TASVideos

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

Submission #6772: Woops's PSX Tomb Raider II: Starring Lara Croft in 44:11.36

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Tomb Raider II: Starring Lara Croft
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: Tomb Raider II - Starring Lara Croft (Europe).cue
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 1.13.1
Movie length: 44:11.36
FrameCount: 131944
Re-record count: 85294
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Woops
Submitter: Woops
Submitted at: 2020-06-06 08:22:14
Text last edited at: 2020-06-28 11:50:56
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (88713 bytes)
Status: published
Click to view the actual publication
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:

Temp encodes playlist

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.13.1
  • Game version : PAL
  • BIOS : SCPH5502.BIN
  • Heavy glitch abuse

About the game

The second game of the action-adventure franchise, featuring Lara Croft as she sets out on an expedition to the Dagger of Xian.

Comments

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
  • Hotkeys for medipacks and weapons on PC, this is a disadvantage for the PSX version as we have to go in the inventory to equip weapons/take a medipack since the timer does not stop in the inventory.
  • Loading screens on PSX (PC just has black screens)
  • multiple little visual bonuses on PSX, such as gradient bars, waving inventory background, etc.
  • a savegame prompt at the end of each level.

Why PAL

The PAL version of the game is the only version where Lara moves behind flares when picking them up, allowing the flare wall bug to happen. making it faster than NTSC/JP.

timing

The game runs at 25 fps, so usually 1 in-game frame = 2 real time frame. On laggy places, the game may need more real time frame to advance to the next in-game frame. Using IG time instead of RT made the route planning easier. For the rest of these comments, I will always speak about IG frames.

Speed and movement

Movement Speed (RAM)
Walking 15
Running 47
Standing jump 50
Rolling (first part) 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. It also allows to adjusting either the X speed or Y speed while keeping the other one the same. The biggest example of this is that for a X speed of -75, the Y speed can be anything from 12 to -13.

When Lara is turning, her rotation speed increases by 45 each frame, until it caps to 1092 (on the ground) or 182 (midair). 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). While swimming, rotation speed adds 45 each frame untill to caps at 728.

Route planning

Weapons and medipacks

Strictly speaking, there are 22 enemies that I need to kill to finish the game, one goon in Offshore Rig for a key, 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 power damage per second
Pistols 1 6
Shotgun ~18 ~16
Automatic Pistols 2 12
Uzis 1 15
Harpoon gun 6 -
M16 3 30
Grenade Launcher 60 33

So for route planning, mind that for the 16 enemies in Home Sweet Home we can only use the shotgun, so those are out of the picture.

The only enemies worth getting pickups for are the Ice Palace guardian, the knifethrower in the dragon's lair, and the dragon. The fastest weapon to kill them that also requires the fewest pickups in the M16.

As for the medipacks, No pickups were needed. I did get one in Ice Palace for entertainment in dead time while the guardian died, that one did not lose any time (and wasn't even needed)

Flares

Flares are a huge part of this run, so optimizing the use of them and their pickups was crucial. Here is the route used in this TAS.

1 pack = 6 flares

The Great Wall:

-1 for 2 flare wall bugs

-1 for flare cancel

Remaining: 0

Venice:

+12 from two pickups

-1 flare cancel

-1 whole underwater flare qwop/stuff

Remaining: 10

Bartoli's Hideout:

-1 door skip + flare cancel

-1 last area flare wall bug

Remaining: 8

Opera House:

-1 first flare cancel

-1 flare cancel before powq

Remaining: 6

Offshore Rig:

+1 glitch flare when Lara is waking up

-1 flare cancel at pistols

-1 pool skip flare wall bug (also use for final fwb)

Remaining: 5

Diving Area:

+6 from dude at beginning

-1 flare cancel at blue card

-1 flare wall bug right after

-1 flare cancel

Remaining: 8

40 Fathoms:

-1 flare cancel

-1 water area skip

-1 water thing at the end

Remaining: 5

Wreck of the Maria Doria:

-1 flare cancel

-1 burners skip

-1 flare cancel before M16

Remaining: 2

Living Quarters:

-1 flare cancel after 1st lever

-1 flare cancel after ledge bug

Remaining: 0

The Deck:

