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

Submission #6115: Nye's Saturn NiGHTS into Dreams... "all levels" in 19:26.62

Console: Sega Saturn
Game name: NiGHTS into Dreams...
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Nights Into Dreams... (USA) (DW0453).cue
Branch: all levels
Emulator: BizHawk 2.2.1
Movie length: 19:26.62
FrameCount: 69997
Re-record count: 26900
Author's real name: M.F
Author's nickname: Nye
Submitter: Nye
Submitted at: 2018-09-27 17:14:21
Text last edited at: 2018-10-07 03:45:17
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (41357 bytes)
Status: published
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(Link to video)

About the Game/TAS

Claris and Elliot find themselves in the world of Nightopia where an evil force named Wizemen is capturing dream energy from humans, with the help of NiGHTS they take on the task of saving the world and restoring peace.

Each character has 3 unique stages which are referred to as dreams and with a "C" rank on each level the final level Twin Seeds is unlocked which pits them against Wizemen for the final fight. In this TAS my goal was to complete both characters levels and then proceed to the final level.

Once a dream is entered either character is able to move around on foot only to be ambushed by Nightmaren who steal your dream energy, in order to get all four types of energy back you need to defeat an Ideya Capture (The big floaty guys). This is done by collecting 20 Blue Chips throughout the stage, or a Mare as it is refereed to. Once the final stage is complete you are transported to Nightmare where you face against one of Wizemen's henchmen trying to force them out of the dream.

To help Claris and Elliot is NiGHTS who is the character we control for the majority of these levels. NiGHTS has two useful moves, the first being the drill attack or the dash which is used to give NiGHTS speed and the ability to attack simply by charging into things. This move has a gauge at the bottom left of the screen and while in use drains away only to be filled up when passing through rings or collecting a refill. This aspect of the game plays an important role in the TAS as in some levels managing this gauge determines how fast I can go and where extra rings or refills need to be collected. The second move is the paraloop which is achieved by looping around in a circle and connecting the trail, this can be used as either an attack or a way to collect items within or around the loop. With the use of both shoulder buttons it is possible to quickly change direction and in this case you can perform smaller and faster paraloops.

Claris and Elliot don't have much they can do, but we make good use of the only option available. All you can really do is jump, thankfully when you chain together these jumps you're able to gain more speed and distance with each jump which is taken advantage of in some of the levels.

For this TAS under sync settings Port 1 Device was changed to 3D Pad.

Level Comments

Spring Valley

At the start of the level I make sure to get as close as possible to NiGHTS without transforming since it locks you in and you are unable to move. Additionally I make sure that I get hit in a way that doesn't send Claris into the air and remain on the ground, which makes her animation of getting up much faster. A cutscene starts after the hit but I don't skip it immediately since during the cutscene you're still moving, so once Claris reaches NiGHTS I skip it and proceed with the level. A downside of doing this is that you can't make use of the shoulder buttons, which can make some parts a bit slower, but overall saves more time.

The first Mare is straightforward with two trips around the course giving us enough chips, the main task for the first few stages is maintaining the dash gauge so that it doesn't run out before I get the refill which is done by collecting the rings that appear at the top after the Ideya. Additionally using the boost cannons gives a small window where you don't need to dash and I guess the speed boost as is nice as well.

After getting the refill the rest of the level is simple enough. Once done we face against the first boss, Gillwing. The objective is to take them out with a bunch of hits, thankfully with a precise paraloop and angle you can pass through it's body to take it out with a hit to its tail.

After we're awarded the overall level rank I use a soft reset which takes us to the start screen, in this instance it saved 260 frames by skipping a little tutorial screen but in the other ones I timed it was 97 and 99 frames faster than normally skipping the end level screen.

Mystic Forest

Similar to the previous level I get as close as possible and make sure I remain on the ground after getting hit. In this level there is no refill for the dash gauge so managing how much I dash and how many rings I go through is very important.

The first cluster of chips are quite the challenge since I wasn't able to fly into them all while dashing and you can't make use of the shoulder buttons, instead I slow down and am able to turn into the seventh chip. I tried grabbing onto the guy similar to how I do on the second loop around, but they're further away the first time. After I grab them you'll notice I shoot myself upwards instead of right into the Ideya, this is because it doesn't register a hit for some reason, so I take this approach since it lands a hit.

The boss for this level is Gulpo and is a simple fight. The beginning of the fight and the launchers are on a cycle, so as long as I get into the position on time I don't lose any time by not dashing.

Soft Museum

For this level we make use of Claris by collecting the chips on foot as most are accessible at ground level. Inspired by something Claris (the speedrunner) did on a later level I tried jumping on the platfrom to see if it triggered a similar effect, it didn't but turned out to be just as useful. So I jump at a certain height which when hit by the Nightmaren it sends Claris into 3 chips and when she lands it cancels her animation making her jump instead. I then skip the cutscene at a certain point to make it so she is able to jump onto the other platform and proceed to make use of the chain jumping to traverse over to the Ideya.

During the second Mare you'll notice that I hit the ground, this is done in order to break open 2 extra chips and I chose that spot as it's approached at a direct angle that allows Claris to begin dashing fowards after collecting the chips.

