Submission #6126: Memory's NES Bonk's Adventure in 17:07.96

(Link to video)
Nintendo Entertainment System
BizHawk 2.2.2
Bonk's Adventure (USA).nes
Submitted by Memory on 10/11/2018 7:34:14 PM
Submission Comments
Bonk's Adventure is a simplified port of the PC Engine/Turbografx16 game of the same name to the NES. It features Bonk adventuring to save Princess Za from the evil King Drool. This version of the game has some different stage layouts and some changed mechanics from its PCE counterpart.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.2.2 (NESHawk Core)
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time

Mechanics and Tricks

Tapping B repeatedly in the air will trigger Bonk's "bonk" attack and then cancel it allowing Bonk to slowly descend. This is acknowledged in the manual as "midair spinning". Doing a midair spin into an enemy will deal double damage compared to ground attacks and headbutts from below. It will also cause you to bounce off the enemy.
Bonk builds up speed slowly walking so at the start of a stage it is most optimal to jump immediately and do midair spins on the first possible frame. Bonk will have 4 frames of slower movement upon landing, however this can be reduced to 2 if he jumps on the first possible frame.
Flower Boosting: Doing a bonk into the side of a flower will give Bonk a horizontal speed of 7, the highest in the game. Combining this with a jump and midair spinning and bouncing off enemies, one can fly at high speeds across levels. Bonk will initially face backwards during a Flower Boost, unless the forward facing direction is pressed on the dpad at which point you can no longer face backwards without slowing down. Facing backwards is usually optimal for two reasons:
  1. It can allow for setting up later flower boosts more quickly.
  2. Any drops that appear from enemies will move in the direction that Bonk is facing. Facing backwards sends them offscreen faster, reducing lag.
The direction an enemy moves when you bounce off it is dependent on where you hit the enemy. Left will send it right, center straight up, and right will send it left. It is usually optimal to send the enemy in the opposite direction from which Bonk is traveling in order to reduce the amount of time it is on screen and therefore causes lag.
Triggering swimming will stop Bonk in place for a frame then set his max horizontal speed to 3. If horizontal speed is important, we generally want to avoid triggering swimming by repeatedly jumping underwater and diving with the b button after a jump. Landing in water will also freeze Bonk for a frame. Lastly you can get several invincibility frames by canceling a dive.
It's optimal to cancel jumps while climbing walls with midair spins to maximize the amount of time spent at vertical speed 9.
Landing on ice with Bonk's head will set his horizontal speed to 5, however exiting this state requires a long period of standing still. I only trigger this if the slide will take Bonk off a ledge which does not trigger the halted movement.
Small Meat will increment Bonk's power up state by 1 and Big Meat will increment it by 2. When Bonk initially hits the second powered up state, he will temporarily become invinicible and able to move quicker. This is still slower than flower boosts however. The only reason I pick one up is to do increased damage to the Round 2 boss which has long periods where it is not vulnerable to attack.
Smileys cause lag when on screen however there is typically a countdown at the end of each Round where the amount of smileys you collected are tallied. Therefore I mostly avoid collecting them until Round 5 where there is no countdown.
Waterfall mechanics are drastically changed from the PCE version. You can no longer make hops while on a waterfall and can only slowly climb or let go of the waterfall and fall. I usually try to use enemy bouncing to avoid slow waterfall climbs.
Bosses typically are manipulated to be as close to the center as possible when finishing the fight. This reduces the amount of time they need to move after being defeated.

About this submission

I was initially planning to look into an improvement for the PCE version of the game but then Vilsol made a submission for the NES version which I decided to judge. I found that it was fairly improvable and since I was interested in the PCE version, I'd give this one a shot and the result is what you see here.

Individual Level Comments


There wasn't much I could do to avoid that first smiley face without waiting a longer period of time then it was worth.
I found it was faster to bounce off one of the volcano rocks than bouncing off the enemy later.
It's almost possible to skip climbing up the wall by bouncing off the volcano rocks but I could never manage it.
The game transitions to the next screen a set amount of time after hitting the exit trigger. Therefore one usually wants to land as far left into the exit trigger as possible. It also seems that the landing animation will not trigger the exit either so I try to trigger it where the animation ends when possible.


While normally you want to face backwards to setup additional flower boosts faster, by turning around I was able to jump further before setting up the second flower boost.


The flower boost chain is really tight to setup. I needed to be really far left when starting the flower boost in order to avoid hitting the pillar.


The key to this section is to reduce the amount of times you need to land on the ground.
The screen needs to be really far to the right before the game will let you open the dinosaur's mouth with a bonk to the head.


I found that the beginning movement didn't exactly matter if I avoided landing in the water or not due to lag. It does matter in the longer water segments.
Water movement as a whole is fairly tough to optimize. Swimming upwards can be better than jumping underwater in key situations.


