- Emulator Used: Dolphin 5.0 Lua + TAStudio (Syncs on Dolphin 5.0)
- Uses 1 Gamecube Controller, 0 Wii Remotes
- Dual Core and Idle Skipping Off
- DSP HLE Emulation
- Use PAL60 Mode
- ISO MD5 Checksum: c2255d53e08d6e1e6d25114be9f1bec1
- Completes the main story as fast as possible
- Uses hardest difficulty
- Takes damage to save time
- Takes damage to save time
- ...Like, WOW, that’s a lot of damage
- Takes damage to save time
- Uses death to save time
- Heavily manipulates luck
- Genre: Fighting
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a fighting game released for the Nintendo Wii in 2008. While its core mechanics are the same as its predecessors (Where the genre’s traditional health bar is replaced with a percent counter, with the goal of knocking opponents off the stage instead of reducing their HP to zero), Brawl changed many aspects of the game from Super Smash Bros. Melee, being generally considered the “slowest” game in the series as a result of some of them. Brawl is also the first game in the series to have a dedicated story mode, called “The Subspace Emissary”, and is the main focus of this TAS.
The Subspace Emissary is mostly composed of side-scrolling platforming levels with beat-’em’up sections called “Ambushes” - similar to games like Kirby Super Star - while also containing the traditional versus matches and bosses like its predecessors. It also has a story with cutscenes, but we don’t care about that and skip them as early as possible.
PAL was used over NTSC because of two version exclusive death warps; all other changes are purely aesthetic. As the game runs identically to NTSC with a trivial option toggle (PAL60 Mode) alongside these skips, I believe the use of PAL is justified.
Factors like enemy damage and autoscroller speed increase as difficulty increases, making Intense Difficulty actually faster than easier difficulties in a TAS. The only thing that slows Intense down in comparison to Easy is the fact that bosses have more health, but they go down so quickly that it hardly matters.
It is possible to skip the difficulty selection at the beginning and save about a second, but this brings the game into a glitched difficulty state. Notably, the speed at which particular block chains break (Seen in Room 5 of The Lake among other places) is so glitched that only a single block breaks, creating a softlock; this requires one to exit the game and re-enter to choose a proper difficulty to proceed.
This is a single player TAS of a mode that supports up to two players, but the addition of a second player reduces damage output from both characters by 0.6x (Which means all enemies effectively gain 67% more health). The category naming is up for full debate, since this is the first time the game’s been submitted.
A Gamecube Controller was used. Primary movement is done by moving the control stick - this includes Running (Fully Left/Right), Walking (Half Left/Right), Jumping (Up), and Crouching (Down). Pressing the A button in combination with the control stick allows characters to attack with a variety of moves (Including Jabs, Tilt attacks, and Smash attacks on the ground, and aerial attacks in the air), and pressing the B button in the same manner allows unique Special attacks to be used. The Z button is used to grab opponents, and the L/R buttons are used to shield against or dodge enemy attacks. The C-Stick allows Smash Attacks to be used on the ground, and aerial attacks in the air.
- Dash Dancing: By turning in the opposite direction in the first six frames of a character’s dash, the character dashes again. While its usage in combat is severely limited in comparison to Melee (Which has a larger time window), it can be quickly used to generate dust and advance the RNG (Explained below).
- Turn-around Jump: The act of jumping in the middle of a character’s turn-around animation; this is used to better position needed aerial attacks.
- Directional Influence (DI): The ability to influence the trajectory one follows when launched by an attack. Is affected with precision down to individual control stick values (With the exception of the control stick’s deadzones).
- Smash DI (SDI): The ability to influence one’s position before being launched by an attack, possible during the attack’s “hitstun” period (When the attacker and attackee appear frozen). Unlike DI, SDI is only precise to the cardinal and diagonal directions. One can input a diagonal after a cardinal (I.E Left, then Left+Up), but not the reverse (I.E Left+Up, then Left).
- Shield SDI: Similar to SDI, but when shielding an attack. Can only move left or right.
- Z-Drop: The ability to drop an item one is holding by pressing the Z button. Unlike on the ground, dropping an item while in the air doesn't have an animation, which means one can quickly deal damage with a combination of Z-Drops (Damaging enemies) and jumps (Which refreshes the ability to grab and drop items).
- DACUS: Short for “Dash Attack Cancelled Up Smash”, performed when a character cancels a dash attack with an Up Smash. Can provide significant boosts in speed, depending on the character.
