Here is my submission of Jewel Master 1242 frames faster than the published movie.
As is my new tradition with submissions, I'd like to provide you with RAM values I was using as well as my TAStudio project from making the run. They aren't needed for enjoyment, but they may provide insight into why I did certain things and what was tried.
This run only syncs in the US version. In fact, the Japanese version will desync after the first enemy. Enemy behaviors are tweaked slightly in the US version which works to our advantage. Also there's a rock in the middle of the first level which actually makes the strategy of equipping the speed spell and jumping over enemies viable. A run through the first level of the Japanese version would look very different on hard difficulty.
This run is way overdue. When I made my first TAS for this game, I was unable to find the RAM addresses I needed, so I just made do without them, that and the general sloppiness of the first run means that there was much I wanted to improve. I also took some new strategies I saw from watching speedruns.
Another thing that was sorely lacking on my old submission was the entirely unhelpful and incomplete submission comments, so hopefully I can correct that oversight with this submission.
Jewel Master is a game for the Sega Genesis where you play the Elemental Master, who's goal is to collect twelve rings that have been scattered in the last great war against the evil Jardine. Speedrunning the game actaully changes it into a completely different game from what it normally is, so to get a feel for it, I highly suggest you seek out some examples of normal play This video Should be a good starting point.
The twelve rings come in three levels of four different colors, based on the four elements. Red rings are fire and will give you a flame attack on their own. Higher levels make the flame larger and deal more damage. Blue rings are water and give you a barrier, which is more effective at higher levels. Gray rings are air and give you movement abilities when equipped by themselves. Level 1 is a speed upgrade, level 2 is high jump, level 3 is a double jump. As you can probably guess, that makes them very useful. Green rings are earth, and give you an earthquake attack, which can freeze some enemies.
The real fun in the game comes from combining these rings together, though. First off, fire and water, and air and earth don't mix. When combined together, they just cancel each other out. If you try to combine two of the same ring, you just get the larger ring's spell. Combining fire and air gets you the Fireball spell. It moves in a straight line across the screen, making it one of the easier spells to control and predict. At higher levels of fire, you get more projectiles per shot. Higher levels of air will make the shots move faster and allow you to have more shots on screen at the same time. Fire and earth will give you an attack that travels across the ground. For fire level 1 and 2, it's a flame wall, which only goes a short distance in front of you. Fire 3 gives you the flame viper, which bounces along the ground and does a large amount of damage per shot. Water and earth give you the ice dagger, which travels straight across the screen and bounces off walls. Increasing the level of the spells follows similar rules to the fireball. Water and air give you the wave spell, which travels in an oscillating pattern, making it harder to aim. The advantage of the wave spell is it goes through walls, and when you get water 3, you get three waves travelling straight in front of you. Wave with both rings at level 3 is the best two ring spell in the game.
After getting the highest level ring of each element, if you decide to ignore everything you learned about rings from opposite elements negating each other and equip a null spell on each hand, you will get the blade weapon, which shoots out a projectile that goes through everything and basically eats through the health of any enemy in the game. It's an incredibly overpowered weapon that the game doesn't quite know how to handle.
This run is played on Hard difficulty, like the run before it, which should lead to an easier comparison between the two runs. In hard difficulty, you take a little more damage from some enemies, and the bosses seem to have more health, but with how long the bosses last, I really don't think playing on hard takes any hit in entertainment, and it is the difficulty that this game should be played on.
When the player takes damage, he is thrown in a direction. What that means for speed is kind of complicated, though. Without the speed ring, it is always faster to take damage and be thrown right, and you get thrown right more if you don't turn around. With the speed ring equipped, taking damage in the air is slower than walking, but if you absolutely have to, either because of an unavoidable enemy, or to bypass a barrier with invincibility, it's faster to turn around on the frame you get hit. Being hit while on the ground is faster than walking, but getting that to happen takes a lot more work.
