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

Submission #6472: TwistedTammer's GBC The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX in 27:55.02

Console: Game Boy Color
Game name: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
Game version: USA v1.0
ROM filename: Legend of Zelda, The - Link's Awakening DX (U) (V1.0) [C][!].gb
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.3 (Gambatte core)
Movie length: 27:55.02
FrameCount: 100045
Re-record count: 108663
Author's real name: Adrian S.
Author's nickname: TwistedTammer
Submitter: TwistedTammer
Submitted at: 2019-08-01 07:28:51
Text last edited at: 2019-08-10 09:27:33
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (31585 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
To sync the movie, allow left + right in Bizhawk's settings.

Bizhawk 2.3 with Gambatte core, normal GBC mode.

BIOS used, BIOS NINTENDO Game Boy Color Boot Rom (World).gbc

This movie aims to complete Link's Awakening DX without "warp glitching" and still collecting all eight instruments. Swordless Link and Chef Stef created the previous TAS's for "no warp glitch" and defined it as "no mysterious warping." Since 2010, this game has had so many glitch discoveries to where I had to create a ruleset that is consistent with these movies as well as what made the runs entertaining. It improves upon Swordless Link's TAS by 116,117 frames, or 32:24.11, though the timing for that TAS was different(60 fps vs. my 59.7275006 fps) and VBA loads warps, restarts, and menus faster by around 10 frames each time.

Rules

No wrong warping, superswimming, superdash screenwarping, map wrapping, or out of bounds screens. "Out of bounds screens" are screens not possible to get to legitimately, such as filler screens, screens with invalid tiletypes, and screens with the wrong color palate loaded(such as Tail Caves palate in Bottle Grotto). During screen transitions, the game applies the next screen's graphical set to the previous screen before shifting, causing incorrect visual appearances in some unintended transitions I perform, however the next screen is perfectly fine, therefore not out of bounds. Incorrect sprite appearances are not against the rules, since the previous movies had this happen as well.

Link's Awakening DX is an enhanced rerelease of Link's Awakening for Game Boy Color, with updated colors, textures, a new dungeon, and various glitch patches. There's no Zelda, Hyrule, or Ganon as the main villain, just Link, Koholint Island and it's inhabitants, and a quest to gather the eight instruments and various items in order to leave the island. Link learns later on what kind of mess he got dragged into, that he's actually trapped in the Wind Fish's dream, and must escape soon.


(Link to video)

Common tricks and glitches

Speed is measured in subpixels, 16 per pixel. Normal movement speed is 16, diagonal walking is 12, and jumping allows you to move at a speed of 16 in both directions, therefore it is optimal to jump instead of walk in most situations. Though diagonal jumps start you at 13 in both directions, sometimes causing you to lose a pixel, though I optimize Link's subpixels wherever possible, such as jumping straight up and changing the X subpixel to be best for the next segment.

Combinations of up+down ect. in use with items allow for aberrant effect to be applied. This was used heavily in the previous movies.

Shieldboosting: Using L+R combinations we can boost off of sprites at a maximum of speed 18.

Damage boosting: Contacting regular enemies and hazards boosts Link away at 20 speed or more. I discovered that jumping with this temporary boost without directional input maintains the boost until landing 31 frames later. You can keep the boost into a second jump by slashing the sword just before landing.

Corner boosting: Pushing into a 4 pixel area before the wall ends allows you to boost up to 2 pixels, though when walking diagonally into corners, you often only boost forward 1 pixel.

Transition boosts: When transitioning vertically, if your clipped 3 pixels into the wall, you can push diagonally into the wall the same frame you transition, giving a 3 pixel boost in most situations. Bobmario511 found this I believe.

Save and quit warps: Abusing the short restart sequence, we save time by warping to the start of the dungeon, or last warp point in the overworld. This does not regenerate health.

Jumping while holding objects: Using U+D we can jump, but still hold objects, which is normally impossible.

Superdashing: U+D combinations allow for diagonal dashes at greater than normal speed, however not down-left unfortunately. D+L+R superdashes allow you to clip through narrow objects at the top of the screen, or clip through up-left corners if there's no object beyond that corner.

Superjumps: Wall tiles in dungeons are coded to allow you to leap off of them, like the cliffs on the way to the beach. So by abusing clipped or clipless jumps and facing away from the wall, we can get put into the "leap" animation, which allows you to pass through solid objects until landing. Normally you can't move during the fall animation, but by shielding or sword-clinking enemies, you alter Link's trajectory perpendicular to the wall. I abuse this glitch heavily in dungeons to get to the instrument quickly.

