Nightmare on Elm Street is the tragic tale of a man named Siegfried and his affiliation to tree-based sections of a neighborhood.
Game Objectives on Elm Street
- Emulator used: BizHawk 2.4.2
- Four whole players!
- Aims for fastest time
- Takes damage to save time
- hey guys, been a while
- it's me, the fake person that pretends to write the minutiae in Samsara's submission texts
- i've been doing alright. freelanced for a while. laid off thanks to The 'Rona. y'know how it is
- life's been a drag but i'm cool now that i've got my old gig back
- one love y'all
Temp Encode on Oak Avenue
Comments on Birch Boulevard
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a game I'd describe as medium rare, in that it's roughly in the middle of Rare's development library when ordering it by quality. Released in October 1989 in Europe and October 1990 in Europe 2: But They're In America, the game exists. Between one to four kids (depending on how slow you want the game to run) shamble about the titular Elm Street, punching everything in their way, except each other, because the real nightmares on Elm Street were the friends we made along the way. The game is probably known for either its music or the fact that a pissed-off bespectacled man once yelled at it a bunch.
Well hi! It's me, ya girl Samsara, back from a 3 year break and choosing the absolute perfect project to derust on: A horribly laggy video game with 4 players to manage. If I've learned anything in my break, it's that I'm apparently a literal insane person. My mentality with TASing has always been to challenge myself in some way. Pick a new system, pick a new genre, try something 2 player, stuff like that. Improving a very old 4 player TAS was the next logical step, if your definition of logic is the literal opposite of logic. This was a surprisingly quick project, actually. I got back in the groove quickly, worked hard, stayed fairly motivated the whole time, and... Welp, I mean, I actually have a result. More than I expected when I dropkicked that door down a few weeks back.
This is a 5345 frame improvement over the published run, and roughly a 292 frame improvement over goofydylan8's abandoned WIP from 2016. The bulk of this improvement is sheer movement optimization, however this is also the first TAS of this game to include the boss rush skips, which save about 30 seconds on their own.
Techniques on Spruce Way
I saved a handful of seconds by just entering doors better. Real good doors in this run. Hoo boy! If you're a fan of watching four teens enter doorways quickly, this is the run for you!
Some of the biggest improvements in this run involve resetting moving platforms and other similar objects by scrolling them offscreen. This drastically shortens some of the long waits from the published run.
Very Specific Wall Clipping
Any stage where you drop in from the ceiling, you're able to jump on the first frame. This can put you into walls! It doesn't save as much time as you might think since you're locked into a straight downward fall as soon as you enter the wall, but it does save a couple seconds here and there.
The Worst Thing In This Game Is The Screen, The Worst Thing In This Game Will Always Be The Screen, And I Will Not Name This Technique Anything Shorter Than This Long Rant About How The Worst Thing In This Game Is The Screen, There Is Nothing Worse In This Game Than The Screen, Even Freddy(tm) Is Nowhere Near As Bad As The Screen, And I Want Everyone To Know That The Worst Thing In This Game Is The Screen
it's really bad tho
Oh, here's the actual trick. Bone routing, apart from being how I describe my sexual encounters, lllllladies, often requires a lot of dodging obstacles, obstacles which tend to pop up in the worst possible places, lllllllllllllllladies. Wait.
By controlling how the screen moves, I can control when obstacles appear, allowing me to move past them maybe slightly quicker sometimes depending on how the screen behaved in the previous parts of the run, because the worst thing in this game is the screen, the worst thing in this game will always be the screen, and i will no-
Manipulating the screen involves the player farthest in the back. When a player dies, they respawn at the last place they touched the ground. This spot will always remain on screen. The screen will stop moving once it reaches this spot, unless that player touches a new spot on the ground. A lot of times, due to some of the new bone routing and other movement optimizations, this can't be avoided, but there are times where I intentionally control how long the farthest back player stays in the air in order to delay an obstacle and allow me to move through it easier. The screen moving also causes lag, because the worst thing in this game is the screen, so there are times where I move players around in order to stop it from moving to reduce lag.
