Say to no the cure.
- Aims for fastest time (this TAS would suck if I didn't)
- Takes damage to save time
- Abuses glitches
- Manipulates luck
- No Bobby%
General Info A large part of the planning for this run revolves around the boost meter for each of the characters. This meter can be filled by either damaging enemies or collecting blue boost energy throughout the stages. Once this meter is filled at least once for one of the characters, that character can gain an attack boost for a short time. This is vital for making the boss fights optimal.
Each of the characters can run, jump and attack and complete different attacks depending on what input (if any) you do after pressing the attack button. Holding up does in upwards attack (obviously) holding down does a downward attack (again, obviously) by holding back you do a throw attack and by pressing attack and then jump your character will do their special attack. I'll be detailing what these are in a second.
Wolverine is your starting character who runs pretty fast and jumps medium height in comparison to the other characters. His special is swiping his claws out to the sides (very slowly, I might add). He's very useful for a large portion of the run.
Colossus is the brawn. He runs a bit slower and jumps a bit shorter than Wolverine, but does the most damage to enemies when attacking, even without a boost. His special is a ground pound which does damage to enemies in front of and behind him. This attack is also necessary for breaking through breakable walls for either shortcuts or for items that I'll be needing.
Iceman is useless.
Nightcrawler breaks the game. He's a teleporting mutant that can go through walls that are thin enough. He runs the fastest and jumps the highest. His running animation being on all-fours allows him to slip under a lot of projectiles and the big robots we'll be seeing later in the run. He isn't a powerhouse when it comes to combat, but serves his purpose pretty well when he needs to. His special is his teleportation that randomly glitches out so that the slow animation that usually plays doesn't happen, making some teleports instantaneous. He can teleport in four directions as well and the smoke that he leaves behind damages enemies.
Danger Room This area is pretty simple since you're basically always heading towards the right.
I redid this stage a few times due to finding smaller optimizations each time. The biggest thing that you'll want to do to save time is run through enemies as much as possible. In fact there are very few enemies I'll actually be killing during this TAS - most of those robots. There are only two ways to run past enemies; jump over them, or attack them so that they are "stunned" and run right through. The quickest way to do that in most cases is to jump and slash with Wolverine's claws. The only time when it's not optimal is if you're too close and the jump would bump you into the enemy's hit box before slashing him, or attacking in a different way sets up the RNG of an enemy next to him.
If you attack an enemy while his back is turned it knocks the enemy down, which is sometimes slower, but very rarely since you can usually jump right over said enemy afterward.
I very quickly make sure to pick up one of the blue pellets while running through the stage to add a tiny bit more boost energy for later (every little bit helps).
Sabretooth this programmed to attack or stumble back once he loses a certain amount of health. Because of this I can only optimize this fight so much. There really isn't too much to this fight except that I tried to keep it to as few rounds as possible.
Alkali Entrance Going into the main building area you'll notice that I have Wolverine pick up the big energy outside. Again, I have to keep in mind every optimal energy pick up for the boss fights.
It seemed all of the enemies were out for blood in this area. The dogs at the beginning were relentless and the guards kept wanting to shoot at the absolute worst times. Thankfully there were workarounds for the less than ideal patterns that didn't sacrifice optimization. Towards the end I have Colossus bust open the containers so that he can skip the big energy in the next stage. This was a change I made to the planning fairly late on into sketching out the route. I'll explain why this change was important.
Gas Room This room, as the title implies, is filled with gas so if Colossus was to stay in it for too long he'd stop and cough, which would waste precious frames. There's a big energy pellet in here but getting it would mean not only spending the time going to the other side of the room, but also the time getting stopped (when I tried it I couldn't keep this from happening less than three times. It's on a timer so there's nothing I can do about it).
With the route change Colossus can just bust the floor and leave.
Wiring Tunnel (Insert Alice in Wonderland jokes here)
You might have noticed that I have Colossus hit one of the slopes on the way down. The reason for this is that there are two platforms toward the end of the stage that have gaps in them. If you manage to dodge every object in the shaft then you can't pass through them like I do, no matter what you try. You don't lose time from touching the slope, so this was an obvious smaller optimization to add once I found out about it.
You also might be asking why I'm not picking up some of the smaller energy on the way down. That's because they're literally impossible to reach. This game's cool like that.
Maintenance Tunnel 1 In this area there are a lot of breakable walls that Colossus can destroy. These not only reveal shortcuts but they're also where Colossus will be getting the majority of his boost energy for the upcoming boss fight.
I switch to Wolverine towards the end because not only does he run faster in general, but also in those sections there aren't any walls to destroy so Colossus isn't really needed immediately. I also switch to Wolverine at the very end of the stage because of the dogs in the final hallway. The ceiling is fairly short in there so Colossus can't jump at all, leaving him open to get bitten back and forth by the dogs.
