TASVideos

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

Submission #6025: Woops's PSX Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft in 1:00:51.08

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft
Game version: USA v1.0
ROM filename: Tomb Raider III - Adventures of Lara Croft (USA) (v1.0) .bin
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 1.13.1
Movie length: 1:00:51.08
FrameCount: 216483
Re-record count: 59945
Author's real name: Woops
Author's nickname: Woops
Submitter: Woops
Submitted at: 2018-07-05 19:06:47
Text last edited at: 2018-11-07 12:51:44
Text last edited by: Woops
Download: Download (224006 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLo9vdI_FgEQcqMJOmlFCeH0pmSt3hmSfW

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk-1.13.1
  • Game version : NTSC v1.0
  • BIOS : SCPH1001.BIN
  • Heavy glitch abuse
  • Aims for in-game time instead of real-time

About the game

The third instalment of the Tomb Raider series , released in 1998. Lara is hired to retrieve 4 ancient artefacts and bring them to Antarctica.

Comments

Differences between PSX and PC versions

There are a few differences between the PSX and PC versions of the game, only the last two affect speedrunning :

  • Loading screens on PSX between levels.
  • Saving system is different , on PC you are allowed to save anywhere unlimited times ,on PSX you have to pickup limited crystals that allow you to save anywhere.
  • Having to go into the inventory to equip weapons/take medipacks or even save the game. and since the ingame timer doesn't stop in the inventory, this loses time and is a disadvantage over the PC version which has keyboard hotkeys.
  • A glitch in the Loading on PSX that allows skipping 2 levels.

Aims for in-game time instead of real-time

The game runs at 30 fps, so usually 1 ingame frame = 2 realtime frames. On laggy places, the game might need more realtime frames to advance one ingame frame , so it either advances 2 ingame frames at once (taking 4 realtime frames instead of 2 so no impact on time). or it advances one ingame frame correctly while adding an extra frame to the ingame timer, these extra ingame timer frames don't actually affect gameplay ,only the timer hence looking around sometimes.

Speed and movement

Movement Speed (RAM)
Walking 15
Crawling 16
Running 47
Standing jump 50
Rolling (first frames) 50
Swimming 50
Sliding 50
Running jump 75
Sprint 47-82
Sprint Roll 82-100-47

As you can see, the Sprint Roll is the fastest way to move.However, That doesn't mean it's faster to do it instead of sprinting. Because sprinting has a consistent 82 speed, and when you start a sprint roll it adds 2 speed values each frame untill it reaches 100 for 2 frames , then starts decreasing 1-2 values each frame untill it reaches 47 (running animation), Making a consistent sprint way faster than doing a sprint roll. But note that a sprint roll can go down slopes, which is faster than sliding or jumping over/at the slope. it is also faster to do a sprint roll if Lara was going to fall off an edge, because Lara's speed during falls stays the same as the last frame she took off the ledge at, and with a sprint roll that's usually 98-100, better than sprinting off the edge with 82 speed.

Now it is important to note that these are the speeds in the RAM. In practice, the game rounds Lara's coordinates (X, Y, Z) because it only accepts integers. It means that depending if it rounds up or rounds down, Lara's true speed will be a little bit higher or smaller than the RAM speed.

When Lara is turning, her rotation speed increases by 45 each frame, until it caps to 1092 (on the ground) or 182 (in the air).However, when she is holding her guns (must be fully equipped) and turning on the spot, her rotation speed will reach 1092 in 3 frames (45-90-1092). While swimming, rotation speed adds 45 each frame untill to caps at 728.

Route planning

Strictly speaking, there are only 6 enemies I need to kill to finish the game, 2 Shivas for keys in Temple Ruins (100HP each), Tony in Caves of Kaliya (100HP), Puna in Temple of Puna (200HP), a guard in High Security Compund (28HP) and a guard in Area51 (45HP). Picking an item on the ground costs 73 frames (~2.43s) at the very least (much less in water, though), so I had to restrict the number of pickups i get, including Ammo.

Weapons

Weapon damage for shot Damage per second
Pistols 1 (per gun) 6
Shotgun ~18 (depends on range) ~16
Desert Eagle 21 ~37
Uzis 1 (per gun) 15
Harpoon gun 6 -
Rocket Launcher 60 30
Grenade Launcher 40 22

As you can see, The Desert Eagle is considered to be the best gun for the amount of damage it deals in such short time and it's ammo is not that hard to get. The time I had to start accumulating ammo/flares/medipacks had to be after High Security Compound, because i lose everything in that level.