Bomb trigger: By creating 2 bombs within 4 frames, and sprite slot conditions being correct, certain cutscenes can be forcibly started without normal interaction. Some cutscenes can't be bomb triggered unfortunately. By using U+D, you can place more than 1 bomb at a time, allowing bomb triggers without needing to transition.

Text skips: By menuing after opening a chest or entering a boss room, or other dialogue related scenarios, we prevent the long messages from appearing, this does not work on every text box sequence.

Sprite overflow: The game prioritizes sprites on screen before the next screen, so if we fill the limit with 16 sprites, nothing on the next screen can spawn. This saves time in 4 scenarios.

Section by section explanations

The run was routed to minimize overworld travel, efficiently manage resources, and skip the ghost sidequest that stops you from entering dungeons. New glitches allow for skipping all partners, the trade sequence, ocarina, and golden leaf quest, which were necessary in the previous runs.

Obtaining the sword After our hero, V, leaves Marin's home, we boost off of Bow Wow and various enemies to get to the sword 4 frames faster than Bobmario's "warp glitch" TAS, thanks to better subpixel management. We grab the sword with U+D+Shield to skip the Owl, like the other TAS's.

To Tail Cave It is now faster to go to the shop early, since Bow Wow will not be obtained. After S&Q warping, we duplicate rupees using the shield to obtain 10 as fast as possible. Shovel is stolen to spawn bombs and bow. The death to the shopkeeper is scripted, and we forfeit "best ending," a short cinematic after the credits, by dying. Buying the boms is faster. Setting the warp for later, we enter Meow Meow's house, then proceed to the woods, where we bomb trigger the Owl to save 2 seconds. Instead of being sent to the "troll screen," we use U+D to bomb trigger the racoon and leave before being halted. Tail key is obtained, no we go unlock the dungeon and enter, after shield boosting across the pit.

Tail cave We take middle key chest and proceed. Some glitched sword attacks kill the Spiked beetls like the previous TAS. Our damage is conserved for a faster boost. After S&Q warping, we take the entrance key and proceed to the boss room. Killing Rolling Bones with the bow is optimal. After equipping the sword, we get a clipless superjump and clink off of the Blade Trap to clip throught the wall, skipping the boss key. We manipulate Moldorm to stay at the top so we can superjump and clink off of him to get through the wall, skipping the fight and long animations.

To Bottle Grotto This Owl is unskippable, as well as the annoying kids, who warn us about some dog being abducted. Abusing better damage boosts, we clear the woods much quicker than previously. Magic powder is necessary for the first puzzle in BG, but by bomb triggering the witch, we get the powder for free, saving 8 seconds over Trendy Game powder. Bow Wow is normally supposed to be obtained to bypass the flowers, but by using Tompa's sprite overflow method, we deload the first flower and enter normally.

Bottle Grotto We take the first key, the proceed through the dungeon. In the locked door room, we abuse a superjump and clink to get through the wall without using the key. The Hinox miniboss is skipped by superjumping and shielding off of him, U+D shielding doesn't work while in the air. We shoot the Boo Buddies off screen with U+D arrows, while it is possible to do this with 1 arrow, it is faster the shoot the other one off-screen with a 2nd arrow. We enter the boss key room then superjump and bump off of the Stalfos to clip into the instrument room. 4 frames can be saved by doing the menu after exiting the dungeon.

To Key Cavern We get to the normally dead end bushes with pits, which normally wouldn't allow you to transition, but by menuing just as Link falls in the pit, we clip 2 pixels into the screen border, allowing Link to transition after the menu, skipping Richard's gold leaf quest. The key being a leaf is just a visual glitch. Transitioning onto a solid tile makes the game place Link in the next available free space, so we get out of the maze quickly like the last TAS. The key block is activated from the back as before, but by using the sword to face up, we save 2 frames over SL's TAS.

Key Cavern Keyless Cavern is more like it. We clip out of bounds onto the middle wall to skip "kill enemy" puzzels. We superjump and bump off of the Zol to get a faster route to the main floor. We skip the Dodongo battle by superjumping and clinking off of one. Boots are obtained, now the TAS really speeds up. This next superjump only gets us partly through the wall, but a DLR superdash gets us through to the staircase room, skipping a key. More superjumps and bonks get us to the instrument.

