In this game you play as the Lasagna-loving, Monday-hating title character as he spends a week searching for his co-pet Odie while their owner Jon doesn't help in the least.
- Emulator used: fceux 2.1.6 with TAS Editor
- Aims for fastest time
- Forgoes time saving damage
- Genre: Platformer
General Game Description
A Week of Garfield is a 1989 Famicom exclusive based on the comic strip character Garfield. In the game you play through levels which take place on each day of the week on your search to find Odie. In total this results in 9 levels with an individual level for Monday through Friday and then two a piece for Saturday and Sunday. Within each level there is between one and three room that must be moved through. In each "room" you must collect a key icon which will unlock the door at the end and allow you to move to the next room or level. In addition to the keys there are also a group of power ups that can be gathered which help upgrade your character through the surprisingly difficult levels. In this run I manage to beat the real time world record, held by biggyboy, by a little under 4 minutes.
As I said this game is surprisingly hard for the relatively slow pace and simplistic plot and graphics present. Playing the game without dying, which results in a game over since they only gave you one life, let alone not losing any health. At times the screen is nearly filled with enemies and requires frame specific movement to avoid taking damage. As such I made the stylistic choice to not lose any health throughout the course of the game. This does result in some time lost but I cannot imagine it is more than 2 seconds. I made this choice because the 1-2 seconds saved is less impressive in my mind than traversing the minefield of enemies using glitches in hit boxes to take no damage. If you want to follow along with the health management it is RAM value 0318 but it will be as exciting as looking at the number 10 continuously for 8 minutes.
In this game there are nine items that can be gathered including the keys. For some reason the programmers decided that it would be the best decision to place them essentially randomly throughout the levels and make them invisible so you have no idea where they are located. In addition to that the hitboxes in this game were not programmed in the best so even if you do move over the item box there is still a solid chance that you will not cause the item to appear, leading you to believe that it is not actually there. Finally, once the item is finally made visible you have to pass over it again to collect the item resulting in a very frustrating game.
In total I gather 3 of the 9 items that are possible in the game. The key is collected on each level so that you can progress through the game. The shoes are collected many times throughout the run due to their speed boost affects. A projectile which I am told is a hamburger is also collected which has 5 ammo. This weapon looks like a ball and is thrown in a upward arc which then falls, hits the ground, splits into multiple projectiles and shoots off in many directions. This weapon is the only one collected in the game because it is the most powerful and can hit enemies located at any X or Y coordinates. The other items in the game are not collected as they would not save time.
Thankfully Acmlm wrote a lua script which displays the location and type of each item on screen at all times removing the annoying search that normally would occur. (Note if you watch the run with the lua script you must change 0xB9E0 to 0xB8E0 on the second Saturday and Sunday levels. I may try to fix this later but I wouldn't plan on it.) Additionally with TAS timing I was able to in almost all cases only have to backtrack for one or two frames to collect the items, so I was not slowed down like would occur in a realtime run.
Movement in this game is simple in theory but can become difficult in practice. Regardless of walking on two legs, walking on four legs or jumping through the air you default X-Velocity is 1 pixel per frame. Upon collecting the shoes power up all of the styles of movement double in speed to 2 pixels per frame, severely cutting down on completion time.
As stated above enemies are frequently on screen and their movement is aggressive and their path is recalculated every frame. While travelling you have a few options to deal with these enemies. The first option is simply to avoid the enemies, but in most cases this is not a viable option as they are too aggressive and frequent to be avoided. A second option is to either kick or shoot a projectile at the enemies killing them before contact. A third option is to take damage and continue the level. This option is not used at any point in the game due to the goal of not taking damage and due to its negative results. If you do not collide with an enemy frame perfect you can be knocked back upwards of 18 pixels back in one frame which certainly slows you down. The final option is to abuse the hit box glitches present in game. The first result of this is that attack an enemy as you are entering the same hitbox as the enemy you are able to travel with them without taking any damage. A second result of this is what can be best described as a non-damage damage boost. What occurs here is that if you collide with an enemy in a pixel perfect manner while attacking you can receive a damage boost, which doubles your x-velocity for a single frame, without actually losing any hp. This is very much a TAS specific trick and is used frequently throughout the run.