Glitches and tricks

I can not describe every glitch here, only the most common ones I used in the TAS. For the full list of glitches already found in Tomb Raider games, I suggest that you look at this page : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OfmtA7uewrFNc-dE6_lddmSLjC2Pr6axIuY8GYu4kxY/edit .

  • Corner bug : By clipping inside a corner at a ~45 angle , Lara gets teleported to the top of that corner. If no walkable ground is on top of that corner she starts a flicker motion. There are a lot of methods to clip into a corner, though I mainly used crawling and sprinting and rolling. (used in almost all levels)

  • Flicker Motion : The state Lara is in while inside a wall with no walkable ground above. allows traversing otherwise untraversable areas. Some walls allow Fast flickering at a ~90 angle and some others don't. Fast Flickering is way faster than normal flickering, to the point where it's almsot always faster to take the time to glitch into a wall that allows a fast flicker instead of doing a normal flicker (as seen in RX-Tech Mines).

  • Dive bug : If Lara performs a dive to a wall and hits the point where it meets the floor, Lara arrives at the floor without taking any damage. Even if the fall hight would have normally killed her.

  • Quicksand bug : a glitch that allows Lara to do the Vaulting animation (either the 2 clicks or the 3 clicks one) while moving forwards at a certain speed inside the floor (the speed can vary, depending on what lara was doing before the glitch starts). Can skip doors in certain occasions (none were found in this game) . and sometimes used to skip some geometry or a trapdoor.

  • QWOP : The state that happens when the game thinks Lara is falling while she's still on the ground. What makes it useful is that it ends with a quicksand bug. can be done in multiple way. If Lara touches a slope while in QWOP state she slides down the slope with the speed of QWOP, QWOP speed is the speed Lara was at the frame the state started. so a sprint before QWOP increases it's speed. (as seen in Temple Ruins , Nevada Desert and Meteorite Cavern)

  • Flare Cancel : When throwing a flare during a long fall, The "Throw Flare" animation overrides Lara's stumble animation when she arrives. allowing her to move as soon as she falls. very useful. Lara still takes damage/dies from the fall though.

  • Instaflare : A flare that Lara can light if I press the Flare button at the first frame she initiates a forwards crawl and other situations.No flare is taken from the inventory but it requires one flare to be in the inventory to perform.

  • Perpetual Flare : A glitched state where Lara is holding her hand like she is holding a flare. and is an unlimited flare cancel. Can be done if I press the Flare button as soon as i light an instaflare. can't grab/place keys etc.. while it's on, and to get rid of it Lara needs to stop moving for 3 frames.

  • Extended Sprint : Not all the frames of Lara's sprint animation require the sprint button to be pressed to continue sprinting. in fact only a few frames require it to be pressed(only 1-2 frames with sprint button pressed between 7-8 frames of not needing the button pressed). extremely useful and used in almost all levels. unfortunately you can't turn without the sprint button pressed.

  • Exposure meter bug : This bug refills Lara's exposure meter (cold bar) in Antarctica and RX-Tech Mines and can be observed in both levels in this TAS. it happens when I save and reload underwater.

  • crouch/slide glitch : another save/reload bug. this bug allows lara to slide facing a wall even without an actual slope, and allows Lara to slide against that wall ignoring any objects blocking the way (not doors though). works if you save while crouched and reload while on a slope facing the wall you need to slide on. Used in Aldwych.

  • Ceiling embed bug : Embedding into a corner within a crawlspace and Lara can move along the ceiling of that crawlspace at the speed of 100. Now optimally this would be faster on every crawlspace, but sometimes doing the glitch would be slower than going through the crawlspace normally. This usually depends on the length of the crawlspace, and how long the bug takes to execute.

note

A bug exists in the PSX version of this game (yet to test if only V1.0 is the only one affected after testing, turns out It only works on V1.0) that if you save between Nevada Desert and High Security Compound using the save prompt at the end of Nevada Desert you get the option to load Madubu Gorge, Skipping Coastal Village and Crash Site. So the level after after Nevada Desert is Madubu Gorge then Temple of Puna then High Security Compound (basically I take a detour). Note that when i reload to Madubu Gorge after Nevada Desert i will have the same inventory I had at the end of Caves of Kaliya, So the flares used in Nevada Desert will not count. So i start Madubu Gorge with 4 flares .Also i have to save using the save prompt at the end of Temple of Puna or the game doesn't register that I beat the South Pacific area. The flares/Ammo used in Madubu Gorge and Temple of Puna don't matter since i lose everything anyway when i reload to High Security Compound.

