Submission #756: JXQ's NES Skate Or Die 2 in 10:28.37

Console Nintendo Entertainment System Emulator FCEU0.98
Game Version USA Frame Count 37702
ROM Filename Skate or Die 2 - The Search for Double Trouble (U).nes Frame Rate 60
Branch Rerecord Count 7403
Unknown Authors JXQ
Game Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble
Submitted by JXQ on 7/19/2005 4:02:39 AM

Submission Comments

Yo dude!

Skate Or Die 2 is quite an unpopular NES game, mostly due to the game sucking and the controls being unresponsive.
The experience of doing my first time attack has helped me to fully respect those who do this well.
I chose this game for several reasons:
  1. I played it a lot as a kid, and wrote down all sorts of (seemingly) useless information about it, which I kept all these years.
  2. It is simple enough for me to start a first time attack on without seeming overwhelming, but not so simple that it's unchallenging.
  3. It is not on the site yet.
The story of this game is priceless, and by that I mean it is straight garbage. Only Blaster Master can compete. It's best to just watch the cutscene at the beginning of the game, but basically, the mayor bans skateboarding in your town because you accidentally kill his wife's dog by running over it while "street shredding". And thus begins your "adventure".

General Information

For acceleration, entering a new area, precise shooting, luck manipuation, and pretty much any place where I wasn't just riding around, I used frame advance. For the other parts of the run, I played at 50% speed normally. This was so I could still hear the music well and move to it.
  • Emulator used: FCE Ultra v. 0.98.12-blip
  • Complete adventure game as fast as possible
  • Does not use warps or passwords
  • Manipulates luck
  • Abuses programming errors:
There is no information on the internet that I could find. These glitches were all discovered on my own.
  • Screen Push
When falling from a higher elevation to a lower elevation (and in a few other scenarios), your character is pushed in that direction four or five pixels immediately. The screen does not scroll to catch up and place your character back in the middle, so repeately doing this can put your character closer and closer to the edge of the screen. In this way, exits and items can be reached earlier.
  • Speed Conflict
I noticed quickly that traveling to the right is faster than traveling to the left. You can accelerate one more time to the right than you could going left. (Great programming). However, this glitch is fixable. How frustrating it was to start over after being 80% complete because I learned how to correct this programming error...
  • Wall Hugging
By holding up, you can travel around barriers that you would normally stop at, without a loss of horizontal speed.

Level 1: The streets (Frames 0 - 4093; total 4093)

The first guy you talk to is Rodney. I have to wait for him to approach me in order to get a faster board. While I'm waiting, I collect some items that are around, so that later I will be able to afford the fastest board. Immediately I begin using the screen push glitch, and it is used throughout the run. You'll notice that I access the menu briefly around frame 1010. This is to fix the Speed Conflict glitch. By pressing left or right for five frames when the board is selected (as if to select a different board), the values for left and right maximum speed will be reset to the correct, equal values.
I can upgrade my board twice in this level, and with the first board, I cannot go faster than Rodney, so I must wait for him to come to me so I can talk to him twice as he turns around and acheive maximum speed at the earliest frame. These board are automatically equipped as I buy them. And yes, you buy them with tacos, fries, tapes, and CDs. Wow. Luck is manipulated here to make Rodney's leaving phrase "Groovy" rather than "Skate straight" because it saves four frames each time.
A few of the jumps in this level are frame-specific, in the sewers and before the boss. Yes, the boss is the mayor's wife, who's dog you killed in the opening. Apparently that wasn't enough, so now you must MURDER HER. Wow. Just like in real life!

Level 2: The Mall (Frames 4094 - 11409; total 7316)

This level is spent delivering things to various stores in the mall. You make a total of twelve deliveries, all on a timer. Not that that's a problem here.
The stores I stop at are as follows:
  1. Joe's Formal Wear
  2. Royandale Cinemas
  3. Rhinestone Jewelers
  4. Salon D' Albino
  5. Wumpus World
  6. Tall Stout Clothes
  7. Kafkas' Kandies
  8. Margestrom
  9. Stiller's Outpost
  10. Just Lids
  11. Pathos Fashions
  12. Minnie Shoes
You may notice that some of the stores tell you to deliver somewhere that I don't end up going to. This is because the odd numbered stores also have secret delivery places which can be beneficial to the route if planned properly.
Luck is manipulated in many ways for this level:
Each store has two places the next delivery can be, so I manipulate that to my advantage.
Around frames 4600-4850, I encounter the mall security guard. Your first meeting will get you a warning, but the second meeting will move you to one of the four corners of the mall. I meet him a couple times when possible in order to get to a specific store faster, and luck is manipulated to make sure he puts me in the right spot.
In this same segment, I also manipulate two enemies - one to get a CD (which I need for buying the fastest board in the third level), and one to get the security guard to turn around, so my second encounter will be faster. It may look like I could shoot that person faster, but the guard must be off the screen for a certain time beforehand, otherwise he will just pass through you.
I also Screen Push as much as possible on this level, and a few jumps require wall hugging in order to continue my forward motion. I also dance to the music a lot, and take a few precise shots in order to make things less boring.

