Earnest Evans is a whip-wielding adventurer in the same likeness of the greats: Indiana Jones, Honesty Hudson, Montana Morrison, Kind-Of-A-Jerk Kincaid, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Lombardi and of course, Earnest's brother, Rich Evans. OHHHHH MY GOOOOOOOOOOD
- Emulator used: BizHawk 1.11.3
- Roughly aims for fastest time
- Takes damage very fast to save time
- Uses death to save time
- Does it count as abusing programming errors if the entire game is a programming error
- hey does anyone remember that devo song
- you know, the one that goes
- WORKIN' IN A COALMINE, GOIN' DOWNTOWN
Forgive the minor encoding error around 4:18. This graphical glitch is not in the game at all.
Earnest Evans, apart from having a natural x200 multiplier in Adventure Capitalist (he doesn't earn, he doesn't earner, he earnests), is a game released for both the Sega Genesis and the Sega CD, with the Sega CD version having an enhanced soundtrack and a slide whistle effect every time Earnest moves. It is actually the second game in a very loose trilogy, coming after El Viento and preceding the Japan-only Annet Futatabi. There were at least three jokes I could have made out of that name and none of them are work-safe. Also it might be Anett Futatabi. Wikipedia is giving me trust issues. The game was developed by Wolf Team, who are mostly known now for splitting into Namco Tales Studio and tri-Ace and going on to develop much better games than Earnest Evans.
I started this recently, worked on it, and finished it. This improves the published run by an amount of frames. These frames were improved with tricks. Earnest Evans is also in the film to deliver lines.
You Can't Teach An Old Earnest New Tricks
That's funny, because I totally did. SUCK IT, IDIOMS.
When swinging from hooks, you get launched higher and farther the longer your whip is hooked onto them. Since getting hurt knocks you back, you can hold yourself on a hook longer than intended, giving you ridiculous speed and height. This is used to reach the top of Stage 1 much faster and unfortunately doesn't get used much elsewhere.
You can also die while attached to a hook: Dying sends you flying backward, which extends your time on the hook greatly and thus sends you flying. This can put you into ceilings and send you flying over entire stages, but unfortunately I couldn't find an actual use for it in the run due to how the stages work. Poorly. They work poorly.
Death Through Door
The biggest improvement in this run is right in the first stage. Normally you need a key to open the door to the boss of the area, but if you die in the right spot, you'll get sent flying backwards right through the door without needing the key, and you can exit right back out just fine.
Death in general is far more abused in this run, mostly as a cheap full health refill to be more aggressive on bosses without losing any time on the deaths themselves. I use up all the continues I have. Also, used in places where I die and need to keep moving forward: If you jump a frame after pressing start to continue, you get a significant speed boost while you "stand up".
Only used in Stage 2 because it's the only stage that requires climbing. Hitting the very lowest part of certain climbable walls with the very top of your body allows you to grab them while you're slightly inside the wall. You can rapid-fire climb into the wall from here, which will send you upward at the max vertical speed of a jump. However, at some point you'll get stuck in the wall and start taking damage, because this game was programmed, so even if it looks like I can go higher in the one place where this applies, I can't.
This is used in the published run, but I found a few new places to use it. If you land in a crawlspace in just the right way and keep jumping, you will maintain standing position and normal running speed all the way through instead of needing to use the slower crouchwalk. It's easier if you're jumping up into a crawlspace, but it's possible to do when jumping down in certain places.
Nothing in this game has invulnerability frames. As long as hitboxes are colliding, damage can be done every frame. Therefore I time each attack and position Earnest in just the right way to maximize the damage of each hit. If you see me randomly turning around during boss fights, it's because the whip hitbox extends behind Earnest for that period of time. This is one of the primary improvements of the run, with all bosses except for three receiving fairly large improvements due to managing weapon hitboxes better.
In certain cases, pausing for a frame or two at certain times can manipulate enemies into different movement patterns. This is mostly used to clear lag.
earnest what are you doing
Stage by stage comments
Right at the beginning, I lose 9 frames to extra lag while the stage loads. Emulation!
