- Forgoes major game breaking glitches
- Forgoes out of bounds
- Forgoes memory corruption
- Aims for lowest real time / frame count
- Abuses minor glitches and exploits
- Takes damage to save time
- Manipulates luck
- Energy Tank = E-Tank
- Reserve Tank = R-Tank
- Super Missile = Super
- Power Bomb = PB
- X-Ray Scope = X-Ray
- Speed Booster = Speed
- Hi-Jump Boots = HJB
- Charge Beam = Charge
- Plasma Beam = Plasma
- Mother Brain = MB
- Damage Boost = D-Boost
- Continuous Wall Jump = CWJ
- Shinespark = Spark
- RNG = Random Number Generation
- PLM = Post-Load Modification
This is an even newer Any% TAS of Super Metroid, involving a vastly different and superior route to save an enormous amount of time over my previous Any% TAS. With a real time of 35:58.3 and in-game time of 20:59:44 (minutes:seconds:frames), I have improved upon that TAS by a whopping 103 real time seconds and 97 in-game time seconds. Even though the in-game time is right on the edge of the next minute, no real time was sacrificed to achieve it.
X-Ray (along with a R-Tank) has been incorporated into this run, which saves around 11 seconds through various wild applications. This is also the first full-game TAS that takes complete advantage of the moonfall technique.
The production of this TAS was lengthy, and multiple times, it would be restarted from some point in the beginning to correct mistakes and/or incorporate new discoveries, such as moonfall. There are many tiny, near-invisible optimizations in the majority of rooms, and some cool, completely new strategies applied throughout.
The main goal of this Any% TAS was to beat the game by applying all of the discoveries from the past several years, barring the usage of out of bounds and memory corruption of course.
Proving itself to be the greatest boss order of all time, and matching the Low% TAS, Kraid -> Ridley -> Draygon -> Phantoon is the boss order of choice here. As a result, most of the beam upgrades were brought back (sorry Spazer), and Gravity Suit was thrown into the ocean.
Yet again, I grab the Brinstar R-Tank as it is required for performing a trick referred to as "God Mode", or G-Mode for short, which is activated to enter Lower Norfair from what is normally its exit, rather than from its elevator. Although the R-Tank can serve as a replacement to one E-Tank for the purpose of surviving MB's rainbow beam, a fourth tank (a third E-Tank) would prove too valuable to attempt skipping, due to the extreme amount of energy consumed throughout the run from sparks.
By moonwalking then pressing jump (frame 1: < or > + X, frame 2: A), instead of performing a jump, Samus will perform a turnaround animation right before performing the jump.
This particular jump will not write a new value to its vertical direction (7E0B36), causing its Y-speed value to underflow, if performed from the normal ground state. Normally, Samus's falling speed is capped at ~5 pixels per frame, but by performing this jump, her speed will be uncapped.
Therefore, by performing a moonfall, it is possible to acquire a large amount of falling speed, which can be used to pass through entire tiles. A standard tile is 16 pixels by 16 pixels.
Additionally, it is also possible to store this speed by pixel-and-frame-perfectly unmorphing onto a surface, whereby this stored speed can be unleashed later by performing the moonfall inputs again. The speed will remain stored so long as Samus does not crouch, uncrouch, jump, fall off of a surface, or get struck by something.
Inverse CWJ Methods
A few new methods were found for performing inverse CWJs, or ICWJs, during the development of this TAS:
- Freezing an enemy in order to ICWJ from it, and then slaying it immediately after walljumping from it to prevent colliding with it and thus losing speed. Performed using the Mochtroids in Colosseum.
- Performing an ICWJ and then immediately morphing afterward to prevent a collision. Performed in the "Three Musketeers" room upon entering Lower Norfair through G-Mode - by kicking off of the second mechanical pillar and then morphing afterward, it became possible to barely maneuver over the acid.
