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Tool-assisted game movies
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Submission #6984: BrunoValads's SNES Daze Before Christmas in 20:48.21

Console: Super NES
Game name: Daze Before Christmas
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: Daze Before Christmas (E).smc
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 2.4.1
Movie length: 20:48.21
FrameCount: 62419
Re-record count: 14226
Author's real name: Bruno Valadão Cunha
Author's nickname: BrunoValads
Submitter: brunovalads
Submitted at: 2020-12-29 18:41:29
Text last edited at: 2021-01-15 23:13:36
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (12340 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Daze Before Christmas is a norwegian platformer that was released first for Genesis in Australia, then ported to SNES and released in Europe and Australia.

[SEIZURE WARNING: FLASHING COLOURS IN THE FINAL BOSS FIGHT]

Encode:

Map display encode:

Background

November was ending and I decided to make a Christmas-themed TAS to gift the community. Among other obscure games, I found this one, and it looks quite beautiful. So on december 1st I started the research, mapping the RAM, building a Lua script, figuring out level data to make the level maps, etc. My goal was to submit on the day before Christmas (hehe), but I took more time than I should in research, and ironically Christmas itself took my time, so the TASing process delayed, but well, it's still 2020 holidays. You can acess all the research files here.

Difficulty

There are 3 difficulty levels: Easy (4 lives, 5 hats), Normal (3 lives, 4 hats), and Hard (2 lives, 3 hats). I couldn't find any other difference. I chose Hard because it would increment the challenge a little in the form of not abusing damage so much, would be boring if I just relentlessly rushed through the enemies. In general, the Guidelines suggest to go with hardest if there's "miniscule time differences between difficulties" or "if you're unsure".

Speedrun premises

  • Damage boosts when necessary, limited to 3 hits due Hard difficulty;
  • Avoid getting gifts, because each one is counted in the score screen, taking extra frames;
  • Avoid getting coffee becoming Anti-Claus, since the only advantage is the invincibility, which is not useful in this run. Also it takes 65 frames to transform, and lasts for 500 frames;
  • In autoscrollers there's nothing much you can do besides avoiding the enemies and throwing gifts into the chimneys. Since correct throws only influence the score and getting gifts in previous levels is slow due bigger score screen time, this run will not contain gift throws.

Tricks:

  • Extra speed in level start, by pressing the direction in the second frame inside the level (non-lag). This will increment the speed in one step, 0x2000 subpixels/frame, then the game runs the "Get ready" for 127 frames, and after that the acceleration continues.

  • Air jump, by holding the jump button after landing from a ground pound, the next time Santa lands on ground again it will jump from a considerably higher position.

  • If you open a red or golden gift but keep moving fast enough, the sprite inside will spawn unactive, so the red gift counter won't increase. This way I could increase a little the entertainment without compromising the score screen time.

  • Early sprite interaction, by touching it while ground pounding, since Santa's hitbox is larger in this state, very useful to reach sprite platforms that wouldn't be reachable otherwise. This is also abused to reach Stars earlier in some instances.

  • Climbing clip, by doing quick jumps in the top of the rope, Santa eventually clips the ceiling.

  • Stair underclip, by precisely bouncing in a gift box (or another sprite?) under a stair to force Santa inside it. Since you're still holding the direction, the speed is still existent, so for a brief period the lateral collision will ignore this speed but right after the clip you maintain it.

  • The Attic chimney clip, explained below.

Level by level commentary:

format: "Level $#id (number - name)"; links for the BG1 maps

- Level $00 (1 - Santa's Hallway): Cozy, inviting, freshly brewed coffee. I tried clipping the 2nd stair coming from above but couldn't find a way, so the only trick in this level was the stair underclip right after the 1st candy cane.

- Level $01 (2 - Let It Snow): Hold right to win. Note: this and level $12 finish when you jump into the pit.

- Level $02 (3 - Ice Cave): There's no known way to clip inside the wall, corners and ceilings in this level, would be nice zipping straight to the Star. Here I used the air jump to basically jump on spikes that would normally hit Santa. Also it's shown that a single magic beam can hit multiple enemies if the hitboxes overlap well enough.

