TASVideos

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

Submission #6093: Dimon12321's GC TMNT: Mutant Melee "100%" in 2:42:38.18

Console: Nintendo GameCube
Game name: TMNT: Mutant Melee
Game version: USA
ROM filename: GE5EA4.iso
Branch: 100%
Emulator: Dolphin 4.0-9390
Movie length: 2:42:38.18
FrameCount: 1754721
Re-record count: 36451
Author's real name: Dmitry Moskovchenko
Author's nickname: Dimon12321
Submitter: Dimon12321
Submitted at: 2018-09-04 16:20:15
Intended tier: Vault
Text last edited at: 2018-09-18 06:55:55
Text last edited by: TheCoreyBurton
Download: Download (204013 bytes)
Status: publication underway
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Author's comments and explanations:
I’m ready to present a full TAS of Adventure Story mode in TMNT Mutant Melee. This mode presents 10 playable characters. Each one has his own history and a big stage set. This TAS completes all 170 stages while combining speed and entertainment aspects.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3V0eG1j-1vLSfQzFOolAAbrvx-eJEcsj

Here is the playlist that contains the walkthroughs for each character. Begins with Leonardo’s story and ends with Splinter’s story. After I complete a story, I select the played character to show his progress. In the submitted TAS I immediately choose next character.

Lyrical digression

I don’t know how do people feel about this kind of projects, whether they enjoy them or criticize, whether they see the big amount of work. Anyway, there are people who enjoy watching 3-hour walkthroughs of RPG games, so this TAS will also find its viewer. On 3rd of October in 2013 I did a first TAS test when I faced a rerecording PS2 emulator for the first time. Though it was horrible in technical aspects because of desyncs, I found it good. A year later, while mastering Dolphin, I did a Leonardo’s story. I have rewatched it for several times so far, so I got an idea “Why not to make a full game TAS?” So, I started a full TAS project in December, 2016 and now you see the result!

Game mechanics

Crates

Almost all stages present items that could be broken, lifted and thrown. Simple crates provide a power-up to the host and power-down if a thrown crate hurts a target:

- Shield makes the host not to lose his health if he takes damage. However, he can still be KOed if it’s possible to KO an opponent by pushing him away from the arena. Power-down is a broken shield that makes the target to lose more health of taking damage. This power-down is being manipulated during the whole game.

- Speed speeds up all the host’s actions. Irreplaceable thing when you fight more then 1 enemy though it’s also useful if you need rapid combos or there are no weapons around. Power-down is a snail that slows down the target.

- Strength makes the host to deal more damage. Helps you with dealing major damage, especially with weapons. Power-down is a skeleton with the opposite effect.

- Medkit increases the host’s health to maximum. Power-down is a skull that hurts the target by 1/3 of his maximum health. It is extremely rare even for tool-assistance, so I haven’t managed to use it in skill-based stages. By plural tests with throwing a crate frame-by-frame during several seconds I can say that some stages doesn’t provide it at all or it’s necessary to spend much time dealing damage before the game increases the chance for it to pop up.

Creates with Shredder’s logo provide weapons. There are 2 various weapons (in a few rarest cases – 4) that could be gotten on a stage. They always spawn in a prescribed sequence. If the 1st item is a bat and the 2nd item is a sword, it doesn’t matter which crate will be broken first: you always get a sword only if the 1st weapon crate is broken.

The Freezer location hides both power-ups and weapons inside the meat carcases which require 2 hits and some relax time to be broken. The last 2 items are barrels that deal minor damage in a small area and packed crates on Alley that always stun characters in a small area of explosion. Both are useless.

NPCs (bots)

The hardest part of any complex game, especially if it’s a 3D-game. Bots do what the players do. They can be simple, average and strong.
  • Simple bots doesn’t try much to beat the player and usually stay on distance from him. If he approaches, they run away or block (purple dragons, protectable characters). This passiveness isn’t good for speedrunning. It takes time to chase them and is difficult to collect multiple enemies in a small area.
  • Avarage bots have a tradeoff between passive and aggressive styles that makes an influence on their behavior. They sometimes go for weapons and power-ups and, if pushed into the air, sometimes make a flip to land on feet. Usually, they are secondary enemies on late stages and primary – on early stages.
  • Strong enemies act aggressively, often block player’s attacks and mostly make a flip when pushed into the air. Fortunately, it’s easy to collect them at one place, but it also takes some time to make them not to jump, block or run away when it’s needed. They are bosses in medium and late stages.
By acting you can manipulate them to approach you, to attack, to hold their right stand and so on. So the entire game depends on it, but TASing require much work to make the bots do what you exactly want. The problem is how much time you will lose in order to make that.

Stage aspects

Each stage has its location, a character set, an objective and the judging system that decides by the result whether the player played fine or bad, and judges if the stage is complete or passed.

Stages usually have some events that doesn’t depend on player or bots. Rooftops location features blowing up the buildings, Alley features traffic, Freezer features icy prisms, Sewer-Canal features falling blocks and mouser robot and so on. Each stage may contain items in crates, ring-out Kos, special enemy spawns.