Juggernaut This fight actually took a bit of work. I had to have Colossus punch on very specific frames to be able to three-round him. Juggernaut is supposed to be ripping out bolts to throw at Colossus, but by attacking on these frames it was constantly resetting Juggernaut's attack pattern. Juggernaut tends to do a swipe after four punches, in which case it's fastest to simply dodge. Thankfully, damaging Juggernaut during the first round of attacks is enough to fill Colossus' boost meter, which speeds up this fight tremendously.
At the end of this fight I switch from Colossus to Wolverine and then back to cancel Colossus' boost from draining any more than it needs to. This is something I'll be doing for most of the boss fights.
Maintenance Tunnel 2 This area took a fair bit of planning. Wolverine absolutely HAS to have a full boost meter by the end of this stage. This was fairly easy to do with the prior pickups. Navigating the stage without getting hit back and forth was pretty difficult to manage. One thing that at this point becomes increasingly hard to do is jump slashing, due to how many enemies tended to huddle together throughout. I make the most of it in this stage, but thankfully I won't have to deal with that for long. You'll see what I mean soon.
Half-Finished Sentinel This is the most broken fight in the game.
Glitching out this fight isn't actually as hard as it looks. You basically just have to follow a short checklist and the fight is in the bag. Firstly you need the Sentinel to fire his laser (he does this automatically after a short time). After he's done with the laser attack he'll send out two drones. Once he does that, I simply follow this line of command:
- Attack two body parts while in boost mode
- Take damage from one of the drones
- Uppercut said drone into the second one as it spawns
- Attack two different body parts
- Attempt to walk to the left
All of this while being in boost mode. Honestly, I'm not sure how/why it works, but if I had to make an uneducated guess I'd say it's a damage overflow glitch. I say this due to a damage glitch seen in the final boss fight, and the fact that this boss has four hit boxes all of which need to be damaged at once to activate this glitch - basically, I doubt they worked hard to find a way to properly handle literally every bit of damage you can throw at it.
This fight is actually really, really tedious and long without this glitch so I'm really happy about this find.
Elevator Shaft I can now use Nightcrawler in this stage, but he doesn't become relevant until the next stage. I switch to him at the end of this stage that way so I'm automatically controlling him at the beginning of the next stage.
I use this time to farm for boost energy. I could farm for big energy drops, but only the mooks wearing green drop those and there's only so much wiggle room I have to manipulate their luck without wasting time or taking damage. For the most part I only need one big energy drop, which is what I get. As long as Colossus' and Wolverine's meters are full by the end of this stage then everything works in terms of the planned route.
Other than that, this area is an auto-scroller so there's not too much optimization I can do here.
Office Area 1 I'd like to quote now from this game's Wikipedia page: "Many agree that Wolverine is the only useful character in the Game Boy Advance game- which allows players to cycle through characters at will- as he is the only one who can recover from damage."
Nightcrawler took major offence to this and decided to show off how utterly broken it is to have a teleporting mutant in a platformer.
Nightcrawler's teleportation is also fairly glitchy. You can - in very, very, very specific circumstances - cause the teleport animation to glitch out so that the teleportation is instantaneous. You can do this by teleporting on the same frame as you hit the ground. You can also do this with ceilings as well but that is only in a few places where it'll actually work. In fact this glitch can be very tempermental. Most of the time you can get it to work, but there are times when it just will not work no matter what you do. I should also mention that this glitch very rarely works with vertical teleportation. In fact I think I was able to do it twice in this whole run (you'll clearly see when that happens, trust me).
In any case, this stage is meant to kind of be a maze, but teleportation put a stop to that.
Office Area 2 You're meant to run through with Colossus and smash all of the walls and enemies, but running under the stage and only saves time but also avoids a lot of lag from the enemies. The teleport glitch towards the end doesn't really save much time, but I wanted to show off that graphical glitch.
Lab Area 1 I get a little more wiggle room to teleport glitch in this stage. It's also at about this point in the run where I take into account the fact that I need to fill up Nightcrawler's boost meter for two boss fights. I can do this easily by teleporting so that the black smoke left behind damages the enemies he's closest to. This fills the meter slowly, but the boss fights I need to prepare for are at the very end of the game anyway.
It's also at this point that I bunny-hop and try to teleport glitch as much as possible to gain some movement speed. This adds up over time as you can imagine.
Pyro One thing that makes this boss fight as fast as it is, is that if you jump just before taking damage, the "stunned" time is lessened. Lessened enough to allow Wolverine to clip into Pyro's shield and attack him twice per round. I switch between Wolverine and Nightcrawler between rounds to preserve Wolverine's boost energy. The goal is to still have one full meter for Wolverine.
Lab Area 2 This stage is the same as the first Lab area, only it's flooded. If you stay in the water too long then you get stopped much like you do in the gas room. I never let this happen. The enemy placement is a bit odd in this stage so it took a bit of planning to space out jumps so I could teleport glitch as much as possible. The new Mermen (?) enemies make this slightly harder, but seeing as their hit boxes aren't all that big they weren't hard to navigate around.
Sewer I apologize in advanced if this level made you motion sick.