Activating X-Ray on the same frame that the knockback timer expires alters some properties of X-Ray, allowing for horizontal movement via arm pumping, and even activating sparks. X-Ray normally resets the spark timer immediately upon activating, but does not do so in this mode.
Discovered by EternisedDragon in 2015. Running out of energy during a door transition does not trigger the R-Tank's "Auto" feature before the next room is fully loaded. When the next room finishes loading, there is one frame of game play before the R-Tank activates.
This frame can be used to activate X-Ray, and although doing so would normally cause the less-useful "R-Mode", found many years ago by Kejardon, G-Mode can be achieved instead if the input used for activating X-Ray is released within a ~3 frame window, while the R-Tank finishes refilling Samus's energy.
This enables control over Samus, but leaves some properties of X-Ray active - for example, the game is unable to execute any PLMs, such as crumble blocks or screen scroll controllers (which is the reason the camera doesn't follow Samus during this mode), meaning activating too many PLMs will cause the queue to fill up and make most of them nonsolid. Thus, through G-Mode, Lower Norfair is easily accessible through what is normally its exit by jumping through the nonsolid pillars and crumble blocks.
The mode is disabled whenever X-Ray is activated again, and since doors are also PLMs, they will not open while the mode is active (excluding the initial door, which stays open when the mode is first activated, allowing the mode to persist into the room you were originally in).
Discovered by SUPERMETROIDFTP in 2015 after he found that releasing X-Mode while sparking vertically would result in a crazy amount of speed. The reason for such speed is that during vertical sparks, speed continues building by ~7 pixels per frame for unknown reasons.
Despite the speed increase, the spark does not use the memory address associated with such speed; however, if the spark is interrupted by deactivating X-Ray, that speed becomes Samus's new speed, which can be a value of up to hundreds of pixels per frame depending on how long the spark progressed before X-Ray was deactivated.
Additionally, whenever X-Ray is deactivated while sparking, a blue suit is generated, which proves to be quite useful over the course of the run.
Although superjumps can be used to easily access out of bounds areas, Samus never enters an out of bounds area during this run.
A superjump can be stored if it is released slightly above ground height. Samus will be placed in a standing position on the ground with her vertical speed maintained, which can be unleashed through various different means. This is referred to as a "stored superjump".
If dash is held while X-Ray is selected in the HUD, it prevents the Charge timer from increasing and even allows for the release of the shot button to maintain the Charge timer's value. As a result, it is possible to morph in midair - while maintaining a beam's charge - without turning around first.
Although a unique detail, it only managed to save one frame within the run - while revisiting Wasteland, a charge was maintained through the tunnel in order to open the vertical door one frame earlier due to the charge shot's larger hitbox.
Certain foes, such as Phantoon, Botwoon, and Draygon, are unique in that their invulnerability frames will still elapse while X-Ray is active, effectively allowing for one charged Plasma shot to strike them multiple times, similar to the infamous "pause glitch" in Mega Man. Technically not a new technique, but worth mentioning anyway.
Details & Improvements Per Area
Immediately, the run begins with a moonfall, which saves 15 frames.
During the escape, the transition between the stair room and the tile room was corrected with a forwards knockback, saving 8 frames.
~4 seconds total were saved between the Parlor and the Climb by performing moonfalls.
There were no real time improvements to this area compared to my previous runs; however, I did manage to save 1 in-game frame by falling down Construction Zone 1 frame faster, which caused the door to become 1 pixel off-center.
A frame was saved in the room before Bomb Torizo through a new sequencing of the Missiles, and a frame was saved after bombing the wall before the Terminator room by timing the shot better, opening the door a frame earlier.
Acquiring a Missile drop from a Kago bug instead of the first Geemer in the Terminator room saved 4-5 frames.
Optimizing the first d-boost in the Green Pirate Shaft, along with storing and unleashing speed through moonfall, saved ~12 frames.
In the elevator room, 10 frames were saved through a slight optimization of the door-opening strategy.
