Submission #3400: TheHepper's NES The Rocketeer in 13:55.66

Nintendo Entertainment System
FCEUX 2.1.5
Rocketeer, The (U).nes
Submitted by TheHepper on 12/20/2011 3:10 AM
Submission Comments
The Rocketeer originally appeared in a 1982 comic book series, but is best known for the Disney movie released in 1991. The NES game was also released in the same year and follows the plot of the movie. For those not familiar, the Rocketeer is a pilot that chews gum and flies around on a jetpack fighting Nazi spies. Well I'm all out of gum, so here we go.

Game Objectives:

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Abuses programming errors
Emulator: FCEUX 2.1.5 (using TAS Editor)

About The Movie:

There are a few aspects that make this game interesting from a TAS perspective. There is no refilling of health or ammo once a stage or chapter is completed, so all items (health, ammo, fuel) must be picked up throughout the game. While enemy drops can be manipulated, not all enemies drop items, and some enemies only carry certain items. Also, seemingly random actions by the Rocketeer (such as jumping or attacking) can affect the enemy's attack patterns, as well as, change the optimal timing for jumping sections. In addition, jumping is slower than running, and the high jump has a slight delay when landing which limits its usefulness in a speed run.

Techniques Used:

  • By starting an attack slightly before the Rocketeer lands, the player can fire two shots for one use of ammo. This trick is used throughout the game to kill two enemies with one attack.
  • If an attack is initiated just before a stage or chapter ends, it will finish as the next stage starts. Since enemies will only drop items if killed at a certain time, this trick is used to obtain items from enemies at the beginning of the stage. The trick is also used to launch a grenade at the final boss, which shortens what would ordinarily be a fight using only the pistol.
  • Some enemies provide a brief speed boost when they hit a flying Rocketeer.
  • If the Rocketeer takes damage while at zero health, but is able to complete the stage before the death animation starts, the player begins the next stage back at zero health.
  • Pressing either the up or down key every other frame can sometimes cause the Rocketeer to fall faster.
  • The jetpack loses fuel at approximately every 8th frame. By cutting off the jetpack before the fuel counter decreases, the Rocketeer can start it up again for a few frames without losing fuel. The jetpack is much faster than running, but it can only be turned on shortly after jumping, so this trick is reserved for spots where there is a long stretch between fuel canisters.

Some Useful RAM Addresses:

  • 0014 - Current screen position (x-axis)
  • 0018 - Next frame's screen position (x-axis)
  • 0200 - Measures height (y-axis)
  • 053A - Horizontal velocity
  • 05A7 - Vertical velocity
  • 05B0 - Rocket fuel

Special Thanks

partyboy1a and DarkKobold for offering great advice and keeping me motivated to complete this TAS.

Mukki: Judging...
Mukki: A nice first submission. Pleased to accept.
sgrunt: I'll rocket through this one...
Last Edited by adelikat on 11/28/2022 5:07 PM
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