The general difference between Normal and Professional/Special Modes (pulled from my SDA Run):
1. You start with the full 24 HP.
2. Magic is removed.
3. Simulation Mode is removed. You just go from act to act.
4. The initial 'statue inhabiting' animation has been removed form the startof the acts. You simply start the level right away.
5. Enemy damage does 2 HP damage. Terrain damage still does just 1.
6. Enemies that normally take 1 hit to kill now take 2. Multi-hit enemies don't take any more than before. Certain 'destructible terrain' like the floating skulls in Aitos Act I still only take 1 hit to kill.
7. Certain enemies have a different pattern, though not very many.
8. Magic Scrolls in the Acts have been replaced by Crushes.
9. NO CONTINUES. You lose and it's game over.
10. After an act is cleared, there is no life/time bonus. Your life gets refilled and you move on to the next level.
11. Projectiles in Aitos Act I have been removed and replaced with a 1-UP. You still get them for the Tanzara battle.
12. Ending is removed and you just go straight to the credits, with the final image changed from 'THE END' to 'YOU ARE THE BEST PLAYER!'
Differences between US Professional! mode and Japanese Special Mode (most of what I can think of offhand - this doesn't count religious references removed, since it was mainly in the simulation/creation section):
1. Changes in terrain in a few levels. Most noticeable in Filmoa Act I.
2. A few location name changes (Fillmore vs Filmoa, Kasandora vs Casandra, Marahna vs Marana, and Deathheim vs Death heim).
3. Filmoa Act II's music is the same as Act I.
4. Some enemies take even MORE damage.
5. Floating skulls in Aitos Act I can't be killed (they just self destruct).
6. Some boss attack changes (mainly faster, but Rafflasher in Marana Act I ducks in and out)
7. Timer stops after Satan Phase 1. Also, more lag during Phase 2 in the Japanese version.
8. All spikes (except the small falling ones), unless you're in a temporary invulnerable state are INSTANT KILL. Also extra spikes in various locations (most noticeably in Filmoa Act II and Bloodpool Act II).
9. Less lives. US starts with 5, Japanese with 2.
Given that Snes9x 1.53 recently came out, I'm going to try using that instead.
It seems that 1.52 and 1.53 are both laggier than 1.51, but after some comparison with bsnes I think that that's maybe how it's supposed to be (hard to be exactly sure given that SSNES seems to only count 180 frames at a time). The extra lag is not while controlling God but rather during things like room transitions where I'm not in control anyway.
Unfortunately, this extra lag means that simply comparing the overall time of this improvement to the overall time of the nicovideo run may give a false impression of not much time saved. Still, given that 1.53 has more accurate emulation, I'm going to use it. Even if someone ends up adding TASing capability to bsnes or something, the effort put into a 1.53 run wouldn't be in vain because a lot of the time making this TAS so far has been spent figuring out the best way to go through stages, seeing if I can improve on what the nicovideo author did. That kind of stuff would carry over to whatever emulator I use, allowing me to redo the TAS quickly.
OK, here's my progress up to the end of Bloodpool Act 1. Although the level layout isn't very different, I think enemies have slightly larger hitboxes from the American version, which affects how I handle some stuff.
Looks good. I'm sure without having to ask that the wait period in front of the boss door in Bloodpool Act II is to manipulate the boss. it's kinda ugly, but better then dealing with the wait time for wolf form.
Loved both Casandra boss fights. Good job. I liked how you handled Casandra Act I boss fight especially.
Very good so far. I really liked the Casandra Act 2 boss fight. It will be interesting to see how the bosses are handled without Stardust.
The only suggestion about the wait time before Bloodpool Act 1 (it sucks that the wait time is so long) is to use the extra time to play around with the enemies avoiding damage instead of killing them. I assume there wasn't enough time to kill the other enemy. But it is okay the way it currently is; messing with it may affect the RNG for Casandra.
Actually, Dunnius, I hadn't thought about killing the enemies just before the Bloodpool Act 2 boss. Not a bad idea if you have to wait for a better spawning pattern anyway.
So I went ahead and tried killing the statue just before the boss in Bloodpool Act 2. I ended up having to also kill the skeleton guy just before that in order to avoid getting hit. The benefit is that since I can now take one hit without dying I can just use the boss spawning pattern I'm initially given (which requires taking one hit) instead of waiting for another one. That saves about 100 frames in Bloodpool Act 2.
Unfortunately, the flame enemies in Cassandra Act 1 act randomly, and this time the results are much laggier. After much experimenting, I chose a different route to try to minimize lag, but nevertheless I lost 49 frames overall in Cassandra Act 1.
Miraculously, I was able to just hex edit in Cassandra Act 2, so that's the same as before.
Overall, I saved 51 frames over the previous WIP.
Very nice. I wonder if delaying the final damage to the boss of Bloodpool Act 2 by a frame or more could change the RNG for Cassandra Act 1 resulting in better luck with the flame enemies. In fact, even delaying before the boss battle could work too as long as the battle's RNG is not affected.
Delaying the final hit on the Bloodpool Act 2 boss does affect the behavior of the flames, however with both of the delays I tried it didn't make the behavior the same as before. In both cases, I didn't get as good results, although I didn't mess around as much with lag reduction this time. One of those delay amounts was the max I could pull off without having the Bloodpool Act 2 boss teleport. In theory I could try a bunch of different delay amounts and then do a bunch of messing around with each to try to minimize lag, but I think I would go insane trying to do that. Besides, I'm thinking that I'll eventually do a second version of this TAS because it sounds like SNES9x might receive some accuracy improvements (byuu is interested in helping to improve the S-SMP core). I don't know if any of the planned improvements will affect lag, but in case they do: If I'm going to spend a lot of time trying to reduce lag, I'd prefer to do it with an emulator that's closer to the amount of lag present on a real SNES.
And here's Marana Act 1:
And Marana Act 2:
Unfrotunately, I didn't get as good luck on the boss as the nicovideo run. I tried waiting before entering the boss room but that required too much waiting. I also tried changing my strategy a bit to kill the first two brown monsters like the nicovideo run does, but that doesn't help either. So this level is actually somewhat slower.
So you couldn't find a quick way to make Kalia drop twice? Darn.
Something to look at as an idea for managing time without appearing to delay - how much time difference is there between going left and going right at the split? Maybe it'll pay off in the end here to get you better luck?
The trouble with trying to take the right side is that in the Japanese version those white spikes are instant death. I tried taking that route anyway (by means of dodging spikes) but I still got the same luck on the boss.
Yeah, I know those spikes are trouble (I hate the lower route on Filmoa Act II when I try to speed run it for that exact same reason). But I thought I'd throw it out as a suggestion to keep a good flow and allow for a better boss fight. Too bad it didn't work. Oh well!
Overall, very nice. I'm still trying to think of a way to change the Kalia fight in Marana Act II, but I just can't think of anything solid. Is the only thing that manipulates his RNG is the frame of entry? Or does stuff like score and life have an effect on it?