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

Submission #6836: EZGames69 & Bloopiero's Genesis Michael Jackson's Moonwalker in 18:30.0

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Game version: any,r0
ROM filename: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (World).smd
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 2.4.2
Movie length: 18:30.0
FrameCount: 66514
Re-record count: 92971
Author's real name: Colin & Justin Kastler
Author's nickname: EZGames69 & Bloopiero
Submitter: Bloopiero
Submitted at: 2020-08-07 04:34:01
Text last edited at: 2020-08-15 19:01:48
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (33845 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Mr. Big, the infamous Baltimore drug dealer, plans on getting all kids in the world addicted to drugs, so he kidnaps them to inject them with the drugs, and then leaves them standing around or sitting in an empty unlocked room. Luckily, Magic Mike is here to put an end to that plan, using his bulging co… wait, wrong Mike.

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker is a Genesis game based on the movie of the same name. Starring Michael Jackson, the movie takes place in a world where the bad guy Mr. Big (played by Joe Pesci) wants to get everyone addicted to las drogas. Michael tries to stop this plot and rescue the kids, or something. The movie is REALLY REALLY weird. There’s a scene where Michael turns into a robot and shoots guns at people as the robot. Then turns into a spaceship to gun down Mr. Big. Oh, and did we mention the claymation? This is what cinema was like before the internet.

This is an improvement of 23.67 seconds over the old movie, owing to new glitches, movement optimization, and heavy lag reduction. Not quite sub 18:30 yet, sadly We lied.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.4.2
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Fastest time
  • Hardest difficulty
  • Magic-est Mike

Encode:

(Link to video)

Tricks

Sparkle storage: if you spin while sparkles that you've shot are still hanging in midair, they disappear to make way for the new sparkles coming off of you. Depending on certain conditions, when you start a spin afterwards, the invisible sparkles' hitbox will come back out for the rest of their allotted time. Pretty much exclusively useful for faster boss fight patterns.

Falling through platforms: if you drop through a floor and shoot sparkles soon after, you'll get locked in a state where you fall through any other platforms. Only useful in the Caverns, but it's neat. Exclusive to 1.0.

Instant accel: depending on where you are in the vspeed arc of your jump, if you spin on the first frame you touch the ground, you start moving at max speed in the direction you're both holding and facing. Normally it takes a decent chunk of time to speed up, and even longer if you're not grounded for the whole time.

Stage by stage comments

Club 30

This stage is an event
Some improvement
In the movement.

When you spin as you land down
When you touch ground
You don’t slow down

Ok, I can't keep this up, I tried to sing in the style of each song but it’s too hard.

Anyways, kids are always in the same location every time, so we have to go around rescuing them all. We kept the same basic route from the last movie for most of the game, and it holds up. When you free children from doors or similar hidden areas, you can jump as soon as you free them to start moving, otherwise you are forced to stand in place for a few seconds. You can also cancel out of these with a duck, which we'll later use to quickly drop through some floors.

For each boss fight, there's a certain position in the level that the game wants us to be in to trigger them. Once you save all the kids, Bubbles the monkey (don't ask) comes in and points us to where we have to go. If we save the kid that’s closest to the boss area, we can start the fight almost immediately. If you are in position as the screen goes black, you automatically save 22 frames over the soonest you could get into place otherwise.

The sparkle glitch was used on every boss fight in this world, to great effect.

Streets

Bloop’s favorite stage only because of the eerie, stock-still flying dogs that you get to brutalize.

Sparkle glitch is not particularly useful in boss fights where enemies come at you from different levels, so it wasn't used in 2-1. In 2-3, the boss is ended almost instantly - I believe the game tracks each enemy in a fight individually as needing to be defeated before sending you to the next level, and only accounts for further rounds of enemies as they spawn.

Woods

A few times in this run, it is faster to use the screen-clearing dance attack as it’s slow to manage enemies from more than one elevation. You can see this enemy-tracking system we mentioned especially dramatically in the levels where we do use it. Fights that could normally end up having 10x as many enemies are pretty much invalidated in some cases.

