Submission #7819: Technickle's SNES Stone Protectors "2 players" in 16:29.90

(Link to video)
System Super NES Emulator BizHawk 2.8.0
Game Version JPN Frame Count 59492
ROM Filename Stone Protectors (Japan) (Proto).sfc Frame Rate 60.0988138974405
Branch 2 players Rerecord Count 60144
PowerOn Authors Technickle
Game Stone Protectors
Submitted by Technickle on 11/19/2022 4:30:46 AM

Submission Comments
41 frames faster -> https://tasvideos.org/UserFiles/Info/638052906530010386 <- (16:29.90) (rerecord count = 60,144) Use this User File to replace the 16:50.65 submission time.
(at the bottom of the submission I put a possible improvement section, if there happen to be any improvements I could have missed by accident, then I am all for it being even better, with a co-authorship allowed!) (putting this here just in case it was missed)

Movie Goals

•Emulator Used: Bizhawk 2.8
•Game Difficulty: Easy (1 star = fastest)
•Uses 2 Players
•Beats the 1 Player movie by 52.27 seconds
•Takes Intentional Damage to Save Time
•Heavy Luck Manipulation
•Heavy Glitch Abuse
•Goes for Fastest Completion Time
•Speed/Entertainment Trade-off (when applicable: Food/Drink/1-ups/barrel items/Saxophone/DBZ Style Hits on Enemies)
•Genre: Adventure/Fighting

Information on how the Project Started/Final Goal

The project has gone under intense testing, routing, and overall optimization. From the very beginning, it was just a tiny concept. However, as time went on, I progressively got better and better, and soon, I got the time you see here today at 16:29.90 Most of the routing came down to haphazardly changing branches, testing each individual screen and making sure that what was provided, is excellent quality and overall a unique experience to view. The project started around 6 months ago (at the time of your reading/watching it's mostly more since). The TAS began from the time the 1 Player publication was released.

What's Faster?

2 Players. While it may be a no-brainer, I didn't believe it to be true at the time. Since 2 Player uses a double gem count screen I figured that would be slower from the get-go. However, I did manage to make it faster than the 1 Player TAS by 52.27 seconds. I was amazed at how much faster this was and decided to press further. With 2 Players, each Stone Protector can attack multiple enemies and bosses much earlier and much faster as to be expected. Exploiting what was done in the Player 1 movie, I use the same attack patterns seen here.

What are the Character Choices?

There are 5 Stone Protector Characters available in a set game of 2. While not all of them are fast or strong, at least two have both fast and strong attributes.
Cornelius:
To start Player 1 is Cornelius the Samurai. Cornelius has the fastest walking speed, & the fastest musical move (Sonic Vocal Reverb). While Cornelius has a move called Microphone Toss it's not the "fastest" when attacking bosses and enemies alike, however, when it does connect it does a lot of damage. The Mic Toss can be seen on Levels 2, 3, 5 & 10 for the bosses, and everywhere else for regular enemies. This attack is generally used on enemies with more health than earlier counterparts of the same type or smaller enemies like the Lava enemies.
Cornelius's Moves: 
•Sonic Vocal Reverb: 5 frames (lasts 193 frames) UUU, R, LL,l (three ups, R on first U/Up, Left on last U, and Shoulder L)
•Microphone Toss: 5 frames (lasts 48 frames) DDDR, LL,r (three downs, R on first Down/D, Left on last D and Shoulder r) *reverse in the same way*.
•Katana Knife: (Y) (last 26/27/28 frames *Depends on distance from enemy*) (no more than 2 at a time as a third strike causes a knockdown)
•Punch: 11 frames (X) (no more than 2 at a time as a third strike causes a knockdown) *can be blocked if timed wrong*
•Knife from Punch: 15 frames (Y)
Hypothetical: *All moves can be blocked/missed if timed wrong when hitting enemies and bosses*
Player 2 is Chester the Wrestler. Chester is the strongest of the 5 and has the shortest cool-down time for his special move. The majority of this TAS relies on Chester's moveset since it takes the shortest amount of time and is fast. Chester walks slowly due to his wrestler size, but, makes up for it very quickly.
Chester's Moves:
•Closeline Thunder Crush: 4 frames (last 21 frames) RR/LL-rr or LL/RR-rr (2 frames of R, 2 frames of L. First L has to be on the last R, rr has to be on the L or R)
•Drop Kick: 14 frames (lasts 62 frames from get-up to move again) (B + A)
•Telephone Whip: 32 frames (Y)
•Saxophone Twisters: 5/6 frames (not used at all except for level 7 while waiting for an enemy to pass) (doesn't lose time, but, does lose time otherwise)
•Upper-Cut: 14 frames (hold X for 14)
•Kick: 11 frames (A)
•Punch: 11 frames (X) (boss 2 gets stuck, so punching is a lot faster here)

Why punch Attack on the Bosses?

