This is a run of the original 1987 version of Bionic Commando. I started this run a while back (which is why this was done on FBA v3.03) but lost motivation due to the game not being as impressive as its successors. I was without internet last week and, as my resources for other projects are online, I decided to finish up the last few levels. The no death goal makes the later levels quite interesting so I decided to submit. This run was made in FBA v0.0.3.03 using US (Set 1).
Q & A
Why does this game not feel as slick as TASes of its successors?
There are a number of reasons. The most important being that you cannot use the bionic arm while in the air. This makes it more difficult to ascend quickly and it doesn't look as smooth. You cannot shoot while in the air either which means that more enemies need to be luck manipulated by inserting pauses etc. while playing. To a lesser extent the structure is quite different in that it is a linear progression of five levels rather than the map with numbered tiles.
Why did you choose 'no deaths' as a goal?
Using deaths and damage to save time is interesting in games where lives and health is a limited resource. This is not the case in a coin-op as you can give yourself as many lives as you like. When you die in this game you respawn at the top of the screen and because most levels scroll vertically you can use this to skip many of the game's challenges. This is a very tough game and beating it quickly with no deaths is much more entertaining than otherwise. It also creates much more manipulation opportunities. By moving in certain ways enemies can be manipulated to kill themselves and spawn over bottomless pits etc. which, I believe, is always good.
Why do you not beat the second quest?
Once you have beaten the game the end message plays and you are then taken back to the start. Once you have beaten the game a second time the same message plays and you are taken back to the title screen. The only notable differnce is that the second quest has more enemies. The site precedent regarding games with second playthroughs is ambiguous and there do not seem to be hard rules on the matter. Generally, my line of reasoning was this: Arcade Ghouls 'n Ghosts can be distinguished from this submission as two playthroughs were required to see the full ending, but in this game the endings at the end of each quest are the same making the second playthrough unnecessary; Genesis Ghouls 'n Ghosts uses a password to skip directly to the second quest, this was deemed acceptable, but no such password exists for this game; NES Ghosts 'n Goblins plays only the first quest with the general consensus being that the second quest does not offer sufficient variety to warrant inclusion and that, at worst, is detrimental to the entertainment value. The latter was most useful here and is the decision that I folowed when choosing my goals for this run.
Items and guns are falling from all over the place. Why do you only pick up one weapon?
The weapon I pick up in level 3 is not the most powerful weapon, but it has a very useful property in that it has a long range and can pass through several enemies. This makes it very useful for destroying many enemies quickly and destroying the bosses. It takes a few frames to pick up, but it pays for itself in level 4 as I can use it to open the blast doors very quickly.
Can you talk about how you optimised the use of the bionic arm?
Most levels in this game scroll vertically and so to ascend optimally the best way to go is straight up. If you swing to either side the 'swinging' animation eats a great deal of time and so it is only used where I really need to make X-position progress. Swinging yourself is not always faster if the arm does not give enough distance which is why some areas have more walking than you might expect. Use can also be limited by enemy positions i.e. if they get in your way or if the arm latches onto them instead of the platform.
Location: Australia, Victoria
Short and sweet, clearly optimized, etcetera. The way you just walked through everything without getting hurt was marvelous.
Yes voted and HD encoding.
Important note to encoders: The audio doesn't dump when using the default AVI audio dumping, you must use the emulators internal WAV dumper to get a sound dump.
It's also worth noting that this game runs at 59.918fps, so keep that in mind when syncing the audio and video.
Flygon, the audio was dumped just fine for me, maybe you have to double check your settings.
Captionless encode, since it won't be used anyway:
This is good enough to deserve a borderline yes vote. Not the most entertaining game in the world, but it looks very optimised. It's a bit better than a meh, and a bit worse than a full-powered yes vote, but I don't dislike it.
I find it boring (maybe because I have not played this game). However, having into account that it is an optimized short TAS of an arcade game, I think that it should be published.
The final boss is disappointing. Those robots that appear in the third stage remind me of Fallout 3. xD
No. Your screenshot is a 24-bit RGB PNG (option /c2 in PNGOUT), when it should be a palettized PNG (option /c3 in PNGOUT, /d8 because it needs between 17 and 256 colors). So I see your 10271 bytes and I raise a 7822 bytes:
Maybe my encodes are prohibited, but I am still good at using PNGOUT ;)
Location: Georgia, USA
This game certainly isn't as exploitable as future versions of Bionic Commando, as people have pointed out, but in some sense the restricted abilities of the player actually make for tense moments in the gameplay. I was amused by this movie, and it was an appropriate length. This deserves a Yes.
Used to be a frequent submissions commenter. My new computer has had some issues running emulators, so I've been here more sporadically.
Still haven't gotten around to actually TASing yet... I was going to improve Kid Dracula for GB. It seems I was beaten to it, though, with a recent awesome run by Hetfield90 and StarvinStruthers. (http://tasvideos.org/2928M.html.)
Thanks to goofydylan8 for running Gargoyle's Quest 2 because I mentioned the game! (http://tasvideos.org/2001M.html)
Thanks to feos and MESHUGGAH for taking up runs of Duck Tales 2 because of my old signature!
Thanks also to Samsara for finishing a Treasure Master run. From the submission comments:
Location: United Kingdom
I'm not aware of any other arcade games. I get most of my Bionic Commando information from here. It is a useful resource for generic BC information and history, so you might find what you are looking for there.