Submission #9140: ninespaces's GBA Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis in 1:42:39.81

Game Boy Advance
(Submitted: Tactics Ogre - The Knight of Lodis)
baseline
Bizhawk 2.9.1
367910
59.7275005696058
112918
PowerOn
Submitted by ninespaces on 6/22/2024 5:31 PM
Submission Comments
Tactics Ogre - The Knight of Lodis is a tactical role-playing game and part of the Ogre Battle series. The story revolves around soldier Alphonse Loeher, who discovers that his military is not only brutally oppressive, but also seeks the power of a sacred demonic spear. This TAS abuses a glitch that creates overpowered characters and clones of those characters in an effort to complete the game as fast as possible.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.9.1
  • The game has 5 endings based on meeting different requirements; this TAS can be considered "any%" because it dispenses with those requirements in favor of getting to the credits as fast as possible.

Comments

I've burned through a fair few iterations of this TAS, chiefly due to discoveries about how the overpowered character glitch works - or rather, how it frequently doesn't work. I've settled on this version that successfully employs the glitch and then uses the battlefield decimating Orb item to chew through most fights.
The overpowered character and clone glitches both rely on bugs with the game's team-sorting procedure. To execute these glitches, one of your units must die in battle and the unit that follows that sacrificial unit in the team list must also be present in the battle. For example, if you have 6 total units, kill #5 in battle and make sure #6 is deployed too. After the battle, sort the team. If you have any unit other than #6 highlighted, then #6 will be cloned and you will also now have 255 extra copies of their inventory items. If you have #6 highlighted, a glitch character will be created. Depending on your party composition and which characters are locked, executing either of these glitches will also delete other members of your party. To keep the glitch character, you need to swap them with another party member (who will be lost).
That's the basics. I don't fully understand why it's happening, but looking at the party data in memory shows that, for cloning, the sort action copies unit data into the empty (killed) character space, rather than cutting & pasting it. As for the glitched character, I suspect that's an under/overflow and/or a pointer error. Team data starts in memory at 0x02000030, with each unit taking up 104 bytes. The glitched character data is being drawn from much further away, around 0x02006648.
There are also a number of complications that arise when executing these glitches, especially the glitched characters. The first complication is that other party members are going to be deleted. You can get some control over which ones bite the dust by locking characters in the team list, but I've only managed to get that to work some of the time. The deletions often result in game crashes if they hit unique party members. The second complication is that it can be difficult to keep a glitched character. Depending on your party composition prior to executing the glitch, you may be unable to manually sort/swap them with another party member. It also seems that until now, people thought you could only keep a glitched character by swapping it with a unique one -- but I found out that's not the case (it's just somewhat trickier to swap them with a regular character). The third complication is that glitched characters crash the game at various points. If you change their class prior to battle 6? Crash. If one particular glitched character is not an archer at Haena? Crash. In fact, if you bring ANY glitched character - barring one - to Haena? The boss dies and doesn't trigger the end of the battle... so, crash.
It's because of these complications that ultimately, I've landed on a version that unlocks the secret shop (which sells Orbs) as quickly as possible. In previous versions I instead had a team of glitched Ninjas that would one/two-shot most bosses. But this "Orb" version ended up being several minutes faster (for now, anyway).

Stage by stage comments

Prologue

The choices here determine starting alignment, element, stat boosts, troops, items, and emblems. Most of that isn't important for the TAS, but I make sure to get a Wizard with fireball.

Lutra Islands

Not much to say here. This tutorial battle is fairly fixed with respect to party actions.

Scabellum

I get the first of 3 Sorcerer's Cups here (more on these later). The boss is manipulated to the upper left so Alphonse and Rictor can flank.

Shopping and Hiring

I sell starting gear to make sure I have enough funds to hire a bunch of sacrificial lambs. I also buy an extra staff for the Wizard, and an extra shield for shoving strats. I hire 7 soldiers, change Alphonse to a Beastmaster for extra movement, equip the team, and sort Alphonse to last place. Putting him here makes it so the upcoming glitch character can be swapped with a regular party member, and ensures he won't be deleted.

Vespa

The Wizard (after being shoved about) and Archer go hunting for two more Sorcerer's Cups while Alphonse advances on the boss. The others focus on hacking their comrade to bits. After the battle, Ivanna asks to join the party. I decline, as I will for everyone, for two reasons. First, they all add special time-consuming dialogue sequences. Second, if Ivanna joins here, the team list is immediately re-sorted and the upcoming glitch won't execute.