RNG is a deceptively large factor in the process of TASing this game, ranging from individual characters’ randomness (Peach’s Turnips, Luigi’s Side-B Misfire, etc.) to the entirety of the item drop system (Explained below). Enough about the RNG was known for me to make an RNG brute-forcing LUA Script - many of the spectacles in this TAS would have been considered impossible without it.
The RNG’s RAM address is 0x805A1E8C, with values taking the form of a 4-Byte Hexadecimal. New RNG values are almost always generated by taking the preexisting value, multiplying it by 0x41C64E6D, adding 0x3039, and using the last eight digits (The lone exception is during room transitions, where the RNG changes differently from this pattern and “jumps” from one RNG sequence to another). The RNG value changes many times in a single frame, with the exact amount depending on the amount of things calling it (Many enemies on the screen at once brings the call-per-frame number to over 40, for example). Numerous player actions also change the RNG (Generating dust from running, jumping, attacking, pausing and unpausing, etc.), which makes manipulating it a relatively quick process.
Thanks to RNG’s dominating presence in almost all rooms and its nearly nonexistent stability (Only remaining constant between level selection), it’s effectively impossible to hex inputs without RNG desyncing.
The Item Drop system:
On the frame an enemy is defeated, they drop a random item the character can use. The general item probabilities are dependant on the enemy itself (With specific enemies having their own individual item pools), the stage or room one is in (With some specific items not showing up at all, like Super Mushrooms in most of The Battlefield Fortress), and the game’s difficulty (With higher difficulties increasing the chances of Trophy Stands and Stickers dropping, for example). As RNG is called numerous times per frame, and that every value corresponds to its own item, many items are initially “trapped” in-between frames, requiring RNG manipulation to make them appear on a whole frame. Notably, pausing and unpausing the game up to three frames before an enemy dies prevents the RNG from moving up to six values (Two values per pause frame) in comparison to normal; this means a given frame of enemy death has four different item outcomes - one regular outcome, and three pause outcomes.
The brute-forcing LUA script I created takes a starting RNG value, generates a sequence of RNG values from it, and iterates through each value as an enemy dies - logging the items that appear from their respective RNG values. This simulates killing the enemy on different frames, and also highlights the items obtainable from surface-level or pause-level manipulation. Its only downside is that it has to go through every value one at a time (Since any other pattern would miss potentially useful items), making it inefficient when RNG is called a high enough amount every frame.
Alongside the series’ usual Trophy collectible items, Brawl also introduces the concept of Stickers. There are 700 stickers in the game, and while they look like nothing but more decorative collectibles, they’re actually another large factor in optimally TASing this game. Each sticker has a purpose in The Subspace Emissary, where applying them will give characters unique benefits. This includes increased attack power to a given type of move (Arm moves, Leg moves, etc.), increased defense, and so on. The holy grail of stickers for this TAS is the “Bullfrog” sticker, which has a character spawn with a Bob-Omb in every single room. It’s the only sticker with this effect, and allows for incredible feats of damage boosting when combined with a specific technique (Explained below). Better sticker routing is one of the main improvements to this with hindsight, as I didn’t know what I could and couldn’t get until I was already well underway with the TAS.
Each sticker has its own unique sub-ID (The Bullfrog is 0x2BB, for example), which allows me to view the stickers I get on the fly in RAM instead of having to go through the entire level. Like regular items, certain stickers’ spawn chances are also affected by the level one is in.
Damage Boosting & Bounce Boosting
The standard in Super Smash Bros. is that getting hit with an attack at higher and higher percents sends you farther and farther off the stage, and that one can manipulate where (Through SDI) and how (Through DI) one is launched. This behavior isn’t changed in Subspace.
To prevent characters from being able to fly all over the place by taking ridiculous amounts of damage, the developers attempted (Key word: attempted) to add safeguards related to the camera. In the free-roaming sections, the blastzones are tied to the camera’s boundaries; moving past them causes a character to be KO’d. When a character takes launching damage, the camera freezes in place for a time, with larger amounts of damage causing the camera to freeze for longer. This leads to an intended mechanic where attempting to damage boost all over the place is met with being KO’d from the camera’s frozen blastzones. However, the developers missed some important details that allowed me to do exactly what they wanted to prevent.
