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Update: I'm redoing this run. 68 frames saved in Level 1 (1-1, 1-2 + boss) so far.
(Almost 15 seconds better than the previous cancled version! Levels 1-3 remain the same. Minor improvents in stages 4-1, 4-2, several rooms in 5, final boss. Major improvement in boss 4.)

Run Summary

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Played on highest difficult level (3)
  • Runs into enemies to save time
  • Minor bug abuse (Level 2-2 ends without actually reaching the exit)
  • Contains lots of ninja abuse: kicking them off the ground, kicking them out of the air, tricking them into jumping off of buildings, shoving them off buildings, etc.
(Not my previously planned pacifist run. That's still on hold for now, sorry.)

Game summary

One of the lesser known Shinobi games, Shadow Dancer is still a solid entry in that series. I had a blast with this game in my teens--three difficulty levels and lots of ninja fighting action. The game sure looks different in a TAS though--there's quite a few enemies that a TASer can run from that a normal player can't.

Weapon notes

All attacks that start from a standing position (be they sword or shuriken) force you to stand still for a few frames and are therefore rarely used.
All attacks that start in mid-air (jumpkicks, shuriken or sword (if you walk off a ledge, you can do a midair sword attack)) will let you keep your momentum. If you hit the ground while still in the attack animation, you can still glide forwards.
Dog--can be used to momentarily stun most non-boss/non-ninja foes. Completely unused as it takes too long to set up. (You have to both charge a gauge and wait for the dog to notice an enemy and the dog tends to be slow on the uptake.)
Ninja Magic: Does 2 points of damage to bosses (most of the time), kills everything else. Only used to end the game--just too slow to use in any other situation.

Level notes:

1-1

Lots of jumpkicking. One sniper taken out with a crouching star. This doesn't cost frames as I have to stop for the Manhole of Fire anyways. (I don't want to know what's in that sewer.)
There's some enemies that fail to show up at the end of the stage--the game sometimes drops enemies if there are already several on the screen.

1-2

I have to slow down a few frames at the start or the game gets confused and destroys the first hostage (this phenomeon is later refered to as "missing hostage glitch"), making the round unwinnable. Bumping into the last shieldman gives me invunerablity to get the last hostage without having to stop and fight.

Boss 1

I'm constantly adjusting the distance between the boss and I so that I can time the stars properly. He gets in only one attack--you can't stop the first earthquake.

First bonus round

Boring. Unfortunately, there's four bonus rounds that can't be sped up at all. I shoot a few ninja sequences out of the order in which the appear for an attempt at entertainment.

2-1

Back to the regularly schedules hostage-freeing, jump-kicking action!
This level is pretty much just a nice stroll across the bridge with the occasional jumpkick to keep the riffraff in line. Other than backtracking slightly to pick up hostages, you can run right through this stage.

2-2

I bump the gunman--have to jump to keep him from shooting me and the jump is too big to make cleanly. At 2:44 (on the level clock) I shoot a knifeman--I think a jumpkick would look better, but I just get the missing hostage glitch if I use a jumpkick here. Oh, and I get close enough to trigger the exit before I get bumped away.

Boss 2

Not much to say. I manipulate the boss a bit--where he appears depends on where you stand. His hand attacks can be (and are) manipulated even more.

Bonus #2

Still boring. I get in a few 2-ninja-with-one-star shots, though. Big whoop.

3-1

At 2:50, I jump on a box I'd rather jump over to prevent the missing hostage glitch from occuring.

3-2

Fixed scrolling stage. Can't speed things up, so I kick the ninjas around for fun.
Highlights:
  • Four jumpkicks that connect with four targets in one jump.
  • One jumpkick that connects with four targets in one jump.
  • Little known fact: Ninjas who never figured out the game of Peek A Boo when they were babies are forced to wear yellow. These poor souls are so traumatized by their turbulent infancies that they will jump off the nearest building if you refuse to look at them.
Hope that the people running Ellis Island don't mind a splatted ninja here and there. Look out below!

Boss 3

Special thanks to Neofix for showing how to beat this boss quickly.
I bump into Ms. Buzzsaw at the end (to show that she's still solid) and them jump through her off the stage (to show that she's not solid any more). Since the jump is done at the last second, falling off of the stage doesn't count as a death.

Bonus 3

Yawn. Four consecutive two-in-one shots near the end if anyone cares.

