#5206: Fz-last, klmz & Pike's GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "all souls" in 17:06.41

Submission Text Full Submission Page

Game Object

•Emulator used : VBA-rr 24m svn422, VBA-rr 24m 480 lrc1
•Starts from SRAM (the same as Kriole used)
•Uses hard difficulty
•Aims to collect all souls at fastest input time
•Takes damage to save time
•Abuses programming errors including glitched warps
•Heavy luck manipulation

Comments

The previous submission had some flaws given that we (the previous team) spent only 3 months on it. With all the helpful suggestions and further study, we concluded that an improved version should come. And here it is.

The Route

Let's review the previous run first, focusing on the route decisions. We could immediately spot on some flaws:
1.Skeleton Blaze and Malphas came too late.
2.Claimh Solais was neglected and skipped.
3.Travel to Dance Hall was too long.
4.Time was wasted in Clock Tower on enemies that could actually be found in other areas.
To fix the problems above, we revised the route design:
1.To collect Skeleton Blaze and Malphas earlier.
2.To invest time in getting Claimh Solais. (However, we needn't do this deliberately thanks to the first route change.)
3.Instead of going from Dance Hall to Inner Quarter, we want to visit them in reverse order.
4.To visit only the upper section of Clock Tower, for Great Armor's, Death's and Gremlin’s souls etc.. There are other minor changes and tweaks on the route. We just don’t enumerate them here.

Enemies Engagements

Most enemies were engaged only once each. So to be said that the biggest challenge making this run was how to acquire their souls efficiently. For some monsters coming successively in a line, we wouldn't have enough free frames for rolling the Pseudo-Random Number Generator (abbr. PRNG) forward. This left us only the solution to “compress” the adjustment for the PRNG in advance, for which high jumps were used to create random “debris” off the ceilings.
There is also the same story as with absorbing souls right away from enemies with Blocking Mail. Have we mentioned the manipulation of rare item drops among the flying souls?

MP Management

We never had more than enough MP. Or maybe, we wouldn't ever have had enough MP. Giant Bat is too hungry for MP. Despite that we obtained a Mana Prism on the way, we had to spend some frames to recover MP with hearts dropped from candles and torches. We found this way more efficient than to manipulate large Heart drops from enemies. Needless to say, we managed MP better this time compared to that in the previous run.

New Items

Zhangsongcui suggested 3 more equipments: Blocking Mail, Black Belt and Claimh Solais for use, which did play their respective roles faithfully in this run.
  • Claimh Solais: Pwns Shadow Knight, Demon Lord and other Holy-susceptible enemies in Chaos Realm, as well as Legion.
  • Blocking Mail: Neglects enemy attacks, helpful for bypassing enemies and assimilating souls instantly without getting hurt from enemies being killed.
  • Black Belt: Increases Soma's offensive powers, including weapons and Red souls.
Undoubtedly, we utilized the power of “old” weapons like Final Sword and the awesome Chaos Ring as we did last time.

New Soul in Use

We used Sky Fish for the last round against Chaos. It took time in praying but the increased unmatched power (STR) was worth the cost. Honestly, this is nothing new as it has been abused in everyone's Boss Rush mode. However, there's indeed a new problem with this boss itself...

The Chaos Core Issue

It's well-known that every 256 frames there's a 1-frame window in which Legion's core can be destroyed and crashed without its long death-animation. (Un)fortunately, Chaos's core shares some similarities with Legion, regarding the waiting after its death. Basically, there's a timer controlling the “rotation and breath” animation of the core, whose duration of the first phase (out of three) is randomly initialized when a loop starts. This looping animation plays through the “dying phase” of the core too, and will hold the phase back until certain frames have elapsed and the end of a loop is reached. In other words, the durations of loops can be manipulated. However, the odds that a favorable outcome runs into one is rare (which could explain why seemingly no one has discovered it before), and the ideal outcome for the fight in this run has very little chance, being interfered with other random stuff and lags. The best we could come up with is about 10 frames slower than the theoretical optimal solution, which is already 50 frame faster than daily “optimal” attempts unaware of this “trick”.

Thanks

Thanks to everyone who has paid their attention and contributed to the TASing of this game.
Anyone can feel free to ask questions or give suggestions about the run. Your voices might turn out to be constructive to a third iteration of the run in future. :)

GoddessMaria: Judging!
GoddessMaria: Excellent work on this TAS, everyone! I was surprised that more was squeezed out of what seemed to be a flawless movie. This is indeed a very solid improvement over the published TAS and the audience response was very positive! The entertainment value is also top notch!
Accepting as an improvement to the previous movie!
fsvgm777: Processing.

