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Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk-1.13.1
  • Game version : NTSC-J
  • BIOS : SCPH5000.BIN
  • No glitches used

About the game

The second release of the action-adventure franchise, featuring Lara Croft as she sets out to retrieve the mythical Dagger of Xian artifact near The Great Wall of China, which has been locked away by a key named The Talion hidden in the catacombs of a Tibetan monastery. Tracking down the dagger, Lara's path goes through the canals of Venice and an oil platform overrun by an Italian gang, who also seek the artifact for their own ends. During her stay on the rig she tries to rescue a Barkhang monk, who informs her that the key to unlock the way to the Talion is below the rig at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, in the wreck of an ocean liner named The Maria Doria.
Game flow starts in China, then Venice, Rig in the Mediterranean Sea, bottom of the sea in the Maria Doria ship, Tibet, then China again. (And Lara's House in London for the last level)

Comments

General differences between PSX and PC versions

There are a few differences between the PSX and PC versions of the game, but nothing impactful on the route planning :
  • Loading times on PSX between levels
  • Multiple small enhancements to visuals such as the moving inventory screen and gradient bars.
  • Keyboard hotkeys for medipacks and weapons on PC

Japanese

The Japanese version is used due to a missing moveable block in the Living Quarters level, resulting in a ~15 seconds timesave. the Japanese version also has double powered weapons, resulting in faster kills. (i.e I usually wouldn't have to stop to kill enemies)

Note

The game runs at 30 fps, so usually 1 in-game frame = 2 real time frames. On laggy places, the game may need more real time frames to advance to the next in-game frame, causing a little timeloss. The game might also add 1 frame to the in-game timer without actually advancing any frames in cases of extreme lag, but that did not happen often in this movie.

Speed and movement

MovementSpeed (RAM)
Running47
Standing jump (all directions)50
Rolling50
Swimming50
Sliding50
Running jump75
As you can see, the running jump is by far the fastest way to move, to the point where it is sometimes better to take a seemingly non-optimal trajectory in order to make one more jump instead of running.
Now it is important to note that these are the speed in the RAM. In practice, the game rounds Lara's coordinates because it only accepts integers. Meaning that depending if it rounds up or rounds down, Lara's true speed will be a little bit higher or smaller than the RAM speed. some rounding errors may occur though.
When Lara is turning, her rotation speed increases by 45 each frame, until it caps to 1092 (on the ground) or 182 (in air).However, when she is holding her guns (must be fully equipped) and turning on the spot, her rotation speed will reach 1092 in 3 frames (45-90-1092). underwater, her rotation speed adds 45 each frame untill to caps at 728. However, on the surface her rotation speed is 728 no matter what.

Route planning

Strictly speaking, there are 23 enemies that I need to kill to finish the game, two goons in Offshore Rig for keys, two gunmen at the end of Diving Area to finish the level, the Talion guardian in Ice Palace, one knifethrower for a puzzle item and the Dragon for a door to open in The Dragon's Lair, and 16 enemies in Home Sweet Home. Picking an item on the ground costs 73 frames (~2.43s) at the very least, so I needed to restrict the number of extra pickups as much as possible.
Weapondamage per shotDamage per second
Pistols2 (per gun)12
Shotgun~36 (depends on range)~32*
Automatic Pistols4 (per gun)24
Uzis2 (per gun)30
Harpoon gun8-
M16648
Grenade Launcher6033
  • The shotgun deals 32 damage/second when standing still and holding action, doing fast shots increases this value.
Most enemies have really low health considering how powerful the weapons are, so most of the time the pistols do the job. the only enemies that required other weapons to be used were the Ice Palace guardian and the Dragon. (and ofcourse the last level uses the shotgun as we don't have much choice). keep in mind that anything other than the pistols requires going into the inventory to equip, resulting in a lot of timeloss since the in-game timer does not stop in it.
The medipacks situation is an actual disaster. a lot of the skips/jumps require quite a lot of healthloss. and both picking up and using medipacks takes long. so some levels had extensive health optimizations to avoid damage.

