Submission #5995: klmz's NES Chack'n Pop in 05:42.84

Nintendo Entertainment System
FCEUX 2.2.2
Submitted by klmz on 6/14/2018 9:29:40 AM
Submission Comments
Chack'n Pop (ちゃっくんぽっぷ) is often considered as the classic predecessor of the very popular Bubble Bobble series. Originally an arcade game, it features a small yellow creature named Chack'n who can walk on the floor and ceiling, climb steps, and drop bombs.
This run improves the currently published [2128] NES Chack'n Pop by GeminiSaint in 06:55.63 by 4375 frames as well as the TAS uploaded by ぺろったー on nicovideo by 24 frames.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: FCEUX 2.2.2
  • Aims for fastest input time.
  • Allows deaths to save time.
  • Manipulates luck.


Death warp

This is a big time-saver. It warps the character to the starting point and all released hearts directly to the goal with the corresponding blocking "wall" removed.

Invincibility Powerup

This is a second big time-saver. This powerup morphs from a bomb after two or more Monstas are eliminated at the same time if and only if the amount of bombs exploded in the current stage is equal to a magical number, which is the digit of Pi indexed with the number of the stage.
It makes the character move faster, jump higher and become invincible to enemies, but the effects only last before the changed tune ends.

AI Manipulation

This game has a very chaotic PRNG. Still enemies are manipulated to move in the ways as favorable as theoretically possible according to the study on the AI. Sometimes waiting is still inevitable.

Stage by Stage Comments

The TAS made by ぺろったー was highly optimized.

Stage 6

The Magical Digit for the powerup is 9. Fortunately there is plenty of time to spam enough bombs to get the powerup in time.
I thought up a strategy to arrive a the right wing of the the map earlier, but it didn't work. Compared to ぺろったー's TAS, the right wing was actually 1 frame faster, but the 16-frame rule of the heart movement nullified that.

Stage 7

The Magical Digit for the powerup is 2. Too small to be practical.
Anyways, I found that the bomb could blow up from midair the Monsta Egg on the right side of the map near the goal. Hence this makes the first steady improvement in this run compared to the previous TAS record.
I destroyed the Monsta guarding the heart on the left along with the cage. It's infeasible to drop a bomb from the left side to break through the floor because the AI algorithm wouldn't leave room for Chack'n to survive between the Monsta and the blast.

Stage 9

The Magical Digit for the powerup is 5. Quite a strain on bomb usage as there are a lot of walls to break, but it's still manageable.
The enemy manipulation to get the powerup is however the most difficult part in this run. And another improvement is acquired here.
mtvf1 suggested an alternative strategy to get the powerup but the AI unfortunately doesn't allow that to happen.

Other comments

Thanks to all previous players! Additionally thanks to mtfv1 for the encode!

ThunderAxe31: Judging.
ThunderAxe31: Unlike the versions for Arcade and SG-1000, the game used for this submission doesn't feature any kind of ending, as it just endlessly repeats the 9 level layouts available. For this kind of game, our Movie Rules require to complete all available game contents, which includes beating the game after reaching the highest level of difficulty, if applicable. In this game, the difficulty reaches the maximum from Maze 9 and onwards, by making the hatching time of the Monsta eggs faster. For this reason, from Maze 10 to Maze 17, the game provides a harder challenge that inevitably results in different TASing contents compared to the Mazes beaten during the first loop. However, it must be noted that Maze 18, which is the last round of the second loop, features both same level layout and same difficulty setting used for Maze 9, and thus would result redundant, except that for RNG manipulation.
Since the movie in this submission does stop before beating Maze 17, it can't be considered as beating the game, according to our rules. While we already have a published movie that stops after beating Maze 9, it must be noted that our Movie Rules are applied even if there are published movies that break them. Rejecting for not completing all game contents.

ThunderAxe31: Due to some recent changes to the rule for endless games, I un-reject this submission and judge it again.
ThunderAxe31: Two years ago, the rule that regulates ending for looped games was more strict than now, as it used to require to beat the hardest loop. This could be hard to apply sometimes (no pun intended), as checking the difficulty can be very unintuitive, depending on the game. This is the case for this game, as the previous movie was accepted despite technically breaking the relative rule, probably because the increase of difficulty in this game wasn't easy to notice.
Even though the requirement seemed a bit excessive, I still wanted to apply the rules rigorously, as I think that it would be unfair to raise an exception. However, that doesn't mean that I couldn't ask for that rule to be revised and changed, yet I didn't do that because at the time I didn't consider the idea that the rule could and should have been changed, as in fact happened recently. Now I think that I shouldn't have followed that rule blindly. There is essentially one reason why we recently considered that rule as faulty: it contradicted the fact that we normally allow an author to choose the difficulty mode they prefer (given that it includes all game contents), as in fact expressed in the difficulty guidelines.
Apart from that, I also have two personal remarks about how that rule used to work previously. First and foremost, confirming changes of difficulty in looped games can be really complicated, sometimes almost impossible, and in the end we can't be completely sure about what were the original intentions of the game developers. The second remark that I personally have with how that rule was, is that sometimes it led to including loops of gameplay that resulted almost redundant, which is the reason why the discussion started inside the staff.
Now, getting about the movie itself: it's very optimized and beats all known records, from the time it was originally submitted and still today. It introduced some interesting strategies for saving time, and the audience response was relatively good. The previous publication is in Vault, however the entertaining ratings for that movie are few and old, so I think I can give enough credit to this new movie for giving an upgrade to Moons.
I also have to note that, according to the recently revised rule for endless games, a movie that beats the second loop could potentially obsolete this movie, given that optimization quality is on par or superior.
With all that said, accepting for Moons as improved over [2128] NES Chack'n Pop by GeminiSaint in 06:55.63.
fsvgm777: Processing. Samsara is handling the encodes for this one.
Last Edited by adelikat on 10/26/2023 12:01 AM
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