Submission #7622: Darkman425's GBC Game & Watch Gallery 2 "50 stars" in 55:30.58

(Link to video)
Console Game Boy Color Emulator BizHawk 2.8
Game Version USA/Europe Frame Count 199060
ROM Filename Game & Watch Gallery 2 (USA, Europe) (SGB Enhanced).gbc Frame Rate 59.767336648919894
Branch 50 stars Rerecord Count 24370
PowerOn Authors Darkman425
Game Game & Watch Gallery 2
Submitted by Darkman425 on 7/29/2022 7:12:47 PM

Submission Comments

Introduction

Game & Watch Gallery 2 is a Game & Watch compilation/remake set of developed by "ghost" developer TOSE and Nintendo. The game is also known as Game Boy Gallery 2 in Japan and, uh, Game Boy Gallery 3 in Australia. This collection has simulations and remakes of the following Game & Watch games: Parachute, Helmet, Chef, Vermin, Donkey Kong, and secret game (as in not listed on the box) Ball.
The goal that I targeted here is earning 50 stars to unlock the Staff Roll credits. This took a bit of figuring out which games would be the fastest to earn stars in as well as a bit of menu routing. There's also a second Cast credits at 120 stars but that involves a lot more work.

Run notes

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.8
  • Gambatte core, GBA mode
  • Heavy RNG manipulation

Game route and details

There's a fair bit of explaining to do. I'll break it down bit by bit and by game order.
Earning stars
Stars are earned by playing a game and its difficulty. For every 200 points earned for the high score, a star is obtained. Up to 5 stars per game + difficulty combo can be earned, so effectively 1000 points is the end goal of each game played.
Game routing
The game route done is as follows:
Helmet all modes -> Ball Classic Hard -> Ball Modern Yoshi Hard -> Donkey Kong all modes
Ball doesn't show up on the games menu until it's accessed from the extras page. I access Ball from the extras page to save a bit of menuing to Donkey Kong after.
Helmet and Donkey Kong are chosen because they have Classic modes that can be optimized for speed in their own ways. Ball Classic Hard is chosen because earning 10 points per ball is very fast.

Helmet - Modern

The goal of modern Helmet is to get Mario to the right door when it's open.
Coins
During that wait for the door to open, Mario can slam a P-switch to spawn coins that he can collect. However, collecting coins also slows down Mario when he has enough. Even with that slowdown, gathering coins is the best way to increase score.
For every 50 coins obtained, a star spawns that's worth 20 points. Because of this star, it's beneficial to get as many 3 coin spawns from the P-Switch as often as possible.
P-switch and coin manipulation
The P-switch's location is dependent on the frame the right door is entered. Waiting frames can give a more favorable P-switch spawn for the parts when the door opens really quickly. This factor is only relevant for the Easy difficulty in the earlier parts.
More importantly is the coin spawn manipulation. The placement and number of coins, either 2 or 3 coins, is dependent on the frame the P-switch is hit. Generally, if there's a bit of waiting for the door the goal is to get the 3 coin spawns as often as possible to earn stars and points faster.
Lag reduction
Lag can be controlled by timing movement at the right times. This is why sometimes Mario doesn't immediately jump on the P-switch. Spawning 3 coins tends to generate a fair amount of lag when there's a bunch of other objects on screen.
Movement notes
Here's a table of recovery times for relevant actions before being able to perform another action.
ActionRecovery frames
Exiting the left door6
Moving across the ground, 0-2 coins carried7
Moving across the ground, 3-5(?) coins carried13
Entering the right door in area 1, 0-2 coins carried18
Entering the right door in area 1, 3-5(?) coins carried23
Entering the right door with a star in area 1, 3-5(?) coins carried43
Entering the right door in area 2, 0-2 coins carried72
Entering the right door in area 2, 3-5(?) coins carried80
Entering the right door with a star in area 2, 3-5(?) coins carried140

Helmet - Classic

This game is pretty simple. Get to the right door for 5 points. There's also a point earned for every 3 objects that hit the ground. The main speed tech is that movement can be done at 60 FPS by alternating D-pad and button movement buttons. This is done to maximize points during the times the door is open.

Ball - Classic

The only tech is to touch the ball before it hits the floor. There's speed ups at 500, 700, and 900 points so for those spots the ball should be touched as soon as possible. Only Game B is chosen because each grab is 10 points rather than 1 point.

Ball - Modern

This version of Ball has a few variables going on for it. As more stars are earned, more characters are unlocked. However, the later characters unlocked earn points slower than the previous one. Thus for speed, only the 1st character unlocked, Yoshi, is chosen since the eggs always earn 3 points and bonus sections happen every 100 points. Hard mode is chosen to juggle 3 objects, earning points faster.

Donkey Kong - Modern

Donkey Kong is also a reasonably speed runnable game here. My biggest gripe is that Modern mode lacks the double points bonus the Classic mode has. I do break up both Modern difficulties with playing both Classic difficulties to make the last game played a Modern mode. This cost a frame for entertainment and whatever RNG involved is gained/lost for waiting on playing.
A small aside, but Princess Peach looks less like a damsel in distress and more like someone wanting to watch Mario do a violence.
Lag reduction
Lag can be controlled by timing movement at the right times. Lag can also be reduced by taking out koopas and paratroopas when the opportunity arises, which is only relevant on Hard mode.
Movement notes
Here's a table of recovery times for most relevant actions before being able to perform another action. I omit the jumps to the door since that's highly variable. I also omit the recovery time from landing on a koopa and paratroopa since I didn't really bother precisely measuring those since at the point where it was relevant I just went by feel. Jumping also can be done sooner than ground movement so these might not entirely be accurate.
ActionRecovery frames
Off the 1st and 2nd floor pipes17
Horizontal movement on the 1st & 2nd floors18
Jumping, no grabs44
Jumping and grabbing22
Releasing a grab from a jump23
Right to jumping into the 1st floor pipe9
1st to 2nd floor pipe63
Up/down to the ladder middle14
Onto the top floor from the ladder20
Pushing the lever12
Horizontal movement, 3rd floor16
Entering the door to 1st movement again, 1st & 2nd areas278
Entering the door to 1st movement again, 3rd area286

Donkey Kong - Classic

oh no they really did try to cram two screens on one game boy screen
There's a couple of notable things for getting through this.
Double score mode
At 300 points, an extra life is earned. If the player hasn't lost a life, double score mode is activated. It does exactly what it says: until death the player earns double points.
Movement and recovery
Non-jumping movement has 19 movement recovery frames except for hitting the lever. Hitting the lever is 18 frames. Jumping can be done during those recovery frames but for some reason has a variable amount of recovery frames before movement resumes. I recorded a range of 59-83 frames after jumping before movement could resume.
Girder movement delay
Girder movement can be delayed by jumping where their next intended spot would be. Thus there are a couple of times jumping is done to get a more favorable pattern and get by barrels sooner.

Closing thoughts

I'm glad to have completed this since I remembered playing this years back and enjoying it. Turns out I still do, which really helped with seeing this TAS to the end.
As of this writing (29 July 2022) there isn't any 50 star runs on the SRC leaderboard of this game. Hopefully this might push someone to try it, though maybe with a different game route depending on what they can discover or what is safer for points earning.

Last Edited by Darkman425 8 days ago
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