Tricks

  • Flare Cancel: When throwing a flare during a long fall, The "Throw Flare" animation overrides Lara's long stumble animation when she lands, allowing her to move as soon as she falls. Lara still takes damage from the fall though.
  • Rolling off slopes: when landing on the edge of slopes, the game allows you to roll off of them without sliding off.
  • Swing cancel: when grabbing a ledge, Lara will "swing" for a short amount of time. However, letting go of action for a moment (1 frame is enough) and immediately hold action again, She will be able to climb up without "swinging".
  • Grab cancel: when falling from hight that would normally result in a stumble, grabbing late in the jump results in landing with a small stumble instead. Flare cancelling obsoletes this trick but it's still useful when trying to save flares.
  • Stumble turning: you can turn during Lara's many stumble animations (not all though) by holding forward + the direction. also affects the last frames of a roll.
  • Low-Ceiling dive: Doing a dive instead of a normal jump and hitting a low ceiling avoids a stumble when landing, it also allows jumping higher than usual hights without taking damage. due to the different jumping mechanics between normal jumping and diving.
  • Tunnel jumping: when jumping in a low ceiling tunnel, hitting the area where the wall and the ceiling meet gives Lara more frames to jump. not very apparent but saves some time at certain occasions.
  • Edge Driving: When riding the skidoo in Tibetan Foothills, driving on the edges gives huge speed boosts.

Note

Glitchless is an extremely arbitrary category, some disagreement can happen if a certain move/trick is considered a glitch or not. this run follows the glitchless ruleset of the Tomb Runner community of speedrun.com . something being not intended by the developers of the game does not mean it is a glitch.
it is also worth noting that most of these tricks are used to avoid stumbles, which is what loses time the most in this category.

Timing

Here is a table comparing my times with the best known individual levels time. Please keep in mind that in most levels I am at a disadvantage due to not having the same amount of weapons/medipacks or because I had to pick extra items for future levels.
LevelTAS timeIL timeTime save (seconds)
The Great Wall3:06.703:148
Venice2:37.832:381
Bartoli's Hideout3:51.904:0110
Opera House2:34.132:340
Offshore Rig5:10.535:2919
Diving Area6:49.776:567
40 Fathoms3:51.433:598
Wreck of The Maria Doria5:17.835:05-12
Living Quarters4:12.674:4533
The Deck5:02.775:042
Tibetan Foothills5:10.136:2777
Barkhang Monastery13:29.8013:5829
Catacombs of The Talion4:10.674:165
Ice Palace3:16.073:193
Temple of Xian4:06.704:2418
Floating Islands5:25.035:18-7
Dragon's Lair1:27.601:336
Home Sweet Home1:45.432:0520
Total1:21:26.991:25:35249
(obviously the game rounded the seconds in the final time to 27)
It's worth mentioning that the final time of the fastest RTA run (rather than ILs) is 1:34:47 . Due to the huge amount of tricks requiring a lot of medipack usage and weapons which are slower in continuous runs. This movie had double the timeloss because of the need to go into the inventory.

Possible improvements or ideas

  • possibly a better items route.
  • some lag avoiding here and there, especially in the large areas. But that was avoided for entertainment purposes. Could possibly save a couple of frames for some levels.

Special Thanks

  • The Tomb Runner community for their advice and suggestions while I was making this TAS.
  • Lapogne36 for helping me write this.
  • each and every glitchless TR2 run on the speedrun.com boards (including individual level ones). I watched every run looking for strategies, ways to save health and route planning ideas.
  • Bahamete for his glitched WIP, some health saving techniques were inspired from it.
  • Temple of Horus for providing me with a Lua script for viewing RAM values. wihtout him this TAS would have taken atleast 3 more months.

Memory: Claiming for judging
Memory: Optimization looks good.
This movie aims to beat the game glitchless. As far as I and others can tell, there are indeed no bugs used in this movie. Only clever platforming and the occasional animation cancel are used.
Personally I found the movie entertaining (especially the snowmobile segment) and so did the audience members that replied but I wouldn't be surprised if some found Tomb Raider rather dry without glitches. On the other hand, people have been begging for movies that specifically don't use glitches since the birth of TASing and this could potentially appeal to that crowd a bit.
Accepting to Moons.
Spikestuff: Publishing.

