One character versus countless monsters. We all know the result. Though, usually, for relatively new players, it doesn't end well for the one character.
- FCEUX 2.2.2
- Aims for fastest time
Just a note: This submission is slightly different from my last WIP upload, as I make the ending ever-so-slightly more exciting, though with an identical frame count. Anyone who likes seeing numbers go down to 1 without actually reaching 0 may want to rewatch the ending of this submission. (Oh, and sorry about that, solarplex. Love your temporary encodes!)
About the game
You must run through a maze of rooms, filled with treasure, monsters, secrets, and monster generators, in order to finally reach the last room and retrieve the orb, all while your health is slowly draining. Along the way, there are eight clue rooms that tell you a piece of the vault combination, which is slightly randomized when you start your game, and is preserved in the password the game gives you at each treasure room, saving your progress and all those nifty power-ups you got.
You can select from four different characters, each of whom have their advantages and disadvantages. If it's too hard to go alone, the game even lets you play with a second player to help out. The pacing is rather fast, especially in the endgame areas, and there are some rather devious traps, including an exit that takes you directly to the title screen (effectively a game over), and one room which has no exit. All that stuff does get rather insane, so if you can manage to win it, you've done very well.
About this run
Since I was thinking pretty heavily about Gauntlet at the time, I thought I would go about fooling around in it for a bit. Initially, I was playing around with the idea of a two player "100%-like" run, of which I never even reached the first door, let alone finish the room, but then decided upon improving FODA's run when I figured out a faster way to fight the dragon. But just in case, I would go through every level in hopes that there might be other sorts of improvements to make, not just the very end. Turns out there are plenty of other improvements to make. One more old TAS obsoleted.
I pick Elf because a lot of moving needs to be done. Speed is usually a priority stat in speedruns. Elf also has pathetic damage for shots, with the one point boost from Extra Shot effectively doubling his shot power. I pick the same password that FODA did, so the only thing different I did was try to fake you out with Warrior showing up momentarily.
On a side note, the invincibility I pick up in room 87 so "conveniently" runs out just as I start attacking the dragon. Leading me into doing things such as getting the dragon to breathe fire onto one of its other heads, which sadly doesn't provide extra damage, but does get rid of the flame quickly for lag purposes and also saves what little HP I have.
Finally, a quick thanks to a number of people in the IRC channel for being supportive of my subtitles when I felt some doubt. All I wanted was a few quick words, and it seemed ais523, RGamma, and atma were there on IRC, as well as Derakon on the forums. So, subtitles are done a bit faster with added motivation behind them. And I shouldn't skip thanking FODA's TAS, the run this one aims to obsolete, as it gave a nice comparison point and some kind of route already worked out before.
|start||318||318||0||To set up password (B4EGLMAI); Only difference here is cosmetic|
|r01||406||404||- 2||Saved on lag, somehow|
|r05||507||486||- 31||Went to the right after breakable block|
|r09||1184||1181||- 3||Hate this level. Lag's a pain|
|r10||727||710||- 13||Slightly more efficient shooting secret wall; Lag stuff|
|r11||771||654||-117||Lag management; Skipped a key|
|t13||406||400||- 6||Oh, treasure room. Little of note|
|r14||702||730||+ 28||That key I skipped? Needed a new one now. Skipped a different key|
|r17||913||870||- 43||Skipped a switch panel; Got a fast key behind secret wall|
|r18||497||491||- 6||Slightly different route|
|t19||403||401||- 2||Probably has to do with pre-lag input or something|
|r20||1039||1022||- 17||Mostly just lag management|
|r21||423||420||- 3||Not sure how I sped this one up. One lag to zero doesn't explain the other two frames|
|r22||845||847||+ 2||Extra frames were added due to treasure room RNG|
|t24||327||328||+ 1||FODA did pre-lag input here for some reason; Also, had less HP due to bad timer|
|r25||523||523||0||Slight differences, but somehow balances to zero|
|r27||872||866||- 6||Pushed that first block; Lag management; Hate those bubbles|
|r28||621||621||0||I think treasure room RNG prevented me from pulling ahead|
|t29||321||321||0||Treasure room. Nothing to note|
|r30||380||379||- 1||I'm not sure where I did more optimal movement|
|r34||1716||1702||- 14||Slightly better movement; Good Treasure Room RNG|
