Submission #7631: Darkman425's GBA Game & Watch Gallery 4 "Zelda" in 14:55.99

(Link to video)
Console Game Boy Advance Emulator BizHawk 2.8
Game Version USA Frame Count 53515
ROM Filename Game & Watch Gallery 4 (USA).gba Frame Rate 59.7275005696058
Branch Zelda Rerecord Count 1375
! Sram Authors Darkman425
Game Game & Watch Gallery 4
Submitted by Darkman425 on 8/5/2022 6:29:37 PM

Submission Comments

Introduction

Game & Watch Gallery 4, also known as Game Boy Gallery 4 in Japan and Game Boy Gallery Advance in Europe, is the GBA entry of the Game & Watch Gallery series. This has 11 games with Modern versions as well as 9 games that only have Classic versions. In that set of 9 games is the 1989 Zelda Game & Watch game, which has an ending and a second quest. This run aims to complete both quests as quickly as possible with the power of wigglin'.
I originally only made the verification movie for others in the future to try their hand at Zelda Game & Watch but got too interested after watching some RTA runs.

Run notes

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.8
  • mGBA core
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Commences the wigglin'
Verification movie to have the required SRAM: UserFiles/Info/637950635588411093

Mechanics and techniques

In the regular rooms, the sword swing has a certain number of active frames. Under normal circumstances this results in one hit if all those active frames are connected in a row. To get more damage per swing, moving back and forth stops and restarts sword contact, counting as an extra hit on recontact. Thus as soon as the first active frame connects, Link begins oscillating to get as many hits during the sword's active frames as possible, reducing the amount of sword swings necessary for regular enemies.
At full health in regular rooms, Link's sword also shoots a sword beam that does an additional hit. This additional hit per sword swing adds enough damage to reduce the number of sword swings and speeds up rooms further. For the most part this means maintaining full health for regular encounters.
There are three dungeon items that are obtainable: the tomahawk, the map, and the water of life. Due to the map and navigation the tomahawk is always skipped despite doing triple damage against bosses. The water of life is either used automatically when Link's health depletes or is used manually by pressing down. Manual use is used to get sword beams in the first half of each loop.
For boss fights, the fastest strategy is to swing the sword, move back as soon as the hit registers, then move in again for another swing. This is where the majority of the damage taken takes place. There are still some situations, mostly in the second quest and final boss fights, where some movement is delayed to avoid extra damage.
The main difference for the second quest is that the enemy and boss attacks are faster. This is much more noticeable in the final dungeon where I end the fights slower to use the health on the final boss.
The low rerecords is mostly a consequence of this still being a Game & Watch game where the same fast strat approach can be reused across dungeon rooms as well as across both quests. This isn't 100% guaranteed since I did have to adjust the boss fights in the second quest to maintain a certain amount of health entering the next dungeons.

Closing notes

The main possible improvement for this that I can see is better health management, which is tricky for me to gauge.
Even if a proper "170 stars" or, once link cable TASing is possible, "220 stars" run of Game & Watch Gallery 4 is done, the Zelda Game & Watch game doesn't give stars and would be skipped. This does have its own separate ending so at least this can be on its own. Not sure on the others without a star reward, though.
Thanks to the Game & Watch Gallery 4 thread for having the time info to steer me away from certain games when making the verification movie because some of the games take much longer for star earning. I don't like those Cement Factory times.
I know that MAME supports a majority of the Game & Watch games as of 0.187 but I haven't tested them out to see if there's subtle difference between the MAME emulation and the Game & Watch Gallery 4 simulation.

Last Edited by Darkman425 8 days ago
Page History Latest diff