In 1990, an Arcade game called “Chiki Chiki Boys” was released by Capcom for arcades in Japan. This game received ports for various systems, including the (in my opinion) very under-appreciated PC-Engine CD-ROM. Most of these ports went with the ‘murricanized name “Mega Twins” - there's a boob joke in there somewhere that I'm not clever enough to make. But the good ol' Sega Megasis decided to call it by it's original, and much more awkward name, “Chiki Chiki Boys”. I look forward to the publisher's, most likely, more succinct and better worded game description.
The difficulty affects a number of things in the game. The obvious things are the damage you deal to enemies and the damage you take from enemies. There are also a few select spots where more enemies are likely to spawn. Another thing that it affects comes later on in the game. From Round 4 on, fairies will show up that, when you touch them on normal difficulty, have a chance to give you a magic orb if you’re at full health. This possibility doesn’t exist on hard mode. A user, r57shell explains this in more detail.
“Difficulty is in fact the reason why you're unable to get any bombs from fairies.
All following info is for (UE) [!].
There are exactly two different schemas for Hard, and Not-hard:
if you have low hp then it gives you 10000 additional score.
if you have max hp then it gives you 30000 additional score.
2) Not Hard:
if you have low hp then it heals you by 10 hp.
if you have max hp then:
50% chance to get 5000 additional score
50% chance to get additional bomb.
In case you have max bombs then 100% first case (5000 score).
So, basically, in hard mode there is no reason to touch them at all.”%%QUOTE_END
So at the beginning you have a choice between the blue twin or the red twin. I’m not clever enough to come up with a decent Matrix joke here. But similar to Neo, we’re choosing red. The blue twin offers a higher melee attack power but can only hold a maximum of 3 magic orbs. The red twin, on the other hand, can hold a maximum of 5 magic orbs at the cost of slightly weakened melee attack power.
Magic use is way more useful by and large and saves much more time. As you’ll see, melee attack power will be a factor later on, but for the most part magic is going to be the main form of disposing of bosses.
No matter the twin, you move at 2 p/f normally. Jumping doesn’t change this, the only issue is that sometimes (if I had to guess I’d say it’s sub pixel related) you’ll stop for a frame when you land. In most cases you can jump freely without this happening, but in certain areas (like the second half of Round 1, in the caves) it can happen more frequently.
Falling off of a ledge brings the twin’s speed down to 1 p/f, where as jumping off of a ledge maintains you’re extra pixel of movement speed. There are some cases where I will have the twin fall off of a ledge, but this is only in cases of manipulating a boss pattern (ex: Golem).
You can attack every seven frames, which makes pushing for critical strikes not all that difficult, even with the 9 MABC (explaination incoming).
NAME CHOICE/COIN LUCK
The name choice isn’t just for style, it has very tangible affects on two stats in particular; luck and max attacks before a crit (“MABC”, I guess?).
Luck is fairly self explanitory: enemies will drop coins, the value of the coin is dependent on the enemy, though an enemy also has a chance of dropping the next higher value coin. The table for how coins will drop is:
As such, if an enemy normally drops a 10 coin, there is a 1/32 or 3.125% chance of dropping a 100 coin. If they drop a 500 then the chance exists for a 1000, et cetera. This remains constant regardless of your luck stat, but what does change is the chance of a x2 bonus on the coin pickup. This basically means that if, say an enemy drops a 500 coin, you can manipulate a 1000 drop and x2 that drop, you end up with a 2000 coin pickup instead of the standard 500. Simple math, right? But this was very important to optimizing this run.
The other stat to keep in mind is the what I’ll be calling “MABC” for simplicity, and also because I can’t think of a better name for “maximum attacks before you get a critical yellow slash”. The MAB-C stat remains static based on the name you choose. The range of sword swings before you can crit an enemy is 3-9. Problem is, the higher your luck, the more swings to get a crit. Because coin luck is very important for minimizing grinding to buy magic orbs and you can swing the sword extremely fast in a TAS environment to where the extra swings aren’t an issue, I go for a name that allows for max luck (31) but high MAB-C (9).
shows what names are viable for what stats.
There were a few choices, but DERP was the funniest, so there ya go.
SOME NOTES ABOUT THE MENUS
It's so fast that you can't see it, but by pressing A, B and C at the same time on start menu to access the options. From there you can select the difficulty.
Another note that was mentioned by r57shell is that holding start fades out the menu screens faster.
A possible future optimization is the name choice. I chose the name for the reasons above, but another viable name might be quicker to type. This would require more testing, but something to consider for any future improvements.
