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Tool-assisted game movies
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Submission #7070: warmCabin's NES Mega Man 2 "Fastest Softlock" in 02:54.48

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Mega Man 2
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Rockman 2 - Dr. Wily no Nazo (J).nes
Branch: Fastest Softlock
Emulator: FCEUX 2.2.3
Movie length: 02:54.48
FrameCount: 10486
Re-record count: 119210
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: warmCabin
Submitter: warmCabin
Submitted at: 2021-04-01 06:58:51
Text last edited at: 2021-04-05 04:12:37
Text last edited by: Samsara
Download: Download (1591 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:

Game Objectives

  • Emulator used: FCEUX 2.2.3
  • Softlock the game
  • No PASS WORD

The PASS WORD tech from last year caused a bit of a controversy in the speedrunning community. Some were thrilled to save 15 minutes off this crappy game. Others were mortified at all the fun and exciting gameplay that was lost. They called each other hypocrites, fools, cheaters, casuals... Eventually, a schism formed. No one could agree on what was true Any%, so we now have Any% - PASS WORD, and Any% - no PASS Word. Rockman 2: Dr. Wily no Nazo no PASS WORD. It's all so confusing. I wish I had left this tech in a vault to rot in obscurity.

To make amends, I've decided to refrain from using PASS WORDs for this run.


(Link to video)

Category

Let's define a softlock for the purposes of this run. A softlock is when you're stuck at a certain point in the game world with no way to advance and no way to die. So the only way out is to get up off your roommate's couch and press the reset button--or stomp your foot real hard for the same effect. This type of situation usually occurs when we "overzip" in a speedrun, which is when you fail to hit a scroll trigger and end up in the boss room while seeing the corridor on screen. Most overzips leave you with a way to die; it's very rare to get properly softlocked. However, for this run, we do not need to limit ourselves to standard any% strats. There may be a useless zip that could get us softlocked much sooner.

Options

Buster-only

A Buster-only softlock would be ideal, but I don't believe one is possible. In the 8 robot master stages, there are a total of 9 spots (technically 13) where you can zip without items. Of them, only two have overzip potential: the one used at the beginning of Crash, and a useless one in Wood. The Wood one simply takes you to the next room where you can die by grabbing the ladder. The Crash one, no matter how high you climb past the usual death point, will always leave you with some way to scroll backwards or die. So an Item is necessary to get softlocked.

Item 1

Item 3 (obtained from Flashman) obviously saves a lot of time in Heatman's stage with that big zip overhead, but not enough time to actually be worth doing Flash. So if we want Item 1 (obtained from Heatman), we should do Heatman Buster only and then go straight to the softlock site. However, Heatman's stage is 2,114 frames slower than Flashman's stage when done without items, so an Item 3 softlock would be a much better choice if one exists. Item 3 is much more limited in its zipping applications, so this may not work out.

Item 3

Turns out, an Item 3 softlock exists! In the second room of Heatman's stage, we can do a useless vertical zip into the ceiling of the previous room, after which we can overzip back into the yoku block room and drop down into the long hallway proceeding it. By sheer coincidence, the last frame of input is exactly 2,114 frames into Heatman's stage. This means that an Item 1 zip would have to be instant to make up for these 35+ seconds.

Off-screen Stage Entry

A 0-frame softlock is not as outlandish as you might think. If you look at Any%, you can see that it's possible to defeat Bubbleman from above his room and enter the stage from way up high. This is used in Woodman's stage to great effect; in most other stages, you just fall for a couple seconds and comically hit the ground. But in Flashman's stage, you get stuck in the ceiling and cannot escape. I really don't see a way to do this without Metal Blade. So the route would be:

  1. Metal: Buster-only strats
  2. Bubble: Zipless strats, get a delay scroll with blades
  3. Menu to Flash: end of input
Stage 1: Even though Metalman has a longer stage and a slower boss fight, the infuriatingly long Item 3 message from Dr. Light actually makes Metal first about 700 frames faster.

Stage 2: Bubble would require you to reach the end of the stage and wait for another message from Dr. Light, as opposed to Heat, which we can end in the middle of.

Overall, this route would be about 4000 frames slower.

Conclusion

The most promising alternative to the softlock I chose is this one in Metal. But it is still about 5 seconds slower.

While frame 10319 is the last frame of input in this movie, frame 10485 is the last frame where you could grab the ladder and save yourself. For this reason, I've decided to pad my movie file with 166 blank frames so it can truly achieve its goal.

I'll leave you with some miscellaneous calculations I did for this.


  Heat: can do the vertical zip backwards from the first yoku room, then grab the ladder and be in the second long room and stuck.
    But, Flash's whole stage is a prereq.

    Frame: 10315
    Last frame where you can save it: 10481

    So you could argue that 10482 is the ending time?

  Flash duration (start to down):  165 -  7732 = 7567
  Bonly Heat:                     8669 - 18350 = 9681

  Heat softlock duration:         7740 - 10315 = 2575
  Metal softlock duration:       36016 - 37019 = 1003
  Flash Item 1 lock duration:      165 -  2074 = 1909

  Bonly Metal duration:          41500 - 48331 = 6831
  Zipless Bubble duration:       13831 - 21273 = 7442 | This is when we press start to menu
  to Flash, which would be end of input.
  Buster only Heat is 2,114 frames slower than bonly Flash. It's bad.

  Overstage softlock: 6831 + 7442 = 14273
  Item 3 zip lock                 = 10315 (I've done it)
  Metal Item 1 lock:  9681 + 1003 = 10684 (Can we save 5 seconds off the zip setup!? I don't
  think so.)
  In Bubble, does the delay scroll + ceiling fight have the potential to save 4000 frames? I
  don't think so.

Samsara: well anyway i'd like to start the inevitable "BUT IS IT PROVABLY A SOFTLOCK???" discussion by (i open my mouth and thousands of bees fly out)

Samsara: (the bees form the shape of the word JUDGING)

Samsara: BUT IS IT PROVABLY A SOFTLOCK???

Part of me just wants to stop there without any further explanation, but if I judged all these April Fools' Day runs by doing whatever was the funniest to me personally, I'd just put down "sports," as my judgement note and accept everything to Stars before rejecting it. Y'know, there may be a reason why I constantly have to ask for entertainment feedback, because I think my concept of finding things amusing has been fundamentally broken for a long period of time.

Anyway, sports,


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