Submission #6392: Lobsterzelda's A2600 Road Runner in 06:44.37

Console Atari 2600 Emulator BizHawk 2.3.1
Game Version USA Frame Count 24231
ROM Filename Road Runner.bin Frame Rate 59.9227510135505
Branch Rerecord Count 4701
Unknown Authors Lobsterzelda
Game Road Runner
Submitted by Lobsterzelda on 5/18/2019 7:22:08 AM

Submission Comments

Emulator Version:

BizHawk V. 2.3.1


In this game you lose a life whenever you hit an obstacle (such as a landmine, a truck, or a cliff) or get caught by the coyote. When you get caught by the coyote, he spends a few frames sliding in front of you before he begins his animation of carrying you off the screen, at which point you lose a life. However, Wile E. Coyote is still vulnerable to being hit by obstacles when he is in the middle of his animation sliding forward when he has just grabbed you and picked you up. I make use of this tactic to escape from Wile E.'s clutches during the run. As such, there are no deaths in this run, though I do get "hit" by the coyote. For an example of this, see 4:50 in the encode below.


The goal of this TAS was to beat all 8 levels of the game as fast as possible, while also collecting as many bird seeds and steel shots as was possible without losing time.

Game Description:

Released in 1989, this is one of the last officially licensed Atari 2600 games that Atari released. In the scorching desert of Arizona, you play as a Road Runner, chased by your eternal nemesis Wile E. Coyote. Wile E. is a very crafty coyote. He has planted landmines throughout the road you are on in an effort to catch you, and also has guns placed throughout portions of the road to try to hit you. Additionally, he has roller skates and rockets he can use to try to catch up to you if you start to get away from him, and a magnet that he can use to pull himself close to you if you swallow any steel shot. As if this wasn't bad enough, there are also trucks, cliffs, and falling boulders that you must dodge as well. While it may seem as though things are stacked in the coyote's favor, don't despair! The same obstacles that can hurt you can also hurt the coyote. Wile E. can be blown up by his own landmines, or hit by a truck in the midst of his relentless pursuit to catch you. However, if you want to have any hope of surviving this predator, you'll have to go fast!!!!!

TASing Process:

In this game, you move the fastest when you are moving left or jumping left, both of which are the same speed. You lose time if you stop moving, if you move to the right, or if you move up or down for more than 30 or so frames in a row. Wile E. will move slowly behind you until you get far enough ahead that he is scrolled off the screen. Then, he will charge forwards using roller skates to try to catch you. To stop his charge, you can eat bird seed that is scattered throughout the road, or you can lure Wile E. into running into an obstacle, since he always stays on the same horizontal line as you. If you don't have any obstacles ahead to stop him, you can move slightly up and down several times in a row. This won't make you lose any speed if you do it for less than 30 frames, but it will make Wile E. get a little closer to you, which can prevent him from going offscreen and charging at you. Below is a summary of the process of making each of the 8 levels.
Level 1:
This level is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is run to the left and jump over the occasional truck that appears, and Wile will be unable to catch up to you. This is essentially a tutorial level for the game. I aim to collect as many bird seeds as I can here, which increases my score.
Level 2:
Like level 1, this level is also straightforward. All you need to do is run left and jump over any cliffs in front of you. Wile E. will get closer to you than he did in level 1, but if you don't stop running, he still can't catch you. At a few points, I press jump on just the right frame after completing a jump such that there is no animation of the road runner landing before jumping a second time or starting the next jump, but he still moves forward another jump's distance. This makes it appear as though I am moving two jumps distance in one jump.
Level 3:
This is the first level where Wile E. Coyote can use roller skates to quickly catch up to you if you just keep running left and ignore him, so from here on out, you have to be crafty to avoid being eaten. I had to chose some bird seeds and steel shots to skip, since collecting them would have made me slow down.
Level 4:
In this level, Wile E.'s guns fire at you at specific points on the road. As long as you jump while the bullet is passing through you, then you won't be hit. Wile E. also occasionally moves towards you in a rocket ship, where if he touches you, he captures you. However, you can avoid his ship each time it appears by moving either up or down for 3 or more frames to get out of his ship's way.
Level 5:
Another level luring Wile E. into obstacles and collecting bird seed.
Level 6:
This is the level where you have to dodge falling rocks. Although you can't cross the path when there are rocks blocking it, Wile E. is free to keep chasing you while you are waiting. Fortunately, I take advantage of the fact that Wile E. moves in front of you when he captures you to lure him into the rocks. By getting right next to the rocks before Wile E. grabs me, I am able to cause him to get hit by a rock and crushed before he can carry me off, which simultaneously removes the threat of being captured by Wile and the need to slow down to avoid being caught by Wile E. all at once. I am also able to save time by jumping over the rocks as they are falling on the first frame that I can clear the rocks without being hit by them.
Level 7:
This level is pretty similar to level 5. More bird seed and steel shots and more luring Wile E. into traps.
Level 8:
This level follows a similar format to level 4, with Wile E.'s guns trying to mow you down and Wile E. trying to collect you with his rocket ship. After avoiding all of these obstacles and making it to the end of the level, you have beaten the game!
This game makes for an entertaining TAS, as the quick thinking strategies that the TAS uses to escape Wile E. greatly resemble what the actual cartoon looks like (albeit with Atari 2600 graphics). This has the effect of making the TAS seem almost like a movie showing the TV show, which is an effect which is aided by the animations of Wile E. being blown up and flattened by obstacles.
I think that this will make a good addition to TASVideo's collection of movies, and I hope you enjoy watching it!
Encode of the TAS:

slamo: We have special rules for games without a clear ending. For games with repeating loops of levels like this one, loops must be completed until the difficulty stops increasing and no new content is left to complete. In this case, you are correct in the assessment that one loop = 8 levels, since road layouts begin to repeat themselves after level 8. Spikestuff kindly ran the game through all 100 levels to see if anything new happened beyond this. Every hazard and road layout has already appeared by the end of level 8, so there is no content left after that. However, the difficulty definitely ramps up. In level 9, Wile E uses his rocket skates and land mines spawn, while neither of these things happen in the first level. Since the difficulty of the level layouts increases after the ending of this movie, we have to consider it incomplete. Beyond the second loop, the frequency of the hazards appearing is not affected (RNG can affect item and mine locations, but we do not consider RNG to be new content), so doing two loops of this game appears to be sufficient.
Rejecting for not completing the game.

Last Edited by slamo on 6/12/2019 8:44 PM
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