Submission #7732: somyeol's PSX Hot Wheels: Extreme Racing "Rollcage, unlimited gears" in 23:30.84

(Link to video)
System Sony PlayStation Emulator BizHawk 2.8.0
Game Version USA Frame Count 84406 (Cycle Count 47783517485)
ROM Filename Hot Wheels - Extreme Racing.cue Frame Rate 59.82669512970452
Branch Rollcage, unlimited gears Rerecord Count 81234
PowerOn Authors somyeol
Game Hot Wheels: Extreme Racing
Submitted by somyeol on 10/9/2022 2:17:48 PM

Submission Comments
Hot Wheels: Extreme Racing is a racing game for the Sony PlayStation developed by Atod and HotGen and released by THQ in 2001.

Game Objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.8
  • BIOS used: SCPH-5501.bin (U)
  • Luck Manipulation
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Uses an in-game code
  • Uses normal difficulty
  • Glitch Abuse
  • Genre: Racing
I highly recommend looking at the RAM Address 0E6399 (x speed) while watching this movie, as it gives you more insight on my thought process and decision making.

Game Information

The player controls their car in order to get around the tracks as fast as possible. By collecting pickups they can obtain new properties, such as nitro boosts, oil slicks, projectiles and other weapons. The computer-controlled cars can also collect pickups. The game contains a total of 24 stages, of which 12 are simply reversed versions of the first twelve.
In Hot Wheels Extreme Racing the vehicles have the ability to transform into four different element types: land, water, air, and all-terrain. In transformation the body of the car stays normal while the side of the car "grows" wheels, wings or fins. The stages are divided into different parts, each designed for a specific vehicle. The parts are separated by a "transformation portal". When the players drive though such a portal the vehicle will change into another type.

Category

This movie completes the any% category, which means racing through the Easy, Medium and Hard Cup in the Championship. Each cup holds four different tracks which have to be raced through in order to unlock the next cup. After each track, you are awarded points depending on what place you have finished. When the last track of a cup is finished, a small cutscene will play which can not be skipped in a first playthrough.

Why this category?

This category is only 23 minutes short and offers a lot of entertainment value for its length, as opposed to another category like "100%" where you have to play through the entire game. This means completing the championship, then playing through the same tracks again but with a score of 100k points which will then unlock the Reverse Cup. You have to play through the Reverse Cup first and then score 100k-150k points to unlock faster Vehicles and Gears.
Routing and planning the 100% category just takes way too long, two hours of the same tracks and nevermind the routing and planning for RNG...
So any% category it is.

Tricks

Perfect Start

You probably know this trick from racing games such as mario kart, simply wait for the lights to turn yellow and press x so your speed bar is around half full.

Bouncing

When the R2 button is pressed while you are in car form, your vehicle will jump into the air, keeping the speed you had before you jumped off. Upon landing, you will lose a tiny bit of speed for 1 frame before being able to bounce again. At high speeds, you want to minimize the amount of bounces and maximize the amount of airtime. Bounces at high speed will lose you more speed value.

Speedportal or "Boosts"

Scattered around in every track and when driven through them, gain a speedboost. The amount of speed you get from these mini-portals depends on the position your vehicle is in when going through. When jumped into, gain a significantly greater speedboost than without jumping.

Speedvalue

With the help of RAM Watch and the x speed address 0E6399 i was able to have a much better understanding of these speedportals. While your normal car speed oscilattes between 32-40, jumping through a speedportal may double or even triple your speed, making it sometimes difficult to control your car in certain sections of the game. Going too fast may also result in you involuntarily bouncing upon landing.