Glitch execution

I lock characters 3-10, highlight Alphonse, and sort. This setup deletes #1 and #2, clones Alphonse, and creates a glitched character who is then swapped with #9. I unlock 3-6, lock original Alphonse, and sort. This setup deletes #4, #5, and #10, clones two more Alphonses, and creates another glitched character who is then swapped with original Alphonse. I unlock everyone except two of the Alphonse clones, and sort. This setup deletes the remaining normal units, clones three more Alphonses, and creates another glitched character who is then swapped with one of the clones. Phew!

Formido

The first of the new glitched characters, somewhat horrifyingly, floats up and wipes away the boss. We have to endure the time-consuming emblem acquisition from the glitched character; this will happen again in the next battle.

Hiring Deneb

I sell the cloned inventory items to fund the upcoming ORB expedition. I hire 4 soldiers and then hire Deneb - a special character that, when certain conditions are met, can change to the Witch class, unlocking a secret shop that sells the aforementioned orbs. The conditions are that Deneb must be Neutral or Chaos aligned, must have 35 INT and 38 MP, and must have persuaded a male unit. INT isn't an issue, but the maximum MP Deneb can have at this point is 23. The 15 remaining MP will come from the collected Sorcerer's Cups, each of which raises maximum MP by 5.

Ardea

The goals here (other than killing the enemies quickly) are to: 1) Get Deneb up to 38 MP with the Sorcerer's Cups; 2) Get Deneb to persuade a Hawkman; 3) Chop our remaining units to bits.

Glitch execution, Deneb, and O R B S.

I clone 3 more glitch characters, change Deneb to Witch and then visit the secret shop in Scabellum to buy a bunch of Orbs.

Urodela, Bison, Arena, Rana

ORB, ORB, ORB, ORB

Solea

ORB - but using a different glitched character. The first time a glitched character uses an orb is far more powerful than subsequent uses. An already-orbed character here doesn't do enough damage to one-shot the boss. This limitation is why, later on, I make even more glitched clones.

Aquila

ORB

Hiring

I hire 3 more sacrificial lambs.

Vespa

Some more team slaughtering (these poor soldiers), then ORB.

Glitch execution

I lock the team members I don't want to get chewed up by the glitch, then make 6 clones.

Naja

ORB

Sotavento

ORB (another 1st timer)

Haena

This battle was such a headache while making the TAS. Deploying ANY of the glitched characters - except the odd one out, which only exists because I changed the early game strategies - causes the boss to die and not trigger the battle ending sequence. Moreover, if one of the first glitched characters (but not the odd one out) is any class other than Archer, the game crashes. These limitations mean I have to rely on the odd-one-out glitched character to do enough damage with an ORB. Thankfully, they do.

Teleport

Deneb is equipped with the Teleport spell, which will be used later in one very important moment.

Ostorea West & South

ORB (1st timers)

Throne Room & Crypt

ORB

Harmonia, Charadrius, & Angel's Headstone

ORB (1st timers)

Hall of Corruption

ORB (odd-one-out glitched character does enough damage)

Garden of Memories

ORB (1st timer)

Hall of Conviction

Any surviving team members deployed here will also appear in the next (final) fight. I need 5 units. Deneb for teleport, another character to give Deneb a magic leaf so it can be cast on turn 1, a character to be teleported who will wield the weapon that breaks the final boss's barrier, the final as-yet unused glitch character to use an Orb, and one more character to stand next to that Orb user, boosting their damage just enough to ensure I can one-shot the boss. Anyway, ORB.

Nether Region

Alphonse uses a magic leaf on Deneb. Deneb teleports the spear-wielder. The boss barrier is broken. And then, to everyone's surprise... ORB! Cue the lengthy end-game sequence.

CoolHandMike: Claiming for judging.
CoolHandMike: This is a very good example of how a glitch breaks the typical battle phases for an rpg. Once the Orbs come into play the battles end almost immediately. Good job on finding how to effectively use that duplication of characters and items to cut this rpg down to nearly half of the current WR time which was already blazing fast for this game at around 3 hours.
Accepting to Standard.
Congratulations!

despoa: Processing...
Last Edited by despoa 8 days ago
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