TASVideos

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

Submission #6204: Woops's PSX Tomb Raider II: Starring Lara Croft "glitchless" in 1:27:50.03

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Tomb Raider II: Starring Lara Croft
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Tomb Raider 2 (Japan).cue
Branch: glitchless
Emulator: BizHawk 1.13.1
Movie length: 1:27:50.03
FrameCount: 312475
Re-record count: 68793
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Woops
Submitter: Woops
Submitted at: 2018-12-26 12:50:44
Intended tier: Moons
Text last edited at: 2019-01-10 00:17:42
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (313655 bytes)
Status: publication underway
Submission instructions
Discuss this submission (also rating / voting)
List all submissions by this submitter
List pages on this site that refer to this submission
View submission text history
Back to the submission list
Author's comments and explanations:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLo9vdI_FgEQcgVESh2Bcx9j3Tb2MbDgBW

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk-1.13.1
  • Game version : NTSC-J
  • BIOS : SCPH5000.BIN
  • No glitches used

About the game

The second release of the action-adventure franchise, featuring Lara Croft as she sets out to retrieve the mythical Dagger of Xian artifact near The Great Wall of China, which has been locked away by a key named The Talion hidden in the catacombs of a Tibetan monastery. Tracking down the dagger, Lara's path goes through the canals of Venice and an oil platform overrun by an Italian gang, who also seek the artifact for their own ends. During her stay on the rig she tries to rescue a Barkhang monk, who informs her that the key to unlock the way to the Talion is below the rig at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, in the wreck of an ocean liner named The Maria Doria.

Comments

General differences between PSX and PC versions

There are a few differences between the PSX and PC versions of the game, but nothing impactful on the route planning :

  • Loading times on PSX between levels
  • Multiple small enhancements to visuals such as the moving inventory screen and gradient bars.
  • Keyboard hotkeys for medipacks and weapons on PC

Japanese

The Japanese version is used due to a missing moveable block in the Living Quarters level, resulting in a ~15 seconds timesave. the Japanese version also has double powered weapons, resulting in faster kills. (i.e I usually wouldn't have to stop to kill enemies)

Note

The game runs at 30 fps, so usually 1 in-game frame = 2 real time frame. On laggy places, the game may need more real time frames to advance to the next in-game frame, causing a little timeloss. The game might also add 1 frame to the in-game timer without actually advancing any frames in cases of extreme lag, but that did not happen often in this run.

Speed and movement

Movement Speed (RAM)
Running 47
Standing jump (all directions) 50
Rolling 50
Swimming 50
Sliding 50
Running jump 75

As you can see, the running jump is by far the fastest way to move, to the point where it is often better to take a seemingly non-optimal trajectory in order to make one more jump instead of running.

Now it is important to note that these are the speed 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. some rounding errors may occur though.

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). underwater, her rotation speed adds 45 each frame untill to caps at 728. However, on the surface her rotation speed is 728 no matter what.

Route planning

Strictly speaking, there are 23 enemies that I need to kill to finish the game, two goons in Offshore Rig for keys, two gunmen at the end of Diving Area to finish the level, the Talion guardian in Ice Palace, one knifethrower for a puzzle item and the Dragon for a door to open in The Dragon's Lair, and 16 enemies in Home Sweet Home. Picking an item on the ground costs 73 frames (~2.43s) at the very least, so I needed to restrict the number of extra pickups as much as possible.

Weapon damage per shot Damage per second
Pistols 2 (per gun) 12
Shotgun ~36 (depends on range) ~32*
Automatic Pistols 4 (per gun) 24
Uzis 2 (per gun) 30
Harpoon gun 8 -
M16 6 48
Grenade Launcher 60 33

  • The shotgun deals 32 damage/second when standing still and holding action, doing fast shots increases this value.

Most enemies have really low health considering how powerful the weapons are, so most of the time the pistols do the job. the only enemies that required other weapons to be used were the Ice Palace guardian and the Dragon. (and ofcourse the last level uses the shotgun as we don't have much choice). keep in mind that anything other than the pistols requires going into the inventory to equip, resulting in a lot of timeloss since the in-game timer does not stop in it.

