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

Submission #6869: Xujhan's SNES Breath of Fire II "best ending" in 4:34:55.03

Console: Super NES
Game name: Breath of Fire II
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Breath of Fire II (USA).sfc
Branch: best ending
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.3.2
Movie length: 4:34:55.03
FrameCount: 991332
Re-record count: 54265
Author's real name: Fletcher Gates
Author's nickname: Xujhan
Submitter: Xujhan
Submitted at: 2020-09-04 07:19:34
Text last edited at: 2020-09-16 02:10:24
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (291505 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

An orphan boy, Ryu, sets out to catch a thief and clear the name of his best friend. Along the way he finds new companions, encounters frightening demons, and stumbles across a plot to destroy the world.

The most significant departures of this TAS from ordinary gameplay are the almost total avoidance of random encounters, and the optimization of boss fights at much lower levels than usually possible. Both of these are achieved through heavy use of RNG manipulation. The RNG function in Breath of Fire II is updated every frame, which allows even very unlikely results to be achieved with only small amounts of waiting. The RNG function is however not affected by very many other things besides time, so we have little ability to improve results beyond simply waiting longer. As a consequence we sometimes take sub-optimal results, when waiting for an optimal result would lose more frames than the optimization would save. The code for Breath of Fire II is not very well-explored, so all the manipulation in this TAS was produced through trial and error. If we knew how to read particular values from RAM (enemy drops, encounter rate, etc) we would likely be able to find much more optimal paths through certain sections.

Since the original TAS was recorded by Janus in 2010, a number of glitches were found that meaningfully reduce the time it takes to complete the game. Most significantly for this video, AndyW3321 discovered in 2018 that it is possible to use the well-known shopping glitch to create very powerful glitched weapons early in the game. This allows for much faster boss fights than was previously possible. The glitched weapons are first available for the Joker fight, and are used heavily until we retrieve the EmpireSD near the end of the game. Other notable glitches are: the text glitch used to speed up the Circus, the unlimited money glitch used to bypass the Uparupa quest, and the intangible boulder glitch in the SkyCave. In total these glitches save just shy of ten minutes compared to my previous glitchless video.

To see the aforementioned glitches in action:

As a point of interest, it is known that the text glitch in the Circus can be used to trigger an out-of-bounds glitch. While this opens access to nearly the entire game world, no one has yet found a practical time-saving use for it as the game's plot triggers are linear and very strict.

Suggested screenshot: frame 927245. No particular significance, but it's an iconic shot of the hardest boss in the game.

And I really hope I didn't bollocks anything up with the submission this time.

Samsara: Going to judge this alongside #6821: Xujhan's SNES Breath of Fire II "glitchless, good ending" in 4:44:37.64.

Samsara: Changed the branch name for parity with the published run. Oops, sorry, spoilers for the verdict.

Much like the other submission, the optimization of this run is solid, especially for a heavily RNG-based RPG. The battles were fast, the text glitch in the Circus was pretty cool, and the only real question I had about routing was answered quickly and incredibly well. Very nicely done.

Accepting as an improvement to the published run.

Here's the suggested screenshot (frame 927245):

Spikestuff: Publishing.

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