4-1

There's a rare standing sword attack here--it's either stand still for a few frames or do a forward jump attack and get caught on the next ledge, losing even more frames. There's also a jumpkick in the second half of the stage that hits a green mutant that's 'behind' Shinobi.
The last hostage rescue is a bit tricky--have to jump far enough behind the green mutant to avoid him and then veer left in midair to reach the platform. (In the canceled version, I stop and shoot this mutant.)

4-2

You can always see the floor but you frequently cannot see your ninja or enemies. If you use the Game Genie code AAPA-CASG, you can never see the floor but you can always see your player and all enemies. I did the whole level with it on. When I turned off the code, the movie didn't desync. (Note to be 100% clear: No Game Genie codes are needed to play back this movie.)

Boss 4

Normally, this is an annoying boss that's invincible most of the time. Using frame states, you can keep him in hitstun until he's dead the moment he becomes vunerable.

Bonus 4

50 ninjas go poof. Big whoop. Oh, and I barely move from side to side this time to get in a two-in-one shot.

Level 5

Lots of running, very little fighting.

Room 1

Not much to comment on--gunmen aren't good closeup fighters.

Room 2

The sword may be slow but that works to my advantage here, as it damages a large and slightly spread out group roly poly guys. At the end, it's faster to let the roly-poly guys shove Shinobi out the exit instead of jumping or fighting the last one.

Room 3

There's a mid-air sword attack in the middle of this room.

Room 4

Just before the first jump, I walk forwards, stop for one frame and resume walking fowards. That one extra frame means the difference between kicking the first two ninjas and harmlessly bouncing away. Can't do anything about the lag--killing ninjas takes a long time.

Room 5

More ninjas, more running, one more section of lag as Shinobi leads the parade.

Boss 5

Another boss that's both invincible unless attacking and takes a long time to attack. This boss is even immune to ninja magic most of the time.
Ninjas that roll off the screen disappear. Ninjas knocked off the screen eventually return, so I frequently kick ninjas towards the middle of the screen, thus allowing me to kick them again once they get up.
I end the game with ninja magic--this saves a bunch of frames as activating the fatal ninja magic clinches the game, allowing me to quit the movie as soon as I release the button.

Bisqwit: Fixed the erratic use of headers and added back author's real name.