Combat

Each character has his special moves and own combo set: knock-up (flight into the air), push-away (makes enemy slide back), knock-away (flight far away) and knock-down combos and other properties.

Each combo takes a certain period of time to be performed and deals different amount of damage. TAS mainly uses those that have the best tradeoff between damage, time and enemy’s reaction before/during/after the combo, but sometimes enemies just blocked my attacks when I approach, so I had to manipulate. If you are interested in why I used exactly that combo in that stage, write back and I will explain!

When you hit an enemy, he turns red for a short time. Some characters like Foot Ninja or Splinter can perform some combos too fast and enemies can bypass their separate hits cause they were still red. That’s why some combos were slowed down a little. The same thing concerns the distance. Some hits make an enemy to bend back and he won’t take the following one if it comes too fast.

By dealing damage, a hero gains energy. When the circle around his avatar is full, he can perform a superpower attack. Some attacks are strong, some are not, but they are all different.

Weapons

Weapons hidden inside the crates are more efficient in combat. We can separate them into 3 types:
  • Medium weapons like baseball bat, red needled bat, sword and scythe deal big damage (like a regular combo). Every character can endure 2-3 hits before falling back (depending on max health and sizes).
  • Heavy weapons like an axe, big sword and Japanese axe deal bigger damage, have longer range of hit, but usually in one direction, and smaller “rate of fire”. Small characters fall down from a single hit while the big can endure 2 hits before falling down. Dealing the first hit in the air makes every character to stay on feet, so it helps to deal 2 hits faster.
  • Arms like green rocket launcher and homing rocket launcher have the best damage/time tradeoffs and are often used against bosses.
Each character has different mastering with different weapons. Some characters deal damage in a wider range, have special swings and require special distance in order to hit. These are the main criteria of grabbing either a medium or a heavy weapon. Everything is decided by a combat situation.

I found Japanese axe the worst weapon. Enough bad it has wavy swing for most of the played characters, it sometimes doesn’t deal damage while penetrating enemies. Seems like, only Shredder can operate it well.

Game objectives and highlight explanations

  • Emulator used: Dolphin 4.0-9390 (page 156 in Download section of dolphin-emu)
  • MD5 Checksum: b17b54ae5e8efc4316e97676a9716004
  • 100% competition (all characters unlocked, all stages in Adventure story completed).
I knew that a whole TAS will have a big length and will require much work. Even then I knew that I won’t take this game for 1 more time. As a result, I have completed all 170 stages available in Adventure Story.
  • Take damage to save time.
Not a major goal, but it was still useful. The best defense is attack. This goal was mostly realized in Raphael’s story. The player often fights 3-4 enemies at the same time at late stages. AI is well-made here too and it could be aggressive at some cases. Sometimes it’s faster to take 1 hit and skip your afterattack animation than search for a better position or attack just 1 enemy. Taking damage also reduces the aggression of enemies. After the successful punch/combo, they often let the player to counterattack (will they block it or not – RNG decides).
  • Contains speed/entertaining tradeoffs (“S” and “E” for further explanations).
Most stages are completed in the fastest time or at least aim for it, but I tried to fully show every character and make every stage entertaining too. First stories even show the diversity in trainings which present typical objectives like beating a single opponent in an empty room while the later stories complete it in the fastest time since viewers already know the incoming things.

I have to mention that I didn’t put the entertainment in stages where you have nothing to do. Rooftop Ambush was completed mostly in 50% speed. If I had a multiple field (6x6 for example), I’d draw some pictures with undestroyed floor tiles. 4x4 doesn’t make anyone bother. So was made for Target Practice: I was just shooting targets, not vorrying if it depends on score or not. At least, you get new bags faster if you fastly shoot the shown onces. That’s what I did in substance.

  • Heavy luck manipulation.
Model is the following: “Section (<used for S and/or E>). Explanation.”

1. Getting right power-ups from crate for me and teammate, deliver power-downs to enemies (S&E).

2. NPC actions (S&E).

Sometimes a bot’s start point is near the crates and you are far away. Whatever you do, he destroys them. Sometimes he gets a shield so you have to do something to avoid him of getting it. In short, some actions make you lose time on manipulations. That’s why I sometimes act slower.

The biggest problem is friendly bots. They can lead enemies not where you want to, grab your weapon from a crate and use it worse or even don’t use it at all, perform combos that will slow down the stage realization.

3. NPCs’ spawns during the battle (S). To make them spawn closer to me.

4. Traffic spawns on Alley (S). Not always, but often when it’s not defined from the beginning.

5. Short remarks when killing enemies and superpower usages (S).

Depending on time/weapon/superpower/combo moves, you or dying enemy says something. It’s manipulated short phrases to be said in the end of each stage, sometimes by slower actions before the final hit. However, some phrases are still long, mostly said by Splinter.

6. Massive power-ups and power-downs in time-based stages or when speed is not important (E).

7. Efficient superpower attacks from teammates (S).

8. Waiting for enemy to destroy a weapon crate and immediately take the weapon and/or destroy the other weapon crate (S).