Kill enemies to reduce lag, stall slightly to set up the spikes for a pain launch. Damage boost through the locked door in a way that puts me as far over to the right as possible. I don't kill this boss as quickly as possible: It's technically slower than the published run's fight in fact. I delay the final hit to give myself a much better boulder pattern that makes up for the lost time against the boss in spades.
307 frames are saved from the beginning of the stage up to the boss appearing, mostly from the door skip. I take a 15 frame loss on the boss in order to save 71 frames with the better boulder boosting, for an overall improvement of 363 frames. There are also 39 less lag frames in the stage for a real time improvement of 402 frames.
Found the walljump zip in that cave section, then figured I could use it on the first climb in the level, saving a fair amount of time. Using weapon hitboxes to my advantage, I can kill the boss before it separates, making it look like I'm swinging the whip at a boss that's already dead. It isn't. Trust me on this one.
The wallzips save about 79 frames total, while the boss fight is 24 frames faster, for a total gameplay improvement of 103 frames. On the minus side, there are 94 extra frames of lag, bringing the grand total to 9 realtime frames of improvement. Heyoooooo.
Heavy movement optimization allowed me to make an earlier spinning platform cycle, which is on a global timer and was the only possible way to save a significant amount of time in this stage. Boss takes 5 stones to kill and it's more precise than it looks.
The movement optimization in the early part of the stage was what allowed any improvement at all here, 87 gameplay frames of improvement to be precise. With that, there were also 19 less lag frames for a realtime improvement of 106 frames.
Played around with the whip launch near the end of the level to give myself the longest possible boost. The ball and chain is ridiculously powerful, and shows off exactly how weapon hitbox optimization works.
Most of the improvement here were from the much bigger whip boost near the end of the stage and the faster boss fight. 74 gameplay frames improved here, but there were 21 more lag frames overall, for a realtime improvement of 53 frames.
Only one of two stages with an overall loss. BizHawk and Gens handle lag differently at the end of the stage: BizHawk lags like mad during the boss fight but not during the plane ride, Gens barely lags during the boss fight but lags like mad during the plane ride. Studied it for a while, couldn't come up with a solution or a faster fight so I went with it. I'm assuming part of it is the weird lag situation and the other part is a worse boss pattern, which happens a lot in this movie.
When taking notes on improvements, I pooled together stages 5 and 6 due to the weird lag issue, so I'll talk about it there.
The driver of the car is from El Viento. Cool I guess. This is a fairly straightforward stage. There are a couple places where I pause for a frame to manipulate enemies into leaving the screen earlier.
I lost 31 frames from the weirdness in Stage 5, which wasn't enough for me to get worked up over, but I made up for it with a 27 frame faster boss fight in Stage 6 and 22 less lag frames, so over these two stages I still saved 18 realtime frames.
One of only two stages without a boss, so everything here is movement optimization and health management. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't find a way to avoid dying at the end. Better health management almost always lead to worse enemy patterns.
Despite this, with a little bit of movement optimization and the deathboost at the end, I saved 25 gameplay frames, but lost 13 lag frames, for a realtime total of 12 frames.
The other of two stages with an overall loss, but that's only due to the tons of extra lag. This is just a harsh climb to the boss: The stairs don't like to work because this game was programmed Very Good, so I have to time my jumps in a way where I can actually jump.
The boss fight is 19 gameplay frames faster, but all of that and more is offset by the 50 extra frames of lag, so overall I'm 31 realtime frames slower here. But hey, these things can't be helped. Even optimizing lag as much as possible on a more accurate emulator can still lead to overall losses.
Stage 9 is what I like to call my personal nightmare. It's got all of my biggest fears in it: Heights, massive bugs, the outdoors, death, dangerous waters, and rejection. The start of the stage contains the second biggest improvement in the run, which is a massive swing that sails straight over the falling tree. Then after that it's mostly just more swinging and bosses. You may notice I die on the stage boss, this only loses 2 frames and allows me to be a bit more aggressive with the Stage 11 boss, which saves more time than is lost here.
The first swing saves 294 frames by itself. The first miniboss is 19 frames faster, and the stage boss is 18 frames faster. Overall, there are 6 less frames of lag in the stage, so the total realtime improvement is 337 frames.