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BigBoct
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Since the submission doesn't seem to mention: comparison by time to [2995] GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "all souls" by Fz-Last, alkdc, Pike in 18:45.26 seems to indicate that this movie is about 1min 41sec faster.
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Oh my marty mckids yes. Edit: I can safely say that the route makes zero sense now, but it's much better then before. First time I've seen that final boss strat too. A yes clearly.
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Very nice. The suspend glitch was a great addition to the run. Shame you just left Julius hanging though. Voted yes.
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Wow, what an unbelievable improvement. I didn't expect this to be finished nearly so soon. I always figured Claimh Solais was just the RTA substitute for Final Sword since you can't reliably manipulate a Final Sword drop in real-time, so it was nice to see it have its use in a TAS setting as well. The route this time around was completely unexpected. Everything from going to the Chaotic Realm so early, to casually strolling through Great Armor's and Julius' rooms without actually fighting them, to getting Kicker Skeleton and Malphas so much earlier on, to incorporating the Blocking Mail and underwater Catoblepas dashing made the run much more entertaining to watch. How did you start that Giant Bat zip from mid-air in the Undine room? I had no idea that was even possible.
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Looking forward to an encode. Voting yes for the improvement!!!
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Good improvement.
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Edit: I think I understand now: It's my avatar, isn't it? It makes me look angry.
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You fly through the Great Armor boss door (frame ~20900) and through Julius's door (frame ~27675); is there a reason why you don't fly through Graham's door and collect the Black Panther soul without killing him? (Is he required to be killed so that Chaos shows up at the end?)
I am still the wizard that did it. "On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer." -- Satoru Iwata <scrimpy> at least I now know where every map, energy and save room in this game is Samsara last edited by Invariel on 2015-07-26 02:08:14
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Hetfield90 wrote:
How did you start that Giant Bat zip from mid-air in the Undine room? I had no idea that was even possible.
It is very easy. Just imitate our inputs, you will success. It is only for double jump, using high jump to the air doesn't work.
Invariel wrote:
You fly through the Great Armor boss door (frame ~20900) and through Julius's door (frame ~27675); is there a reason why you don't fly through Graham's door and collect the Black Panther soul without killing him? (Is he required to be killed so that Chaos shows up at the end?)
Because we cannot. Bat glitch needs specific landforms, which doesn't exist in Graham's room.
Luck manipulation is too difficult.
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Pike wrote:
Invariel wrote:
You fly through the Great Armor boss door (frame ~20900) and through Julius's door (frame ~27675); is there a reason why you don't fly through Graham's door and collect the Black Panther soul without killing him? (Is he required to be killed so that Chaos shows up at the end?)
Because we cannot. Bat glitch needs specific landforms, which doesn't exist in Graham's room.
Oh, that's unfortunate. :( Still, a fantastic run, loved every frame.
I am still the wizard that did it. "On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer." -- Satoru Iwata <scrimpy> at least I now know where every map, energy and save room in this game is Samsara last edited by Invariel on 2015-07-26 02:08:14
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That route was truly unexpected. Well done and big yes vote. How many frames did it save using Fly Fish instead of Big Armor?
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zhangsongcui wrote:
That route was truly unexpected. Well done and big yes vote. How many frames did it save using Fly Fish instead of Big Armor?
It saved about 25 frames for only beating chaos. For screenshot I'd like frame 47387 "three golden souls"and frame 27586 "meet Julius"
Luck manipulation is too difficult.
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Hah, long loadings of doors Goodbye) Another TAS-viewers "for newcomers" standarts, but not to my usual game-players and moviewatchers. Yes vote.
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Thanks for the encode hetfield90, I really appreciate it!!! The TAS was outstanding, thanks for all the hard work guys!!! Any thoughts on doing a Glitched Dawn of Sorrow "All Souls" TAS?
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This TAS just keeps getting crazier and crazier. Batman must be jealous of your stylish Bat-zips. Meanwhile, the RNG manipulation behind the scenes is just unimaginable. A strong 'yes' vote.
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Do you know what causes the glitch where one of Balore's hands stops working during the first phase? Or if there's any way to make it happen earlier in the fight?
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Once he starts his attack, he cannot cancel it. So while his left hand is being used but right hand is not when his HP gets lower than 2000, that will happen. And it also delays his second form.
Luck manipulation is too difficult.
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lxx4xNx6xxl wrote:
Any thoughts on doing a Glitched Dawn of Sorrow "All Souls" TAS?
I'm thinking about it too. First, we must forbid in-game suspending, which generally prevents data corruption, or "All Souls" run gets meanless. Zipping glitches do exist in DoS (horizontally and vertically), but far less powerful then bat zipping in AoS. I can image the route becomes obtaining Black Panther AFAP no mater the cost.
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First, we must forbid in-game suspending, which generally prevents data corruption, or "All Souls" run gets meanless.
Or you can borrow some rules from the Pokemon Red/Blue 'Catch 'em All' category, which prevents directly setting the bits related to having caught a pokemon and ACE but otherwise allows all glitches. Up to you which you want to do.
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Great ride! Yes. :) I have one question: at 5:30 (in encode) you pick up the Kicker soul, but you do not start to kick to travel faster. Only after you've kicked up Malphas (double jump) 25 seconds later do you start kicking. I guess that must mean that backdashing is still faster than jump kicks without double jump? Or is there some other reason?
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Truncated wrote:
Great ride! Yes. :) I have one question: at 5:30 (in encode) you pick up the Kicker soul, but you do not start to kick to travel faster. Only after you've kicked up Malphas (double jump) 25 seconds later do you start kicking. I guess that must mean that backdashing is still faster than jump kicks without double jump? Or is there some other reason?
You can't jump kick without double jump.
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Excellent improvement! Nice to see Claimh Solais, Blocking Mail, and Black Belt being used again, great to see the earlier kicker/malphas. One question: previous runs have got Erinys right before Balore, in order to benefit from a significant EXP (and hence STR) boost for killing Balore. Are you too weak to make this worthwhile at that stage? (Also, where the submission text says "Skeleton Blaze" it really means "Kicker Skeleton")
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Yep, too weak.
Luck manipulation is too difficult.
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Patashu wrote:
First, we must forbid in-game suspending, which generally prevents data corruption, or "All Souls" run gets meanless.
Or you can borrow some rules from the Pokemon Red/Blue 'Catch 'em All' category, which prevents directly setting the bits related to having caught a pokemon and ACE but otherwise allows all glitches. Up to you which you want to do.
You don't need in-game suspending to corrupt data in DoS. "No RAM corruption" should do. This category is getting crazier. Easy YES vote. Hopefully this run will be the GBA TAS of the year.