Submission #7554: tom_mai78101's GBA River City Ransom EX "Secret Events" in 21:21.79

(Link to video)
Console Game Boy Advance Emulator Bizhawk 2.8
Game Version any v1.0 Frame Count 76558
ROM Filename River City Random EX (U) [f 5].gba Frame Rate 59.7275005696058
Branch Secret Events Rerecord Count 169
PowerOn Authors tom_mai78101
Game River City Ransom EX
Submitted by tom_mai78101 on 6/23/2022 4:12:03 AM

Submission Comments


Bizhawk 2.8.0 + TAStudio, using mGBA v0.9.1.

Emulator Setting:

  • Skip BIOS: FALSE
  • RTC Use Real Time: TRUE
  • RTC Initial Time: 1/1/2010 12:00:00 AM
  • Save Type: AUTO-DETECT
  • All other settings: DEFAULT




  • GBA


  • 300C20DF

BIOS Region:

  • Worldwide

BIOS Revision:

  • N/A

Brief Game Introduction:

The game revolves around Kunio and Ryan (the 2 main protagonists) who, after knowing about Ryan's girlfriend being kidnapped, goes to River City High School to rescue her. Along the way, Kunio and Ryan encounters many gangs in their turfs, and fights them to seek out the bosses behind the nefarious plot.

Aims for:

  • No Damages
  • RNG Manipulation
  • Speed Trade-offs for Secret Events
  • Abuses glitches

No Damages:

Kunio-kun (protagonist) does not take any damages, especially in this Crazy difficulty run. One single hit will take off nearly 1/3 of HP (stamina + willpower) if not careful, and can waste extra unnecessary frames.

RNG Manipulation:

There is a small portion of the run where I had to use Lotto Tix (in-game lottery tickets) to obtain consecutive prizes in order to have enough money to buy stats-boosting items. There is also a handful of runs where I got the worst luck of the draws when it comes to shop items refreshes.

Speed Trade-offs:

The obvious but subtle detail in this run. For every single frame, the game calculates what random action the enemies will take, such as jumping, running, moving up/down/left/right, attacking, or running away. There are moments where I had to waste extra frames or hasten the attack, in order to avoid getting hit by the enemies due to frame updates.
There are also many moments where I don't completely finish off enemies when they are on the ground. The game allows you to hit them when they are on the ground, but this will cause you to lose "reputation". Reputation score is a hidden value where the game calculates your moral values, and this can determine whether you can recruit new allies into your team. I tend to avoid hitting enemies that are on the ground, to maintain reputation above a certain level, so that I can recruit the final ally before the final boss fight. This also prevents me from actually dealing more damages than I want to, so it's a trade-off in order to get the "secret event" in the game.

Abuses Glitches:

There are some areas in the game where it's possible to finish off the bosses pretty quickly by aligning their positions beyond the wall boundaries. This will cause them to overflow their X positions, making them out of bounds, and will fail to land on the ground, falling to their deaths. I had to use this in the boss fights, the Warehouse Battle, and the Secret Event Boss Fight.

Speedrun Information:

This movie is an improvement over the previous run: Submission #5872
  • Uses the hardest difficulty instead of the easiest difficulty, per feedback.
  • Has met 2 Secret Events, per GameFAQs.

Other Information:

  • I do not use any warps nor passwords in this run.
  • There are 2 places where the game has glitched physics I use in the game, to speed up the boss battles.
  • I do not use any deaths to save time. Dying will lower your reputation.
  • I did not save and restart the movie in the middle. The game doesn't have a save data system. Instead, the game saves player profiles, which is useless in this TAS run.
  • I had the help from Seirea from for giving inspiration to do this TAS run.