-

Tibetan Foothills:

-

Barkhang Monastery:

Pickup 1 pack

Remaining: 6

Catacombs of the Talion:

+1 glitch flare at ladder and used for mask fall

-1 flare cancel after flying corner bug

-1 flare cancel at the end

Remaining: 4

Ice Palace:

Pickup 1 pack

-1 flare cancel area above spikes

-1 flare cancel to the spike area below

-1 flare wall bug at the ladder near the end (also use to flare cancel directly after)

Remaining: 7

Temple of Xian:

-6 flares for xian skip

Remaining: 1

Floating Islands:

-1 flare cancel

Remaining: 0

Dragon's Lair:

...

Glitches and tricks

I am not gonna describe every glitch here, only the most common ones I used in the TAS. For the full list of glitches already found in the Tomb Raider games, I suggest that you look at this page : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OfmtA7uewrFNc-dE6_lddmSLjC2Pr6axIuY8GYu4kxY/edit

  • Corner bug : By clipping inside a corner at a ~45 angle , Lara gets teleported to the top of that corner. If no walkable ground is on top of that corner she starts a flicker motion. If the wall only has walkable space underneath Lara, she will teleport below. There are a lot of methods to clip into a corner, though I mainly used running and jumps.

  • Dive bug : If Lara performs a dive to a wall and hits the point where it meets the floor, Lara arrives at the floor without taking any damage. Even if the fall hight would have normally killed her.

  • QWOP : The state that happens when the game thinks Lara is falling while she's still on the ground. What makes it useful is that it ends with a quicksand bug. can be done in multiple ways.

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

  • Flare wall bug : Abusing the PAL exclusive function of Lara moving behind flares to pick them up to embed into walls (triggering a corner bug), very useful and works both on land and underwater.

  • Free flares : It's possible to get free flares (i.e Lara gets a flare without one taken from the inventory) in multiple ways, most notable in this TAS are on ladders (used once) and when doing underwater pickups. This includes picking up flares underwater too. Note that free flares take the life of the last "real" flare. In other words, if a flare is lit for 20 seconds (full flare time is 60 seconds), then dropped and a we get a free flare, the free flare would only last for 40 seconds. If a free flare is lit first, it will get 60 seconds as normal (and won't affect the time of normal flares).

  • Glitchless glitch : Arriving at the point where a floor changes height in front of a wall after a jump, holding forwards and roll, makes Lara glitch to the top of it.

  • for level specific glitches, check the level by level comments. (there's quite a few).

Times

Here is a table with the IGT for all levels.

Level Time
The Great Wall 2:37.17
Venice 1:37.30
Bartoli's Hideout 1:16.60
Opera House 1:14.73
Offshore Rig 2:13.97
Diving Area 2:46.67
40 Fathoms 2:34.07
Wreck of the Maria Doria 3:25.70
Living Quarters 2:12.73
The Deck 1:22.50
Tibetan Foothills 4:39.30
Barkhang Monsatery 2:59.90
Catacombs of the Talion 1:31.90
Ice Palace 2:40.47
Temple of Xian 0:56.53
Floating Islands 0:54.57
The Dragon's Lair 1:40.40
Home Sweet Home 1:56.87
Total Time 38:41.37

Level by level comments

The Great Wall

- When reaching the actual great wall, Lara performs a very specific flare throw, which is used to glitch back up on the wall afterwards.

- It's possible to get the tigers at the end to push Lara to get to the end faster, but seems their "mood" depends on the global timer. Would have to waste 2 seconds for them to push Lara, which is more than any time they could save, so Lara went with a qwop instead.

Venice

- Afer finishing the first area and getting both pickups, Lara does a glitch in shallow water that allows her to walk underwater, and during the underwater walking state, jumping to the surface of the water makes Lara swin at ~125 speed instead of 50, also allows the quicksand bug to happen when Lara picks up flares!

- At the end it's possible to do the same quicksand glitch used earlier with a flare to finish the level faster in other versions. However, in PAL, thanks to the behavior of Lara moving behind the flares to pick them up, it's impossible to perform. so Lara goes with another underwater walking glitch to skip the door. this is the only disadvantage of using PAL.