The R-Tank, which is a requirement of G-Mode, is collected at the cost of ~1026 frames.
2 frames were saved by d-boosting into the Super pack instead of jumping into it.
Clipping through the PB floor of the elevator room saves 30-40 seconds due to the assortment of useful items in the rooms below the floor.
In the Dachora room, 10-20 frames were lost by farming 3 drops - to prepare the R-Tank's energy pool accordingly for the upcoming G-Mode - and 3-4 seconds were saved by destroying the center blockade with a PB.
The storage and unleashing of moonfalls throughout Big Pink saved 10-20 frames.
A moonfall is used while waiting on the bomb explosion to save a few frames.
X-Ray is collected at a hefty price of ~2960 frames, but will prove to be well worth it over time.
The room strategies of X-Ray and the room before/after are seconds faster in comparison to Cpadolf's (obsoleted) game end glitch TAS.
Cacatacs cause RNG to advance at twice its normal speed, so its death is delayed to manipulate Kraid's drops.
Two of the pirates were farmed at the cost of 10-20 frames, and the d-boost before the Gadora was skipped at the cost of 9 frames, in order to maintain enough energy for the lag reduction performed during Kraid's rising sequence (without getting "health bombed" afterward).
HJB are not acquired until after Ridley as it turned out to be faster to delay them than to collect them by falling back down and climbing back up.
A single round of Gamets are farmed after Speed, acquiring 5 Supers at the cost of ~70 frames. The odds of this happening normally are approximately 72 in 10,000.
As explained previously, Lower Norfair is entered from its exit via G-Mode, saving ~2600 frames. During the downtime spent waiting on the Multiviola to make its way near the door, I farm two Supers and a PB.
The two Kihunters are taken out with a spark upon entering, reducing lag that would occur through the rest of the room after the acid recedes. Afterwards, a ridiculous ICWJ is performed off the pillar, followed by a soft-unmorph to store fall speed that is unleashed in the next room via moonfall.
A blue suit via X-Mode is produced, saving time in the next few rooms by being able to destroy Kihunters and blocks upon contact. Additionally, moonfalls are stored and unleashed throughout the area, saving 2-4 frames per use, preventing slopes from slowing Samus down.
A new double ball boost strategy was implemented in the room after the steel pirates, saving 50 energy at the cost of ~10 frames.
Compared to previous X-Factor-performing TASes, the lag throughout the fight has been greatly reduced, and a new strategy for the first X-Factor is ~20 frames faster. Altogether, the fight is over a second faster than those TASes.
Superjumps throughout this area saved a combined amount of ~392 frames.
The dash swap technique is executed while leaving Wasteland, saving the aforementioned frame.
Believe it or not, bombing the pillars outside of Lower Norfair is faster for real time than using a PB.
40-50 frames were saved by d-boosting off the Multiviola after the tunnel mockball.
The items around the HJB area are collected with a speedball similar to the one performed in Cpadolf's Any%.
Just like in my previous Any% TAS, Maridia is entered through the green gate by freezing the Zebbo beneath it and mockballing into it, forcing it to open and keeping the glass tube intact.
A X-Mode spark allows Samus to fly through the sand hall, and the blue suit gained from that allows Samus to superjump through the gray door that normally prevents access to Plasma until Draygon has been defeated. Unfortunately, this causes the graphics to become misaligned for the remainder of the run.
After grabbing Plasma, another blue suit is created via X-Mode, with a moonfall performed after onto the center of the door below as it is opening, fixing the transition, and yet another moonfall right after in the next room.
Another X-Mode spark is performed, this time to skip the gray door that normally prevents access to Draygon until Botwoon has been defeated, in a much quicker manner than otherwise.
In Cacatac Alley, the blue suit gained from the above is transformed into a spark suit. Then, at the end of the Colosseum, this spark suit is transformed back into a blue suit. This is because X-Ray is used to defeat Draygon, and activating X-Ray normally would erase a spark suit - but not a blue suit.