Stage by stage comments

Here is a table comparing my times with the best known individual levels time ordered by the way i ran them in the TAS. Please keep in mind that in some cases I am at a disadvantage due to not having the same amount of weapons/medipacks or because i had to pickup items for future levels.

Level TAS time IL time Time saved(seconds)
Jungle 0:35.53 0:36 1
Temple Ruins 8:35.60 9:38 63
The River Ganges 1:15.07 1:23 8
Caves of Kaliya 1:19.40 1:11 -8
Nevada Desert 1:28.23 1:53 25
Coastal Village skipped 1:21 -
Crash Site skipped 0:58 -
Madubu Gorge 3:29.83 3:42 13
Temple of Puna 2:10.10 1:38 -32
High Security Compund 6:18.37 6:47 29
Area 51 4:29.17 4:59 30
Thames Wharf 0:17.30 0:15 -2
Aldwych 1:46.07 2:24 38
Lud's Gate 3:01.53 3:10 9
City 0:25.73 0:20 -5
Antarctica 1:32.40 1:21 -11
RX-Tech Mines 9:18.23 11:22 124
Lost City of Tinnos 1:36.53 1:42 6
Meteorite Cavern 2:29.23 2:50 21
Total 50:08.33 57:30 7:22

Some level comments

Temple Ruins

The QWOP block skip itself is slightly slower than pushing the block.However, it puts Lara in a position where only 3 crawls forwards are needed instead of 4 , saving a second.

Temple of Puna

The Puna fight was tricky to optimize. Had to do fast shots whenever they fit without him drawing his shield.

High Security Compound

I skip a flipmap trigger when i do a ceiling embed bug after the fan, saving approximately 2 minutes.

RX-Tech Mines

The QWOP was used to embed into a wall that allows a fast flicker, instead on embedding into the opposite wall which doesn't allow a fast flicker, saving approximately 30 seconds.

Meteorite Cavern

I encountered a bug where Willard would not die even if i shoot him after collecting all the artefacts, I still don't know what causes this, and I had to redo the level a couple of times to see if the bug went away , but it never did. my guess is that the bug happens he wakes up from his stun before I pickup the last artefact. but it's still not confirmed.

Possible improvements or ideas

  • Maybe collecting 5 grenades before getting to puna to be able to kill him quicker using the grenade launcher. but the grenade launcher itself isn't fast enough, it needs the mp5 and combine them using a glitch. the MP5 is nowhere in my route. but going for the grenades may be faster than going to pickup the Desert Eagle in the secret in Temple of Puna.
  • A new way of getting QWOPs has been discovered while i was in Lost City of Tinnos. it is still being researched and nothing useful has been found yet, But it could be possible that new door skips are found, which save a lot of time.

Summary

It wasn't easy making this TAS, but it certainly was entertaining. I beat so many goals and for some levels the time i got was thought to be impossible (such as Madubu Gorge).

Special Thanks

  • The Tomb Runner discord for their notes and ideas while I was making this TAS, Without them there would be no TAS.
  • Bahamete for his old run. it helped quite a lot.
  • Bahamete and lapogne36 for helping me write this^^.
  • Temple of Horus for providing me with a Lua script for viewing RAM values.

Suggested screenshot :

frame 77555


Memory: Judging

Memory: BIOS is acceptable and sync is fine.

Having to stun "Willard" again due to the bug which keeps it alive is rather unfortunate, but other than that the TAS looks very clean. I imagine the Tomb Runner community gave plenty of feedback along the way.

The audience feeback was very positive and I agree with it. There's a variety of movement techniques and glitches in these old Tomb Raider games that make TASes of them entertaining.

The only problem I see is that the sparse usage of flares makes the TAS rather dark frequently and kinda hard to watch. Ideally an encoder can fix this issue but I cannot say for certain one would make such corrections. I think the TAS is really fun to watch even as is though.

Accepting to Moons.

Spikestuff: Publishing like there's no tomorrow.


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