9. Spawning Golden Shredder earlier (S).

10. Other non-mentioned assets (S).

Walkthrough comments

There is nothing much to add since the main idea is explained in the topics above. However, I will still explain some stages. Main enemies usually spawn after a certain period of time. The memory is always allocated for them, so don’t bother if I don’t kill enemies in the fastest time.

Leonardo

Though the Lab is a perfect location to kill enemies faster, Leo has complex objectives there. First meeting features 3 passive monsters that have much health and can perform the superpower at any moment. So, the fastest route is transfer all them to lava. The second meeting features 3 advanced enemies and helpless April who runs all over the lab, but not near the lasers. If she loses too much health, the stage will be passed.

April

Freezer stage was completed slower. The case is, the protectable characters can’t fight enemies. They can only push back after they've blocked a combo hit. Though these cases happen rarely, especially with friendly bots, here Sleeg kills 2 enemies with a single counter attack! About 0,5 secs lost.

Michelangelo & Raphael

In Mike’s Rooftop stage I had to kill the foots just before the spawn of the tech ninja. If the foots stay alive (one-hit or full), the stage will be passed. The same happens in Raph’s Alley stage and Warehouse stage. I had to keep some enemies alive in order to prevent more foots from spawning.

Casey Johns

Though I have put a faster walkthrough of Turtles’ Lair stage, there is an alternative execution where I kill Splinter with the help of TVs. I found it more entertaining, but I had walked so far away from this point and it was too late. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgfBYoWyivg&index=12&list=PL3V0eG1j-1vLSfQzFOolAAbrvx-eJEcsj&t=8s

Foot Ninja

I have shown a bad manipulation in Bamboo Thicket stage. I had to punch the foot soldier instead of using the axe, but he was blocking all my combos. Fortunately, I’ve lost only 1,5 secs.

Though he has the best potential of all characters in the game (thanks to his ninjasprint move), he has a glitched superpower attack. Normally, he hits each enemy on the arena from a random direction. However, he deals damage to everyone who stands on his way too. This means that Foot can hit any enemy more than 1 time during the attack. This feature is used through the whole story.

Killing April at her Apartment stage was also slow. The game just gives me a fail screen for no reason if I complete the stage too fast. However, my first stage test (in 25 secs) was also considered as a fail. I don’t know how the game finds the fail, but it seems to be a program error. The fastest run is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgfBYoWyivg&index=12&list=PL3V0eG1j-1vLSfQzFOolAAbrvx-eJEcsj&t=63s

Hun

Subway stage sends me 2 stupid foots. Right one takes a rocket launcher and I can’t influence on it cause Hun is so slow. Fine thing! He can’t even shoot from it!

Shredder

Similar to Foot Ninja, Shredder’s superpower is glitched. Normally, he strikes enemies near him, but, if an enemy is “inside” Shredder, he takes damage for multiple times. By the logic, it should be easy to get “inside” the big enemies, like Hun and Traximus, but it is even harder. Nevertheless, this glitch is also speeds up the walkthrough.

Junkyard section can be done faster, but you will pass the stage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgfBYoWyivg&index=12&list=PL3V0eG1j-1vLSfQzFOolAAbrvx-eJEcsj&t=136s

Splinter

Another present from Lab stage. I did my best, but pushing 3 Sleegs to the laser at the same time is beyond my skills. Sleeg has a great move set to escape. 3 advanced boots just refuse to die together!

Desyncs

Target Practice map sometimes causes desyncs! I used to face 3 desyncs as Leo, April and Hun for unknown reasons. First 2 stages were just reTASed again from a moment nearby the caused desyncs. Last one is fine, but desyncs for me if I playback the input file with checked “Dump Frames” option. So, during the playback, make a savestate at the beginning of the shootout (when I get 2 K.O.s, for example). Then load the state and turn “Dump Frames” on. The only thing remaining is to link the splits in a video editor. I still can’t figure it out. I checked the emulator’s work in x64dbg with and without dumping, but my Assembler knowledge is poor to find the problem.

Possible improvements

  • There are few stages that can be done faster, but I have no wish to TAS this game ever again.
  • Better manipulations with enemies (both actions and death lines)
  • In technical aspects, PS2 version would be faster. There I could manipulate all the lines (when choosing a character, when someone die or performs a superpower attack) and starting positions on any stage only by pressing buttons 1-2 frames later. Looks like these things are based on the global timer. Maybe it’s actual for PC version too.

Thank you for understanding!


Memory: Judging

Memory: Optimization appears on the surface to be iffy but a bunch of what appears to be mistakes is manipulation of the AI. The only actual sloppy bits are in timed segments where they do not matter anyways. I still get the feeling there is more time to come off this game but without proof, it's just a hunch.

The run was not received well at all. It's long, repetitive and boring. This means that any "speed/entertainment tradeoffs" are able to be easily obsoleted by one that chooses not to perform them.

Accepting to Vault.

TheCoreyBurton: Let's see how this goes. Processing.


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