Mega Man V in 40:03.09 by Noxxa
- Emulator used: VBA-RR v23.5 svn394
- Aims for fastest time
- Manipulates luck (a lot)
- Takes damage to save time
I've been working on this run for over two years - this run was started on May 9th, 2011.
About the game
Mega Man V is the fifth Mega Man game on the Gameboy. Unlike the four predecessor Gameboy games, Mega Man V has an all new plot with all new bosses. The enemies in this game are the Stardroids, robots from outer space named after the planets of the solar system. Names and plot aside, though, Mega Man V plays just like the rest of the GB Mega Man games. Mega Man V is considered one of the best games in the series because of its excellent gameplay. The only problem is that it tends to be a bit laggy. (Of course, in a tool-assisted speedrun, the lag issue turns into a very large hurdle to deal with.)
Mega Arm (P)
Mega Man's traditional Mega Buster has been replaced with the Mega Arm in this game. The uncharged shots are still the same, but for the charged shots, Mega Man shoots off his arm. A partially charged shot takes 30 frames to charge, goes about as far as his own height and does 2 damage to most bosses; a fully charged shot takes 90 frames to charge, goes nearly full screen and does 3 damage to most bosses. Mega Man can't charge if his arm is off.
Mega Man's cat buddy, who can be summoned in this game to help out fighting enemies (read: jump around until its ammo bar is empty). Has no use in a speedrun (or anywhere else) and is therefore never used in this run.
Rush Coil (RC)
Obtained after defeating Venus. Its only use in this run is in Uranus' stage to skip a few screens' worth of moving platform sections. Other than that, it doesn't get used because there aren't any places where switching to it would save enough time to make up for it.
Rush Jet (RJ)
Obtained after defeating Saturn. Never used in the run. I considered trying it in Uranus' stage, but Rush Coil was superior there.
Salt Water (NE)
One of the best weapons in the game. It shoots a glob of water at a parabolic angle, which can be influenced in multiple ways. The start velocity is influenced by whatever directions pressed on the D-Pad as well as Mega Man's current momentum when he fires it, which allows for a lot of different angle choices and weapon speed. If the weapon hits the ground, it also releases three water splashes at different angles. It's also fairly powerful and has a number of bosses weak to it, including Mars, Punk, and the two hands that form the first two phases of the final boss battle.
While there's a bunch of advantages, this weapon does have a few downsides: it uses 2 ammo per shot (which means I have only 10 shots with a full bar) and when the shot hits the ground and releases the water splashes, it generally causes a lot of lag. For that matter, even just the shot on its own can be fairly laggy.
Grab Buster (ME)
This weapon releases a somewhat slow moving projectile, which if it hits an enemy, will turn into a small life refill which will home in towards Mega Man and refill 2 health if it touches him. The refill is a bit of a drawback, because it causes the game to pause briefly if it hits Mega Man (if at less than full health), it can cause lag, and if there are too many on the screen, I can't fire another Grab Buster. It's also not too useful against most enemies; it's only particularly useful against the minibosses in Mars' stage, and it's Pluto's weakness weapon.
Photon Missile (MA)
This is another very good weapon in the game. It launches a missile, which stalls for about a second, and then jets forward quickly. This property is useful for making delayed hits, which is useful against some bosses like Dark Moon. Other than that, it's just an overall very effective weapon, with a lot of bosses weak to it; this includes Venus, Dark Moon, Quint and Ballade.
Bubble Bomb (VE)
One of the laggiest weapons in the game. This weapon releases a bubble which arcs up in a vertical sinusoid path, can travel along ceilings, and explodes upon contact with an enemy. Generally a quite damaging weapon, but causes a lot of lag when it hits an opponent. Only used as a weakness weapon against Jupiter.
Break Dash (PL)
Definitely one of the best weapons in Mega Man V, or even in the entire series overall. Uncharged, it shoots just an uncharged buster shot, but the weapon can be charged, after which Mega Man will dash forward fully invincible. When the dash ends, Mega Man will remain invincible for two full seconds. This is enough to easily bypass any enemy just by sliding through it. It can also defeat enemies that aren't invincible to it by dashing through while damaging the enemy, which can hit multiple times depending on how far the dash is charged.
The weapon has three levels of charge: after 16 frames of charging (a quarter of a second), Mega Man will dash roughly his height's length forward and use half a bar of energy; after 30 frames of charging (half a second) he will dash twice as far and use 1 bar of energy; after 60 frames of charging, he will dash over half a screen forward and use 2 bars of energy.
This weapon is also Uranus' weakness.
