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When human skills are just not enough

Fractal Fusion / Dos Games

Note: Under construction

For DOS games, I mostly like Sierra Adventure games of EGA graphics (well, only Space Quest, Police Quest, and King's Quest) because of historical reasons. I also like Commander Keen 4-6. Outside of these, I like very few DOS games.

Notes on Sierra Adventure games in general

  • You can press Home, PgUp, PgDn, and End to go diagonally. I'm 99.9% sure it says so in the manual and yet so many players don't know that because they own a pirated version (this includes me). So if you can't beat PQ1 or have a hard time going up diagonal stairs, try using the keys mentioned above. Their direction is indicated on the numeric keypad.

  • A lot of these games have many ways to make you lose; so many that people have recorded "death lists". Some of these deaths are ridiculously hard to avoid. Some are totally non-intuitive and pointless.
    • In KQ3, for example, during spell-casting, you must have all the right ingredients, type the correct steps so the game understands you right away, and type the verses exactly (no typos allowed), otherwise you die.
    • In PQ1, the programmers put in some catchphrases that cause you to lose unless you use them in the right context. Also, the death messages don't look like death messages at all. You could lose before you know it. If you don't know what I mean, try "put ammo/gun/cane/bleach" when you have said item and you are just about anywhere. You die if you try to "put ammo" in the gun locker or "put bleach on hair" when the shower is off (or you typo "hair").

Speedruns of DOS games

I record playing sessions using DOSBox. During recording, any change in video resolution will result in a split AVI, which is not desired. DOSBox recordings use the ZMBV codec. If you don't have ZMBV installed, find zmbv.dll from the DOSBox official site, right-click and install.

AGI adventure game runs

Unless otherwise noted, all AGI adventure game runs are fast-speed max and single-segment.

King's Quest 2 in 10:34 mirror

KQ2 is a rather straightforward game to speedrun. I hoped to get lucky so that the witch wasn't there (and I did) so I could grab the bird right away. Also, possible random encounters with dwarves, witches, and sorcerers make me worry a bit (I hang near the edge when I can). Fortunately, everything went according to plan. The glitch about Graham falling off the stairs and entering the next area alive is mainly for fun. I mess up the sound and turn it off accidentally near the end (I had the sound turned down, so I never noticed), but it's not a big deal.

It might be faster to rub the lamp only twice, kill the snake with the sword, and avoid the poisonous brambles without the protective sugar cube, but then I can't cut corners on those brambles and I would have one more thing to worry about (collision checking is poor).

Space Quest 2 (V2.0F) in 16:12mirror

Moderately difficult to speedrun. I hold down the Enter key to turbo-skip dialog (even though others might like it better if I skip it on reaction instead). Notes:

  • Typing under pressure is hard.
  • I turn off the beeping from the hovercraft to avoid having another track me in the next area.
  • When freeing the pink alien, the game makes it hard to control my character while leaving.
  • Making it to the deep part of the swamp before the swamp monster gets me, then diving, is a huge shortcut. No more walking the maze of death just to get the berries.
  • I make the rope jump at the earliest point possible by memory and by paying attention to the pixels in the background.
  • Throwing the rock to get the guard to come down is probably the best way to do it. I was hoping the guard was on the left to begin with so I could go underneath the platform without the guard catching me. Anyway, the only possible faster way is to sling rock at guard, but I needed the athletic supporter from the locker back at the orbital station, which takes time to get (even more in version 2.0F as opposed to 2.0A).
  • The floor waxers in Vohaul's asteroid tend to ruin my runs. Fortunately they didn't this time.
  • "put can deck". It's better than "place the wastebasket on the floor". :)
  • Just before entering pod, I set speed to normal to give me enough time to "enter pod" after pressing the button. I should have typed "fast" afterward rather than using the menu.
  • V2.0F (the version with the "cheat" cheat) was used. It removed two important glitches from V2.0A. However, those glitches save maybe 20 seconds only.

Space Quest 1 (EGA) 7 segments in 11:32

Better run this time. I could have done the skimmer part on slow speed as part of the first segment, but since I am segmenting this run, I might as well segment this part. By leaning on the left side of the screen, I minimize the chance that the skimmer will be hit by 5 rocks (which is still high). In the Deltaur ship, I shoot a lot because I don't want to get shot by those aliens.

Due to an AVI-recording bug, the final segment is split by a screen resolution change.

Note: Because of the slot machine, the probability of beating the game single-segment is less than 1/150.

Police Quest 1 (EGA V2.0G) in 39:13

Police Quest (EGA V2.0G) in 39:13

There were parts that I could have done better but this game is a game where the slightest driving mistake ends your run. So I'm happy with this, at least for now.

To speed up events that occur during driving, circle a corner, going over four screens. Going back and forth between two screens does not work.

Sometimes I goof off while waiting for a real-timed event to occur.

