About the game
When Alisia Dragoon was just a little girl, she watched her father being tortured and killed in front of her. For some reason, she was allowed to leave, grow up and somehow swallow a Tesla coil in order to seek her revenge through electrical zappy death. Or at least that's the amount of plot that is needed to understand this game.
- Plays at Hardest difficulty
- Aims for fastest time
- Takes damage to save time
- Slight physics exploits
- Slight luck manipulation
- Emulator used: Gens 11a
The physics exploit refers to the damage boost I make use of in Stage 1-2, and the luck manipulation was used in a few places to achieve favourable boss patterns and to jump over one of the grabbing platforms in Stage 2.
Alisia functions like most platform characters. She can move left and right, and jump, and attack. Her attack of choice is a magical bolt of electrical power, which can recharge over time or charge up to generate a full screen rolling attack called the Rolling Thunder.
In game terms, there are 10 bars representing the Thunder charge. The first 7 recharge at a rate of 1 every 8 frames, and when attacking Alisia sustains her attack, with the bar dropping every 32 frames. However, there is an exploit, if you release B 3 frames before the attack would drop, and continue firing, the attack does not drop, and at a low charge actually recovers one bar.
The final three bars represent the Rolling Thunder charge and recharge much slower - once every 60 frames. At full charge, Alisia can unleash the Rolling Thunder attack, that performs a double sweep of the screen starting from a horizontal axis and moving both clockwise and counter-clockwise. This attack is much more powerful than her regular attack, and can attack up to 33 frames. At a close enough range, is is possible to hit with many or even all of the attack frames of Rolling Thunder, and this is used to beat many bosses and enemies quickly.
Both the normal Thunder attack and Rolling Thunder have limited homing capability - it is not possible to precisely aim at everything, but you can usually hit anything if it is within a few degrees of the angles of attack. Still, it is possible to completely miss, and this is demonstrated quite a few times throughout this movie.
I make use of three summons through this run, and each helps in various ways to speed up the boss kills and in other places. Each Summon can be increased in power by two levels, adding to damage and health. Once a summon is killed, it can be revived by using a white Revive item.
At the end of a stage, or before cutscenes, a summon has to be dismissed before the game can continue. Either the game automatically dismisses the summon, or you have to select it manually. I do this manually in almost all occasions except one where it saves time to let it happen automatically.
A single movement in the summon menu costs 50 frames, and 2 movements is 62 frames. You never need more than 2 movements in the summon window to reach every summon. However, if the game automatically dismisses the summon, often it resummons it at the start of the next stage or section, and this will often cost more time than it would save to do manually (since it always moves down).
This is a small dragon that follows behind, and fires small fireballs in front of it. Each fireball does 500 damage, and it can be manipulated against certain enemies and bosses to hit on several frames, making it the most damaging of the summons. However, it needs to be positioned extremely carefully to use its damage to maximum effectiveness. Additionally, by levelling up this summon it adds an additional fireball, at Level 3 it fires 3 fireballs, one straight and the other two at a slight angle away from its mouth.
Dragon Frye also is the most active of the summons, and will often maneuver itself in surprising ways in respond to enemies. It always tries to face whatever enemy is onscreen, and has seemingly strange priorities for determining what to face, especially if there are multiple targets.
This summon is basically what it says - a ball of fire that constantly moves around. This guy only follows you and rarely makes a move to attack, which it only does if the attack gauge is full and the enemy is relatively close. It damages by using its own body as a weapon, causing 100 damage per frame. While not the most damaging summon, it can be used constantly unlike other summons which have to recharge to attack. The price of this ability is that it constantly takes damage from the enemy, but additional levels can reduce the damage it takes.
Perhaps the most versatile of the summons, this flying salamander can launch up to 3 boomerangs from its back, moving in erratic paths towards its enemies. Each boomerang causes 50 damage per frame, and they can stack damage; in addition as long as they contact an enemy they continue to do damage, much like Ball-of-Fire. This summon is useful for hitting hard-to-reach enemies, and its attacks can penetrate armour that other summons cannot damage (the Stage 7 boss for example).
This appears in an item container, and once active gives you infinite Rolling Thunder ability for a total of 15 seconds. I use a Blue Fairy in two places during this run - in Stage 3 to reduce lag and stop myself from being hit, and in Stage 4 to beat the boss as fast as possible.
There are two other fairies that can be used in this game, the platform generating fairies are often forced and I have to activate those to reach places in Stages 2 and 5. There is an invincibility fairy in two places on Hard mode, but getting either of them would waste more time than it would save.
The most straightforward stage,almost nothing to comment on here. The enemies at the end of the stage cause a fair bit of lag, so by jumping into them and killing as many as I can with Rolling Thunder I can reduce the lag to a single frame.
Here's where I start to power up. Ball-of-Fire is maximised, and I grab a health and Thunder power up for Alisia. There is an enemy I manage to damage boost from on one of the staircases, this saves approximately 6 frames. Forces me to dismiss Ball-of-Fire at the end of the stage because of a cutscene which I skip anyway.
I grab another Thunder power for Alisia. I waited a frame just before the boss to manipulate the left enemy into a more favourable pattern, he would take longer to kill otherwise. BOF is used to kill the right boss, and the left falls to Rolling Thunder
This stage is very laggy, mostly caused by the active background, so I have to avoid attacking at certain times. The mini-boss always goes through an extra phase after dying before falling completely, I haven't found a way to speed that up. I was lucky I didn't need to waste frames to get past the lily platform that grabs immediately on landing (unlike the others which wait a few frames before attacking). First power-up for Boomerang Lizard, and I get L4 Thunder here.
The boss can be killed with a single L4 Rolling Thunder, but since Boomerang Lizard was active I left her out to add extra damage and killed her sooner. This proved to be beneficial since the game's love of dismissing a summon at the end of a stage saved me 3 frames over doing it manually.
