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  • Gimmick! (Sunsoft, 1/31/92)

    Posted on June 10th, 2010 keving 6 comments

    Ah, Gimmick! Tomomi Sakai’s gift to platform lovers everywhere. I’ll never forgive the Famitsu reviewer who gave it 5/10.

    If you’re not familiar with the game, you may wish to view Frank Cifaldi’s annotated introduction first so you can appreciate all the things the new, improved TAS above is doing. Most notable to me was the shortcut in Stage 2 that mostly eliminates that long, boring trip to the pirate ship. Bravo!

    (I’m sorry updates haven’t been more full-featured lately. Lot of personal work occupying my time.)

  • Chō Makaimura (Capcom, 10/4/91)

    Posted on June 8th, 2010 keving 2 comments

    It’s easy to spot an early-era SNES game. There’s slowdown in places where you wouldn’t expect any slowdown. The Mode 7 effects are a bit janky and look a lot better in screenshots than live. The music is really tinny throughout — an issue Capcom seemed to struggle with all through the console’s life, come to think of it.

    Nevertheless, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a decent platformer, just as hard as any other in the series, and this TAS attempts to get through the game while defeating the absolute bare minimum of enemies — the bosses, and a set of cockatrice heads that must be killed in order to remove a wall blocking your way. The results are pretty spine-tingling, and even though this is a TAS and you know Knight Arthur is never going to die, it’s still thrilling to watch him take this leisurely stroll through the demon world.

    Note that this video begins with the final boss of the first playthrough to save time, since (like with most Ghosts ‘n Goblins titles) you must beat the game twice in a row to get the real ending. Stick around for that ending and you’ll also get to see an interesting bug that was fixed for the SNES release. In the Super Famicom Chō Makaimura, if you reconfigure the button assignments in option mode and then finish the game, Arthur’s movements in the ending will grow more and more haywire, until he finally dies in one part of it. If you beat the game with 0 lives left, the ending is then halted by a Game Over and you have to “continue” to see the rest of it. (Doing this kills the ending music, and the credits roll at the very end is completely silent as a result, which is why it was cut out of this video.)

  • Jason goes eco-friendly, gets frog back in under 5 minutes

    Posted on April 14th, 2010 keving 1 comment

    He doesn’t need to spend hundreds on diesel fuel to drive his cool futuristic tank, SOPHIA THE 3RD, through the Plutonium Underworld or whatever the manual called it. He can just get with the green generation and hoof it. That, and warp in and out of existence at unexpected (but oddly beneficial) times.

    It turns out that the PAL version of Blaster Master (released three years after the game’s 1988 debut) introduced some timing bugs that allow skillful players to perform tricks like mid-air double jumps and going through doors that aren’t really there and other Rod Serling-type stuff. Programming bugs like these cropped up now and then on US or Japan-made games that were later ported to European NESes, where  — like with the Commodore 64 and Atari 2600 — the system ran at a different video-output speed (50hz versus 60hz). This meant that some games required extensive recoding to to work in foreign NESes, and it’s also the reason why European-exclusive games like Asterix and Mr. Gimmick suffer assorted dealbreaking bugs when you plug a real PAL cartridge into a real NTSC NES. (These timing differences are also why the music is pitched lower than you might remember it in this video.)

    The maker of this TAS has posted a long file explaining everything going on in the video.

    Something else I discovered as I was writing this: Area 4 is a lot easier in the US/Europe version than in the Japanese original. I remember gamers having enough trouble with the lock-and-key sequence that Nintendo Power did a whole bit on it, but Sunsoft actually made the solution a lot more obvious for America, didn’t they? Metafight’s take on that room makes it look like there’s a bug in the level data or something.

  • Rockman 2 MIN (2008)

    Posted on April 9th, 2010 keving 2 comments

    Rockman 2 MIN is probably the most extensive ROM hack of Mega Man II I’ve seen. You might as well just call it a total conversion at this point. The stages, music, graphics, enemy patterns, and a lot of your weapons have been changed.