At first, it was believed that only electric attacks were capable of unintended behavior: If one gets hit by an electric attack and SDIs into a wall or ceiling before hitstun ends, the camera doesn’t freeze, and the player flies through the level. I found out about a third of the way through making the TAS (Making the first several levels potentially unoptimal) that it works with all attack types, but that every type except for electric attacks has much tighter timing (Getting a wall or ceiling bounce on the first frame of hitstun, instead of any frame of hitstun like electric attacks). Non-electric attacks also have the added requirement of directly moving into a wall or ceiling in the instant the attack hits; the trick doesn’t work if the character is frozen in hitlag or not moving in general.
I believe this occurs because the game only explicitly freezes the camera if the character is in the neutral “taking damage” animation; immediately entering a wall or ceiling bounce skips this animation, and doesn’t freeze the camera. Because this technique always requires you to be in the wall or ceiling bounce animation, I’ve decided to name it “Bounce Boosting”, for a shorthand of “Wall-Bounce Damage Boost” or “Ceiling-Bounce Damage Boost”.
- Pause Glitch: Pausing on the frame one enters an Ambush causes the camera to continue following you around instead of centering on the main fight area. The camera’s own blastzones also still exist, which means moving far away enough from an enemy causes it to despawn. This is used in many areas to completely skip past a fight. As the fight area’s blastzones also still exist, however, I can’t move too far on my own without dying - this is why you often see me perched motionless in an arbitrary location with the glitch active - I’m right at the edge of a blastzone.
- Ambush End Damage Boost: When an ambush ends, the camera goes back to following you instead of centering around an area. If one takes damage before the transition occurs, the camera doesn’t freeze in place. This was the only known way of doing large damage boosts before the better techniques were found.
- Wall/Ceiling/Corner Clipping: Under very rare circumstances, it’s possible to clip through certain areas of collision as if they didn’t exist. This is used a few times to go to unintended areas.
I omit rooms that I don’t have any particular commentary for.
This movie starts from a fresh save file with a particular starting time in order to unlock a needed sticker by default (An exclusive +Weapon Attack sticker for Peach, which increases the damage of her Stitch Face turnips.).
The Midair Stadium
- Room 1: Kirby is chosen over Mario because of his “Kirbycide” technique that can end the match early. The odd movement at the beginning is to manipulate Mario to run over at full speed (Nothing else I did worked). Two pauses were done to manipulate RNG for the next section.
- Room 2: Peach is chosen because of her Down Special, which can pluck powerful items with correct RNG manipulation. I end up getting a Bob-Omb, and the rest of the fight follows. The optimal strategy is to despawn enemies as quickly as possible; simply reducing their HP to 0 isn’t enough, as their defeated corpses fly around until they hit something (Including another enemy, specific items, and the blastzones if nothing else). With that in mind, I either send defeated enemies into other enemies (Which has the extra bonus of damaging or despawning both the corpse and the alive enemy, if the latter’s HP is low enough), or to the blastzones if their distances to them are short enough. I throw a Trophy Stand at the final enemy to end the fight early, instead of waiting for its corpse to fly into a blastzone. This general strategy is used in every other fight in the game.
- Room 3: Kirby’s most damaging move is his aerial hammer, so that’s used in the boss fight. I opt to save Zelda (And Sheik) instead of Peach because of Sheik’s naturally faster movement and attacks.
- Room 1: A Bunny Hood is one of the items that can spawn out of the cube I land on, so I grab it to move more quickly.
- Room 2: I prevent the camera from freezing by damage boosting as the Ambush ends, and kill the Greap as early as possible by RNG Manipulating a Green Shell from the Cymul earlier in the level. For Pit, repeatedly rolling moves faster horizontally than running (A trait shared by many characters here, thanks in part to Subspace changing characters’ attributes), so that’s used to cover the distance from the Cymul to the Greap.
- Room 3: Pit is used over Mario because of his superior air attributes and speed. I take advantage of Brawl’s gliding mechanics to have Pit fly through the entire level and over a fight trigger. Pit’s Up-B can travel downwards faster than his fast-fall speed, so that was used at the starting section. While it appears that I use the move several times in a row without landing, I actually land for a single frame before falling through a given platform.
Sea of Clouds
Sheik is used because she’s faster than Kirby in general.
- Room 1: Sheik’s roll is slightly faster than her run. I also use her Side-B to grab the ledge from a very far position.
