Forums  /  Mercs (Genesis)  /  Original Mode
  petaQpetaQ

Noticed no submissions for Original, wondering have any of you ever tinkered with it or tried speedrunning it, and might have info about weapon attack values and such - it'd be easy enough to use ram watches and work it out myself but if you have anything already known about original mode it'd be a great help. Is there a preferred emulator for this?

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  petaQpetaQ
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I've already seen a pretty blistering unofficial speedrun at - but using rapid fire so not countable, lucky for his fingers. I will have to investigate why he disavows using Rifle for segments - it's certainly way quicker than my old mark on vhs. I asked Adelikat who made a TAS of Arcade mode but he lacked the info. Are there preferred emulators which are known as more accurate, or conversely, any to avoid using?

 
  petaQpetaQ

Lol no I mean why he doesn't use Laser at other points as well - it might be that Rifle's ultimate power is close enough that his extra speed works out more beneficially. I'll ask in the general forum in case anyone knows of specific issues that might affect this game re emulators. Once I got the hang of ram searches/watches in emuhawk I'll post all the info I glean here ^^

 
  petaQpetaQ

I made a good start on lots of health and speed values. I can post some values here or create a document with stuff in as you prefer. I remember I had a question though: is there a specific reason why rapid fire disabled is part of the rules? It strikes me as strange since it's part of the options menu by default ie not a cheat nor something that could only be achieved with a turbo button.

 
  petaQpetaQ
(edited: )

Okay! I submitted my first good run of the game having culled a lot of info on stuff. Horizontal or vertical movement are optimal, purely diagonal (45 degree) movement adds one null frame every 5. Water movement adds 2 null frames in 5 and is to be avoided. Turns out Laser doesn't really need beefing up with Power units - his base firepower is 11 damage every other frame, this can only be increased to 14 which only tends to make a difference if you use him on later bosses where you'd use M bombs anyways. Being hit by a bullet or grunt costs ~20 frames so it's always worth jinking to avoid this unless you deliberately want the invincibility, which is a more advanced part of route plans I am yet to look at. In time I'm going to map the game based on position of essential pickups, and medals related to that - basically the rule is, if medals are within the rectangle drawn from where you are, towards where an essential pickup or progress point is, it's ok to grab them so long as you don't sacrifice vertical speed. The only other consideration is that if you are going to move diagonally, it's best to do it all in one motion, rather than constant little jinks where no enemies are involved - the game pauses your diagonal movement on the 2nd frame of 5 so if you're constantly fiddling about, you'll lose more time than if you just go straight across and up. I'm sure there are areas in my run where I flout this rule but I'll make plenty of improvements as I go. If I multiply ntsc by 1.2 as a rough guide, compared to the run I posted from someone else earlier in the thread, I'm now faster than he was in levels 4/5, latter losses are mostly down to being rusty on bosses and losing too much health, which accounts for ending up a minute and a half down on him comparatively in level 8. So already my run has some points of being superior to anything done before, which I'm proud of. You can watch the run at

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  petaQpetaQ

Upgauges add 4 max health to any character, Rifle's max is 48 from a start of 32; Laser starts at 36. When hit by a bullet or grunt, you have 90 frames invincibility which includes the 20 you are frozen in place. The level 4 dinghy's speed is not great, will check (then edit this) whether it's actually better to just walk through the water if constantly vertical, but the jeep in level 5 is essential; its top speed is 12% quicker than the character. And to clarify from earlier, moving h/v in water gives 2/5 null frames, but moving diagonally gives 3 in 6, so do not do that xD

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  baldnatebaldnate

@petaQ: Your latest run's video link appears to be broken, though if I go to your YT channel I see it in the listings. Just FYI.

 
  petaQpetaQ

Hey nate, no it's just still uploading now cos I have the upload power of half a potato xD Should be finished imminently.

