Submission #1347: josh l.'s GBA Wario Land 4 in 1:05:41.82

Console Game Boy Advance Emulator VBA
Game Version USA Frame Count 236509
ROM Filename Wario Land 4 (U) [!].gba Frame Rate 60
Branch Rerecord Count 12835
Unknown Authors josh l.
Game Wario Land 4
Submitted by josh l. on 11/18/2006 5:52:05 AM

Submission Comments
Sigh. I'm a bit disappointed by the low views this got, but nonetheless I'm planning to tweak this run a bit, piece by piece, using Maximus's movie editor, once he adds VBA support.
This run is canceled for now, to be resubmitted in the not-to-distant future.

Surprise. This is the Hard Mode TAS of Wario Land 4. I repeat, Hard Mode TAS, which is why it's a few minutes longer than JuanValdez's movie. >=3
Actually, I'm rather surprised it's only a few minutes longer. This movie is also more optimized in many ways than Juan's run, so that's probably why!
I planned on doing a Wario Land 3 run, and ended up doing this instead. 3 had annoying controls and some tedious backtracking, whereas this game still has annoying controls, but a handy Dash maneuver, and is a lot more linear. I wasn't planning on ever making this movie, but here it is.
The gist of the game is, Wario has to move through 18 insanely long levels to unlock the paths to some glorious treasures. Each stage contains a "Keyzer" which unlocks the path to the next stage, as well as four sections of a door tile (from now on known as Jewel Pieces) which must be collected to access the boss. There's also a CD to collect in each stage, but that is optional. In order to leave the stage, Wario has to hit a switch that sets off a destruction sequence, and he must make it out before the time is over. That about sums it up. Oh, there's also a princess. Wario finally gets to rescue a princess, though he doesn't actually care; he just wants the treasure.
Differences between Normal and Hard mode
  • There are more enemies. This isn't as much of a problem as one would think. They do get in the way sometimes, but at other times they can be used as handy shortcuts.
  • There's less time to get out of the stage after hitting the switch, which is kind of irrelevant in a TAS.
  • This is the key difference: Jewel Pieces are now hidden. In Normal mode, they're pretty much right there to pick up along the way, but in Hard Mode, Wario actually has to make a bit of an effort to find them, sometimes involving access to entirely new areas.
Personally, I think that last difference is what makes Hard Mode more interesting to watch and play.
Yes, I know that a platform game being over an hour long is kind of nutty, but I do think it's worth watching. The biggest problem, really, is that Wario games are a bit notorious for having irritating nonskippable sequences, and in fact, it's one of the reasons the run is this long. When Wario enters the first stage and you see the whirly vortex sequence, I hope you enjoy it, cause you'll be seeing it THIRTY-FIVE MORE TIMES! I would suggest making use of the space bar during those time; the meat of the movie, the gameplay, is pretty sweet. Every level has its own set of strategies, and getting through them all required various different techniques.
I hope you enjoy this TAS.

Entry Passage

Hall of Glyphs: The tutorial stage went pretty well... I went back and redid it a couple times, and still ended up finding out better ways to do stuff as I made the video, which tends to happen with crazy games like Wario Land. There are a couple things I'd do differently, mainly involving the rock throwing, but still, pretty darn good.
Spoiled Rotten: A boss so easy they give you a tiny time limit to defeat him. His whole body is a weak point until there are three life units left, then he must be attacked by behind. By not wasting a frame, I was able to kill him before he could turn a round a second time. Quite pleasing!

Emerald Passage

Palm Tree Paradise: The only short stage in the game. Not much to say. Finding a way to get into the "hidden" path in the cave from the left side (where the third door tile was) saved a bit of time, as did getting the Keyzer without having to hit the switch.
Wildflower Fields: This is the first stage where the difference in Hard mode really becomes apparent. Accessing the molebot area isn't necessary at all in Normal mode, nor is getting stung.
Mystic Lake: Swimming in a TAS is never easy, and it's really hard to figure Wario out. I worked out the best pattern to swim fast using his swimming animation as a guide, but there seems to be a way to swim diagonally really fast, and I'll be damned if I could find a consistent way to pull it off. At any rate, I did my best! The path to the second Jewel Piece requires a running charge, and it's one of the tougher Jewel Pieces to find.
Monsoon Jungle: This stage is cool; I love fast platform jumping... It's something that just couldn't be done outside of a TAS. Sadly, the stage also introduces the biggest bring-down form of Wario: Fat Wario. Fat Wario is slow, and only by walking a certain distance can he return to normal. Every time he must be used, the speed of the run comes to a grind, but at least in this stage I pulled off his transformation in a fancy way. The first Jewel Piece took a bit of time to get as well, but I like how I had Wario lined up for the shot execution style.
Cractus: Sorry about this being a boring boss to watch. WL4's bosses have a lot of hit points because the game encourages you to play mini-games and buy items that weaken them.