- Room 2: This is the first instance of Bounce Boosting to prevent the camera from freezing, through the Feyesh enemies and their electric attacks.
- Room 3: I RNG manipulate a Super Mushroom from the Poppant to move faster and take care of the two fights more easily. I also use an Ambush End Damage Boost to fly over the last fight trigger and to the end of the level.
Donkey Kong is used over Diddy because of his faster aerial movement options and damage output for the last fight.
- Room 1: I RNG manipulate Super Mushrooms to move more quickly (The box has a 50/50 chance of containing either a Super Mushroom or a Poison Mushroom). With a Super Mushroom, Donkey Kong’s roll is faster than his run. I also charge his Neutral Special briefly after the cannon launch to land with no landing lag, saving a few frames.
- Room 2: Same as Room 1, but I also grab a Koopa Shell and Shell Jump over a fight trigger. Humorously, the last portion of the room isn’t initialized properly, making it seem as if Donkey Kong runs on thin air.
- Room 3: The first autoscroller of many throughout the run. I try to be flashy instead of standing around, and reach the door on the first frame it loads in.
- Room 4: I manipulate a Super Mushroom once again; DK’s Down Special is the best move in terms of damage per second for the Giant Goombas.
- Room 1: I use the same Bounce Boosts as I did in Sea of Clouds. Pit’s Side-B is one of his best moves to clear out the blocks.
- Room 2: Another autoscroller, but the fights can be trivialized with the Pause Glitch and Pit’s very large recovery.
Fox is used over Diddy because he’s better at everything
- Room 1: I manipulate Rayquaza’s attack patterns by pausing a couple times, only getting hit by attacks that replace the endlag of Fox’s more powerful moves.
- Rooms 2-7: Fox’s fastest form of horizontal movement is repeatedly using Fox Illusion (Fox’s Side Special) right after jumping into the air; this is used when large enough distances need to be travelled.
- Room 8: I Pause Glitch the fight to remove the Giant Goomba, and manipulate a Super Mushroom to get back to the door more quickly.
- Room 11: I have to charge the Forward Smash for just a bit to finish off the Towtow in one hit.
- Room 12: Unfortunately, entering and exiting the single door in the level as soon as possible is still slower than letting the autoscroller progress normally, unlike future levels.
- Room 14: I have Bowser purposefully Bowsercide me, since I have a stock advantage. This saves a couple seconds over trying to KO Bowser traditionally.
The Ruined Zoo
- Room 1: I highlight how one can actually get behind the Porky Statue between damage cooldowns.
- Room 2: Ness is chosen over Lucas because of his higher DPS against Porky. Humorously, the best DPS option he has is continuously spammed Down Tilts, which I used as much as possible while Porky travelled aimlessly. After that, I used a mix of Smash Attacks with their endlag cancelled by falling off Porky’s top and aerial attacks.
- Room 3: Lucas is chosen over Pokemon Trainer because of his faster movement. I feel that this is one of the main areas that general Bounce Boosting would save time, but I thought it couldn’t be used at this point because no enemies explicitly used electric attacks here. Lucas’ fastest movement is a combination of his Zap Jump and Magnet Pull techniques; The Zap Jump is when Lucas uses his Side B one frame after Double Jumping (Gaining a considerable amount of height in the process), while the Magnet Pull is when Lucas uses his Down B after using his Side B (Getting sent backwards at a considerable speed).
- Room 4: Only the “main” Bytan enemies need to be killed in the fight in order to move on; their clones don’t add to that count.
- Room 5: I skip another fight by using the Floow to damage boost.
The Battlefield Fortress
- Room 1: Marth’s roll is slightly faster than his run. The Sword Primids’ stab attack has a very high amount of Shield SDI, which I use to practically teleport across the screen in many instances.
- Room 3: Meta Knight is used because of his faster movement, DPS in the form of his Neutral Air, and his gliding ability to skip numerous fights (Explicitly for future rooms)
- Room 4: This is where Meta Knight gets to stretch his wings. It’s possible to skip the autoscroller alongside everything else on lower difficulties, but Intense makes it end too quickly before one can get to the end (Which causes the fight area’s blastzones to kick in, killing the player if they’re beyond them).
- Room 5: Ambush End Damage Boosting to the second cart is faster than riding the first one at a high enough percent.