The Worst Thing In This Game Is Lag, The Worst Thing In This Game Will Always Be Lag, And I Will Not Name This Technique Anything Longer Than However Long It Takes For Me To Finish This Joke
it's really bad tho
You can control the length of a jump without affecting the height by just releasing A near the desired height and holding it again a few frames later. This is used in situations where it is faster to use it. It's almost like it's a trick or something!
You move slower on stairs. If you jump up them, you move at normal speed until you land again. This isn't the only way of moving faster on stairs, though, but I warn you that the true stair technique is dark majykks beyond your wildest imagination...
S T A I R P U N C H I N G
The forbidden art known as S T A I R P U N C H I N G involves punching a frame before you land from a jump. It keeps your momentum on the ground for the length of the punch, including up and down stairs. Most staircases are cleared in one jump, then a S T A I R P U N C H, then jumping out. Bigger staircases take two jumps before the S T A I R P U N C H, then jumping out. Hail S T A I R P U N C H I N G.
Hey, Samsara Finally Started Caring About Subpixels!
Explanations on Acacia Drive
Really I don't know why they chose that name, I mean I know they were formed from The Acacia Strain and Parkway Drive, but c'mon, man,
What's With The House Layout
Glad you asked! The first three houses are randomized, while the last 4 stages are in a set order. This run manipulates the first three houses to be in the fastest order. This run does not manipulate the last 4 stages to be in a better order, because that is impossible. This does mean a long walking section after the third house, but, y'know... Deal with it.
Why's The Entertainment Not Very Samsara-Like
Glad you asked! Also, just kidding, shut up. This game is horrible for playarounds. I did the best I could, but the best I could with this game is probably the worst I've done in general. If you see characters standing around and doing nothing, it's almost certainly because doing literally anything would cause a big burst of lag.
Hey, That Looks Like a Mistake, You Dumb Idiot, You Horrible Person, You're The Worst Thing About This Game, The Worst Thing Abo-
Okay, calm down. I know I'm unhamne trash. I'll explain weird moments specifically as they come up, but in general, due to the way the screen works, the middle two characters don't really matter that much. If it looks like one of them is acting slow, it's because it either doesn't waste any time, saves some lag frames, or is actually secretly faster in some unknown way.
Stage-By-Stage on Cedar Parkway
Entering House One
It's entered faster. Told ya 'bout those teens entering doors quick!
30 frames saved over the published run so far, 26 frames saved over the WIP.
House One - Substage 1
Instantly, what looks like a mistake: No S T A I R P U N C H I N G. Normal walking is actually faster here due to the bug at the top of the stairs being in probably the worst spot it could be. A lot of things in this game are in the worst possible spot they could be. There's more non-S T A I R P U N C H I N G a bit later on, which doesn't waste any time as the screen has to remain back for Red Boy to collect that particular bone. I focus on Red Girl being the most forward character for the last bone at the end of the substage, allowing for a quick crawlspace entry.
86 frames saved over the published run here, and 20 frames saved over the WIP, for totals of 116 and 46.
House One - Substage 2
Fairly straightforward stage here. chupapi has this amazing way of stumbling into lag reduction by accident. Both goofydylan and I lose lag frames here due to better routing, but the better routing outweighs the extra lag frames. Slowest boss in the run since there's only one Athlete pickup along the way. It's a thing. Y a a a a a y.
58 frames saved over the published run here, but I end up even with the WIP. Total of 174 frames saved over the published run so far.
Walkboys: The Movie
This isn't nearly as good of a door. Doors are weird sometimes. This is one of those times. Not much of a time save at all.
16 frames saved over the published run, and 1 frame saved over the WIP, for totals of 190 and 47.
House Two - Substage 1
One of the laggiest stages in the game, also sadly one of the more straightforward ones. Bulk of the improvement here is lag reduction through controlling the screen, but the movement's like Henry Hoover: A little cleaner.
307 frames saved over the published run, and 127 frames saved over the WIP, for totals of 497 and 174.
House Two - Substage 2
The first of many times where I choose to take some extra lag in favor of a gameplay improvement that saves many more frames in the long run. Also, the house stages are super straightforward, whereas I'm more of a gayback, so I have nothing much to say about them.
102 frames saved over the published run, and 18 frames saved over the WIP, for totals of 599 and 192.
Walkboys 2: Walk Harder
It's walkin'! A door is entered, but faster!