- Level $03 (4 - Blue Magic): Conveyors give an extra 1 pixel/frame boost, so the key is standing on them as long as possible. Magic carpets give 2 pixels/frame boost, but now you want to land on them (to activate) as soon as possible but leave them as soon as possible to reach the destination.

- Level $04 (5 - The Evil Snowman): I really had to ground pound to reach that first ice block, because the hitbox is extended during this action. Also you don't want to stay it this ice block when it's moving against your direction, it slows you down. After that, I was surprised I could simply run thru that snowman, due wrong hitbox detection while climbing the mountain up.

  • Boss #1: A husband, a father, have 8 hits, killable with Fire Magic and ground pound, throws snowballs with no aiming at all. Also if you touch him (or cross it x position at any height) you are automatically kicked back, plus the damage. For some reason there's a brief moment after hitting him that you can pass over him without being kicked, so I do and go 100% treachery fighting him from the back. This said, there's nothing much you can do unless firing/pounding to hit him as soon as possible, as there's no trick to do multiple damage. By finishing the fight from his back, I could wait the star to spawn right over Santa.

- Level $05 (6 - Over England): Autoscroller ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and now I don't have the gifts because everyone in London was a bad kid, they don't deserve even a single lump of coal. While the reindeers pulled Santa with the power of mind, all I could do was playing around the enemies without taking damage, using TAStudio "Recording mode" for the fun. In this kind of level, it ends when the camera hits the limit, nothing you can do to accelerate it.

- Level $06 (7 - Flooded Basement): Caution! Wet floor! Also make sure to jump over the cup of coffee to avoid the transformation animation. There's a very annoying part right after the 2nd spider, a stair with 3 steps, there's no way to avoid bumping into one step, the fastest way I could do was with an air jump loaded below the spider. At least even bumping in a wall your x speed is still conserved. Right after that another 3 step stair with the same issue. And right after that, there's a special command sprite that when touched by Santa activates the flood. Then there's the first retracting platform, closing just in time for me not being able to use it, forcing me to just jump over but facing the same stair problem from before. Just like other instances, I can abuse moving platforms to boost my speed.

- Level $07 (8 - Wood Factory): More conveyors, walk them. Now Santa step on hearts his size. Unfortunately there's a heart that I must wait a little to reach the next platform.

- Level $08 (9 - Magic Cave): Those jumping rock (geo)dudes are invincible, don't mess with them. There in the middle of the level I take damage intentionally to reach that cloud platform as early as possible to avoid bumping into that pillar thing.

- Level $09 (10 - Steel Factory): Dozens of work safety violations.

- Level $0A (11 - The Timekeeper): Santa's alarm clock got sentient and decided to start a skater career.

  • Boss #2: My only hope was hitting it as early as possible (when $0738 timer reaches zero). Curiously when you hit it on air it will only start the damage routine when it hits the ground. Also, in the penultimate hit I make with a ground pound, there's a big delay to the damage routine take action, I couldn't avoid The Timekeeper standing there in the right.

- Level $0B (12 - Over Russia): Apparently every kid in Moscow was bad too.

- Level $0C (13 - Winter Waters): [Global warming intensifies] That first ice platform starts in a bad part of the cycle, so I had to slow down during the jump to get off from it later to reach the ice cap. The second ice platform is even worse, so much time wasted there.

- Level $0D (14 - Steel Elevators): First instance of the Climbing Clip, skipping a third of the level. Sad that I can't clip more places to reach the Star earlier.

- Level $0E (15 - Gift Wrapping Dept): Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" (1936) tells the story of Santa Claus, who ends up packaged as a gift inside the gears of capitalism. To avoid that, Santa has to enter the machines with a little jump to bypass its detection.

- Level $0F (16 - Magic Bubbles): Forced to ride magic carpets for much longer than I would like to.