Electric Shock (JU)
A very good weapon. This weapon causes a lightning bolt to appear at the end of Mega Man's hand, stretching forward to about nearly half the screen's width. It stays out for nearly a full second, making it able to hit most bosses twice with one shot, but can be cancelled by sliding. It also does a good amount of damage to many regular enemies. It's Saturn's weakness.
Black Hole (SA)
This weapon has a few very specific uses, most of which aren't even intentional. One is that it's Mercury's weakness weapon; however, due to a bug it's possible to bypass Mercury's AI pattern using Black Hole, allowing one to defeat him very quickly using it. The other is using it as part of an odd bug in the Wily Machine fight.
Deep Digger (UR)
This weapon also has a few specific uses. First off, it's Terra's weakness, which is made blatant as soon as you see his boss arena. Other than that, there are some hidden areas and shortcuts behind some blocks in the later stages, which require this weapon to remove the blocks.
Spark Chaser (EA)
This is Terra's weapon, and shoots a laser forward which homes in on enemies and hits them repeatedly. Despite being a quite awesome weapon overall, it doesn't really get much use in this run other than being Neptune's weakness weapon in the boss rush.
Stage by stage comments
- Right at the start, there are already two helicopter minibosses which can cause a fair bit of lag.
- You can see me occasionally get p-chips from enemies; this is to fund a W-Tank I'll be buying later on in the game.
- As soon as I get to the inside of the ship, things turn very laggy. Especially the flying enemies tend to cause a lot of lag. They explode on hit, too, so sometimes destroying them isn't even a good option.
- I strategically take damage from some steam jets in order to save time passing through other steam jets.
- In the first underwater section, I go somewhat out of the way to pick up the p-chips in order to reduce lag.
- Shout outs go to adelikat for doing the ladder rooms, as well as the room after that.
- One of the vertical steam jets is avoided by a very tricky jump.
- Neptune is defeated by Mega Arm (what else?). Partially charged shots do 2 damage and are the fastest way to deal damage to him. The battle still takes long enough that I can't avoid him throwing a Salt Water, which causes a significant amount of lag. Note that after every battle, I have to end in the middle; Mega Man can't move after bosses are defeated, and he walks to the center to start the "get weapon" routine, and the walking costs time.
- The falling blocks from above are why Neptune's stage is done first; Salt Water works well to destroy them when they are in the way. I also use them to destroy other enemies or blocks that cause lag.
- Near the end, it's possible to destroy the big enemies with just one charged shot my making sure the move hits the enemy as far back as possible, so when the arm returns, it hits them again to destroy them.
- Mercury has an interesting pattern. Any time he gets hit, he'll transform into a ball of liquid and move over to the other side. There are two patterns when he does this: one where three globs bounce across one by one (slow), and one where he slides across the screen, leaves three globs behind, and those catch up with him (fast). Which pattern he does depends on whether his health is even or odd (respectively) after he's hit. I carefully planned my shots so that he does the second pattern as much as possible, while still defeating him in the minimum amount of hits.
- This is one of the laggier stages. It has laggy enemies, exploding enemies, and laggy enemies that explode.
- There are two minibosses in this stage. Their weakness is Grab Buster.
- Grab Buster leaves behind homing energy pellets when you hit an enemy. Sometimes I want to pick them up as fast as possible (to reduce lag, or in order to fire another shot), but at other times, I try to avoid having them hit me, so I can get them out without the game briefly pausing to restore my life.
- After the second miniboss, I switch to Salt Water in order to make the Grab Buster pellets disappear.
- I enter the boss room with six Salt Water shots left, even though Mars requires seven hits to be destroyed. I use a very precise Salt Water shot to hit him twice while minimizing lag as much as possible.
- This stage has occasional waterfalls, which effectively remove ladders temporarily and pull Mega Man down. On some rooms, I can get past them before the waterfalls remove my path, but on others, I have to wait.
- I switch to Photon Missiles midway through the stage to deal with the enemies faster.
- Venus is as straightforward as boss battles go in this game. I had to do some luck manipulation to prevent him from going out of range.
- According to PreddY's run notes for his MMV run on SDA, two rounds is the fastest possible even when TASed. Yeah, well, he was wrong.
- There's a brief delay between some hits so that I have time to move Mega Man over to the center. This way, Mega Man won't have to walk after the boss jingle, saving a sizable amount of frames.
- I buy a W-Tank after the Dark Moon battle, for use in the final boss fight.
- One of the laggiest stages in the game.