22 frames saved over the published run, and 10 frames saved over the WIP, for totals of 621 and 202.
House Three - Substage 1
Gentlemen, we have S T A I R P U N C H I N G. Finally. My journey to learn the darkest art of them all has begun. Major gameplay improvement is from not having to wait for an extra moving platform cycle. Once again, it causes extra lag down the road, but considering literally everything in 4 player mode causes lag, I'll take what I can get, especially when it's still much less lag than time saved.
111 frames saved over the published run, and 66 frames saved over the WIP, for totals of 732 and 268.
House Three - Substage 2
This is where the WIP ends (frame 11220 in this run is roughly the same screen position where the WIP ends), and considering the nature of the game I can't give an accurate estimate over how much time I saved since it stopped in the middle of the stage. I reach that screen position 24 frames faster than the WIP, so I'm calling the total improvement 292 frames, but it's possible that individual character positions would have lead to more or less time saved down the road. For example: The published run reaches this screen position 8 frames faster than this run! But the character positions are entirely different, and I end up saving a lot more time in return.
39 frames saved here, for a total of 771.
House Three - Substage 3
Well I'll be damned, they threw in a third one. First example of that very specific wallclip, though I've already done the jump in 1-2 so the only novelty is the wallclip. For the record, you can't jump left and fall off the bottom of the stage. I tried. Also, I hate these types of stages. Jumping in those tight corridors costs a couple frames of movement and they love shoving enemies and obstacles in there in the later ones. This one's smooth enough because it's so short, but just wait. Now that every character has Athlete, bosses generally go down in as many frames as they have HP, barring positioning issues/lag. This is my favorite boss in the run.
63 frames saved here, for a total of 834.
Walkboys 3: The Long Walk
How do you feel about a full minute of walkin'? I wanted to make these walking segments more entertaining, but they really frick you up with obstacles and enemies and there's not much you can really do apart from just jumping in kinda fun patterns for very short segments of time. Anyway, I enter a door quicker. World rejoices.
28 frames saved here, for a total of 862.
The first of two Just Very Big Stages, and probably my least favorite in the run. These stages, for whatever reason, lag WAY more on BizHawk than they do on FCEUX. I reduce as much as I can (you'll see me going out of my way to collect powerups and kill enemies to reduce the number of sprites on screen), but by the end of this stage in particular I've lost nearly all the lag frames I gained in earlier stages. By the end of the next stage, I'll be behind. Fortunately, by the end of the run, I'll be way back ahead again. What I'm saying is this isn't a fun game to TAS in 4 player mode. This section of the run is where gameplay improvements start really piling up, too, even if I'm losing lag frames over it. This isn't the most improved area in the run, but it's pretty substantial.
318 frames saved here, for a total of 1180.
Walkboys 4: Walkgirls
Finally, the girls are in charge of the walking. Typical faster door entry, and some small lag reduction (these sections don't lag much to begin with, and the next stage is going to crush my lag improvements to dust, so I'll take what I can).
49 frames saved here, for a total of 1229.
That first bubble I have to wait for can be reset, but it's actually a few frames slower to do that because it requires some weird character positioning BS that negates all of the time it saves. The next bubble gets reset, though, saving a decent chunk of time. I'm officially behind on lag at the end of the stage, this continues for the next couple of stages.
108 frames saved here, for, yes, a total of 1337. Haha, nice. Haha good meme. Funney jokez.
Walkboys 5: Walkgirls Part 2
For some reason, I get destroyed on lag here. I still don't understand why. Normally I have an improvement per run where I don't understand how it works, so having time losses I don't understand is new ground for me. Despite 13 extra lag frames, I crush this friggin' door with the power of forced entry.
32 frames saved here, for a total of 1369, the sexiest and unluckiest number. Nice.
The Bad House - Substage 1
Y'know it used to embarrass me when I'd come up with some stupid name for something in submission notes and thread posters would use that name as if it were an actual name and not some stupid thing I randomly made up. I'm giving myself an out by mentioning that I just took to calling this place The Bad House and that's not the actual name, and you all have permission to use it to embarrass me. That's right: In this submission, your mission is to make me feel like a sub.
Erotic TASer of the Year is BACK, BAYBEEEEEEEEEE!
