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

Submission #5421: link_7777's NES Town & Country Surf Designs II: Thrilla's Surfari in 12:37.02

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Town & Country Surf Designs II: Thrilla's Surfari
Game version: USA
ROM filename: T&C 2 - Thrilla's Surfari (USA).nes
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 1.10.0
Movie length: 12:37.02
FrameCount: 45496
Re-record count: (unknown)
Author's real name: Phillip Grimsrud
Author's nickname: link_7777
Submitter: link_7777
Submitted at: 2017-03-23 07:16:17
Text last edited at: 2017-04-08 18:05:34
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (16981 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Town & Country Surf Designs 2: Thrilla's Surfari

Town & Country Surf Designs is a manufacturer of surfboards based in Hawaii. This sequel to Wood & Water Rage foregoes their other mascots (Joe Cool, Tiki Man, and Kool Kat) and focuses on Thrilla Gorilla who goes on surfari. Thrilla is off to Africa to rescue his gal Barbi Bikini who was kidnapped from Hawaii by Wazula.


(Link to video)
Note that you may need to change the quality setting to HD if it isn't by default.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 1.10.0
    • Takes damage to save time
    • Uses warps

Level types

  • Skateboarding - 2.5D course filled with hills and obstacles
  • Surfing - 2.5D river course filled with obstacles
  • Shark riding - 2D water level filled with sea creatures
  • Waterfalls - 2D vertical drop level
  • Bosses

Strategies

Speed and movement optimization

This was probably the most difficult part of the TAS because of the way the 2.5D physics engine works. For skateboarding levels normally your max speed is 0xA0, if you go down a hill your speed can quickly max out at 0xFF and you automatically retain that speed unless you go uphill or hold back intentionally. Normally going up a small hill section will reduce your speed by 0x10, but often you can reduce that to as little as 0x8. Your vertical movement (or Z position since this is 2.5D) is really straight up and down, but the surfaces for the hills are really parallelograms which are diagonal to your movement. Because of this a lot of movement in this game is based around moving to the correct edge to hit uphill sections as late as possible, and then moving diagonally across them to spend less time on them (and as a result only drop by around 0x8 instead of 0x10 speed). The opposite is true of downhill sections, I try to hit them as early as possible and move diagonally to stay on them longer (thus picking up more speed). It is also probably worth noting that jumping has no effect on the physics of the hills.

The surfing levels were a little less tricky, but there are different types of current in some spots that required precice movement to take advantage of. For surfing levels the top speed normally alternates between 0xBF and 0xC0, but down hill and in faster currents it can be 0xFE and 0xFF (surfing levels are downhill only).

Waterfall Skips

There are a couple of places in surfing stages where you can jump far enough off a waterfall to skip the intended platform underneath and fall to a lower one. One instance in 1-3 does have a full platform, but if you jump far enough the water is flowing the other way and is an intentional warp to 3-1. In addition a few waterfalls only have a landing area going forward (most have a full platform underneath to catch you). If you hold the direction fighting the current (and it is a little easier if also holding down at the same time) you can fall and miss the landing falling through to the platform below. Only a few of these are useful in the route, but interestingly some of them fall to map areas that are actually for other levels. This is actually a bit of a wrong warp, and when traversing areas from the wrong level none of the normal enemies load.

Cut scene transitions

I didn't dig into exactly how the cut scenes worked (it isn't just a nice frame rule), but messing with position or which frame a stage ends can affect how long the cut scene and next level loading takes by a few frames. I didn't spend an extensive amount of time optimizing this, but i was often able to save several frames in these transitions.

Corner boosting

Corner boosting is useful for gaining a little bit of speed in skateboarding stages, but it works the opposite of many other games. Generally you'd hit the far side of a corner to get the stage to push you forward, but here I clip the near side of the corner and gain a little bit of speed as a result. Trying to clip too much results in getting caught on the corner, you still end up with the extra speed, but the corner holds you back a bit.

Coconuts

Most stages (especially 3-3) have coconuts laying around for you to collect. Each one you collect earns you a round of a shell game at the end of the stage. As this takes extra time I avoid coconuts entirely (which is actually a little tricky in a couple of spots).

