Metroid Zero Mission 100% Improvement by Dragonfangs
- Emulator used: Visual Boy Advance: VBA-RR v24 svn461
- 100% Item collection
- Aims for fastest time
- Manipulates Luck
- Takes damage to save time
This is an improvement to cpadolf's 100% TAS, beating it by 38 seconds (2,296 frames), 32 seconds on the ingame timer. A large part of this (29 realtime seconds, 17 ingame seconds) is because of a few route changes during the item cleanup after getting Power Bombs, but it's also because of higher optimization, faster room strategies and better ammo management throughout the run. This run is made on a newer emulator than the published run, beacuse of emulator differences every room transition takes 1-2 frames longer and the screen explaining a newly picked up item (not expansions) is a few frames slower as well.
Area by area comments
I decided against activating stereo this run, if we're aiming for realtime let's do it for real.
Total time difference: -85
There's not much noticably different in the start of the run. Faster Hive room and Barrier bugs in Brinstar, but overall I lost more time from new emulator lag than I gained from improvements. At the end of Kraid I perform some unspin magic to save time over the shinespark we usually do. Similar to what the any% does with power grip, I shoot away pairs of blocks in the pillar of breakable blocks so that I can exit spin inside the space. Samus's 'standing' air pose is taller than spinning and can't fit in the 2 block space so she lands instantly, allowing me to jump again.
Total Time difference: -47
After Power Grip things get a bit more interesting. I leave the missile tank under the Crateria-Norfair elevator and the tank to the right of Hi-Jump for cleanup, made possible with the new route. I also leave a Super and Missile tank in the middle of norfair, the lack of Supers slows down a few fights later on, but not enough to offset the time gain from the route. In the big heated room right after Hi-Jump I take some time to bomb a few blocks, these are specifically bomb blocks dispersed among a bunch of shootable blocks. While the shootable blocks respawn, the bomb blocks do not. Destroying them now lets me run through this room unhindered, activating speed booster even, when I come back in cleanup.
Route Time difference: -5750
Total Time difference without Route change: -8 (lag is screwing me over ^^)
Ridley/Path to Tourian
There's not terribly much different in Ridley either, a new Shinespark right after Imago saves ~2 seconds, and there are tiny improvements in almost every room, but they are barely visible.
Total Time difference without Route change: -134
This place sucks.
There is so much RNG going on here, Metroid spawn times are random, based on when their spawn point gets on the screen. Drops are based on both when the Metroid dies and WHERE it dies, so freezing it at different spots will produce different results, and though Metroid movement is based on Samus's position it is still hard to predict. I did manage to save time here with less maximum supers than the old run.
Total Time difference without Route change: -137
Lots of tiny improvements here too, one in particular is pretty big and looks weird unless you understand what's going on. When I get detected the second time, at the eye beams, right after the crawl tunnel with crumble blocks, there's a pirate that's supposed to see you as you fall down and refresh the alarm. I manage to get a shot off at him before he can see me, I then do a short wall jump to stay out of sight until the shot hits him. Because I manipulate the Pirate running after me to crawl much further behind me than intended, no Pirate has actually seen me pretty much since I entered the room, and the alarm shuts off after you've stayed hidden for about 7 seconds. The alternative, and what all previous runs have done, is to enter a Save room later on to shut the alarm off instantly. By not having to do that, I saved a small bit of ingame time but more importantly, 2 room transitions.
Against the Chozo Ghost, if you shoot the image of yourself you take damage, but it also gives you a new (random) timer for the glyph to appear. This new timer is generally a lot shorter than the ones you get when you actually hit it, to the point where taking damage intentionally can speed up a glyph by seconds. You only have enough health to do this once though, unless you get a health refill at a save station.
Total Time difference without Route change: -242
This where stuff gets a bit wild, I do a shinespark under a closing emergency gate. What happens is that I turn off the alarm by killing all the enemies in the room where I store the spark, then enter the next room morphed. This puts me low enough for the Pirate to not see me and so I can reach the bottom of the shaft undetected. When I shinespark to the right, the Pirate in the next room sees me, starting the alarm and pulling the gate down, but the shinespark is fast enough to get past it before it shuts completely. You'd normally have to kill all the pirates in the room (one more spawns in the door if the alarm is running when you enter) and then wait for the gate to open.