This version of the game (1.0) has the track Thriller in it, but in this specific release, it's only when you do the dance attack.

In 3-2 and 3-3, there are tree branches you can swing on to quickly get between different ends of the stage, and they are very, very fast. Too fast.

Caverns

Longest stage in the game, by a long shot. Each child is in a different room; some rooms are broken into by shooting sparkles upwards (all of them) or by spinning (only some of them). The rooms that let you in with a spin are completely indistinguishable, so Odongdong missed some of them. Good game design.

One change made in the 4-2 boss was how MJ ends on top of the big rock before doing the dance. This saves time because Jackson will do a jump before the enemies die. He hits the ceiling here, which cancels out that jump animation, saving half a second in the process.

You can use a dev-intended moonwalk if you hold down the sparkle button (we've just been holding down left and right for the other ones), and this allows us to move through spider webs at full speed. In the cases where this isn't possible, landing from a jump or spinning each grant us a frame of that speed. Additionally, we use the falling-through-platforms glitch. It's neat.

The Enemy Hideout

This stage is bad, it’s bad, you know it.

Ground movement is a bit more interesting here with the conveyor belts. We can use this to gain a little bit of speed, but only in one spot, which is kinda lame. Apart from that, we can prevent speed drops by spinning before we land. This stage has the only boss fight where it's faster to end the battle really far away from the girl, so it's quite useful there.

For the 5-3 boss, the entire stage becomes the battleground for the fight, and you get to take control of GUNDAM TRANSFORMER MICHAEL JACKSON, and can destroy everything in your path. The one teeny downside to that is it’s insanely slow, but who doesn't want to see Michael Jackson turn into a killer robot? Here, have fun. https://youtu.be/Ay3pO7CkkpQ?t=171
But nope, the faster method is to get 7 guys on screen and make them dance.

Michael's Battle Plane

I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this It’s probably really difficult to see this stage, which means you won't notice if it’s suboptimal, I mean what? This stage is harder in the 1.0 version of the game, but in a TAS setting it's a piece of… oh? It's still impossible?

You have to shoot Mr. Big’s ship 8 times, and he has an armada trying to block you. All of his movements, and the movements of his ships, are based on RNG, and your reticle moves incredibly slowly. There's a cooldown between each hit where he can't be damaged again, and apart from the first shot, we hit him as soon as it ends each time. Noooooooooo…

Potential Improvements

-Better RNG manip. There were several points across the run where we could save time, but just weren't able to implement it because we couldn't get the RNG back into a favorable place. See the end of 3-2, where we have to delay talking to the girl by several frames in order to avoid messing up the insane quick kill on the 3-3 boss. Better understanding of the systems behind that would definitely help improve this.

-Faster boss fights. This is partially a continuation of the RNG manip, because there are a ton of different boss patterns to analyze and manipulate, and the sparkle glitch allows for many different approaches to each one. Just brute forcing alone could be a good strategy, but again, a deeper analysis would be very helpful.

-Lag reduction. Lag sucks. Enemies create lag, getting rid of enemies creates lag, even jumping creates lag! Some more creative movement could be useful for a future TAS.

Special thanks -

Odongdong, for the older TAS and for providing some helpful tips on some stages.

Samsara, who shares a birthday with Michael Jackson’s death day. Now I know now to remember your birthday.


Memory: Take a look at the pub and make a... CHANGE! (Judging)

Samsara: File replaced with an 8 frame improvement. Sub-18:30 baybeeeeeeee!

Memory: Compared to the current publication this one just beats it.

But for real though execution seems good and people really liked the previous run and this one. Admittedly I initially wasn't super enthusiastic about the published run in the past, but I realize now the game excels in giving you various options for dealing with enemies which results in a rather pleasant watch.

Accepting to Stars as an improvement to [2589] Genesis Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (World,r0) by Odongdong in 18:53.64.

fsvgm777: You'll be hit by, you'll be struck by... some smooth encodes! (Processing)


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