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  • goal: take no damage
  • goal: aim for fastest time
  • abuses programming errors in the game
For some (insane) reason I thought this would be too easy, so I added the restriction that I would take no damage. I didn't realize it until much later into the run, but it is not supposed to be possible to avoid damage in this game. Well, I did it anyway, and that includes avoiding damage from lack of oxygen, damage that doesn't visibly change your health or doesn't make a sound, damage from enemies that still attack you while you can't move from dialog/waiting, and damage from getting sort-of close to bosses or looking at them the wrong way. I think it ended up making it more interesting, since it's borderline impossible to never get hit, and taking damage in this game wouldn't require additional planning or allow anything very amazing.
So, besides that, this is also about 3 minutes and 20 seconds faster than FODA's run of the game. FODA knew his run wasn't perfect, and I did gain considerable time from moving more precisely, but he definitely didn't have that much imperfection in the movement. A lot of the time saved comes from abusing bugs/oversights - I won't explain too much more about that since that should be pretty obvious in the first few minutes. FODA's run was, of course, incredibly helpful for making this.
There are a lot of things that look like mistakes but aren't, and some things that are actually mistakes. (I know the movement could still be faster, and it's not consistently done (gets faster partway through), but it'll take someone with way more patience or much better tools to get the movement really perfect.) As incredibly difficult as this game is to play, I think it's even harder to make it perfect in a TAS. Just getting quickly from point A to point B without slamming into all sorts of walls is a challenge, not to mention doing it while dodging enemies and pushing starfish or blocks. And the boss fights were even more difficult to optimize - I'm certain they can be done faster, but it was a nightmare just to find something reasonably fast that didn't involve getting hit.
The most sadistic thing about this game is that, after putting you through a very long autoscroller called "Welcome to the Machine" (which is full of death traps and unpredictably-moving aliens that kill you instantly on contact), you go to a final battle where any mistake is almost certain to kill you, and dying in that final battle sends you all the way back to the start of The Machine!
Enjoy - and I assume there will be questions, so ask away...
Emulator: Gens movie test 9f
(Actually I made this using a custom Gens with 2 different types of autofire for the C button and a way to hide the rock graphics layer so I could see to avoid damage on the Asterite battle.)

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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #917: nitsuja's Genesis Ecco the Dolphin in 24:14.13
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Oh dear lord no...I'm going to have to sit through this horrible game AGAIN... I'm immensely curious as to how you intend to avoid cutscene/oxygen damage, though.
YtterbiJum, on SMB3: I've tried 20+ times and it always desyncs there. Unless, of course, Genisto meant to die, use a star on the map screen, go in a pipe, and jump around till time runs out.
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Well by "cutscene damage" I really mean the aggressive enemies that chase you forever in levels with crystals you have to talk to or wait for - that's not such a mystery, I just made extra sure to kill or avoid spawning those enemies on my way there (although there's a place where I instead leave it alive and squirm to manipulate it to just barely not hit me). Oxygen damage only applies to one level that's so long you would normally have to surface for air early to avoid it, but that's where I managed to surface for air as part of my new route... Avoiding damage in the Asterite (the helix of balls) battle and the final battle was much harder - they both do damage on any contact, the Asterite is covering the whole entryway to its room past the screen, and ramming the final boss usually results in damage (not to mention the harmful globs it spews out that have a much wider hit detection radius than they should). The spikes at the bottom of the level directly before the first Asterite's layer are almost impossible to avoid since you're in a tunnel that restricts your turning until you're too close to avoid the spikes, but if you're going at exactly the right speed in the right place you'll catch on a corner and turn before hitting them.
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Moooommm, Nitsuja's teasing Death again... Seriously, I enjoyed it. The shortcuts surprised me. Also, for some reason it didn't feel like it was only 3 minutes faster. I suspect it's because this is the second time I've seen the entire game through. Hmmm.
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Gigafrost wrote:
The shortcuts surprised me. Also, for some reason it didn't feel like it was only 3 minutes faster. I suspect it's because this is the second time I've seen the entire game through. Hmmm.
One reason it seems like it should be faster is that Ecco moved so fast already that even if I do a trick to skip an entire half of a level that trick might only save 5 seconds total (with taking into account the time to perform the trick). One of the skips saved so little time that I considered not doing it at all (but not for long). Another reason not too much time can be cut off is that so much of the run has to consist of going through the really long unavoidable autoscrollers, and it's hard to save much time during autoscrollers. My initial estimate was that I'd be able to save at most 1 minute, I guess I was way off.