To Face Shrine Owl is unloaded, saving 8 seconds, even with bomb triggers. We superdash efficiently and get to the river. I reuse SL's bomb strategy since nothing else was faster. Passing through the village, we dig up 11 sprites and save time by swording 5 sprites from the bushes when we can't move, and unload the Walrus. Landmola is killed to get the Angler key, as before, by shooting his active invisible hitbox. We then superdash past the warp zone and transition into the Armos maze. The sprites are messed up as a result. Keeping the bow into the fight would save time in 100%. We save time over SL's TAS with slightly better dashing and minor improvements to the Armos fight. We then leave and travel to the cave warp screen, manipulating a fairy from the mushroom abomination thing to damage boost through the next Armos. This was tested to be faster than saving hearts from earlier. Dungeon is unlocked and entered.

Face Shrine After superjumping through walls we get to the boss room quickly. It was tested to be 2 seconds faster to skip the fight, despite having to read the unskippable text. We also save bombs for Eagle's Tower, saving another 5 seconds. Instrument is obtained.

To Catfish Maw We abuse the item menu to get jumps off of the water instead of falling in and drowning. We get a frame precise jump after the transition saving a menu. Superdashing and dashjumping we get to the Mermaid screen, then get 2 water jumps to the transition. Because the game can't place you on water after transistioning down, Link is placed to fall onto the available space of land, which is the warp, instantly entering the dungeon instead of being forced to swim.

Catfish Maw We switch to the sword and feather for free with the last menu, and get a better time on the enemy puzzle by instantly killing the Iron Mask enemy, which was the bottle neck here. After getting through the 2-D section, we get a superjump bonk off of the Stalfos into the conveniently placed instrument room.

To Eagle's Tower We waterjump and clip into the block, since the game forces you down 2 pixels before falling into water. We clip through the block and continue water jumping. We enter this cave, which is part of the same system as the Tal Tal Heights caves, and clip into the bird key room. These rooms are validly loaded in memory, and the warps attached to them are properly loaded. Swordless Link and Chef Stef used an out of bounds clip to get through Tal Tal Heights faster, and that is essentially the same thing going on here, so I used it in this TAS. We enter the warp closest to the dungeon, and DLR superdash through the warp, another DLR dash is necessary to get through the tile. The cutscene got messed up here because of how we entered the screen, a menu would've fixed it, but that would've been slower.

Eagle's Tower No keys or iron balls are needed this time. Using superjumps, we trigger the crystal ball and get to the 2nd floor. The pillars are knocked down with bomb triggers, ending the segment much more quickly. Entering the top floor, we get a superjump past the buttons, which is faster than switching the crystal ball again. A superjump and bouncing off of the goomba prolongs the jump and gets us through the next wall. We DLR superdash past the warp and get into the instrument room early, like the last TAS.

To Angler's Cave The ghost sidequest only spawns in screens below these next dungeons, so the bottleneck is removed, allowing us to beat the next dungeon in one shot, which the quest spawns after beating Angler's Cave. We fall into the cave to get off of the mountain, and water jump to the warp. We get a superjump off of the cliffs the make you fall into the water, the only overworld tiles that left you superjump. I tested activating the Angler keyblock from the back, hilariously forcing Link to drown five times during the cutscene, but because the warp isn't loaded properly until leaving the screen, it wouldn't save time. We take a shortcut through the "exit" cave, instead of going over the mountain. Dungeon is entered with a DLR superdash trick.

Angler Cave 18 seconds, wow. We super dash through the narrow fence, like SL's TAS, to access the later part quicker. We get to the key room, transistion left to get a superjump into the wall, to bypass the boss fight and get to the instrument.

To Turtle Rock We take the cave to the main area, efficiently superdash jump, and enter Tal Tal Heights. This Owl isn't faster to skip. We superjump and clip into the lower wall, however we need to superdash to fully breach it. Equipping boots and shovel is fastest. We get to the next screen below, the West Tal Tal Heights cave warp, skipping Marin's cutscene on the mountain and getting a good shortcut. Using diagonal clips, we get to the screen before Turtle Rock quickly. The previous TAS used a crazy wall clip to activate the warp above and get into the dungeon from the back door, We unload the Turtle miniboss, instead of bomb triggering.

Turtle Rock Not much to say, just some good dash jumps, bomb through the wall, and DLR super dash clips we get to the instrument room quickly.