The bosses in this game are what around half of my rerecords were spent on as they are extremely random and difficult. The bosses follow the same rule as the other enemies in that their movement is nearly constantly calculated based off of your position but with the added trick that they can loop around the screen to avoid attacks. They also become difficult because each projectile can entirely vary in how much damage it inflicts based on when you shot and where you and the boss are located. If you hit the boss with the projectile before it splits apart it inflicts 8 damage to the boss and disappears. On the other hand if the projectile hits the boss after it has split it can do between 8 and 16 damage and doesn't disappear so it can get many hits in from one shot. You can also damage the bosses through the kick attack.
The boss fights become much more complex when the enemies damage boosts come into play as they can either kill or make a boss fight. When hit the boss receives a damage boost that depending on the position of the projectile, position of the boss and position of Garfield can result in a 1 pixel move so that the projectile can get multiple hits to boosts of 18+ resulting in a single hit. You then have to wait for all of the projectiles to disappear from the screen before you can fire again which makes this an annoying option. The ideal strategy is to fire a projectile so that the boss will be constantly knocked in one direction and then have your character attack from the other side resulting in a loss of 8 to 16 damage on each frame.
If there are any improvements possible in this run excluding damage boosts it will be in the boss fights. I am not sure if there are and they wouldn't be more than a second a piece but as it was the most frustrating aspect of the game I am sure there is a chance. To monitor boss life the RAM value is 0079 and you must get him to below 0 for him to die.
Present in this run are a few visual and auditory glitches. The most blatant example is when the music suddenly changes to a much slower glitched out song. A few other examples are simply garbage data slowly progressing down the screen to fill it, though this takes place over only a few frames so would most likely appear as simply a discolored period rather than glitched data.
I am not 100% sure why these glitches occur but I am fairly confident it is due to the errors in the collision detection and the resulting "damage boosts" from the collisions as that appears to be when the glitches appear. The easiest way to induce this response is to use the weapon I use in this run to attack one of the baseballs. Doing this nearly always results in the glitch screen progressing down. In fact there are a few examples where if I fired a frame earlier than I did the game would glitch and then freeze. This is obviously not shown in the run as it prevents you from doing anything until you reset but it was an interesting side affect none the less.
I hope you enjoy. I didn’t think it would actually have a following but it had been requested in both the NES and Famicom thread so there are apparently supporters.
Thanks to biggyboy and NitroGenesis for the WIP’s that helped me along the way.
Thanks to Acmlm for the lua script. There would not be a run of this game without this script.
Noxxa: The only thing that's clear in this instance is that the game is utterly terrible. Whether it makes for a good tool-assisted speedrun, however, is a different issue.
Because of the slow movement speed without the powerup shoes, a sizable amount of the gameplay is terribly slow, and the powerup itself brings the speed to halfway decent at best. The run is largely an example of "Run right for justice" as well, with the only thing that keeps it interesting being the surprisingly large range of enemies on the way, which are mostly simply bypassed. Well, and the inherent badness of the game itself. There are a number of laughs to be had out of Garfield's sprite alone. In my eyes, this doesn't change, however, that the game doesn't exactly look to be an optimal or even halfway decent game choice.
What took me by surprise, however, was the vocal support for the run. While there were some people who voted no for the lack of entertainment or TASlike aspects in the movie, which I do agree with to a certain extent, there was a significant amount of the viewer base which voted yes for the movie, exclaimed enthusiasm for the run and avidly defended the run. In fact, there is currently a vast majority of people who voted yes to the run.
If I were to reject it now, I would without a doubt have several tomatoes thrown to the face along with criticism about my judging capabilities and that I have no sense of entertainment, complaints about the site's direction of entertainment hampering publication of otherwise good movies, lengthy debates about the essence of entertainment and how it would apply to the judging process, and exclamations that the site is going downhill.
Currently, I see the best choice here is to go along with the opinion of the majority of the viewerbase. So I'll accept this run for publication.