This TAS by and large follows the RTA path as far as level selection, but also what magic weapon you get is based on the stage you just completed. So to end up with the most optimal weapon for Round 4 on, I have to finish with Round 1.
An immediate point I want to make is that you can actually grab more coins before Cupid than I grab here. There are a few reasons I don’t go out of my way to farm coins, but most of it comes down to there’s a better opportunity to farm for a larger haul of coins in the next stage.
Cupid Fighting Cupid with this strat without slowing down gives you about a 3-frame window to fire a horizontal fire attack that will land two hits and one-shot the first round of the boss - this 3-frame window is assuming you don’t stop holding right and want to land a hit as optimally as possible. Landing an attack in this way hits the boss on the first frame that the fire will land on Cupid, but also it will keep the fire on screen for just long enough to outlast Cupid’s invulnerability frames.
For the second half of this stage, you start off falling and will eventually hit a zip line. In most cases I want to jump off of these zip lines as fast as possible to continue falling. For the second zip line I hold onto it for one extra frame to dupe the x2 bonus on the 500 coin as well as the 10 coin. For the third zip line I hold onto it for 6 extra frames while moving right, this not only sets up both the x2 on the 500 and 100 coins, holding onto the last zip line for a few extra frames puts the twin in a position to fall past the platform below and grab the orb off-screen.You may notice that I won’t need this orb for the boss fight coming up, but by grabbing it I can save having to grab another 1200 coins when buying orbs. The method for grabbing this orb also lines up the coins right after for x2 bonuses all the way through.
Side note: I did stop for 1 frame to dupe the last 10 coin for entertainment’s sake. This is one of the smaller known improvements that I’ll mention at the end of these notes.
For the dragon boss, a horizontal fire attack can spread far enough to hit the boss way before it comes on screen. Unfortunately, this boss has some really dumb invulnerability times. The invulnerability is based on what attack each head is doing, and what movement they are heading into. Each head is typically invulnerable right before certain attacks, as well as for a long time after said attack (for instance every egg attack keeps the dragon invulnerable for the longest time). A lof of time in this boss fight is spent moving just right to goat the heads into certain attacks as their AI is set to attack the twin based on the twin’s proximity to the boss.
The ascent section isn’t that hard, I have to dupe all of the coins, but I have to miss one of the coins to avoid a giant “PERFECT! BONUS 10000” screen.
So heading into this stage, just in the very first inputs there’s a lot of things to take into account.
For starters there is a certain cluster of enemies that I need to spawn: a group of three yellow fish. The reason why this group is important is that after killing the first two fish, the third one will always drop a 500 coin. As mentioned before, a higher value coin can be manipulated out of any enemy. As such I need to manipulate a 1000 coin out of the third fish and dupe it to grab a 2000 coin haul very quickly. In order to get any randomly spawning enemies to spawn I have to keep track of when the twin enters a given section of the stage; what enemies are on screen or alive when you hit certain parts of the stage. This also applies to the little spike balls floating around as well.
Because of this, I kill very specific enemies at very specific times to get clusters of yellow fish to spawn. I not only want them to spawn, I want them to spawn close to the ground near the two chests holding 500 coins. By doing this I can grab 6000 coins very quickly.
Known improvement: I sacrificed about 7 frames here to dupe the 10 and the 100 coin.
The crab boss here revolves around optimally placing a typhoon directly under the crab and getting him into a pattern where he jumps into the typhoon as well. In this case, attacking with the sword once was able to bait him into jumping which happened to make boss easy to optimize. One thing of note is that the blue crab to the left of this fight will spawn a pearl that will bounce into the clam on the right of the screen. You can keep this pearl from spawning is attacking the blue crab so it can never get a chance to throw the pearl. The reason this is important is if the pearl gets into the clam the death animation takes longer to complete.
Heading into the ship sections, I needed to destroy the top wooden doors to get the twin in between the next set of doors and the crab. Getting the doors out of the way allows me to move over another 2 pixels to the right. To go back to the manipulated spawning from earlier, killing the first purple fish when I do (for some reason) de-spawned one that was going to spawn in my way during the next section. Maybe it puts an extra object on screen to the right? I don’t know, I found this by accident when testing out different strats for this section and found killing the first purple fish helped. De-spawning an extra fish also helped with lag at the spike plate section, which is pretty laggy as it is.
As far as possible improvements, I hope in the future to find a way to reduce lag in this section. There are over 100 lag frames just at the tail end of the ship alone.
