Hello everybody, and welcome to my new TAS!
As you may recall from my last TAS (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the NES), I mentioned that the only other TAS from 2004 which has yet to be obsoleted on TASVideos is Lethal Enforcers. As such, I was forced to learn how to TAS an SNES game in order to make this TAS.
The submission notes from Phil for his 2004 TAS claim that how fast you shoot the enemies (besides the bosses) has no effect on how fast you beat the game, since enemies pop out at a fixed rate. However, as I suspected, when I actually got to TASing the game, I discovered that this claim was clearly false. It's obvious that Phil never tried shooting enemies as fast as possible and timing how fast that was, because if he did, he would have found a clear difference of about 4 seconds per stage which results from shooting all enemies as soon as they appear. I assume he said this because he wanted to get his TAS published, and this game is so boring to TAS that he really didn't want to have to go back and optimize every shot on every enemy in the whole game. However, despite the lack of any evidence to support this, everyone took Phil at his word, and the publication text for the game also repeats this myth. This might be part of the reason why this was the last TAS from 2004 to be obsoleted, since the publication text made it sound like the TAS was unbeatable, so no one even tried TASing the game.
With this TAS, I aim to dispel this falsehood once and for all, and to obsolete the final TAS from 2004 which is still a current (non-obsoleted) movie! Moreover, far from being a small 20 or so frame improvement over its predecessor, this TAS is a whopping 2 minutes and 27 seconds faster than the old TAS!
You have a gun and have to kill hundreds of bad guys spread across 5 different levels each containing multiple stages in order to beat the game. You can also pick up new guns by shooting them, for some reason.
I play on hard mode. Although for a TAS, this still isn't very much of a challenge...
First of all, I shot every enemy as soon as they appeared, which accounted for, on average, 4 seconds of timesave for each stage.
Furthermore, I kept the shotgun for the entire TAS, which also saved time, since the shotgun does twice as much damage to boss enemies per hit as the other guns in the game, which allowed me to skip several cycles in the boss fights of the game that the old TAS couldn't do.
In case you're wondering, playing as 1 player is probably faster than playing as 2 players, since the end of each level takes about 2 seconds longer due to having to display the shot statistics/ranking for the second player. Of course, with how long and boring this game is to TAS, I didn't actually make a full second TAS with 2 players...
Also, I didn't use the lightgun for this TAS, which might have been faster, since you could instantly point at enemies across the screen instead of moving your cursor across the screen slowly. Surprisingly, however, there weren't very many points where I could have potentially saved time by using the lightgun, as for most enemies I could shoot them as soon as they appeared easily. Also, I'm not 100% sure whether killing an enemy the frame after they appear always saves time, as it's possible that there might be a certain range of frames (ex. 15 frames) where killing the enemy has the same effect on the global timer, or it's possible that only the enemies killed before certain events occur (like the screen scrolling) actually effect how fast the game can be beaten. However, someone would have to test this in order to be sure which is faster. For my own part, I don't know how to TAS a lightgun TAS, and the potential timesave seemed small, so I didn't bother testing it.
One last thing to note for TASing this game: you have to hold down B when you finish a level to speed up how fast the game counts how many bullets you fired (this note is just here in case anyone decides they actually want to TAS the game for themselves. Also, to make an optimal 2 players TAS, you would ideally want both players to shoot an approximately equal number of bullets in each level, since the number of shots fired by each player counts down to 0 at the end of the level in parallel, and dividing it in half would minimize the amount of time spent on the statistics screen).
With the exception of the minibosses and bosses in this game, every enemy dies in one hit. The minibosses are generally pretty inconsequential to TAS (you just shoot them as soon as they become vulnerable, and repeat until they die). As such, I will now list what I did on each of the 5 boss fights in the game.
Boss 1: Delivery Man
You just shoot him as soon as he becomes vulnerable, and then repeat until he dies. I saved time over the old TAS by using the shotgun here, since the shotgun does 2 HP of damage instead of 1 like the other guns (and after every shot, you still have to wait for the boss to become vulnerable again, so this skips several cycles of waiting).