TASVideoAgent
They/Them
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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #890: trazz's Genesis Shadow Dancer in 13:00.10
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I was going to ask whether you tried to stun lock the fourth boss in your 13:15 run, but I guess this run answers that question. Great job, the improvements made everything look smoother with less pauses. I can't think of any improvements, so I vote yes. To anyone who doesn't know this game well: Yes, there is a lot of lag, but it can't be helped because ninjas take a long time to kill (watch the last boss fight for an example).
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mikwuyma wrote:
I was going to ask whether you tried to stun lock the fourth boss in your 13:15 run, but I guess this run answers that question.
I've been suprised at how vunerable the bosses are to hitstun. The first four bosses are able to make a grand total of three potentially fatal attacks. Just out of curiosity, how did you know that the fourth boss could be locked into hitstun? I don't know how you'd duplicate the timing needed to pull of that feat on a console.
mikwuyma wrote:
Great job, the improvements made everything look smoother with less pauses. I can't think of any improvements, so I vote yes.
Thanks. There's a sub-13 minute run to be had if anyone can shave off at least 7 frames but, outside of the last boss battle, I'm not sure where you'd get them. (I'm not sure how the last boss decides when to generate ninjas. I just kept kicking the generated ninjas as quickly as possible in hopes that would speed him up.)
mikwuyma wrote:
To anyone who doesn't know this game well: Yes, there is a lot of lag, but it can't be helped because ninjas take a long time to kill (watch the last boss fight for an example).
There's a few ninja kills in 3-2 as well (Statue of Liberty), of course. (More ninja specifics for those who don't know the game well: Each ninja has at least two hit points. Other than the extremely slow ninja magic and bottomless pits, there's no attack on the hardest difficulty setting that does more than one point of damage. After each hit, the ninja is invincible until it falls to the ground and flips back onto his feet.)
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Just out of curiosity, how did you know that the fourth boss could be locked into hitstun? I don't know how you'd duplicate the timing needed to pull of that feat on a console.
A long time ago I tried to speedrun this game for SDA, and I discovered that you could hit the fourth boss multiple times in a row because shuriken will go through the boss' body while it's stunned. If anyone is wondering, I quit the run a long time ago because of the retarded amount of slowdown this game suffers from (which messes with the controls), and the random glitches that make hostages disappear (preventing full hostage rescue and forcing you to restart). The farthest I got without dying was the room before the final boss :(
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Good run in general. Allthough I have a question. I already casted my YES-vote though... The boss at statue of liberty, when she first appears and jumps down to the platform where you and her are about to fight, why don't you use the magic to push her further to the ledge? I think that could be faster since she will fly closer to the ledge before even be able to hit her regularly.
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Highness wrote:
Good run in general. Allthough I have a question. I already casted my YES-vote though... The boss at statue of liberty, when she first appears and jumps down to the platform where you and her are about to fight, why don't you use the magic to push her further to the ledge? I think that could be faster since she will fly closer to the ledge before even be able to hit her regularly.
Thanks for the yes vote. The magic idea is a great idea on paper. I tried it but ninja magic is way too slow. By the time the ninja magic has finished, the no-ninja-magic run has already prepared the shot that knocks Ms. Buzzsaw off the building. It's kind of a shame that most of Shinobi's techniques are so unsuited for tool assisted speedrunning (but it's also clear that Shadow Dancer was designed for humans to play without save states and frame advance, too. :) ).
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I would like to see some of that inefficient ninja magic on the Statue of Liberty level, since it is (?) an autoscroller anyway. It might also be a good place to show the dog in action (as opposed to the dog's inaction, which we see plenty of). It was a neat trick making the ninjas jump off the platform. Other than increased entertainment value, it looked good.
ideamagnate| .seen aqfaq <nothing happens> DK64_MASTER| .seen nesvideoagent * DK64_MASTER slaps forehead
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IdeaMagnate wrote:
I would like to see some of that inefficient ninja magic on the Statue of Liberty level, since it is (?) an autoscroller anyway. It might also be a good place to show the dog in action (as opposed to the dog's inaction, which we see plenty of). It was a neat trick making the ninjas jump off the platform. Other than increased entertainment value, it looked good.
Sorry. Both ideas won't work. Not only is ninja magic slow but it also stops the Statue of Liberty stage from scrolling for several seconds. Also, ninjas are completely immune to the dog's attacks.
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Sega TASer of 2021Sega TAS of 2021
Minus the last boss, I found this very entertaining. Too bad we didn't get to see the dog in action, but I guess that's the way it is. Voting yes.
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Oh well. It's good to know that you tried. You already have my vote.
ideamagnate| .seen aqfaq <nothing happens> DK64_MASTER| .seen nesvideoagent * DK64_MASTER slaps forehead
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YES from me too.
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Yes, this was more fun to watch than Revenge of Shinobi (not because of Neofix's or trazz's playing, but because of the nature of the two games). That last boss sure interupted a lot of momentum. Everything was so quick up until him!
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I was disappointed by the elevator level. A full pacifist thing would probably have been cool. Other than that... yes-worthy.
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Dromiceius wrote:
I was disappointed by the elevator level. A full pacifist thing would probably have been cool. Other than that... yes-worthy.