To the Egg Now that we have 8 instruments, we travel to the egg and bomb trigger the cutscenes. It doesn't save or lose time to bomb trigger the Owl, but I like messing with him when I get the chance. Thankfully the instrument cutscene is completely fine, skipping the ocarina and song saved quite a bit of time here.

Final Boss We efficiently dash through the maze and enter the boss room, keeping the bombs out. Unfortunately, it saves time to bomb trigger the boss as soon as you enter the room, skipping the cutscene, but preventing the music from playing. The first boss is killed as before, without powder. This part is different from the video, I bomb trigger Agahnim early, saving 44 frames over the recorded video. Bomb triggering Agahnim after each deflection saves 137 frames each time, otherwise he would unmorph, move around, then remorph, taking forever. Moldorm is bomb triggered, saving just a few frames. After that we equip boots and sword to finish off Ganon, which is faster than spinslashing, he can't be bomb triggered any earlier anyways. A few frames are saved on Ganon with better dashing, but less swag. Landmola is dispatched with hardly a sweat. Now my favorite discovery of this boss fight, a well timed bomb trigger instantly kills Dethyl, skipping him and the text entirely. Now the run is done, we do a funny bomb juggle trick and climb the staircase. Input ends the frame a press A when the Wind Fish says "...play the song of Awakening!!" Which is frame 100,045.

Potential Time Saves There's 4 frames to save by doing the menu after exiting Bottle Grotto, 1 framerule to be exact. The fairy manipulation before Face Shrine is 2-3 frames slower than perfect, but the RNG is extremely frustrating to work with without losing frames, considering the bracelet inputs do nothing to change RNG in most cases, I took the best I could get(entering the screen without losing frames). Just before Turtle Rock, the shoveling can be improved by 1-2 frames, but unlike earlier, I don't have the sword equipped, making it very difficult to manipulate drops, and it's 5-10% otherwise, with tight frame windows. I did get the Moblin to boost me forward a pixel though.

Theoretical Time Saves Skipping the powder entirely and accessing the rest of Bottle Grotto would save 25 seconds or more, but the geometry in the first rooms with the lack of enemies to bump off of, make it impossible in my opinion.

Thanks

This run was quite an effort. I started TAS'ing the game in November 2018, teaching the game to myself, then started the real product in February 2019. After numerous redoes and improvements, Tompa reaching out to me and pointing out time savers, I was close to finishing a much less impressive WIP. I then learned about the clipless superjump, which was not employed by speedrunners at all at the time, and redid my run with huge skips. I constantly compared my times to Sworldless Link and Bobmario's TAS's, and considering how hard the VBA emulator is to work with, they did one hell of a job. Often I would only save a few frames over SL's TAS, by employing better subpixel-based strategies. I'm really looking forward to more TAS's in this game, including 100%, any% warp glitch, and hobby meme TAS's. This game had quite an impact on my childhood gaming experience, which is why I was so passionate about TAS'ing it. Thanks Chef Stef and Swordless Link for making the awesome TAS's that predate mine, Tompa for checking out my wips fairly regularly, LADX speedrun community for crushing this game, and everyone who viewed and provided feedback for my WIPs, it really helped keep me going. Thanks Bizhawk developers for making a great emulator platform for TAS'ing Game Boy games.


Memory: Claiming for judging

Memory: I've been waiting on an update for this game for a while now and this movie did not disappoint. The game is broken much more quickly and thoroughly than in its predecessor movie. There are tons of moments where I felt the movie performed something extremely clever.

The audience for the most part really enjoyed it too. There was a concern about skipping a ton of enjoyable content, with comparisons made to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. However, this did not seem to be a common sentiment and personally, I'm ok with how drastic the difference is between this TAS and previous ones. This TAS feels much more superhuman than previous efforts.

Additionally there were concerns over the ruleset for the TAS. From my perspective, it is simply a clarification of the ruleset of the published movie. The main things that are banned are essentially warp glitches, which was what was avoided in the publication. However, superswimming was not allowed in this ruleset, yet is not in itself a warp glitch. Superswimming causes Link to be able to walk over all tiles which is extremely powerful. This allows for interacting with all entrances from the wrong side, which causes Link to warp to the wrong location. It is also able to completely trivialize large segments of the game. So even though superswimming is not exactly a warp glitch, it's largely connected to warp glitches and is powerful.

However, given our current branch labeling trends, I think this submission would best go unlabelled, similar to the published run.

Accepting to Stars to obsolete [1462] GBC The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (USA v1.0) by Swordless Link in 1:00:02.68.

Spikestuff: Publishing.


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