The main goal of this run is to defeat bosses in a strict order: MOOSE -> ROCKO -> BLADE -> TURK -> MOJO -> THOR -> IVAN -> DRAGON TWIN -> SLICK
When starting the game, the game menu first shows up. This is where I need to quickly configure the difficulty, as well as the text speed to VERY FAST. This helps with unskippable cutscenes with a lot of dialogues.
In order to bring out the bosses, I have to defeat all of the gang members in that area. I make quick short work with the gang before MOOSE shows up. To defeat MOOSE, the easiest way is to throw him down the construction zone pit.
The next boss is ROCKO. While on the way to the second boss, there is an unskippable cutscene that you had to wait through. With the settings configured, it's easily breezed through. Entering the factory is where I begin fighting the gang in that area. Luckily, it's the Frat Boys, so their HP is pretty low and they are all easy to deal with. When ROCKO enters, I had to guide the enemy towards the left-most side of the factory, and then initiate the glitch to make ROCKO fall through the ground by re-aligning his position. If I don't do this, the battle will take even longer to finish.
The third boss is BLADE, one of the 4 Zombies. He is located in Sherman Park, which requires some backtracking. Along the way back, I had to stop and fight some gang members, for 2 reasons: 1. For reputation. Defeating all of the gang members in the area will increase your reputation. 2. For money. I need at least $40 to be able to buy certain items to boost up my stats before I fight BLADE. The shopping mall nearby is where I can get the best early-game item that will boost my stats.
When it comes to shop inventory, so I had to quickly enter the settings menu, toggle the inventory refresh frequency to "Every", which means, it will refresh the shop inventory every time I enter the shop. Rare items tend to appear after multiple inventory refreshes, so it's expected for me to enter/re-enter the shop multiple times.
The shop item I'm aiming for is Flounder sashimi, which costs $20 and is a rare shop item. It gives PUNCH+6 and KICK+6, both of which are important stats in this run.
After consuming 2 Flounder sashimi, I begin battling BLADE, after another unskippable cutscene where my first ally joins me. I need a total of 3 allies in order to unlock one of the 2 "secret events" in the game, so GARY is the first one to get. With GARY's help, I use the technique to whittle down BLADE, while making sure I avoid getting hit by one of the boss attacks. Due to my poor stats, a single punch/kick from the boss can deal 1/3 of my total STAMINA and WILLPOWER. The further into the game, the riskier this becomes until I raise my stats up more.
The technique involves dealing as many damages as I can before the final damage dealt causes the enemy to fly up into the air, wasting frames. The enemy can only sustain a certain amount of hits before flying into the air. This helps to whittle down the high WILLPOWER stats that these bosses all have. High WILLPOWER will make the bosses recover faster, and if they recover pretty quick while they are in the air, they will always do a "second mid-air jump", wasting even more frames. I had to carefully whittle both STAMINA and WILLPOWER down enough with as few "knocking them into the air" times as possible to gain the most out of my frames.
After BLADE is dealt with, the next boss is TURK. He is located beyond the secret shop in the game, called "Merlin's Secret". It's a shop where the most powerful and rare item is located, the Lotto Tix. Since it costs $10 per ticket, I had to stop in an area before "Merlin's Secret" to gain at least $10 to be able to buy a single Lotto Tix. I also needed an extra $6 for later, to be able to buy 1 extra stat-boosting item, so I ended up getting $17 while being able to clean out the gangs in the 2 areas before "Merlin's Secret" shop location area.
Upon entering the Armstrong Thruway, I quickly enter the shop, and had to refresh the inventory multiple times, in order for Lotto Tix to appear. Upon buying 1 Lotto Tix, I exit the shop, and started the RNG manipulation to get myself the highest prize possible within a short period of time. I gave myself a budget of 50 frames for this. On each frame, to test the RNG for the Lotto Tix, I need to hit START to bring up the game menu. Each time I press START, the RNG pauses, allowing me to test the Lotto Tix per frame. In the end, the highest prize I can get is 4th prize, which is $100.00. It's enough for me to buy 3 additional Lotto Tix so I can get at least $360.00.
Exiting the Armstrong Thruway and defeating the gang, I quickly begin another session of RNG manipulation for Lotto Tix to get $377, which is enough for me. Next comes TURK battle. I use the same technique as I did with BLADE to whittle down the STAMINA and WILLPOWER as fast as I can, without triggering TURK's special attack, Nitro Port.
After dealing with TURK, I head on over to the mall, buy all 6 stat-boosting item, Army Boots, to give me a total of PUNCH+60, KICK+60. It's enough for me to start the battle with the next boss, MOJO.
After defeating MOJO, I run straight to the Vacant Factory for THOR. In the area where THOR is, the most common gang encounter is the Plagues, which all have pretty high STAMINA and WILLPOWER. Luckily, it's pretty easy to throw all the enemies down below for frame gains. And with THOR arriving, I lured him towards the pit, ending the boss fight early on.
Next, I need to prepare recruiting some allies. I begin some backtracking around the area to trigger a few "secret meetings" before I head off to face the next boss, IVAN.
After all the backtracking, finally, I ran straight towards River City High, and aimed for IVAN. IVAN is the start of the boss battle where it takes a ton of time to whittle down STAMINA and WILLPOWER if I didn't boost my stats up high enough. Luckily, it takes just as long as BLADE, so it's fine. Because of the "secret meetings" I did, IVAN quickly became my 2nd ally. I also made sure my reputation is high enough to prepare recruiting the last ally.
Heading upstairs towards the roof of River City High, the next battle is the DRAGON TWIN, ANDY and RANDY. This is a frame-waster session, because I cannot attack 2 bosses at the same time without ruining my reputation and still be able to attack both of them effectively. The only solution is to use the whittle technique on both of them, 1 at a time, while my allies are busy attacking the other.
After defeating the DRAGON TWIN, I trigger another "secret meeting", which increases my reputation to the final level. I then head downstairs, defeat the gang, and recruit the final ally, TEX. After that, I head upstairs to the Roof.
With a total of 4 allies, I can then unlock the "secret event": SLICK + OTIS + DRAGON TWIN boss battle. In order to trigger this event, I have to wait until SLICK finishes his dialogue, which is why I still didn't hit him while he is talking.
On the Roof, I abuse the glitch to realign all 4 bosses off-bounds, in order to quickly end the run as fast as possible. The moment I stopped my input, is the moment my run ends, but for style, I decided to end the movie at the end of the credits BGM.

arkiandruski: Claiming for judging.

Last Edited by arkiandruski 5 days ago
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