- Room 6: By using Meta Knight's Down-B and continuously pressing up on the C-Stick while holding the Control Stick in a downwards direction, one can prolong the duration Meta Knight disappears for. This is called the Infinite Dimensional Cape technique, and it's his fastest form of ground movement at long enough distances. His second fastest form of ground movement is rolling.
- Room 7: Same situation as Room 6 in the beginning, but I also skip a fight by gliding over it with the help of a damage boost.
Yoshi is used over Link because he’s better at everything; his fastest form of movement is his Side-B, Egg Roll.
- Room 1: I Pause Glitch the two fights present. If the blastzones extended just a bit farther out in the second one, I’d be able to enter the door.
- Room 2: I also Pause Glitch the fight in this room, using the Primid from beyond the fight to get enough airtime to despawn the enemies needed.
- Room 3: The Feyesh Bounce Boosting is back, which I use to fly over everything - including another fight.
Research Facility 1
- Room 1: I tested numerous methods, and found that the fastest movement was dash attacking through the boxes. While Zero Suit Samus’ roll isn’t faster than her run (For once), her dash attack almost ties it in speed, which is astonishing to me.
- Rooms 3 & 4: Pikachu is used over Zero Suit Samus because of his much faster movement. Quick Attack Cancels are fast, but tedious to properly optimize with the amount of possible angles one can Quick Attack at - this is in stark contrast to everyone else’s “Hold Right To Win” or “Dodge Periodically To Win” forms of movement.
- Room 5: It’s possible to skip the fight by precisely maneuvering under the fight trigger. It’s also possible to forego the intended route by using Thunder to hit the button from below. I grab the key on the way to the button more quickly by abusing Pikachu’s extended Quick Attack hurtbox and getting hit by the Buckot’s attack.
- Rooms 6-8: I take heavy amounts of damage in the autoscroller to make the return trip easier, which makes the last room blitzed with the help of Bounce Boosting from Quark Mines.
The Lake Shore
- Rooms 1 & 2: I use Mario over Pit because of loading time differences and the fact that Mario has a reliable meteor smash, while Pit doesn’t.
- Room 3: Yoshi is then used over everyone else because of his Egg Roll. I Pause Glitch (And subsequently die) to skip past the fight, then die again to use Pit to finish the level (As Pit’s faster than the rest of the characters left).
- Room 4: This is the first autoscroller I manipulate stickers for; I grab Valoo (Increased damage from indirect special attacks, for Peach), Ray Mk III (Increased Weapon damage, for Meta Knight), and Cupid Kirby (Carry a Star Rod in every room; I didn’t plan out who this was going to as I was uncertain about the sticker route at this point of the TAS’s development).
- Room 5: I discovered the generalized Bounce Boost right at the end of the fight in this room, which I utilize by blowing Yoshi up and sliding across the floor.
Path To The Ruins
- Rooms 1 & 2: I then abuse the newfound tech by Bounce Boosting everywhere with Lucas, skipping a fight in Room 1, and flying everywhere else in Room 2. While it is possible to fly over the last fight’s trigger in Room 2, there’s a barricade preventing one from going to the exit until the fight is completed. It’s possible to clip through it with enough speed, but I couldn’t find a way to get that speed in practice here.
- Room 3: I momentarily clip out of bounds by Ambush End Damage Boosting before the rest of the level’s collision (Which is disabled during the fight) can load; I use this to cut some corners before Bounce Boosting immediately after. I also Pause Glitch the fight after it, despawning the Giant Goombas before rolling to another Bounce Boost opportunity.
- Room 2: It was here that I discovered that the Bullfrog stickers do spawn, and that I couldn’t find any earlier because of the levels I was in. I farmed as many as I could under the impression that this was a single-room opportunity. Fortunately, it wasn’t, and I was able to find more later down the line. I also end the autoscroller prematurely by entering the door as soon as possible.
- Room 3: I’m able to Pause Glitch my way past most of the fights. I also manipulate a Hothead to make the rest of the room easier to deal with.
After The Ruins is the first instance of sticker application. Since going into and out of the sticker menu wastes several seconds on its own, it’s best to apply as many stickers as you can at once. Here, I put a Bullfrog sticker on Pikachu, Bullfrog and Ray Mk III on Meta Knight, and Cupid Kirby on Fox.
- Room 1: For some reason, Meta Knight can clip through the cliff, foregoing both the fight at the top of it and the need to climb it in the first place.