Boss 2: Train Man
This boss is defeated by shooting the explosives the boss fires, which causes them to fly back into him and damage him. I saved time on this boss once again by using the shotgun, which does 2 HP of damage instead of 1 (even though that doesn't really make sense, since the boss is only damaged by reflecting his own projectiles back at him, not from your gun itself, but whatever...). When the boss fires his projectiles and when enemies appear around the boss is controlled by RNG. As such, I pressed buttons at different times to manipulate RNG so that the boss would fire his projectiles as fast as possible, and no enemies would appear around him until the end of the fight (and that enemy would appear right next to him). For some reason, if you kill the boss while an enemy is on screen, the game will soft lock, with both you and the enemy unable to shoot each other or move, and the level unable to end until the enemy is killed. Also, it seems that one enemy always appears offscreen at the end of the fight even if you don't see any during the fight. As such, I made the last enemy spawn close enough to the boss that I could shoot them right after I killed the boss but before the boss dying cutscene started, which allowed me to prevent this softlock and avoid losing time.
Boss 3: Airplane Man
I saved time over the old TAS again by using the shotgun, which does 2 HP of damage against the boss instead of 1. In this fight, you can damage the boss twice in every cycle: once as the boss comes up, and once again by reflecting back the explosive that the boss tries to shoot at you (this all does a total of 4 HP of damage). Then, the boss becomes invulnerable and disappears until a certain amount of time has passed, and then reappears, and we rinse and repeat. Note that on this level, the game won't softlock if there are enemies still on screen when the boss dies, so we leave a few enemies behind as a result to kill the boss faster.
Boss 4: Helicopter Man
This boss makes no sense. You have to shoot the helicopter at various precise points in order to do damage. However, sometime a given spot on the helicopter will become invulnerable to taking damage. It's possible to manipulate RNG so the helicopter doesn't shoot missiles at you, but when I did this, it seemed to make it so that certain parts of the boss would never take damage, and I couldn't kill the boss (although maybe there is a way to make it work, and I just couldn't figure it out?). Regardless, I manipulated the boss to fire explosives in a direction that I could quickly shoot, and then destroyed all 6 or so of the weak spots on the helicopter, which erupt into flames when destroyed. Once all of them are destroyed, the boss dies. The old TAS also used the shotgun on this boss, so I couldn't save any time from my choice of weaponry. However, I did save a few seconds on this boss fight by shooting the helicopter faster than the old TAS did.
Boss 5: Helicopter Man 2: Electric Bugaloo:
The final boss! Before you can destroy the helicopter, you have to destroy the 6 weapons on the helicopter (there are 3 on each side of the helicopter: 1 is the outermost rotor, then there is a plate thing, then there is a gun, and this pattern repeats on the opposite side). Each weapon takes 8 hits to destroy, and has their own health bar. Also, when a weapon goes behind a building, you can't damage it. I was able to save time over the old TAS here by shooting the weapons in an order which allowed me to destroy all weapons before the helicopter had moved across the screen twice, unlike the other TAS, which had to wait for the helicopter to get into its third movement across the screen while waiting for parts that were vulnerable to damage to reappear on screen. I found the memory addresses of all 6 of these weapons in RAM, and I've posted these addresses in the memory addresses page for the game, for anyone whose interested. Also, the missiles the boss fires seem to miss you like 95% of the time, but I'm not sure what exactly causes that... In any event, with all 6 weapons destroyed, we can now attack the boss with the shotgun (the old TAS also used the shotgun here, so this doesn't save me any time). After a couple of hits, the boss is dead, and we've saved the day (maybe). Hooray!
I deliberately made this TAS as boring as possible. There's plenty of entertaining TASes on this website, and I feel that we need 1 TAS which is painfully boring, and looks like it could have been made by an AI robot instead of a human (most of the TASing for enemies in this game probably could be automated somehow, tbh). Thus, I only move when I need to shoot an enemy, and otherwise remain still. It is my goal that this TAS will be voted to have the lowest entertainment value of any TAS on the website, which I think it clearly deserves! The only close competition is Gotcha! The Sport (seen here: NES Gotcha! The Sport! by adelikat in 03:25.33). However, since this TAS is much longer and more monotonous, I think this TAS should take the cake.
That's all for now, folks! I hope you enjoy watching this TAS. ( but not really though :) )
Samsara: And with this, 2004 is dead. Great improvements, great run, great obsoletion of an entire year, holy h*ck in a h*ndbasket this game is still boring as sin though. Accepting as an improvement to the published run!