Level 3: The Beach (Frames 11410 - 16680; total 5271)

The goal here is to collect pieces of the plans of the raddest, baddest, most awesome ramp that have flown out the window.
There are 16 pieces, and the level ends upon getting the last piece. However, some of the pieces are in spots that cannot be skated or jumped to - eventually, a gust of wind will carry these pieces to another location where they can be grabbed. They cannot be grabbed in mid-breeze, and of course, when and where the wind picks up is completely random.
Hooray for luck manipuation.
First of all, the acceleration at the beginning is slightly slow in order to manipulate luck with the paper. Same with the acceleration after getting the fastest board. There is also a lot of screen pushing, which enables me to meet Rodney before you can really even see him. I collect the papers that I can on the way to him, and turn around once I reach Rodney and get the fastest board. This board, unlike the others, must be equipped via the submenu.
Around frame 15015, I take a spill because crashing and reappearing above is faster than slowing down enough to get this paper without crashing.
On the ride back to the left to collect the remaining pieces, I must wait at certain intervals so that the papers are accessible. I tried so many combinations of this entire level and this was definitely the fastest I could find.
I also take a hit around 15400. This technically doesn't conflict with the "avoid damage when possible", because I had to move to the top of the ramp to shoot the skater in the distance, otherwise she is impassable on the following ramp. Manipulating luck at this point to move the crab also changed the layout of the papers for the worse. Still bummed me out though, but taking the hit doesn't slow me down.

Level 4 - The Warehouse (Frames 16681 - 37683; total 21102)

Here is the unfortunate low point of the run.
Everything here was done with frame advance and using the frame counter, since there is so much accelerating and turnarounds going on.
Yes, this is the fastest path. All 144 rooms. Groan.
I tried to keep this level interesting without losing speed by getting the enemies to shoot at me a lot, but miss. In some situations I sacrificed a frame or two in order to not be hit. Although this is inconsistent with my behavior in the previous level, this level has essentially no luck manipulation, and is in dire need of something entertaining. Altogether, I could do this level 10 frames faster if I didn't care about being hit. I figured it was worth the trade-off.
I exploit a glitch on the final boss. As long as you are in the shooting animation, his charge will not harm you. Due to the laggy controls, this requires me to hold the shooting buttons so long that I fire extra shots that do not harm him. This is why I said "Accurate shooting as possible". I also made sure in the previous levels that I ended up with a full clip, because it takes 14 shots to beat this boss, and I use two extra shots via the method above. Since there are sixteen in a clip, I don't have any reload lag.
The input stops on frame 37683, and the final boss is defeated on frame 37728. It is possible to defeat the boss on frame 37725 by beginning a forward motion before firing the last shots (so that your last shot will not have as far to travel). However, for this three frame improvement, input must be continued to frame 37702, which is nineteen more than the original. I decided the trade off was not worth it. However, I do have that movie file ready as well if the majority of people feel that would make a better movie.

Final thoughts

If this run is improvable, it would most likely in level 3, but I'm pretty confident about what I ended up with. Hopefully you'll enjoy it.
I also hex-edited a small portion of the run using Genisto's FCM editor, linked off of the hex-edit page portion of the FAQ. This caused the ROM checksum to be erased from the FCM file, but the movie still plays fine.
Skate straight!

Suggested description

"Yo dude!
Skate Or Die 2 is quite an unpopular NES game, mostly due to the game sucking and the controls being unresponsive. Luckily, bad programming can work to one's advantage in a project like this. Luck manipulation is also a big part of getting through this game quickly.
Skate straight!"
Suggested screenshot: Frame 4033.

Edited: I actually know how to use the text formatting now! So I updated this submission as such. Twice. Three times now.

adelikat: Good quality TAS with nice use of glitches. Though I personally don't find the run interesting, it has gotten many good responses. Due to popular demand, I am setting this to accepted.

Bisqwit: Submission file replaced per author's request.

Last Edited by DeHackEd on 11/2/2006 1:35:24 PM
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