If you're paying close attention to this submission text... Well, for one, you're paying more attention to it than I am, but more importantly you may have seen the video I posted where I die while swinging and sail straight to the end of the stage. This is where the rejection comes into play: The stage doesn't end until you kill the boss. The boss doesn't appear until you kill the miniboss. It sucks, as this would have been a much, much more substantial improvement if I could have made that death launch work, but unfortunately game logic had to kick in and ruin my dreams.
This stage, like my description, ends prematu
Showing off the wonderful programming of this game here. The stage wraps around vertically, and you can catch yourself on the wall above you at the start and jump off of it, hitting the end of level trigger from below and skipping the entire stage.
I still managed to save 3 gameplay frames and 3 lag frames here, for a total of 6 realtime frames. I don't even really know how I did that, but I did that.
What a great idea! Fish monsters!
Having more health allows me to fight more aggressively, and once again I die at the same time as killing the boss as it doesn't waste and time and refills my health for the final stage.
22 frames saved on the boss fight, 2 lag frames saved, so 24 realtime frames saved in this stage.
Having health on this stage is a huge plus. The bosses are large, sure, but it's still a huge boon to be able to take damage from them to set up for more damaging attacks. The first boss can't be killed before it retreats into the background: At best I'd need to be able to get at least one more full swing in to be able to do that, which doesn't really work out unfortunately. The extra health allows for a faster boss fight since I can take damage to do more damage with each swing. This allows me to deliver the final hit using the back end of Earnest's swing, saving a bit of walking time as well.
Like the published run, I take a death on the second bos so I can go full hog on the final boss. This is actually the most improved boss in the run. Utilizing weapon hitboxes to their full potential did a lot to make this fight faster.
The final boss, on the other hand, can eat a dick. I spent hours trying to manipulate it into a better pattern, but I had absolutely no luck without ruining the rest of the improvements in comparison. After all that time, this is the fastest fight I could come up with for that pattern.
The first boss was killed 17 frames faster, the second boss was killed 92 frames faster, and the final boss was 70 frames slower due to an unmanipulable pattern. Since I'm almost completely sure my math doesn't properly add up, I'll just awkwardly end this section with an improvement summary.
1054 gameplay frames were saved throughout the course of the run, there were 122 extra lag frames compared to the published run, so overall this is a 932 frame improvement.
I'm not sure if I'll ever do a version 2, as the momentum I had from the first two stages was quickly dashed by the remaining 10 being a nightmare, but if anyone else wants to take it on here's a few things of note:
There are known improvements in stages 6 and 7 that amount to about 35 frames, but implementing these ruined the stage 8 boss pattern in a horrible way, negating those 35 frames by adding seconds worth of lag and about 15 frames of waiting needed just to start the fight optimally. Figuring out how to properly manipulate the pattern of the final boss is probably the biggest improvement I can think of, barring a new trick or a better application of one of the current tricks.
Earnest Evans is wonky. It is ridiculously wonky. I wouldn't be surprised if a future run improved every stage by at least half a second due to how awkward the movement is and how nothing makes sense. However, I'd recommend all future runs to be on the Sega CD version: If I come back to improving this, I'll be doing it on Sega CD.
The run started out really fun to do, but it slowly turned into more and more of a drag as I realized my early discoveries had no merit in later stages. Despite that, I'm glad to have gotten it done even if I'm admittedly a bit unhappy with how it turned out. Now I can move on to faster, more interesting projects, like Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey and Disgaea DS 100%.
- Shoutouts to arandomgameTASer for bringing up the game in the first place, causing me to defend how much I unironically enjoy its existence, and subsequently TAS it because of that unironic enjoyment. Because of this, I'm now going to TAS at least one bad game I unironically enjoy every year. Last year was Treasure Master, this year is Earnest Evans... What could even come next?
- Kudos to RTA runner ZELLLOOO, whose record run/comments told me about the swing boost at the beginning of Stage 9
- Thanks to adelikat for the published run and being a constant source of motivation throughout this run's creation
- Props to IRC and people in the thread for existing and reacting strongly to my early discoveries
ars4326: Hi again, Samsara. Really good work here on improving adelikat's previous run. The number of clever tricks utilized to speed up the otherwise clunky Earnest was impressive to watch. Death abuse and weapon hitboxes were effectively used well, also. Nice job!
Accepting as an improvement to the published run!