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Hard mode run as Raphael

Verifier Responses

Start frame: 2291
End frame: 75 432
Time: 20:20

I have some great memories from this game so I'm really happy that Mike decided to go back and improve his current SDA run. I've watched him and sinister1 play the game a ton so it's been great! Whatever Mike says, I'm pretty sure that sinister1 brought the game to people's attention again when he started streaming, so thanks to him too Smiley

A/V: Good, except I hear only the right audio channel.

Not having speedran the game I won't be too detailed, because that would require me to know all the spawns etc.

Overall there are not many mistakes, and if there are any they are all small. Nice luck with the slam throws, and the Stone Warriors are all killed quickly without any troubles. Favorite stages: First half of Technodrome looks fantastic, as does stage 7. Incredible times! The beginning of the elevator in Technodrome could have been better, but the Shredder fight is almost as great as a fresh turtle soup (just almost), counting only 3-4 seconds of mistakes in this difficult boss fight. Stage 5 has some bad luck apparently, but what can you do when you suddenly are teleported back in time and dinosaurs appear from every direction. And hey, the new Slash strategy looks just as good everytime I see it. Starbase... this is such a long and difficult stage, so fitting that it is the last one then. It looks good though, and the Krang battle was great with some good luck. I have to wonder why you don't jump more with the spinning power-up attack though; you missed two Foot Soldiers in this stage because it wore off just before you hit them and had to waste some seconds killing them "manually". By jumping you can extend the duration of the spinning attack, and you can time it so that it will wear off just when you land and hit the last remaining enemy. Just a minor complaint, because if you time the jump decently it's a safe method to use every time, so I'm a bit curious to why you're not using it. Super Shredder was good, I saw how nervous you were at this time so playing it safe was a good choice Smiley

Accept. Now I'm looking forward to a Donatello run Wink Perhaps someone else will join you in this battle as well... *hint sinister1* Smiley

No complaints on video, but I was only getting audio on the right channel.  Boo on that.

The run itself was pretty great.  The new boss strats were really really impressive, to the point that I actually missed the Rat King fight twice.  Aside from some silly bad luck in Prehistoric Turtlesaurus and some general missed hits all every once in a while, I can't see any reason not to accept this run.

Flip, Flip Flop, Flipfloppanotamus,

TMNT 4TW.  <- See what I did there?

Run technical quality is sub-par, but passable.

Where the hell is Don?!  You're wearing him on your shirt cause he's the best!  All the gangs want to recruit him cause he's pretty good with a bo staff.  I want to see him in a run Mikey.

Big Apple, 3am - Execution is pretty insane.
Alleycat Blues - Crazy good.  Loving this.
Sewer Surfin' - Auto scroll FTL.
Technodrome Let's Kick Shell! - Greatness.  The Tokka and Rahzar fight is pleasure for your eyes.
Prehistoric Turtlesaurus - This can be a rough level, but is handled gracefully.  That Slash fight is something that I will never tire of.
Skull and Crossbones - At this point the run is looking like a well choreographed movie.  Even that disk to the face didn't waste any time.
Bury My Shell at Wounded Knee - One of the best level names EVAR.  That is all.
Neon Night-Riders - See sewer surfin'.
Starbase - On that last spin power up, you can jump just before it ends to nail the last foor soldier, would save a second.  Meh.  Very close call on that laser.  This level seems to have the most hiccups, but they are so minor, you probably missed them.  Stellar Krang fight.
Technodrome II - Pit Fatality.

Overall, this entire run is polished and looks incredible.  The only way it could be significantly faster would be to play it on easy.  Mike's been doing that lately, so...


Not finding the time to review this until now, most everything about the run has been covered already but here's my 2 cents:

I too have only right channel audio, but that doesn't affect anything so moving on after making a note of it.

A pleasure to see one of my favorite games get manhandled like this. Execution on the whole was excellent with few mistakes, especially the boss fights which were just amazing. Sadly there was no one-legged jumping from stepping (surfing) on any floating spikes in level 3 but you can't both have the cake and eat it in my case. I feel the need to highlight the boss fights again because every single one of them was just... wow.

A booming ACCEPT in my opinion.

Quote from sinister1:
A/V Quality: Excellent, somuch better than the run on site which looks to be from a VHS tape. You youngins can go ahead and look up what this is if you need to *shakes cane*
Cheating: Yes, I consider using Raph to be cheating, but other than that no.
TLDR; Amazing run. Beats very good old run by over 2 mins. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Now for the long version:

Normally I don't do this but in this case there is really no need for anonymity and I think it will be blatantly obvious, so hi this is sinister1.

