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

Submission #5878: Ploplo's Genesis Zool: Ninja of the "Nth" Dimension in 19:00.13

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Zool: Ninja of the "Nth" Dimension
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Zool (U) [!].bin
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.2.1
Movie length: 19:00.13
FrameCount: 68320
Re-record count: 31831
Author's real name: Alexis Pernet
Author's nickname: Ploplo
Submitter: Ploplo
Submitted at: 2018-03-28 19:35:16
Text last edited at: 2018-04-06 16:26:08
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (31588 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
After months of work and endless route planning, the Gremlin Ninja finally has its TAS! (and my first TAS)

Too bad he really likes to collect eveyrthing lying in the air before finishing levels!

This movie aims to complete the game as fast as possible, using fastest routes that still get enough collectible items.

(Link to video)

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.2.1
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Uses hardest difficulty
  • Genre: Platform


Item Collection

As implied above, you need a certain amount of items to finish a level. These can be acquired either throughout the level, or dropped randomly by ennemies (not all types can drop them though) On most levels it's not possible to reach the end of the level in the fastest time while also having enough items, so the difficulty lies in finding the fastest route. Also, RNG manipulation can be used to some extent to make enemies drop items and incorporate that in the route.

Difficulty choice

As far as i know, difficulty only changes the amount of items required to finish the level (as well as time limit but it's irrelevent) Therefore i chose hardest difficulty (hard). Item requirements are higher by 5 compared to normal, hopefully having slightly more difficult and interesting routing.

Attack options

Enemies can be killed using the basic shot (A button), jumping on them, or using the circle slashing attack that can only be used in the air (C button Bosses can only be damaged with shots, but the projectiles can be shot once every 2 frames, the only limitation being that you can only have 4 on the screen at the same time. By sticking close it's easy to continuously fire and anihilate them bosses.

Luck manipulation

Enemies that can drop items have a 1/16 chance to drop 5 items when they're killed. The RNG can be manipulated to some extent, however the only actions that make it advance are gathering an item, killing an enemy, being in an invincible state and having an enemy with random behaviour loaded around the screen. These can't be done at will and therefore ways to influence the RNG are limited and heavily reliant on route, which makes guaranteed drop hard to get while desiging a route. Some of the drops I am able to get are thanks to actual luck :p

Also, items dropped go high in the air before going down again, so it's much better to kill the enemy at the edge of the screen or using a ceiling so that they come down sooner.

Fast gathering glitch

If you quickly gather items, such as there's 10 times the "100" score on screen, as long as these are on screen, you can't gather any new item, however every 2 frames you're on one, it "counts" 1 for the level requirement. If you're on several at once it will count all of them. This is abused on several places throughout the run when there are many items at one place.

Stage by stage comments

World 1

1-1: Straightforward and not very entertaining. Lots of ennemies are left alone to manipulate a random item drop in the level

1-2: Quite straightforward too, and also one drop obtained through manipulation.

1-3: First instance of a very nice pack of items giving a lot at once thanks to the glitch, also some fun with the cloning power-up thing.

1-4: This first boss level is special in that there is just the amount of items required in the whole level +1. Some are quite out of the way of the fastest route, so i manage to manipulate RNG to get 2 random drops. Boss isn't too hard I just have to folow its trajectory without being hit and fire every 2 frames.

World 2

2-1: Nothing special about this level, though i can mention here that drum-enemies can't be killed by shots, only jumping on them or use the jump attack

2-2: This level does not have much items, so i tried to manipulate 2 drops in a row, but there was time loss involved. Probably the level with most possible improvement with a different route

2-3: Let's destroy all speakers!

2-4: Destroyed boss easily and a nice random drop using ceiling

World 3

3-1: I climb the tree at the beginning which is kind of slow but there's much more items on this top route. I then just continue and the upper part and take all items around the "jump pads"

3-2: The "pea shooter bomber thing" enemy when i climb at 16 items left was actually quite annoying to avoid while being able to land at a good spot on top to get the next items. Nothins special otherwise.

3-3: Long tree climb again since there's isn't any better alternative.

3-4: Gotta love the slide followed by all the killer potatoes :) That killer banana boss is quite easy too. Have to land and there's a small window where i can' hit it sadly.

World 4

4-1: This level is interesting in that the fastest route to the end is really fast but contains only 12 items. There's a whole bottom route with many items but it's quite longer to pass there, so i go grab a pocket with many items while using the fast collection glitch to have just the amount needed.

4-2: Pretty straightforward level again, very few detours needed. Taking damage by the drills is faster than waiting for them to leave and makes the ascent easier with invincibility frames.

4-3: Where i take damage, by turning left the frame before getting hit i'm boosted back towards the wall which is much faster than waiting around.

4-4: Pretty similar to 4-1, there's a bottom route where i don't go to at all, and can gather just what's needed staying on top and going straight to the boss. Which is trivialized like all the others.

World 5

5-1: In this level you can go left or right but left has much more items and you have to go left eventually to reach the top anyway.

5-2: Straightforward and MANY items to gather throughout. Only detour is trhough the huge pack to abuse the glitch and go straight to the end for the rest of the levels. Also gotta watch for the paper bombers!

5-3: Straight and easy choice of route when the level splits.

5-4: This one goes all around the place and uses 2 enemy random drops which are fast to collect because large detours are needed otherwise. Boss cannot be hit until it opens its "cannon" (i guess it's that?)

World 6

6-1: The first and only level where the fastest route to the end can gather enough items to complete it!

6-2: Nothing special to comment here

6-3: Popcorn bags are luck-based, so this required a bit of manipulation to have projectile trajectories that weren't so bad

6-4: By being hit by the boss i gain some height which makes me able to kill it without going down to the floor. You can't move during the hitstun but you can shoot normally.

World 7

7-1: So MANY enemies.... that weren't really difficult to handle and provide nice entertainment, probably the best level in the game for that.

7-2: Fast collection glitch is heavily abused here to gather 41 items when there's really only 16! This is the best way to avoid doing many detours.

7-3: Small collection glitch again, nothing that notable otherwise.

7-4: Last boss is the only one with (some) difficulty. Same as 6-4, being hit propels a bit up and allows to shoot for longer before falling to the ground.

(The ending is quite anticlimactic...)


I really wish to thank the whole TAS community and tasvideos.org for all the awesome speedruns i've seen and motivated me to start my own, as well as all the documentation and tutorials around.

feos: Nicely played, accepting. But even though the feedback was good, I consider this run borderline between Moons and Vault (and I'm pretty sure it gets Vault rating in the end). While it is indeed fast-paced, looks and sound good, it's the same action you've seen during the first minute copy-pasted throughout the entire run. It's so obscured for a reason I guess.

There's no good solution to this problem, but at least we know that it is vaultable, since collecting items is required to beat the game rather than optional for full completion. Yet I'm accepting this to Moons, exactly because the system tries to account for viewer reception, which is very positive here.

fsvgm777: Processing.

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