There's something REALLY insane that chupapi did in the published run involving those two bones on a raised platform in the middle of the stage, where the characters just stop and stand there and very carefully and methodically jump to collect them. It boggles the mind. I'm sure in 2007 it could've been played off like "but the clipping is weird and that's the best that could be done", but this is 2020, current year argument, and I save a good 2 or 3 seconds just by not stopping there. Unfortunately, I get decimated on extra lag, here. I still save far more time over it, don't worry, but this is the farthest behind on lag I get in the whole run.
122 frames saved here, for a total of 1491, which I don't find funny in any way.
The Bad House - Substage 2
Hey look, it's an underground stage, and it came at a point in the run where I was already hating everything. By this point, I'd watched my run back about 20-30 times, so I was feeling self-conscious about a lot of things. I realized the characters spent a lot of time piled up on top of each other, and I didn't like that, because anyone who likes teens piled on each other is destined to go down in a blaze of non-glory, so I spent a lot of this stage splitting them up. It kinda messed up my perception about the run in general, since the novelty of the 4 player run is to actually see all four players, and here I had just spent half of it... Not really showing off all four players. Times was rough, it was rough times.
Shockingly, I'm dead even on lag here, so the improvement is all gameplay.
120 frames saved here, for a total of 1611.
The Bad House - Substage 3
Imagine, if you will, a stage where you go left.
Hey, remember when I said I was splitting players up? Good times. Times are rough, it is rough times. I hate this stage and I hate most of this Bad House. That being said, this is the section of the game I like to call "it suddenly started being kind", which I appreciate because it's the only reason I didn't yeet my laptop out the window and then have to go outside, and going outside in 2020 is like stepping into a minefield except instead of mines it's germs and instead of mines again it's people who take walks without masks on and instead of mines a third time it's I don't wanna go outside in general, DAD, I JUST WANNA STAY INSIDE AND PLAY VIDEO GAMES INCREDIBLY SLOWLY. LET ME LIVE MY LIFE!!!
I may have gotten a bit carried away, there. I got some lag back! Hooray!
97 frames saved here, for a total of 1708.
The Bad House- - Substage 4
This is a really wait and/or backtrack heavy stage, but it ended up being really kind to me, since this is still very much the section I like to call "it suddenly started being kind". I'll let you know when that ends, just assume it's still in play. The biggest improvement here wasn't anything in the stage itself, it was a much better boss fight. Over half of the improvement in this stage is from the fight alone. Feels good, and to top off how kind the game is being to me right now, I'm back to being ahead on lag. Hell yeah, boys and girls and everyone outside and in-between!
386 frames saved here, for a total of 2094.
Walkboys: The Gritty Reboot
Man, that was a great improvement. Nothing can get me down, I'm takin' this baby straight to the STARS! I'M UNSTOPP- *loses a lag frame* No vote. Vault this piece of crap. *enters door faster* -ABLE! I'M UNSTOPPABLE! BEST RUN ON THE SITE, TAS OF THE YEAR, BAYBEEEEEEEEEE!
22 frames save here, for a total of 2116.
Elm St. High - Substage 1
So welcome to the most improved stage in the run. This run spends nearly a full minute less time in Elm St. High, which I think is on-brand for me, a literal high school dropout. Outside of the boss skips, this is the most improved substage in the entire run. Object resetting is overpowered here, as it's possible to do and saves a LOT of waiting around for platforms. On top of that, though, the lag is much more kind to me as well. For the rest of the run, I catch way the hell back up to my initial lag saving and surpass it. Life's good. Game's still being kind.
688 frames saved here, for a total of 2804.
Elm St. High - Substage 2
Unfortunately, object resets don't work here due to the stage layout. That deep locker pit with the moving platform sucks to look at, but it's just barely too narrow to be able to reset the platform when someone's in there. Thanks, screen! You're the worst thing in this game! Rest of the stage is just movement improvements. I have the feeling chupapi kinda gave up here, and I don't blame him. I can't imagine how horrible it was to make a 4-player TAS in 2007 when all you had was FCE Ultra and, presumably, the patience of twelve saints piled on top of each other.
Improvements here were about half lag reduction and half gameplay, maybe the first time in the run where that's actually happened. Good thing it's near the very end of the game!
292 frames saved here, for a total of 3096.
