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

Submission #5843: Memory's NGP Sonic the Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure in 13:19.76

Console: Neo Geo Pocket
Game name: Sonic the Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure
Game version: any
ROM filename: Sonic the Hedgehog - Pocket Adventure (World).ngc
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.2.1
Movie length: 13:19.76
FrameCount: 48188
Re-record count: 75406
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Memory
Submitter: Memory
Submitted at: 2018-03-02 16:54:42
Text last edited at: 2018-03-16 17:10:58
Text last edited by: Stovent
Download: Download (17349 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Sonic the Hedgehog - Pocket Adventure is classic 2D Sonic action, except on one of the most obscure systems known to man, the Neo Geo Pocket Color. It more or less takes the themes of the Sonic 2 zones, renames them and makes new levels around them. It also uses Sonic 3 & Knuckles music in the most confusing method possible.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.2.1
  • Aims for fastest in-game time (mostly)
  • Takes damage to save time


(Link to video)

Comments

The game runs at 30FPS but other than that has a bunch of standard Sonic mechanics.

Running

Normal max running speed is 2048. If you are below that value you will increase in speed until you reach it. If you start running at above that value (usually done by jumping onto a downwards slope), you will maintain that speed until something causes you to slow down. However, while running, your speed will never go above 3840. If you have speedshoes, your speed will build until it reaches 3840.

Rolling

Max rolling speed is 3824. If you roll along flat ground you will gradually lose speed but if you do it on a slope you will gain speed.

Spindash

Spindash has a max rev of 8. It starts at 0 with the first button press and goes up from there. Rev will frequently increase by more than 1 at a time so you only need a total of 6 button presses to get max rev, the last must be the frame you let go of down to get 8. Note that it costs 0 frames to go from 0 to 2 so 2 is more or less the minimum spindash used throughout the TAS.

Also worth noting Sonic cannot crouch and therefore spindash if he is on the edge of a platform doing the balancing animation. You also need to be at close to a standstill to crouch instead of roll.

Jumping

If you enter the air you will gradually lose horizontal speed until it reaches 1984 (if you are holding right, otherwise it will go below that). However, if you press jump, you will maintain the horizontal speed for a little longer depending on how long you hold jump. Bouncing off enemies will also freeze the horizontal speed value for a little while.

Slope Jumps

These work more or less how you expect with one exception. If you jump on the first frame you touch a downwards slope, you don't really lose any vertical speed over jumping on flat ground but still gain a lot of horizontal speed. Jumping onto a downwards slope will result in huge speed gains, depending on the angle of the slope.

Horizontal Springs

Horizontal springs will give more speed if you are rolling as opposed to walking.

Table of Times (minutes:seconds:centiseconds)

The following times are based off of the times given by the time trial mode. 30 IGT increments in a second and each increment counts as 0:00:03. You can't get centiseconds equal to or above 90, that will count as a new second. Note that on Aerobase, Gigantic Angel 2, and Last Utopia, in time trial, 2 centiseconds will be added to the end of your time when completion is registered.

Act IGT Value TAS time Best Human Time Trial
Neo South Island 1 631 0:21:03 0:23:27
Neo South Island 2 1266 0:42:18 0:43:54
Secret Plant 1 1257 0:41:81 0:45:12
Secret Plant 2 1506 0:50:18 0:57:36
Cosmic Casino 1 626 0:20:78 0:22:66
Cosmic Casino 2 1628 0:54:24 1:02:87
Aquatic Relix 1 691 0:23:03 0:25:18
Aquatic Relix 2 1259 0:41:87 0:46:00
Sky Chase 3667 2:02:21 N/A
Aerobase 2105 1:10:17 1:22:89
Gigantic Angel 1 899 0:29:87 0:34:39
Gigantic Angel 2 2416 1:20:50 1:26:29
Last Utopia 792 0:26:38 0:26:47

Stage by stage comments

Emerald Hill 1 Neo South Island 1

I tried doing a downward slope jump right before the platform with the ring box and land on it to maintain speed but the ring box would either just block me or bounce up and crush me. The speedshoes are critical for the end of this stage. This strategy for skipping the loop was found by dekutony and I found it to be several frames faster than my old strategy. In order to get the jump onto the steep part of the downwards slope I had to pass through the spring, which is possible at max speed with some controlled positioning. I could save an extra increment of IGT here by holding jump for longer at the very last slope jump, however this would cause me to enter the bonus ring so I don't do it. I don't "GET MORE CHAOS EMERALD!" as the game puts it because it would require me to do the Sonic 2 bonus game 6 times and I would really rather not make people sit through that.

Emerald Hill 2 Neo South Island 2

This stage is full of springs and vertical movement. Throughout the TAS, I try to back away from walls while jumping and then get as much forward speed moving past them. However I often have to slow down for spindashes so it needs to be balanced. The one downwards slope after the fish enemy is tricky to force Sonic to run down.

This boss is fairly straight forward. Most bosses have 30 frames of invulnerability and all bosses have 8 HP. The most amount of hits you can get on this boss before it leaves the screen is 5, and then I get all 3 remaining hits as quickly as possible. I stay to the left while Robotnik flies away such that he has to travel less distance to despawn.

Chemical Plant 1 Secret Plant 1

This is the first level without speed shoes so jumping out of loops is key to gaining speed. I had to slow down slightly to avoid getting hit by the chemicals after the jump off the giant slope. There is a trick to avoid bouncing when hitting the cover of the tube but it required 2 jumps which was slower than doing 1 spindash jump.

