NOTE: This was recorded with Snes9x 1.52, NOT 1.51 or 1.43. You can get it at http://code.google.com/p/snes9x-rr/downloads/list As for why I'm using this version, it's because of the greater accuracy (especially with sound emulation thanks to Blargg's DSP core). It sounds like there's further work being done on the APU, so I may very well attempt an improvement in the future. Yes, 1.52 doesn't have much lua functionality at the moment, but I didn't really need lua functionality this time.
ALSO NOTE: This movie starts from a save because you have to have played through a fair bit of the game and then saved in order to access Special Mode. I've made a verification movie that is a very rough play-through of normal mode. I've uploaded this to Mediafire at http://www.mediafire.com/?i8zd5c91bsnqsc3 A tip for fast-forwarding: go to Options->Settings and enable "Toggled fast-forward mode" so you don't have to keep holding down the button. Of course, people who aren't trying to verify can just start playing the Special Mode SMV since it has the save.
This submission incorporates various improvements that were mostly found by Hotarubi. Many, many thanks to Hotarubi without which the tremendous time improvement in this version would not have been possible. The total improvement over my last submission is 1855 frames, or almost 31 seconds. Another major timesaver was managing to get better luck with the bosses.
For a list of tricks for ActRaiser, please see this site's article on ActRaiser at http://tasvideos.org/GameResources/SNES/ActRaiser.html That page was made with the US version in mind, but much of what's on that page is also applicable to the Japanese version.
So why does this run play through the Japanese version's Special Mode instead of the US version's Professional Mode? First, the US Normal Mode stages have already been TASed through the ActRaiser TAS that's available on this site at http://tasvideos.org/1747M.html. Second, the Japanese version is harder, so for those who've played the game it looks more impressive. Apart from there being differences between US Normal mode and Professional Mode, there are many differences between Professional Mode and Special Mode. Overall the differences between US Normal Mode and Special Mode are even greater than the differences between US Normal Mode and Professional Mode. Here's a (not neccessarily exhaustive) list from Sir VG:
The general difference between Normal and Professional/Special Modes (pulled from my SDA Run): 1. You start with the full 24 HP. 2. Magic is removed. 3. Simulation Mode is removed. You just go from act to act. 4. The initial 'statue inhabiting' animation has been removed form the startof the acts. You simply start the level right away. 5. Enemy damage does 2 HP damage. Terrain damage still does just 1. 6. Enemies that normally take 1 hit to kill now take 2. Multi-hit enemies don't take any more than before. Certain 'destructible terrain' like the floating skulls in Aitos Act I still only take 1 hit to kill. 7. Certain enemies have a different pattern, though not very many. 8. Magic Scrolls in the Acts have been replaced by Crushes. 9. NO CONTINUES. You lose and it's game over. 10. After an act is cleared, there is no life/time bonus. Your life gets refilled and you move on to the next level. 11. Projectiles in Aitos Act I have been removed and replaced with a 1-UP. You still get them for the Tanzara battle. 12. Ending is removed and you just go straight to the credits, with the final image changed from 'THE END' to 'YOU ARE THE BEST PLAYER!' Differences between US Professional! mode and Japanese Special Mode (most of what I can think of offhand - this doesn't count religious references removed, since it was mainly in the simulation/creation section): 1. Changes in terrain in a few levels. Most noticeable in Filmoa Act I. 2. A few location name changes (Fillmore vs Filmoa, Kasandora vs Casandra, Marahna vs Marana, and Deathheim vs Death heim). 3. Filmoa Act II's music is the same as Act I. 4. Some enemies take even MORE damage. 5. Floating skulls in Aitos Act I can't be killed (they just self destruct). 6. Some boss attack changes (mainly faster, but Rafflasher in Marana Act I ducks in and out) 7. Timer stops after Satan Phase 1. Also, more lag during Phase 2 in the Japanese version. 8. All spikes (except the small falling ones), unless you're in a temporary invulnerable state are INSTANT KILL. Also extra spikes in various locations (most noticeably in Filmoa Act II and Bloodpool Act II). 9. Less lives. US starts with 5, Japanese with 2.
I've also noticed some (subtle) changes in the AI. For example, the Arctic Wyvern flies away about 10 frames sooner after shooting balls of ice. In addition, some of the enemy hitboxes are slightly larger.
Possible improvements: The main way to save time would be to somehow get even better luck on the bosses. We aren't sure of all the details of how boss attack patterns are decided. Getting all the details might involve some reverse engineering? There are also a few timesavers that I had to pull out in order to maintain good luck with boss attack patterns, so with a better understanding of how boss attack patterns are decided perhaps some of those timesavers could be put in.
- Thanks again to Hotarubi for finding various clever tricks.
- 大根さん for uploading a Special Mode TAS to Nicovideo. I picked up numerous little things from that run.
- Sir VG for giving lots of good feedback on my WIPs.
- Dunnius for his research on boss attack patterns.
- PJ, speedrunner of the Professional mode, for finding the walljump in Marahna Act 1.
- Ogreslayer, who discovered many of the tricks used in this run and the US normal mode run.
- All the people in the ActRaiser thread for their feedback and encouragement.
klmz: As a pure side-scrolling-action-platformer under this special mode, this game has good level design and configurations. The missing plot and god-simulation part might do have decreased the interests in this game, but in my opinion let the viewer focus on the action part. The choice of English version aiming for a higher visible difficulty is also sensible. The technical quality is high, and smart tricks are demonstrated to make this run more different from normal walkthrough even though they can be performed in real-time. I am accepting this submission for publication alongside the existing main quest run.
NitroGenesis: Added YT module.