It all started with a simple question. "Do you think you could complete a Sonic game without collecting a single ring?"
Three years, two GMVs and one echidna later, the end result is here for all to see.
This run is performed on a hacked version of Sonic 1, allowing the player to play as Knuckles, which Sega should've been able to let you do back in 1994. The official thread for the game is here.
This run has three main goals. They're a bit like the three laws of robotics in that they're dependent on each other. They are:
- Avoid all rings, and any other items that would permit me to take damage (shield, invincibility)
- Don't fly over the top (or zip to the end) of the level because that would be boring (thanks CrazyTerabyte), except where not doing so would force you to collect rings
- Fastest time given the above two conditions
and other criteria:
- Takes no damage (obviously)
- Ignores delays caused by bonus effects
- Abuses programming errors in the game
- Makes speed/entertainment tradeoffs
- Is a concept demo
Given that the focus of the movie was already not going to be blindly speeding through the game, I felt the second point was necessary to make the best movie. Otherwise you'd just be climbing over the whole of Marble Zone which looks clever once, but boring after that.
Gens 9.5b was used to record this run. At times I also used Upthorn's hacked-specifically-for-Sonic-1 version, which proved intriguing without being essential.
Level times were as follows:
|Green Hill 1||0:21|
|Green Hill 2||0:15|
|Green Hill 3||0:31|
|Spring Yard 1||0:20|
|Spring Yard 2||0:25|
|Spring Yard 3||1:04|
|Star Light 1||0:19|
|Star Light 2||0:15|
|Star Light 3||0:40|
|Scrap Brain 1||0:27|
|Scrap Brain 2||0:32|
|Scrap Brain 3||0:13|
|Total Game Time||10:26|
These times shouldn't be compared with JXQ's run for obvious reasons. There are a few levels in which he does not collect rings (of which the most comparable is Labyrinth 2) but I take different paths to him by choice (see the run's goals above).
Green Hill 1 Nothing really special here. The first superglide gets used here - you're gonna see that a lot. My first attempt at this run picked up the shield, but I changed my goals to disallow this strategy.
Green Hill 2 I had to make a big choice at the start of this level. I initially wanted my first condition to be to ignore all items, but it lost so much time from the lack of speed shoes that it was no longer as entertaining, so I compromised. This level wouldn't be nearly as awesome under a no-item condition.
Green Hill 3 More speed shoe action. I don't consider the bouncing off the enemy skipping a large portion of the level, given it's only one enemy and Sonic can do it anyway. It must be said, though, that disallowing the invincibility renders the over-the-top boss strategy impossible, so I had to improvise a little. Oh, and the boss is totally awesome.
Marble 1 If you're wondering why I jumped over the rising/falling platform at about seven seconds, it was already out of position and I figured I may as well play around a bit. This level actually makes climbing up walls look interesting - no mean feat.
Marble 2 A forced skip here - if you take the regular path, you'll find a switch with two rings above the platform it lowers. You can't go past without tagging one of them. Oh, and the ending score here is just perfect.
Marble 3 At about five seconds, I need a perfectly timed five-tap spindash to just sneak under the purple block and also land on the next weight. Unfortunately, you can't skip the huge section of lava when you go this way. Around 43 seconds is where the real fun begins - three consecutive superglides, for height and then distance.
Spring Yard 1 Superglide off the speed shoe saves unnecessary, boring wall climbing. This is also a forced skip, taking the lower path forces you onto a spring which sends you into rings, with no opportunity to jump or significantly alter your trajectory. The section at 17 seconds, weaving in and out of rings, enemies, and that tricky little hole at the end, was all done in one take!
Spring Yard 2 Those bumpers are very annoying. When I went to redo this level (as the first attempt was slower than my old run), I ended up having to try and find the exact speed and timing to get through the second bumper a second time. This was a task I did not relish, so I found a different way through.
Spring Yard 3 I'll forgive you for skipping this one, it's pretty boring. Another forced skip means I have to climb up the wall for five seconds instead of just jumping up onto the angled platform at the top of the level. Another forced skip at the end led to using two superglides instead of just one, leaving the platform at the end perfectly positioned.
Labyrinth 1 Nothing to see here.
Labyrinth 2 Practically identical to JXQ (I tried to avoid this where possible). I think I was ahead before the skip but the door balances that out. I tried to link this skip with the Sonic skip, but using Upthorn's modified emulator I was able to see that that wouldn't work.
Labyrinth 3 The normal path on this level has no rings, so I tried to make it interesting. I think I did a reasonable job on the "boss".
Star Light 1 Pretty standard fare. However you can't seem to hit the 10k flag on this level (or SL2 for that matter). I would've thought they would adjust that for Knuckles, but whatever...
Star Light 2 Coming up with a good strategy for the sinewaves without being able to touch the rings was interesting. I eventually came up with holding left for a single frame so that I didn't hit the part of the curve that made you stop dead.
Star Light 3 Completely the opposite of the path you might expect, because every other path has a loop in it. At 27 seconds I make a jump which seems superfluous, but it sets me up to kill the orbinaut which otherwise would kill me.
Scrap Brain 1 Possibly my favourite trick in the whole run. All paths on this level require you to go through a tube with rings in it, and you can't climb over the top. So what do you do? Go through the rings, of course! Afterwards, I set up my spindash from the left side so that the flamethrowers play nice.
Scrap Brain 2 Surprisingly, nothing special here, except for the transition which I think I did quicker than anyone else has before.
Scrap Brain 3 At seven seconds I pass directly through a bullet. Yeah, I'm cool. (The hitbox is actually behind it!)
Final Zone Nothing to see here. I even ran out of tricks and started using them over. Input ends halfway up the jump to Robotnik's ship. I couldn't let him get away that easily :)
I always used to know when you were near the end of the credits because you saw "special thanks". Rest assured, there's not too far to go.
- Upthorn - for being a source of ideas, providing me with the Sonic 1 modified Gens (twice!) and generally helping me keep my head on straight
- JXQ - for the excellent Knuckles TAS that preceded this, and in doing so finding the Labyrinth 2 skip (the last piece in the puzzle for a no-ring completion at the time)
- MK - the original inspiration for the run, we ran through levels in real time for days testing the feasibility of such a run on an "official" release. However no official releases permitted such a condition, which is why the run is on this game
- Everyone who watched my WIPs, you know who you are
- The folks over at The Sonic Center for all the awesome strategies, and all the great times I've had
NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. I'm not sure I got the right ROM though. (I tried
Sonic The Hedgehog with Knuckles (S1 Hack).gen, which was the closest match to what you wrote.) Well, here goes! Feel free to clean up the list.
Bisqwit: NVA's guess was wrong, so I undid its screenshot list.
Truncated: I will reject this due to the somewhat arbitrary rules and not all too positive feedback. See mmbossman's and others replies in the thread.