I don't necessarily need to kill the platform riding enemies here as fast as possible, since often I am waiting around for the platforms to reposition themselves before I can ride of them. The enemies on the long corridor in the middle of the stage cause a lot of lag, so I eliminate as many as I can with the combined help of a blue fairy summon and Boomerang Lizard.
The boss requires me to kill just the three brain-like parts that appear at set places, but only for a short time before disappearing and reappearing in and out of view. In order to kill each of them on their first phase, I had to get creative with the summon use, as well as carefully timing my Rolling Thunders (since there is a 180 frame wait between each use, plus the 33 frames of the attack itself). The parts appear from right to left, so I had to kill them in that order.
Getting the Blue Fairy saves me a lot of time against the boss, and the summons would not save me time here, so I grab it and make my way to the boss, ignoring everything else. The boss is killed with careful Rolling Thunder positioning. Afterwards, I only have to ascent to the end and avoid the boulders falling down.
The longest stage, and the most annoying to do besides the final boss. I level Dragon Frye up first and get another health power up for Alisia. DF helps get through part of the first corridor before it becomes useless, so I dismiss it since I'll be taking a lot of damage from this point on and I need to save it for the boss (there are no beef powerups in easy reach either, which recover a summon's health). I'm forced to go left at the top here to activate the fairy platform, and grab L6 Thunder Power and a potion. At the top of the fairy platform, I wait for a potion to appear.
Here's where my health management requires the most planning. The flame jets do a full health bar of damage, so I jump over as many as I can so I'm not waiting around and save as much health as I can for rushing through other places. I activate another fairy platform to reach the top of the stage, and get L7 Thunder. On the way down I get three potions to help with the final portion of the stage and the boss.
The boss has the second highest HP besides the final boss, and its vunerable point is off the ground and within the boss somewhat, making damaging effectively tricky. Dragon Frye is resummoned since I can manipulate its position to deal a lot of damage. I have to be within the boss to do enough damage with Rolling Thunder attacks, so I take damage for that purpose. With L8 Thunder power I can beat this boss 3 frames quicker, but I waste a lot more time getting it in the long run.
This is the 'maze' of a ship that was seen at the end of the last stage. I say 'maze' because there is a very fast path through the stage. Not much to say here, just blaze through to the next part.
Another short area, this leads to the boss. The boss is beaten in two quick Rolling Thunder attacks. Its positioning responds to where you are, so I have to be very precise about where I move during this fight.
The short section after the boss is nothing to write home about either. Normally when the screen says 'DEMO' in the bottom right corner you cannot move, however since I am falling I can still move until I hit the ground, then the game takes over. This means I can move closer to the final platform before the game removes control from me. I can kill the boss 7 frames faster with L8 Thunder, but again it is not worth the detour here.
Dragon Frye's attack can more or less rip through the slime enemies on the walls. I switch out to Boomerang Lizard since it is helpful for the rest of the stage up to the boss, and since Dragon Frye causes some of the slimes to fall early and damage me. I take the time to get maximum Thunder level before the boss, since I will need it to beat the boss within 2 phases and it immensely speeds up the final battles. Attacking in the final section of the level again causes lag so I dismiss Boomerang Lizard and ascent to the final platform. The one Rolling Thunder I did use was carefully timed to avoid lag.
Nothing here but us bosses.
Ornah is a piece of cake when you know his pattern. I don't use a summon here since it changes his pattern and makes the fight longer - he would summon an energy snake that follows you around for several seconds and damage you, then bursts away to cause more. Each of the three kills requires only 2 Rolling Thunders, and the time waiting between one kill and the next allows me to charge up for the next attack.
Balder is the final boss, and with good reason - he's not as easy as all the other bosses have been. He has several parts which need to be destroyed.
In the first part of the fight, only three parts are vunerable - a cannon mounted on his right side, his body and his head. However, damage to the body is irrelevant since it constantly regenerates, and even bringing it below 0 will not kill him, so it only serves as a distraction for your attack and makes aiming tricky. I bring out Dragon Frye since that can do the most damage to the head, which is the real problem of this part, and I jump carefully to hit it with as many frames of regular Thunder as possible. Using Rolling Thunder will be much slower here since I only get 3-4 frames with it, and I can do much more damage over time with a regular attack.
The second phase of the fight is where things become interesting. The goal here is to kill the heart, as many times as possible. 27 times. Yes, you read that right. The heart has a mere 256 health, but you have to wait for 32 frames after it dies before it regenerates and you can kill it again. I also need to get rid of the remaining parts, the left arm and left and right legs. Removing both legs stops a very annoying homing shot, and adds an extra target to my regular attack against the heart even if only one leg is destroyed (the cannon also remains until both legs are gone).
I use Dragon Frye again here to help destroy the remaining parts and then bring out Boomerang Lizard since it has a faster attack and can be aimed easier. In many places I can use Boomerang Lizard to hit the heart and kill it twice with just careful positioning of the summon when it fires, and when the boomerangs return. Once the heart is finally killed the 27th time, the boss gives up the ghost and succumbs like the rest. Vengance is so very sweet.
Rolling Thunder Damage/Frame
Rolling Thunder maximum damage
I'd like to give thanks to everyone who supported me in making my first TAS speedrun. Special mention goes to:
- ElectroSpecter, for doing a lot of the early ground work and finding damage figures, RAM addresses and boss health
- Dammit, for providing a helpful Lua script to help me maximise enemy health
- satan, for pointing out some obvious improvements :-)
- you, for watching
Suggested screenshot: frame 17611
Truncated: Accepting this movie because it's cool and nice.
Lets just say that Aktan's encode had to suffice.