    As for the difficulty? “I don’t intend it to be that difficult,” the author TAR writes, “but your choice of stage order might be vital. If you can beat the original, finishing this should be possible enough.” I don’t know about that. TAR really likes his spikes.

    You can take a tour of this mod through the TAS above (noting, of course, that the speedrun takes advantage of bugs that are no fault of TAR’s). See how much of the music you can guess — you should be able to spot at least a couple tunes from old Kirby and SaGa games.

  • Final Fantasy Legend II (Square, 1990)

    Posted on March 25th, 2010 keving No comments

    MAGI… The symbol of great power. The legacy of the ancient gods who made this world. Many fought for the mighty power. Some won and some failed. Now…another legend of bravery is about to begin…and end before the washing machine’s done running…

    SaGa 2 (aka Final Fantasy Legend 2) is a far more complex and involved than than its predecessor, which (as we all know) can be completed in just under two minutes. You’ve got to travel across multiple worlds, unlock the secret behind the mysterious MAGI, and figure out where your father went — that’s a lot to put on one man’s shoulders. We’re gonna need a lot more time for this. Like, half an hour.

    Most of this two-part video is the TASser working the game’s assorted random-number seeds (whose memory locations are monitored on the upper-right) in order to trigger the bugs he needs to skip vast tracts of the story. In part one above, the climax of all these arrangements takes place at 8:22, when the following situation takes place:

    – There is a total of 16 participants in a battle between your party and the enemy
    – An ally or enemy dies of poison damage
    – Your final action in a turn is something that doesn’t require a target (such as using a shield to defend yourself)

    This, for some reason, triggers a bug that causes the most significant bit of assorted inconvenient memory locations to be set to 0. This alters your party’s race, HP, stats, and inventory, and any empty slot in your item list is suddenly transformed into a Katana, which deals ridiculous damage if the wielder’s high in agility — which you are now, thanks to that bug. Consuming the bugged-out meat that the bugged-out battle gives you also transforms your hero into a BlackCat, a monster far, far more powerful than what you’re supposed to be able to access this early in the game.

    Part 2 chiefly depicts our hero switching between monsters depending on whether he needs to teleport around the world or set off some other bug. At 8:57, the TASser exploits a famous SaGa 2 bug that was fixed for FFL2 — the game erroneously treats “Counter” (an ability skill that some monsters have) as an item that can be unequipped. “Counter” just happens to sell for 272,823 GP in the shops, enabling your party to obtain all the weaponry they need for the final battle without much fuss.

    In 9:48 you can see the fairly famous trashcan bug in action, one that wasn’t fixed for FFL2 despite being pretty obvious. In Saga 2, double-clicking the trash can when you have 29 MAGI suddenly ups your MAGI total to 255, letting you skip about 85% of the game and open any dang door you like in the celestial world. Finally, at 11:29, we see the party rent a mount for the dragon races in Race Town, only to teleport right on out after the race starts, granting them a blazing bugged-out ride that can clip through walls.

    Straight to the final boss we go, and from there, onward to an ending filled with fabricated memories and people we swear we’ve never seen before in our lives. Whew.

  • Gauntlet (NES)

    Posted on October 5th, 2009 keving 3 comments

    Still too busy for my own good, but I thought I would share the video that made me really interested in TASsing in general.

    In a console library full of impossible games, Tengen’s NES port of Gauntlet always struck me as the impossible-est. It’s one of my favorite Tengen titles, yes — I love the way it heavily rewrites video memory in order to get tons and tons of enemies onscreen, which made things jerky but much faster than the flicker mess of Gauntlet II’s NES port. But it’s also incredibly difficult and I never even knew where to start with it.

    And yet it’s possible to beat it in 14 minutes, assuming you were a robot. It’s mesmerizing!

    Back to normal updates sooooon!

  • Richter Belmont and His Keyblade

    Posted on July 24th, 2009 keving 2 comments

    Nobody in the Belmont family ever learned how to walk straight, really.

    Fun Fact: Count Dracula’s voice in this game is also the voice of MacGyver in the Japanese dub.