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River City Ransom (ntscus) (nes) [Any %] [Single Segment]

Decision: Accept

Congratulations to 'yelsraek'!
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Run Information

River City Ransom (ntscus) (nes) [Any %] [Single Segment]

Verification Files

Please refer to the Verification Guidelines before posting.

Please post your opinions about the run and be certain to conclude your post with a verdict (Accept/Reject). If you wish to remain anonymous, you can also send a pm with your reply to 'sdaverification' (please state clearly in that case which run you have verified). This is not a contest where the majority wins - Each verification will be judged on its content.
Formerly known as Skullboy
Is this the same difficulty as the currently published run?
Yes (Novice)
A/V Quality: Looks great to me.  (Only watched the high quality version.)
Cheating: No way under the sun.  The runner streamed live 20 days worth of attempts before this time was finally achieved with incremental improvements along the way.
Run Quality: This run in every way improves what is already published.  The route is better (with the intentional deathwarp saving time over grinding for early stone hands), the movement is better (landing the 1-frame jump trick in the gymnasium), and the combat is faster (less hits taken and time wasted on troublesome AI behavior).  There is barely anything to even criticize here, maybe the gym could have gone slightly faster but this run demonstrates all of the tricks (yay for factory yump!)

Conclusion: A big fat accept.  This run deserves to be here.

Runner, please knock it out of the park with some baller audio commentary on Track 2.
Edit history:
burningsteel: 2017-10-06 05:08:16 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-06 05:07:28 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-06 05:07:04 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:29:31 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:26:47 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:25:03 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:16:57 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:13:47 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:13:12 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:11:21 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:10:40 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:08:10 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:04:33 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:03:49 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-05 05:03:39 pm
Soulless Killing Machine
A/V - no problem
Cheating - none detected
Run Quality - Very good but with errors.  Large improvement over existing run on this site.  Uses deaths to go back to a previous area.  Uses weapons to hit through walls.  Uses some large jump to avoid having to go through another door around 4:25.
- Mistakes -
1) Around 0:25 he gets hit.
2) Around 2:45 he fails to get a jump.
3) Around 3:30 he whiffs a hit.
4) Around 4:25 he strikes nothing, input error?
5) Around 5:05 he picks up a guy then throws him, i would think this would take longer to kill.  This seems to be the only time he does this in the run.  Input error?
6) Also around 5:05, some enemies run on screen, Wouldn't it be faster to be on the right side and strike them as they run on? 
7) Around 5:35 the enemy blocks and thus takes longer to kill.
8) Around 6:05 this fight is fairly sloppy. Could be cleaned up.  Whiffs quite a few times trying to get guys.
9) 6:50 No Hopak stage dancing allowed on top of fences j/k.

While this could be improved, it is a very good improvement over the existing run.  I would definitely like to see a a more "perfect" run though.  There is about 10-15 seconds on improvements possible here for a 7 minute game. 

An honest question to the runner, how much harder would it be to clean up some of these mistakes?

Edit history:
yelsraek: 2017-10-06 09:50:18 am
yelsraek: 2017-10-06 09:46:43 am
Thank you for the thorough feedback!  Allow me to provide context for the documented mistakes and inquiries.

1) There's so much RNG and tight execution involved in the warehouse (starting at 1:22) that I often don't reset after taking a single hit along the way.  There's a lot of variability in warehouse spawns (which is the first major reset point), and I got really lucky and got an almost perfect spawn this time.

2) Guilty.  My positioning needed to be a pixel to the left.  There isn't much room to stand on that box before Ryan just jumps off the left side of it, though, so it's pretty precise, which is why I occasionally miss that jump.

3) Guilty.  The whiff here is a double-whiff, as I missed the dash input that was intended to go along with that chain swing.  One whiff begets another, I suppose, although the timing here was pretty tight.  Home Boys start punching non-stop if they get into melee range, so I wanted to swing the chain ASAP.

4) This whiff was defensive.  The Squids are initially over-aggressive until they get one attack in, then they back off.  They also like weapons.  So I'm standing on top of the weapons on the ground and hoping he runs right at them, but since I don't know *when* he'll get there, I'm just swinging repeatedly until he runs in.  As a chain swing is slower than a punch, I essentially need to already be swinging before he shows up.

5) This is the fastest recovery from the timing error that occurred directly before the throw.  I only landed two out of three punches on that gang member.  Three would have killed him, but since my timing was off, I only hit him twice so he fell down but didn't die.  At this point, it'll take him two seconds to stand up, so I opt to throw him and kill him instead.  I also whiff on the coin pickup, which is the trigger for the 4th gang member spawn.  This room was frustrating after the fact, because I *want* unarmed Internationals with a tire on the screen.  That's the optimal spawn.  But I don't want them to actually *get* to the tire, which kinda sucked and threw off the rhythm of the kills.  The last two coin pickups were smooth, at least.  I'm glad I didn't hesitate there, despite the coins being on different z-axis points.

6) Running to the right to strike them as they appear is too much of a risk to take.  I don't know where on the z-axis they are going to spawn, so it would be a blind guess.  Plus, The Internationals have a high weapon priority, so I know they're going to ignore me and just run flat out for that tire.  If I run right and miss, then I have to backtrack all the way to the tire to kill them (since they are, at worst, as fast as I am so I can't catch them until they slow down), which is a much more substantial time loss than what I incurred in this attempt.

