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

Submission #6460: Jigwally's NES Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness in 25:47.62

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Gargoyle's Quest 2 - The Demon Darkness (U) [!].nes
Emulator: FCEUX 2.2.3
Movie length: 25:47.62
FrameCount: 93010
Re-record count: 61286
Author's real name: Basil Gruber
Author's nickname: Jigwally
Submitter: Jigwally
Submitted at: 2019-07-21 22:47:58
Text last edited at: 2019-08-02 12:54:14
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (8507 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Improvement of nearly 2 minutes to the current TAS. Biggest improvement is the inclusion of two continue warps which cut out a large amount of backtracking, but I managed to find several other optimizations such as tiny skips & improvements to boss fights.

Like in my Little Mermaid TAS I monitored subpixels & tested lag reduction to shave extra frames.

Brief summary of improvements:

Training Center: Some time saved through performing a small "zip" up the tree branch. Worth noting is that like in Little Mermaid, subpixel (x+y) positions are retained from the end of a stage to the beginning of the next so I tried to optimize these where possible.

Training Center: I studied the AI for enemies in this stage to better manipulate RNG. When the hidden hooded enemies appear on screen, they are randomly assigned a number indicating how close (horizontally) you have to get to them before they reveal themselves. The eyeball bird enemies have three possible flight patterns they can adopt once you get within a certain range of them. Both these were manipulated for better routing/lag reduction.

Boss Nagus: This boss begins his first jump after a set period of time OR when the player presses B. So I shoot a shot into the side of the platform on my way up to bring him closer to me sooner. Otherwise I basically used the same strategy. Interestingly, the RNG calculation that determines whether this boss jumps or attacks uses Firebrand's animation frame, so you can manipulate this decision quite easily. This is the only RNG event I know of that does this.

Three Ghosts Before Broken Bridge: Manipulated the enemies to appear even sooner than in the published TAS.

Broken Bridge: I discovered here that it's possible to clear the final gap in one go. I missed this on my first try; it seems to require a specific subpixel range to pull off.

River of Flames: For all appearances of these platform enemies from here on, I shaved off lots of lag frames by manipulating them to shoot projectiles as little as possible.

Hinom Forest: The floating beetle enemies in this stage are created by invisible spawner objects. When one is spawned, it is placed at one of four corners diagonally from Firebrand. I manipulated these to spawn at the edge of the screen more often, cutting down lag. I then take my first death at the top of the wind tunnel (respawning at the midpoint), which gives me more health to perform damage skips with. Finally, I saved a significant amount of time by doing a tight damage skip through the final spikes.

Gaza Valley: Saved time with a new damage boost.

Desert Sittem: The genie enemies have a 50% chance of spawning or doing nothing when you get near their bottles, so I made sure to manip them never appearing. I also made sure to maximize movement boost from right-flowing sand.

Gaza Valley II: Performed the first death skip.

Boss Fake King: Had a nice time save here; with careful movement I managed to essentially kill the boss in one fewer cycle.

Boss Twin Guardian: Took deaths here in preparation of the next death skip. Otherwise the same strat.

Lethe's Palace of Mirrors: In one of the rooms I came up with a strategy of setting up a platform to stand on which eliminates the need of having to go all the way to the right & jump back. Otherwise more time saved. The vertical rooms w/ lots of tornado use are hard to optimize due to all the lag but I did my best with lots of testing.

Naga's Path II: 2nd death skip.

Goza's Palace: Saved more time w/ lag management. I found it faster not to kill the lantern enemy since it just creates more lag when it respawns. Also by jumping higher at the end of the final climb I despawned the tornadoes faster allowing me to break the blocks sooner.

Boss Goza: By landing on the left blocks I prevent the right block from being destroyed by Goza's attack, which allows me to use it as a platform for the remainder of the fight, saving time.

Breager's Palace: Took a different path through the vertical climb w/ the arrow projectiles. Near the end I used a strat similar to the one in Lethe's Palace to set up tornadoes allowing me to begin climbing upward faster.

Boss Breager: Humongous time save; I used a strat similar to the "cheese strat" in the RTA run to get close to Breager's face & spam attacks at him. Staying this still cuts out a ton of lag.

Thanks to runners WhiteHat94 and Spiderweb who gave me some advice & whose runs I used as reference for improvements.

Masterjun: Judging.

Masterjun: Accepted as an improvement to the previous run.

fsvgm777: Processing.

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