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Submission #6903: Ferret Warlord's SNES Cooly Skunk in 21:16.25

Console: Super NES
Game name: Cooly Skunk
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: coolykunk_full.sfc
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.5
Movie length: 21:16.25
FrameCount: 76701
Re-record count: 14962
Author's real name: little j
Author's nickname: Ferret Warlord
Submitter: Ferret Warlord
Submitted at: 2020-10-06 00:57:53
Text last edited at: 2020-10-27 00:32:17
Text last edited by: Ferret Warlord
Download: Download (27619 bytes)
Status: judging underway
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Cooly Skunk in 21:16.26 by Ferret Warlord

  • Recorded with Bizhawk 2.5

In 1996, Japanese developer Ukiyotei was creating a game called Cooly Skunk for the Super Famicom. However, as this was around the time the Playstation was being released, their work for the SFC was scrapped and pivoted over to the new platform. In 1998, it was released to the rest of the world as Punky Skunk, which I made a TAS of back in 2009. The original version was thought to be lost.

However, it turns out that the studio had distributed a demo version of the SFC game over Nintendo's Satallaview service. Someone had managed to save their copy onto a rewriteable cart, which was then found at a used game store in February 2020, almost 24 years later. When the ROM was uploaded to the internet, it was quickly found that it was the sort of demo that contained the entire game and was simply coded to permit access to only a few levels. A quick hack later and the rest of the game was made available for play. This run uses that hacked version.

See this article on Gaming Alexandria for more information.

About the ROM

As mentioned above, this run uses a hacked version of the released demo that grants access to all the levels as though it were a full game. The ROM does not appear to be on any standard ROM lists. The one I found is labeled as coolyskunk_full.sfc.

About the Game

While the broad strokes between the two versions are easily recognizeable, they are still very different titles. Although a few elements of the original eventually made their way into the final, the level set was changed vastly, and the mechanics were tweaked some.

While this is the full game, it is, in my personal opinion, in no way complete. What is on display here feels fairly rough. The level designs seem to be works in progress, and graphically feels very weak for a late SFC/SNES title; there are also a few places where sprite tiles are mapped out wrong. It also appears that the title character's attack uses a placeholder graphic, as his tail emits stars instead of clouds of stink. The final product was vastly improved, although I am not sure if that's due to the better hardware or simply having more time to refine things. At the very least, I think the fact that it was originally being made for the Super Famicom speaks volumes about how and why the final product ended up the way it did.

As in the final product, the game's main gimmick is a series of tools that the protaganist uses that alters the play style in order to help complete levels. Cooly may only hold one such powerup at a time, although he can switch back to his default outfit at any time. They are as follows in the order they are used in this run:

  • Default: Cooly's red outfit. Basic jumps and attacks. Maximum x-speed of 1.5pix/frame (ppf). Cannot jump on enemies.
  • Snowboard: A snowboard that increases Cooly's speed on hills. If starting out on flat ground, Cooly will move at 1ppf until he hits a slope. Maximum x-speed of 4ppf, with acceleration depending on the steepness of the slope he's on. Y-speed also depends on the slope. When x-speed is 3ppf or greater, Cooly becomes effectively invincible. Jump height depends on x-speed. Cannot jump on enemies if too slow. Deceleration is only possible on uphills or while airborn.
  • Roller Blades: Basically the default outfit but no attack, higher speed of 2.5ppf, and more slippery ground controls. Can stomp on enemies.
  • Claws: Allows Cooly to dig through dirt. When not digging, its speed is limited to 1ppf, but doubles when digging, and is restricted to a grid of 16x16 squares. Attack is the same as default, and cannot jump or stomp enemies. You'll be seeing this one the least because of a collision glitch that skips most of the levels they appear in.
  • Paraglider: A reusable parachute that will slow your descent and allow you to catch updrafts. Easily the most annoying powerup due to incredibly slow acceleration and the fact that you'll slide on landing if the parachute is open. Max ground speed is 1.5ppf, while max air speed is 2ppf. Ground acceleration is normal, so reaching max air speed as quickly as possible requires walking for a few frames before jumping. Can jump on enemies.
  • Pogo Stick: The last of the regular powerups grabbed, even though it's the first to appear in the game. Allows Cooly to jump higher, but the player must complete one full jump beforehand. Can stomp on enemies, and even has a small bug assosciated with that.
  • Jet Pack: The final powerup, used only during the final boss. Allows Cooly to fly around and launch fireballs. Has limited fuel that is refilled when landing.

