- starts from SRAM
- plays on hardest difficulty
- moderate glitch abuse
- contains speed/entertainment tradeoffs, or, is a "playaround"
Decided to try to submit this movie, although I'm feeling a bit uncertain since this is my first run starting from SRAM, and there's also something dubious about the rom choice. Please don't bite too hard if something's amiss.
Note: like the run itself, this is for (U) (M5) hIR although for an unknown reason this version I uploaded now reads (U) (M5) hI.
This run is of Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, which is an expansion to the GBA port of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. These two games try to recreate the new gameplay style and atmosphere of the PS2 DA faithfully, and mostly succeed. TE is different in that it has mostly new characters, new gameplay modes, a better A.I. and some other small fixes which don't matter enough to be listed here. I first thought to make this run of Deadly Alliance, which I played long before even trying Tournament Edition. I had found morph combo glitches using Shang Tsung's character, who can morph into any other unlocked character in the game, and also a way to play as him before even purchasing him from the Krypt. A quick, entertaining TAS in theory! But TE turned out to be a far better game overall, since the DA artificial intelligence is about as engaging to fight as a wet sponge, and TE has better characters and more exploits. Oh, and Shang Tsung is in that one too.
About this run:
This is a run that doesn't aim for speed, just trying to show many unlikely fighting situations, frame precise trickery and glitches. Most common things used to create interesting fights were: playing with taking/avoiding damage, symmetry, repetition, changes in pacing, mirror matching, strange morph combos, "breaking into third dimension momentarily", doing special moves to wrong directions and just doing unsorted small glitches here and there. Tried to make all the fatalities worthwhile by subtly glitching them up as well. There's an own "tricks" section below.
I restarted this run 3 times because of indecisiviness, and replayed some of the fights even in this finished run to get good enough results.
About rom choice:
According to GoodGBA, there exists three different roms for this game, none of which has a (!) symbol in its name. After some testing, I thought hIR was the best choice for doing a TAS, first by the virtue that it is not a bad dump (unlike b1), and secondly because it is free of a "cracked intro screen" (unlike hI). All the roms have the same graphical glitches in the profile menu, but I don't know if this is an emulation error. Gameplay-wise the three are nearly identical. But there is one oddity which caught my attention...
Roms hIR and b1 seem to allow unlocking Sektor and Drahmin quicker than what is "normal". As you can see from the verification movie, only two Tag matches on Hard-mode unlock them, first Drahmin, then Sektor. As far as I know, in normal circumstances you'd have to play Normal-mode Tag mode through once to unlock Drahmin, and Hard-mode Tag mode through with all characters available from the start to unlock Sektor. I mostly saw this as a pleasant surprise as it saved many hours of playing Tag-mode for me, and it doesn't really affect the run itself... does it?
Why start from SRAM?
At first I made a run that starts from clear SRAM. But five or six matches in, I thought that unlocking Drahmin, Sektor and Hsu Hao would substantially increase the entertainment factor of the run. Drahmin and Sektor allow a few glitches that would otherwise be unaccessible, Hsu Hao is for variety.
Two characters remain locked, Reptile and Noob Saibot. For some reason, Shang Tsung can't morph into Reptile in this game, so there was no need for unlocking him. Then, Noob Saibot is basically just a palette swap of Scorpion with a few different special moves, and isn't important enough to be unlocked. Well... to be clear, Sektor is just a palette swap of Cyrax as well, but he has the dreaded teleport punch which no other characters have, and some unique Shang Tsung morph combo possibilities. Definitely a (red) barrel of fun.
About the game settings:
Difficulty is on V. Hard (hardest mode) for obvious reasons. Round timer is 45 secs and you only need 1 round to win. Why? It keeps the pace of the movie quick, that's about it. Plus one of the tricks needs the timer to run out, and if the round timer was set at longer than 45 secs it wouldn't be good.
About tricks and mechanics:
Morph combos work like this. In this game, Shang Tsung can morph into another character in the middle of an attack. After morphing, the new character continues from a respective "frame" of a respective attack of his own move list, sometimes leading to new combos that are not normally possible. But sometimes the moves just fizzle out uselessly, or nothing might happen. But... and this is the last but! Sometimes you get access to disabled moves, or even fatality animations in the middle of the fight. This is why I think it is definitely a glitch and not a "feature". I went as far as cataloguing almost all of the possible options that this trick allows, and kept the list at hand when I was devising combos in this run. Unfortunately there is a slight cooldown from doing anything after having morphed, which limits your options somewhat.
