This TAS uses the GB_Firmware_World BIOS to run the game
The Lion King for the Gameboy is a scaled down version of the SNES version of the game, which is designed to be played on a gameboy. The game contains 9 of the 10 levels present in the SNES version. Additionally, the Gameboy version of this game was later ported to the NES, in a game which contained only the first 6 levels of this game. This version is ultimately superior to the NES version, with better music, more levels, and more detail in the game's graphics (partially owing to the fact that the Gameboy version is more zoomed in compared to the NES version, where every sprite is far away and small).
Creating the TAS:
This is the first full playthrough TAS of The Lion King for the Gameboy to be submitted to this site. A version of this game played on the easiest difficulty was submitted several years ago and rejected, since you can only play the first 4 levels on easy mode. This TAS is played on normal mode for 2 reasons: normal mode allows you to beat the game, and it cuts out the needless repetition found in hard mode (hard mode is identical except that the hyenas and some other enemies take 1 more hit to kill each). The first 4 levels of this TAS are faster than the rejected submission for the easy mode version of this game, ignoring the time losses due to the extra hit on each hyena and the increased length of level 4 (which is an autoscroller).
Throughout these submission notes, I will describe certain differences between the NES and GB versions of this game, since the two are very similar. And now, without further ado, let's get onto the run!
Right off the bat, this game has a big difference from the NES version of the game, which is that performing lots of short jumps in a row is the fastest form of movement in the game (on the NES version of the game, rolling was the fastest form of movement). Additionally, jumping is the fastest when there is a low ceiling above you, since the ceiling will push you forward whenever you jump. In the very first 6 seconds of the level, however, it's faster to roll than to jump in many spots, since it allows you to quickly kill enemies without stopping.
This level saves time over the rejected submission by avoiding jumping on the enemy seen at 0:23 in the encode linked below and by going to the top-left of the level to get to the top of the stage faster.
This level contains a timesave over the NES version of the game, which is that you can skip getting grabbed by the first monkey by holding right after landing on the rhino’s horn, which allows you to go straight to the second monkey. The reason why I don’t just land directly on the giraffe’s head below is that doing this causes Simba to be stuck for a while in a slow "stunned" animation that happens when you fall from a great height, so it’s faster to just get thrown by the monkey onto the giraffe instead. The reason why this isn’t possible on the NES version of the game is that the rhino’s horn doesn’t push you far enough up into the air to skip the first monkey.
At 1:16 in the encode, I jump while at the end of the ostrich section of the level. This moves the ostrich more to the right before I am thrown off, which also for some reason prevents Simba from being stunned when he lands from being thrown off the ostrich, which saves time.
Aside from these 2 things, the level is pretty straightforward.
This level is played extremely different from how the NES version of this level goes. The first version difference can be seen at 1:52, which is that the hall that Simba is in here is much shorter in this version than it is in the NES version.
The biggest difference in this level however is the fact that the double vulture boost doesn’t work on the Gameboy version of the game. The double vulture boost is a sequence break in the NES version of the game that occurs at the location seen in 1:58 in the encode of the Gameboy TAS. It involves luring two vultures to move to the left, then jumping such that you bounce off of both of them in order to reach the high-up platform, which skips most of the level. The reason why this doesn’t work isn’t that the vultures don’t push you up high enough, or that you can’t jump high enough to reach the vultures. Rather, it’s that the second vulture that is higher up can’t be triggered from below the platform it's on in the Gameboy version of the game. Since you have to get to the second level of the stage to trigger that vulture, there's no way to activate it from the floor below, which renders the skip impossible. As such, Simba is forced to keep trekking through the level…
Fortunately, at 2:06 Simba is able to hold left as he jumps off a wall in order to clip into the second floor of the level, which still allows for about half of the level to be skipped.
After this, I make use of many short jumps while traveling through the rest of the level, as this is faster than rolling.
This level is an autoscroller, so it requires no skill or explanation.
This level is also fairly straightforward. The only noticeable thing that this TAS does compared to a human player is that it does several frame perfect jumps to make it over the porcupines in this level without taking any damage (the porcupine hitboxes extend twice as high as the height of the porcupines, making it difficult to jump over them in tight spaces like those seen at 3:48).
This level starts off relatively similar to the NES version of the level. At 4:37, I take a different route down the Waterfall than the currently published NES TAS by me takes. As it turns out, this route is 2 seconds faster both in the Gameboy version of the game and in the NES version of the game. As such, I have also created a new TAS of the NES version of the game that uses this new route, which I plan to submit later tonight.
At the waterfall section of the level, I get pretty much the fastest possible pattern of logs possible by delaying a precise number of frames before entering the part of the screen where the waterfall is.
At 4:51, I have to grab onto the side of the ledge as I fall, as this is the only way to prevent the “stunned” animation that happens when Simba falls from a great height. I also have to do this on the last ledge before the boss for the same reason.
Unlike the NES version, the level’s boss appears right after you climb down from the waterfall (in the NES version, he appears in a different section after you climb up more ledges). I intentionally take damage at the start of the level, since this is the only way to get to the right-side of the ape before he throws his first rock, and getting to the right-side of the ape makes him immediately throw his next rock (the space is too tight to be able to jump over him without taking damage). After this, I run to the opposite side of him after each hit to make him keep repeatedly throwing his rocks, allowing me to kill him quickly.
