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Submission #5727: Mothrayas's NGP Rockman Battle & Fighters: Power Fighters in 13:45.19

Console: Neo Geo Pocket
Game name: Rockman Battle & Fighters: Power Fighters
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Rockman Battle & Fighters (J) [!].ngc
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 2.2
Movie length: 13:45.19
FrameCount: 49720
Re-record count: 43210
Author's real name: Wout van Poppel
Author's nickname: Mothrayas
Submitter: Mothrayas
Submitted at: 2017-12-01 00:22:28
Intended tier: Moons
Text last edited at: 2017-12-10 09:31:06
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (14887 bytes)
Status: publication underway
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Author's comments and explanations:

NGP Rockman Battle & Fighters "Power Fighters" in 13:45.19 by Mothrayas

Featuring another 24 Mega Man boss battles in less than 15 minutes.


(Link to video)

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.2
  • Goal: clear out all Power Fighters episodes (Search for Wily, Rescue Roll, Recover Parts)
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Plays on hardest difficulty

About the game

Rockman Battle & Fighters is a Neo Geo Pocket Color port/compilation of the two Mega Man arcade games, Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man: The Power Fighters. It was developed and published by Capcom and released in 2000 in Japan. While video and audio are brought down significantly to go down from the CPS arcade systems to the dinky Neo Geo Pocket handheld, the gameplay is largely converted pretty faithfully, and the character sprites even in their 8-bit-esque glory retain pretty fluid animation.

As in the arcade games, there are no stages in this game - Mega Man (and Proto Man, and Bass, and Duo in Power Fighters) decided those are a waste of time, so they'll just face the Robot Masters directly instead. Each episode contains 6 Robot Masters, a penultimate boss stage, and a final boss stage where the player faces off against Dr. Wily as usual. Both games have three episodes each - this TAS plays through all three episodes of the second game, Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters.

About the run

Differences between Power Battle and Power Fighters

Power Fighters has a few new additions and differences compared to Power Battle (as seen in #5692: Mothrayas's NGP Rockman Battle & Fighters: Power Battle in 08:20.89). The most relevant differences are:

  • Stun (more on this below)
  • Duo is added as a playable character (more on this below)
  • When a boss first gets hit by its weakness weapon, there's a two-second screen freezing effect.
  • There's also a two-second screen freezing effect enacted by the boss when he reaches half health.
  • Post-stage cutscenes in certain stages or in certain conditions, which result in a powerup. There's one per episode.
  • Bosses may drop weapon refills, health refills and score fills when hit
  • After every boss battle, the boss explodes in a shower of score pickups, as well as a pickup that contains the boss' weapon. If the player does not collect it before the victory jingle, they will not receive the weapon, which also means no "get weapon" prompt after the stage fadeout. This means that if a weapon is not going to save more than a second, it actually saves time to not get the weapon at all. This is done to skip some useless weapons.

Character choice

In Power Fighters, there are four playable characters - Mega Man, Proto Man, Bass, and Duo. The first three characters are basically the same as their incarnations in Power Battle, but Duo is a new character with a few differences. Instead of firing a buster shot, his standard weapon has him extend his fist, and his dash is a shoulder tackle that does 4 damage but cannot be cancelled at all except by hitting a wall.

The characters do have a few other differences compared to Power Fighters - most notably, they don't have a super jump anymore (except for an upgrade in the third episode), and they all have a new special move, performed by fully charging the buster and holding up while releasing. Mega Man will do a Shoryuken, Proto Man will shoot a short-ranged fireball, Bass will do a Flash Kick, and Duo will perform an uppercut. However, all of these actions are pretty slow (especially considering the charge time), so they're not really worth using over regular charged attacks.

Those things aren't really important though, what's important is the addition of Duo's shoulder tackle dash. It does 4 damage, equal to a mid charge shot, and can be used while charging his buster. Furthermore, it can be used with some special weapons to do multi-hits for extra damage, saving hits on some bosses. This makes Duo a good deal better at damage-dealing than the other characters for battles without special weapons, so he wins out for each of the episodes.