Bartoli's Hideout

- Lara loses a little time before breaking the window in order to keep the flare to use it for a flare cancel shortly after.

- Manipulating the RNG at the end to get a clean roll corner bug was "fun".

Opera House

- The only use of a backwards qwop (powq) is in this level! and with this powq the entire route changed, saving almost 10 seconds over the original one!

- Health management was hell.

Offshore Rig

- At the beginning we glitch a flare with Lara's wakeup animation and use it to flare cancel to get her pistols.

- Right after getting the pistols, Lara performs a glitch that works in PAL, and most NTSC versions, which affects clamped geometry. When Lara is in a (very) specific spot under a low ceiling, performing a standing jump moves Lara backwards about half a block. It was used to get back up quickly here.

- Killing the dude is necessary to open the door, otherwise we wouldn't even need to get the pistols. Sadly the door is not skippable.

Diving Area

- manipulating the RNG of the gunman after the big drop was "fun".

40 Fathoms

- a glitchless glitch right after the flare cancel to avoid climbing.

- At the end, Lara does a swandive on the water wall to walk in the water (all good), then uses a flare to cancel the stumble, but in reality, for whatever reason, thrownig a flare while in the underwater walking state makes Lara do a weird animation and glitch into walls during. It's called the ghost glitch. (sadly this doesn't work in Venice but it saved a bit of time here!)

Wreck of the Maria Doria

- At the very beginning, Lara does a specific jump to the water surface, making her embed in the wall directly in front of her, pushing her below it so she can enter the tunnel faster.

- After the first flare cancel, Lara skips opening the trapdoor which skips spawning three dudes at the top.

- Near the end of this level, we get our first M16/ammo pickup!

Living Quarters

- At the very beginning, Lara glitches into the little wall in front of the trapdoor, teleporting her above it, saving some time.

- Glitching into the wall this way to get to the lever is the fastest method I found while testing. the original plan was a roll corner bug from the other side, but that's way slower.

- After the underwater lever ahead, Lara visits some kind of big scary sea monster (some eel?) to open a trapdoor. sadly this walls around this trapdoor can't be glitched in. but at least we get to meet the eel!

- After the ledge bug (climbing up on a slope) and the flare cancel right after, Lara jumps between the two railing objects to avoid going around.

The Deck

- At the beginning we use a ledge bug to get to the deck above faster. Then a jump corner bug to the one above that. the small stumble here is unavoidable. (it is avoidable on a specific PC version, though.)

- Here we get our second (and last) M16 ammo pickup. This is why it's faster to get the M16 instead of the grenade launcher, because the first M16 pickup is absolutely needed for the knifethrower in dragon's lair. we either take this one M16 ammo pickup in The Deck to also deal with the dragon, or get 4-5 grenade launcher pickups in Tibet for the dragon alone. Ofc, M16 is faster.

- fast qwop to get to the key faster.

- Lara manages to reduce the stumble count from 4 to 2 in the sequence down from the key, since we don't have flares to do flare cancels.

Tibetan Foothills

- The skidoo runs at 150 speed when holding action (90 without holding action. So Lara had to do so almost every frame she was on the skidoo), that's double Lara's running jumps' speed!

- Riding the skidoo at the edge of geometry gives *huge* speed boosts (best I've seen was ~400, but the average is 250).

- After getting the key and going back, Lara abuses the skidoo's jump physicis when hitting geometry to continue to the hut without leaving it.

- After opening the hut and pulling the lever, Lara is able to get on the skidoo through the wall here. pure magic. (on a more serious note, The skidoo's hitbox goes through the wall, and when Lara gets on it, the skidoo "takes over" in terms of coordinates and room number.)

- Manipulating the two skidoo gunmen at the end was absolute hell. They *really* like going on circles around Lara, shooting at her (50 damage each shot, rapid drain) and occasionally running her over (100 damage a frame! almost instant death!). Not to mention they love the push the skidoo around when Lara is on it, parking it in the spot to get the glitch was also "fun".

- For whatever reason if the skidoo is above the moveable block, it can go through the wall directly above it. Saves some time.

- at the end, instead of crashing the skidoo in the water and swimming up, Lara crashes the skidoo in a very specific spot to avoid getting wet. (very similar to the stumble cancel in the deck with the pool).

