Submission #7722: Cephla's NES KUBO "warpless" in 00:30.05

Nintendo Entertainment System
BizHawk 2.8.0
Submitted by Cephla on 10/3/2022 5:54 PM
Submission Comments
Since the previous submitted movie, I've managed to find a very broken side effect of 'drifting' that, along with better movement and boss fights, has helped save 625 frames (10.35 seconds) over an already short TAS.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.8
  • Aims for fastest completion
  • Major glitch abuse
  • RNG manipulation



There are two methods of 'drifting': L L R and U U D, drifting left and up respectively. On its own, drifting offers no real benefits other than looking cool, it's slower than walking speed and you can't change directions with it. However...

Diagonal Walking

This is the very first trick shown in the run and will stick out to those who've already played this game as Kubo should only be allowed to move up, down, left or right. But if you initiate a drift but then immeditely hold U or D (for llr) or L or R (for uud), he will start walking diagonally in that direction. This saves about 3 seconds overall but it should also be noted that Kubo cannot walk diagonally down to the right which is why that isn't done after collecting the key.

Screen Warp

The final side effect of drifting, screen warping is definitely going to stand out most to everyone watching. I don't understand why this works but screen warping will warp Kubo to the same coordinates he was at before exiting the screen either up or to the left (note that these are the only exits this works on) and will but on the screen to the right or below of the one he's just left. With a different map, Kubo could theoretically screen warp forever due to drifting causing the warp and drifting continues through screens. Although, if warping to the right, he will eventually wrap around back to the left side of the map and get stuck in the wall, halting any movement whatsoever.
Downwards screen warping similarly ends after a certain amount of warps because he will get stuck in the top ceiling of the top screen. But this time, he is not permanently stuck and can freely walk into the darkness above. I'd also like to point out that there's an unused variation of the main theme that I kind of prefer over the energetic one that currently plays.
There is a reason Kubo warps to only one screen at a time and I'll explain that later.

RNG Manipulation

Pretty standard stuff: press a few random buttons on random frames and hope everything goes well. Manip is used on the miniboss, the enemy the screen to the left for a damage boost and for the final boss fight. The final fight was quite difficult to get right after I managed to save a further 3 frames on movement earlier and so everything desynced afterwards but the game thanfully cooperated and gave me the desirable pattern. I have looked into trying to get the dog-like monster below the final fight to come up to Kubo as he's walking up but there are two issues with this:
1. we won't have enough health for the damage boost in the fight and
2. it doesn't seem possible anyway

Routes that would be fast but don't seem possible

1. The first obvious one is screen warping from the beginning into the gem room. I tried this the instant I found screen warping but to no avail. The gem room was so perfectly designed so that no amount of screen warping will ever get you in there. If there was a way to screen warp to the screen to the left, then yes it would be possible. But there is no way to do this, believe me I've tried. The reason we can't warp in there with all known tools at our disposal is because the exit in the screen to the left is just one block to low and so Kubo's legs, just his legs, get stuck in the one block thick wall and completely stop him from moving. However, there is a specific height at which he can move, but this is only left and right, not up out of the wall.
2. If we can't get directly into the gem room, could we maybe get into the boss fight early? There's a barrier blocking anyone without a key entering it so we should be coming in from above to bypass it. Except we can't because Kubo gets stuck in the wall and can't move anywhere (I did manage to beat all three enemies though which was quite funny).
3. This is also not possible and would be slower but makes a good honourable mention. It is possible to go OoB above the chest, walk down into it and collect the key which sets value 06CA to 32 and removes the miniboss and barrier to the final fight. Unfortunately, there is no way back in bounds, and if there were, this route would be so much slower due to how long upwards screen warping is.

Potential improvements

Movement-wise, I think it's as good as possible. There are no slow downs, all possible damage boosts are used and corners are cut as tightly as possible. I did manage to save another frame on the final boss fight over the previous draft so there may be another one or few left but I spent my final efforts trying to optimise it further but nothing seemed to work.

feos: Claiming for judging.
feos: It's much better now, accepting.

despoa: Processing...
Last Edited by despoa on 12/19/2022 2:13 PM
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