Tricks

Double hit/triple hit/quadruple hit

In this game, when a boss is hit by multiple projectiles or hitboxes on the same frame, he takes damage from all of them before triggering mercy invincibility (which is 9 frames for most bosses, or significantly more if they're stunned). This is important for saving hits and in general just increasing damage output.

How many hits it is possible to do at once depends on the weapon the player is using. Mega Man's and Bass' busters allow up to 3 projectiles at once, so if all of them hit an enemy on the same frame they can do 3 damage (or 6 if one of the shots was partially charged). Then for example with a weapon like Cut Man's, you can have 3 projectiles that can do 3 damage each for 9 damage at once, which becomes 18 damage at once if they're weak to the weapon.

Proper use of this allows saving time in almost all boss battles - especially the Mega Buster fights - so usage of this trick is one of the most integral parts of the run, and of its optimization.

Boss HP

Boss HP works exactly the same as Power Battle - boss HP depends not on what boss you fight, but at which point of order you fight them in. The first boss has 64 HP, second boss 80, third 96, fourth 112, fifth and sixth 128. Fortress bosses also have 128 HP, with the exception of Wily Capsule which has 48 HP.

Boss stun

This is a new mechanic for Power Fighters. Each boss has an invisible stun meter, which is added to as they take damage. If their stun rate exceeds their threshold, their stun gets reset to 0 and they get knocked back, being invincible for the duration (the duration depends on the strength of the attack, if they're weak to the weapon, and whether they're in mid-air or not). Since this knockback obviously costs time, it's important to aim to minimize it as much as possible, which means managing stun in an as optimal as possible manner.

Each boss starts out with a stun threshold of 8. For most (but not all) bosses, after getting stunned twice this threshold raises to 10, and getting stunned two more times raises the threshold to 12.

For Duo, his regular and partially charged buster do 4 stun, fully charged buster does 8 stun, and his dash also does 8 stun.

Some bosses may have an unstunnable state, during which stun may accumulate but they never get knocked back (usually for the duration of a move). Of course, where possible, this is used to beat bosses much faster than otherwise.

As an added note, the first time a boss is hit by a weakness weapon, they always get stunned and knocked back (unless they're in an unstunnable state), regardless of how much stun they have. They do take normal stun for subsequent hits, however.

Weapons

Weapons are listed in the order they are obtained in the run. Weapons not obtained are left out.

Search for Wily

Gyro Attack

Works a bit differently from how it was in Power Battle - you now can fire up to three at once, and they automatically home in on targets like a slower version of Magnet Missiles. This is actually an useful property, as it makes it possible to do double or even triple hits with the weapon (or even quadruple hits with Duo's dash added in). Does 3 damage and 4 stun. Centaur Man is weak to it.

Centaur Arrow

Does 3 damage and 4 stun, two can be out at once, pierces enemies, and is randomly either shot forward or at an upwards angle. The piercing property is actually a bit of a mixed bag, as it makes it impossible to do repeated hits with it, although it does make it more viable for getting double hits. Shadow Man is weak to it, as is the Mad Grinder.

Shadow Blade

Does 3 damage and 4 stun, three can be out at once, and can be fired at upwards or downwards angles. Not terribly useful but can be used for triple hits in some situations. Bubble Man and Wily Capsule are weak to it.

Bubble Lead

Does 4 damage and 4 stun, two can be out at once, and tracks the floor as in Mega Man 2. Heat Man and Wily Machine are weak to it. Can do easy double hits, and in general does good damage.

Atomic Fire

Works a bit differently than Power Fighters. It still launches a flame that spawns a flame at the floor, but now it's a moving fire wave, and can be charged. The flame does 3 damage, the fire wave does 4 damage, and charged fire wave does 6 damage. Both types of waves can do double hits with each other for massive damage, but due to the setup required it's only good for Plant Man, who's weak to it and therefore gets stunned by it for longer.

Rescue Roll

Thunder Beam

This weapon is so good that it obsoletes literally everything else in the episode. It shoots a thunder beam forward, and two spheres up and down. All three hits do 4 damage, the beam does 2 stun and the spheres do 3 stun each. Hitting an enemy point blank with it will hit with all three hits, doing 12 damage and 8 stun - a great damage to stun ratio, and just great damage overall. It's like Dust Crusher, but without the requirement for pre-hits.