- Those shield enemies are some of the most annoying enemies in the game. They're invincible to everything except Electric Shock (which I don't have yet), can't be jumped over, and do 8 damage to Mega Man (out of 19). Yes, that's more relative damage than Elec Beam, or anything else Mega Man 1 on the NES throws at you.
- The drill minibosses are weak to Salt Water. Salt Water is also good to hit most enemies that are in the way.
- I take special care whenever using Salt Water to make the water glob fall off screen, so that they don't create water splashes, which would cause a lot of lag.
- I get some small health refills off some enemies simply because I need to take so much damage in this stage. The very heavily damaging shield enemies don't help.
- I briefly slow down for some of the missile enemies, in order to make them move in the wrong direction.
- When Proto Man appears, I manipulate him to drop a large weapon refill, in order to fill up the Salt Water supply. I'll really need it later.
- Pluto is weak to Grab Buster. I have to catch the health refills just to be able to keep firing at him. I keep close to him in order to minimize lag caused by the homing health pellets.
- This is another quite laggy stage. The invincible enemies don't help.
- The entire stage runthrough basically shows how abusable Pluto's Break Dash is.
- The stage is filled with those enemies which put up electric shields and then throw them. They're completely invincible during that time, so I just Break Dash right through them.
- Oddly, sometimes, in the first outer space section, firing some buster shots actually saves a few frames of lag, even though the opposite would be more logical. This game's lag is just really random like that.
- There are occasional weird collision happenings going on throughout the stage: magnet enemy shots touching Mega Man but not hitting him, a bouncing ball enemy that goes right through Mega Man, and sliding through enemies when Break Dash invincibility has already ended.
- Jupiter is by far the laggiest bossfight in the game, not helped by the fact that his weakness weapon, Bubble Bomb, is the laggiest weapon as well.
- This stage is relatively straightforward and lag-free. Nice!
- The flying pendulum enemies, when left unchecked, will activate a time-slowing ability and cause ridiculous amounts of lag. I get rid of them quickly, in order to prevent them from doing that.
- I switch to Electric Shock halfway through the battle in order to be able to defeat one of those pendulum enemies without losing much time. Electric Shock is effective to pretty much all enemies here, including the boss.
- Eddie appears here. I manipulate him to drop an 1-up while he gets completely ignored. I originally wanted him to drop an E-Tank, but it caused a frame of lag, so I couldn't do that.
- I briefly turn back to hit one ceiling enemy with Electric Shock in order to save lag. I also do the same for a pendulum enemy near the end of the stage.
- Saturn is very weak to Electric Shock. One hit does 4 damage, and the weapon can hit twice. Because of this, only 3 Electric Shock ammo is needed to defeat him. I first manipulate him to do his Black Hole attack in order to draw me closer (and hit him earlier as a result).
- Electric Shock returns again, because it's the best weapon against the minibosses here and it's also the only weapon that can defeat those seal enemies in one shot (or with any semblance of speediness, for that matter).
- Ironically, defeating the sphinx minibosses as fast as possible is actually slower, because the moving platform will slowly retract to its center position when you do this. This is why the final shot is delayed until the platform is nearly in position. It's still fastest to use Electric Shock, though, because otherwise I can't deal damage fast enough. (The fastest way to defeat them is actually by using Rush Coil + Photon Missiles, but this turns out slower overall because of the weapon switches and the moving platform)
- I use Rush Coil to bypass the moving platform sections. Rush Coil is faster to use than Rush Jet, but it's a little trickier. This is also the only time in the whole run where Rush Coil is used. Rush Jet is never used at all.
- I switch out Rush Coil to Electric Shock as soon as possible, because apparently, Rush standing still doing absolutely nothing and being interactable with nothing, would be a major lag source.
- Eddie is manipulated to drop an E-Tank here. Too bad he's so much ignored.
- During this second run of using Electric Shock, I get a bunch of refills in order to retain 4 Electric Shock ammo for the final stage.
- After the second miniboss, I switch to Break Dash in order to shoot the bird enemies from a longer range. It doesn't even cost ammo, as a bonus.
- I also get some Break Dash ammo at the end here in order to have a good starting amount in the final stage. The last drop (large refill) was very tricky to manipulate, so I wrote a bot to manipulate the weapon drop here.
- It saves 5 frames to Break Dash in the boss corridor here, offset by the 4 frames' worth of refill of weapon energy it uses - a net gain of 1 frame.
- Uranus gets blown up by Break Dash quickly - any charge of Break Dash does 5 damage to him.
- "Terra" is weak to the resident earth weapon. Can anyone tell me how this makes any sense?
