Forums  /  Speedrunning  /  Games with slowdown management

Hey 🙂 I've come across a lot of slowdown in Lemmings Master System recently. When I say a lot, I mean that up to 15-20 minutes worth of slowdown might occur in a full run.

I would love to hear about any other games out there which have comparable slowdown management to deal with, based on sprite limitations or other things that are humanly handled. I hope to get a good overview of the upper limits of popular games' management or extent of this issue since it's patently part of speedrunning, but with this much slowdown possible in my game I'm cautious about whether continue with full-segment RTAs as opposed to considering a switch to individual levels.


I am running it on emu but that doesn't stop the slowdown 🙂


Generally speaking, if there's slow down on console that isn't in the emulator you're using, you're using a horribly inaccurate emulator. =P

TenkaTenka and DrakodanDrakodan like this. 

^ This, slowdown is not something to be avoided by utilising an emulator. If slowdown occurs on original hardware, it's the emulator's job to accurately reproduce that slowdown, or else it provides an unfair advantage and should not be used for competition.

As for ways to avoid the slowdown naturally occurring on console, from what little I know of Lemmings it will likely be determined by how many objects are onscreen. Once you have 100 lemmings on the map, the game is likely to run much slower than normal. My first guess on a way to counteract this would be to scroll the camera so that there's as little onscreen as possible, but I'm not an expert on the game so I can't say for certain.

CoolHandMikeCoolHandMike likes this. 

When you say recently does that mean you have been doing the same stuff as before, but now its laggy? Or you have been maybe putting more objects on screen and causing it to lag more than previously? Lag is present in most games to some extent but 15-20 minutes worth of lag sounds really excessive.

One game that seems to have lots of lag reduction as a main speedrun tactic is Pokemon Snap. Makes for a terrible viewing experience though since 90% of the time they are looking at the sky or the ground.

Probably the worst lag I have ever seen was in Ninja Gaiden II the original. The staircase battle was insanely laggy. I am talking like 1 frame every couple seconds at some points. The sakura tree like area had awful lag too earlier in the game too. To counter act the lag in those parts I basically avoided fighting in those areas and skipped as much as possible. Most of NGII ran mostly fine though.


The two most common ways I’ve seen games reduce lag is to do what others have mentioned and alter the camera so there’s less stuff on the screen (look at the sky, the ground, scroll the camera to get sprites offscreen, etc) or to defeat enemies if there’s a lot of them. Sometimes wasting a few seconds to kill a few enemies makes up for having a large screen where there’s a ton of them and then you end up losing more time overall to some slowdown.

I don’t know much about lemmings, but I do agree that 15-20 minutes of slowdown seems way excessive. I’d check other runs of the game to see if other runners experience it to. If they do, then you’re probably screwed, but if they don’t, then it might be caused by something on your end (like a weak computer or a bad ROM or something else technical).


Using an emu to reduce lag? Sounds like a feature rather than poor emulation. PetaQ isn't living in the dark ages like the rest of us haha xD


I don't know if it's the way I speak or something else, but many of you have the wrong end of the stick! I just want to learn about/research other games where there is slowdown because of the limitations of the hardware, as has been mentioned with Ninja Gaiden 2 which I'll check out 🙂

I owned the game on console as a kid, the slowdown is inherent to it and I haven't attempted to avoid it by emulation. Timmi, you really don't think much of me if you think I would post without doing my research first, do you xD SMS Lemmings has only 20 lemmings max per level, slowdown seems to start at around 14, and drako is correct that massive amounts of screen scrolling are the only real cure in many instances. Other systems' versions are radically different because they're on way more powerful hardware for starters, but Genesis TASes also have some instances of lag reduction involved.

When I said recently I mean that having started to optimise my level times I noticed just how pronounced the problem was; I just hadn't twigged it was that bad before. Really not sure why a few of you picked up on discussing the game's slowdown cos all I asked is for examples of the same in other games to get a better idea of when people use IGT v RTA, since at the moment the game is going to be a mess with these categories tracked wholly separately, and it might well be off-putting to future runners. I feel like Frank Grimes now xD


Eh, I think folks got off topic because someone made a bizarre comment about emulation. =P

Both Castlevania III and Kirby's Adventure have occasional slow downs you can avoid, and the entire Megaman 1-6 series has some pretty notorious sections where you can minimize it if you're interested in other NES examples. Heck, PRG0 Castlevania (the five screw one I own) can literally crash with too many sprites on the screen during the Death fight, but that's more due to a bug really.

There's tons of other's though. Starfox for the SNES is a near perfect example of this too.


Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts.

God, that first level... there's like 2/3 spots where the game speed plummets to 50%.

NihilistComedyHourNihilistComedyHour and KrayzarKrayzar like this. 

Pretty sure The Sims games do this. Especially when the notice box pops up in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.


As a coda to this thread I thought I'd post about a new tool that might be highly useful to anyone who speedruns SMS and GG games.

I have no idea how many of you out there get graphical slowdowns, but now you can watch an ecg-style trace of lag in real time through Emulicious. I made a vid about it here:

If you're interested in it, let me know since I could probably make a few graphical tweaks with Calindro (the Emulicious creator) for clarity.

NihilistComedyHourNihilistComedyHour likes this.