About the Run

Tricks and Glitches

  • Acceleration: Although exceptions apply, generally speaking, your x-speed when on the ground is a different variable than your x-speed in the air. Walking requires having to accelerate for a few frames to reach full speed; in the air, it's intantaneous. As a result, there are a few situations where constantly jumping will save a frame or two.
  • Damage Boosting: I only took damage when there really wasn't a faster way around or through an obstacle. You'll notice there is a small speed boost when taking damage. However, due to the setup required to recoil in the right direction, plus a few frames of warmup/cooldown, the best you can manage is to break even. Attacking also requires some warmup/cooldown frames, so it's generally in my best interest to not attack when it can be avoided.
  • Wall Zipping: This game has an ejection routine for when Cooly gets lodged inside a wall. I stumbled on a few methods to achieve this, but only one, involving the claws, was actually useful. The setup is shown in the picture to the right. Note that the block is falling. Hollow out the dirt and position Cooly until you match the image (the dirt above the weight and below Cooly may also be hollowed out). As the weight falls, when it gets to be about Cooly's level, it will behave as though it's intangeable, and allow Cooly to start digging into it. Once it hits solid ground, it will be solid again, and Cooly won't move if you keep digging. When you stop digging, Cooly will be ejected into the last free position he was in. However, if you instead change back to the default outfit, Cooly will get stuck, and the ejection routine will kick in. I am not sure precisely how the routine works. It moves Cooly up and to the left, with the exact pattern being based on how you mash the buttons as it happens. Present in the run is the best I can manage. Other methods include jumping into a wall with the snowboard, and landing on a falling platform as it comes out from behind a wall.
  • Pogo Double Jump: Trigger this glitch by stomping on an enemy with the pogo stick the same frame you land on the ground. The initial ground bounce will take place, and once you begin descending, the enemy bounce will occur, giving you a sort of double jump. Used once.
  • RNG Manipulation: The RNG is based on a timer. To get a different result, delay the action. Interestingly, the RNG is advanced 1 additional step every time it is called, but this was never really useful.

Level by Level Comments

  • 1-1: Introductory level where I just Ya! my way through to save a couple of frames. Damage boost over the pogo stick as it is useless here.
  • 1-2: Same as before. Take a hit to cross a pit.
  • 1-3: Grab the snowboard as close to the ground as possible to begin accelerating as soon as possible. Jumping and landing both involve pausing for a bit, so the goal is to reduce both.
  • 1-4: The first boss, a giant gameshow set. Press a button to take a spin on the machine, and if it lands on the same color, you get some beneficial items; if the color doesn't match, it will spit out an attack of some sort. Dropped from the final, possibly for being a stupid idea for a boss fight.

    To win, you want the machine to spit out mines, which can be hit back at the machine. We want it to spit out black mines, as those have the longest timer, allowing me to hit two and finish the level in one round. Delayed hitting the button by two frames to get this.

  • 2-1: Finally a level that doesn't involved jumping the whole time! The water currents act as a sort of conveyor belt, so jumping incessantly isn't a good idea for much of the level.
  • 2-2: An autoscroller with the roller blades. The screen will begin advancing only after you move to the right far enough, so I grab the blades and jump to begin this ASAP. The idea here was to go to the far right of the screen, double back to the far left, and back to the right.
  • 2-3: The first digging level. I zip myself out of bounds, fall to the exit, and zip back into the level.
  • 2-4: Whack-a-Mole. Attack Commander Chew and not the decoys. Adapted into the final product with minor mechanical changes.

    I need to attack Chew on the first possible frame of each cycle to get the next cycle as early as possible. However, I delay hitting him on the third cycle to manipulate him to appear on the bottom row so he can clear the screen sooner, ending the level earlier.

  • 3-1: The first paraglider level. Catch the drafts to finish the level as quickly as possible. Sometimes it's faster to hold the parachute open and glide for a bit, other times it's faster to land and jump.
  • 3-2: Another water level like 2-1. The falling wooden spikes are a bit laggy, so I tried to reduce that as much as I could. I don't think I was terribly successful...
  • 3-3: Another snowboard level. The enemy at the beginning is positioned just a little to close to allow him to be run over by the snowboard, so I jump over the powerup to take him out first. The rest of the level is simple. Jumping twice over the small uphill section is faster than the speed loss incurred by going up for even a few frames.
  • 3-4: The Ball Dropper. The machine above drops explosive balls on you. Avoid the red balls. Catch the blue balls with your seesaw and catapult them back to win. Adapted into the final with minor mechanical changes.

    The conditions that must be met for him to drop a ball are 1) A timer must reach 0 2) He must be directly over you. To manipulate him into dropping only blue balls, I move a bit just as the timer is about to run out so he delays dropping a ball for a couple of frames.

  • 4-1: Another forest level. You are presented with a pogo stick at the beginning, which I had to carefully navigate around to minimize time lost. There were also a few parts where I had to wait a bit to avoid taking a hit, as I needed that hit to cross a spiked pit.
  • 4-2: The second digging level, skipped using the same zipping glitch. I had to dig down a little bit to give myself some vertical room for the zip to be able to eject me from the level.
  • 4-3: The only non-autoscrolling roller blade level. Take the conveyor belts to increase speed. Very laggy level.
  • 4-4: Indoor Soccer Match. Basically, it's pong, but soccer themed. Adapted into the final, but the visuals and mechanics were overhauled to more closely resemble a volleyball match.

