally get Lasso Whip from a Vogue attempt (not gonna happen), the run won't desync, because like I said, the levels tend to not have any time differences between most actions because the song has to sync right too.
Also, if you hold the stylus to the VERY top right or the VERY top left of the screen, you will definitely not get any stars. This is guaranteed. For some reason, stars are programmed not to jump to those positions.
Moves and coin count
Now, it is very important that I must say that in order to get 50 coins in any regular level, you HAVE to do every single move exactly right. If you EVEN miss one, you'll end up with 40 coins after that level. Yes, and that also includes claps, but no you do not have to even give a rat's ass about the special moves if you don't want to. This is yet another reason why 100% is easier than any%; you have to get all moves perfect, so you don't have to do some hellbound testing to see how many moves you can and can't miss to make it fastest.
Anyway, regardless of the amount of special moves that happen (nearly every turn), whether it's fastest to COMPLETE the level using those or not in what situations (that's a bunch of complicated crap), you don't even have to factor that stuff in, because it's all simple. Get every move right.
Text and cutscenes
For some very odd reason, text is sometimes my favorite part of TASing; probably because of its simplicity and superhuman potential. In this game, there are a few different kinds of text. Before and during the minigame levels, there are a lot of skippable text instances inside the levels. This text can be skipped using the A button or by touching the stylus. I always used the A button when skipping that text, since I'm just a buttons kind of guy. After "Northridge Girls", the last minigame level, there is no text like this. Most of that skippable in-level text is tutorial text. After "Northridge Girls", most of the in-level text is NOT skippable. Also, it tends to sit there for a long time, too, which is fun because sometimes I like to see what the characters have to say.
There is actually a very strong storyline to this game, but most of it is skipped. With the complete exception of "Northridge Girls", there is a skippable cutscene before and after every level. We skip it before you can even see characters slip into the vision of the screen. The way we do this is by pressing the Start button and holding it during the screen blackness/lag frames before they appear. All you will see in the run of this is a half a second showing a room, in most cases.
For the item purchases, weirdly for different rooms they have different frame presses. I'm not doing it differently just to do it differently; those are the actual limits. What a weird game.
Speaking of text, there are also many hidden messages in this run given by me. It'd be amazing if somebody could find them.
Oh, and, why in the world did they add "Rubber Nipple" as a Decal item in the game? LOL what the hell
As with most games, the minigame levels have different game physics than the rest of the game. This section explains them all. There are three minigame levels we do; "Stage Combat", "Stay in the Spotlight", and "Northridge Girls". All minigames do not unlock anything except for a modified version of the minigames themselves in the main menu.
This level is interesting. The basic idea of the game is that you do a sword-fight practice, and every time the opponent is about to hit you, you yell "Butternut" and lose a nut. If you lose 3 nuts, the game is over. So, I'm guessing the game goes on forever theoretically. I'd really like to test this. Of course, there's a tutorial lesson before all of this starts that tells you all those things. Actually, colloquially, I just call this level "Butternut" because that's the word that immediately pops in my head when I think of it.
So, text at the beginning, and instructions. You get 5 points by default in the intro. After that, you're on. So, to answer your question about why I lost all the nuts on purpose at the end, it's because that's how you end the level.
As the level goes on, the hits on the sword get faster. You might be thinking "is it faster to like lose one butternut for every ten points, then for the last one just lose it with the second one?" Well, no. That's because the butternuts aren't the only thing that have to be fast. The strikes themselves have to be fast, and every time you lose a butternut, the speed starts itself over. So, yes, it IS faster to lose all butternuts at the end.
We need 25 points in this level at least to get 20 coins afterwards, so we get 20. Leave it the way it is after the 5 default, and I believe you can get 10 coins. This is the only level in the whole game where we get less than 50 coins. Also, to get 50 coins, you have to go all the way up to 100 points in the level, which wastes a LOT of time. 40 coins takes 70 points, so that's still pretty bad. That's why this is the only convenient level to get 20 instead of 50 for the routing.
"Stay in the Spotlight"
This is probably the most entertaining level in the run, so if you haven't watched up to this point I highly recommend you at least do that.
So, in order to get 50 coins in this level (which you might as well) you have to have at least 500 points by the time the level is over.
The first part is tutorial, again. Now this tutorial's text is different and pretty weird, because it's activated by several different things. Don't worry though, it's handled now. I don't feel like telling you all the details about those complex text-boxes, but the last ones are the most important. When Trina knocks us out of the stage for the first time in the tutorial, I had to test different angles to see which were the fastest. There were actually a lot of angles that had the same amount of quickness. I did choose an angle that was a really quick one to knock her back out, and one of the quickest, BUT it really doesn't matter all that much as to what time you knock her out. The following text comes up regardless of whether or not you knocked Trina out, and you can only skip it after you knock her out, and some frames after the text first appears. So we have to knock her out before any of that happens.
Now, this is a strange minigame, I must say. Never seen anything like it in any game I've played. (As far as the plot goes, you know, with talking to those chicks by saying "yeah" after they say "dibidibidibidi")
Anyway, to get 50 points, you must get all the moves correct. There are two parts to this minigame: talking to the girls, and glaring at Robbie to make sure he doesn't embarrass Rex in front of the girls.
It's very simple, really. It's just a bunch of clicking and holding. You just have to look for the soonest frames to do those clicks and holds.
You'll also notice that I messed around a lot with the stylus and such during this minigame. I thought it was pretty funny how I glared at Robbie as Rex said "Hey, good lookin', wanna meet up later?"