With all of that out of the way, Simba is finally able to grow up and become adult Simba!
At long last, Simba is an adult. As an adult, the first noticeable change you see is that Simba can no longer roll. Additionally, he now has a scratch move that he can use by pressing start, which enables you to hurt enemies. Another additional change is that when you land on an enemy, you now go into a slow animation of clawing at the enemy while standing still, as opposed to the quick bounce off of enemies without stopping that you could do as a child.
At 5:16, I am able to get past this enemy without stopping to kill it (which would be done by doing a roar, which takes 30 frames to perform and 15 more frames before the enemy disappears). I do this by using my scratch move right as I get under the ceiling in order to prevent Simba from triggering the enemy to explode until he lands on the ground. After this, I repeatedly jump under the short ceiling to get boosted forwards quickly, which allows me to escape just barely ahead of the blast radius of the enemy as it explodes, and thus avoid taking damage.
At 5:22, I jump as I scratch the vines that are blocking my path to destroy them. This is faster than scratching while standing still, as Simba can keep moving if he scratches in mid-air, while if he scratches on the ground, he is frozen in place until the scratch finishes. For this reason, I use the scratch move in mid-air most times in the game.
At 5:39, there is an enemy that I can’t jump over due to the position of the ceiling. As such, I take damage on it since this is faster than killing it.
At 6:00, I jump left before going to the end since this makes the vulture fly to the left. If I didn’t do this, then when I jumped up to the end of the level, Simba would automatically attack the Vulture and go into the slow jumping on an enemy animation that Simba does as an adult.
This level is a series of interconnected rooms, where you have to kill whatever Hyena is in the current room in order to go through the cave to the next room. The way this works is that when you first enter a room, there's a certain amount of time where you are invulnerable, but also can’t hurt the hyena. Additionally, after you hit the hyena once, you have to wait the same amount of time for the hyena to become vulnerable to being attacked again. Lastly, you can’t enter the next room until the body of the dead hyena disappears off the ground.
Keeping this in mind, the strategies used in each of the rooms in this level should be fairly self-explanatory, so the level doesn’t require too much explanation.
With all of the previous levels completed, Simba departs for a final showdown with Scar at Pride Rock
You start off this level being attacked by Scar. In this level, you have to fight Scar three different times: The first two times you have to beat him to be able to go to the next screen, and the last time you beat him you win the game.
The way this fight works is that Scar starts off with 12 health points. Every time you hit Scar successfully, he loses 1 health point. Of note is the fact that even hits that Scar appears to block also take away a health point most of the time (to figure out what attacks do damage and what don’t, I had to monitor the memory address 0X0658, which is Scar’s health).
The fastest way to damage Scar is to scratch at him in midair, since this skips the slow animation of jumping on him, and allows you to jump again immediately when you land on the ground. The last hit on Scar can’t be done until he has 0 HP left. Additionally, Scar cannot block this hit, or it won’t count. The fastest way to do this here is to move forwards until Scar starts to swipe at you, and then claw at him first, which he will be unable to block. After this, Simba runs to the left so fast that he actually beats Scar to the end of the screen. Fortunately for the fatigued Scar, the game locks the screen to prevent you from killing him just yet, giving him another chance to survive.
After some platforming sections, I arrive at the second Scar fight. This time around, Scar starts off the battle in mid-jump, which allows me to hit him two times in the air before he falls to the ground, as opposed to the usual one hit each time Simba jumps into the air. Scar’s health is also stored at 0X0658 for this fight, and it starts out at 12 just like before. Unlike the first fight, however, you can deliver the last hit to Scar when he has 1 HP left instead of 0 HP left. Due to variations in the global timer that seeds Scar’s movement patterns, it is faster to hit scar by jumping on him for the last hit, since moving forward won’t make him claw at you (which means he will just block your hit unless you wait several seconds). After this, Simba rushes forward towards the final showdown at the summit of Pride Rock.
When you reach the final showdown with Scar, he also starts the fight off by jumping at you, which allows you to hit him two times before he falls to the ground for the first time. Also, if you are using RAM Watch, you will notice that this time Scar’s health is stored at Address 0X065A, though much like before, it starts off at 12, and goes down 1 time for each hit. After you get Scar’s health down to 1, he will run towards the edge of the cliff, and you will automatically follow him. Scar then decides that Simba is too fast for him to beat, and figures that he would rather jump off the cliff than be forced to fight Simba for a fourth time.
With that, the game is beaten, and you are treated to one of the most beautiful ending scenes in video game history :P. Once you press A on this screen, the TAS is complete, and the credits roll.
This TAS is probably the most optimized TAS I have ever made, which is evidenced by the fact that this TAS took over 45,000 rerecords to make. In the process, I was also able to find a way to obsolete the current NES movie of the game, and learned a lot more about strategies for good TASing. I hope you enjoy watching this TAS!
Link to the encode:
__MACOSXfolder from the submitted archive.
feos: Good movie, I couldn't find any flaws. It's a great port too! There wasn't a lot of feedback, but whatever was there was positive, and I agree that this game is generally enjoyable to watch, it feels polished and smooth, and so does this movie. Accepting to Moons.
feos: Back to judging underway due to improvements.