This is a run of the GG edition of Ninja Gaiden. It improves the published movie by 1017 frames.
- Takes damage to save time
- Abuses programming errors in the game
The Game Gear version of Ninja Gaiden is one of many entries in the long-running series of the same name. It is unique in that unlike many Game Gear versions of games that have SMS counterparts, this game is completely made from scratch instead of a scaled-down port. The game features Ryu on a quest to defeat a terrorist who wants to bring the world to war.
This game lags. Not often a huge slowdown-inducing amount, but there are lots of subtle lag frames that have to be carefully eliminated. Killing enemies usually works, but sometimes the little puff of smoke they leave behind causes more lag. The autoscroller was probably the most annoying level to TAS because of this. Trying to keep it entertaining by killing off enemies was a bit of a chore because of random lag frames that would come bolting in if I didn't kill them a specific way. Although it would've only added up to maybe like 20 frames, the level is now completely lag-free, so yay.
There are a handful of general gameplay optimizations that don't really demand a high level of explanation. There are a few moments in adelikat's run where he takes damage (the start of levels 1 & 2, for instance) that I managed to avoid. All taking damage does is send you straight up a bit so there is no use to doing so. Jumping up walls is faster than climbing them.
A lot of time was saved from a new glitch. By holding left+right, jumping, and then slashing every other frame, Ryu jumps much higher than he normally does. This glitch leads to a new way to end levels. For whatever reason, the hitbox of the trigger that is placed at the exit of stages has a long horizontal strip running across the top of the screen. Normally it's out of reach but by using the jumping glitch I managed to touch it, yay. This means that every level ends about two seconds earlier.
Special weapon conservation is a big part of TASing this game, since special attacks deal 2 damage to bosses while regular sword slashes deal 1. The first conservation effort comes in the autoscrolling boss, where getting him down to half health causes him to change forms. For the final hit before his transformation, it doesn't matter if you use a slash or a special because his HP does not go down, so I used a slash, allowing me to conserve a bit of energy. While fighting the act 4 boss, I discovered that the three headed form has some small windows where hurting him with a normal slash deals 2 damage. Because the special weapon available to Ryu in this level saps a lot of force, this allowed me to conserve quite a bit of energy. I ended the level with 31 force while adelikat had 0, and I enter the final boss with 71 force over adelikat's 40. adelikat ended up running out of force during the fight and had to kill off the final form with several 1 damage attacks. Due to the conservation during the act 4 boss, I don't run out of it, thus ensuring that every hit on the boss deals two damage using special weapons (although my final attack drains the last of it since it takes 3 force each shot... guess I got lucky).
Overall this was a pretty simple and fun run to make. I wanted to do a Game Gear movie after two SMS runs and this game seemed right, and it was pretty cooperative with a fairly substantial improvement. The biggest issue was the fact that I discovered the method of ending levels early after I was already done with the second stage, which meant I had to redo about a minute of the run. It was kind of a drag but hey, them's the breaks.
There's another glitch I ran across that was kind of a nuisance, actually. If you slash at just the right moment after a jump, Ryu will fall through the floor to his death. I ended up triggering it accidentally while recording this TAS many many times. Needless to say it doesn't save any time so you won't be seeing it in the movie :D
Thanks to adelikat for his run!