- Room 4: I’m able to manipulate another Bullfrog sticker without losing too much time.
The Ruined Hall
This is just the boss fight with Galleom again. I use Charizard because Rock Smash deals a large amount of damage. I also manipulate a better Sword sticker for Meta Knight.
The Wilds 2
- Room 1: This is the first instance of PAL exclusive glitches. You’re normally expected to encounter an Ambush, get into a painfully slow autoscroller, and then encounter another Ambush. It’s possible to skip the first fight, but the camera doesn’t scroll beyond a specific point (As you’re not intended to free-roam there) - going any further to the right gets you KO’d. In NTSC, you respawn back at the start of the level, but the PAL version of the game spawns you further in the level, allowing you to finish the room. I also clip through the ceiling with an elevator after the death warp, moving towards the end a bit sooner than if I just rode the intended elevator up.
- Room 2: I skip another fight by damage boosting.
- Rooms 1 & 2: Fox’s Star Rod is comparatively less useful than the Carry Bob-Omb sticker, but it still has its use in dealing enough damage to make a Bob-Omb drop.
- Room 3: It’s also used in the fight against Giant Shadow Diddy to lead easier into a grab.
- Room 4: I finish the Pause Glitched fight by throwing the Star Rod at the right time. Unfortunately, I still have to wait for a cannon cycle.
- Room 6: The fight in this room is notable in that the Koopas present will not fully despawn unless their HP is fully reduced to 0; tapping them into the water or even Pause Glitching the fight does nothing. With that in mind, I manipulate a Bob-Omb during the first portion of the autoscroller to take two of them out as soon as the fight begins, Forward Smash three of them at once, and then manipulate another Bob-Omb to take out the final one from afar.
Research Facility 2
- Room 1: I’m able to build up enough damage to fly through the blockade right as it closes, saving several seconds of intended waiting.
- Room 3: This fight is a pain to deal with because both Pikachu and Zero Suit Samus don’t have meteor smashes. I had to get creative and use the stage’s geometry to my advantage, manipulating the two Samus’ to the left underside and hit them with Thunder, stage-spiking them with the help of a pause to manipulate whether they’d tech or not.
I still use Pikachu because Samus is even slower than Zero Suit Samus.
- Room 5: You’re intended to ride the moving platforms everywhere, get into an Ambush, and find your way to the exit. Older TASes went mostly the intended route, but skipped the fight by flying over it. In this one, I just Bounce Boost to the end in a straight line as soon as possible.
- Room 6: I also take the literal opposite route that was normally intended, with the help of Bounce Boosting repeatedly. Pikachu’s extended hurtbox makes an appearance again, getting hit by the Cymul.
Path to The Ancient Ruins
Captain Falcon is used over everyone present because he’s faster at everything.
- Room 1: I damage boost and Pause Glitch in a way to completely skip the intended fight.
- Room 2: I end the fight by launching two Metal Primid corpses into the final one, reducings its health to zero and making it despawn on the spot.
The Glacial Peak
- Room 2: I manipulate more stickers in the very long autoscroller, re-adjusting my initial sticker route to add more characters. This time, I grab two Octopus stickers (Increased Leg damage; one for Falcon, and one for Kirby), Daroach (Increased Electric damage, for Falcon’s forward aerial attack), and Boulder (Increased Body/Spin damage, for Pikachu).
- Room 3: This is the first room where I just couldn’t find a good place to Bounce Boost; I tried many places and nothing appeared to work. The fight in this room is notable in that it doesn’t technically have an upper blastzone like the rest of the Ambushes in the game; you die if you land on a platform above a specific height, so I take care to not do that as I damage boost and Pause Glitch my way past it.
- Room 4: I purposefully let Lucario hit me so I can attack him more quickly.
- Room 1: Yoshi is used because of his Bullfrog sticker and better fighting ability in comparison to the rest of the playable characters. For some reason, enemies fall quickly to their deaths if they hit the corner of the pit, so I take out the Giant Primids this way.
Battleship Halberd Interior
- Room 2: Snake’s DACUS is his fastest form of movement, which is used alongside shield SDI from the Scope and Sword Primids.
- Room 3: Meta Knight’s Bullfrog sticker allows him to go out of bounds (Thanks to incomplete collision) and skip to the end of the room, completely bypassing the intended method of hitting numerous switches.
