#7291: juef's NES Slow Mole "100%" in 11:32.29

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Slow Mole

You're a mole, you're slow, and most things kill you. Welcome to Slow Mole! This game was developed by Erik Rosenlund and released digitally in July 2021, with a cartrige release planned. It can be downloaded for free here. This TAS was made using v1.1, and unfortunately does not sync with version 1.2 which came out literally the day before this TAS was finished.

General information

Greetings! I'm juef, and this is my first TAS attempt at this game.
  • Emulator used: FCEUX 2.6.0-interim git revision b4734ac45fe20cd0d8f65649b467b1c8ede8d068
  • 100% (normal game + bonus level)
  • The single segment world record is 33m48s and does not complete the bonus level, while this TAS does and is 11m33s.
  • Glitchless because I am aware of only one glitch, and it doesn't save much time.

Game basics and TAS notes

  • This game requires very precise input and is definitely not meant to be easy for casual gamers. For instance, a two-frame window to jump over some obstacle is a regular occurence.
  • There are specific frames on which you can jump on a spring before you bounce on it. Since we can control the mole's jump height, this often helps in synchronizing the mole with the game's cycles, which saves many frames on many occasions.
  • Horizontal springs have something strange physics-wise going for them. If one propels you to the right, then it can be faster to hold left for a while even after contact with the spring.
  • Vertical acceleration is to be handled in the same way as it is in games such as Mega Man: jump as high as possible before dropping from a platform so your vertical velocity is the greatest. This is particularly important in this game since this often allows us to save a cycle of whatever obstacle there is on a screen, and therefore save much more than just a few frames.
  • Unlike other games such as Battle Kid, rooms do not always start in the same state: some enemies or obstacles have different starting positions. It is sometimes possible to manipulate those by leaving the previous screen later or in a different state (position or velocity wise), such that a more favorable screen allows for saving cycles.

Possible improvements

  • I suspect there are some subpixel shenanigans I couldn't manage to understand, which makes the game very painful to TAS since seemingly minor input changes often desync the whole movie.
  • The unused glitch (used in the current speedrun world record) allows the mole to pass through a floor in one specific room. It is possible it is usable in other places, which could make a glitched run worthwhile.
  • I suspect slight movement optimizations exist due to the somewhat complex physics of some obstacles. I tried many different things in situations including these, so I am quite confident the savings due to such optimizations must be rather small.

Thanks

  • Erik Rosenlund for the fun but very challenging game;
  • Zorilla33 for his current world record run, which I find quite impressive;
  • TASVideos, its staff and volunteers!

TASVideoAgent
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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #7291: juef's NES Slow Mole "100%" in 11:32.29
Darkman425
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While not as fast as the Monty Mole games, it certainly has that same feeling of peril. It's quite notable how tight some rooms really are when looking at the leftover time some rooms are cleared with.
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This might be an accidental knock on the TAS and I apologize for it but the v1.2 update information says "More music and a more secrets!" Since this a 100% run (and not having knowledge of the game) I assume that this goes for the secrets that exist in v1.1 but misses out on the additional content in v1.2. I also put forward a question to the creator of the title to see if they can provide v1.1 to the public, since without that we're kinda stuck here with the submission and not being able to sync it with what's publicly available. Edit: v1.1 will be provided again with separate links. Edit 2: v1.1 exists on Erik Rosenlund's Patreon. Also they left this information about the difference between v1.1 and v1.2 in terms of 100% when I asked about that version of the ROM no longer existing:
Erik Rosenlund wrote:
I would argue that the current run still counts as 100% since there isn't actually a way to get to all rooms in one run in v1.2, unless you play through the game twice.
Thanks Erik.
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nymx
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What a great game! Still amazed to see such development for this amazing console. I was surprised by this and couldn't stop watching. I can only imagine how hard this game has been for runners, especially considering how much time you have to clear each screen (I'm guessing that is a count down timer in the upper left?). Anyway, excellent choice for a game to TAS. Yes vote.
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------- Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes?
juef
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nymx wrote:
I can only imagine how hard this game has been for runners, especially considering how much time you have to clear each screen (I'm guessing that is a count down timer in the upper left?).
That is correct but probably not in the way you think. Each time you complete a screen with some time left, it makes the beginning of the next screen a checkpoint. The title screen mentions this using icons, but I understand how it can be confusing, especially in a deathless run. Also note that there is a slight variation of this mechanic if you play the game again after reaching the end screen.
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TAS of 2017First edition TAS of 2017PSX TAS of 2017
This game looks really hard, given by how slow you are and how little clearance you're given for each obstacle. The TAS looked quite well executed, nimbly maneuvering around all of the obstacles. I do wish there were more instances where you could visibly break the level design to skip obstacles. You often do have to wait for some hazard to pass you, instead of just going. Voting yes because of more NESdev.
arflech
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I voted Yes, but it would be nice to see a future submission with v1.2 in a stable version of an emulator.
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