    This one was frustrating to do because the RNG is surprisingly difficult to manipulate. The RNG is called not when a goal is made, but when the Commander serves. Often times, delaying the goal did not change the frame he would serve. I also had to settle for some less-than-optimal serving patterns because the RNG would often give me something weak.

  • 5-1: A paraglider level with more verticality. The way the outfit works meant that landing on that first falling platform had to be very precise, otherwise the updraft would prevent you from doing much of anything. Fairly laggy level; either the system's transparency effect is more taxing than I thought, or the programming is just suboptimal.
  • 5-2: The most intricate of the snowboard levels, as it mostly involves dropping down to the goal, with a few required turnarounds. The enemy forces me to open as in 3-3. The first drop, I damage boost to be able to get up onto a ledge and out of the spike pit. Everything else is just turning around on the first possible frame.
  • 5-3: Yet another autoscroller. My idea here was simply to be pressing the right button the whole time.
  • 5-4: The Train Race. Hit the air pump to move, jump over obstacles, and reach the end before Commander Chew. Adapted into the final with minor mechanical changes, and given a facelift to become a boat race instead.

    The air pump can be hit on a 33 frame cycle, but the obstacles manage to get in the way. Nothing much else to be said.

  • 6-1: The third and final digging level. I use the zipping glitch as before, but because this level is two screens wide, it plays out a little differently. By zipping to the left, I suddenly appear on the right side of the level, and now the camera is desynced from where the engine thinks Cooly is. This renders the rightmost quarter of the level into a glitchy, intangible state, but fortunately objects appear normally, so I can just fall onto the exit. It was necessary to attack the enemy before the weight fell, otherwise he'd have hit me and thrown off the setup.
  • 6-2: This whole time, the game has been trying to get me to use the pogo stick. I finally accept it, because the vertical nature of this level requires it. As mentioned above, you need to go through one full jump to be able use the higher second jump, making some sections appear a little awkward. Was able to bounce on one enemy for a small shortcut halfway through, and utilize the double jump glitch towards the end.
  • 6-3: The final snowboard level. This one is irritating, because there are bits of ground along the bottom of the level, but they are spaced just a little bit to far for the snowboard to be able to clear the gaps, forcing me to take the elevator. I slow down a little towards the end to try and get a good pattern on the boss.
  • 6-4: The Elevator Boss. You and Chew are standing in rooms next to flammable containers. Above you is a series of platforms and elevators. Randomly spawning in are little sapient flames, who begin navigating the setup at the top. If they fall into one of your rooms, a jet of flame will come out of the wall. If they fall into the center container, a flame will spew into both rooms. Dropped from the final version, possibly for being an even stupider idea than the first boss.

    The flame spawning is controlled solely by the RNG. It is possible to get up to 20 seconds with nothing coming out. I delayed the previous level a few frames in order to get an acceptably quick spawning pattern. Otherwise, it's mostly just waiting. I open up by doing what I call "anti-twitching", where I alternate between left and right, but each time I do, I increase my wait by one frame.

  • 7-1: The final island! A paraglider level, strangely enough. The complete lack of airborn acceleration made this level more irritating than it needed to be.
  • 7-2: The final level! Also a paraglider level! Jump on some enemies to get a good vertical boost. Also take a hit from a throwing star for the same reason. The final enemy stomp gives me enough of a boost to get through a downdraft, cutting out about half the level.
  • 7-3: Oh no, Kelly and Nash are kidnapped! But don't worry, Kelly escapes almost right away! But Nash is still captive and brainwashed! Beat up Nash to free him from his brainwashing!

    Seriously, screw these long, unskippable cutscenes.

    Whenever you hit Nash, he will return to a spot near the top center. I hit him in such a way that he recoils close to that spot.
  • 7-4: Yay, another unskippable cutscene! Nash gives you a jetpack to fight Badler with! Fight, Cooly, for everlasting peace!

    Whenever Badler takes a hit, he'll alternate between a simple attack phase, where he'll slowly float around and throw the occassional fireball, and a bouncing phase, where he'll inflate like a balloon and start bouncing around, growing with each hit. When he goes into the bouncing phase, his initial trajectory is determined by your position: he'll try going straight at you. After being hit out of this phase, he'll return to a spot in the bottom right of the screen. I determined the fastest way to get him to return is to manipulate his trajectory to have no horizontal component. After defeating him, I need to land on a sufficiently high cloud to avoid falling into the bottomless pit. I make the last attack from the leftmost side of the screen so I can begin ascending early to said cloud.

Potential Improvements

  • A better understanding of the wall ejection routine may help improve the second digging level
  • 7-1 might be done better
  • Maybe a better RNG on the candle flame boss?

Thanks for watching!


Samsara: Submission set to Delayed at the author's request.

Samsara: File replaced with a 24 frame improvement. Resetting to New.

Samsara: ...Okay, fine, I'll judge it too. Gosh. Gosh.


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