- Room 6: In my Project M NG+ Debug% TAS, I found that it was possible to skip this room completely by damage boosting at the right spot at the right time to clip past several walls. However, it was Sonic’s frame that apparently helped in that success, as I tried it with all three playable characters here and couldn’t get a similar clip. With all my attempts ending in failure, I proceeded with the intended route.
Battleship Halberd Exterior
- Room 1: Peach is used over Sheik this time because of her damage boost abilities (AKA manipulating Bob-Ombs from her Down-B) without anyone else present, saving seven seconds in the first room alone. This strat would’ve been considered far too much of a challenge without the brute-forcing script. I delay entering the door by a few frames to manipulate a Bob-Omb earlier in Room 2.
- Room 5: I perform what’s probably the craziest strat in the run by manipulating a Bob-Omb as I still have momentum from the first one’s explosion, plucking it as I fall off the platform. It saves 75 frames in comparison to just reaching the end with a single Bob-Omb. The first Bob-Omb wasn’t used earlier because my only damage boost options are horizontal, while I needed vertical movement.
This is the second (And last) instance of sticker application, where I power up numerous characters (Including Peach for her fight against Duon, Captain Falcon for The Great Maze, and other characters for smaller bits of help in their levels).
Battleship Halberd Bridge
- Room 1: “A weapon to surpass Metal Gear.” The fastest method of dealing damage with Peach is repeatedly Z-Dropping a Stitch Face turnip, which can be done even faster than other characters by cancelling Peach's float ability to land on the ground sooner.
Subspace Bomb Factory 1
- Room 1: I’m able to clip through the corner with the help of a Bob-Omb and the elevator moving downwards. I’m one frame away from triggering an Ambush in the room below me, locking me in place.
- Room 2: Pikachu’s powered up Neutral Air (From the Body/Spin sticker I put on him earlier) leaves the ROBs with a single sliver of health left; I found a Superspicy Curry item amidst the sea of others in the RNG sequence that could take care of that last little bit. It becomes sort of a moot point one enemy later, as a Super Mushroom - which increases damage greatly - is dropped.
Subspace Bomb Factory 2
- Room 2: I skip the intended fight to hit the blue switch by damage boosting over the trigger.
- Room 3: I Pause Glitch the fight to end it more quickly while also skipping the key requirement, similar to the out-of-bounds clip in The Cave.
- Room 4: This is the final large Ambush in the game, which I considered the last hurdle in making this TAS. It didn’t take as long as I expected.
- Room 5: The second PAL exclusive skip, where dying spawns you much further down the level. In the NTSC version, the camera doesn’t stop where it does in PAL, but you instead have to fall a great distance before reaching PAL’s respawn point.
- Room 8: You’re given two minutes to defeat Meta Ridley. I do it in less than twelve seconds.
Entrance to Subspace
- Room 1: Falcon is used for the first fight, then Meta Knight is used to skip the rest. I manipulate a Super Mushroom during the autoscroller to take care of the generators more easily. While it’s possible to skip the first fight with Meta Knight just like The Wilds 2, the camera stops scrolling beyond a certain distance in the same manner - and unlike The Wilds 2, you don’t respawn further ahead in the level. I’m forced to do the fights and autoscrollers as intended.
Luigi is used because his Misfire allows for better aerial speed. The only character I save here is Captain Falcon, who’s fortunately already on the fastest room path.
- Room 1: I damage boost with the Bombeds’ explosions to reach the end faster.
- Room 2: I pause to manipulate the Poppant’s most damaging attack to appear, launching me right up to the exit door’s platform.
- Room 3: I get the Feyesh to follow me as I recover to the ending section of the level, using their attacks to get just a bit more height. I also use the Mite’s attack to damage boost to the end.
- Room 4: On ground, Luigi’s roll is his fastest movement option.
- Room 5: Falcon Get!
- Room 6: “Hello, Mario. Goodbye, Mario.”
- Room 7: Similarly to the first fight of the game, I use King Dedede’s Neutral B to inhale Bowser and fall to the bottom blastzone, winning because of my stock advantage.
- Room 1: I make a very slight detour to save Peach, as she’s used for the final boss.
- Room 2: The fight before the autoscroller is similar to the fight in The Glacial Peak, in that you only die if you land on a platform beyond a specific height. I’m able to Pause Glitch here to take care of many Primids, before throwing a Trophy Stand at the Armight to end it immediately.
