This TAS beats the official DS port of INTV Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain, which was instead titled "Crown of Kings", and uses the "Adventure" ROM due to licensing issues (we'll get to THAT later). This one collects all the tools before beating the game, just like the existing TAS of the original Intellivision version. The only reason I decided to TAS this port was to show off a unique glitch not found in the original which allows the player to walk through walls!
- Uses hardest difficulty
- Heavy glitch abuse
- Heavy luck manipulation
- Genre: Action/Adventure
"Tools" as defined by the game's instructions manual, are any items which can be used indefinitely once collected and include the boat, axe, and key. Once acquired, a flag is set for each which tells the game that the player can pass through rivers, forests, or gates respectively. These tools are only found in blue, red, and purple mountains respectively. Collecting any of these tools multiple times will have no effect. Quivers of arrows, while it can be argued that they are items, are NOT considered tools.
The game was played on the hardest difficulty, AKA "Hero" difficulty. In this mode, enemies move the fastest and you only start with 3 arrows.
Considerations looking forward
The TAS will require going through three mountains to collect the three tools, and finally Cloudy Mountain to get both crown halves and beat the game. The most optimal path through each mountain requires the tool be in a chamber adjacent to the starting one with the exit ladder adjacent to the one containing the tool (all RNG-determined). To know immediately whether we get a layout satisfying this condition, RAM addresses 0x11132A and 0x11132B tell you the chamber X and Y positions of the tool, while 0x111326 and 0x111327 tell the X and Y positions of the ladder. In Cloudy Mountain, these addresses instead indicate the locations of the two crown halves.
Walk Through Walls Glitch
Unlike the Intellivision version, here we don't have to worry about things like corridor curvature or really walls at all when manipulating our lucky scenario. You can pass through walls or halt a chamber from revealing as you run into it by simply holding anywhere on the touch screen. If rushing into enemies for their items wasn't already a silly enough strategy, this is really some next level nonsense. We can even collect items and use the exit ladder without revaling their respective chambers at all!
Okay, did you have to make this movie so utterly incomprehensible to the average viewer??
Yes I did haha, but let's address some points related to this concern:
- So, what was the route I took on the overworld map? I basically disappear for the first three mountains. Well, there is another bug in this port of the game where the bottom row of graphics do not show up properly. The bottom light green bar is supposed to start one graphic unit lower, but instead it obscures part of the game... I don't know how that mistake was made. Anyway, there are actually passable mountains to enter down there. I first enter a blue mountain, then effectively a purple mountain†, then a red mountain, then I continue on. And yes, this is actually the fastest route I found for traversing the map, which is unfortunate for the inexperienced viewer... although for the experienced player, this is pretty darn funny to see.
- Well wait a second. Let's look at the upper-left corner of the overworld map. There's a blue, red, and purple mountain all in a line up there. Certainly you could do the same thing up there and the viewer would actually see what's happening. Well, the problem is it's a blue, red, and purple mountain in that order which is different from the order we enter mountains on the bottom, so we cannot get the optimal RNG pattern to work. But why should that stop us? Can't we just go through those three mountains slightly suboptimally then do the corner skip to get to Cloudy Mountain so much faster that we make up more time than we lost? Not quite. The corner skip will not work after you've entered three mountains, read why here at "Corner Skip" section ... so the bottom route it is!
- Let's go inside the mountains now. Since I have complete control over when I can reveal chambers I'm inside of, why don't I reveal chambers immediately? Why do I sometimes not reveal them at all? Because of this, the viewer doesn't actually see me collect the tools... you know, the actual point of the TAS. The answer is: the frame which I reveal these chambers has an effect on RNG later on; so simply put, the chambers are methodically revealed (or not) to manipulate optimal RNG.
- Besides, after entering all three mountains, I do traverse through a forest, river, then gate to prove to the viewer that I actually did collect all the items even though you saw none of it.
†If you enter an adjacent mountain on the very first frame possible, the game will not have time to identify what the true color of the mountain it is, and it will look like you just entered a black mountain. Inside, it will have the characteristics of a purple mountain (i.e., it will contain a key). So, while I actually enter a red mountain here, I did it so fast that I effectively entered a purple mountain.
Why accept this submission when it's so similar in scope the existing "all tools" TAS on Intellivision?
- Well, it may be similar in scope, but clearly the walk through walls glitch makes for a completely different experience.
- Not to mention, the optimization in this submission is far better... Due to the walk through wall glitch, patterns considered suboptimal in the Intellivision TAS (remember in that TAS we even had to compromise and traverse a suboptimal, curved corridor) are now considered optimal here. As a result, far less time was spent on luck manipulation and no compromises were taken!
- Counting only the time spent playing Crown of Kings yields a total 22.3 seconds of gameplay, which is a whopping 9.8 seconds faster than the Intellivision TAS.
Suggested Publication Notes
"Crown of Kings is the DS port of the Intellivision game "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain". The gameplay of Crown of Kings involves exploring a series of randomly generated mazes, searching for tools or arrows with which to progress on the overworld map, or to defeat monsters. The end goal is to reach Cloudy Mountain and recover the Crown of Kings from the fearsome winged dragons!
Winslinator not only substantially manipulates luck, but also abuses a walk-through-walls glitch exclusive to the DS port to blast through the game's content, collecting the boat, key, and axe in the process."