From there I simply lay the typhoon down towards the ground so that as the shark rises it follows the typhoon and ends the first round quickly. Place your obligatory “that’s a lot of fish” joke here. The second half of the fight was helped by finding the stage ended quicker the farther to the right the shark is. Because of this I don’t want the shark to charge forward at all, which means hitting the shark with the typhoons as soon as its AI is activated so that the shark doesn’t have the chance to move. This was actually one of the easier bosses to deal with in the end.
With the coin farming, I’m now able to buy the first sword upgrade. This will help slightly with an upcoming fight, but most importantly I want to be able to get the third sword before one of the later bosses.
ROUND 1 (finally)
There’s actually not much to talk about for the first section. The boss here can be one-shot easily if you plan out where the balls are going to bounce to. You can make it so the ship gets knocked down towards the ground farther, but this proved to be much slower overall. I use the downtime of the ship floating to the ground to grab the extra health for a damage boost I have to do in the next section, grab the extra magic orb, and for good measure, dupe the 10 coins up top. Same as the first phase you can very quickly dispose of this boss in a TAS setting where you can plan how the balls are going to bounce.
The second sword makes disposing of the rock dudes a bit easier, but overall the point of grabbing the sword is a means to an end with getting the next sword later on.
I skip most of the coin farming here as there will be a huge haul in the next Round. I choose not to jump off the the final ledge before the Golem as this slows down the twin just enough to activate the Golem’s AI into an optimal pattern. The goal of the first magic attack is to destroy both arms. This involves attacking with the sword to keep the Golem’s arm out longer, leaving it open to be destroyed in one-shot. For the second magic attack it’s much the same as the first Round 1 boss. I just have to make sure the balls bounce to land a double hit on Golem.
I grab the health pill as there will be some damage boosts I’ll need to take later on.
ROUND 4 - CAVES/DRAGON
So right off the bat heading into the cave section I grab 8660 coins in the course of 506 frames. I think 17 coins per frame isn’t all that bad of a ratio.
One small optimization during the first part of the cave is that jumping off the walls to the left to get over the pillars is by far the fastest option. For the dragon boss skip, I’m still not 100% sure why this skip works but I do know a few things that help it trigger. It was believed that you have to have the twin’s sprite obscured in order for the glitch to work, but in my testing I was able to get the glitch to trigger with the twin smack-center of the screen. The dragon, on the other hand, pretty much has to be concealed. Again, not really sure why this works.
JohnUK89 had written briefly about this
and like mentioned, you do have to chip away enough health while the dragon is off-screen so that a double hit from a bomb will one-shot slay it.
The jumping around before attacking isn’t just for entertainment, it leads the dragon’s heads upward and keeps them from going into their long I-frames. Thus making it quicker to chip away damage before the glitch.
Right as soon as the stage starts I want to jump to avoid the fairy and waste time. As for the second fairie, it’s actually about half a second faster to just rest up against the rock to the right and waiting for the fairy to fly away. Even though you can speed up the dialogue it’s still faster to just not touch the fairie, not to mention the 2 lag frames you get from activating the text boxes.
This boss is really straight forward, kill the beans as fast as possible. Once Bean Boi goes to fight you himself, just throw the bombs to hit him one right after the other. One thing you’ll see from here on is that I throw bombs right next to walls. That is because the bombs go off as soon as they hit a wall compared to throwing it at the floor.
One nice thing about killing this boss while he’s high up in the air, the scroll will get to the top of the screen, and be available to grab much faster than if he was closer to the ground.
UNDER DA SEA
The first section of this stage I mostly just have to wait it out. I try to farm as many coins as possible without getting any lag frames. Simple as that.
The second section with the crabs had a lot of thought put into it. To go back to the difficulty choice, if this was normal mode I would be able to grab bombs off of the fairy in the next section to still be able to bomb all of the bosses no problem. But since this opportunity doesn't exist in hard mode, I have melee one boss to finish it off and bomb the rest, as no matter what I will be one bomb short. After testing each possibility I found the scorpion, funny enough, to be the fastest to do this with.
So to go back to the crab itself, I have to place the first bomb low enough to hit not only the pink crab, but also both blue crabs. Not only that I have to move very carefully to bait all of the crabs into attacks that leaves them vulnerable to get hit by the bomb. It’s absolutely possible to have the blue crabs in particular go into an attack pattern that causes them to be completely unharmed by the bomb.
For the robot I can simply lay down the two bombs and attack the one time with the sword to destroy it. It should be noted that I use a critical slash to finish the boss, but that isn’t for HP reasons. I do that to give the sword extra distance to hit the boss a frame faster than with the normal slash.