By doing midair spins, I was able to reach the boss a little quicker than Vilsol. Midair spins also allowed me to deal significantly more damage quickly to the boss as well.
Bonk will automatically move a certain position when the boss is defeated and reaches the center of the screen. If you are already in that position, Bonk will not need to move, saving time.


Bonk will automatically fall through waterfalls after walking on them for long enough. I try to time that so I end up being able to do a flower boost as soon as possible.
The bounce off the enemy to get as high as possible after leaving the water was fairly tight.


I found that the extra flower boost at the start was worth setting up and saved time overall.
Generally you want to continue a flower boost chain for as long as possible instead of segmenting it and setting up new ones.


I bounce off of axes to be able to get more height as I'm moving towards the next tree segment to climb.


The only meat I pick up is for the boss.
After picking up the meat I spin to the right a little before landing on the cloud to build up to 4 speed. I would be unable to otherwise until I landed on the ground.


This boss takes a lot longer if you don't have the meat due to the long periods in which it is invulnerable between attacks in the first phase.
Vilsol did the second phase by hitting the boss from below but it's much faster to midair spin from above because it will allow you to deal double damage and hit the boss on the first possible frame.
Manipulating the direction the boss moves is key to getting it to land in the center of the screen.


I midair spin at the start of the stage to be able to reach 4 speed right away and keep that speed by avoiding triggering swimming.


This segment is tricky to optimize. Bouncing off enemies may often help with height.


I only slide on the ice with my head in situations where it would end up with me being sent in the air to avoid triggering the long forced slowdown and standstill.
I slowdown slightly after hitting the purple dinosaur before the giant wall to be able to pass it without stopping, maintaining 5 speed out of 7 from the flower boost in the process.


Fairly simple boss, where you stand determines where the boss will appear.


Taking damage out of water will typically kill your horizontal speed so I avoid it unless I'm aiming for height.


Pulling off the whole level in a single flower boost chain was tight but I still managed to pull it off.


If you don't start a new flower boost chain before the quicksand segments you will not be able to reach the Triceratops before landing, so you need to take the additional flower before the quicksand.
I skip the big heart in the quick sand thanks to better health management up to this point.


I try to get to the right side of the boss as quickly as possible to force the boss to move to the left, reducing the amount of time that it takes for the boss to reach the center.


By bouncing off the same enemy multiple times, I'm able to quickly climb this level. Keeping too many sprites on screen will cause lag however, so I had to be mindful of that.


Using a bounce, I was able to reach a flower much sooner.
Keeping the flower boost chain going for as long as I did was fairly precise, requiring tight height control where there is a platform right above an enemy I need to abuse.


I found moving sideways while diving would allow me to start a new jump into dive faster.


Key here is to reduce lag and avoid triggering the swimming state.
The heart pickup here is free thankfully.
Figuring out how to most optimally exit this screen is weird.


Again, lag reduction and avoiding triggering swimming for the most part.


Fairly easy screen, but I start grabbing Smileys here since there is no countdown.


Killing the enemies here takes multiple hits but seems to be fairly worth it for lag reduction.
I wasn't able to reach the highest ledge on the left in a flower boost chain so I had to jump from the lower ledge.


You're able to attack the green statues without invincibility, allowing me to pass through them without having to wait for them to pass.


Using the same enemy over and over to climb up the waterfall saves a huge amount of time. Manipulating the direction it moves is key.


Not much to say

Boss rush

If you jump in the narrow tunnels before each boss, you get frozen in place and lose all speed so it's better to just walk through those tunnels.
The second boss is significantly slower without a meat powerup but I couldn't find a reasonable way to bring one to it due to 5-10.
The Princess Za fight has like no invincibility frames so I'm able to just bounce off the antenna repeatedly very quickly.


Not sure why it suddenly becomes 7-4 despite the lack of any Round transitions throughout world 5. It's labeled as part of 5 in the PCE version so I'm not sure why it's changed here.
I do midair spins to get speed faster without landing.

Final boss

Fairly simple fight.

Final comments

Thanks to Vilsol for his initial TAS that inspired me to pick up the game. Thanks to TASEditor for finding the trick to build up speed quicker at the start of levels.
Recommended screenshot is frame 14402 though I'm not particularly married to it and am open to suggestions.

feos: Judging...
feos: Great run. Chained bouncing was the highlight of this run, but doing them against the dead corpse of an enemy repeatedly was my favorite part! Even though the rejected submission was very sloppy, still nice improvement time-wise. Feedback was great too, accepting to Moons.
fsvgm777: Processing.
Last Edited by adelikat on 10/28/2023 8:16 PM
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