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Yes yes yes. I have no idea how many times I tried (and failed) to get past the crystals without getting the keys. Especially that first one, since it is so far off-center. After I saw this, the first thing I did was to go back and sneak past that crystal now that I knew how. And then back out again. :) Eat that, evil crystal. >The most sadistic thing about this game is that... dying in that final battle sends you all the way back to the start of The Machine! I wonder who the hell thought that could possibly be a good gameplay device. The sensible thing is of course to just input the code for the last boss which you just got instead of playing that dreaded level again. I have beat the two final levels (in sequence, I think), but never the fourth level (The Lagoon). :/ In any case this is great, good job!
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Yay, another Ecco run! And this one is much shorter! You're right. After watching this run, it can safely be said that there is no way you should be able to do anything close to that without taking damage. That was just awesome. I love the diving through the wall glitch, and the sneaking past the crystals trick. The graphics in some of those levels is just amazing, and some of the music is surreal. This is a very weird game, and a very weird TAS, but it definitely gets a Yes.
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I understand why you owned my Pulseman WIP now. That was amazing. I want to pick it apart before I vote, but I seriously doubt I'll find anything major. Edit: I found some strange things: * 1:12 - Why do you use that wierd movement pattern to get by the octopus. It looks like there's a window you could go through between the spike and the octopus' tentacle. * 1:54 - Why do you do the weird loop instead of hugging the rock. Can't the jellyfish be avoided or stunned and killed without circling backwards before going on? * 2:27 - That crab evasion is unlikely. Very unlikely. * 2:48 - I thought those spiky shells were supposed to hurt you. * 2:52 - Why do you use the sonar here? There were several other places I couldn't figure out its purpose (mainly when you didn't use it to stun enemies in your path). This is only an example. * 2:54 - Where you hit the floor looks a little too far to the right of the rock. * 11:52 - Um, you're cheating or something. Those horseshoe crabs are supposed to hurt you. * 17:29 - Interesting bug. It doesn't do anything useful as far as I can tell, but it's cool to see Ecco jump between two locations at 30 Hz.
ideamagnate| .seen aqfaq <nothing happens> DK64_MASTER| .seen nesvideoagent * DK64_MASTER slaps forehead
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Yes, wow, fast, entertainment and full from glitches. Nice run.
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IdeaMagnate wrote:
1:12 - Why do you use that wierd movement pattern to get by the octopus. It looks like there's a window you could go through between the spike and the octopus' tentacle.
The octopus slashes the tentacle too fast to sneak by that way, unless you move very slowly like you're supposed to which would waste too much time. Plus, I needed to be moving leftward going past the spike to be able to turn into the crystal in time.
IdeaMagnate wrote:
1:54 - Why do you do the weird loop instead of hugging the rock. Can't the jellyfish be avoided or stunned and killed without circling backwards before going on?
The main problem here is that it takes basically pixel-perfect positioning to avoid hitting those spikes. Hugging the rock makes the rock push you down too low to avoid the spikes, and the dash move homes into nearby enemies so I had to wait long enough for the jellyfish to line up exactly above the spikes before dashing through.
IdeaMagnate wrote:
2:27 - That crab evasion is unlikely. Very unlikely.
The other solution I found was to move a bit lower, causing it to not even attack, but this looked cooler and made the path slightly shorter.
IdeaMagnate wrote:
2:48 - I thought those spiky shells were supposed to hurt you.
You can push them safely if you line it up exactly right, but they'll hurt you after any other movement. (And I was only able to dash through the second one without breaking it like that because the level end boundary was there.)
IdeaMagnate wrote:
2:52 - Why do you use the sonar here? There were several other places I couldn't figure out its purpose (mainly when you didn't use it to stun enemies in your path). This is only an example.
Sonar cancels dashing instantly, allowing Ecco to slow down faster to make tight turns. (Ecco's dash actually slows him down compared to full speed, and spending more post-dash time not pressing C slows him down even more.) However, at this particular time (2:52) I wasn't dashing and was just firing the sonar for the heck of it. EDIT: And sonar doesn't stun enemies at all. I didn't get either of the optional sonar upgrades.
IdeaMagnate wrote:
2:54 - Where you hit the floor looks a little too far to the right of the rock.
The collision detection with the rocks is pretty bad, so if I was any further to the left, Ecco would just swim straight through the rock instead of pushing it. BTW, nobody's asked, but the inconsistency of jumps in the Open Ocean level isn't from being too lazy to make them all the same, it's because Ecco drifts up 1 pixel after every jump and eventually jumps less and less effectively, requiring doing something to push him downward. Dashing above an enemy makes Ecco drift a few pixels downward.
IdeaMagnate wrote:
11:52 - Um, you're cheating or something. Those horseshoe crabs are supposed to hurt you.
They're called trilobytes, and yeah, they really suck. I noticed that they anticipate your movement to intercept where you're going to be, so what I did there was push down and then up at the right times to make it predict that I would be going down then up enough to put it into an orbit around me just wide enough to miss.