I'm redoing the run--I've recompleted 1-1, 1-2 and Boss 1 and I've shaved off 68 frames so far. * ~10 frames are saved by jump kicking a gunman instead of pausing to throw a crouching star. * I figured out how to kill the first shield thrower in 1-2 without having to wait for him to throw the shield and this time my solution doesn't result in the TAS-ruining missing hostage glitch. * I understand the earthquakes better and, by delaying a jump, I can ride the earthquake for a bit, saving a frame or two. However, I don't think it's possible to do a full pacifist run of the elevator--once you get five or more red/blue ninjas on the screen, it's very difficult to bump any of them off the platform. Five red ninjas can easily form a completely unbumpable tower of spinning katana blades. (Sure, one ninja may be on the ground and vunerable, but you'll never get close enough to bump him because he's covered by three of his buddies doing midair spinning atttacks.) If you want to take a few extra seconds, it possible to get the Peaceful Bonus on the elevator (no attacks other than Ninja Magic). I won't do that--at least not in this run--because I'm trying to break the 13 minute mark. Right now, I'm on pace to complete the game in less than 12 minutes, 59 seconds. Edit: Update: Redid 1-1 through the end of boss #2. The frame count is currently 3:23:41 which is 2 seconds and 29 frames ahead of previous pace. Current projected time at end of game: under 12 minutes, 58 seconds
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Dromiceius wrote:
I was disappointed by the elevator level. A full pacifist thing would probably have been cool. Other than that... yes-worthy.
I fixed the elevator level--every last ninja on the level are is either lured off the elevator or kicked off the elevator. Look out below! While I do use some jumpkicks, none of them are directly fatal--to my surprise, this is enough to collect the Peaceful Bonus. (Level 3-2 was brought to you by Bob Barker, who reminds everyone, "Help control the ninja population. Have your ninja fall off a world famous monument.") Current status: 3-2 overhauled Current time: 6:00 minutes and 5 frames (3 seconds, 34 frames ahead of previous pace).
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Wow. You revive an old submission thread and suddenly, things start to happen! I'm glad you're working on this, trazz.
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trazz wrote:
I fixed the elevator level--every last ninja on the level are is either lured off the elevator or kicked off the elevator. Look out below!
Booya! :) Looking forward to the next version.
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Dromiceius wrote:
trazz wrote:
I fixed the elevator level--every last ninja on the level are is either lured off the elevator or kicked off the elevator. Look out below!
Booya! :) Looking forward to the next version.
4-1 complete. 3 seconds, 45 frames ahead of previous pace. Part of that's due to handling boss 3 differently--if you get too close, she backs up with buzzsaw hands guarding her face. While that gets her moving in the right direction, her walking speed is too slow. By making sure I never get close enough to provoke her into backstepping, I saved a few frames. I also saved four frames in 4-1 by making one jump slightly earlier than before. This is just before the 2nd to the last hostage--by just _barely_ clearing the green crawling monster, I have slightly less hang time. 4-1 is a pain to speedrun--lots of enemies, several enemies are in inconvienent places, there's a few bottomless pits and the level design can easily make you waste frames in less-than-obvious ways. I had to make several attempts and restudy my previous video several times just to match the time in the previous video. Only 4-2, boss 4, a bonus level, the five enemy theme rooms and the final boss to go.
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4-2 complete Current time: 7:57 and 10 frames--4 seconds and 6 frames ahead of the previous time
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Boss 4 complete. One bonus stage, five themed rooms (e.g., a room with nothing but gunmen) and one boss to go. Current time- 8:19:05 which is 3 seconds, 7 frames faster than the previous pace. Right now I'm on pace to finish in just under 12 minutes, 57 seconds. I do not know of any ways to save frames in a bonus stage. Recent experience suggests that I have a good chance of saving a few frames in the theme rooms. The biggest remaining challenge right now is determining if the last boss can be manipulated into moving more quickly as the last boss's armour controls the pace of that fight. Notes: * The biggest part about time attacking boss four happens before the boss moves a pixel. As far as I can tell, once the boss starts to move, nothing can change where the boss will stop. I don't understand it fully, but by pressing buttons before the round starts and using trial and error, you can influence where the boss stops. The most favorable stopping location that I know of is on the left side and fairly close to the bridge. During the previous run, the boss was set up to stop there. During this run, the boss defaulted to a location that was several pixels higher. This caused a large amount of fustration--at first, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't attack the boss as quickly this time. I then had to use trial and error to figure out how to do the necessary luck manipulations. However, once the boss stops in a favorable spot, it doesn't take that much TAS skill to kill it before it can move again. * I'd have to do some more study to prove exactly how it works but bunny hopping is definitely slightly faster than walking. I think that the way it works is that if you do a forward jump and do a second forward jump during the first possible frame, you move forward one additional pixel. This explaination may not be entirely correct but it's the most logical explaination I can make as to why I can save a frame by doing two consecutive jumps. * It's possible to jump from the ground level in 1-2 and jump kick the 1up hidden in the second story platform in 1-2. I do this but, because the icon spawns behind a roly-poly guy, you have to know what to look for to notice that the icon appears. * I also do a few jump-kicks that don't hit anything at all because I think jump kicks that miss are amusing. I consider it demonstrationg a minor bug--unless you've turned Shuriken mode off, Shinobi is supposed to throw ninja stars if you do a jump attack and there are no targets within kicking range.
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My final update in this thread: I finished the movie a few days ago--it's been on the workbench for a bit. For anyone who wanted to see the next movie but hasn't yet--or for anyone who somehow happens to run across this obsolete thread weeks/months/a year or two from now--the thread for the improved version of this movie is at http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3510