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Zerstorung: 2013-08-22 08:55:17 am
Zerstorung: 2013-08-19 11:48:17 am
So as some of you may know, I've been casually working on this game when I'm not busy with shmups/arcade stuff. Now that I've got a proper recording setup for consoles, I'm looking to really push forward with it.

The current SDA run (33 minutes) is one of the older ones on this site, and is seriously outdated. I can consistently beat that time (my best so far is 28:xx) even with bad luck, as long as I don't die more than once. It needs to be improved.

However, while I could easily get a 28-29 minute run, I want to bring my run to a level of serious quality. One thing that makes this difficult is a general lack of resources. There is no TAS, nobody has really looked into the mechanics, and the SDA run is about as much routing that has been done.

Looking to change that, I created (in a couple hours) a quick, real time TAS, using only savestates and not being particularly picky about optimization. This run finishes in 26:xx and is viewable here:
(part 1)
(part 2)

Some random notes about the game mechanics that I've looked into:
Most weapons in the game do exactly 1 damage. Regular enemies generally have 2-4 health. All enemies in the game, with the only exception being the final boss, have an invincibility window during which they eat extra shots. This means that timing your firing so that each bullet hits the enemy at the precise moment their invincibility wears off is faster than mashing and praying. However, special weapons that contain piercing effects are easily the most efficient, as they remain onscreen for longer and can stay inside an enemy's hitbox while their invincibility wears off, providing perfect timing.

In regards to leveling up, it does three main things
*increases either your max health or your max ammo (Neither are filled, so it basically has no effect until you kill a boss or die)
*increases the size of your special weapons (the plasma laser becomes longer, the light arrow becomes larger)
*at around the 700 experience mark, Triton's damage from everything is increased from 1-2 (this is nowhere near worthwhile in a run)

The grenade weapon travels until it goes offscreen or collides with a non-enemy hitbox. If the latter occurs, a very annoying explosion animation occurs that provides very inefficient damage, can actually hurt the player, and prevents you from firing another grenade until it ends. Therefore it is almost required to shoot it in a way that allows it to travel offscreen, even if a small amount of time is lost positioning yourself. The exception is the wall of faces boss, where it allows you to damage all five parts simultaneously in the first phase, and the explosions can actually damage the core of the second phase while it is behind the wall (though it MAY possibly be faster to switch to plasma at that point, I need to test this).

You lose one pixel of movement every time you land from a jump, but there is significant knockback from enemies unless you are midair, so it is almost always better to jump into an enemy if you are going to tank a hit.

If anyone is interested in giving suggestions for routing, I'll be happy to answer more questions about the mechanics, but those points are the obvious ones I've considered.
Thread title:  
Oh boy I found a fun glitch that makes running this game really stupid. Towards the end of the game, there is a boss with five faces that you have to kill. This is one that I'm having a particularly difficult time optimizing. Your grenades do two damage per vulnerable frame, and occasionally one of their health values will roll over to 255 from a starting point of 80ish. I imagine it's not random, but it's not a raw underflow from taking two damage when they're at 1, which I tested. Thankfully there's not much other run-killing RNG besides the first two bosses and that.
After getting some technical issues out of the way with recording, I managed to finish a sub-28 run on my second attempt of the day. 27:57 from the time you gain control to the final hit on the last boss.

Part 1:
Part 2:

I got the near-worst possible RNG on the first boss (cost ~30 seconds), and I fell in the extremely frustrating Jungle level (another ~30 seconds). I did get good luck on the water boss though. Otherwise, the run went decently well, considering I was just aiming for below 28 minutes for now.

Should be pretty straightforward to hit sub-27, which is what I'd want before a submission is in order.
Edit history:
Zerstorung: 2013-08-22 08:55:35 am
Almost got the sub-27...A solid run with mediocre luck on the first and spaceship boss, but awesome luck on the forest planet and second boss. Unfortunately, I messed up pretty hard on the end...I did my menus in a strange order I don't normally do, and it caused my ammo to autofill during a rough Xardion Jungle section, costing me about 20-30 seconds on the final boss when I ran out of ammo.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Professional Second Banana
Nice progress!  I remember renting Xardion as a kid and doing 3 playthroughs (1 for each of the 3 initial mechs), since figuring out how to optimally split up the EXP between the 3 of them was too much for me at that age.

Looking forward to seeing the final run.
Well perhaps that was for the best, as the game is really not designed to be played using all three characters. The only time your health and ammo are ever refilled is when killing a boss (because there is no boss after the Triton Jungle segment, a death is required at the start of the tower stage to fill up for the crab boss). Additionally, only the character you actively kill the boss with receives the refill. If I were to take a bunch of damage with Triton and finish off the stage 2 boss as Alcedes, Triton would be at low health for the rest of the game unless I used a medkit.

Most of the subweapons are completely useless, as well. They all seem like they do really interesting things, like Panthera's charge attack, but then end up doing the same damage as a single bullet from your peashooter. Some don't do any damage at all, like a handful of Alcedes' subweapons.