For the next section I need to avoid lag in a lot of places and be very strategic about my attacks. There are a few coin caches here (basically places where you can attack the wall and cause coins to shoot out). In an RTA setting, these caches can come in handy for farming some much needed coins, but in a TAS environment causing coins to spawn is pretty bad, and fairly uneccesary. One particular section is when trying to go above the vertical pillar at around the 24000 frame mark. The top of the pillar is a coin cache but I also have to attack in a way that gets rid of any fish in the twin’s way, de-spawns any fish that will be in the way (or will cause more lag). Overall, getting through with that section of the stage with only 19 frames of lag is decent, but in the future I’d love to find ways of reducing this.
I grab the extra magic shell to help with the boss and from there it’s a straight shot to the scorpion. Grabbing the shell took a few extra frames of delaying upward movement to get over the last vertical pillar. I believe it was only 4 extra frames, but the twin was already at the highest point it could be to still grab the shell.
The scorpion (same with the second one later on) is fairly easy to deal with and manipulate. The bombs are placed to hit him on the first frames possible and from there this boss is fairly easy to deal with, with just melee attacks as its I-frames aren't too long and doesn't move too fast to constanty stay in range.
After defeating the boss, I don’t really need to grab the extra 800 potential coins in order to grab the scroll faster. I’ll need to farm coins in the next stage, and there’s a reason I don’t bother to farm them here, which I will explain when I get to it.
At the very beginning of the stage, I need to wait for the spears to come all the way down in order to walk right through them. They for some reason don’t hurt you while they aren’t moving. But because of this I have to waste half a second. I either have to waste it in the level before since the spears are on a timer, or just waste it here like shown.
Theory time: I think the in-level timers for objects and spawns only apply when you’re actually in a level, because I attempted to waste the same amount of time needed on the menu and it didn’t work. Maybe I did something wrong and more research would have to be done in this regard, but I’d like to find out more about how object’s movements are timed or set in this game. Just a little note for the future.
You may notice that I do a little random jump+attack during the walk down the platform. This is to avoid falling for a frame, and thus losing a pixel of forward movement, by walking on the closing floors when they’re slightly open.
The movement just before the boss isn’t all for show, just like the dragon from Round 4-1, this boss’ pattern is pretty easy to manipulate. Now don’t think that all of the dancing was for this, only the last few inputs or so actually cause the fencer to go into a more optimal pattern.
So in most cases you’d need three bombs to kill the skeleton fencer, but by baiting him into a particular pattern you can double-hit this boss with a bomb to save, not only time, but a much needed bomb for the next boss. Basically at the start of the fight, depending on when you hit it with the bomb, the skeleton will go into a different pattern. The pattern you want him to go into is one where he does a full jump to the left as he does here. In most cases, you may have to delay a frame or two to hit him on an optimal frame to get him to jump. The dancing at the beginning as well as holding up against the left wall baits him into a pattern where throwing a bomb on the first available frame will yield the needed result. This jump is important because the game wants you to melee fight this boss, as such, its I-frames are fairly short. Because of this the jump pattern has a 2-frame window where you can throw a bomb and have it double-hit the boss.
From here, you can let his skull hit the ground, but by grabbing it you can grab an extra 6000 coins. Once you have the skull you can’t get rid of it until it spits out the set amount of coins, and this is just enough to buy a full helping of magic bombs for the next stage. Hence why I don’t waste the time to grab the extra 800 at the end of the last stage, the time is set and those 800 would have lost me time overall (not just guessing this, I re-TASed this section and found this out). This combined with later coin grabs is enough to get not only a full helping of bombs but also the next-level sword. The time it takes to grab these coins is around 300 frames, but it will end up saving about 600 with a net gain of 300 frames overall. This actually delayed the TAS by about a month from having to re-TAS each strat.
Sidenote: I didn’t realize until after encoding the video that I didn’t dupe one of the 100 coins. Kinda sad.
All of these stair jumps are frame perfect. If I jumped any differently I would’ve hit the ceiling above and lose frames from going into the falling animation.
The caterpillars half-way through can cause a lot of lag if you don’t dispose of them or keep them off-screen as fast as possible. There are three in this stage and unfortunately killing them spawns loads of coins, which cause more lag. By the time you kill the second one the coins from the first one are off-screen and there are fewer moving sprites so it isn’t so bad, but the first one is in a pretty bad place where killing it without slowing down and without messing up the jumps for the stairs (again, frame-perfect).