Since it does more damage than most weakness weapons but without the stun disadvantages, it outclasses all other weakness weapons, while also outclassing any sort of bustering strategy, and of course obliterates the bosses that are weak to it. It just is the perfect weapon for everything, to the point no other weapon is worth getting in this episode.

Recover Parts

Super Arm

Essentially the same as in Power Battle, except it cannot be dropped straight down anymore. Does 6 damage and 8 stun. The stun is high, but the good damage and ample opportunities to double hit make it a very valuable weapon even against bosses that aren't weak to it.

Air Shooter

Shoots a projectile which arcs upwards. Up to three can be on screen at a time. Does 3 damage and 4 stun. Quick Man is weak to it, but it stuns him for a long time and he can't be triple hit by it in most cases, so Super Arm works better against him. It is useful in the Gemini Man fight and Wily Capsule fight though (Wily Capsule is also weak against it).

Quick Boomerang

Shoots a projectile forward which arcs back towards Mega Man. Up to three can be on screen at a time, and does 3 damage and 4 stun. It can do triple hits against Pharaoh Man but the long stun time makes it not worthwhile except as a finisher. It's also used in the Gemini Man fight as a quick-hitting weapon.

Stage-by-stage notes

Before the run starts, difficulty is set to hard in the options menu. Other settings are untouched, but none of them are really relevant anyway.

Search for Wily

Gyro Man

The general strategy with Duo without a special weapon is to half-charge a shot, fire, and dash attack immediately afterwards, which is enough to stun the enemy, and leaves plenty of time to charge a shot for the next round. Once enemies have more stun, and if time permits, fully charged shots can be used instead, dealing an extra 4 damage at the cost of the extra charge time.

Centaur Man

Triple Gyro Attack hits combined with a dash attack deal 22 damage in one hit, or 18 damage without the dash attack - enough to defeat Centaur Man in 4 stun cycles.

Shadow Man

Gyro Attack triple hits are used at first, then Centaur Arrows once ammo for those runs out.

At the end of the Shadow Man battle, there's a cutscene with a fake Wily. Here, the player gets an item which improves damage on their special attack. Unfortunately, even with the upgrade, they're still useless.

Bubble Man

Gyro Attack triple hits are used until Bubble Man is at 84 HP, or 72 HP after Shadow Blade initial hit stun. At that point, double Shadow Blade hits followed by another double hit can do 24 damage per stun cycle, enough to beat Bubble Man in 3 cycles from there.

Heat Man

First, a Bubble Lead double hit is done (16 damage), then single hits followed by double hits (8+16 damage), then double hits followed by double hit + dash (16+20 damage).

Plant Man

The general strategy here is to lay a charged Atomic Fire at Plant Man's feet, plus an uncharged one, as well as dashing through to hit him. Repeat a few times until Plant Man is toast.

Mad Grinder

Gyro Attack triple hits used for the start, then Mad Grinder performs a sawblade move which renders him unstunnable. This time is used to lay into him with Gyro Attacks triple hits, Bubble Lead double hits and Shadow Blade double hits (as ammo permits for each). Mad Grinder is finished off with Centaur Arrows, his weakness weapon, right before his stunnable state is set again, so his weakness weapon flash is not triggered.

Wily Machine

Gyro Attack triple hits are used until ammo runs out, then Wily Machine's weakness Bubble Lead is used.

Wily Capsule is weak to Shadow Blades, and it's important to minimize hits with Wily Capsule because of the long downtime between hits, so that's what's used.

Rescue Roll

Elec Man

Same strategy as Gyro Man is applied again.

Slash Man

With the situation of stun and 80 HP, it's not possible to save a stun cycle here, so it's best to do the first hit as quick as possible, with a plain dash attack. The rest is done with Thunder Beams.

Cut Man

Cut Man is luck-manipulated to walk forward so he can be hit by point-blank Thunder Beams as soon as possible.

Dive Man

At this point the bosses start having a bit too much HP to be emptied by Thunder Beam. Fortunately, Roll is in this stage, and finding her triggers a cutscene where the player obtains a weapon energy upgrade which increases weapon energy capacity. Exactly what we need!