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Despite the lack of glitches used in this run, I still very much enjoy the unique movement that Tomb Raider games offer, especially in a TAS setting. having glitches is just icing on the cake when it comes to TASes for it, but even without that icing, it's still cake, and cake is good. yes vote!
[14:15] <feos> WinDOES what DOSn't 12:33:44 PM <Mothrayas> "I got an oof with my game!" Mothrayas Today at 12:22: <Colin> thank you for supporting noble causes such as my feet MemoryTAS Today at 11:55 AM: you wouldn't know beauty if it slapped you in the face with a giant fish [Today at 4:51 PM] Mothrayas: although if you like your own tweets that's the online equivalent of sniffing your own farts and probably tells a lot about you as a person MemoryTAS Today at 7:01 PM: But I exert big staff energy honestly lol Samsara Today at 1:20 PM: wouldn't ACE in a real life TAS just stand for Actually Cease Existing
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The snowmobile section was great. Now, it seems there does not appear to be a written definition for glitchless, not even in the RTA community's leaderboards. It would be appreciated if the kinds of glitches avoided were listed somewhere.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
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Thank you EZGames !
Memory wrote:
The snowmobile section was great. Now, it seems there does not appear to be a written definition for glitchless, not even in the RTA community's leaderboards. It would be appreciated if the kinds of glitches avoided were listed somewhere.
I'm thinking what's a better way to compare than viewing an actual run https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJrh64hniuh1r2nUG91CiGoZoLx69U2IX this is Bahamete's glitched WIP. - I haven't really considered writing something like that up but I can point out glitches that save time the most.
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I'm usually in favor of glitch avoidance runs in general. This is entertaining on top of that though, so I'm giving it a yes vote.
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Memory wrote:
The snowmobile section was great. Now, it seems there does not appear to be a written definition for glitchless, not even in the RTA community's leaderboards. It would be appreciated if the kinds of glitches avoided were listed somewhere.
The simplest explanation would be that anything that isn't the result of a bad game design isn't allowed.
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lapogne36 wrote:
The simplest explanation would be that anything that isn't the result of a bad game design isn't allowed.
That is the most subjective qualification lol.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
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You basically have to avoid anything caused by programming errors in the game itself. Now it might be hard to decide if a certain trick is a glitch or not especially without knowing what happens in the background. For example, flare cancels. They indeed don't look that glitchless, but in reality it's caused by an animation setting the developers did, without thinking it could cause certain animations to be skipped. Stumbles can also be cancelled by simply pressing roll when you fall, she rolls as soon as she lands, for the same reason flare cancels work. -ofcourse "looks glitchy" isn't a factor-
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Here are some principles describing what I have seen banned from watching runs of glitched and glitchless:
  • Respect the solidity of objects and terrain (cutting corners is ok though)
  • Nothing that drastically changes where Lara is height-wise in the level
  • Items are to be used as intended, no duplication
  • No sorts of save/reload related glitches (these can have various effects)
Am I missing any other kinds of glitches typically present in the tomb raider series?
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
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Memory wrote:
Here are some principles describing what I have seen banned from watching runs of glitched and glitchless:
  • Respect the solidity of objects and terrain (cutting corners is ok though)
  • Nothing that drastically changes where Lara is height-wise in the level
  • Items are to be used as intended, no duplication
  • No sorts of save/reload related glitches (these can have various effects)
Am I missing any other kinds of glitches typically present in the tomb raider series?
I think that's pretty much accurate, but cutting corners to skip triggers is also not allowed.
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It's impossible to read developer's mind, we can only speculate about their intentions. Also sometimes a "glitch" is an oversight, but sometimes it's a result of an explicit decision to avoid some check. It's impossible to know for sure where "glitching" starts in the code, because it's impossible to fully understand and test all the code. For that reason, "glitchless" is a bad label. Sometimes it's not too bad, for example when it's somehow really easy to clearly distinguish all the glitches from intended play. But in most cases it's incredibly arbitrary and ambiguous. Like in situations where the list of possibilities is really huge and what is possible varies in a lot of ways. Then everything becomes a matter of "glitched enough-ish", and there's no clear cut anymore. As a result, we'd need a better definition of what it banned and why. Why exactly did you avoid the things Memory listed? If we understand the main reason, maybe we could come up with a better label.