I stop moving right as the screen begins its auto-scrolling to set up Vlad’s pattern, much like the dancing before skeleton fencer. Same with hanging out at the left wall before he shows up. Unfortunately dancing lead him to waddle back and forth without being open to attacks. So by standing still he tries to jump at the twin, leaving him open. Like most bosses, I have to bomb on a specific frame to get him open again. I wait to bomb the last time as that actually ends the stage much faster.
You see, the boxers are set to fly upwards a set height and as soon as they hit the ground the coins and scroll burst out. The closer he is to the ground, the less time it takes for the boxers to hit the ground. There are some extra frames needed to allow Vlad to jump down farther, but the boxers fall much slower than Vlad. The final bomb is frame-perfect in order to save the most time. Bombing the frame before or after will cause the shorts to hit the ground one frame later. Bombing at the first frame available while Vlad is still on the ceiling loses about 40 frames. This is sort of an inversion of the strat used on the bean guy in 4-1.
INTO THE SKY
The first section is an auto-scroller, I just try to make the most of it.
The scorpion is fully melee attacked as this ended up being the fastest path. The new sword ends up doing about 750 HP of damage normally and around 1,500 with a crit. This is where overall it ends up saving over 300 frames to grab the necessary coins to buy the 3rd sword. The movement after the fight is for, you guessed it, manipulating one enemy in the next screen. Before the first zip line a spiked pillar can spawn right in front of it. By standing where I am at the fade out, FOR SOME REASON, the pillar doesn’t spawn there. I also have to kill the boss on the right frame as well. For some reason one or the other won’t work, you can kill the scorpion on the same frame but without the dancing the pillar will still spawn in the way.
One thing of note is that when you are on a zip line, while holding forward to where you hit the end of the zip line, you have exactly one frame where the twin is technically “standing”. Because of this, you have exactly one frame to jump upward off of the zip line. Being able to do this keeps the twin’s speed at 2 p/f and avoids his much slower falling animation.
Once the twin reaches the pickaxe guy, I simply use three bombs on the first form, but for the second half I choose to finish off the boss with melee attacks on the second form. This is because the second phase has much shorter invulnerability times, and thus is faster to defeat in this manner.
This is like a semi auto-scroller? I guess? Basically you can sort of ascent up the platforms as fast as you want, but once you reach the top of the screen it won’t let you outrun the screen. So once I reach close to the top, I have to wait for the screen to scroll a bit before I can jump up. Funny, enough, by the time I reach the top, I have to wait for the screen to scroll for the stage to end.
When in the castle, I have to make a note about one cool thing here. The developers decided not to be cryptic with how to get the good ending, and the only unavoidable fairy hints where the first dragon blue eye is. I think that’s kinda cool.
The little trooper that the clown sends out likes to fly away from where the twin is standing. As such, I throw the bomb at the wall on the right with the twin on the left. I attack one time with the sword and throw the last bomb to finish off the trooper.
I need to use 1 melee attack and three bombs to finish off the clown. I basically want to get him to spawn close by at least once to not waste time having to deal the one melee attack. From there I just lay the bombs so they damage the clown on the first possible frame. I grab the dragon blue eye from the chest hidden under the throne to set in motion the good ending. This isn’t necessary to beat the game, just an entertainment tradeoff the get the good ending.
The escape is an auto-scroller as well, but I found that if you’re in the middle of the screen the cloud will grab the twin and take him out of the stage much faster.
I play around a bit while I wait for the next stage to come up, duping the coins I grab along the way. I decide to “kill” the twin just before the scene ends, though this doesn’t lose any time. Doesn’t even affect the magic type like dying normally. I lay the final bombs, grab the second dragon blue eye and make a final jump to where the scroll will fall and finish the game.
I want to give a thank you to allsorts46. I while looking for a new game to TAS found their WIP TAS and it sparked my interest in what could be done with the game. Another thank you goes to JohnUK89 for his write up on speedrun.com that was very helpful to the making of this TAS, as well as a thank you to the entire RTA community running this game. I wanna give a huge thanks to r57shell as their research and advice was absolutely necessary to completing this TAS and making it as good as it is. As well as a thank you to everyone that contributed to the forum thread for this game. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!
And most of all...
Thank you DERP.
: A couple places looked unclear, I checked them and they're actually optimal. The good ending doesn't cost an time, you just keep slashing the throne of the final boss during the dialog and then grab the key. There were no posts in the thread, but gameplay looked quite nice, so I'm accepting this to Moons.