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  petaQpetaQ

Just had a run end cos of the tanks at the end of L7, very irritating because I was destroying it before that without farming for medals and much better technique on bosses. I was 13 seconds ahead of myself, so it seems sub 17:00 is eminently possible with more tuneups. Most of the improvement came solely from more efficient handling of the jeeps boss in 5, and the pipes boss in 6 - if you avoid crippling your health bar at these points and save enough M's for the battleship, there's no real need to save medals for 8, and in fact I may be able to cut a few out after more runs; saving a few more seconds. I seem to have immense trouble with the turrets at the end of L2, so it might work better to skip the M bomb and 5medal there since an M bomb on the boss there is utterly wasted.

 
  petaQpetaQ

Congrats on the new pb and 2nd place run in Arcade, Nate! Seeing the run and how arcade runs have been timed, I wanted to ask you, Polly, anyone who knows, as I'm the newcomer; is there a reason that you guys have your rule set as time ends when player control is lost, as opposed to when the final hit is delivered on the boss? I should clarify that I've been timing my Original runs with this final hit as the end point. To me it would make plenty of sense to use this rule across both modes, but since there are a multitude of runners with established times in Arcade I wanted to discuss first, and I would certainly be comfortable tweaking my time if that makes things more cohesive.

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  baldnatebaldnate

Thanks petaQ!

The arcade mode is using "SDA timing" (https://kb.speeddemosarchive.com/Rules#Timing). That said, I don't think it is too big a deal for the two categories to use different timing methods so long as they are called out clearly in the rules.

If we do want to unify the timing, then I'd favor the option that changes the least runs.

 
  petaQpetaQ
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I had a thought the other day that in the other games I mod/run, the points of 'final action completed' and 'loss of control' are simultaneous, even when I used to do SMW, so it's no wonder this never occurred to me before. Since you guys as a majority have an established rule set, I'm comfortable with unifying in that direction; I can still keep the original time marked on my YT vid but explain the rules applied here. 🙂 Any of you interested in taking up runs in Original? I can't guarantee I'll ever be able to do it in ntsc but I certainly want to try once I've wrung the game's neck, I practice individual levels in emulator on ntsc speed and it'd be nice to have some competish, my time currently looks like a 13:29 on the faster version. If any of you know of any other suitable run n gun style platform-shooter games I might enjoy, feel free to let me know ^^ Now that I'm good at the bosses I think I'm going to revert to buying an M bomb in the shop in 2, and possibly save one more on the boss in 3, which should make life a lot easier later on. I still need to look for a timebound use of Homing's 2 M's though, perhaps if I switch characters at the last minute for the icbm...

 
  petaQpetaQ
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Just to let you guys know, I've been told that Exodus emulator is a far more accurate beast than Fusion - if I notice any differences in timings of enemy cycles, play etc, I will share the info. I am currently looking for a good emulator which displays frame counts, as progress in my runs has stalled down to tenths of seconds being important.

I'm currently doing the grind work of mapping the distance in frames, to all relevant medals/M bombs/other pickups in the game, as well as time saves possible on M use with various boss strats. I have already found a super quick kill on the jeeps in 5, which features in a run I will possibly submit later on (which is only 1 second faster overall). Beyond this, such specific route planning will also make it possible to draw up a table of the best medals to go for if you are targeting safety with health in mind later on. It looks as though (for my skill/weaknesses) about 8-9 M's is a good number; some are better used to give invincibility and some are better used to pummel bosses.

I have also found, insanely, that NOT killing any bikes or cars on the autoscrolling bit before the Level 5 boss, saves 150 frames. I am astonished at this!

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  baldnatebaldnate

I use BizHawk. I think it would work well for your purposes.

 
  petaQpetaQ
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Someone on reddit explained to me how you select Europe region for Emuhawk, so thankfully I can use that from now on if there are no objections ^.^

I compiled the list of distance to M's/medals/pickups last night. My work proved that using an M on the boss in 2 is utterly useless, and I found a gas mask just hidden out of sight in L6 that barely costs any time to grab, in the horizontal section - you'll see it in my next run. It costs roughly 50 frames to stay in the shop to buy one item. You can if you're quick spend only 70 frames for two purchases. Grabbing all the items at the end of L4 seems to cost about 60 frames, probably just getting the M then going straight up is workable. Most useful of all, the two M's on the islands at the start of L6, are the cheapest by far outside of shops, to grab those takes about 45 frames, and if you kill the three backpackers later on, that M costs just 50 as well. I found a way more precise way to kill the jeeps in 5 by standing lower down when using the Ms. You can't hurt the off-screen ones until they appear, but killing one of them as a priority means your bullets will hurt both the others together.