Also, Dive Man not only is weak to Thunder Beam, he's also unstunnable during his depth charge attack. I luck manipulate him to do that, use Duo's regular attacks to destroy the nearest bomb so it doesn't get in my way while the other one stays intact (so Dive Man won't cancel the attack and do something else), then fry Dive Man with thunder very quickly.

Stone Man

More Thunder Beam ammo, so now I can cleanly Thunder Beam Stone Man to death, even though he has 128 HP.

Shade Man

During Shade Man's Crash Noise attack, he's unstunnable, but annoyingly, forcing him to do it means that he goes to the back of the stage all the way. It's worth it for the quick kill though.

Yellow Devil

Yellow Devil is weak to Thunder Beam, and gets stunlocked to death.

Wily Machine

Wily Machine is not weak to Thunder Beam, but gets stunlocked to death anyway.

Wily Capsule is weak to Thunder Beam, which means it gets done in two hits. Easy.

Recover Parts

Guts Man

Same strategy as Gyro Man and Elec Man again.

Napalm Man

Super Arm double hits are used, and combined with dash attack at two points in order to save a hit.

Quick Man

Quick Man's attack patterns don't allow doing Super Arm hits in combination with a dash, so it's just plain Super Arm double hits or single+double hits at higher stun thresholds. This turned out faster than using Air Shooter at any point.

Late into the fight, I luck manipulate for Quick Man to drop a weapon refill to get a few more Super Arms in.

Air Man

Thanks to a unstunnable state move (thanks to Challenger for the discovery), Air Man is finished off very quickly.

Pharaoh Man

Same as Quick Man, except with more health, and it's possible to do a triple hit with Quick Boomerangs which is faster after all to finish him off with.

Gemini Man

This is a very unusual fight. (Buggy, too - I found at least two ways to softlock this match).

For starters, during his opening jump, Gemini Man may bug out when hit depending on previous state, which ends up depending on whether you got a weapon in the previous battle or not. If you do, then hitting Gemini Man during his opening jump will bug him out and cause him to disappear (as if you defeated his mirror image), rendering the match uncompletable. If not, he can be hit normally, although he is in an unstunnable state but with regular 9-frame mercy invincibility. I use this time to hit him with some Air Shooters.

When Gemini Man splits into two, he both becomes unstunnable and has no mercy invincibility for the duration of the fight. I use this time to pump him full with Quick Boomerangs (I still need Air Shooter ammo later, so that was out of the question).

When Gemini Man's health goes down to 56 health, the last hit clone disappears, and the other Gemini Man remains in battle, and will do his half-health effect once he reaches the ground, and afterwards, follow normal battle rules again. But until that point, he regains 9-frame mercy invincibility, but is still unstunnable. So I kill Gemini Man's clone the instant the other Gemini Man is off the ground, giving me the remainder of his jump time to deal further damage while he's unstunnable. With Air Shooters and then Super Arm double hits and single hits, I can get him down to 11 health before he hits the ground. At that point, a double Super Arm hit is enough to kill him, so Gemini Man is defeated without ever getting into a stunned state. The end result is a frantic but very quick fight.

After defeating the last boss, Dr. Light reveals a new part, which enables super jumping.

Mecha Dragon

Same Super Arm double hit strategy as usual again. The newly gained super jumping ability is used to get up to height for single+double hits. Also, some luck manipulation is done for ammo drops.

Wily Machine

Wily Machine is weak to Super Arm, so that's used some more.

Wily Capsule is weak to Air Shooter. Most optimally it can be defeated in 3 cycles, which can also be done with Super Arm for one of the hits, so that's done first, and Air Shooter is switched to afterwards.

The end!

Final notes

Screenshot

Thanks for watching!


Mothrayas: Replaced movie file with a 867-frame improvement, thanks to a much faster Air Man strategy found by Challenger.

ThunderAxe31: Judging.

ThunderAxe31: This run showcases much research for beating the enemies quick. The entertaining is also good, featuring many different fighting approaches.

As a side note, a minor improvement has been found after the submission. Implementing such change would require to redo the entire run, and it's negligible since it doesn't affect gameplay.

Accepting to Moons.

Spikestuff: Publishing.


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