Submission #6880: DrD2k9, nymx's Coleco H.E.R.O. in 09:20.32

System ColecoVision Emulator BizHawk 2.5.0
Game Version unknown Frame Count 33576
ROM Filename H.E.R.O. (1984) (Activision) [!].col Frame Rate 59.9227510135505
Branch Rerecord Count 17343
Unknown Authors DrD2k9, nymx
Game H.E.R.O.
Submitted by DrD2k9 on 9/17/2020 5:14:31 PM

Submission Comments


Reach miners trapped miles under the surface of the earth! Use the Prop-pack to maneuver through a maze of mineshafts! Blast vile vermin with the Microlaser Beam! Dynamite walls! Negotiate across the lethal lava flow! Rescue all the miners you can before running out of lives or power!
H.E.R.O. was ported to numerous systems, but many of the ports have unique attributes that create a unique TASing challenge. Details on what make this port unique are further down.

General Game Info

  • The goal of each stage is to reach the trapped miner at the bottom of each level.
  • Navigation is done by running left and right, hovering/flying with the prop-pack, and falling.
  • Lasers can be shot from your helmet to kill enemies.
  • Bombs must be dropped to destroy walls created from rock cave-ins to progress through the game.
  • Hitting any enemy is instant death
  • Hitting the water/lava at the bottom of a stage is instant death
  • Hitting a hot rock wall is instant death
  • Your own bombs can kill you instantly if you're too close (but there's ways around this)

Temp Encode

TAS Objectives/Notes

  • Beat the Game as quickly as possible
    • There are 20 unique levels in the game. After that the level number changes to "PRO" and earlier levels simply repeat until the player loses all their lives.
    • The game manual states "You've saved the day when the score reaches 1,000,000." But this is not a true endpoint for the game as play can continue beyond that point.
      • At 1,000,000 points, the score display simply becomes asterisks because the RAM addresses for score are maxed and the programmers had this display change instead of rolling over to 0.
      • It is possible to continue scoring after this score display is achieved, thus a Max-Score run is not an option for this game.
  • TAS created over various BizHawk versions and completed on v2.5
  • To save time, unneeded bombs are dropped prior to ending a stage to limit time lost to bonus coundown.
    • Occasionally a minor movement delay is necessary to drop an extra bomb, but the bonus time saved at the end of the stage is worth the movement delay.

Attributes Unique to the Colecovision Port

  • Speed is faster than both Atari 2600 and C64
  • "Toe-Catch" bomb drop
    • It is possible to catch the players toe on the corner of a ledge and drop a bomb while rising upward.
    • This is one of the unique time saves that prevents landing delays.
  • Bomb explosions are avoided with only one frame of elevation.
  • Can lay a bomb while moving either direction (uses a dedicated button to lay bombs instead of pressing "down")
  • Holding "Left" or "Right", against a wall displaces the main character a pixel or two. This has help to cut time, where delays are used to avoid creatures.
  • Map has the same general room layout but different rock wall locations compared to other ports.
  • There is considerable delay for spinning up the helicopter compared to Atari and C64.
  • Laying a bomb, slightly in range of a wall, will cause partial damage but not completely destroy the wall.
    • This is the only port that this occurs in to our knowledge.
  • Backwards Kill: It's possible to kill an enemy while facing the wrong direction.
    • When firing, the laser projectile overlaps the helicopter blades. Thus, by touching the blades to an enemy and firing appropriately, the enemy can be killed even when the character is facing the wrong direction.
    • This is used, in combination with pressing against a wall, to keep from turning around in one location to get past a green snake. This eliminates needing to destroy a wall and saves time.
      • The developers likely intended this snake to be impassible.

How this submission came to be

NYMX was working on the C64 port of the game on his own. This prompted DrD2k9 to investigate the Coleco version. Once each of us completed our own TAS, we swapped files and reviewed each other's work. We each made improvements to the other person's TAS then swapped back again. During all the back and forth, we decided to investigate the published A2600 run. Using knowledge gained from doing the other two ports (and a bit more file swapping), we effectively did a complete reTAS of the A2600 port by testing alternative inputs room-by-room. This resulted in improvements on every level through the run. As we each worked on and made improvements to all three ports, we are both authors on all three submissions.

Suggested Screenshot

  • Frame: 30863

feos: Judging...
feos: Replaced with a trimmed file.
feos: After level 20, levels 13-20 start repeating, and input that this movie has for those levels keeps syncing if you just copy it several times for the PRO levels, so indeed it doesn't look like difficulty is increasing after original levels have been completed.
After you reach 1 million points, the score is replaced with !'s, but the game doesn't stop, so calling that an ending is a stretch, especially if it can happen at any level. So playing through all 20 original levels is enough for fastest completion.
This movie pauses movement in a few places, but I checked them all and it's due to how physics work in this game. Your helicopter is lagging behind your input rather heavily, and you can't go upward instantly after you've gone downward, so you just have to wait at the corner holding Up until it finally starts moving you up. In other places releasing the directional input for a while before you go up allows you to lend sooner somehow. All in all, I couldn't make those segments faster.
The A2600 version has been in Moons for years, and this version's graphics are much better IMO. Gameplay is similar, but not identical across all submitted ports, so we can have them as a separate publications. Accepting to Moons.
fsvgm777: Processing.

Last Edited by on 1/1/2022 6:13 PM
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