|t36||329||328||- 1||Not sure what FODA did different here|
|r37||1471||1328||-143||Lag reduction by aggressive killing|
|r40||1097||1035||- 62||Picked a secret key|
|t41||312||312||0||Bah, Treasure room|
|r42||633||635||+ 2||Picked another secret key|
|r43||323||322||- 1||Pre-lag input, most likely|
|r44||1232||1187||- 45||Lag management, mostly|
|t49||416||420||+ 4||Bad RNG for exit|
|r50||972||929||- 43||How? My notes claim I got more lag|
|r51||344||342||- 2||Nothing to note|
|r52||1065||858||-207||Popped a potion to kill absurd amounts of lag|
|t55||601||419||-182||Did not get HP boost, yet|
|r56||1108||1099||- 9||Um... More precise movements? Oh, and that zone of treasure is surrounded by legitimate walls|
|r57||391||568||+177||Now I get the HP boost|
|r60||229||228||- 1||Uh... What happened that allowed me to save a frame?|
|r59||432||430||- 2||Also straightforward. Not sure what's different|
|t62||398||395||- 3||Treasure room. Now I get decent luck|
|r63||248||246||- 2||Navigating the invisible walls better?|
|r64||357||359||+ 2||Lost frames. Where, exactly?|
|r65||386||378||- 8||Saved enough for usable treasure room RNG|
|t67||425||421||- 4||Nothing of note|
|r68||567||541||- 16||Lag, probably|
|r69||969||973||+ 4||Hate this level, hate the bubbles, want to use a potion I can't spare...|
|s70||409||387||- 22||Better management at shooting destrucable blocks|
|t71||415||415||0||Nothing to note|
|r72||586||576||- 10||Rounded corners, lag management|
|r75||807||675||-132||Different path to avoid more breakable blocks|
|t78||416||412||- 4||Nothing noted|
|r79||1085||1037||- 48||Aggressive killings to manage lag; Had a demon destroy its own generator|
|t83||332||330||- 2||Note: Nothing|
|r84||785||746||- 39||Lag management, breakable block shootings|
|r86||1354||1113||-241||Avoided a stun panel|
|r87||1164||1060||-104||More stuff hit by potion; Somehow I take 255 damage in a single hit|
|t88||328||326||- 2||Noting nothing|
|r89||353||350||- 3||Lower lag. Still took a longer path that spent a few of those frames|
|r91||467||438||- 29||Ignored the invisibility; This might be another potion candidate|
|r93||1285||1259||- 26||Different path|
|r94||481||461||- 20||Spent a potion in a spot with fewer enemies, but eliminates more lag|
|r99||2137||1834||-303||Spent a potion. Navigation went pretty smoothly, though|
|100||3172||2199||-973||Spent only two potions instead of three; Faster dragon kill; Careful lag management|
Just a few sorts of things that come to mind. Nothing elaborate I can really think of to say, though.
Setting the vault combination
FODA already did plenty of work here, and I'm merely following that work at face value. The vault combination is determined by the first character of your password, and that is affected by when you confirm your character.
Wall walking causes lag
If trying to "push" a wall, either straight on or diagonally, this is likely to add lag frames. FODA frequently did this; Most sorts of lag I removed was due to simply avoiding walking into walls.
Pass through enemies
An enemy can move onto a square that you're just barely on; Since you're technically in this square as well, you can freely move through it. FODA seemed to know of this just fine.
Dragon head invulnerability
The end boss has 100 HP for each head. While a head is breathing fire, it can't take damage. Therefore, it is best to activate each head at different times so that you can attack one while another is breathing fire.
Even better lag management, mostly. Especially room 09. Trying to figure out when a good time to spend a frame or two attacking/shooting something to reduce future lag leaves a lot of uncertainty whether you really did get the best path. I suspect even the random music might be useful to manipulate for lag purposes.
Even so, the RNG runs every frame, and one rather pronounced source of randomness is that treasure rooms select an exit at random. If a room uses the RNG to locate an exit, it is possible that your eight frames of savings are all lost by that RNG getting the right exit. I'd like to call it a "frame rule" based on RNG.
Then again, I hate every bubble I've come across. Not one of them made me feel good about passing them. Their random movements make me feel I could get past them more quickly. I just took anything that looked reasonably fast and called it a good day.
I haven't considered too deeply the consequences of the route done in a speedrun by Jeff Feasel at SpeedDemosArchive. The 10 potions in the world 2 clue room look real interesting, as lag is immense wherever you go. Still, something to think about in case someone wants to improve on this run.
Nach: Nice run, good audience response, accepting as improvement to existing run.
Spikestuff: Things to cry about and do, Publishing.