Let me explain; there are some hallways where you can just continually spam the teleport glitch. Thing is, this doesn't work in a lot of areas (in fact there's one hallway where it simply won't work in this stage). You need to be able to get off one teleport glitch in a relatively low-traffic, high ceiling hallway. This stage is where it is by far the most abundant. Like I said, you can't really do this in most areas for some reason. Either the original teleport glitch won't happen in mid-air, or one of the ones in the chain simply won't activate.
I'm still not sure what causes this - or why it's so prevalent in this stage - but I show this off in a couple other stages as well. Hopefully not to the same nauseating degree.
Other than that there really isn’t anything new to say about this stage.
X23 This fight, as easy as it looks, was horrid to pull off.
She’s the only boss that actually dodges your attacks. Like Juggernaut, I had to punch on very specific frames to force X23 to stand still during the attacks. Basically I needed to punch on specific frames within her stunned animation, so that I stun-lock her. Figuring out these frames took quite a while
I also make sure to grab the energy at the end for Nightcrawler to help for later.
Comm. Room There are some prime opportunities to grab boost energy for Wolverine and Colossus in the two Comm. Room stages. I only need Wolverine to have enough energy for three more bosses.
I kind of have mixed feelings about this area, since I feel it’s the most interesting in terms of layout – with all of the natural shortcuts all over the place – but it also has the most vertical teleport climbing of any of the stages. I can chain Nightcrawler’s teleportation so that I can climb up the shafts much faster than climbing regularly. Thing is, is that from a TAS standpoint this gets tedious to make. I have to set up the teleport, figure out which frame he’ll reappear on, start the next teleport on that frame while trying to avoid hitting enemies.
This gets tiring to make but it isn’t bad once you can watch the inputs back. One thing I have to keep in mind though is that hitting an enemy with the smoke delays when I can start a teleport again. Setting up the chains so that I hit as few enemies as possible took a bit of prior planning and trying to figure out ways to do so without taking damage gets pretty clutch at some points.
Sabretooth (for realzies this time) Basically the same as the last fight, only he has more health now.
Comm. Room 2 This is where I basically set Colossus up for the rest of the run. There’s a 4x boost energy that makes it so I never have to worry about Colossus’ boost energy for the final boss fight.
Other than that a lot of this stage is optimizing the teleports during the shaft climbs. In between some of the teleports I shift over either to the right or left to set up certain enemies I’ll encounter at the top. Like in the case of the very end, I set it up so that I’m behind the bullets that the mook fires so I don’t have to worry about getting hit.
I still get hit at the very, very end of the stage, but I was already out of the stage anyway, so no harm done.
Mystique I actually had to redo the last two stages a couple times to set up the RNG for this fight so that I could get the best pattern without wasting time. Thankfully finding a few things that made the last areas faster was what lead to this pattern.
Mystique will always start off as Xavier and after a hit or two turn into either a common mook, one of the X-men (god forbid) or a previous boss (god also forbid). She happens to turn into the only enemy that’s taken out in one hit and has a really fast death animation (the dog) which speeds up this fight a bit. After that, it’s a matter of attacking on the right frames to get her to stand still, just like X23.
By the way, Mystique has the most annoying grunt of all of the bosses.
Stronghold In case you’re wondering, there’s a wall towards the beginning that I can’t teleport through due to it being too thick.
Setting up the boost energy in the way I do makes it so I don’t need to make any unnecessary detours for energy during this stage. This was a fairly late route change when I was planning out the energy consumption.
Stryker This fight has to be done very precisely. Wolverine is just one hit away from dying by the end of this fight. The quickest way is to take damage and slash the crap out of the mech and then Stryker himself. The fireballs home in on you so there’s no reasonable way of dodging them anyway, in case you’re wondering.
Sentinel Construction Hangar This part was one of the most fun to make. There are a lot of places to teleport glitch (not as much as the sewer, but a lot) and it’s fairly wide-open when it comes to traversing the stage. There’s very few short hallways with very few options of how to progress.
This is also the second stage with a vertical teleport glitch.
Multiple Man The beginning is a really simple auto-scroller (well, simple in a TAS) and a piss-easy boss fight. Cool stuff.
Master Mold (Which sounds like a Mother boss) It’s important that I leave as much alive as possible for the final boss fight. I need all of the moving objects in the stage to generate lag.
The reason why is because there’s another damage glitch in this game. When I get Master Mold to spawn drones, I can have Colossus uppercut the drones to generate enough lag that a single uppercut to Master Mold will hit four times quickly. The first two phases go by quickly enough with this.
The third and fourth phases aren’t too much worse. The laser he fires is instant death for anyone who touches it so I sadly can’t invulnerability frames my way through it. The best I can do is hit it in between cycles and try and limit how many times he fires the laser. Thankfully I was able to limit this to two times.
And after skipping the final cutscene (it won’t go on its own, sadly) I end the inputs and that the end of the TAS.
Possible Improvements I think if this game gets TASed more in the future and more ways are found to glitch out the teleportations (more than it is now) I think this time can be shaved down even farther. But for now and what I know about the game I can say that I’ve done all I can to bring the time down as far as I can, and I’m pretty happy with this run.