Speed Values:

  • ~32-40 - Car speed
  • ~44 - Perfect start speed
  • ~50 - Boat and plane form speed
  • ~60-80 - Small boost from a speedportal, also Turbo and Chain speed
  • ~95-115 - A decent speedboost i will work with in some stages with lots of walls
  • ~125-145 - The absolute maximum i will go for in stages with lots of walls, not always is it possible to get this value
  • ~150-200 - It's getting very difficult to control your vehicle now
  • ~200 - Portalboosting in boat form and rarely the maximum speed of your car
  • ~250-300 - Speedstorage in car form obtained from the boost cancel in boat form
  • ~300+ - Boost canceling in boat form

Wallboosting

Hitting a wall will instantly eat your speed, there is a use for walls in this game however. When driving or jumping into a wall at high speeds at a specific angle, you can keep around 80% of your speed if done correctly. Walls can also reset your momentum, so often times i will hit a wall intentionally to reset my momentum. I will also hit a wall intentionally to have my vehicle face another direction faster, even if it may look awkward.

Portalboosting

The big portals you go through to change your vehicles form. This can be done in two ways:
  • Transform into a boat while having a turbo in your inventory, while halfway through your transition, use the turbo and upon landing, gain a lot of speed.
  • While in boat form, use the turbo and jump immediately after activating it. This can be done wherever and whenever and does not require a portal for it to work.
You can gain a Speedvalue of around 220 with these two methods and while the speed quickly depletes, its possible to set up speedstorage for the next vehicle section. I will refer to the second method as Boost canceling.

Whirlboosting

Whirlpools are placed in boat sections as an obstacle. When driven through, your boat will spin around uncontrollably. At times, i will use a turbo while in this state in order to go extremely fast and set up speedstorage for the next section. Whirlpools can also be used along with Portalboosts and Boost Cancels to gain massive amounts of speed and speedstorage.
You can gain a Speedvalue of over 300 if this is done with a boost cancel.

Speedstorage

Depending on the next vehicle sections layout, i will set up Speedstorage in order to skip most of that section. Speedstorage is achieved by entering a transformation portal with a speedvalue of atleast 150 and is best done by boost canceling. After exiting the transformation portal, around 90% of the speed you had before entering the portal will now be given to your vehicle.

Boost Cancel

This new trick saved around 1 minute over my previous TAS. A lot more thought went into RNG Manipulation after i discovered this trick so i can make sure that i always had a turbo in my inventory when i needed to make use of it. Its possible to jump in boat form with R2 and for some reason, using a turbo while your vehicle is in the air will give it a lot of speed upon landing. If this is done when jumped into a whirlpool, the speed of your "boost cancel" and the speed of your vehicle spinning around when crossing a whirlpool will be put together. When this happens, your boat will face only one direction and cannot be controlled, so i made sure to have a good angle before i made use of this trick. Furthermore, when entering a portal with this kind of speed, transformation will be executed much faster. This saves around 1s every lap.

Boat on land glitch

This glitch only had one use in this TAS. When entering a transformation portal with too much speed, your boat wont be able to finish transforming and you will be able to drive in the next vehicle section while being stuck in a boat. This can also only be done if you were to perform a boost cancel into a wall before entering a Portal. The wall will allow your boat to travel along it and once the wall ends, your vehicle will basically shoot through the portal. If said portal and the ground behind it is situated low, its easier to perform this glitch.

Vehicles

  • Car: Speedstorage, Wallboosting, Bouncing and Mini-portal boosts.
  • Boat: Portalboosting, Speedstorage, Whirlboosting and Boost canceling.
  • Plane: It just kinda goes... - pressing the R2 button makes your plane perform a trick, if done before a portal you can assume a new vehicle position.

Items

There are two items i want in this TAS: Nitro or Turbo (i will refer to it as Turbo) and Knuckles (it looks more like a chain though).
Turbo is the best item in the game. It will instantly push your vehicle with a burst of speed and is majorly used by me whenever my vehicle faces a tough section. I also use turbo to get very fast boosts and basically fly through the tracks. Also used for Portalboosting, Whirlboosting etc etc.
Chain is also a good item to use in this TAS. It increases your vehicles speed by around 20%, gives you invulnerability and knocks enemies away. When chain is used, your vehicle will glow and gain these properties for around 8.5s.
Every other item in this game i found no major use for and i will sometimes hold onto items in my inventory so that i dont accidentally pick up an item i don't want.