Elm St. High - Substage 3
Joke's on you, the game is still being kind! As much as I hate this stage, and as much as I hate how long of a stage it is because the exit's in the damn middle and you have to backtrack so much, and as much as I hate the screen, which is the worst thing in this game, this wasn't actually as horrible of an experience as I was expecting it to be. Improvements here are the same as in the last substage, about half lag and half gameplay. This is where the meat of the gameplay ends, the rest of the run is super straightforward except for the part where I still have 30 seconds left of time saves.
348 frames saved here, for a total of 3444.
Elm St. High - Substage 4 - Boss 1
This and FREDDY(tm) are the only bosses that can't be skipped. This one starts as soon as you enter the stage, and, well, you can't skip the final boss. That'd be stupid. That's not completing the game. What's next, beating a game in less than a second before the title of the game even appears??? Anyway, completely preposterous things aside, I'm singling out the claw for a reason that I've already mentioned several times: Boss skips. This fight goes a lot quicker with four Athletes. It also lags quite a lot with four Athletes, but for once, doing it quicker means less lag overall. Hooray!
148 frames saved here, for a total of 3592.
I'm giving the frames saved upfront, here, because it's required to explain why it's not as much as it should be. The boss skips save 1734 frames over the published run. However, the published run spends 1892 frames fighting these five bosses. What gives?
The true villain of the game: The Screen.
The screen normally moves at the same rate as the characters: 1.5 pixels per frame. When all four characters are ahead of the screen, though, the screen will move two pixels per frame to catch up. The screen position is what determines boss spawns (that's why the boss skips work in the first place, it's messing with the screen position to skip the triggers). When doing the boss skips, the characters will always stay around the middle of the screen, meaning the screen will be moving at a constant 1.5 pixels per frame. In the published run, chupapi generally has all four characters at the very right of the screen after each fight, meaning the screen is moving at a constant 2 pixels per frame, meaning he spends less time moving from boss to boss than I do.
The screen is the worst thing in this game.
Either way, boss skips are hilarious and they save a ton of time.
1734 frames are saved here, for a total of 5326.
FREDDY(tm) IS HERE
Hi, Freddy! Bye, Freddy!
19 frames are saved here, for a grand total of 5345.
Possible Improvements on Maple Circle
I'm sure lag can be reduced more, but holy hell it was a chore. You'd think massive gameplay improvements would lead to a lot more than 5 seconds of lag saved, but the way the game works makes it near impossible to have consistent lag savings. The middle section of the run I actually end up losing a few seconds of lag over the published run (though the gameplay improvements outweigh all of it), but I have no idea how I could've fixed that, and I end up gaining back everything I lost and then some over the rest of the run without understanding why. I'm chalking it up to emulation differences
I have this really insane idea to use the game's sleep mechanic for a potential improvement. Imagine being able to use the Athlete form that decimates the bosses for entire levels. It jumps higher and can fire projectiles, which would lead to drastically different (and faster) routes and much easier lag management through faster enemy killing... The drawback is that it takes forever to fall asleep, and you have to deal with Freddy attacking you every now and then, so I don't think this would actually be an improvement.
Final Thoughts on Sycamore Place
I know you probably want to hear an explanation for why I disappeared for three years, and I'm sure you'll get one someday, but that day is not today. It's probably tomorrow. I'm tired at time of writing!
I'm not tired at time of writing THIS, though! And it's tomorrow! Hooooooooo boy, let's friggin' go.
Anyway, I sucked back then, and not in the way everyone likes. I was in denial over having been abused in a previous relationship, I had started to watch my family drift apart due to a massive increase of internal tension, and eventually I realized just how much all of that was affecting me and my time on the site. Being staff, especially, while also being as volatile as I was back then... It wasn't something I could allow myself to keep doing. I stepped down to give myself some room to breathe, but things kept getting worse in my personal life, and eventually I exploded and left the site for good. I knew that if I ever came back, it wouldn't be until I was comfortable enough to ask for a second chance. It took a good year to even start considering coming back, but it only ever took a few seconds of thinking about it to convince myself that I wasn't ready yet.