So long as she is moving, blue suit keeps Samus safe from turret shots.
Thanks to our totally-legitimately-acquired Plasma, X-Plasma is used to fry Draygon in mere seconds.
Upon revisiting Cacatac Alley, a spark suit is obtained in an extremely small distance by abusing X-Mode, and then X-Mode is used again to horizontally spark through a chunk of the room.
A stored superjump is performed in the Butterfly room, and unleashed in the next room, causing Samus to rise through the wall, up into the door above without even having to open it.
In the Thread The Needle room, an X-Mode spark is performed through the first half of the room, and the second half of the room is farmed to regain energy for a spark in Crateria later.
The spark from the blue suit gained through the X-Mode spark is used to superjump directly up the elevator shaft, skipping the intended elevator ride and saving ~10 seconds. There was only 1 frame remaining on the spark timer at the time of activation.
Two perfectly overlapped Kago bugs were able to be farmed without slowing down.
Previous energy preparation caused the spark to end at the optimal location next to the door.
The moonfalls throughout the main shaft and room before Phantoon saved a total of 20-30 frames.
Just like Draygon, Phantoon is satisfyingly annihilated with a single charge shot - after striking it with a Missile - saving ~90 frames. The Missile is required to have Phantoon initiate movement, as otherwise, Phantoon would immediately disappear upon contact with the charge shot.
Due to the previous energy and ammo acquisitions, I was able to skip most of Phantoon's drops, performing the traditional speedball exit.
Superjumping up the main shaft saved ~3 seconds.
The leftover blue suit allowed for sparking earlier through the hallway and over the ocean, ending at the ideal location as a result of previous energy preparation, saving over a second compared to the bounce ball strategy that was performed in my Low% run.
Slopekiller is activated upon unmorphing after leaping over the moat, which was either equally fast or 1 frame faster.
Once again, moonfalls are stored and unleashed throughout Green Pirate Shaft, allowing the pirates to be farmed while also saving 4 frames.
Finally, the dance performed along the water in front of the statues is actually Samus building speed through moonfall (although at worse acceleration due to liquid physics), causing her to reach the elevator platform 13 frames faster than before.
Strategies similar to those of Saturn's RBO were used to dispatch the Metroids, tweaked slightly for real time.
By using moonfall to clip into part of the dome on the ground, I was able to gain more speed before the first jump of the Super Metroid skip, making it 1 frame swifter than Cpadolf's 100%.
The moonfall down the shaft outside of MB's chamber saved ~13 frames.
I was able to gain a spark suit during the collapse of MB's tank, only taking 1 point of damage (from the spark). This was accomplished by d-boosting towards MB, which causes Samus to constantly gain knockback frames, and that portion of MB does not deal damage. However, no new knockback pose is given to Samus because the knockback timer never reaches zero.
Upon building enough speed, I crouch to charge a spark, and then gain the spark suit by using the knockback frames from MB appropriately.
Outside of one frame that occurred during her redbeam, this phase is entirely without lag.
The spark suit is activated right before rainbow beam connects, which causes Samus to override the post-rainbow stun, effectively acting as a three-tank standup glitch.
Precise bomb jumps and walljumps are performed while the Super Metroid is sapping MB, manipulating her head position to be as left as possible, causing her to sit down as soon as possible.
This phase is entirely without lag, resulting in over a second saved compared to Cpadolf's 100%.
Lag throughout the area is lower than in previous TASes. For example, Cpadolf's 100% experiences 16 lag frames in the fourth room, while this run only experiences 10.
Just like my previous TASes, 170 energy allows for the spark in the Climb to end at optimal height.
The slightly delayed mockball on the hill allowed Samus to gain and maintain invulnerability frames through the initial steams in the Landing Site without further delay.