Enemies and Overtaking

Three enemies will race alongside you in every track. While they are not annoying at first, when overtaken in the 2nd lap, they will either take items from you or almost always have a weapon ready to kill you. The enemies path will change almost every frame, even if they are not on your screen, they can take random items or kill each other at random times. There is no way of 100% pinpointing their next move. Changing the difficulty settings to Easy or Hard does not make a difference.

RNG Manipulation

?-Item

They can be found in every track. When picked up, have a 1/13 chance of getting your desired item. They can be manipulated by simply waiting 1 frame. Hitting an enemy will also change its RNG.

Changing Items

They can be any item: Grenade launchers, Flamethrowers, Landmines. Once picked up, have a 1/26 chance of getting your desired item on the next lap. Note that its a 1/26 chance because it can also turn into a ?-item. It's also important to note that some Changing items can be replaced by delaying inputs in the menu before each track.

Non Changing Items

They will always be the same no matter how many times you pick them up. They are in key locations of each track.

Car Choice

Rollcage.
The fastest car in the game by far and only obtainable after 100% the game. The difference between this car and every other car is like day and night. After 100% completing the game, the game will give you a code: XTRCHT! which allows you to access the cheat menu. It is here where i unlock all the cars, including Rollcage, and unlock all the Gears in order to upgrade Rollcage even further so that it reaches maxed out stats in each track.
I select New Game and quickly make my way to the Code Entry and insert the Code XTRCHT! to unlock Rollcage and all the gears. Then its off to the championship and the first cup.

Stage by stage comments

1. Beach-Head

A simple stage. The turbo after the 1st ?-Item is manipulated by me 2 times with almost no waiting. Near the end of Lap 1 i delay transformation by a little bit to pick up a chain in order to manipulate another ?-Item.

2. Wasted Forest

A very hard track to tas, the first section is very narrow and i had to be careful with my bounces in order to not lose too much time. At the end of the 1st and 2nd Lap i use boost cancels to setup a speed of ~160 as it is impossible to pick up the turbo with 240 speed. At the end of Lap 3 you can see the only time i make use of the Boat on land glitch and it saved around 0.15s. If only the enemy could destroy the box...

3. Pier29

Im greeted with 3 chains right at the start of the track, two of which i use on this Lap and the next one on Lap 2. After the flying section is a maze like car section. I will need a turbo here to set up the big jump at the end of each lap as it saves a lot of time. The jump over the 2 crates and the skull is very precise and a big troll in a casual playthrough, but with a turbo and a wallboost i simply fly over it. I was able to save more time with wallboosts in the maze section, a total of 4s have been gained. The ?-Item on Lap 2 was not manipulated by me and was pure RNG.

4. Toxic Dump

This turbo is, to my luck, a non changing item so i don't have to worry as much about RNG manipulation. Before i enter the car section, i setup a speed of around 95 to manipulate a turbo. Some precise bounces need to be done, similar to wasted forest.

5. Accursed Ruins

A turbo at the start again, but its extremely awkward to get. After activating the turbo, i managed to have my car snap into the right direction after the last bounce while keeping most of my speed. What follows is a simple boat section where i setup a boost cancel before the car section for speedstorage. Entering the car section, i need to slow down a little bit so i dont hit any walls, and then use a turbo in the middle of the section to quickly get out. Lap 2 i manipulated the turbo and the chain so i can have 2 turbos on Lap 3. It's possible for non changing items to turn into a different item that you originally manipulated for, the most likely reason being that enemies are randomly hitting each other while the item is respawning.

6. Rad Shaft

This level has a fork in the road, either go left to transform into a boat or go right and transform into a plane. The plane section is inherently faster than the boat section as you are much further to the right when entering this section. Before entering the flying section, the ?-Item will hold a turbo if you were to do correct inputs on the menu before. I had to delay inputs on the menu so this ?-Item turns into a chain for a 1s timesave. Its important that i tie my movement to RNG in this stage, as going too fast will have you waiting for turbos in ?-Items. Lap 2 i manipulated a turbo in the middle of the car section and upon entering the flying section, i barely hit the wall to correct my position. Lap 3 i chose the boat section to manipulate a turbo, this is just as fast as the flying section but i benefit from immediate acceleration when entering the car section. After the second to last boost cancel, i manage to clip through the entire portal without delay. Im not sure if this can be done on the other laps, and i have tried for a long time. This is either pixel and frame precise or the game "remembers" your previous vehicle form, so it was only possible on Lap 3 because you were a boat instead of a plane.