The goal for most of this run is to keep the speed ring equipped whenever possible. This means that I have to sacrifice having a projectile for this level, though, and the enemies are designed with the idea that the player will be using a projectile attack against them. Thus most of them have more health than you can deal damage when trying to walk through them. The flower fireballs are almost always in the exact right place that you can't jump over them and the flower, so the best way to deal with them is to have already taken damage when you come up to them, so you can ignore that fireball a little bit. Doing this requires me to eat through a large portion of my health, leaving just barely enough to sneak through a couple of those statues, which are just large enough that I can't jump over them and take no damage.
Spier Tiger. Weapon of choice: Flame and wave.
A big part of this fight is manipulating the tiger to jump over my head. Having two attack spells does not allow you to attack faster. However, this is one of the few points in the game where the shape of the wave spell's trajectory turns into a benefit rather than a detriment. It allows me to get a few more attacks on the Tiger as he jumps off the podium, keeping the rhythm of the attacks much more constant. Levels do not end until you collect the ring dropped by the boss.
Level 2, Desert:
The sand worms take 6 hits to kill, and the Air 2 ring is dropped by another enemy that takes four hits, so I decide to not kill any worms in this run, instead using invincibility to go through them. I also made sure to keep the right birds alive so I don't have to slow down as much to take damage. Sadly, this screen is a lag nightmare, and the wave spell with air 2 is much better at crowd control than the ice dagger, so I had to work a lot harder to manage lag on this screen.
Level 2, Building:
Jumping as high as possible before each drop allows you to fall faster, even when there's a ceiling above your head, it's better to use the maximum jump. On the skeleton boss I still use fireball over wave because the wave projectile doesn't lend itself to attacking this boss as quick as possible. I'm not really sure what causes some pieces on the boss to teleport to him, but it put them in a better position to actually be able to shoot at them, so I let it happen.
Level 2, lead up to boss
Those fire rocks, or whatever they are are immune to the fireball magic. They're also damage sponges, so it's better to just avoid them.
Level 2, Firebird. Weapon of choice: Wave
Being a bird made of fire, he's immune to the fireball spell. The time I decide to fire is the actual first time that the spell will damage him. I knew you could damage him offscreen in my previous run, but I mistimed it. With careful timing, you can get three hits on the bird on each pass, and with proper positioning I got him to go into his second phase of attack a lot sooner.
Level 3, frozen lake:
The big thing on this screen is making sure none of the statue heads fire a projectile from behind me, since the shot travels slightly faster than I do and the shot causes 16 damage, which would kill me even with the health powerup I run over.
Level 3 Cave
High jump is required here, which means that I have to travel through without an attack spell. Take damage from the jellyfish to allow me to go further right
Level 3, King Turtle. Weapon of Choice: Fire Viper.
Normally the turtle is protected by its shell and you have to wait for it to pop its head out before you can damage it. The flame viper spell is somehow able to clip into the shell where the head is, though. The fight doesn't actually end, though, until the turtle drops his foot to cause an earthquake, so I came to this fight one frame later than the fastest possible in order to get him to do the stomp attack sooner. Jumping up on the shell changes the pattern of the icicles that fall down. If I didn't jump up, they would have fallen in a pattern that would have blocked me from getting to the ring in time.
With the water 3 ring, I now have the best spell for dealing with mobs while going fast. I delay the hit on the flying boss in order to have him die as far right as possible. The double jump can be used to take shortcuts a few times and is thus very useful.
Level 4, Dragon. Weapon of choice: Wave.
For some reason, it seems that if you hit the dragon just right, the wave spell will do a critical hit for much more damage than is normally possible. I believe it is based on where the dragon is hit and possibly on projectiles hitting him simultaneously.
After the dragon dies, every boss is taken down with the sword. It's just that powerful.
The improvements in the last level mostly come from more precise movement and better sword usage.
And that's all I really have to say. I hope you enjoy the run.
Masterjun: Removed 1 blank frame at the end of the movie.
Masterjun: Great improvements after such a long time. Accepting as an improvement to the previous run.