Known & Potential Improvements
- 2 frames can be saved in the Etecoons' room by performing a strange manipulation of the sound queue.
- 2 frames can be saved in the room after X-Ray through a more efficient means of collecting the drops during the Waver d-boost.
- Perfect drop RNG appearing as soon as possible for the Gamet farm after Speed would have saved 8-10 frames.
- Drops could have been slightly better by having more Supers in place of some small energy / PB drops.
- The Fireflea superjump can be improved by ~30 frames by performing a normal superjump instead of a stored superjump to reach the top of the room, which I overlooked at the time.
- Perfect drop RNG would have allowed for skipping the last Metroid's drops in the first Metroid room, saving 15-20 frames.
- MB2 could theoretically be 17-18 frames faster if perfect RNG would occur to avoid the redbeam and align her timer perfectly. (see Saturn's RBO)
- Perfect steam RNG would save ~5 frames.
- Further lag reduction will always be possible, whether it be on Ridley or during some PB explosions. However, such lag reduction can depend on any number of factors, such as performing arbitrary inputs at the time of lag, or what sort of random elements are present at the time.
- EternisedDragon a.k.a. Aran;Jaeger for discovering and documenting most of the glitches involving X-Ray and their applications, and for frequently reviewing my progress.
- Taco, Dan, and Total for creating and modifying various useful lsnes scripts.
- The previous Super Metroid TASers for providing material with which to compare against and influencing strategies.
- Overfiend for improving the appearance of this submission.
- The rest of the Super Metroid speedrunning community.
Noxxa: This movie is an excellent masterpiece among Super Metroid TASes. The new tricks and techniques push the game to the limit and almost put it to its breaking point, although this run retains its goals of using no major game-breaking glitches or out-of-bounds tricks, so that it does not outright skip very significant parts of the game. The result is a spectacle to watch throughout, even when the graphics break near the end of the run. Samus' movement is trickier yet sleeker than ever, intended sequences are broken more than ever, and the routing is crazier than any of its predecessors. Ammo and health management are top-notch too, and are pushed to the limit repeatedly. Technical optimization is on point all throughout the movie.
Regarding categorization: as this movie is defined by having no major skips or usage of out-of-bounds glitches, this movie shall not be affected by published Arbitrary Code Execution or previously published X-Ray Out-of-Bounds glitch movies, and instead shall obsolete the currently published any% run. Alongside that, it shall also obsolete the currently published Reverse Boss Order movie.
While RBO was a significant novelty back when the category and TASes of it were first introduced, its significance has been reduced thanks to various new tricks that have been discovered since the latest RBO TAS (dating to 2012) and have been applied in movies such as this. In particular, this run features a highly unusual boss route of its own, with Ridley done before Draygon and Draygon done before Phantoon. In essence, three out of four bosses are already done in reverse order, meaning RBO's novelty is largely reduced to leaving Kraid for last and backtracking to him later in the run. Many of the currently published RBO run's famous gimmicks, like suitless Maridia, are now also featured in this movie, and while it still does have some unique features including the suitless health management in Lower Norfair, it does not do enough unique things to distinguish itself as its own unique category anymore - hence, I'm making the decision of having this movie obsolete it.
Note that this does not mean any sort of reverse boss order is no longer publishable, but it does mean that a new movie of that category has to prove itself again as providing sufficient amounts of new and different material, per Alternative requirements. Currently it does not look like a new movie following the same rules as the currently published RBO TAS, but using the same tricks as this movie, would provide a sufficiently different movie to be worth a separate publication again - but this situation might change in the future, or the category itself might diversify itself enough with different rules potentially involving Mother Brain or sub-bosses, but no definite judgment can be made on this unless or until such a movie were to be made.
Going back to the judgment of this particular movie: viewer response to this movie has been highly positive, even compared to previous Super Metroid movies, and has also been favorable compared to the presently starred Reverse Boss Order publication - therefore, my judgment is that this movie should inherit its star.