TASVideos

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

Submission #6317: Lobsterzelda's NES The Lion King in 05:30.51

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: The Lion King
Game version: Europe v1.0
ROM filename: Lion King, The (Europe).nes
Branch:
Emulator: FCEUX 2.2.3
Movie length: 05:30.51
FrameCount: 16528
Re-record count: 1015
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Lobsterzelda
Submitter: Lobsterzelda
Submitted at: 2019-03-28 02:20:57
Text last edited at: 2019-04-28 16:37:26
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (2992 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Emulator Version: FCEUX 2.2.3

Goals: Beat the game as fast as possible on the game's hardest difficulty setting.

General Description:

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first TAS of an NES game! I decided to TAS The Lion King for the NES since it looked like an interesting game to TAS, and as of yet nobody had made one before (despite the fact that a few people have speedrun the game rta).

The Lion King for the NES was a Europe only release, which came out in 1995, although the game's title screen says it was published in 1994. It was the last official game to be released for the NES, and was supposed to allow for kids without an SNES to still have a way to play a Lion King videogame. Unfortunately, due to the game's extremely late release (it was made only 3 years before Ocarina of Time was released), its graphics that looked like a colecovision game, its unresponsive controls, and its missing levels (the box says there are 10 levels, but there are only 6 levels and you never play as adult Simba), it sold very few copies.

Nevertheless, with the ability to move frame by frame controlling what input you would like to do, the game becomes much more playable and interesting, as many of its confusing problems for RTA players can be overcome. Part of the reason why many people may find this game so difficult is because of two features of the game: Your button presses are only read once every 3 frames, and the collision for walls often extends far outside where the wall appears to be, and Simba needs to be very far above the top of the wall to actually make it over it.

While testing out the route before TASing the game, I discovered a sequence break in level 3 of the game, which I have named "Double Vulture Boost." Essentially, you bounce off of two vultures, one slightly above the other, and you can use that to get just barely enough height to make it to a ledge you aren't supposed to be able to reach, which saves about 25 seconds and lets you skip half the level. To my knowledge, I am the first person to discover this trick in the game, so this TAS will be the first video of the trick.

As a quick note, all the RTA runs of this category play on normal mode, which saves some time over hard mode. Specifically, the 3 hyenas in the game that act as bosses take one less hit to kill, which saves about 15 seconds. Additionally, the one autoscroller level of the game lasts for 1 minute and 30 seconds in normal mode and 2 minutes in hard mode. As such, since this TAS was made for hard mode, it loses 45 seconds compared to the RTA world record of 6:13. However, due to better movement and the Double Vulture Boost sequence break, this run finished in 6:10 RTA time, beating out the normal mode RTA WR!

Damage Taken

At three parts in the run, I intentionally take damage (once in level 1 and twice in level 5). In all cases, this is done to get past a porcupine enemy. Despite their small, nonthreatening appearance, the developers did a bad job drawing the hitbox around them, and even if you jump so that you are two porcupine's worth of height off the ground, you can still get hit by them. As such, I could only get around the porcupines if I waited 2 seconds each time doing nothing while they slowly moved out of the way. Since this is boring to watch and not very fast, I decided to just take damage and run right through them.

Descriptions of the 6 Levels:

1. The first level is pretty straightforward. You keep running and jumping over platforms and enemies until you reach a hyena boss. One cool thing I did in this level was that in the first jump to a higher platform, I landed on the platform without grabbing onto the edge of the ledge, which saved a bit of time. The hyena fights are pretty easy. Once you hit the Hyena, it is invulnerable for a few seconds, and then you can hit it again. After doing this 4 times, the Hyena dies and you can move on to level 2.

2. This level is mostly just Simba getting thrown and carried around by other animals, so there's not much that you can do to save time here. I did however, make sure to duck every other frame while riding on the Ostrich's back just to keep things interesting

3. To start off this level, you have to fight a hyena to unlock a door to continue with the level. This fight is slower than the first one because the hyena starts the level already in the middle of doing a slow attack against Simba, but it's overall pretty similar to the first one. After you beat the hyena, you do a few seconds of platforming and then arrive at the double vulture boost. After you get the skip, you run left and in a few seconds are at the end of the level, which is another hyena fight. Once you beat this hyena, you run left and the level ends.

