Submission #2520: klmz's GBA Lode Runner in 16:53.60

Game Boy Advance
Lode Runner (J).gba
Submitted by klmz on 12/31/2009 4:31:43 PM
Submission Comments
Happy New Year 2010!
  • Emulator used: VBA Rerecording v19.3
  • Completes Small World
  • Skips secret levels
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Contains small speed/entertainment trade-offs
  • Abuses programming errors in the game
  • Uses no warps (unavailable)
  • Slightly manipulates luck
  • Genre: Action Puzzle

General comments

This game isn't a port of older Lode Runner games. It has new levels (most of them), a new enemy (the buried guy) and a new type of objects (boulders, though they may have been introduced in some other games).
The gameplay resembles other 2D Lode Runners, but it has something unique: when all gold piles are obtained, a portal must be taken in order to complete the level.

So why this game for a TAS?

  • The graphics and sounds are not bad for an action-puzzle game, and to some degree they can be considered "good".
  • The game itself is very hard compared to many other Lode Runners.
  • The game speed can be set to FAST, resulting in a faster-paced Lode Runner than others.
  • There are quite a few time-saving glitches and exploits as well, meaning quite a few unexpected solutions can be discovered.
  • A legitimate ending can be achieved in less than 20 minutes before it becomes too long.
In conclusion, this game is good for TASing being an action puzzle.

Worlds and levels

There are 4 worlds playable in the game, each composed of 24 distinct levels.[1] At first, the only available world is Small World, which is played in this movie. Completing Small World will unlock Middle World, completing Middle World will unlock Hidden World, and completing Hidden World will unlock High World.
Both of Small World and Hidden World have level size of 15*10. Both of Middle World and High World have level size of 24*15. Hidden World and High World have more difficult levels than Small World and Middle World have, respectively.
[1] There are also one secret level unlockable each world if you acquire all teddy bears in that world. This movie skip all secret levels by collecting no teddy bears.


In older games in the series, you complete a level by climbing up to the highest row in the level after collecting/destroying all gold piles. In this game, however, you have to complete a level by taking a portal that only appears after collecting/destroying all gold piles.

The buried guy and his teddy

The buried guy is an unrespawning enemy hidden in one of certain brick blocks in every level. He carries a teddy bear with him, which is worth quite some bonus points. Otherwise, he is just a different-looking baddy as the others. He is unnecessary for completing a level. However, I featured the bear once on Round 19 at the cost of 16 frames, which would cost much more time if done in other rounds.


Boulders are acting like plain boxes in other games. They can be pushed, used as platforms and baddy-crushers, or buried to vanish permanently. Baddies cannot move Rocks.

Game settings

I changed two settings at the beginning of the movie. One is to set the game speed to Fast (saves time, I believe), the other is to enable marking out trap blocks with flashy colours (costs time to set up).
Other settings are of no interest.

Style bonuses



No interests.

Two-player mode

Not emulated at all.

Noticeable things about normal baddies

  • Baddies will try their best to stay at the same altitude as your are before they try to get close to you, except...
  • Baddies will try their best to stay away from you if you are at particular altitudes.
  • Baddies love climbing ropes that are not enclosed with walls and they hate dropping down as long as they are higher than you, except when them are right above you or when you drop down right before them.
  • Baddies can each steal one gold pile laying when they walk or fall through the piles, and will drop the piles if they are trapped in your drilled pits, or whenever they are willing and able to.
  • Baddies can climb into a "pitfall" block from below on a ladder, while Lode Runner cannot.
  • "Non-violent bonuses" cost time and must be avoided whenever possible.

Resawning rules

  • A baddy will first try to respawn in Block #1 on the 1st row on the screen right over where it is killed.
  • If Block #1 is (either partly or fully) occupied, then it will try in the 4 blocks listed below in order:
    • Block #2 on the right side of Block #1 (1st row).
    • Block #3 on the bottom side of Block #1 (2nd row).
    • Block #4 on the right side of Block #3 (2nd row).
    • Block #5 where the baddy was originally spawned in this round.
  • If none of the blocks mentioned above is empty, the baddy will resort to enumerating all blocks from left to right in all rows from top to bottom on screen, and respawn in the first empty one found.
  • If all blocks on screen are occupied, then the baddy will forcibly respawn in Block #5 overlapped with whatever object there.

Glitches and exploits

Manoeuvring baddies on top of their heads

For some reason, you can "climb down" a baddy's head for one frame and stay at that height without getting killed. When you have done this, the enemy AI thinks you are overlapping with the baddy, and the baddy will try to keep staying in your position.
This is abused in many levels in the movie.

Drilling while moving

when you are falling off ropes, grabbing onto ladders or walking off falling boulders (and maybe baddies as well), you'll move in uninterruptable animations for several frames. If you start to drill a block at the beginnings of such animations, you can keep drilling while moving.
This is abused several times in this movie.

Walking off/climbing down a boulder/baddy

For some reason, boulders and baddies have wider tops than other solid blocks. You can barely walk off their tops and drill bricks one-block away before falling down. However, you can't acquire gold piles hanging diagonally up in the air this way.
You can climb down their tops and fall down faster when you are on their rims.
This is abused quite often in the movie, too.

Nullifying a brick block

If you push a boulder out of a brick block that is just about to finish materialization, that brick will be nullified for the rest of the gameplay. The boulder is unaffected by this glitch if it is pushed to the left side, while it will visually vanish but stay immobile next to the nullified block if it is pushed to the right side.
Similarly, if a boulder falls almost through a rematerializing brick block but gets stuck at the last moment, the brick block will also be nullified and the boulder will visually vanish but stay immobile on the bottom of the glitched brick block.
This glitch is only abused once in this movie.

Destroying a gold pile

In this game, there are three known ways to destroy a pile of gold, all requiring a baddy to steal it first.
  • You can crush the baddy with a boulder as shown on Round 05 in the movie.
  • You can bury the baddy when it enters a rematerializing block from the left, right or bottom side. This is abused on Round 21 in the movie.
  • You can trap and bury the baddy at a place where it is unable to drop the pile, as shown on Round 24 in the movie.
  • You can trap the baddy and let it drop the pile where a block will rematerialize and bury that pile. This is shown on Round 14 in the movie.
TODO: more comments.

Baxter: A well received TAS of this puzzlegame. As mentioned in the thread, games like these are well suited for competition, but this TAS looks well-planned. The hardest difficulty wasn't picked for a valid reason, as it can only be played after completing easier difficulties, and a way longer movie probably wouldn't be received nearly as well. Accepting for publication.
Last Edited by klmz on 10/26/2011 6:41 AM
Page History Latest diff List referrers