EDIT: I also found a super quick way to use 2 M's rather than one, on the first part of the L7 battleship, which when done right can save 4-5 seconds. Diagonally strafing an attack can be costly if you miss many bullets, but it's possible to kill the central part in just two cycles if you're quick which means I'm not even using any more M's than I was.

Beyond that, it's useless to bother with using one on static breakable barriers, the obstruction tank, or the blast doors in L8, but it is way superior to use an M to get past a single dynamite crate rather than switching characters, which saves around 100 frames, in cases where you haven't enough health to survive the blow. It's useless to do this on the 3 horizontal facing dynamites part way through level 3 though, since you have to wiggle to spawn the third and barely save anything.

As for the level 3 boss, while it sounds obvious, the quick kill relies simply on not getting hit - if you buy the extra power brick in L3 shop, it is just possible to kill the boss with one M before he reverses back up the screen, having come down. But buying things in 3 means collecting extra medals earlier (as seen in my earlier runs), which costs about 70 frames. I think the two methods are virtually equal so long as you double buy in either shop, and the extra power icon really helps for that boss.

I've also found a 70 frames quicker kill on the boat boss in L4, by using its entrance animation to move right up close before switching character. This helps twofold; since you confuse the missiles into missing, and your beams leave the screen quicker while still dealing full damage.

 
  petaQpetaQ
(edited: )

I did something really nifty and used Exodus to view the sprites in-game for a full run. The aim was to get a handle on a couple of pickup's sprites. What was really interesting is that the character sprite is much wider when moving non-vertically, even diagonally is bad. But this does explain why a brief diagonal strafe into then out of pickups is often better. Here's the vid:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCN51zG-3po

Nate et al, you may wish to do runs of your own with this software on Arcade Mode, it might prove revealing for some blind spots or other little tidbits!

Meanwhile I appear to have conquered my problems with the turrets in L2, and often L8, which means I might have saved another M for use elsewhere. I feel like I should break 16:30 within a month or so!

 
  petaQpetaQ

Quite by chance yesterday I managed to walk under the dynamite on the vertical bridge in Level 3! If you take the rightmost position and fire at the last minute, you get under the crate just before the dynamite falls down to earth again. This is pretty amazing and gives me extra options even if I get pummelled in health!

Even better, I chanced upon a position fighting the harrier jet in Level 1, that causes it to not fire on its first cycle. The implication is that I may be able to save one M's use here, and better use it for invincibility later in the game, though I still have to check how much this saves.

This got me thinking: I want to avoid a power brick in level 3, be it from using the shop later, or avoiding the one tight right of the jeep. What if I measured the distance to grab the Power / M bomb crates after the second shop?! Just these two little wafer thin crates cost 140 frames!! So simply cutting those out and using M's properly on the boss in 3 saves a lot of time, and if I want one more M at the end, I can twin it with the health boost in the 8 shop.

 
  fletchrfletchr

@petaQ Was there any reason you chose PAL for your Original runs? After grinding so much for the Arcade record I'm now so used to NTSC! I'm definitely willing to change to PAL if that's where the challenge is though.

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  petaQpetaQ

@fletchr what a lovely thing to offer! I grew up with the game on PAL being from the UK too, and saw Gregg Almond's NTSC 14:11.4 thinking I might never get near it because I always struggled with the bosses and it struck me if I was going to do the run justice, I should play at the slower setting while I work everything out and optimise. I'm a grinder like you, and I stopped at 16:31 because I ran the risk of losing runs simply from mis-menuing in the shops, and it would take large volume of plays to get good boat luck in 4. I intended to try NTSC in time, wanting to avoid the scenario where someone makes an inferior quality run in NTSC, submits it, and splits the leaderboard, but it's wonderful to have a competitor so soon. I don't know if I'll ever be skilled enough to equal that run in NTSC but I'd at the least be open to making an attempt, even if that means tracking them separately. Please do add me on Discord, and I can share all the info I have. 😃