  • Station -> Crash: No problems at all. I circle the corner to speed up the event.
  • Crash -> Coffee: No problems. After sitting down at the cafe I goof around because the next event is real-timed.
  • Coffee -> Red-Light Car: Unfortunately, the red car decided to travel on some no-pull-over routes, slowing the run. After pulling over, I use a glitch to avoid dealing with the girl (double-F4 to conclude the section).
  • Red-Light Car -> Disturbance: Nothing wrong. I circle the corner again.
  • Disturbance -> Drunk: Another glitch. After the man begs you to cuff him in front, enter "go" and he will enter the cop car without cuffs (must open the back door quickly, and not stay near it!)
  • Drunk -> Jail: I magically gain cuffs.
  • Jail -> Station: It's all right to crash and immediately park with F4, but I messed up once, so I'm playing it safe again. The door can be left open at the police station. After leaving the "chicken room" it is necessary to prompt the party message from the guy.
  • Station -> Blue Room: Turning off the birthday song sound speeds up the next event.
  • Blue Room -> Station: No comment.
  • Station -> Felon: I hate chasing this car down. But I did it anyway. You don't need a gun here. I (in real life) went to get a drink of water, so failed to clear a message for 8 seconds. Hey, if it reduces stress, then do so.
  • Felon -> Jail: I went sideways on departure because usually the other cop parks behind you (though it wasn't in this case). I have ended runs by backing straight into the other cop car (along with the usual dialogs which are then extremely out of context).
  • Jail -> Station: Promotion to Narcotics Division. I grab the gun here. It is a must for the next mission. I don't need ammo, though.
  • Station -> Park: In the white car, no red-light runs are permitted, so I take a route which has no lights. I came very close to crashing while entering the parking area.
  • Park: There are two ways to capture Simms. One is to do what I do here. The other very risky method is to come out with gun drawn (without calling "halt"), and cuff and "go" him before he runs off the left side of the screen, and avoid the gunner until Simms reaches the bottom of the screen.
  • Park -> Jail: I can leave the car doors open here.
  • Jail -> Station: I need to have Laura confirm the Blue Room meeting with Jack. If I leave before then, I ruin my run. (Another glitch)
  • Station -> Blue Room, Blue Room -> Station, Station -> Jail, Jail -> Cotton Cove, Cotton Cove -> Station: Let's just say I avoid the lights.
  • Station: The glitched shower sequence is hilarious. By the way "bleach hair". The phrase "put bleach on hair" is very dangerous; typo "on" or "hair" and press enter, and you've just destroyed your run. It is possible to go directly to the hotel, but then you have no money, and so cannot beat the game.
  • Station -> Hotel: The parking driveway makes me nervous. It's the last driving sequence too.
  • Hotel: Ordering water is fastest here. Now for some explanation on apparently bizarre behavior. Before the poker game, I pay and leave east three times, so that when I pay the fourth time, I have $80. This is to set up a glitch.
  • Hotel (Poker 1): Here's the plan. I intentionally lose the hand, immediately press F4 to sit again (a glitch; you are supposed to die), then underflow money (to $2500-something) and lose the hand to win. Now the game is confused and thinks I just took a break, but not only have I won, but the agents that you are supposed to wait for are already in your room. I made a major mistake and won the first hand; this cost maybe 40 seconds. At least everything else went to plan.
  • Hotel (Poker 2): Here's the next plan. Before the game, I give away my money. This resets my money to $0. (It is nearly impossible to enter with $2500-something and win). Then I underflow money and lose the hand to win. I got lucky, with one opponent having a bettable hand and the other two having foldable hands. Naturally I fold. The completion of the run follows. As another glitch demonstration, I show how it is possible to die in a funny way after beating the game.

Final score is 141 out of 245, with 6 points lost (2*2 for gun in jail twice, 1 for showering with clothes on, and 1 for leaving the shower on).

Other runs

Unless otherwise noted, all runs are single-segment.

Commander Keen 6 in 4:52 YouTube mirror

(from SDA forum:)

OK, this is my first recorded attempt. In months. No, really. I beat my previous record of 5:11.

I basically abuse ways to glitch out of levels. Faster in Guard Post 1, Guard Post 3, and the second last level. There was a bit of mishap in Guard Post 2 where I forgot to press right to go into the ceiling, and I missed a couple shots somewhere.
Thanks to Sanitars for getting it started with a Keen Dreams improvement!

Commander Keen Dreams in 5:42

Now I spent some time on this game, and I like the result so far.

This game has very different gameplay compared to all the other Keen games. You have no pogo stick and no gun; instead you get to throw weird things that temporarily disable enemies.

Initially, I had runs of about 7.5 minutes until I realized that there were 2 sets of Boobus Bombs in 2 levels. In this run, I dodged death with a glitch that lets you jump on the green flashing floors without dying. To do this, repeatedly press jump.

It might be made faster by grabbing the key only in Melon Mines to save getting one key in Castle Tuberia.

Overall, this game is pretty easy. The final boss was ridiculously easy to beat.

(obsoleted by Sanitars' Commander Keen Dreams in 5:08)

Commander Keen 5 in 18:02

Notes: http://speeddemosarchive.com/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=pcgames;action=display;num=1168156968


  • AGI Studio, (de)compiler for EGA games that use AGI (Adventure Game Interpreter). Both v1.31 and v1.37 are for download since v1.37 contains a sprite (called "view")-editing bug. Official site: http://www.nailhead.org/agistudio/. Note: Downloads don't work on that site.

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FractalFusion/DosGames last edited by FractalFusion on 2008-10-02 08:07:10
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