The third Mare ends with a big paraloop that allows us to collect the two extra chips needed for the 20. I tried testing smaller loops at the top, middle and bottom of this area but wasn't able to collect them, only a loop which was this big would work.

Jackle is defeated after six hits and starting with the first hit I'm trying to position both myself and Jackle so that he doesn't go flying away after each hit, this is best done by hitting from below.

Splash Garden

The first dream of Elliot and to start things off we do the first Mare without the need for NiGHTS. I jump at a certain angle which will cause Elliot to move down the slope once getting hit. After collecting the chips on the platform I jump down and activate a switch which gives us more chips, these take awhile to catch up so I delay the hit on the Ideya by a few frames so that I have 20 by the end of it.

This is another dream were managing our dash gauge is important so I make use of any rings where possible and slow down slightly in some areas save the amount used. At the start of the final Mare I perform another big paraloop in order to collect at least 10 Chips in that area and again attempts at a smaller loop wouldn't work in getting the required chips.

The objective for the fight against Puffy is to get them all the way to the end of the stage by grabbing and shooting them. The way I went about this fight was to try aim Puffy into positions which would require me to travel the shortest amount possible since I'm low on my dash meter. With the final hit I position myself in a way that shortens the amount needed to turn for the direct shot.

Frozen Bell

Similar to the previous dream I jump towards a slope so that Elliot slides down it after getting hit. When collecting the chips on foot I have to wait a bit before jumping so that Elliot collects them and with the high jump I do it's so that I land in the spot needed to draw in the chips earlier and closer than a triple jump would.

Clawz is the weakest of the henchmen with only one hit needed, but is the most difficult to track down since they keep running away from us. The only way we can get that hit is to take out the mice which Clawz leaps on and I found that grabbing them to create a loop is faster than looping in a circle as done with the first one. I only do a paraloop on the first one due to the angle I'm approaching it from. The mice that I destroy are based on ones that Clawz will try to land on, so the ones on the bottom force Clawz to go up and ensure he doesn't come down and the ones on top prevent any further movement.

Stick Canyon

I saw Claris do this in the WR run and I don't know what causes Elliot to skip his getting up animation, but what I do know is that it is indeed faster than trying to jumps towards NiGHTS normally.

This again is another dream spent trying to maintain the gauge, so when possible I slow down at the end and go through rings that are along the optimal path. The paraloop to get the refill is slower than normal again since we transformed into NiGHTS during the cutscene and cannot shorten to loop.

With the third Mare a magnet is activated which will draw in nearby chips. There is a point where it looks like I fly into the ground, this is correct and is done in order to collect some chips hiding underneath the cage.

Reala is fairly simple, you need to strike three hits and they're out. During the opening cutscene you're able to move NiGHTS and can hit Reala to start the fight early, saving roughly 100 frames. Doing this also positions us closer and approaching in a way which allows us to make use of the knock back that charging into them causes, as after each hit it moves NiGHTS closer to where Reala will be for the next phase.

At the end of this fight when I was re syncing the TAS I noticed that when the screen fades to white was random, one time I lost 14 frames and in this run I saved 40 or so over that one, so about 25 frames faster than the original. I tested to see if entering the level earlier, doing so in a different way or beating Reala slower changed anything but it was the same for all of them, regardless if it was slower.

Twin Seeds

The final dream and for this we control Elliot for the duration of the Mares. Control wise everything is identical aside from not being able to perform paraloops, thankfully to compensate for this the chips will follow us once close enough. Most of Twin Seeds is simple enough, the only hassle is managing the dash meter so that it lasts for the final fight.

With the final Iedya I was able to carry over 2 chips from the previous section, usually you would lose all chips after defeating an Ideya but since they were still following me I technically collect them after the hit.

There are four phases for the fight against Wizeman, most of which involve avoiding various projectiles and with the help of our NiGHTS clone break open the barrier for a hit. The time at which you grab the barrier doesn't really matter, it's when the other NiGHTS grabs onto it that matters and this usually is handled by approaching from a certain angle that prevents it from sliding on the barrier for a faster grab. After each hit I get as close as possible whilst also making sure that I don't get hit, this shortens the length that Wisemen travels into the next spot as well as how fast I get there too.

Memory: Claiming for judging

Memory: Replacing file with 384 frame improvement.

Memory: Movie optimization seems on point with the improvements that were made.

This movie to me was rather enchanting. While there isn't a ton that is ultra flashy, there is plenty of smooth movement, clever maneuvers and strategies, and fun boss fights. The audience likes the movie as well. The game is absolutely one of the most well known games for the Saturn as well.

Ever since Saturnus was introduced as a core to Bizhawk the author has been putting out quality TAS after quality TAS for the Saturn. I've really enjoyed Nye's TASes so far, and hope to continue to be entertained by them for many NiGHTS to come.

Accepting to Moons.

Memory: On the subject of the branch, this branch shows off all unique levels between the two characters. They share a final level but there are no differences between the two characters in that level so it would be redundant to show it twice. As such I believe this is an acceptable way to cover the entire game in a single movie without including redundant content.

Spikestuff: Publishing. Anamorphic Widescreen encodes/downloadables included.

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