Barkhang Monastery

- One of the most broken levels in the game. instead of a 10 minute adventure to get 5 prayer wheels, we only need to get one, then dupe glitch the rest!

- A bit background talk about the inventory/puzzles system: when pressing action in front of a keyhole, game checks for one thing: "does Lara have anything in the puzzles ring"- if yes, go to puzzles ring. if no, say no.

- Now in the puzzles inventory, when choosing a key/puzzle, game checks for one thing: "is this the correct puzzle/key" by looking into the object data of said puzzle/key, and seeing if it matches the receptacle- if yes, do puzzle/key animation and do triggers/meshswaps. if no, say no.

- Dupe glitch: When using one prayer wheel normally on one receptacle, then going through the inventory normally (NOT automatically go to the puzzles ring with the action key), the data of the prayer wheel used transfers to the Seraph. So the game accepts the Seraph instead of the prayer wheels!

Catacombs of the Talion

- health management was "fun". You can tell how much fun I had begging the dudes not to shoot Lara so I can survive the fall at the end. and she survives it with 2 (out of 1000) health left!

Ice Palace

- Manipulating big bird's RNG at the end to not hit Lara wasn't so bad, but unfortunately Lara has to stop shooting for a bit. I tested other alternatives and this was the fastest.

Temple of Xian

- After glitching into the corner at the beginning, Lara is "voided" inside the wall. but we can move her *very* slowly. We have to cross 2 blocks.

- For the first block, Lara can "run" inside, for 1 frame, every ~12 frames. (24 frames normally but frame perfect jumps make it 12, cutting the time in half).

- After reaching the second block, running no longer works. Instead, we have to turn around, and start doing specific backward jumps. Every jump results in a stumble (unfortunately). so in order to skip the stumbles we use flares. Each flare used skips 3-5 stumbles.

- After jumping through the second block, we have to turn around again and press roll to glitch Lara out on the platform above. to reach the level end trigger which is right there.

- Here's a small video showing the level with inputs: https://youtu.be/ZsfiiUAavb0

- (im sorry)

Floating Islands

- glitchless glitch near the beginning to avoid climbing.

- flying corner bug to skip two puzzle holes.

- Simple qwop to skip the entire level.

The Dragon's Lair

- After killing the knifethrower to get the key, manipulating the RNG of the spear guardians lost some time. As you can see, even with a medipack, Lara barely makes it out alive.

- After Bartoli transforms into a dragon we have to fight him and it's very simple. unfortunately at one point his hitbox glitches behind a pillar, making Lara stop shooting for a bit. but nothing big.

Home Sweet Home

- After killing Bartoli and taking the dagger, Lara goes to her home in London, but bartoli's gang follows her there.

- At the beginning we get the shotgun out of Lara's closet and an ammo pickup.

- The rest of this level is both the RNG the dudes and the RNG of the shotgun missing shots. Glad to say that not much time was lost manipulating them. in fact this level went much faster than I expected.

- For the final miniboss a fast shooting trick with the shotgun is used to kill him faster. This is only worth doing on enemies that take a lot of shots, and this one takes 9.

Special Thanks

  • Bahamete for his WIP, it served as a base for the levels he did.
  • Temple of Horus for providing me with a Lua script for viewing RAM values (which was originally made by Lapogne36, but massivly upgraded by Temple of Horus).
  • lapogne36 for his Tomb Raider 1 submission notes that served as base for this.

Suggest screenshot:

frame 132840 - Don't you think you've seen enough?


Memory: Claiming for judgment

Memory: Optimization looks pretty good. There's supposedly more optimization work that could be done but for many complex games, there is a point at which further optimization levels would require drastically more time put in, and the judge guidelines also suggest that we "Don't demand them do laboursome optimizations that can't actually be noticed under normal viewing conditions."

Entertainment is high as usual for the Tomb Raider series. Highlights include the snowmobile section once again and also an underwater trick that allowed Lara to move quickly along the bottom of a canal.

Nice work getting done fastest completions for the whole of the original PSX series Woops.

Accepting to Moons as a new branch.

fsvgm777: Processing. Zinfidel is handling the encodes for this one.


Similar submissions (by title and categories where applicable):