Submission #2391: Tiger-, Heisanevilgenius's SNES Hagane in 14:11.27

Console Super NES Emulator Snes9x
Game Version USA Frame Count 51076
ROM Filename Hagane (U).smc Frame Rate 60
Branch Rerecord Count 17462
Unknown Authors Tiger-, Heisanevilgenius
Game Hagane
Submitted by Heisanevilgenius on 8/30/2009 7:04:01 PM

Submission Comments
Hagane is a very stylish but very difficult ninja game. There are lots of different types of attacks and tumbling allows for some really great tricks. We used every one of his many moves and attacks in this run at one point.
We believe we really made a good team. Tiger- is great at optimizing travel time and working with wall glitches, whereas Heisanevilgenius is better with optimizing boss battles and making autoscrollers as entertaining as possible.
Recorded with Snes9x v.1.43+ v9, but should be compatible with later versions as well.
  • Aims for fastest possible time
  • Takes damage to save time (also for entertainment at parts)
  • Abuses programming errors
  • Manipulates luck
  • Genre: Platform

Overall notes:

We carefully compared our runs to the previously submitted (rejected) run by GTimeKiller and the YouTube TAS done by Dark Fulgore to make sure we did everything as quickly and efficiently as possible, as well as to make it as entertaining as possible. We learned a lot of great ideas and tons of stuff not to do. Examples:
  • The screen exploding super bomb attack (done by pressing A) - NEVER do this. NEVER. It slows down the game immensely. We only use this once where it does not affect frame count. (See Amano-Ikazuchi.)
  • Backflipping, contrary to what was previously thought, is NOT the fastest way to progress. We found that sliding or doing a mid-air somersault is faster. The problem with these is that your speed gets halted at the end of the slide or jump. A good way to get around that with the somersault is by carefully timing downward flaming kicks to bounce off enemies and continue the momentum into another somersault. In some cases, you can create a long chain that can make it seem as if our hero can fly.
  • A great glitch Tiger- discovered: When using the grappling hook in the air, you're unable to change direction. You just move forwards and backwards. The game's collision detection doesn't know how to deal with this, and you can push yourself through walls.
If the sprite is inside the wall a flame kick (down while jumping) will make Hagane enter his crouching state, allowing him to jump again. If the sprite is by the edge of the platform, Hagane will zip inside it, killing him if he goes too deep. To avoid this, just throw a projectile so Hagane can rise to the level of the platform. In some odd cases, it can propel you super fast through the other end of the wall. A HUGE time saver that allows you to skip right through small areas, and make ridiculously fast wall jumps.

Our time is 51076 frames, which is 5788 frames faster than GTimeKiller's submission (56864 frames) and about 1:54 faster than Dark Fulgore's run.
The rerecord count shown on the file is 17462 but accurately it should be a lot more. The two of us worked on this game for a long while before we joined forces, at which point we started from scratch with 0 rerecords, using our old runs as reference, copying frames where necessary. We also commonly tested and worked on levels ahead of time while the other was working on their level, which is not obviously not counted towards the total.

Level-by-level breakdown:

The speed in which the flying gunship appears and disappears seems to be dependent on how quickly you defeat some of the enemies that jump out. The turrets and item dispensers don't seem to affect it.
Had to throw a bomb to prevent an enemy from attacking, also features the first instance of glitching near the end. This boss was very easy to manipulate thanks to Heisanevilgenius’ findings.
Chain glitch absolutely destroys this level.
This level's an autoscroller. The only part where time is a factor is at the exit, which needs to be reached as early as possible. What's a tad disappointing is that most of Hagane's moves are unavailable. His projectile attacks are all gone and tumbling is not possible. Some dropping kicks and somersaults are the only tricks Hagane still has up his sleeve.
The first major boss of the game actually has the most HP of all of them. 50 HP! Two upward flaming kicks drop him down to zero HP and a quick downward flame kick delivers the last 1 HP of damage to finish him off. This is tricky to do. Some manipulation was required to ensure the second tumble allowed for a quick two-hit combo.
Due to the nature of the upwards flaming kick (and most other tumble attacks), Hagane is unable to attack until touching ground again. Taking damage circumvents this, allowing for three quick attacks on the way down, just enough for a jump kick to finish off the boss.
This level requires a lot of wall jumps and fast timing on the disappearing platforms, which we completely ignore in favor of the chain glitch.
Long vertical sections requiring some good timing on the platforms make this level one of the most frustrating levels to play on normal speed. But more glitch abuse makes this one a piece of cake. In this level you will see us killing almost all the enemies (we spared a few at the very beginning.) It was required because of the next boss. (See below.)
This boss was incredibly hard to manipulate. His patterns are decided by the score. The best way to ensure he became vulnerable as early as possible was to kill several extra enemies in 2-3 at a minor expense of frames. It's a huge payoff, as waiting for him to cycle through several attacks before opening up is a massive waste of frames.
Throwing kunai and bombs often prevents Hagane from tumbling because of the "throw" animation, but this can be avoided by doing a brief 1 frame slide or mid-air somersault. This is very useful for this boss as it allows us to throw a bomb to damage the boss during the tumble to ensure he's taking damage turning a normally frame-wasting animation.
Very straightforward. Just spin jump and bounce on all the enemies.
The walls were very annoying because they die in exactly 3 hits at fixed intervals. The fastest way seemed to be to pelt it with projectiles from afar and then finish it off at close range.
Another autoscroller. This one is completely open. No matter what, it always ends on the same frame. Lag is not a factor, so the sky's the limit. Except tumbling, which the airship prevents. An old tip came into play to make this level as entertaining as possible: "If enemies are hard to kill, kill them. If an object is hard to miss, miss it." So naturally, the most fun thing is to let enemies spray the level with bullets and homing missiles and narrowly dodge them.
Despite our best efforts, it's just not possible to stay off of the airship forever. It drifts away and then there are only so many enemies to bounce off of. The ship is abandoned later in the level for some acrobatic fun. Like 1-4, touching the border of the screen at the first possible frame is the key to ending this level faster.
Taking damage at the end is not necessary but it doesn't cost any frames and has no long-term effects. It was a creative choice for the humour of being knocked into the wall and ending the level before falling off the screen.
Note: At one point one of the enemies fires three rockets out of his bazooka and all three are destroyed by a bomb, kunai, and sword slash. Unfortunately, it happens too fast to notice in real-time.
Annoyingly, this is the only boss in the game that you can't defeat with tumble attacks, which means the maximum damage that can be dealt to him with one attack is 2 HP. What's even more annoying is that his HP resets itself to 30 after you deal enough damage and he changes into his second form. Switching up attacks between the sword, kunai, and bombs is a creative choice to make it more interesting to watch than just repeatedly poking but it also serves a purpose, to avoid getting hit by the boss' attacks. Taking damage doesn't really waste frames here, but it makes it look sloppy. Note that at one point a bomb hits him while he's invincible to hit him with the 1 HP of splash damage. This saves time because it only renders the boss invulnerable for 9 frames rather than 17 as with the other attacks. This makes it a useful tactic only once. Because the boss has an even number of hit points and is only considered dead when his HP goes below zero (ie, -1) it's faster to throw in a 1 HP attack in the middle rather than wait an extra 8 frames at the end for another 2 HP attack. It's hard to explain. I hope this is understandable.
Very straightforward as well. Threw some bombs to spice it up a little. A couple of frames were sacrificed on the boss for a dramatic dodge for entertainment purposes. This is the only time something suboptimal was used. Only 2 frames were lost.
Glitching allowed us to take a very radical route and skip a lot of rooms inside the cave.
Major sequence breaking thanks to the glitch. A smooth sail all the way to the end.
This boss took just a little bit of manipulation to get him to set himself up for some good hits. In his second form, it's impossible to deal damage to him until all of the metal plates surrounding him are destroyed. Luckily, we were able to destroy four of these plates at once with a single attack just as the last one was released. The part that's frustrating is that the final hit against him comes after he already starts an uninterruptible attack animation, meaning we're required to wait for him to finish before he decides it's time to die. still, this is the best optimization we could find.
Killing the minions as fast as possible is the key to getting the next one to spawn faster. Luckily, being fast is actually really fun to watch because of all the tumbling, sliding, and somersaulting that goes on. The bosses were actually not hard at all to optimize. The same trick used against the boss in 2-1 was useful against the first boss, and after the second boss Hagane goes into autopilot, making optimization really easy. It's just a lot of waiting and then flame kick.
You are supposed to enter the rooms and navigate through the stage but that takes a long time, so a glitch and walljump later and we are off to the next level.
The walls can be dangerous sometimes.
You are supposed to race the spiked floor, but Hagane prefers to race the screen.
It looks kind of funky, but we needed to move the screen to successfully glitch the column. At the end, another annoying wall is in the way. We quickly dispatch it and proceed to face the final 2 bosses of the game.
Unfortunately for entertainment value, the fastest way to beat this boss is to manipulate him into using the same attack over and over again when he has a plethora of interesting attacks at his disposal. Those are a huge time-waster, which is too bad because dodging his lightning attacks is fun. The little scope thingy that pops out can come from three different locations, but they all seem dependent on the last attack in his pattern, so we were forced to manipulate the same one twice.
This guy and En-Mikoshi will give us both nightmares for the rest of our lives because they are so incredibly hard to manipulate and optimize, respectively. Defeating a boss is hard enough when you don't have to worry about 8 seperate targets, each with their own HP count and their own invincibility frames. On top of that you have to keep up with it as it flies away on a giant rocket! Every decision we make is either "get up the wall faster at the expense of dealing damage" or "deal damage at the cost of being able to keep up with the rocket." It's really great that the wall glitch works so well here.
Thanks to walled arena we could glitch all the way to the TOP faces easily and they melt after a few tumbles and bombs. The BOTTOM faces have a lot less HP so all it took was a good positioned tumble attack and one super bomb. It was the only one we use in the whole run. It was not useful anywhere else, but it makes for a great "last frame" attack since no input is needed thereafter.

Well, we're both glad that's over. We hope everyone enjoys it.
Thanks to all of you in the community. You guys are made of awesome, win, and delicious cream filling.
A special thanks to moozooh: Your encouragement helped us immensely.

adelikat: Accepting for publication.

Last Edited by adelikat on 9/4/2009 2:51:40 PM
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