TASVideos

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

Submission #7008: Natetheman223's GC Catwoman in 52:30.4

Console: Nintendo GameCube
Game name: Catwoman
Game version: USA v1.0
ROM filename: Catwoman(USA).iso
Branch:
Emulator: Dolphin 5.0
Movie length: 52:30.4
FrameCount: 566508
Re-record count: 2828
Author's real name: Nate
Author's nickname: Natetheman223
Submitter: Natetheman223
Submitted at: 2021-01-21 01:48:46
Text last edited at: 2021-02-16 21:12:04
Text last edited by: Samsara
Download: Download (326924 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)

To play this TAS, make sure Dolphin doesn't have any memory cards in. All other settings as default should be fine. On with the description!

Catwoman is a Movie tie-in game for the Catwoman (2004) movie, featuring Halle Berry. The movie received overwhelmingly negative reviews, and the lack of quality carried over to the game as well.

Catwoman features parkour and combat as its main selling points... and it can't quite do either of them well. When watching this run, you would assume that the game is relatively easy - which it is, but its also hard for the wrong reasons. Constant backtracking, buggy mechanics, mistakes sending you all the way back to the start of the level, etc.

Okay, enough messing around. Time for honesty. This game sucks, to put it bluntly. Horrendous combat design, complete lack of camera controls, and useless upgrades all plague the game from start to finish.

It's worth mentioning that the game is poorly optimized - 30fps, occasional pauses to load during levels, etc. Spider-Man 2002 was made for the same console, sooner, with similar time crunch, has bigger maps, and similar graphics, and runs at a nearly consistent 60fps with no mid-level pauses. It's funny because I'm not even setting the bar that high - a lot of people hated Spider-Man 2002. Anyway, onto the mechanical gripes.

First off - the combat. You can't KO enemies by traditional means. You have to knock every enemy into some kind of pit or shaft ("exit points")... except bosses for some reason. However, there is another way to KO enemies: inflicting enough damage on them that they go into "scaredycat mode" and KO themselves. Aside from that, every group fight is just gradually baiting every enemy toward the one extremely obvious hole in the wall to knock them in. It doesn't help that the devs decided it was a good idea to make some combat sections based on waves of enemies with a limited number of exit points. I do a pretty good amount of manipulation to trick enemies with guns to run toward me so I can KO them, since they usually just stand still and shoot at you.

Then there's the upgrades. I don't buy any during the run, but allow me to list them off and you'll see why:

So that's MAYBE 2 useful upgrades (in casual play). So combat, despite being a major part of the game, sucks. There's a whole scoring system with the move types which had a lot of potential, but they just couldn't make the cut since the reward (the upgrades) are not at all worth it. Just so you know: Alleycat moves are parkour, Wildcat moves are combat, Scaredycat moves involve enemies KO'ing themselves in scaredycat mode, and I genuinely don't know what Pussycat moves are. I was not able to trigger them even once - they might not even exist for all I know.

I should probably mention bosses. Pretty much all bosses in the game fight the same - one quick punch/kick, one heavy attack, and one special attack while Catwoman is stunned (if you hit an enemy enough times, they will become stunned - this also applies to enemies hitting Catwoman). They usually block just about everything you throw at them. There is a small glitch I use a few times to force them to stop blocking so I can knock them into something.

Well, what about the movement mechanics? They're overall okay at best, but they could definitely be improved by just having a better camera. Half the time Catwoman is a mile from the camera, and the other half of the time she's not even close to the center, making it extremely hard to determine where exactly you're going... especially if you're playing in the native 480p resolution (my youtube encode is 720p).

The game isn't really hard in a good way. Falling 5 stories should instantly kill you and respawn you at the top for your convenience, instead of making you climb all the way back up. It would make Midnight much more useful. Oh, I forgot to mention Midnight? Midnight is a cat at the beginning of every level, starting with level 3. If you find him, he will give you 9 lives - yes, you can die and he will revive you 9 times. Though, since dying is this game is practically impossible unless you're trying to, Midnight is useless.

In the Factory Perimeter level, while climbing on the mesh, I let myself get shot to save time. Normally you'd be expected to whip-grab the enemies and yank them from the windows, but that is extremely slow.

On the bright side, I am, however, extremely happy that run-jumping is almost twice as fast as normally running or crouch-running.

Level design is overall very good - again, it would be better if we had control of the camera to actually look at it, or a better functioning Catwoman to explore the levels with.

Other notes:

EDIT: I cancelled this TAS very briefly but some kind words from the staff on Discord encouraged me to bring it back. Thanks.


Samsara: You're welcome! c: Also, judging!

Samsara: File replaced with a version that truncates some blank/unnecessary input. Should have a judgement within a day or two, apologies for the delay.

Samsara: While the overall quality of the run isn't bad per se, as outlined in this post, movement can still be tightened up significantly. I would say the main point of optimization here is the general ground movement with the jumping: Shorter jumps (i.e holding R for a single frame) appear to be faster overall in general, but the big thing about them is that since you're more or less locked into your angle throughout a jump, shortening the length of each jump allows for greater control over your angles in general, meaning less parts where Catwoman is jumping away from her target only to turn towards it and start jumping toward it again. There's also some easy-to-find improvements in general pathing, the most notable being a section in which the submission crosses a gap by walljumping, whereas I was able to forego walljumping entirely and just grab the far ledge.

My philosophy for judging edge-case optimization submissions like this stems from a much older judgement of mine: The idea is that I shouldn't be able to come in with a quick test and save time, especially on an emulator I have no TAS experience with, a method of TASing that I'm not used to, and with a game that I've never played before. Given that I was able to do so with this submission (and also being well aware that my own input can be tightened up even further), I can only come to the same conclusion I did with Thexder: It's good, but not good enough for our standards of optimization. I can see an optimized submission being sub-50 in TAS timing, likely more if someone is willing to really put in the effort to master the game's awful movement, but that's unlikely given that this game is awful. Publishable to Vault still, but absolutely an awful game.

I'm rejecting this for suboptimality. It's a solid attempt, but it can still be optimized pretty heavily.


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