GlitchMan's Mega Man 4 in 34:03.38
- Aims for fastest time
- Uses no passwords
- Abuses programming errors in the game
- Takes damage (which I did a lot of by the way) to save time
- Manipulates luck
I originally used FCEU 0.98.28 at the time I recorded this but then converted it to fm2 format on FCEUX 2.1.2-interim so that I could look at the lag counter and see how much lag each stage had. Luckily for me the conversion worked.
The History of My Speed Run/My History of Mega Man TASing
Being my first Mega Man TAS submission, I decided that I wanted to go over how it all started. Being such a big fan of Mega Man games I came across Mega Man TASing after looking up gameplay movies of it on youtube.com back in mid-2007 which I thought was interesting to watch seeing how fast a game of Mega Man can be beaten. I have been watching those speedruns of Mega Mans 1-6 on vision.ameba.jp (it is so convenient because it has TASes of numerous Mega Man games on there). I TASed NES Mega Man games ever since January 2008 (starting with Mega Man 6) and have just been getting better ever since. I began to TAS this one in the summer of 2008 after seeing the published run the year before which inspired me to do my own run of this game and this run was the result of it. This TAS took me three months to complete and I finished this in November of 2008. I wasn't sure if I should submit it or not but then I decided "You know what? It's been a while since there has been a new Mega Man 4 run. Sure it's not perfect but I'll go ahead and submit it anyway to give them a new and improved Mega Man 4 TAS."
New Glitches/Tricks I Used
I made more use of the chargeable Mega Buster during the stages which helped me to save time in my movie. Another thing I took advantage of is the one frame movement after the boss's gate closes and I noticed that the '06 movie didn't take advantage of this. There is a glitch where after climbing a ladder that is right next to a wall I slide, go the opposite direction for one frame, then start the slide again which saves 1 frame each time and there are many opportunities for this throughout the game.
The Speed Run
I saved exactly 31 seconds off of the June 2006 TAS due to better sliding opportunities and lag reduction techniques along with some other time savers that will soon be explained.
The first two rooms of this stage: I use the Mega Buster in this part because it kills the enemies faster for reduced lag. I also minimized the lag by luck-manipulating the flying enemies into dropping only one bullet on the screen at a time.
From the checkpoint on, I used better sliding techniques to reduce a lot of lag in this stage and killed enemies at the right time so that lag doesn't build up where it can easily be avoided.
I improved the uncharged shot in the boss fight. I missed a glitch that could have saved 70-80 frames which was jumping in the center of the room right when the ending music played.
For this stage I used the same strategy as in Pharaoh Man's stage combined with some new strategies. I didn't switch to the balloon right at the start of the second room because I needed to kill enemies to reduce lag.
For the bossfight I used the Pharaoh Shot glitch where Mega Man charges up a Pharaoh Shot and slides then throws an uncharged Pharaoh Shot as soon as the slide stops. This causes him to have two Pharaoh Shots above his head at the same time (he can have up to three). This saved a lot of time on this boss because there is no waiting time for charging up.
In the ladder climbing section of this stage I used a strategy where I jump off the ladder, throw a balloon, and jump on it to save some climbing time. I kill the enemies after the second miniboss so that I can get in more sliding and reduced lag. I also needed to collect small powerups for my weapon or else I won't have any to use against Ring Man. The Pharaoh Shot glitch is used on Ring Man but I couldn't find a way to position him so that time isn't wasted on the energy balls disappearing off the screen after he is killed.
I discovered a trick where the shield enemies can be killed at the front so I used Pharaoh Shot against them because this type of enemy only requires to shots of it to be killed. I take damage off Dust Man to get him to stop using his vacuum which makes him invincible.
Instead of switching to the Ring Boomerang which I thought was slower, I kept the balloon because not only does it save almost 80 frames but I can save tons of climbing time with the Balloons. I also pulled off a zipping glitch with the Balloon near the end of the first room. In the last room with the big red sky and lava pits below (that's how red it is) I took damage off the last Skeleton Joe (that's actually what it's called; look it up on megaman.wikia.com; too off subject, sorry) at the end but I'm not sure if this saved time or not.
For the boss fight, my main strategy was to luck-manipulate Skull Man into keeping his shield on for the shortest possible amount of time. He responds to B button and left/right D-pad movement. I also needed to get the Dust Crusher particles off the screen as soon as possible so that I could fire another one.
I don't switch to the Flash Stopper in this stage and I figured that would take too much time. I also took a different route at the beginning of the stage while killing enemies which saved some time. I think that taking damage was made up for with the huge amount of sliding frames gained throughout the stage. Boss fight was basically the same as the old run.
I switch to the Balloons to save a lot of climbing time for the first two rooms then I switch to Flash Stopper. On Drill Man, I take damage while sliding during the explosions to reduce lag.
Not really any optimization here other than less lag and better physical movement. Once again, I take damage to reduce lag from the explosion (this time I'm using the weapon so I have control over it).
Dr. Cossack Stage 1
This is where the charging up came in handy (the first room) and because of it I get more frames of sliding speed as opposed to walking speed. The room with the spiked walls sliding up and down the ladders was really difficult because there was so many of them to not take damage from and lag to avoid but I got through it just fine. Not much I could do about the giant robot in the next room. The boss fight was the same only this time I jump during the explosion to reduce lag. Jumping and not moving reduces lag in NES Mega Man games.