I also leave a Super Missile tank for later and take a hidden tunnel to the right instead. This saves time mostly because a transition that does not involve a door is significantly shorter.
I start using Charge beam more around here too, there are two main reasons for this, found recently in the ZM running community. Charge Beam attracts Bombus, and while being attracted they can't shoot their annoying lightning attack. And Charge Beam for some reason reaches slightly further off screen than an uncharged beam, so whenever I want to hit something slightly off-screen, charge beam helps.
The item refill is 100% mandatory, Pirate never drop anything and Bombus never drop any Rare Drops (Supers or Power Bombs). You need at least 2 Power Bombs just to get past the glass tube. Since it is mandatory, any ammo you used will cost more time here. I managed to save 12 frames with better ammo management alone.
And then the new route stuff starts, by getting a shinespark in the glass tube right before it breaks I can get the E-tank that we used to get coming back to the Pirate ship. This lets me come back through the ruins later on, a route which has far less doors and more short transitions. This saves about 13 seconds of realtime but only a second of ingame time. After grabbing the items we would have grabbed on the way back, the route goes back to normal for now.
Getting a vital Power Bomb drop from one of the enemies after glass tube lets me do a space boost to the missile and then blow away the power bomb blocks to get a new speed booster the intended way, which is faster than the long Shinespark chain the old run does.
Total Time difference without Route change: -420
Nothing new really happens until Acid Worm, where I show off an instance of the scroll glitch. At certain areas, the camera cannot travel past a point until a specific block is broken. This is to prevent to camera from showing secret areas. But if you know which block it is and specifically don't destroy it the camera can't follow Samus and strange graphical artifacts with screen looping can happen. These are a lot more pronounced later on in Norfair. In this case it's one of the rightmost bomb blocks, screw attacking along the left side avoids it easily.
After grabbing the power bomb in Norfair other part of the new route starts, going to the right and grabbing the super and missile that I left earlier. Doing this with space jump is a lot faster. The second instance of the scroll glitch is shown off here, this time it's the breakable blocks above the speed blocks that stops the camera. I also do a subpixel-perfect freeze to use an enemy as a platform instead of waiting for a block to respawn so I can get a speed booster out.
I then start going east through norfair. I get another Power Bomb drop from a Giant Sidehopper and I now have more than I can find good uses for, which is a rare predicament to be in I have to admit. Because of destroying the bomb blocks earlier I can get a speed booster for a ballspark through a couple of bomb blocks.
After grabbing the remaining missile tanks I left behind in Norfair I take the elevator to Crateria where the routes almost converge again for about half a room. I take the left path up to the top room so that I can get a shinespark for the missile tank on the right. We would normally grab this when going back out of Chozodia to grab the two super tanks and the Energy Tank that I already collected. The new route won't leave Chozodia again and so we need to grab this now.
I do the Gate Shinespark once more, this time without being in ball. Both methods are equally fast, I just wanted to show them both off.
And the routes converge again at last.
Total Time difference: -2199 (36.5 seconds)
A Shinespark is apparently faster than a missile, who knew?
Mecha Ridley gets some major stat boosts once you get up to 100%. The only thing that really matters for a speedrun is that his health almost triples. Using a power bomb to open the door means it opens during the text box, which is important because doors don't open immediately. By doing this I can be closer to the door when I lose control of Samus since I don't have to worry about running into it when I gain control back.
I use my last power bomb at the end for a small graphical glitch that changes the background color. There was no real way to use that for time-saving purposes anywhere.
I have to thank cpadolf for creating the previous run, without it I never would've realized exactly how far you can go with optimizing movement in this engine.
Another huge thanks to the Zero Mission speedrunning community: Dragondarch, Kirbymastah, Spidey Widey, Thomas, Sam, JaggerG, ImOutOfRamen, Mobiusman and especially Zx497. All of which had plenty of ideas and feedback about the run.
I'd also like to thank everyone who tuned in to my stream when I was doing work. It helpt me keep focus through the less interesting parts of the run.
Noxxa: While the viewers generally seem to prefer stereo sound, I don't see it as something worth rejecting runs over. I do recommend picking stereo sound for any future runs (time lost selecting it will not be counted for judging, as it does not slow down gameplay). Accepting as an improvement to the published run.
feos: Grabbing underway...