Setting out on his quest to defeat the Gedol Empire, Sparkster is confronted by his archenemy Axel Gear, the Rocket Knight gone evil. Axel, working for the Empire, captures Princess Cherry. Princess Sherry begs Sparkster to save her and now Sparkster has two tasks on his hands.
- Emulator used: Snes9x 1.43 v17 svn 146
- Takes Damage to Save Time
- Manipulates Luck
- Plays on Crazy Hard Level
I once said that improvements are usually easier than TASing something from scratch due to previous planning, research and experimentation, well this run proved me wrong. With more than one rerecord per frame, this was my most difficult project so far and at some point I thought to give up, but I didn't and now that the run is done you better enjoy or else...
Stage by Stage
Almost no changes on the first level, but you may notice that I don't collect some of the red crystals when I blast diagonally up, this is due to the first frame saved with lag reduction. Some other frames saved on the way to the mid-boss with a slightly slower movement but since it reduced some lag it was faster.
Mid-Boss: Monkey Robot
Some of Sparkster's attacks are more prone to create lag than others, but they also inflict more damage on the enemies. Fortunately it's possible to cancel the stronger attack using the weaker one as soon as you hit the enemy and it was abused here to reduce some lag.
Boss: Golden Knight
On my way to the first boss, the robots that block the path were dealt with different attacks to reduce lag. Right before the cutscene where Axel captures Princess Cherry, I managed to avoid a speed drop inverting the order of the Charge Attacks. On the boss fight, I only took damage or attacked the grasshopper robots when the lag generated was minimun.
I couldn't avoid any lag on this stage, so I had to find other ways to save time and again the Charge Attacks have to be tweaked a lot to find a good balance between charges and uses. There's a hidden Dizziness Meter, and when you see me walking like I made a mistake it's to avoid that meter to reach its peak.
Mid-Boss: Bee Generator
Okay, I can't find a proper name for this mid-boss, but playing in real time I saw some bees comming out of it and I think the name I came up with fits. Anyway, jumping on a different frame made it possible to hit him sooner.
Boss: Assembly Robot
Different from the mid-boss, some times I hit the boss later than it is hit on the current run, but it's done to take more damage, this way I can finish the fight with just half heart.
Up to the mid-boss it's an auto scroller stage so there's not much I can do to save time here, instead I've killed every enemy and collected every red crystal while avoiding lag as in the current run.
Take damage is normally used to reset the Dizziness Meter or to save time on the bonus tally screen, but surprisingly it reduced lag on this mid-boss fight.
Boss: Giant Caterpillar
You can lean Stampy-do, the mechanic ostrich, by pressing the R or L buttons, this way it's possible to reach the edges of the stage sooner on my way to the boss. The boss fight itself was slightly improved using Stampy-do's Energy Rings to hit parts of the boss that are out of reach of normal attacks.
For some unknown reason the second Robot Snake stretched his neck sooner in my run, no matter what, making it impossible to pass in front of it, but after that slower part some lag was avoided, also, a different way to move around the submarine put me ahead again.
Not really a mid-boss, I just have to flee from a fearsome flood fast for freedom, fail is fatal! The only way to make this part different is making it slower, so it is exactly as it is on the current run.
Boss: Colonel Wolfheim
Wolfheim is back, but this time he is not just a mid-boss. Some turrets must be destroyed to trigger the fight, so I did it as fast as I could to start it sooner. The fight itself was improved with lag reduction.
It was here in this stage that I almost gave up the run; unavoidable lag in parts where there's no lag in the current run and a boss that is really difficult to manipulate forced me to put the run on hold for some days. But that was the best thing I could possibly do! As soon as I picked the run up again, I found the solution for all those problems.
Mid-Boss: Cat Head
The new strategy to reach the boss with good luck forced me to take more damage on the mid-boss, but by taking damage on different frames it was possible to avoid a lot of lag.
Boss: Desert Worm
The way you exit the shaft infested with bats determines your luck on the boss; the frame, the height and even if you collect the apple or not. On the fight itself, it can be manipulated staying on the ground a little longer or delaying the first hit.
How about my musical skills? Yeah, I know I suck at music, but this stage was played with the boss fight in mind not the musical stuff, so my first concern was to take some damage so I could reach the boss with half heart lost.
Mid-Boss: Pianist Elephant
There's no lag on the current run in this mid-boss, also, all the hits are on the first possible frame so this fight is not faster nor slower.
Boss: Axel Gear
In some walkthroughs he is called Axle Gear, but I like Axel Gear better! Anyway, you may remember that this stage was played with this boss fight in mind losing health and stuff like that, well, that was exactly the only way to save time in this stage.
Another auto scroller stage, but it's now lag free! Yeah, you read it right, not even a single frame of lag on this entire stage, the only frames of lag you'll see are the ones from the boss loading on the SNES memory, no joke.
Mid-Boss: Cyclop Robot
Talking about jokes, this mid-boss is a really bad one, there's no way to be defeated by him no matter how sloppily you play! You don't even need to kill him to advance, so I don't bothered to finish him off as soon as possible.
Boss: Axel Gear Robot Battle
It's possible to do a four hit combo each time you use the Charge Attack on this boss, the first hit will take out 12 points, the second, third and fourth 20 each. But here's something new; the first hit don't need to "hit" him! So by wasting one of the hits while the boss is out of reach, it's possible to take out 80 points per round!
The first part of this stage was painful to TAS, enemies on different positions, lots of lag that can't be avoided and I thought to put the run on hold one more time, but after, I don't know how many redoes, the first part was done and the rest was just a walk in the park! Well, not really, but still.
Mid-Boss: Robotic Wolf
This mid-boss is pretty straightforward, so it was not possible to save any time here, but a trick from nitsuja's run saved a lot of frames after the fight; the Charge Attack upwards, unfortunately, after some height any movement delays the exit from spawning, even if you just move to the left.
Mid-Boss 2: Crystal Reactor
There's a glitch that allows you to move to the next room as soon as you defeat this mid-boss if you stay on the left side of the screen the entire fight, but it's useless as it takes a lot longer to defeat it, also, all the lag is still there even with the boss exploding off screen.
Boss: Generalissimo Lioness
After the last hit on the boss, three things must happen to trigger the cutscene with the general pressing the red button; Sparkster must be on the blue circle on the ground, the general must be right next to the Princess Cherry and the camera must be focused on them all, so it took some retries to have a good setup.
After a really long cutscene comes a really short stage, it's so short that I have to kill some enemies to make it a little more interesting to watch, it's now 2 frames slower but I think it was a good tradeoff.
Boss: Missile Core
Same amount of lag, same number of hits and this boss fight and the run is finally over! As said before, this was a really difficult run to beat, but after all it was also a satisfying experience and I sincerely hope you enjoy.
|Stage Played||Frames Saved|
Nach: Nice improvement, I was entertained by your antics. Accepting as improvement to existing run.