- I start with a charged shot, because with one 3-damage shot, I can still defeat him in the same amount of hits, and it saves me the delay of the rock fragments.
- After firing a Spark Chaser, Terra will automatically jump back and teleport away if you get too close. This is why I hold a distance for most of the fight.
- Autoscroller time! I could have abused turbo movement here by repeatedly mashing the A button, but I decided to use it sparingly because it creates a lot of annoying noise.
- The enemies in the middle section spawn at any random position at the side of the screen. I constantly manipulate them to spawn right where I'm shooting, in order to defeat them as fast as possible.
- The Wily Star boss can take up to 7 damage in one round by hitting a charged shot on the first frame possible, then an uncharged shot, then another charged shot. There is very little leeway for this; you have to be frame perfect with all three shots.
- There are more invincible electric shield enemies from Jupiter here, so I'm bringing out Break Dash once again. It's also needed (alongside Deep Digger) for a shortcut. Some other enemies, such as the shield enemy from Mercury, Metools from Neptune, crabs from Venus, and the shield enemy from Pluto also return, but Break Dash goes through all of them. I also get a large refill off one of the Metools.
- Enker is defeated quickly with the standard Mega Arm. Partially charged Mega Arm shots can rack up damage surprisingly quickly (similar to the first Neptune bossfight). Oddly, at the start of the fight it's fastest if Enker runs over to the other side, but after that, the big jump is faster. I make sure to get the health refill he drops as soon as it appears, in order to save lag. I also do this for all the other bossfights in this stage (except the final bossfights)
- The next section contains just more electric shield enemies, so Break Dash is used some more.
- Quint's weakness is Photon Missile. At point blank range, Quint seemingly blocks every hit every other frame, but that doesn't change much to this very simple fight.
- Using Photon Missiles to destroy the birds in the next section saves a large amount of lag. Break Dash is needed for a shortcut again. Then I switch to Salt Water in order to save more lag by defeating certain enemies. I also used a bot again to get a large weapon refill off one of the enemies.
- Punk is conveniently also weak to Salt Water; in fact, it defeats him in five hits. I get a double hit off right at the start. There are a few different patterns Punk can use; either bouncing two or three times, and then striking high or low. I manipulate him to bounce twice and then go low, for the fastest possible pattern. Punk is high up in the air when he dies, which means I can't get the health refill instantly, causing a lot of lag.
- Directly after Punk dies, I switch to Photon Missiles in order to deal with the enemy Metools here, and get some refills off them. I used the bot again to manipulate the refills here. The bouncing enemies just conveniently move out of the way.
- Ballade is weak to Photon Missiles. I use a delayed Photon Missile hit at the end, so that after the battle it goes off the screen faster, saving a fair amount of lag.
- Venus is defeated the same way as last time. Conveniently, I don't need to switch weapons, because I still have Photon Missiles from Ballade's fight.
- Jupiter is also defeated the same way, with Bubble Bombs. The fight is actually a little slower than the first, because I start the battle a couple dozen pixels further to the left.
- Mars is defeated with Salt Water yet again. I don't do a double hit this time, because it costs just as much lag as it would save. I run out of ammo at the end, so I finish the fight with Electric Shock. (This is intentional; Electric Shock causes less lag than Salt Water, uses less ammo, and still allows me to defeat him in the same amount of hits).
- Saturn is finished off with the remaining amount of Electric Shock I still had left over.
- Neptune's weakness is actually Spark Chaser. I used a bot here in order to orchestrate the first shot, and to manipulate him to jump four times, so I can defeat him before his Salt Water would hit the ground (and would cause a lot of lag). After the fight, I waste some Spark Chaser ammo, because I won't be needing it anyway.
- Pluto: I use my last Spark Chaser shot here, because it would hit him faster than Grab Buster. Other than that, the battle is still mostly the same as last time. The most notable difference is that I need to be right next to him when he dies, in order to get the health refill as soon as possible to reduce lag.
- Uranus, other than the fact that I only use barely-charged Break Dashes, is defeated pretty much the same way.
- Mercury's weakness is actually Black Hole. Black Hole works a bit buggy: if I hit him with the initial hit of Black Hole, he won't do his usual "got hit" pattern. Abusing this, along with the fact that Black Hole disappears if you switch to another weapon and back, can be used to defeat him quickly. The last Black Hole hits twice: once with the initial hit, then with the projectiles spawned from it. This causes a lot of lag, but is still faster than switching back and forth again.
- Stocking up on some ammo first: I need 13 Black Hole ammo, and maxed out Salt Water ammo. Conveniently, there's all these refills here.
