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

Submission #5356: DrD2k9's NES Circus Caper in 07:03.88

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Circus Caper
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Circus Caper (U) [!].nes
Emulator: FCEUX 2.2.3
Movie length: 07:03.88
FrameCount: 25475
Re-record count: 9963
Author's real name: Mike D
Author's nickname: DrD2k9
Submitter: DrD2k9
Submitted at: 2017-01-10 22:52:38
Text last edited at: 2017-02-14 15:44:41
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (7023 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
This is a second attempt at a run (http://tasvideos.org/5343S.html) that was rejected for optimization reasons. Thanks to feos for the pointers. Updates to the comments below are in italics.

Circus Caper

The NES platformer with a rather creepy premise.

You play as Tim, the brother of a girl who went into a circus and was kidnapped. Not only kidnapped at the circus...kidnapped BY the circus. (See, I told you it was a creepy premise.)

Anyway, your task is to run around the circus chasing after the people you think have your sister and beat them up until they relinquish her. Unfortunately, with each victory you learn that she has just been transferred to a different circus member thus extending the search.

You have various items at your disposal if you collect them from defeated enemies.

  • Weapons - One HP of damage per hit against bosses (equal to your fist).
    • Hammer - Throw horizontally across the screen.
    • Yo-Yo - Swing in circles around yourself as a weapon and pseudo-shield.
    • Soccer Ball - Rolls across the screen.
    • Bomb - Destroys all enemies on-screen. Ineffective against bosses.
  • Tools
    • Brick - Can be placed in the air for a makeshift platform.

Once you beat Mr. Magic, the ringleader of this caper, you find your sister and learn that they were using her as target practice for the knife-throwers! (And the creepy factor increases a bit more.)

TAS Notes

  • There is a major glitch in this game that is exploited in this run.
    • While you are normally supposed to run to the right of most stages and jump to the exit at the top of the screen, it is possible to simply jump out the upper left of most levels as well. When you do this, the level ends as it would if you left the right side of the level.
    • This glitch is used in RTA runs.
  • Boss battles are physical battles with one exception as explained below.
    • With all physical boss fights, the bosses cannot move or attack during their invulnerable period following a hit.
  • While the run-time of this video is close to the fastest RTA run on Speedrun.com, this apparent approximation is deceptive for the following reasons:
    • This run starts timing from Power On while the other starts at the beginning of the first stage.
    • The final input of this run is at the end of the story following the death of the final boss (a few inputs after the boss are necessary to bring the game to the "The End" screen). The other run stops timing upon death of the final boss.
  • Where items are needed, luck is manipulated to get the desired item in as few frames as possible.
  • Damage is taken to save time.
    • Most notably during the finial battle when a minor glitch/programming oversight is used speed up the fight. After taking damage, there is a 1-frame window in which you can jump out of mid air. This allows for double or even multiple aerial jumps if you're willing to take the damage.
  • At the end of boss battles where a key drops from the top of the screen, the character is positioned in the highest location directly under the key to minimize time of the key falling. (Any higher position results in a soft-lock.)

Stage Notes

Stage 1 (after a bunch of story dialogue) - The first part of this stage is skipped with the wall glitch after obtaining a brick. The second part is run. There are a couple narrow passages in this section where the character requires multiple jumps to ascend the obstacle and move forward.
  • Boss - Clown Bag - Physical fight

Stage 2 - Left wall glitch is used to immediately skip to the boss.

  • Boss - Tightrope Dancer - Physical fight.

Stage 3 - Left wall glitch is used to immediately skip to the boss.

  • Boss - White Tiger - Teriyaki Battle (Timed challenge)
    • In this challenge, either a piece of meat or an empty bone shows up on the table. If you grab the meat, you get a point. If you grab the bone, you lose a point. In this run, the meat is grabbed so fast the Tiger just stares in awe of your cat-like reflexes. He attempts to beat you a couple times, but only accomplishes grabbing the bone.
    • This is a 1-Minute timed event and the higher score wins the battle.

Stage 4 - The left wall glitch is used after obtaining a brick.

  • Boss - Lion Tamer - Physical Battle

Stage 5 - Left wall glitch is used to immediately skip to the boss.

  • Boss - Bear on the Ball - Physical fight.

Stage 6 - The left wall glitch is used to skip the first part of this stage. The second part is a maze of doors which leads to the final string of boss fights. Just prior to these is an unavoidable 'mini-game' to replenish health before the boss marathon.

  • Mini-Game - Kangaroo Fight (1-Minute Timed Challenge)
    • You must punch to catch the falling balls. Catch more than the kangaroo does in the allotted time and you win back health. As it is impossible to catch them all, I only caught what was necessary to win. (A tie counts as not winning.)
    • It was pointed out by Spikestuff that watching the character just stop trying in the first run was disappointing, so I played along the entire round this time.
    • The Kangaroo needs to drink less coffee.
  • Boss Marathon
    • Clown Bag - Hammers are used to kill the Clown faster than I can reach him to use fists.
    • Tightrope Dancer, Lion Tamer, Bear on the Ball - All of these are 2-hit kills. The hammer is used to get the first hit as soon as possible. While punching for the second hit takes a couple more frames than trowing a second hammer, only 5 hammers can be held. Thus throwing a second on the first couple rematches would result in longer times to the 1st hits on the latter boss rematches. Also, in my attempts, the time required to obtain a soccer ball for a second weapon would be longer than the time saved by having two weapons in the boss marathon.
    • Mr. Magic - Basic physical fight.
    • The aerial jump glitch mentioned above can be seen here.

As previously stated, a few inputs after the final boss fight are necessary to reach the "The End" screen.

This submission saves 131 frames over the original.

feos: Delayed, while the author is checking out suggested improvements.

feos: It turns out implementing the 1-frame improvements on each jump messes up the spawns completely, so the first room lasts longer than in this submission, so it can be left to whoever will want to debug the RNG and remanipulate everything, for a new submission. Accepting this one to Vault for now.

Spikestuff: Published.

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