This is a playthrough of Adventure Mode in Super Smash Bros. Melee using Samus. The last frame necessary to beat the game is 31,364 (8 min 42.73 sec), but for entertainment purposes I played through the credits as well.
- Emulator used: Dolphin r7719
- Plays on the hardest difficulty (Very Hard)
- Contains speed/entertainment tradeoffs
- Takes damage to save time
- Make a run that is entertaining to both the TAS crowd (who value creative optimization strategies) and the Smash crowd (who value style).
- The run must be acceptable for publication on this site (that is: beats all existing records, contains no obvious optimization flaws, etc).
- KOs should involve a high degree of variety. Use items and stage hazards whenever possible.
- Entertainment tradeoffs are only acceptable if the optimum solution is boring. Nobody wants to watch Samus down tilt everything in a team battle.
- Optimal play. That is, if I'm going to perform a certain combo, it should not be possible to do it faster.
This run was made on Dolphin r7719, so that is the only version of Dolphin which plays it correctly. The only setting that should matter is the memory card. Dolphin defaults to a memory card in Slot A, so to run this you'll need to go to Config -> Gamecube and set Slot A to <Nothing>.
Techniques used in this run
Competitive players will likely already know all of this. This section is for everybody else, although it helps to at least be familiar with the game.
Pressing L just before landing after using an aerial attack will half the landing lag, allowing you to act earlier.
Waveland / Wavedash
If you air dodge into the ground at an angle, you get a useful slide. Waveland refers to the technique in general, and Wavedash refers to the specific case when used immediately after a jump. Samus is one of the few characters whose wavedash speed is actually faster than her run speed on average, so this is used quite a bit. Wavelanding also speeds up the process of jumping onto platforms, especially when ledge canceled.
If you slide into the ledge (for example after a wavedash or landing after an aerial), any remaining lag will be immediately canceled and you'll either fall off the edge or enter the topple animation depending on your direction and input. This is extremely useful as is allows for movement and combos that would otherwise be impossible. Frame precise ledge canceling can often allow for combos that aren't possible in real time.
Directional Influence (DI) / Smash DI (SDI)
After getting hit and sent flying, DI allows you to slightly alter your trajectory by holding the control stick perpendicular to the path. During the frames where the character is frozen after getting hit (the freeze frames are most noticeable on electric moves like Samus' charge shot), SDI gives you a small teleport by tapping the control stick. Precise DI and SDI can be used to abuse getting hit, but I only got 3 chances to use it in this run (once on the Mushroom Kingdom stage and twice in the Grand Prix stage).
The turnaround animation can be canceled by any attack.
Samus specific techniques
Samus can break a grapple if something gets between her and the point where the grapple connects to the wall. This lets her keep her momentum. This is mostly used in the Escape from Brinstar stage.
During the opening frames of a grab or a Z-air, Samus can change her grab to use the extended version. The extended grab is 3x as long as the normal grab and homes in on enemies if you hold L, but requires you to press A to actually grab something.
Bomb dash aka Daughter Dash
After using a bomb, Samus enters Morph Bomb mode. While on the ground, pressing one direction then immediately pressing the other will give her a momentary speed boost that lasts a single frame. This can be repeated several times, and is generally the fastest way to move while in Morph Bomb mode. More importantly, it leads to a pair of glitches called the Super Wavedash and Aerial Super Wavedash which give Samus the fastest horizontal movement in the game over long distances.
This is caused by performing a Bomb dash on the very last frame of the attack. The momentary speed boost is only supposed to last a single frame, but since Samus is no longer in morph bomb mode on the next frame, she gets to keep it. This gives her a massive speed boost that lets her quickly cover long distances.
To maximize average moving speed from a Super Wavedash, Samus should jump immediately before bombing so that she gets to the ground faster. Once on the ground, Samus can use Bomb dashes to get some extra distance before the actual Super Wavedash. Samus can get even more distance out of a the technique by grabbing on the earliest possible frame. Unfortunately her grab is laggy, so this is only used when doing so would get her to the end of the level.
Aerial Super Wavedash
This is similar to the normal Super Wavedash, except instead of performing the Bomb dash on the last frame of the move, you do it while next to a ledge. Similar to the way Samus gets to keep the boost if she transitions to normal standing physics, she also gets to keep the boost if she transitions to aerial morph bomb physics. Unfortunately Samus can only keep the boost while she's in morph bomb mode, so it's important to do this as early as possible in the attack.
Of course if she gets to the ground before she leaves bomb mode, there's nothing stopping her from doing a normal Super Wavedash as well.
Pt 2: There are 4 characters that can make Giant DK suicide without ever having to move. Samus is not one of them. There's a 3 frame window to wavedash towards him that will cause him to aerial before he jumps.
Pt 1: Luck manipulating this was frustrating because the first 30 or so frames give the same result.
Pt 3: There's more AI manipulation in the Giant Kirby segment than you might expect. There's 4 points where being off by 1 or 2 frames will cause him to make a different decision. All in all there's maybe 5 total frames of allowable error to get this to work.
Pt 1: Good times trying to get the laser to hit Fox and not Samus.
Pt 2: Normally it's not possible to powershield that quickly, but I get around that by jump canceling the shield and wavedashing into the ledge. That makes it possible to powershield two things within 8 frames. Also got a nice frame to end the fight on.
Pikachus everywhere. Got 6 kills off that Moltres, which is more than I could have gotten off of a Lugia.
Pt 1: Mathematically optimized the timing between Super Wavedashes.
The combo on the first Ness doesn't work if you end the Captain Falcon battle 1 frame later. Thanks to the RNG elements of AI decision making, he ends up doing an aerial before he gets hit, which positions him to get out of the 2nd forward air too early. Go figure.
This was fun to make. And yes, both Popos are hit on the same frame and die on the same frame.
Pt 1: The floaty physics here made it difficult to move around the platforms, given that Samus is already a floaty character. I got around this by using ledge canceled Z-airs.
Pt 2: This method to take out Metal Mario was borrowed from brasterd073's TAS, except he also had to deal with Luigi so props to him.
Pt 2: Giga Bowser was nightmarish thanks to his obnoxious super armor. I was able to use it against him by bombing him at the end of his rolls. I ended up redoing this battle a couple times to get a version I was happy with.
This was done by a program directly on the input file (Dolphin doesn't have Lua support). As such this segment accounts for approximately 0 rerecords. If you think it's hard to see the target moving, just know that once upon a time it was even harder to see. I spent a decent chunk of time trying to adjust it to be easier to see. At one point I gave up and just did a version that got all the names on high speed, but thankfully people told me they liked the slower version better.
Note: The post-Giga Bowser cutscenes and slow credits don't affect the time of the run. The last frame of input required to beat the game is the frame I press Start after the Giga Bowser stage (frame 31,364). I could have ended the input file there, but for entertainment purposes I did the credits as well.
Special thanks to the guys at the RIT Smash club, for getting me back into competitive smash. This run wouldn't have happened otherwise.
Nahoc: claimed for judging!
Ilari: Changed length 08:38.3 -> 10:23.483
Nahoc: This TAS is awesome. It's a great compromise between "pure speed" and only a play-around. It makes Samus look like a very speedy character and entertains the viewer to the maximum. Like the published N64 TAS, if one would like to obsolete this movie, they would need to create a more entertaining TAS while keeping it fast paced, using any character.
Anyway, I'm glad to accept this movie for publication. Viewers' response has been really positive. Congratulations, numerics!
Nach: Promoting to star tier.