- After a long vertical shaft, Proto Man appears. Here, he has a high chance of dropping a special "S" capsule, which immediately restores all weapon and life energy. However, I manipulate him not to do that (he just drops a large weapon refill, which you don't notice because my ammo is already full).
- The final boss has 5 phases.
- L. Knuckle is the first phase, a giant hand which is weak to Salt Water. After 4 hits, I use the W-Tank I got earlier to refill my ammo again, so I can use all Salt Water against this boss and the next. Unfortunately, I'm just one hit away from beating this boss in one round.
- R. Knuckle is the second phase, another giant hand weak to salt water. This one is a bit tougher than the first (and much more laggy), but he can be defeated in one round. After the battle, Mega Man walks off screen to the right, so I make sure I'm as far to the right as possible.
- Wily Machine 1 (also known as Brain Crusher) is the next boss. Normally, he can't be damaged, but you have to use time bombs he drops against him. However, it's possible to screw the rules, get very close to him, and use point-blank Black Holes to defeat him (this requires 4 Black Holes).
- Wily Machine 2 Uh, who?
- Sunstar Yes, defeating Wily Machine 1 with the Black Hole bug immediately skips you over right to the pre-Sunstar cutscene. Sunstar takes one point of damage from anything; I switch to Break Dash (which is right adjacent to Black Hole in the menu) in order to fire uncharged buster shots at Sunstar. Sunstar's AI is a fixed pattern, and has three phases. In the first phase, he always starts to turn invincible and fire a large laser beam, then run to the other side of the screen and shoot some ground projectiles, and repeat. When he takes 6 points of damage, he'll rise, and shoot a projectile down at the floor, destroying it and causing Mega Man to fall down. I use some tricky positioning to manipulate Sunstar to fire straight down (which is fastest), take damage at the same time so the flames won't hit me, and when hit fall directly down into the shaft as soon as possible. In the second phase, he shoots some projectiles, until he takes 6 damage again, after which the same rise-and-destroy-floor pattern happens again, and I handle it exactly the same way. In the third phase, Sunstar does a rolling attack which is completely invincible, followed by rising up and doing something like Toad Man's Acid Rain, (which can be prevented by shooting him before he's up high), and repeat. I hit him once when he goes down, then three times after the first screw attack, then I can finish him off after the second screw attack. Then just some dialogue between Sunstar and Mega Man, and then the game ending starts.
Thanks to adelikat for initially joining me on the project and doing...uh...two screens' worth of work.
Thanks to Nach for constant support and motivation, and thanks to everyone else who supported me on IRC and in the game thread.
And thanks to you for watching and/or reading this!
Nach: So, this was quite a run...
I initially saw piece by piece of it come in within the game thread. To finally see the completed project is great. I was happy when it was queued up in the workbench, waiting to attack a judge like myself even though previous submissions were already fired at me at rapid speeds. But after that, it all falls apart, and one wanders off into deep space.
First off, it is really refreshing to see a run of a classical Mega Man game where you never fight Dr. Wily. That whole Dr. Wily always being the bad guy and fighting you in a flying saucer has gotten really old and repetitive. Explosions strapped to suicide bombers on a countdown is all the rage today, not flying saucers, and black holes are more interesting than UFOs, making the former point moot.
As for the run itself, it was executed quite well to TAS precision. The kind of precision where you're watching at a weird angle that somehow manages to reach your senses, and sometimes even bounce off some extras.
On the other hand, the run was doing so much at once. I was not able to appreciate the intricate rounds various sequences offer in this game. It was inhumane of you to do that to us. Which reminds me, the TASers of the original Mega Man are upset that they abused the select button, yet you feel entitled to go about things your own way. Many people in the forum also found the run boring. What you did just passed through them with no effect. A TAS has to make a connection with a viewer and affect them somehow. You can't just do things like that on your own when the game offers such awesomeness itself which you were clearly aware of, as you did make use of it on occasion, yet deviated for your own thing where you felt like it, and felt you could achieve the same effect.
But you did redeem yourself somewhat with the bosses. What you did to them would make a boss want to become invincible, run away from you, and commit suicide. My thermometer also seemed to stay in one place by aforementioned abuse of bosses, which is impressive, controlling things outside your small view of the world. Imaginary characters like Kirby, or real one like Phil would be proud.
So in absorbing this run, and needing to respond, choosing high or low, with low supposedly being preferred, I'm going to act outside the box, or the current floor as may be the case, and just skip right past accepting it. Onto the final publication step, right? And before anyone asks, I deny being bribed for this run. I did not receive any special currency to refill my Writing abilities.