- Room 3: I’m able to Pause Glitch and damage boost in a way to completely despawn the Gamyga, which saves several seconds in spite of the fact that I die.
The Great Maze
I use Captain Falcon for the entirety of the maze except for the fight against Tabuu, thanks to his ability to quickly KO fighters with his Down Air and Forward Air. It’s possible to back out of Subspace and re-enter to avoid backtracking through long rooms by finding checkpoint doors, but this isn’t optimal for this TAS because of Bounce Boosting (Making backtracking quick) and because the TAS starts from a new save file (Causing numerous pieces of achievement and character/song unlock pop ups to appear after exiting the mode, wasting time). There’s an exception in the bottom left quadrant’s checkpoint door, but I simply use this to warp from one checkpoint back to it instead of exiting out of the game.
I reach 999% very quickly through the continued usage of Bob-Omb Bounce Boosting. Even with the camera unfrozen, it still doesn’t move fast enough to keep up because of the Bob-Omb’s large knockback; I have to resort to hitting the ground a few frames after getting launched, as ground speed has a much lower cap than air speed.
Peach is used against Tabuu, where her Stitch Face turnip destroys him just like Duon.
As I mentioned before, the gained knowledge of Bounce Boosting can improve the earlier levels of the TAS, specifically The Ruined Zoo. Better knowledge of the possible sticker drops means that the sticker route can be optimized; more stickers can be applied to more characters (To increase Charizard’s Rock Smash damage against Galleom, for example). These weren’t implemented early in the TAS because I just didn’t know enough about the game, and I already started over once due to an unforeseen downside to skipping the difficulty selection; I didn’t want to start over a second time.
A save file was created because I thought I needed to exit back in and out of Subspace - which requires the game to have a save file - but hindsight shows that isn’t needed. Unfortunately, applying this save would make me start everything over.
Sea of Clouds might be faster with Peach instead of Zelda/Sheik, thanks to her Bob-Omb Bounce Boost strat first found in Battleship Halberd Exterior. This would also require me to re-do the Petey boss fight to save Peach instead of Zelda - I don’t know how much time I would initially lose in making this change, or if it would save time overall.
The Research Facility 1 has a lucrative skip that bypasses the initial blockade in the final room, but is only possible if you manipulate the camera’s position and change the blastzones (This is seen in my Project M Debug% TASes). It’s unknown if it can be done without changing the camera, but I wasn’t able to get it in this TAS.
Battleship Halberd Interior’s Room 6 skip might still be possible with the three characters present, but I feel as if I exhausted all the options I had and didn’t come up with any useful results. I theorize that getting a Poison Mushroom to shrink the characters’ hurtboxes would be enough, but I ran the brute-forcing script to find that zero Poison Mushrooms spawned.
Lastly, many of the Ambushes (Especially the large ones) have theoretical improvements through different RNG and item drops, among other things. Thanks to the way that the fights plays out (Where two equally good but drastically different items can drop a single frame apart), the amount of different “branches” of timelines that can result in an Ambush increases drastically as time goes on. Thanks to this complexity and the fact that every individual branch needs to be thoroughly tested, brute-forcing these is impossible for the time being. I tried my best with the knowledge at hand, and none of the fights looks particularly slow anyway.
This beats the current RTA record of the same category by over one hour and 30 minutes. The closest comparable TAS of the same game (As Project M is fundamentally different) is Pikapi12’s Segmented NG+ TAS from 2015, which this TAS also handily beats. In spite of the found improvements, I’m still proud of this TAS, and believe it’s a good showing of how far Brawl’s limits have been broken in terms of speed. I hope you all liked it!
Samsara: Might as well call me Subsara now! Judging!!! Wait, no, that joke doesn't work as well here.
Samsara: Well, I have my next Star recommendation in mind.
Honestly, this is one of those runs that just comes along and leaves you speechless, something that not only lives up to, but surpasses the hype surrounding it. It's, and I admit this is a weird turn of phrase but it's the only one that makes sense to me, an uncomfortable level of TASing art, like it shouldn't be remotely possible to create, and yet here it is, Subspace Emissary in a little over an hour, back to front. It's a masterwork in planning, execution, and blowing yourself the hell up repeatedly to get sent flying across stages.
Because TASvideos tiering makes sense, this has to be accepted and published to Moons, and then I'll bug feos until he makes it a Star. My justification will be "look at it".
Zinfidel is handling publication for this one.