7) Overall, enemy blocks were minimal in this run, which is great luck (and makes the occasional block stand out, lol).  Since enemy spawns are random on every screen, I have no control over which gang will spawn (they all behave slightly differently) or which gang members within that gang will spawn (some members have better overall stats than others).  Couple that with the fact that this late in the game, every gang member is all but guaranteed to be faster than I am, and some dicey sequences can result.  If you watch this part again, you'll see that he blocks first, then *I* block, then I hit him.  There's no separate input for blocking; if I try to punch or kick at the moment I'm being attacked, I block instead.  So my timing in this sequence ended up being good enough to save the run.  This gang member was so fast that despite my aggressiveness, he attacked before I could get a second punch in.  I was lucky to get that block, as that jump kick would have knocked me down and killed the run.  I'm also lucky that he didn't continue to block my attacks (which can happen) and instead succumbed to my second attack.

8) Part of this is nerves.  I wear a heart rate monitor when I stream attempts.  My resting heart rate at the beginning of the run was 75, whereas it was 126 when I entered this screen.  I knew I was on pace for sub-6:40, so I was nervous as heck and my heart was pounding.  My aggressive attacking style is dual-purpose.  If I'm swinging, then I'm also potentially blocking if an aggressive gang member appears suddenly.  So I will chalk up my bad punch *timing* to nerves, but these guys are super fast, so the extra punches I'm throwing are equal parts an attempt to defend as well as attack, since I can't predict if this gang in particular will go for the weapon or directly for me.  One bad hit and the run is over.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I've lost a fair few runs in that room by hesitating, by standing still just for a moment, and getting clocked in the face by a sprinting gang member as a result.

9) That's my happy dance!  I did it at the end of my AGDQ 2017 run, too.  It got some laughs.  :-)

Honest question:  The short answer:  incredibly hard.

The slightly longer answer:  I spent 6 weeks grinding from a 6:45 down to this 6:38.  I did 1,858 attempts in that time.  Of those, only 4 of them got to the Twins fight on pace for sub-6:40.  The RNG involved with gang spawns and gang member spawns killed over 90% of my attempts.  In each room that you are required to kill gang members to spawn a boss, I would approximate that there's less than a 25% chance of getting a palatable spawn pattern for quick clears, and substantially less than that to get an optimal spawn.  Gang members can backpedal away from you.  They can be all the way on the other side of the screen, which usually leads to the 3rd and 4th gang spawns to occur behind you and force you to backtrack.  Some gangs are extra defensive.  Some gangs don't drop enough money (in the early sections where you money pickups are tightly scripted).  To my knowledge, there is no method to manipulate gang spawns to always get the ones you want.  I agree that 10-15 seconds *could* be trimmed off of this run if the RNG was absolutely perfect.  My sum of best will attest to that (I was +16 to SoB on this run).  My honest opinion is that it would take months of grinding on this route, or would necessitate the discovery of a faster route to improve.  This is as good as I could do.  I can't express how proud I am of this run, inclusive of the 8 noted mistakes.  :-)
Edit history:
burningsteel: 2017-10-06 05:14:05 pm
burningsteel: 2017-10-06 05:11:15 pm
Soulless Killing Machine
Ok I am satisfied with yelsreak's detailed answer above.  Did not realize how much an RNG nightmare this game is.  Also....shit man 1858 attempts?! Accept!

You should include some of that in some notes for the game page when published.
Question for the administrators:  if the run is accepted, will I be permitted to submit enhanced notes and a commentary track after the fact?  I'm not sure I will have time to do it before 10/17.
Dragon Power Supreme
There is no problem doing so. It's been done a few times in the past as well.
I decided to read up a bit on the speedrun history of this game. Luckily, there is quite a bit of it documented here in the forum. From the 10+ min speedrun that used the lamb leg, its improvement that comboed the twins (and other time savers), some more iterations and then finally this run.

I knew that this run would be a treat and I wasn't disappointed. The new strats in the warehouse look absolutely awesome. It's no secret that the RNG-factor in this game is very heavy, so it's impressive that the execution was able to be maintained on such a solid level throughout. The occasional time-costing mitigations looked very reasonable. Overall, fantastic job on this one and congrats to the runner for a great achievement!

Obvious accept!
Formerly known as Skullboy
A/V is fine. No cheating detected.

Definite improvement over the current run. While the runner opts for getting Stone Hands later than the currently published run, the overall execution in all areas negates the two slightly longer boss fights (they feel longer). I haven't played the game so I won't make any comments outside of what I've seen watching this and the currently published run.

I accept this run for publication. Good job runner. I look forward to the commentary.
Decision posted.
Worn_Traveler, you are correct that those boss fights are longer.  The deathwarp saves a bigger chunk of time over running back and farming for cash than is lost fighting enemies and bosses with the chain instead of Stone Hands, which makes up for it.  The fact that it only "feels longer" and isn't transparently longer gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  :-)

Hopefully, I can knock out a commentary track in November when I've got enough time to give it the proper care it deserves.

Thank you all for taking the time to verify my run!  I'm so excited about the Accept!
Bump.  I demand track 2 audio commentary.