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!
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I would say it pretty much comes down to what the Tomb Runner community have decided over the years, and what follows the basic principles of the manoeuvres Lara is capable of doing. But to try and explain:
Respect the solidity of objects and terrain (cutting corners is ok though)
This one is pretty self explanatory, clipping into geometry is not allowed. Most of the time it causes Lara's Y coordinate value to go haywire and so pushes her on top of the structure she's clipping into. Now when it comes to geometry, there is "strong" and "weak" geometry. Strong geometry is walls that Lara can't clip into normally. Weak geometry is the type Lara can just go through, such as corners. -A mismatch in the collision detection causes her to clip in the strong collision area-. Going deep enough into a corner but not enough to reach the strong collision allows Lara to completely skip the tile next to the corner, that's considered deep enough as a clip. Objects are a little different, there are two types of objects. "Hard" and "soft" objects. Hard objects such as fences completely stop Lara from moving. Going through them is considered a glitch. Usually the game will do it's best to keep you from clipping into a hard object, it would even clip you into a wall if there's one right next to the object. Soft objects are ones that don't stop Lara completely, instead she collides with them in a way so they can push her around, such as doors and enemies. These can be clipped through by doing continuous running jumps into the object, which is not allowed. (Most doors can't be jumped through due to the game's portal engine but that's irrelevant)
Nothing that drastically changes where Lara is height-wise in the level
This points to the bug mentioned above^. Note that in Tomb Raider 2 the level Ice Palace has some jump pads that push Lara up quite some distance, those are obviously fine and are used in this movie. (There's no other way to traverse that area without the corner bug anyway)
Items are to be used as intended, no duplication
I believe this refers to the "dupe glitch", used in the Barkhang Monastery level in glitched runs. This bug is the result of the severe hardcoding the ring inventory, as the inventory code contains item names (yes). This bug abuses different names in similar slots. A workaround of this bug does exist in the code, but is buggy itself and is completely ignored if you go through the inventory manually. Here is a video of this bug in action: https://youtu.be/go_J7zCmNiY
No sorts of save/reload related glitches (these can have various effects)
These types of glitches happen because a particular function to save certain values into save files fails to execute and is completely ignored, so the save ends up without them, and when reloading that save the value would be either missing or 0.
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Entertaining! Could somebody please do a high-resolution capture, if possible with the texture-warping fix some emulators support -- the 480p resolution is a mess in YouTube :'(
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Kroc wrote:
if possible with the texture-warping fix some emulators support
Yeah, this doesn't exist on BizHawk and only exists on RetroArch and PCSX-Reloaded (well correctly that is). And wouldn't be used because it doesn't capture the true feed of the console itself.
Kroc wrote:
the 480p resolution is a mess in YouTube
And this is where I call for patience if you're specifically asking for YouTube since Publications are usually 4k.
WebNations/Sabih wrote:
+fsvgm777 never censoring anything.
Disables Comments and Ratings for the YouTube account. These colours are pretty neato, and also these.
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Ah, I understand now, thanks!
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Memory wrote:
  • Nothing that drastically changes where Lara is height-wise in the level
Apparently this is mostly redundant to list separately in tomb raider II, the bug I was thinking of is in Tomb Raider I. A technicality that I forgot to mention is that enemies will go through blocks while you're pushing them and that happens in this TAS. One could probably see this as a glitch though it's not particularly helpful to the player. The main unifying thing behind the glitches that are not used is that they more or less change how the game is played. You can very much skip large portions of levels using these various glitches.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
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Memory wrote:
A technicality that I forgot to mention is that enemies will go through blocks while you're pushing them and that happens in this TAS. One could probably see this as a glitch though it's not particularly helpful to the player.