Ruby Passage

Curious Factory: Fast platform jumping, hooray! I think I could have moved a bit faster in the Keyser room, and I know the process the get the final Jewel Piece is kind of a drag, but aside from that I'm pretty pleased with this stage.
Toxic Landfill: CRUSH BLOCKS CRUSH BLOCKS CRUSH BLOCKS. Block Crushing, Joel. Block crushing, Servo. When will it end? After crushing 100 blocks, I enter a room and find even more blocks to crush! Aaaaaa!
40 Below Fridge: Not the fastest level, but interesting! Again, Hard Mode is so much nicer, I think, since Wario actually has to DO things to get the Jewels in this stage. Incidentally, it's always a bummer when a moving platform decides to be in the wrong position, completely stopping the action, isn't it?
Pinball Zone: They call it "Pinball" even though it's clearly Pachinko. The most awesome and difficult stage to TAS, and you can probably guess why. One thing worth noting is that the Pachinko goals must be in view as the ball goes in them -- as do the goal counters once they reach zero -- before they'll disappear. I was so pleased with myself as I juggled multiple balls in the latter parts of the stage to get them where they needed to be.
Cuckoo Condor: Not much to say really.. The strategy's pretty clear-cut for this boss.

Topaz Passage

Toy Block Tower: Damn. I'm aware of the mistake I made at the end of this stage, but I didn't notice it until after I completed the movie. I don't know what I was thinking... It was probably out of habit since I'm used to getting that Jewel Piece first. Aagh.. I'm so sorry. I hope that didn't ruin the run for everybody. Aaaa!!
The Big Board: Again, HOORAY FOR HARD MODE. There's no need to even play the damn board game in Normal Mode, removing the whole point of the stage! Due to the time-consuming animation after hitting the slots, it's best to only hit as many as needed, but I went ahead and hit one extra one, as at that point I would have had to wait for the the slot to loop around to the number I wanted, plus it put me in a position to hit the rest of the spaces on the board really quickly. It's hard to explain, but it was the right decision; trust me.
Doodle Woods: I got really familiar with this stage, because I had to completely replay it a couple times. You have to crush some blocks at the VERY BEGINNING of the stage in order to open up access to a Jewel Piece at the VERY END. As often as I've played WL4, I just did not remember this, for some reason. It was fuuuun indeed!
Domino Row: In this stage you must beat the stacks of Dominos to open the door to the next area more quickly, as well as open up special paths. In a TAS this is nothing to worry about, needless to say. Curiously, this is the only stage aside from the Hall of Glyphs here the Jewel Piece locations don't change from Normal to Hard.
Aerodent: God damn this boss. It's the hardest boss to beat quickly, and yet watching it you'd never know it! Basically, once the mouse is out, it's ideal to damage him without causing him to crawl back in the bear, and the only way to do it is to strike him exactly 100% pixel-perfectly. It's really hard, it took a lot of rerecords, and the result is a fight that's actually quite boring to watch. I hate you, Aerodent.

Sapphire Passage

Crescent Moon Village: The most aggrivating Jewel Piece in the game is located here. You have to roll to get to it, but there's a hard rock AND a CD case blocking the way! This essentially make this the only stage where collecting the CD is mandatory, and I do so. If that wasn't enough, I had to contend with the Ghost Pirate while getting the Jewel, who can steal the Keyser away from Wario. If you watch JuanValdez's movie, you'll see him do just that, but he moved into a position where Juan could get it back right away. He wouldn't do that for me! >:( It's hard to tell at full speed, but he was such a pain.
Arabian Night: Optimizing the carpets is tough, but I'm pretty sure I did it the best way. Fortunately, the last couple could be skipped, for the most part.
Fiery Cavern: This is a cool stage. The first half has the difficulty of figuring out which pillars of fire to take damage at to save time. While my route is a bit more optimal than Juan's I still question whether I really needed to stop at the first one. Because of this, there's a possibility I may go back and edit the movie at this point if this submission sits in the queue for a while. But it will be a long while before I try that. Bigfoots are a pain as they have many ways to put a dead stop Wario's dash.
Hotel Horror: Sort of the least linear stage, and the optimal route is less obvious than it is in the other stages. But it's not too hard to figure out.

Golden Pyramid

Golden Passage: That's such a dirty-sounding stage name. This stage went pretty well, except without thinking, I used the second bubble to get to the first Jewel Piece. Everything else is perfect; lots of time-saving occured during the final puzzle.
Golden Diva: Keeping the hammer around is the trick to defeating her quickly. If you don't touch it for a while, it disappears. Aside from that, I wonder if I could have manipulated luck better or not (the green blob thing is a slow attack to counter compared to the ball and egg), but at any rate a pretty optimal fight. Game over!

  • VBA 1.7.2 17.1
  • Hard Mode run
  • aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
Here are JuanValdez's notes on his Normal Mode run. A lot of his comments apply to this video as well:

Last Edited by josh l. on 11/24/2006 3:16 PM
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