This is mostly for manipulating heavy amounts of RNG and positioning. While using the katana knife can inflict more damage instead of punching, I do this because otherwise the attack would be blocked, or just straight up missing entirely. Chesters punches still do a lot of damage so I also do that as well with the same purpose.

Mic Toss does a lot more damage I thought is this still true?

While Mic Toss does a lot of damage, it doesn't do it quickly, which is why I was able to improve this time so drastically. Mic Toss is good for certain occasions, like on boss 2, boss 3, and boss 5 because the RNG is optimized, and punching or using the katana knife would be slower.

Do Gems take extra time to collect? If so why collect them?

Gems don't time to collect if the player hasn't collected a grand total of 1K or 2K when the gem count is occurring, otherwise, it will waste time. _

Levels:

•Snowy Village: Screen 1 has to have a SVR (Sonic Vocal Reverb) involved otherwise it's slower than using Mic Toss and Uppercut effectively. Every other screen uses MT and UC since it's faster. For the last screen before the boss, I use another SVR on the masked guards, since it would be slower to do an MT and a UC. Facing Zink I used Cornelius's Punches and Kanata Knife, since it does more DPS & takes the shortest amount of time rather than using an MT to start. There are no possible improvements here
•Crystal Mine: If I use the hockey stick, it's slower by 2 frames on the last enemy before the boss, so I just carry it around for fun. The boss can be damaged by Cornelius's Mic Toss as it reaches the boss sooner. Chester's Thunder Crush can also inflict damage on the boss only once. If I managed to get into a string pattern of hitting the boss solely from Chester's Thunder Crush, then it's slower by 2 frames on the boss (1081) vs. (1079) however, it corrects itself by catching up from losing 3 frames, so it turns out the same regardless. Using the pattern actually seen here is faster as it lands on (1079) and not (1081) despite it still being the same.
•Downward: Basically a giant loading screen full of enemies before the boss. However, it does carry some merit to it. First off let's talk about that visceral hit sound on the green and blue cape enemy... Okay, that was it.
•Beach Party: Decided to have a little fun with the glider enemy by reverse singing, instead of the bland front-ward singing to spice things up. A little bit ago, I was able to catch the glider enemy by the enemy falling out of the tree, which at first I thought wasn't at all possible, but, ended up being possible. Brought Chester up closer to the enemy on the far most right of the screen to perform an uppercut to get the first possible hit. I stalled a little bit to change Tackle Jackal's movement pattern in my favor so that he'll fly out in a Tackal position rather than stalling on the right side of the screen. No possible improvements here.
•Forest of Mythrandir: Got the best RNG pattern I could manage on Wraith. Got the correct position and was able to beat Wraith very very quickly. The fight is nothing to scoff at as touching ANY input causes a different shift in boss positioning, how far it travels, where it travels, and whether will it move all. Will the hit connect? Fireball? Electrocute? All these factors come into play when deciding how to approach this boss, however, I found the fastest possible pattern. Also saved like 484 frames from before, but, it wasn't actually 484 frames despite beating the boss faster. The reason is that the music would have to play later for it to be faster
•Bizarre Bizzare: Tossed the rock on the little enemy and Frank was really nice and got the fast jump approach start. No Possible Improvements here.
•Approaching the Castle: Chester got hungry and a little silly. No possible improvements here.
•In the Castle: Saved 41 frames on a better boss fight.
•The Lab: No possible improvements here.
•Throne Hall: No possible improvements here.

Possible Improvements?

16:29.90 is very good, however, I can't find any possible improvements. If there happen to be any improvements that should be added that I could have possibly missed I am all for it, with a co-authorship allowed!

Final Thoughts:

Happy with how the 16:29.90 turned out. Went far beyond the expectations I had when I submitted the 16:50.65 time. Hopefully, you'll enjoy this 2 Players experience as much as I did making it and improving on it. Tried to make this as best as I possibly could make it.

SHA1: F408B6132E88BB9CDCB6FBB7DCB41723F88FE76D (Same one from the 17:22.17 movie)


Samsara: Judging. Will replace submission file once I'm positive there is a final version. That seems to have happened now. Hooray!
Samsara: While the casual TAS enjoyer in me wishes there was a bit more entertainment/playaround focus, the Judge in me recognizes and appreciates the grind to push the time down further and further. In particular, it's lovely to see bosses absolutely shredded by optimized 2 player stunlocking, particularly after my previous experience with judging this highlighted how much could be done with them.
Accepting as a new branch.

despoa: Processing...

Last Edited by despoa 4 days ago
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