Doing moves to a wrong direction works like this. It's easy to have your character have their back towards his or her opponent, by just jumping over the opponent for example. Normally the game fixes this and makes you face the opponent properly again if you take damage or press L or R just once. However, if you press sideways and L (stance change) at the same time, or press sideways and A or B, for just one frame, your character does not change directions. It's not easy to do this in real time. Normal attacks that are done in the wrong way can be turned around at any time, which is useful for jabbing your enemy in creative ways.
The "breaking into third dimension" is this. The game is effectively set on a 2D-plane. Sometimes the characters can go out of that plane, due to a lack of space for example. This makes moves miss more often than hit and cause slight graphical glitches to occur. I don't know how to explain this mechanism better.
The game restricts juggles pretty heavily. More than 3 "heavy" hits and the juggle is cut off, and more than about 4 "light" hits or jabs cuts it off too. So, the focus is more on making a juggle look cool instead of it being practical, after all, this is a TAS. Jump kicks are the best way to begin juggles, so they are used pretty often. A backwards jump kick is even better since it has a smaller cooldown, especially useful for doing special moves (which have to be done from idle).
Special moves might act strangely if Shang's morph time ends in the middle of one.
You can switch weapon aura color by holding down buttons before a match starts. This is done in about every other fight.
Other tricks and noticeable things are listed in the match-by-match section, which is next. Repeating tricks may be omitted from being mentioned.
Match-by-match noticeables section:
The beginning: I don't go into the options menu because everything's already set as intended in the profile. The graphical glitches, including the nonsensical font, may be those emulation glitches I mentioned. Dunno.
Match 1: Shang Tsung vs. Bo Rai Cho
- a glitched teleport punch sends Sektor flying through his opponent in a silly arc.
- Bo tackles Sektor, but because this followed teleport punch, Sektor is allowed to retaliate before falling down (in unison with Bo).
- getting hit too early during teleport punch, you get stuck horizontally for a bit.
- then, getting hit while doing teleport punch but right as the morph ends... looks like Shang's a bit rusty, getting hit this much right at the start.
- fireball to the wrong direction.
- precariously avoiding getting flip flopped by Bo, among other unlikely dodging.
- a serie of jabs. It's actually not a too reliable tactic in real time to keep on jabbing for long with any opponent.
- simultaneous throwing up!
Finisher: seeing he has no chance of victory, Bo ensures his survival by making Shang "busy" until the winner is announced and the fight ends... Not fatality!
Match 2: Shang Tsung vs. Reptile
- jumping over projectiles is hard in this game, there is only a few frame window for it.
- if you blink, you'll miss it: the morph combo into Raiden actually hits Reptile 5 times, as Shang's and Raiden's jabs hit almost simultaneously.
- Raiden's electrical grab move is very damaging and for some reason hits airborne enemies (in a bit glitched way). A perfect juggle finisher.
- just a gratuitous Scorpion morph before actually having to use him for the finisher.
Finisher: once again, Scorpion proves to us that it's all in the wrist... Fatality!
Match 3: Shang Tsung vs. Mavado
- I don't like Mavado...
- a pretty good morph combo into Bo Rai Cho, featuring surprise flip flop.
- Mavado slips into puke while using two big rubber bands to fling himself at his opponent. I'd like to think this was the nadir of his career as a hired gun, but it probably isn't.
- escaping the rubber bands of doom by doing "Diving Punch" to wrong direction.
- Shang hits Mavado with his knee although he is facing the wrong direction.
- messing around with Quan Chi, including intercepting the rubber band move using slide.
- harmoniously, the match ends with the same attacks as it started with.
Finisher: Drahmin wasn't paying attention, so he had to do his fatality twice to make it count... Fatality!
Bonus round: Test Your Might
Nothing to mention...
Match 4: Shang Tsung vs. Sektor
- flicking L to switch stances while moving increases your speed. In this instance, escaping the range of teleport punch while moving backwards as Hsu Hao becomes possible.
- attacks which against all odds don't hit, throughout the fight.
- Hsu Hao's projectile which is done right as morph time ends.
- Cage's kick which can hit right above him, which is rare for an attack.
- simultaneous teleport punches! For some reason, the computer can begin a ground attack in air after having finished a teleport punch, as can be seen here (enemy Sektor's sword flashes briefly in air).
Finisher: just your average punch-to-stomach-and-gouge-brains-out dealio... Sektor: "Do not go gently into that good night!" Johnny: "Huh? Whatever..." Fatality?
