In the game the firework maker Kantaro must traverse the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō to return to his fiancee. Along his journey an evil merchant seeks to steal the secrets of fireworks and sends his group of baddies including ninjas, ornithologists, hookers, ghosts, monks and boarder control workers who must be dispelled using your fireworks.
- Emulator used: fceux 2.1.6 with TAS Editor
- Aims for fastest time
- Takes no damage
- Uses warps
- Genre: Platformer
In Kanshaku tamanage Kantarō no Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi, which roughly translates to Firework Thrower Kantaro's 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō, the main character must travel through 21 of the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō, which was a coastal route that ran from Nihonbashi in Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to Sanjō Ōhashi in Kyoto. Despite the graphical limitations inherent in a Famicom game the level designers stayed true to the locations that appear in the game including famous landmarks of the stations, geographical characteristics like rivers, hilltops and types of trees, even only including the prostitutes in locations where one could actually find the oldest profession.
There are 21 potential levels of the route with specific locations listed on the game's Wikipedia page. In addition to the 21 levels there are also 2 bonus/warp levels that can be entered by picking up 10 gold coins. The "easy" warp has many objects to pick up, only the generic thug enemies and moves you ahead 3 levels. The "hard" warp has no items, a much more diverse collection of enemies but will skip you ahead 6 levels. The warp that you take is entirely random and is manipulated in this run to be the 6 level skip each time to save time.
In this game you play as the firework maker Kantaro who has a few abilities. First off his walking speed is his fastest mode of transportation at exactly 1 pixel per frame. There is a very slightly period of acceleration to get up to max speed and a huge deceleration process to come to a stop so when possible it is avoided. When jumping Kantaro begins his deceleration process making jumping slightly slower than running but just barely. Because of this jumping is avoided when not necessary to gather items or avoid enemies. Finally his only attack is to throw an endless supply of fireworks. These fireworks can be thrown in either direction following an arc and can destroy most enemies and reveal the hidden items. In addition to throwing the fireworks can also be placed on the ground but only when Kantaro has come to a complete stop making it a slightly less favorable option. Also your character only has 1 HP so immediately upon being hit by an enemy your character would die so avoidance is key. For some reason if you get to the edge of a platform your x-velocity immediately halts and you fall straight down so you must jump off of every platform to maintain speed.
All items in the game are at pre-programmed but seemingly random locations around the levels. They are invisible until a firework explodes on them and there is no visual or auditory clues informing you where the items are. As a result the only ways to gather items is to either spam bombs over every inch of the levels or already know where they will be located making the items quite rare under normal play.
Koban Coins: These golden coins are by far the most important item for a speedrun as they can help skip levels. Upon collection of ten coins you are able to skip ahead either 6 or 3 levels through a warp stage. The other use for these coins is that 2 coins can be used to help pass otherwise impassable rivers. Many different warp combinations were attempted and it was found the currently used warp order is by far the fastest route.
O-fuda (Amulet): These items will protect from the ghost character.
Katana: This item will protect from the thief.
Rice Balls: This item will turn the character into a rolling ball until the power dissipates or he falls into a pit. It is slower than normal walking and is thus never used in the run.
Generic Thug/Ninja: These characters are by far the most common enemies in the game and can be eliminated with a bomb to any portion of their body. For the most part these enemies can be avoided, but they are ever so slightly faster than your character so if they are behind you they will eventually catch up. Luckily these enemies are programmed to jump whenever a bomb is thrown regardless of if this will cause damage to them. As a result of the throwing animation including a frame of the bomb being behind you before moving forward this behavior leads to an easy way to dispatch enemies which involves having the enemy get to 1 frame away from contacting your character and then throwing the firework causing the enemy to jump directly into said firework while it is on its back swing.
Ronin: This enemy has the ability to deflect fireworks with his sword so the programmers intended the only way to defeat him was to plant a firework on the ground and then have the enemy walk onto it as it explodes. With perfect timing this process can be avoided by thowing a bomb so that it lands, and explodes, underneath the enemies feet, which is used multiple times in the run.
Ornithologist: This enemy has a hawk that he has fly towards you. The angle in which he throws the hawk depends entirely on your y-position so he is manipulated to avoid hitting the character. The ornithologist can be defeated from a single firework, but his hawk can only be defeated if held by the ornithologist so avoidance is the only course of action with that enemy.
Bridge Troll: This enemy is an assassin located underneath bridges who tries to spear up through the bridge to kill you. Luckily this assassin is painfully slow so simply walking along the bridge is enough to avoid him in most cases.
Knife Thrower: This enemy is another assassin located on the roof of buildings who, as the name implies, throws knives at your character. In real time this is the most difficult enemy in the game as he throws quickly leading to near frame perfection to avoid his onslaught. Luckily he has zero randomness so in a TAS avoiding his knives is trivial.
Monk: All monks have the ability to shoot telekinetic waves with psychic powers right? Very precise firework placement is necessary to dispatch this enemy so for the most part he is simply avoided.
Gonzaemon: This is the main enemy in the game who has an arquebus (gun) and takes two fireworks to defeat. As thowing and hitting with two fireworks would require a slowdown he, and his bullets, are simply avoided in this run.
The Hooker, ghost, thief and boarder patrol officer: These "enemies" do not actually harm your character but can either slow you down or steal some of your items. The hooker is the one that looks like a creepy Ronald McDonald.
This is clearly not the best game on earth but I feel I beat it thoroughly enough to potentially warrant a publication.
I found this game by looking through a list of Famicom exclusives, choosing one at random so I do not have a strong emotional attachment to this game at all but I did put effort into it.
Also I cannot read nor speak a single word of Japanese so all information present in this description is taken from Wikipedia as I did not know what a single level transition or ending page stated. I hope you enjoy.
feos: fast encode.
turska: You made this game look way too easy. The game has its flaws, but the run manages to be sufficiently entertaining. Accepting for publication.