4. This level is a pretty boring autoscroller, which is 2 minutes long in the hard mode of the game. To make things more interesting, I dodged each animal frame perfectly throughout the level.

5. This is the shortest level in the game. At one point I intentionally take damage to get past a porcupine, which is blocking a spot that I need to stand on to jump (otherwise, I would have to wait about 5 seconds). I also take damage on another porcupine which is blocking my path later on.

6. Finally, the last level of the game! This one takes place along a waterfall. Navigating up the green tree trunks up the waterfall was kind of a pain, but once you get up top, its a clear path to the final boss of the game, which for some reason is a monkey who appears to be throwing either rocks or coconuts at you. Regardless, you hit the rocks back at him 4 times, he dies, and then you are treated to some of the ugliest looking credits ever made in a videogame :) (may I remind you once again that this was released only 3 years before Ocarina of Time came out).

Difficult Parts to TAS:

The double vulture boost was excruciating to line up correctly. Basically, Simba only bounces up a few inches in the air when he jumps on an enemy, and then immediately falls back down. To make matters worse, the second vulture that you use for this will initially start off being too high up for you to reach him (even after bouncing off the first vulture). In order to lure him down, you have to fall to the right off the platform after you trigger him to move, and you have to do this at the right moment in the other vulture's cycle so that they are in sync (in about the same part of the screen), since the vultures move back and forth from one end of the screen to the other. This is why in the TAS I had to delay about a second before triggering the second vulture. After all this, you need to do a frame perfect jump landing between the two vultures, bouncing off the first one, then getting boosted up by the second one, and finally just barely making it onto the ledge. This ledge is just out of the reach of a normal jump, and can't be grabbed onto by Simba, making it seem deceptively easy to reach but extremely difficult to climb up in reality. Of course, for the timesave this allows, it's definitely worth the hassle!

The waterfall section in level 6 was also somewhat annoying to TAS since it requires a lot of attempts to find the quickest path up the waterfall, but with some patience, it really wasn't too bad to TAS

Overall, I think the little movement optimizations to save time throughout the run and the difficult sequence break in the middle of this run make it interesting enough that it deserves a spot in the vault.

Verification Note:

Since this game is PAL only, you must run FCEUX in PAL mode when playing back the movie file for it to sync correctly.

Improvements:

I believe this run is very optimized, and don't see anywhere in it where I could save frames. However, it's certainly possible that I could have overlooked something. Additionally, the rushed nature of the game's release and the fact that there's already at least one big sequence break in it means that there could be other sequence breaks or glitches in the game that I've not yet discovered, though for now, this is what I believe the best run through of The Lion King on the NES would look like.

Below is a link to a video for the TAS. For some reason, FCEUX doesn't quite work correctly on my computer (possibly because I have a Mac and am running Wine), so it would only let me dump 2 seconds worth of video before it stopped. However, it would let me record audio normally. As such, I recorded the audio and video separately and then combined them together, which is why it may seem slightly sloppy. I am hoping that somebody with FCEUX downloaded can make a better quality video for me to replace this one with. If anyone could, I would greatly appreciate it!


(Link to video)


Memory: claiming for judging

Memory: Replacing with normal mode run that is also faster by execution. Hard mode simply makes bosses take more hits and the generic autoscroller take longer so it is perfectly acceptable to use normal instead, regardless of potential tier.

Memory: Optimization appears fine upon adding Tompa's optimizations.

Usage of normal is fine in this TAS as hard has the issues stated above and easy mode does not allow one to complete the whole game.

The TAS had rather mixed audience reception. There's a good amount of yes votes but also plenty of meh votes and the replies reflected this as well. I personally feel that while the TAS had some decent moments here and there (the damage boost skip was cool) the majority of the game just wasn't all that interesting.

Accepting to Vault.

Spikestuff Oh I just can't wait—


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