Match 5: Shang Tsung vs. Sareena
- breaking the two-dimensional plane momentarily with Cyrax's kicks.
- avoiding Sareena's flip kick by moving up and flicking L for increased speed.
- combos that use Cyrax's bomb! Gotta love these. Special moves are usually hard to use in juggles, but Cyrax's bombs give you new avenues for expressing yourself.
- using a normal throw as a juggle ender, which looks odd.
Finisher: Hsu Hao's laser... now in 3D! Fatality!
Match 6: Shang Tsung vs. Johnny Cage
- various combinations of small tricks...
- towards the end, the A.I. is forced into making a bad decision by firing a fire ball right when the enemy is next to a wall. Johnny can't sidestep it, just walks into the wall...
Finisher: Johnny tries to feign dead to avoid a fatality... fine, let's do it his way! Yuck! Now his career is over!
Bonus round: Test Your Sight
I put in a brief pause so that the audience can participate in this too. To you this is probably a pickle, but let's see how Shang's old eyes fare...
Match 7: Shang Tsung vs. Raiden
- in this match, I don't shy taking damage. You'll see why later...
- evading a lightning projectile with Raiden's dash done backwards.
- lightning grab which is interrupted, but still as deadly as normal.
- dash tomfoolery. The A.I. participates too!
Finisher: Raiden is a friggin' thunder god! You really expected Shang Tsung to beat him? A draw is the best even he could do. But... wait...
Match 8: Shang Tsung vs. Scorpion
- Sektor uses his buzzsaw move... it's a disabled move, which he can't use outside a morph combo.
- simultaneous hellfires, among other hellfire trickery.
- going for a ride with Quan Chi's slide.
Finisher: "Get over here!" Scorpion's wish is fulfilled in a way he never intended to... Fatality!
Match 9: Shang Tsung vs. Cyrax
- bomb fun! (a FAQ lists the move as "detonator", which is a pretty infectious term too)
- unfortunately Cyrax's own bomb doesn't affect him...
- jumping through Cyrax's buzzsaw.
Finisher: Nitara tries to suck Cyrax's blood, but accidentally slips off his plastic casing. Fortunately she is a good sport and tries again. Fatality!
Bonus round: Test Your Might
Being so awesome all the time has drained Shang Tsung's strength, explaining the rather lackluster result in this bonus trial.
Match 10: Shang Tsung vs. Nitara
- the ladies fighting each other, mostly. Only two female characters in this game!
Finisher: Mavado is brought in one last time to deliver away any doubts whether his rubber band techniques aren't completely silly. Fatality!
Match 11: Shang Tsung vs. Drahmin
- if Scorpion's spear appears right as the morph ends, the spear has a juggling effect instead. Unfortunately Shang can't morph again or use special moves until the spear has completely vanished, leaving this style of juggle short-lived.
Finisher: Mercy! No, not really. Fatality!
Match 12: Shang Tsung vs. Quan Chi
- the announcer says this is "round 2", and technically... he is wrong. But even with normal settings, the fights against two last opponents are split up in two one round battles.
- simultaneous Quan Chi slides, looks for a moment they're "scissoring" each other.
- jumping over the helicopter-style swords.
- juggling an enemy over one's shoulder.
- finally, the last variation of the lightning grab which ends too early.
Finisher: just classic Shang Tsung with no joking or glitching around. Well, it is mighty strange how in the next cutscene Quan Chi appears fine and well again... at least for a moment. Fatality!
Amount of times morphed into characters, listed quantitively, then alphabetically:
Raiden 6, Bo Rai Cho 5, Cyrax 5, Scorpion 5, Drahmin 4, Nitara 4, Johnny 3, Mavado 3, Quan Chi 3, Sektor 3, Hsu Hao 2, Sareena 2
I guess Hsu Hao and Sareena are a bit bland characters in my mind, having left them in sideroles like this.
The FAQs at GameFAQs (although the only TE FAQ they got lacks a few moves, unfortunately... which I then had to find out myself! grr).
mmarks: Added Youtube module.
Flygon: The coders really should add in a statement into the submission form to not to add "" tags to your branch name. Fixed.
Nach: Like most other hand-held Mortal Kombat ports, this one is also poorly designed. The run itself tries to make the best of the game, but there isn't much to deliver. Taking damage without it being funny or unexpected also makes this run seem less like a TAS and more like a regular speedrun. I let this run simmer for a couple of days hoping for more turnout on comments, but there doesn't seem to be much interest. Therefore, rejecting.