TASVideos

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

Submission #6572: The8bitbeast's SMS Zool: Ninja of the "Nth" Dimension "game end glitch" in 03:10.06

Console: Sega MasterSystem
Game name: Zool: Ninja of the "Nth" Dimension
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: Zool (E) [!].sms
Branch: game end glitch
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.3.2
Movie length: 03:10.06
FrameCount: 9446
Re-record count: 20610
Author's real name: Jake M
Author's nickname: The8bitbeast
Submitter: The8bitbeast
Submitted at: 2019-12-17 07:48:07
Text last edited at: 2019-12-26 17:44:58
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (4526 bytes)
Status: published
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Game Description

“Zool – Ninja of the Nth Dimension” is a platformer released in 1993 for various consoles including the Sega Master System. The game varies drastically across platforms. The Game Gear version has similar mechanics to Master System, but entirely different level layouts.

The Master System version was exclusive to Europe, hence the PAL settings were used (sorry encoders :P)

This is the “game end glitch” branch, which uses a glitch on 2-1 to warp to the credits.

The objective of each level is to collect 99 objects. These objects could be food, z-tokens or items such as super jump. Once you collect 99, the arrow will point to the exit. The exit does not exist until you have 99.

RAM Addresses

Address Description
0x0AB5,0x0AB4 X Vel
0x0AF8,0x0AF7,0x0AF6 X Position
0x0AB7,0x0AB6 Y Velocity
0x0AF5,0x0AF3,0x0AF4 Y Position
0x0A92 HP
0x0A80 i-frame timer
0x0ADDD Object count
0x0A84 Level
0x0B95,0x0B85 Boss HP

Tricks and Techniques

L+R Glitch

Once Zool is moving fast enough to the right, you can press Left+Right to make him move even faster to the right. This quickly exceeds the speed cap and is virtually unbounded.

This glitch causes parts of the level to load incorrectly, allowing you to clip through walls (by deloading them). It is also possible to have walls load in where there were no walls before. This allows you to reach higher places by jumping off these new platforms, or wall climbing the new walls.

One method to manipulate the glitch tile loading is to manage your speed. By pressing down you will lose a little bit of speed, having no inputs causes you to lose more speed, pressing left will cause you to lose even more speed and pressing right will snap you to the usual speed cap.

Manipulating the glitched tiles is important for getting through walls, spawning useful platforms, or causing the “objects” to fully spawn. If the tiles have glitched, sometimes the objects are tangible and sometimes they aren’t, regardless of visibility.

Optimizing Left Speed

You can’t use L+R to build speed to the left, but you can get hit to transfer your right speed into left speed. This is used in a few places. Furthermore, to preserve your left speed for as long as possible, you can hold down while on the ground.

Game End Glitch (N’th Dimension Warp)

This glitch was originally found by Revenged2 while they were playing on Twitch: https://clips.twitch.tv/TawdryYawningLyrebirdRickroll (Shoutouts to Synahel for clipping it)

After this, greysondn posted on TASvideos with a button file that reproduced the glitch http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20303 The glitch at this point was produced on quite a late level, but after some testing I found that the earliest point to do the glitch is on level 2-1. The glitch seems to require a bouncy surface and an enemy. There are no bouncy parts in the first world, but world 2 includes drums that you can bounce on.

To do the glitch, you need to have an enemy hit you onto the drum. I’m not exactly sure why this glitch works, but it’s always possible to manipulate it into happening on any bounce you have. You can achieve this by pausing for various amounts of time (about every 5 frames will work). But you can also achieve the glitch by shooting a bullet on different frames. Shooting doesn’t alter your position or speed, so this glitch likely has deeper underlying causes. I would like to understand it further, but this wouldn’t help to make the TAS faster, as you can always just try shooting on different frames.

Jump Height

Holding the 1 button makes your jump height vary, but there are only 2 options: the smallest possible jump and the biggest possible jump.

Pausing at the end of levels

Pausing and unpausing at the end of a level seems to save 2 frames. I think this has something to do with the game trying to fade back in from a pause as the level is ending. The unpause should be as fast as possible, but there’s a big window for the pause itself.

Individual Level Comments

As you need 99 objects in each level, this section will mainly detail my routing decisions for each level. The lack of maps for this game actually made routing quite difficult.