Let me start by saying that this run is insanely good. The runner did not have to push it to this level and choose to work very hard at optimizing and implementing new strats along with putting in over 500 attempts to have a relatively mistake free run. The only real errors are a few positioning errors, some very small judgment calls that had to be made in less than 1 second, and dealing with nerves at the end of the run which any speedrunner knows can be an ordeal. Having beat the run currently on the site by 40 seconds myself I can really appreciate how amazing this run is. The original goal IIRC was to beat the  original SDA run by 1 minute. Hell even I pretty much did that. This  runner had to take this to the next infinity. The run on site is from over six years ago. Pretty amazing for a run to stand that long and the reason it did is because it was damn good. On to the run!

Big Apple 3am: So Krang steals the statue of liberty in broad daylight  and the turtles wait until f*#$ing 3am to do anything about this???  Are you kidding me? New strats are good and fast. Everything goes well  but a few gaffes at the 2nd to last screen where time is usually lost  to RNG or runner error. There is some question as to how enemies react and whether it is random, based on your position or a combination of both (the most likely option). There is a more reliable way to do the section just before Krang which involves killing the purple foot soldier with a dash special and heading back for a 90 - 95% triple kill slam throw. I will just say that I like the runners overall aggressive approach to strats especially early in the run and trying to save bits of time with less consistent strats. The enemy behavior in the area just before the final pizza is the Maybe 3 seconds could be saved in this level  if it went perfectly. New boss strat ensures Baxstard jumps to his death asap.
Decision making: A-
Execution: A
RNG/luck: B

Alley Cat Blues: Uhhh wow, pretty much the perfect level. Amazing execution all around and the runner now has a pretty big lead over the original run. My guess about why this is 2 seconds slower than his pb  in this stage is that he hit the split early in the pb (or late in the previous stage).
Decision making: A+
Execution: A+
RNG/luck: A

Sewer Surfin:
Runner got hit and had to collect a pizza which costs a  few frames...REJECT! Lost some frames on the boss fight too, man this guy is terrible Tongue
Decision making: F (stop reading the chat)
Execution: C (see what happens when you read the chat)
RNG/luck: N/A

This is where things start to get interesting in a run.  The men are seperated from the boys in terms of beat 'em up IQ here in the first few screens. You have to make very quick decisions with  grouping and slam throwing that can make or break the stage. Good thing this runner has genius level beat 'em up IQ, it is on full display here. Elevator is a bit shaky in the beginning but a nice quad kill on the blue sai guys makes up for some of that. Shredder fight is  quite nice, with only one missed throw and good spawns. The screen scrolling is really wonky here and sometimes it can cause missed throws which is what I believe happened here.
Decision making: A+
Execution: B+ (dat elevator)
RNG/luck: A+

Prehistoric Turtlesaurus:
Things go very well up until the bomb misses  the 2nd shield guy which causes a cascading effect of time loss into  the dinosaur section. This stage also has the first instances of me  disagreeing with a choice made by the runner. The last set of blue axe dudes should have been grouped by going after the middle one and slam  throwing him. I can understand in the moment especially after losing a bunch of time how that choice might be missed. Overall I think the runner recovered well from the errors made in this stage and did not  let it affect him too much. It is easy to let things spiral out of  control in this game.
Decision making: A+
Execution: A+
RNG/luck: A

Skull and Crossbones: 1st screen, enemy AI is standard, those blue sword guys love to just stand there and do nothing when you are slam throwing. Every now and then you can get both of them, not this time sadly. Enemy AI did not co-operate or positioning was off for slam throw that prevented the screen scroll enemy skipping in section before cannonballs. Tough to tell, I personally think that the runner could have done slightly better grouping (by going a bit lower) and got 'em all. Same deal on the final screen with the yellow foot soldiers. I had seen the runner consistently group those guys and would like to know if positioning could fix this. You can get a general idea of where to position which usually you tend to have to do in this game due to pace and detailed graphics, but you can use the planks as a visual reference to get exact positioning (which is done in stone worrier and boss fights). 
Decision making: A
Execution: A
RNG/luck: B+

The best song in the game: In most submitted speedruns you will get at least one level that is a PB. For this run, this is the level....and it is amazing. I was glad to see my strats for the pizza section were useful here. There is still some question as to what the fastest possible strats are, but the ones used are very consistent and fast. There might be slighltly riskier stuff but the time savings would be marginal imo and I think this is the way to go on this stage. This is the kind of stage that you hate if you are trying to beat a run because you lose time in it pretty much every attempt.
Decision making: A+
Execution: A+
RNG/luck: A

Neon Night-Riders: Yawwwwwn. Mode 7 is cool, nice music, blah blah. The hardest thing about this stage is that it gives you plenty of time to think about Starbase and psych yourself out. New Krang strats are about the only exciting part of this stage and they are executed properly to ensure a few seconds are gained over the current run.
Decision making: A
Execution: A
RNG/luck: A

