I want to put this section first to give recognition to someone really wonderful. laranja and I originally were coauthoring this run. I had more time to work on the run, and after several weeks of a busy schedule, Marco graciously bowed out. You will be hard pressed to find someone as friendly as Marco. He was the first to discover the quick way to the first exit, and how to beat the last level without damage boosting. Some of his input remains in level 1-2. He also was the one to notice you can beat the 2 red balls with just 1 swing, saving 10 frames over the first submission.
Other thanks to:
Tompa, for discovering an even better skip to the first exit
StarFighters76, whose maps on gamefaqs saved me the hassle of actually playing the game.
Nahoc, for very quickly starting to encode my first submission before I cruelly pulled it for this 10-frame improvement.
Useful memory addresses
I found an obscene number of memory addresses that were essential in optimizing.
The fractional value of the player's speed. Unlike other games that only use this for acceleration, different values affect your overall speed.
Player's exact position on the X-axis
Player's approximate position. This is strange because this value has dead zones at the beginning and end of a level. Every time the least significant byte of X-position overflows, this increments*.
Speed along the Y-Axis
The fractional value of the player's speed.
Player's exact position on the Y-Axis
Similar to "X," but there appear to be no dead zones.
X-Position overflow counter.
Y-Position overflow counter.
In this sense it's similar to pixel and subpixel values, but you can be on different pixels for the same value of "X."
Enemies' HP works the opposite of most games. They start at 0 and go up. There usually will not be more than 4 enemies on the screen, but here are all of them.
Some stages have a movable object that you have to push by running into it. To help with the last such stage, I found these addresses.
Object X-Position (right)
Object X-Position (center)
Object X-Position (left)
It is fun to enable cheats and give yourself infinite health, lives, and time.
Damage boosting appears in this game. It is best suited for giving the player a super high jump. This is used to skip large sections of levels. The Expert difficulty limits the player to one shield, meaning you can only take 1 hit before collecting another.
The player's speed gets butchered in the air. You lose 20 subspeed or more per frame until your total speed hovers around 3.6. However, during your throw or duck animations, you lose only 4 subspeed per frame. Any time you see me throw with no apparent reason, that's what's going on.
When climbing, you can start a new climb animation by repressing "up." Release as soon as you've stopped moving from one pull and your next pull will begin 5 frames faster. Over the course of the game, that's no small potatoes!
Level end abuse
There is some weird variation at the end of levels depending on whether you run through, duck, or come to an abrupt stop. These may all result in the same timer value, but some can cause the next level to start 1 or 2 frames faster. I optimized this as much as I could.
I get a shuriken in level 2-1. This is beneficial for a number of reasons.
The shuriken does the most damage of any projectile, and therefore most dps. Axe = 1, Dagger = 2, Shuriken = 3, Sword = 4.
The shuriken stays out longer than other projectiles.
The shuriken's trajectory allows you to damage boost yourself without an enemy.
When possible, using two projectiles is faster than using the sword once.
No matter how fast you reach the end of 2-1, you have to wait for the platform to go and come back. Events like this are triggered when the object enters the screen.
In water levels, keep in mind that bubbles hurt you. BUBBLES. You are protected by a bubble, which doesn't make a lot of sense to begin with. Yet another bubble, another pocket of air, hurts you. You got to love the logic to old school games.
The mage boss has 40 HP. That means for one swing only, the sword is better than 2 projectiles. All shuriken = 14*3 + 0 = 42. With sword = 12*3 + 1*4 = 40. 13 actions instead of 14.
In 4-1, the cloud usually follows you for 3 lightning strikes. I manage to outrun it after the first lightning strike. I liked this.
Near the end of 4-1 there is some lag, but it doesn't show up in the emulator's lag counter. I noticed at first because I could see it, then I noticed the timer was staying the same for consecutive frames. I minimized this. I believe 2 frames of lag made the end.
Singe the dragon has the same HP as the mage boss.
Damn! And I was expecting a TAS from that interactive cartoon! NO VOTE!
Just kidding. I knew the SNES's cartridge wasn't made for interactive videos, so I had to expect a sub-par platformer. I know that Data East is pro in making this kind of games. I think that one of their few good games was Burgertime (not that NES port).
About the game, I lol'd at some sound effects, the background during a boss battle and the fact they put Dirk in a bubble instead of making him swim.
Anyway, for that run, you made the game look easy, and it was fun to watch. You get my Yes vote.
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Skilled player
Location: Mullsjö, Sweden
There are still some minor things to improve in the first level, from a different strategy at the start. Nothing serious though.
At first I was wondering why no damage boosts were used in 1-4, but realized that you aren't able to have more than one shield on hard... So it's still faster to take damage at the boss.
It was a nice run at least, a few tricks that I didn't think of when I worked on my run. Yes vote.
There is something else about the bubble that makes it even funnier. While you're in the bubble, touching another bubble hurts you. I need to add that to to the submission notes. XD
@Tompa. I'd be interested to know these minor improvements. I spent some time optimizing this route. I don't doubt you, I just want to know what I overlooked. I won't run to submit a new file, but maybe down the road if I can get cumulatively another 30 frames or something.
A good description for this movie could begin with something like...
In this game *overstrike*Mario*overstrike*Dirk have to rescue princess *overstrike*Peach*overstrike*Daphne from the clutchs of *overstrike*Bowser*overstrike*Singe's... very creative plot line huh!?...
My main objective here is to TAS the most obscure games titles!
I'm not sure about this description, since Dragon's Lair came first in 1983 as an arcade game, while Super Mario Bros. got released first in 1985. What made this arcade game a classic is the fact actual gameplay looked like this. Besides this game, you had games such as Pac-Man.
Hmm, I didnt know the release date difference, so this one got his own title atributes, no plagiarism, good to know this.
hmm, well this one is at the list of ideias, its sure not the best plataform but it was pretty optmazed, so I think it can overcome the bad game title.
My main objective here is to TAS the most obscure games titles!
Experienced Forum User, Experienced player, Site Admin
Warning: When making decisions, I try to collect as much data as possible before actually deciding. I try to abstract away and see the principles behind real world events and people's opinions. I try to generalize them and turn into something clear and reusable. I hate depending on unpredictable and having to make lottery guesses. Any problem can be solved by systems thinking and acting.
If TASing is meta-play, TASVideos Movie Rules are meta-meta-play!