(I wanted to keep this away from the other thread that is dominated by Clash at Demonhead.) I've been working on improving Battle of Olympus. What is similar between this game and the Zelda games is that the hero must first collect certain objects that allow access to the villain's lair.
In Battle of Olympus, the hero must gather three fragments of love to open the way to Tartarus. Getting the first one is necessary to get the second, and the second is necessary to get the third. -- Actually, the two previous sentences are not technically true. Here's why.
I thought about the possibility of breaking the normal 1-2-3 order. I realized that indeed this is possible:
This is the barrier in Crete that usually causes instant death if touched. It is normally passed by having possession of the 2nd fragment of love. At this point I had none of the fragments. However, I successfully used the temporary invincibility from taking damage to slip through it. I then killed the boss and took the 3rd fragment of love. It had the usual message, which includes 'the way to Tartarus is now open.' However, when I went outside this was not the case, as Tartarus did not appear where it should.
So, I had hoped to catch the programmers being lazy and having it be so that 'if the hero has the 3rd fragment of love then Tartarus opens.' This was not the case, but I was not worried. I could go get the 1st and 2nd fragments still. By my calculations, the 3-1-2 order is almost exactly as quick as the 1-2-3 order - it may actually be about 1-2 seconds faster in theory.
I got the 1st and 2nd fragments. After my earlier experience, I had assumed that the programming was such that 'if the hero has all 3 fragments of love then Tartarus opens.' I proceeded to the Tartarus location and... it wasn't there. I then had to figure out what it is that activates Tartarus.
I went back into Crete, where the 3rd fragment of love was, and found the answer. This is what activates Tartarus:
The true programming is such that 'if the hero goes through the green room exit from Crete with all 3 fragments of love then Tartarus opens.' The background sky changes from blue to pink when the hero goes through the green room exit from Crete. I had thought (mistakenly) that this was due to either having the 3rd fragment or having all 3 fragments. Unfortunately I learned that the pink sky is actually caused by going through the green room exit in Crete, and also that it is necessary to open the way to Tartarus.
One other desperate maneuver that I tried was to use the FCEU frame counter to see how many frames into the screen the entrance to Tartarus is. With the pink sky activated, but not the way to Tartarus, I checked to see if the Tartarus door was actually there, but just invisible. However, this idea did not seem to work.
So, I cannot use the 3-1-2 order without losing significant time. The programmers have obstructed creativity. Getting the 2nd fragment is impossible without the first, so I will have to use the standard 1-2-3 order and undo some of what I've done. Fortunately, it isn't too difficult to redo this. And my time will still be what I expected, significantly faster than the current movie.