Starbase: "It all comes down to Starbase" - runner (pretty much every attempt that reaches Starbase).
This stage is a nightmare. Any screen can turn into a disaster and the enemy AI is all over the damn place. To top it all off you have a boss that can completely screw you over no matter how well you have played to this point. Krang luck is a bitch and usually it is not good. If there is ever a time and place to get lucky, it is in Starbase. Having watched this run multiple times I can confidently say that the runner got insanely lucky. So many things went wrong but somehow every time the fire got put out, the disaster was averted. Now I understand just as much as any speedrunner how nerves can come into play at the end of run, especially when you know you're AHEAD. I personally find playing from behind pace much easier because you have nothing to lose and can be as aggressive as you want with little fear of losing the run. 
Decision making: B+
Execution: B
RNG/luck: A

Super Shredder:
I am gonna talk a lot more about this in the next section. Basically the runner chose to play it safe and executed well. He also got good luck with the teleport locations which is key because he ended up losing the least amount of time compared to the faster strat.
Decision making: Huh? (community can grade this one)
Execution: A
RNG/Luck: A

Points of contention and speedrunning theory issues:
The runner and I have spoke about this and agree. It is much easier to be an "armchair quarterback" with this game. That is to say it is easy to watch someone else playing and be able to make all the right decisions. The reason for this is because this game is really fast paced for a beat-em up and you have incredibly little time to make decisions that can have big impact. When you are in the heat of battle you cannot afford to be analytical you just have to react instinctually. This is something that practice alone cannot correct. The best way to go about it is a combination of practice and either rewatching your own runs and breaking them down or watching another really good player (not as much of an option for this runner/game). The few things that came up during attempts of this game for me are:

1) Resetting: When to reset. Is it a matter of personal preference? Or is a bit more quantifiable than that? Some one that is better than me at math could probably come up with some kind of reset formula based on factors like pacing, attempt limit, and time available limit. Of course this cannot factor in emotional aspects of resetting, or resetting for aesthetics. This is one thing the runner and I disagree on. There were times in which a death occurred which did not lose time (or lost neglible time relative to the pace runner was on) but the runner reset anyway. It is an unusual situation because in almost any game a death will cost time, but in this particular game there are spots where you cannot scroll the screen and you respawn quickly enought that a death may not cost time. Or a death may only cost as much time as another small mistake that runner would not reset over. It came up a few times during the 500 or so attempts that the runner made and I would like to hear what the community this. I will probably start a thread about speedrunning metagame issues like this so we don't have to discuss it in the verification thread.

2) Playing it safe: Based on the runners goals playing it safe was likely the correct decision because he was shooting for a sub 20:30 deathless run at the time and safe strats would ensure that barring a major choke. Now one could argue that objectively speaking you should always use the fastest strat in order to achieve the lowest time possible a.k.a the goal of speedrunning. This could also be related to the resetting dilema though. The more aggressively you reset early in a run affords you more manueverability later in a run. If the runner had looser standards early on then playing it safe does not become an option in this run. Personally I don't like playing it safe in serious speedrun attempts (marathon and races are completely different stories). In this particular instance do not disagree with it, I just don't like it. This is another area where I would like to hear feedback from the community.

Final thoughts:
Congratulations to the runner. Hard work paid off big time with this fantastic specimen of a run. It is amazing to see the degree of execution that the runner elevated to while running this game. Such great recovery and improvisation skills when things did not go as planned were a treat to watch.  I will miss seeing streams of this game, thankfully the runner has been playing another great game that I thought I would not see again after he completed his run. This run, like any, is improvable. Even the runner will tell you that. But it is so highly optimized that improvements would be very hard to come by. It all comes down to Starbase after all. Maybe by 2018 we will get a sub 20 minute run, and more importantly the return of Spliterface/Uyamaface Tongue

Final overall grade from professor sinister1: 95 of 100 = A

Verdict: (Easy) Accept

p.s. unfortunately you all won't be able to see this but the avatar RNG Gods were smiling down on this verification post....I got Raph Smiley

Decision: Accept

Congratulations to Mike Uyama!
Thread title:  
Not a walrus
Mere formality.
What UA said.  Splinterface approves.
Professional Second Banana
Sayonora Krangluck!
SDA Apprentice -- (3-1)
He's still got it.
Fucking Weeaboo
Now do it with Don.

Don > Raph.
Edit history:
PJ: 2012-08-27 10:34:29 pm
That's the worst use of the > sign I've ever seen.

Edit:  Also, you misspelled Leo.
Fucking Weeaboo
Brooms make the best attack weapon. Ever.

(See TMNT 2003's game with the bonus content.)