The block pushing/pulling mechanics are a bit weird. Both Lara and the block she's pushing actually move at the last frame of the push/pull animation. So during the pushing/pulling enemies would attack the initial position of Lara when she started pushing/pulling, as seen in The Great Wall, the first level in this movie. And the solidity of the object would still be in the position before it "started moving", so enemies/not enemies might walk through the moving object because to the game the block hasn't actually moved yet. Now Barkhang Monks are a bit special. Their pathfinder can sometimes completely ignore the boxes even if they aren't moved etc.. not too sure if it's a bug or "intended behaviour" (in this case the developers probably just forgot though), but it's not something caused by anything the player can control. It "just happens". And as Memory said it doesn't serve much help to the player, it just looks weird.
The main unifying thing behind the glitches that are not used is that they more or less change how the game is played. You can very much skip large portions of levels using these various glitches.
Indeed, but that definitely isn't measure for "what is a glitch" either. Ofcourse some glitches also save up to the minimal of a couple of frames without skipping much of the level, and a normal jump-grab can skip quite a bit of gameplay. Also, from what I understand glitches in Tomb Raider aren't defined on a case by case basis because of the way the game is made, instead it is generalised that doing X (for example clipping in geometry) is considered a glitch, doesn't matter if it saves one or two frames or 3 seconds, or if it even loses time, a glitch is a glitch. Same thing applies to normal manoeuvres, just because a normal jump may skip a big part of a level wouldn't mean it's considered a glitch to jump there.
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Okay I guess I'm seeing it. It can be viewed as Mega Man grabbing the ladders early to skip a few pixels ahead, but not clipping into walls or ceilings. Pressing a single button during animation X that forces animation Y to start, and only doing so to avoid stumbling, sounds like fair play. The result looks clean in terms of gameplay, because it optimizes the parts that just work slowly, but never breaks intended game flow. The only question would be, are there any exceptions? From reading the above, I'm not exactly sure if "There's no other way to traverse that area without the corner bug anyway" refers to a voluntary exception or to simply having no way to avoid the glitch.
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feos wrote:
The only question would be, are there any exceptions? From reading the above, I'm not exactly sure if "There's no other way to traverse that area without the corner bug anyway" refers to a voluntary exception or to simply having no way to avoid the glitch.
It's referring to my vague description of a glitch. There are these trampoline like things that are obviously not glitches in this one level but vaguely fit my description of "Nothing that drastically changes where Lara is height-wise in the level ". EDIT: Point was there is that the intended way (the trampolines) was the only method of traversing that area ASIDE from the corner bug.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
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feos wrote:
The only question would be, are there any exceptions? From reading the above, I'm not exactly sure if "There's no other way to traverse that area without the corner bug anyway" refers to a voluntary exception or to simply having no way to avoid the glitch.
That's a poor choice of words on my end, I apologize. Like Memory said:
Memory wrote:
Point was there is that the intended way (the trampolines) was the only method of traversing that area ASIDE from the corner bug.
You can either use the jump pads to go through that area as intended (not 100% what they intended though, the use of the second jump pad skips a small area, but no glitches were abused in doing it so..) or you can use the corner bug (or a variation of it using the jump pads themselves) for glitched runs, like this: Corner bug: https://youtu.be/M-jSw1PhaP0?t=2683 variation(informally named the jump pad bug): https://youtu.be/9sxl6TPepWU?t=9 this movie uses the jump pads to shoot the bells to open 3 doors, because it's the only way to traverse the area without the use of these glitches (or any other).
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Okay then, sounds good to me.
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!
Post subject: Movie published
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This movie has been published. The posts before this message apply to the submission, and posts after this message apply to the published movie. ---- [3964] PSX Tomb Raider II: Starring Lara Croft "glitchless" by Troye in 1:26:53.12
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Man, this game was clearly not easy to record... Five months between submission and publication must be one of the longest gaps we've had.
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OK.
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!
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feos wrote:
OK.
I think you win...