The medipacks situation is an actual disaster. a lot of the skips/jumps require quite a lot of healthloss. and both picking up and using medipacks takes long. so some levels had extensive health optimizations to avoid damage.

Tricks

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

  • Rolling off slopes: when landing on the edge of slopes, the game allows you to roll off of them without sliding off.

  • Swing cancel: when grabbing a ledge, Lara will "swing" for a short amount of time. However, letting go of action for a moment (1 frame is enough) and immediately hold action again, She will be able to climb up without "swinging".

  • Grab cancel: when falling from hight that would normally result in a stumble, grabbing late in the jump results in landing with a small stumble instead. Flare cancelling obsoletes this trick but it's still useful when trying to save flares.

  • Stumble turning: you can turn during Lara's many stumble animations (not all though) by holding forward + the direction. also affects the last frames of a roll.

  • Low-Ceiling dive: Doing a dive instead of a normal jump and hitting a low ceiling avoids a stumble when landing, it also allows jumping higher than usual hights without taking damage. due to the different jumping mechanics between normal jumping and diving.

  • Tunnel jumping: when jumping in a low ceiling tunnel, hitting the area where the wall and the ceiling meet gives Lara more frames to jump. not very apparent but saves some time at certain occasions.

  • Edge Driving: When riding the skidoo in Tibetan Foothills, driving on the edges gives huge speed boosts.

Note

Glitchless is an extremely arbitrary category, some disagreement can happen if a certain move/trick is considered a glitch or not. this run follows the glitchless ruleset of the Tomb Runner community of speedrun.com . something being not intended by the developers of the game does not mean it is a glitch.

it is also worth noting that most of these tricks are used to avoid stumbles, which is what loses time the most in this category.

Stage by stage comments

Here is a table comparing my times with the best known individual levels time. 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 pick extra items for future levels.

Level TAS time IL time Time save (seconds)
The Great Wall 3:06.70 3:14 8
Venice 2:37.83 2:38 1
Bartoli's Hideout 3:51.90 4:01 10
Opera House 2:34.13 2:34 0
Offshore Rig 5:10.53 5:29 19
Diving Area 6:49.77 6:56 7
40 Fathoms 3:51.43 3:59 8
Wreck of The Maria Doria 5:17.83 5:05 -12
Living Quarters 4:12.67 4:45 33
The Deck 5:02.77 5:04 2
Tibetan Foothills 5:10.13 6:27 77
Barkhang Monastery 13:29.80 13:58 29
Catacombs of The Talion 4:10.67 4:16 5
Ice Palace 3:16.07 3:19 3
Temple of Xian 4:06.70 4:24 18
Floating Islands 5:25.03 5:18 -7
Dragon's Lair 1:27.60 1:33 6
Home Sweet Home 1:45.43 2:05 20
Total 1:21:26.99 1:25:35 249

(obviously the game rounded the seconds in the final time to 27)

Possible improvements or ideas

  • possibly a better items route.

  • some lag avoiding here and there, especially in the large areas. But that was avoided for entertainment purposes. Could possibly save a couple of frames for some levels.

Special Thanks

  • The Tomb Runner community for their advice and suggestions while I was making this TAS.
  • Lapogne36 for helping me write this.
  • each and every glitchless TR2 run on the speedrun.com boards (including individual level ones). I watched every run looking for strategies, ways to save health and route planning ideas.
  • Bahamete for his glitched WIP, some health saving techniques were inspired from it.
  • Temple of Horus for providing me with a Lua script for viewing RAM values. wihtout him this TAS would have taken atleast 3 more months.


Memory: Claiming for judging

Memory: Optimization looks good.

This movie aims to beat the game glitchless. As far as I and others can tell, there are indeed no bugs used in this movie. Only clever platforming and the occasional animation cancel are used.

Personally I found the movie entertaining (especially the snowmobile segment) and so did the audience members that replied but I wouldn't be surprised if some found Tomb Raider rather dry without glitches. On the other hand, people have been begging for movies that specifically don't use glitches since the birth of TASing and this could potentially appeal to that crowd a bit.

Accepting to Moons.

Spikestuff: Publishing.


Similar submissions (by title and categories where applicable):