- Level $10 (17 - The Attic): Oh The Attic, such a singular level: it's the only in the game that has sublevels ($7E1E70). Sublevel 0 = attic itself (left side), 1 = chimney (going up), 2 = rooftop, 3 = chimney (going down), 4 = attic (right side), and 5 = boss. The cool thing here is that you can pass thru the top of the chimney, it's not solid, so when you're in sublevel 0 you can actually reach the right side. The sad thing is that no sprite is loaded there, including the trapdoor, so you can't touch it to go to the boss skipping all the rooftop. The lesser cool thing is with this chimney non-solidity you can activate the lever to open the fireplace door (needed to advance) and immediately clip the chimney down to skip the mandatory backtracking. Here in this level I figured out that the fastest way to climb a rope is indeed with longer jumps, unlike other games, the y speed in a jump accelerate while the jump button is held. In sublevel 4 I had to wait the rolling barrel in a position that I could jump from it without activating the punching hatstand. Speaking of which, the boost from the third punching hatstand actually saves time. Oh and the ghost mouses are invincible.

  • Boss #3: Named Louse The Mouse, this retired rodent stole a faded overalls from that popular plumber in order to destroy Christmas. Little did it know that Santa knew how to use the lever to deactivate the crane to drop the weight ball. Louse The Mouse gets squashed by it, but the damage only happens when Santa hit it with the magic while being squashed, so the real time save here happens if both actions happen in a 1-frame succession. The Mouse then walks back to its watchpost and will only start chasing Santa again if onscreen. The last hit is quite complex, since I can't be in Louse's attack detection range and I still don't wanna get gifts, so the earliest I was able to hit was with a ground pound.

- Level $11 (18 - Over Japan): Tokyo? Bad kids.

- Level $12 (19 - North Pole): This level tile data is identical to level $01, ending the same way: mosh pitting the void.

- Level $13 (20 - Deep Down): Literally just slide down. Here the wider ground pound hitbox saved 2 frames touching the Star earlier.

- Level $14 (21 - Creepy Basement): Santa's greatest nemesis, basement stairs, attack again, and this time they are huge. Again, the Star ground pound was useful.

- Level $15 (22 - Santa's House): The last normal level is Santa's House, the most hostile home in the Arctic. Despite the chaos, I could do some tricks. First, I damage boost that first plane with a ground pound, which gave me 18 pixels of advantage in the candy cane grab. Then, by grabing the swinging clock pendulum on the first frame possible while ground pouding I get a considerable position boost. There's a huge clip here similar to that one in The Attic, where you jump from the flying basket, get the coffee, and right after the transformation you clip the wooden wall, unfortunatelly it only works in the Genesis version. You can skip a tiny portion of the level by simply walking left those spikes. Lastly, another pendulum boost to finish the job.

- Level $16 (23 - Over The USA): Last stop: ruin the Christmas for the bad kids in New York.

- Level $17 (24 - Mr. Weather):

  • Final boss #4: The local weatherman got involved in a genetic experiment that didn't went well and now he wants revenge. He shoots lightning bolts right on Santa, and if it hits a cloud barrier it will become energized. Once flashing, if I shoot magic on it the lightning will revert back to Mr. Anger Issues. The optmization comes in three ways: 1) of course, shooting the magic as early as possible to strike him back; 2) forcing him to energize the cloud that is farther to the right, to energize it faster and by consequence attacking him faster; 3) forcing him to energize the bottom 2 clouds at the same time (they get pretty close to each other), so you can strike the first one and right after his damage cooldown ends you can strike the second one. Also I noticed that sometimes his routine framecounter is set to 12 before attacking (fast) and sometimes 25 (slow), seems to be relate to Santa's y position relative to him, so I moved around in order to maximize the faster attacks. His fastest cycle is: damage -> 25 frames moving -> 12 frames aiming, but sometimes you get 50 or 100 frames of moving and 25 frames of aiming, so avoid them.

Disassembling the Christmas tree

This game is very straightforward, I can only see improvement if someone ever find some game breaking glitch or somehow optmize the boss fight cycles.

Note: I found a crash in the last boss, seems useless.

Thanks LeHulk and reanymation for the speedruns used as reference for this TAS. Thanks Memory for the elucidation in choosing the difficulty.

Happy Holidays everyone, let's have a better 2021!

Suggested screenshot: 40267


Memory: Claiming despite the fact that this was clearly submitted after Christmas.

Memory: Replacing file with hopefully corrected header.

Memory: Optimization looks fine.

The run is decently well paced but it really doesn't have much setting it apart from other platformers. The audience response was fairly mixed here as a result.

Also it's really long after Christmas at this point.

Accepting to Vault.

fsvgm777: Processing. EZGames69 is handling the encodes for this one.


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