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NOTE: This was recorded with Snes9x 1.53, NOT 1.51 or 1.43. Please refer to the forum post at http://www.snes9x.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=4910 for a list of mirrors carrying 1.53. As for why I'm using this version, it's because of the greater accuracy (especially with sound emulation thanks to Blargg's DSP core). It sounds like there's further work being done on the APU, so I may very well attempt an improvement in the future. Yes, 1.53 doesn't appear to have lua functionality at the moment, but I didn't need to use lua this time.
ALSO NOTE: This movie starts from a save because you have to have played through a fair bit of the game and saved in order to access Special Mode. I've made a verification movie that is a very rough play-through of normal mode. I've uploaded this to Mediafire at http://www.mediafire.com/?u5dnb3llofbv5b3 A tip for fast-forwarding: go to Emulation->Settings and enable "Toggled fast-forward mode" so you don't have to keep holding down the button. Of course, most people can just start playing the Special Mode SMV since it has the save.
For a list of tricks for ActRaiser, please see this site's article on ActRaiser at http://tasvideos.org/GameResources/SNES/ActRaiser.html That page was made with the US version in mind, but much of what's on that page is also applicable to the Japanese version.
So why does this run play through the Japanese version's Special Mode instead of the US version's Professional Mode? First, the US Normal Mode stages have already been TASed through the ActRaiser TAS that's available on this site at http://tasvideos.org/1747M.html. Second, the Japanese version is harder, so for those who've played the game it looks more impressive. Apart from there being differences between US Normal mode and Professional Mode, there are many differences between Professional Mode and Special Mode. Overall the differences between US Normal Mode and Special Mode are even greater than the differences between US Normal Mode and Professional Mode. Here's a (not neccessarily exhaustive) list from Sir VG:
The general difference between Normal and Professional/Special Modes (pulled from my SDA Run):
1. You start with the full 24 HP.
2. Magic is removed.
3. Simulation Mode is removed. You just go from act to act.
4. The initial 'statue inhabiting' animation has been removed form the startof the acts. You simply start the level right away.
5. Enemy damage does 2 HP damage. Terrain damage still does just 1.
6. Enemies that normally take 1 hit to kill now take 2. Multi-hit enemies don't take any more than before. Certain 'destructible terrain' like the floating skulls in Aitos Act I still only take 1 hit to kill.
7. Certain enemies have a different pattern, though not very many.
8. Magic Scrolls in the Acts have been replaced by Crushes.
9. NO CONTINUES. You lose and it's game over.
10. After an act is cleared, there is no life/time bonus. Your life gets refilled and you move on to the next level.
11. Projectiles in Aitos Act I have been removed and replaced with a 1-UP. You still get them for the Tanzara battle.
12. Ending is removed and you just go straight to the credits, with the final image changed from 'THE END' to 'YOU ARE THE BEST PLAYER!'

Differences between US Professional! mode and Japanese Special Mode (most of what I can think of offhand - this doesn't count religious references removed, since it was mainly in the simulation/creation section):
1. Changes in terrain in a few levels. Most noticeable in Filmoa Act I.
2. A few location name changes (Fillmore vs Filmoa, Kasandora vs Casandra, Marahna vs Marana, and Deathheim vs Death heim).
3. Filmoa Act II's music is the same as Act I.
4. Some enemies take even MORE damage.
5. Floating skulls in Aitos Act I can't be killed (they just self destruct).
6. Some boss attack changes (mainly faster, but Rafflasher in Marana Act I ducks in and out)
7. Timer stops after Satan Phase 1. Also, more lag during Phase 2 in the Japanese version.
8. All spikes (except the small falling ones), unless you're in a temporary invulnerable state are INSTANT KILL. Also extra spikes in various locations (most noticeably in Filmoa Act II and Bloodpool Act II).
9. Less lives. US starts with 5, Japanese with 2.
I've also noticed some (subtle) changes in the AI. For example, the Arctic Wyvern flies away about 10 frames sooner after shooting balls of ice. In addition, some of the enemy hitboxes are slightly larger.
Acknowledgements:
  • 大根さん for uploading a Special Mode TAS to Nicovideo. I picked up numerous little things from that run. This run improves on the Nicovideo run by about 27 seconds if one doesn't count the ten seconds or so of waiting in the Nicovideo run before Special Mode is finally selected. Note that the improvement would be somewhat greater (as much as a few seconds?) if it weren't for the greater lag in 1.53.
  • Sir VG for giving lots of good feedback on my WIPs.
  • All the people in the ActRaiser thread for their feedback and encouragement.
EDIT: Hotarubi has made a post in the ActRaiser thread with two SMVs: one containing a time saver for Bloodpool Act 2 and one that's a Special Mode TAS he made last year. I want to implement the trick. This will likely mean redoing the rest of the TAS due to changes to in luck. I will also compare my TAS with his to see if there are any other timesavers. I am therefore canceling this submission. Given that I now have experience with TASing Special Mode, and it's summer, I can hopefully have a new submission ready by the end of August, but we'll see.

TASVideoAgent
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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #3246: zidanax's SNES ActRaiser "Special Mode" in 21:32.65
Sir VG
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Been following the WIPs (obviously) so I can safely vote YES on this magnificent piece of art. To those that are curious, yes the US version is faster then this, but the Japanese version is much harder, thus more entertaining and should always be done for the Professional!/Special mode. US is fine for full game, since the Japanese game's Creation section is boring as hell, since it moves really slow. About the only thing harder then this is the PAL's Action mode on Expert difficulty, but the 5/6 speed totally kills the fun of the game. Enjoy zidanax's work. It's a fun watch.
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I am just going to wait for the encode.
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I came with the force of a thousand suns
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Awesome run, Zidanax truly is the Master.
Hoandjzj
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"Special Mode" sounds nice :D wait for an encode!!!
Sir VG
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TheAxeMan wrote:
Awesome run, Zidanax truly is the Master.
You forgot, this is the Japanese version. Thus he is not "the Master" but GOD.
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om, nom, nom... *burp*!
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TASVideos Grue wrote:
om, nom, nom... *burp*!
So... no encode?
Sir VG
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QADE* for everybody that wants one. http://www.mediafire.com/?xnwt3tiifhqcngs *Quick and Dirty Enocde.
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Hoandjzj
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But... wait... cancelled already?! .__.
creaothceann
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Sir VG wrote:
QADE* for everybody that wants one. http://www.mediafire.com/?xnwt3tiifhqcngs
Cool, thanks! I didn't know it was played on the Gameboy, props to OP!
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Hoandjzj wrote:
But... wait... cancelled already?! .__.
Please read the edit at the end of the submission notes.
Sir VG
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creaothceann wrote:
Sir VG wrote:
QADE* for everybody that wants one. http://www.mediafire.com/?xnwt3tiifhqcngs
Cool, thanks! I didn't know it was played on the Gameboy, props to OP!
Nah, Game Boy Advance. GB/GBC don't use a 4 letter serial code.
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zidanax wrote:
Please read the edit at the end of the submission notes.
Oh thanks :P Hope to see new improvements soon :D
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Sir VG wrote:
creaothceann wrote:
Sir VG wrote:
QADE* for everybody that wants one. http://www.mediafire.com/?xnwt3tiifhqcngs
Cool, thanks! I didn't know it was played on the Gameboy, props to OP!
Nah, Game Boy Advance. GB/GBC don't use a 4 letter serial code.
:)