Dr. Cossack Stage 2
I make better use of the Balloon item because of the trick I used back in Ring Man's stage where I jump off the ladder to use the Balloon. This came in handy because I was able to climb up the ladders using Balloons.
Dr. Cossack Stage 3
I reduced lag in this auto-scroll stage by having Mega Man jump over the edge of the screen to the point where his sprite disappears. I also didn't switch to Ring Boomerang just to fill up two bars of it. The first time watching the other run when it did that I wasn't sure what happened. The Pharaoh Shot trick once again saves time in this boss fight but only for the first Cockroach Twin (the second one was at the bottom on spikes and there was no way I was going down there!).
Dr. Cossack Stage 4
I found a faster way to maneuver Mega Man through the walls while he is in his sliding mode. Pixelation has to be adjusted then I can alternate left and right every frame which is twice as fast as the previous run. In my battle against Cossack I used the uncharged long-distance shot technique which saved a little bit of time.
Dr. Wily Stage 1
I don't take damage off the Met in the third room like the old run did. At the end of the underwater portion I switch to the Balloons as opposed to the Rush Jet which has the Rush animation you have to wait an additional 30-40 frames for. For the boss fight I tried so many ways to get rid of that long waiting sequence where you have to wait for the Giant Met to pop back up but I couldn't find a way. I even tried using the Pharaoh Shot glitch but the weapon kept bouncing off its helmet unless it was up in the air.
Dr. Wily Stage 2
Same as the old run but with improved movement and cutting back on the lag.
Dr. Wily Stage 3
This time I stick with my regular weapon instead of switching to Drill Bomb because I wanted Pharaoh Man to be killed first so that I don't have to waste a weapon switch by going to another weapon then coming back to it. This helps because I don't waste any weapon HP. I took this route for boss re-fights: Pharaoh-Toad-Dive-Skull-Drill-Bright-Ring-Dust. During Dust Man's fight I made use of a Ring Boomerang twice which saves me from having to get a small power-up for this weapon; I do the same for the first form in the Wily boss fight.
Dr. Wily Stage 4
Nothing to mention about this stage except that I charge up on some of the caterpillar enemies so that I can get more sliding time in. The Pharaoh Shot for the boss in this stage is used differently in this run than the 2006 run. I defeat Dr. Wily right in the center of the screen which reduces time even after the movie! Not sure if that matters or not but I just thought I would add that... :)
- Using 4 uncharged shots against Pharaoh Man instead of just 1 could save time because it takes 92 frames for each charged shot and this means I need no more than 30 frames to make an uncharged shot to charge back up.
- Instead of going to Bright Man after Pharaoh Man, I should consider going to Drill Man instead so that I get the Rush Jet. Using it in Skull Man's level would save about 4 seconds off of this run. Also, using charged Pharaoh Shot on Drill Man does the same amount of damage as his actual weakness and because I have the Pharaoh Shot glitch it won't lose me that much time.
- Maybe I should have switched straight to Dust Crusher instead of the Mega Buster for the boss fight in Wily Stage 1 (weapon switches cost nearly 80 frames).
- It could probably be faster to switch straight from the Mega Buster to Rush Jet in Wily Stage 2 (another weapon switch saved).
- Place the bosses closer to the center when killing them in order for the energy balls to disappear off the screen faster.
- Jump in the center after defeating a boss when the ending music plays. This trick can save 30-40 frames in six stages and 70-80 frames in Pharaoh Man's stage.
- Use Pharaoh Shot on the Pharaoh Man boss re-fight in Wily 3.
- Find more ways to minimize lag and discover more glitches and newer techniques.
- Find a way to get past long "waiting points" such as the second hippo in Ring Man's stage, the boss in Cossack 2, and the Giant Met in Wily 1.
Special Thanks/Closing Remarks
I want to thank everyone on this board for providing many cool glitches and movies of glitches of their own, finding my 34-minute "WIP" on microstorage ^_^", and your support and encouragement in helping me make this TAS. This is my first official Mega Man submission and it has been an amazing experience TASing this game!
Suggested frame shot: frame 122603 which is the last frame of the movie! :D
Edit: Okay, maybe that wasn't the exact screen shot I was talking about but the other one in Bright Man's stage looks better.
I think I have pretty much covered everything that needs to be said about this run.
Enjoy the speedrun!!!
Nach: I enjoyed watching this run. However, some of it looked a bit sloppier than it should have been, and I think this run can be improved quite a bit. Possibly even more time can be shaved off of this run than this run did to the existing one. I look forward to your next submission for this game, which I understand is already in the works. I am rejecting this run as per Judges' Guidelines: "However, if the submitted movie is clearly improvable as well, it (usually) should be rejected just as a non-published submission might be".
Nach: Here's the video to watch directly: (Flowplayer module removed)
Nach: Being an enjoyable run to a popular game, this was a great run to force us to reexamine our rules. The decision on this is now pending our judges coming up with a new set of rules. Hopefully the new rules will allow this run to be published.