I'm ready now! The past three years sucked for reasons that are too personal to reveal (I'll leave it at "tragedy after tragedy"), but I've grown significantly as a person. I'm cool, I'm calm, I'm collected, I'm waaaaaaaaay less of a bitch, and it honestly looks like nobody is unhappy to see me back, which is a reaction I wasn't expecting. I was expecting to spend the first week back explaining myself, the second week back apologizing, the third week back being silent and embarrassed, and the fourth week back as a casual mix of the first three weeks because not everyone is around all the time, but it took me roughly two days to realize that... Hey, people liked me and wanted me around. I mattered here, in my own little way.
And that just feels really nice.
Thank you all.
Special Thanks on *quickly googles types of trees* Weeping Willow *quickly googles types of streets* Alley
- You all. Full circle! Ha! Callbacks are (call)BACK, BAYBEEEEEEEEEE
- Memory. Hey, sis. You're pretty much the entire reason I'm back. The time you reached out to me on YouTube was the first time I felt like my time on the site mattered at all, and that was when I started evaluating my life in detail for a possible return. Sure, it still took a year and a half after that for me to finally be ready, but... I mean, me being ready at all is kind of a miracle in and of itself. We've already been talking a lot, so you know the whole story, but I still want to make it clear here. Thanks for everything.
- Everyone else who's reached out to me since I came back: GoddessMaria, fsvgm777 (hey, sisters!), Spikestuff (please stop talking about Buck Bumble tho), Invariel (welcome back!), arandomgameTASer (just redo Shantae already), BrunoVisnadi (who also reached out to me on YouTube way back in the day), MY BOY SCRIMPY, adelikat (who I would unironically call dad at this point), EZGames69 (nice to meet you!), anyone who I didn't mention here that welcome me back on the forums... S'a big list! Please continue feeding my ego, thank you. Also, thank you, incredibly sincerely.
- I don't want this to get super personal, so I won't name names, but... To anyone who thought negatively about me back then that's forgiven me now... One, I'm still shocked about it given how I acted (genuinely so much worse than I remembered, holy hell I'm so sorry), and two, I'm super grateful. Thank you.
- Oh heck, uh, thanks to chupapi, goofydylan8, and Randil for their runs, and thanks to TheStrahl and the rest of the RTA community for discovering the boss skips. Aw jeez, I forgot to thank literally the most important people to this run's creation. Oh man. Oh, it's been too long. Aw hell. Aw beans. Aw nuts. I really goofed that one.
- You all again! That's three for everyone! I'm giving away thanks like Nigerian princes give away free money: Definitely very real, give me your bank details.
Suggested Screenshots on Elm Street. Wait. Awwwwwww frick
One Last Section on Evergreen Terrace
Memory: Claiming for the irony of judging the first TAS back of the person who judged my first TAS.
Memory: Well, optimization... It looks about as good as is reasonable for this laggy mess where the limiting factor on the screen is the furthest back character. At the very least it's far better than the published run which just made me ask "WHY" at a bunch of spots.
As for entertainment, I felt this run was fun. Management of 4 players is rarely dull and this run is no exception. I could easily see where 4 player adds value in a TAS setting vs only two. The quick kills were also fairly fun to watch and I appreciated the attempts at playaround (even if there were restrictions due to lag). The game is a bit laggy and ultimately there wasn't a ton of variety to character movement, so it's not exactly incredible, but it's still good. I also didn't feel the character stacking detracted much. The audience also really enjoyed the run. I'm looking forward to more from you now that you're back!
OK so under normal circumstances this is where I would accept the run to obsolete NES A Nightmare On Elm Street "4 Players" by chupapi in 16:15.75 and we would be done...
But these aren't exactly normal circumstances so if you aren't into reading extremely sappy stuff stop here.
Sis, you are the biggest reason I am where I am right now. All those years ago when you wrote that kind judgment note about my first TAS was really what led me to liking the site and sticking around more. I was extremely sad when you left the site. When I became judge myself, your display of personality was what inspired me to show personality to others and to inspire them. I was worried for a while you wouldn't ever come back but thank you for doing it. I claimed this run because I wanted to show you what I've learned in the years since you left. Thanks again sis.
Accepting to Moons to obsolete NES A Nightmare On Elm Street "4 Players" by chupapi in 16:15.75.
Spikestuff: Why are you screaming? I haven't even caught you yet.