Submission #7826: juef's NES Rally Bike "1 loop" in 08:35.87

(Link to video)
System Nintendo Entertainment System Emulator BizHawk 2.8.0
Game Version USA Frame Count 31003
ROM Filename Rally Bike (USA).nes Frame Rate 60.0988138974405
Branch 1 loop Rerecord Count 1059
PowerOn Authors juef
Game Rally Bike
Submitted by juef on 11/23/2022 12:09:51 AM

Submission Comments
Rally Bike is a NES port released in 1990 of an arcade racing game released in 1988. You control a bike… and that's about it! Hit the gas, don't crash, and don't run out of gas.

Hello all! I'm juef, and I used BizHawk 2.8 with its NesHawk core to make two versions of this TAS which are identical up to somewhere in the last race:

Game objectives

  • One version (the one included in this submission) aims to finish the last race as quickly as possible, regardless of the input length. This movie is 31002 frames (8m 37s) long and ends when further input won't make the race end faster. When dealing with games that loop, tasvideos' own feos mentioned the input should stop "after completing the last level you plan to complete", and it is my understanding that this is what this version does.
  • The other version aims for the shortest input that makes the race finish while satisfying the placement requirement. Since this is the goal of many movies here at tasvideos and because it makes for an interesting ending, I figured I'd make both available. This movie is 29051 frames (8m 04s) long. See at the bottom of this submission text for an encode.

Game information and TASing notes

The movement for this game is very straightforward. The hitboxes are arguably not the best, and crashing means restarting the race from the beginning with one less life. Helicopters make appearances from time to time to give you powerups, ranging from invincibility to helper buddies that make other racers crash. Those are fun! But for a TAS, not as useful as gas refills and turbos.
- Gas refills are awesome because you need to get gas in every race. The only ways to do so are with helicopter drops ('GAS' and 'HI' giving respectively a bit, and a less tiny bit of gas), and by stopping at a refill station. The latter is super slow: the manual states that `When you stop for gas, remember that 5 racers will have to pass you before you can go on.` Neverless, we still have to do it when we don't get enough from helicopters.
- Turbos make your max speed a little higher for the remainder of the race. Obviously, we want them, and as early as possible.
Aside from the obvious movement to not crash, most of the time TASing this game was spent manipulating the helicopter drops and other racers. The drops seem to be affected by the player's position and movement, and, by extension, other racers. They, however, can not always be manipulated finely: a movement different by a single frame will often not change the drop. In some scenarios where movement is limited by the track and/or by other racers, the drop was not optimal, but helpful nonetheless.
Another consideration is the leftover gas: there is a countdown at the end of each race, so we want to end with as little gas as possible.
Between levels, you can choose one piece of equipment for the next race. According to the manual, one engine helps with acceleration, while the other gives a better top speed… but from my testing, neither of them makes the player go as fast as the 'slick' tires, which are always selected except for one race, where the 'brock' (yeah, I know) tires prevent slowdown because of the terrain. The 'rain' tires only seem to help with the oil spills with matter very little, if at all, in a TAS.
Finally, there is a bonus race at some point, and the easiest and fastest way to end it is to crash. Just tell the organizers your steering was stuck, and live with the shame and judgement from your friends and family forever.
After five non-bonus races, the game loops. We're not playing Uniracers or Sonic so we don't like looping and end the movie at that point.

Possible improvements

Unless I missed something big or glitches are discovered, possible improvements could come from better manipulating helicopter drops and other racers.

Shoutouts to:

  • lackattack for the initial run submission on and efforts to have the game appear on that site;
  • NESCardinality for showcasing the game on his stream, for his comments and suggestions, and for holding the current unassisted world record (10m 10s);
  • The staff at tasvideos. Your behind-the-scenes work is much appreciated!

Suggested screenshot (frame 6768):

Encode of the second movie (which ends input early):

ThunderAxe31: Claiming for judging.
juef: adelikat submitted a faster version

Last Edited by ThunderAxe31 4 days ago
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