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Thanks for the detailed responses. The movie makes much more sense now. If this doesn't deserve a star, I don't know what does. The pervasive abuse of bugs and the way you avoid taking damage do a great job of demonstrating what this site is all about.
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Oh my, this is so wicked fast! o_0 I think the only thing that can prevent this movie from getting a star is that casual audience probably isn't able to follow your movements. %) Anyway, it's a sure 'yes' from me — despite the fact I cannot vote yet.
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had no idea how innovative this game was, and it moves so fast. really cool run. love this game's soundtrack.
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Truncated wrote:
I wonder who the hell thought that could possibly be a good gameplay device. The sensible thing is of course to just input the code for the last boss which you just got instead of playing that dreaded level again.
The game does not tell you the password to the last boss until after you beat it. (So unless you're getting passwords from somewhere else, you're forced to play that level again.)
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Wow. You never cease to amaze me, nitsuja. I'm really glad someone made this run, and no damage! yay for no more damage noise. I would have never had the energy to try something like this. Recording this game was extremely stressing to me. If it wasn't to you, wow you're good. If it was stressing, wow... you have a lot of patience. These movements looked very optimal. I don't think there will be someone crazy enough to try and beat this. Of course, nice tricks there. The machine level was also cool. My vote is yes, of course.
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Just as a question, I've done a little experimentation, and I noticed you said you had two types of autofire for the C button, what was the quickest method for acceleration you found? (Because it seemed to be 3 on 1 off, or something like that iirc (which I probably don't), but it also seemed to be based on where in the movement animation Ecco was, I then promptly got a headache and quit expermenting...)
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OmnipotentEntity wrote:
Just as a question, I've done a little experimentation, and I noticed you said you had two types of autofire for the C button, what was the quickest method for acceleration you found?
The fastest I found was 8-12 on, 1 off, so I used 10/1 for the autofire once I realized that was fastest. However, normal 1/1 autofire is better for accelerating about-face turns. BTW, I also found that the game only checks for turning input once every 8 frames, which is the real reason Echo seems to turn along a grid that depends on his speed. FODA: Thanks. Actually most of it wasn't very stressing, except for the 2 boss fights, the chasing enemies, and those starfish-pushing sequences. I think not having to play it in slow-motion pressing the C button all the time helped a lot.
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wow, very nice. you swam through rock. definitely a yes vote for entertainment, with the exception of the last 2 stages because they suck and take ages regardless of wether or not you want them to. (they account for about a third of the run on their own).
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HOLY CRAP! This has to be on of the most impressive things I've ever seen! This game is one of the hardest I've ever played and I myself haven't been able to get past the 8th level (the one with the big blue whale) so to see someone beat the crap out of it is a big treat. Not only did you clobber the game but you did it without taking damage! That in itself is amazing. You bypassed crystal barriers, swam through solid rock and did it all in under 30 mins! Simply amazing. Voting YES of course. I have just one question, ever think of trying your hand at Ecco 2: Tides of Time?
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wow, nice one. I'd vote yes if I could.
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Hummm tailz yes this is very impressive movie but you talk as if you hadn't seen that there is a published ecco movie already (much worse than this yes, but it exists). I suggest you browse through the published movies maybe you're missing something you'd like there hehe
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Tailz wrote:
I have just one question, ever think of trying your hand at Ecco 2: Tides of Time?
I thought about it and took a look at it, but I think I'll be staying away from that game for the time being. The movement is nearly identical except that they improved jumping and on-land control, but they also fixed the turn+dash bug that made it possible to skip barrier glyphs or hover out of the water, and the game looks longer and even more tedious than this one (fake-3D minigames, pushing crystals pieces together with sonar...)
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FODA wrote:
Hummm tailz yes this is very impressive movie but you talk as if you hadn't seen that there is a published ecco movie already (much worse than this yes, but it exists). I suggest you browse through the published movies maybe you're missing something you'd like there hehe
I have seen the first published run and it was good, but not as good as this. I think I was too extatic on my last post but that was because I was so amazed by this run. I never thought this could be done with taking no damage.
nitsuja wrote:
I thought about it and took a look at it, but I think I'll be staying away from that game for the time being. The movement is nearly identical except that they improved jumping and on-land control, but they also fixed the turn+dash bug that made it possible to skip barrier glyphs or hover out of the water, and the game looks longer and even more tedious than this one (fake-3D minigames, pushing crystals pieces together with sonar...)
I expected it to be more tedious but I didn't know they improved anything.
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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. ---- [453] Genesis Ecco the Dolphin by nitsuja in 24:14.13
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Fantastic TAS, nitsuja. I was floored by the improvement to the old version and amazed at your skill at manipulation :)