Pinocchio is a game about a wooden puppet trying to become a real boy by gaining 3 magic badges from the Blue Fairy. Pinocchio skips, spins, jumps, dances, and swims his way to save his father in 16:24.
- Emulator used: Bizhawk
- Fastest Time
- Hard Mode
This platformer offers 9 levels, each with unique rules. The art is pretty good too. The game attempts to stay true to the story of the movie, which sometimes doesn't match what the designers had in mind. As a result, the manual helps clear up what you are supposed to do, and what the power ups do, which are actually pretty hard to figure out from just playing.
Altogether, the various methods of movement, and varying techniques needed (some levels need heavy RNG manipulations, others are straight optimization of movement) makes this an enjoyable game to TAS.
There was a previous easy mode submission by Archanfel which I based some of my paths on. Many of the hard mode levels are made harder by having more obstacles, and harder requirements for beating a level.
However, either due to different emulator choice, or actually-different-jump-height for hard mode, some of the shortcuts and tricks used in the easy mode run simply don't work (trust me I tried). This results in some lost time in level 5, but otherwise didn't effect the run.
Stage by stage comments
Level 1: An Actor's Life For Me
In this stage, you navigate the town trying to get to school. There are various doorways you can enter to progress, but if you enter the door marked "Easy Street" you'll get sent back to the beginning!
The level is broken into 3 screens. On easy mode, the level ends after the first screen. On screen 1.1, I even manager to save a couple frames compared to the easy run with some slightly different jump timings.
Powerups: White Page: I picked it up, which lets Pinocchio sink on Level 6 for longer. I'm not sure if it really matters, but it doesn't cost me any frames.
Yellow Page: I skipped it, it lets the Balloons in Level 4 last longer before popping. Obvious this doesn't matter since we're not hanging around.
Blue Page: I picked it up. It supposedly lets Pinocchio jump higher, but even with it, I can't reach the same height as in the Easy Mode run.
Red Page: This one lets you spin attack. It up appears about 1 second before the end of the level. I skipped it, but the game isn't fooled, and forces you to pick it up anyway while the cinematic plays. You need this to beat the game. I'm not sure why they didn't just unlock the attack from the start.
This stage offers some various different types of boosters. Signposts, shutters, and water pumps can be used to spring around the level. Entering the signpost or shutter facing the opposite direction of where you are heading will result in a few pixel boost as Pinocchio snaps into place.
I use a couple other tricks, like taking damage for a boost, wiggling to clip through a chimney a bit faster, and falling through a roof so I can get access to a shutter boost.
In general, your horizontal speed is constant, so hopping here and there is just for fun. Most jumps however are to get the right animation/collision frame for hitting the booster as efficiently as possible.
As a reward for getting to school without delay, I get a Red Badge of Truth. This fox guy is having none of that, so I'm not going to school today anyway.
Level 2: Lampside Seating
Jiminy Cricket heard that Pinocchio is going to be in a marionette show, so he wants the best seat in the house. And he'll kill other species while he waits, because, why not.
On hard mode you must kill 5 months, each with progressively more HP. This level is tedious to optimize. The trick is to set it up so that it turns back towards the lamp so you can hit it again as soon as possible. This means finicking with your position, and sometimes delaying a few frames to alter the flying pattern.
In the mean time, earwigs, pillbugs, and flies will try to wage war on you. Their AI is basically set as soon as they spawn, so altering the direction they are spawning in is usually enough to be able to ignore them.
Jiminy also has an umbrella which he can use to float, or as a shield to reflect incoming bugs. After this, we never see him again. It's kind of strange.
Level 3: The Marionette Show
Dance minigame. There are 4 scenes, and there is really no speeding it up. Unfortunately on hard mode, each dancer does 6 moves instead of 4. This takes a while and is not very interesting to watch or TAS :(. At this point, the game design feels very disconnected. But not to worry, we fix that soon.
Level 4: Pleasure Island
Kids play games of "Brick-face" while Pinocchio tries to catch a balloon and fly away. Then we ride a roller coaster which doesn't meet safety standards.
I use the rollercoaster shortcuts from the easy mode run. Ringing the bell switches the tracks so you can get to the fireworks display.
The fireworks drops wands, books, and hats. Wands restore health, 5 books is a continue, and 5 hats is a life. I run into the fireworks wildly because it turns out, to beat this level you have to collect a bunch of items. Why does this beat the level? To quote a walk through, "Only the programmers know".
Level 5: Escape from Pleasure Island
In this level, the jump-height difference between easy and hard becomes apparent. There are several shortcuts that the easy mode run makes easily. In this run, even on the first jump, I need to wiggle to set the collision box so I don't fall. Other jumps, I give up on and take a slightly longer route.
Not sure if this is an emulator problem, but I'd guess on Hard-mode, even with the Blue Page power up, you don't jump as high as on easy mode with no blue page. And if you are wondering "Well maybe the manual got it wrong, and the yellow page is the jump upgrade" nope, tried that too.
We kick an old man off a cliff and get a Yellow Badge of Bravery.
Level 6: Search for Monstro
In this level, you float because you are made of wood! Eat enough clams and you sink to the bottom instead. This is kind of neat, there is a lot of traps and enemies that you can use for boosts, and planning which clams to pick up (and RNG controls where they spawn) can result in an interesting challenge.
Level 7: Fish!
Fish! In this level, you grab fishtails and jump left. Repeat until a cat-man in a suit swims from right to left. After he's offscreen, you can decide life isn't worth it and fall off the right edge. However! If you do so before the cat-man has made his exit, then you die. Why? "Only the programmers know". This one isn't even explained in the manual.
On easy mode, you can skip this level by giving up immediately. *shrug*
Level 8: Inside Monstro
Here you have to break crates to collect 25 pieces of firewood. That's 25 more than on easy. There are more than 25 crates, so you have some choice on which ones you want to get. After you collect them, you must kick over a lamp and set the ship on fire.
After some jumping over deathpits, you and Geppetto mean up on a raft, and the whale spits you out.
Level 9: Escape from Monstro
This level is requires you to jump over low rocks, and duck under high ones. When Monstro shows up, whirlwinds appear out of nowhere and though they look like obsticles, they are actually collectables that hurt the boss. That's also not explained in the manual and why does picking up a whirlwind hurt a whale?
At the end of the level, Geppetto decides to go for a swim, but you must stop him from having fun by jumping in yourself. The manual hints that this is what you're supposed to do. If you wait to long you die with no explanation, other than what is in the manual. So "remember to think of someone else's safety before your own".
As a reward, you get the Blue Badge of Unselfishness, and become a real boy.
There is some room for improvement, specifically in level 2. Manipulating the AI can definitely earn a few frames here and there, but it would require reoptimizing the entire fight scene (and as a result, any RNG dependent stuff like fireworks and clams later in the game). But, it might be worth it.
On level 5, if anyone figures out how to take the shortcuts, a few second can be saved.
Samsara: I'd say I don't have a joke for this, but I'd be lying. Judging.
Samsara: I didn't see any immediately obvious problems with optimization, so I'm accepting this to Vault. This will obsolete the easy mode run, as it is a more complete run of the game.
feos seems to have pre-claimed this for publication.