1-1

This level has a total of 109 objects, meaning that I can skip 10 objects. A big decision is whether to get the super jump. This counts as 1 objects and allows you to jump higher. Usually this higher jump is slow, since ground movement is fast, but it has the benefit of allowing me to grab some of the high set of 12 objects from below (0:28). Since there are some objects later in the level which require the super jump, if I hadn’t got the super jump I would need to do 2 trips to that set of 12 from above (since you can’t get all of them with one jump). This made the super jump clearly the correct choice.

Later on in the level (0:42), I pass the shield powerup. This would be a quick one to grab, but it is intangible as I am recovering from damage.

The 10 objects skipped (from left to right) are:

1 – Shield at start (slightly faster to avoid this)

1 – Green object at 0:33 (saves some slight time when falling)

2 – High set of 12 (impossible to get these without another jump)

1 – Shield at 0:42 (due to iframes)

2 – High objects at 0:47

3 – High objects at the end of the level

1-2

This level has a secret area to the right of the wall at the start. I found this after making my total counts, but the objects in here are really slow. So I’ll omit this from the totals.

There are 17 extra objects in this level. One of the biggest dilemmas is the set of 8 to the left of the exit. You need the super jump to get up to here, but the super jump is at the far right of the level and very slow to get. As a solution I manipulate a bee enemy to use for a bounce up to the set of 8. A bee doesn’t usually spawn here, but I pull it over from the right of the screen.

The 17 objects in order from left to right that I skip are:

1 – Airborne object near the start. This would require an extra jump

2 – Objects above ground at 1:12. Getting these would kill my speed, ruining the jump to the next area

4+6 – Objects at the bottom of the level. I jump a big gap to skip a huge platforming & backtracking section. These objects are at the bottom of the gap.

4 – Objects including super jump on the far right.

1-3

There are 10 objects to skip in this level. The level has 2 secret areas: one with 13 objects and one with 1 object (a life). This means that I have to go into the 13 object secret area, despite it being very slow.

Skipped objects are:

1 – In the secret area. This object would require an extra jump

4 – At the start of the level. 3 are from the set of 9 and 1 is from the slope. Getting any more objects here would require me to come at the set of 9 from above, which is a significant backtrack.

4 – High in the air at 2:07. These require 4 extra jumps to get.

1 – Extra life in secret path. I do enter the secret path, but I clip out shortly after and don’t go near this life.

1-4

This boss is pretty weird. Both the green circles have separate health values in RAM. You have to kill both circles then the bee. You can damage both circles at once, but I take it one at a time to avoid damage. This is mainly because the fight is capped by how many jumps you do. I do 2 short hops then one more to kill the bee body (there’s a time you have to wait between killing the green things and the bee). As far as I know, it’s impossible to kill both wings in jump, so this fight should be optimal.

2-1

Here we go.

Doing this glitch on the first drum is quite difficult due to the violin enemy’s pattern, but not impossible. My goal here is to end inputs as soon as possible. So it is possible to hold right into the violin, which makes you get hit down instead of up. Doing this means you have enough speed to make it back to the drum and the warp can be caused by experimenting with shooting on different frames. This would cause the actual warp to happen at an earlier frame.

But to end inputs early, I have to let go of right as early as possible. This makes me hit the violin with a very low speed and hence recoil at a low speed. I can still make it to the drum with this low speed, but I need to bounce up instead of down to achieve this.

I had another theory to end inputs early, which was to bounce on the drum and wait for the enemy, but I couldn’t get this to work despite being able to get hit by the enemy onto the drum. My theory is that I was too close to the drum while getting hit.

Final Thoughts

This game was actually amazing to TAS. I was really happy with the mechanics and I didn’t encounter a single lag frame during gameplay (a rarity for the Master System).

Thanks again to Revenged2, greysondn and Synahel for making sure the game end glitch wasn’t lost. It was finding the post in the TASvideos forum where I actually found out about this amazing TAS game.


ThunderAxe31: Judging.

ThunderAxe31: This is a very good TAS, showcasing route planning, movement tricks, and many glitches in a short timespan. The resulting movie is clearly superhuman play and it was appreciated by the audience, so it's accepted for Moons.

fsvgm777: Processing.


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