Stages

1-1 The Jungle

This is a short intro stage, so there isn't much to it other than keeping the speed up.

1-2 More Jungle

The top route proved to be slightly shorter here.

1-3 The River

The warp to 3-1 is fairly early in this stage.

1-4 The Killer Rhino (Skipped)

2-1 The Aluzaw River (Skipped)

2-2 The Cannibal Jungle (Skipped)

2-3 The First Waterfall (Skipped)

2-4 Shark Riding (Skipped)

2-5 Nemesis of the Deep (Skipped)

3-1 The Hot Sahara Desert

There isn't much of a down hill at the start of the stage, so it starts a bit slow, but it does speed up by the end.

3-2 Rock Ridden Desert

Pretty straight-forward stage.

3-3 Baby Blue Desert

Must avoid coconuts!

3-4 Huge Killer Scorpion

Pretty easy to just spam coconuts until this boss is dead.

4-1 Muja Hadin Desert

You can cut out the beginning of this stage by heading immediately to the right and jumping through the rocks.

4-2 Purple Jungle of Death

This stage is purple.

4-3 Second Nasty Waterfall

Cutting to the left right at the bottom of the stage saved some frames here.

4-4 Shark Riding

Boosting into a wall the wrong direction when heading down helps initiate the turn, other than that the stage is mostly about routing.

4-5 Older Brother of Evil Shark

Hit the stupid shark!

5-1 Ride the Shark

More routing.

5-2 The Nile River

Straight-forward stage.

5-3 The Congo River

There is a bit of routing with the waterfalls at the top of the stage. Later there is a waterfall skip that skips a good chunk of the level. There is a swag gator jump near the end which is also pretty easy to do RTA (as I understand it), but staying in the water and avoiding the eels at the end probably wouldn't be so friendly.

5-4 Purple Jungle of Many Jumps

This stage is also purple.

5-5 Hyper Nasty Rhino

Who saw this boss (flying two-headed rhino) coming? Also this one was pretty difficult to manipulate with strange hitboxes, iframe timing, and lag.

6-1 The Secret Jungle

I take a couple of high jumps off turtle shells, but it is worth noting that this does not slow you down, where the small kickers that help you over the pits normally do.

6-2 The Third Waterfall

Another waterfall

6-3 The Secret River

Here there is some routing, but the right side is much faster

6-4 Hidden Desert

Another instance of heading rightwards and jumping through the rocks to skip part of the stage.

6-5 Brutal Scorpion

Spam with coconuts as quickly as possible

7-1 Volcano Entrance

Here an early waterfall skip puts us on the map of another lava stage (7-4 I believe) and shortens the level significantly.

7-2 Lava Lane

There is a small waterfall skip at the end of the stage the drops you onto the end trigger.

7-3 Hot Lava River

There is a place here where you could do a waterfall skip, but it is faster not to.

7-4 Last Lava River

There is an early waterfall skip here that puts you on a part of 7-3 which ends up being faster.

7-5 Immense Lava Beast

Spam coconuts quickly for the win!

Improvements

With how difficult the movement is in this game it is hard to rule out improvements. I feel it is likely that finding better luck on screen transitions could save a frame or two. Also maybe avoiding lag in boss fights and making sure to hit those bosses as soon as their iframes end could save a few more (though I think I did a pretty good job). Unless a more game breaking glitch is found though it probably wouldn't amount to more than a hand full of frames.

Thanks to:

  • WhiteHat94 as well as whitman_price_ for the RTA runs and interest in this TAS
  • my Twitch chat for the ideas and encouragement
  • The TASMania team

Screenshots:

18256, 47337, 1343, 20597, 40372


feos: Judging...

feos: This is a somewhat obscure game, but it's way better that the original: its scrolling levels are intense, they have some glitches, there are othe types of levels, and the music is cool too. With as little feedback as this run generated, we're still only seeing positive impression. So it's a Moons run, even though it might feel borderline. The optimization is also tougher than it looks, accepting.

fsvgm777: Processing.


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