7. Condemned Factory

Wallboosts helped make this level a hell of a lot faster. I manipulated a turbo in the first car section which then turned into another turbo on Lap 2. Before exiting the flying section on Lap 1 and Lap 3 i touched the wall for a moment to reset momentum for the car section. On Lap 2 i could not manipulate a turbo so i had to take the one on the left while gracing the wall and resetting momentum yet again.

8. Dead Mans Mine

To start off, the jump over the crate is incredibly precise and in the end it saved me around 0.5s. What ensues is an explosion of non changing turbos in the most favorable spots imaginable and the level goes by in just 50s. It's important to tie your movement to RNG once again on this level.

9. Rattlesnake Gulch

A very fun stage to TAS. I delay inputs in the menu again so i can change some RNG. I chose to go with Chains in the flying sections instead of holding onto a turbo and being slow. It can be difficult to grab items at the end of the car section as i have already gained speed of 200+. At the end of Lap 3 i made a small improvement with the mini-portal where i gained a higher speed value. The turbo in the flying section that i pick up on Lap 2 can not be manipulated into another one.

10. Demolition Site

Ever seen a racing game where you finish 3 Laps before the enemy can even finish 1? This 38s Stage proves that it is possible. Its possible to change the 1st ?-Item with delayed inputs and using an item beforehand, but the turbo on the right is just as fast. I set up a boost cancel for the next car section and i get stuck in the left wall, this cannot be done any faster and i had to delay jumps a little bit on every lap so i can turn the ?-Item into a turbo. I finish Lap 3 with a speed of ~185 instead of 140 as i dont need to turn left after the lap ends.

11. Frozen Wasteland

A slippery level. I manipulated the first turbo here and while it is slow its not as slow as suffering from the slippery physics. After i enter the next car section i had to touch the wall in an awkward way to reset my momentum. This was the only way of resetting momentum. RNG was not nice to me on this level. I also deduced it to be faster to let your car "slide" in some scenarios instead of jumping so i can have a more favorable position for my turbo.

12. Burnt Out Shack

Too many walls and not much room to move in, this is insanity. I had to manipulate a lot of turbos in this level in order to get around faster. The portalboost was the preferred way to go, as you dont have momentum when going into the boat section. This is not the case for Lap 2 and Lap 3, as i manipulated a chain right before entering the boat section with some speedstorage.
This is the only level i did not tas again, the RNG was too good and using boost cancels was out of the question.
I finish the level and the last cutscene plays. Input ends when i press x to continue and grab the last crystal.

Final Words

I have spent the last year or so creating this TAS and i certainly got better and better at it the more time i spent on it. My goal with this TAS was to show everyone how awesome this game is and i hoped you enjoyed it. There may be more timesave with more favorable RNG, every HWER TAS will look different because of this. Dead Mans Mine and Burnt out Shack have a few Lag frames before the race starts. 2 Lag frames in Burnt out Shack which can only be removed by looking back for 1 frame, but its not nice for viewing experience.
Suggested Frame: 40540
Edit: The new tasfile can be found in the thread.

feos: Delaying per author's request.
Memory: Claiming, will update file tomorrow.
Memory: Replacing file with 20036 frame improvement.
Memory: The run was extremely entertaining, the glitches and tricks really add a lot to it. The code used was done to achieve a game state that would otherwise require sram and can be considered standard. The branch label was altered to best reflect the goal of this run and relay the information to the audience.
Accepting.

EZGames69: Procezziiiiiiiiiiiiiing...
EZGames69: Updated the refresh rate
Samsara: Submission file fixed.

Last Edited by Samsara 11 days ago
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