Chemical Plant 2 Secret Plant 2

The main thing you'll notice about the stage itself is the path swapper glitch discovered by SB737. With a slope jump, you can jump over a path swapper and skip a huge portion of the level.

The boss is an absolute nightmare. Speedrunners usually try to bounce on Robotnik while he is invincible but that doesn't result in you hitting him as soon as he becomes vulnerable. There's still a decent amount of time in my strategy he is spent vulnerable but it's still way faster than anything humans have pulled off and the fight is incredibly chaotic due to the bounces and the moving platforms.

Casino Night 1 Cosmic Casino 1

Why do Sonic games have to have casino levels?

The flippers give you the same amount of vertical speed regardless of where you are on them and differing amounts of horizontal speed. It's not extremely relevant in this level but it's more in the next. The jump where I avoided hitting the bumper and the wall and landed on the platform at the end is fairly precise. The end of the level also features one of the rare cases where jumping over an upwards slope is faster since the end of level trigger is right there.

Casino Night 2 Cosmic Casino 2

Diamond44444444, a time trial/RTA runner for the game suggested I use the flippers to get on top of the conveyor belt and spindash from there instead of what is done in RTA, and it turned out to be faster. That block is on a local cycle that starts as soon as I get close enough and so I pretty much have to wait for it. The spindash jump out of the elevator was a fun little thing I found. It's faster to do a regular jump over the spikes at the end then to do a spindash jump because you will build downwards speed faster by doing so.

The boss is pretty chaotic to control. I get all frame perfect hits except the last one where I specifically wait for Robotnik to move to a position such that he falls on the platform. This allows him to despawn more or less immediately. It may be possible to get him in such a position where you don't have to wait on the last hit or wait less, but I didn't find how.

Aquatic Ruin 1 Aquatic Relix 1

This level is mostly straight forward. I timed skipping the last loop to result in the exact same time as taking it, but I chose to skip it anyways because it was cooler. I again ran into the problem where an optimal time would slope jump into the bonus ring so I lose 1 frame.

Aquatic Ruin 2 Aquatic Relix 2

The jump through the slope at the start was found by Diamond44444444. Landing on the slope and rolling down it is fairly precise. Running down the very steep slope to get a slope jump instead of running off it into the air required some speed manipulation. The bounce off the spring maintained some of my forward speed a little longer too.

The boss, Knuckles is very pattern based. How close you are to him, if you're in the air, and when/if you hit him can all affect his pattern. This is the best pattern I was able to get but there might be something faster.

Sky Chase Sky Chase

...Wait a minute.

This level is an autoscroller just like the one from Sonic 2. There isn't anything interesting to say about the level itself, though I do delay skipping the score countdown in order to manipulate a platform cycle in the next level that runs on a timer that starts from power on.

Wing Fortress Aerobase

This level was very interesting to do. I do a massive spin dash leap of faith that avoids me getting blown by the fans (will slow you down) and lands on the platform at the very end. I don't spindash immediately because I need to actually wait for the platform to appear since it is on a global cycle (not related to the timer manipulation I set up last level). The rotating platforms are the ones on the universal timer that I manipulated last level.

The boss is fairly straight forward. I end the level as far to the right as possible to reduce travel time after the level ends but this saves no IGT.

Metropolis 1 Gigantic Angel 1

The slope jump after the first series of bumpers and the following spindash jump allow me to take a route a little over a second faster than the route time trial runners use. The spindash jump is very precise, you can't hit the drop in the ceiling and you still have to make it to the other side. The next spindash jump is precise too, I don't do max rev because I would just hit the side of the next block. The pistons that launch you up into the air are on local cycles that start as soon as you get close enough. No you can't spindash off the launch you get from them, the launch will eat any horizontal speed unfortunately. Dodging the attacks of the preying mantis robots can be fairly tricky. I timed jumping onto the conveyor and then the platform to be faster than doing a single slope jump onto it. The next spindash jump is fairly precise due to the preying mantis robot. I do a spindash jump off the final ledge to maintain speed for a little longer.

Metropolis 2 except with the start of Scrap Brain 3 Gigantic Angel 2

The slope jump I do at the start gives me the right subpixels to be able to skip a step before the crushers. I timed taking the one loop after a horizontal spring to be slower than jumping over it. After a preying mantis enemy, there is a downwards slope that Diamond took but I found that no matter what I had to slow down to get onto the next ledge if I took it, so I spindash jumped to the platform on the two sets of wheels instead. Spindashing into the ledge allowed me to maintain most of the speed when I started running.

You can only attack the boss when you jump off an explosion or when he comes down low enough to get hit. Once he takes enough damage he speeds up but I don't miss any potential hits anyways.

Death Egg 2 Boss Arena Last Utopia

The strategy I use on the boss is more or less identical to that of diamond, but I take one less hit and end up saving 3 frames on him. The IGT stops when you land back on the platform.

Other comments

The main spots for improvement I could see would be ways to get the extra frames on NSI1 and AR1 without triggering the bonus and some faster boss strategies.

Thanks go to dekutony for his loop skip strategy in NSI1, mastakirby's videos of time trials of the first couple zones, SB737's SP2 skip, Jonathan Mendez for the "TAS" by Olivebates (not actually a TAS or worth thanking), and Diamond44444444 for constant advice and support throughout the making of the TAS.

Potential screenshot frame 9259/9260.


feos: Good game, good run, good feedback, accepting to Moons.

Stovent: Processing...


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