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TJKinkead
02-05-2021 at 07:12 PM
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Spy Hunter Arcade Glitches & Scoring...

Spy Hunter Arcade Glitches & Scoring...

I have been doing some research into Spy Hunter (arcade version) after I posted my last score. I have discovered, after frequenting several message boards, that there is a glitch that modifies the game's difficulty (making it easier to play), effectively eliminating Dr. Torpedo and The Enforcer from the game. To toggle this glitch, one has to enter a weapon's van AFTER being instructed to exit the road due to a closed bridge. After exiting the weapon's van, one needs only to drive their car up to the broken bridge, wait for the Enforcer to driver up parallel to their car, and then drive across the broken bridge. From that point onward, no more Enforcers or Dr. Torpedo boats will appear (making the game much easier.) This glitch, when driving on water boards, has a huge impact on scoring because there is no threat of a Dr. Torpedo zooming up behind you and killing you with a torpedo. Although I think using such a glitch is unethical, it would be useful for increasing score rates and making the game easier to survive.

I have also been experimenting with increasing my scoring average, as my recent score submission of 1.239 million points over 111 minutes only averaged out to 11,200 points per minute; another game I have recorded of 775,365 lasted 67 minutes and has an average score per minute of 11,512 points per minute. My first submitted score of 1,151,310 scored over the course of 125 minutes only yielded a score per minute average of 9,210 points per minute, although I admittedly drove much slower.

In order to reach the world record scoring level, depending on which version of the game's length one goes with (either 11.5 hours/690 minutes OR 12 hours/720 minutes), the record holder either averaged 13,786 points per minute (11.5 hour game) OR 13,212 points per minute (12 hour game). Either way, that is either a +2,600 point per minute (11.5 hour game) scoring differential or a +2,000 point per minute scoring differential (12 hour game). That is the equivalent of either killing an extra 17 switchblades or bullet proof bullies per minute (11.5 hour game) or 13 per minute (12 hour game) at that scoring rate. That is a tall task and I have been playing, recording, and watching the recordings looking for insights.

So, here are my questions...

1) Does anyone know of any other glitches besides the weapons van glitch that make the game easier or cause scores to multiply? How about glitches that give unlimited oil, missiles, or smoke? Extra cars or invulnerability?

2) The water boards allow for the accumulation of more points (25 per increment instead of 15 per increment on the road.) High gear, high speed is just too dangerous unless the glitch above is used due to sudden torpedo boat attacks.) Also, one cannot refill depleted oil slick, missiles, or smoke on the water, so unless the glitch is in effect, water becomes more dangerous once your resources run out and points will not accumulate at the needed faster rate in low gear to avoid torpedo attacks. Does anyone have any other insights about how high speeds in the water can be maintained if the glitch mentioned above is not used?

3) What other suggestions do Spy Hunter players have to raise my overall average score? Please feel free to play and post your own experiences here. I have increased my speeds, but even flat out speed in high gear, picking off enemies as you driver up on them, does not yield the point averages needed (12k per minute going full speed and picking off cars in the way.) Massive deployment of oil slick and missiles can driver averages up in 15 to 30 second increments (13.500 to 14K until you drive into another weapons van, but then you average falls again.) Water with oil slick and missiles yields the highest averages (highest so far has been 4,170 over 15 seconds...which projects to 16680 per minute, but I ran out of oil and slick quickly and the averages dropped dramatically.) Any insights would be welcomed.

4) Would a record with the previously weapon's van glitch be accepted by Twin Galaxies? Since it modifies the difficulty of the game and makes it easier, it probably shouldn't BUT it is not specifically mentioned.

If I maintain my current scoring rate of 11,200 points per minutes, it would take me over 14 hours with just 7 cars to challenge the world record. Any input and or links would be welcome...thanks!


PS- I have numerous videos of the glitch in question and have experimented with it over the last week. I have no way to post them because they are mp4 files (this board requires a URL.) Feel free to look at my submitted games (either 1.239 mil or 1,151 mil) to see my car's pace.

Comments
  1. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    As far as I am aware, there was quite an extensive period of time where records were "Verified by ref", and some, most, or the entirety of that time frame, the refs were prohibited from disclosing tactics. Im afraid that glitch you mentioned may have been construed as a "tactic", and we will never know if it was, or if that glitch was used, because disclosure was not only not required, it was prohibited. Some of the tenured members can chime in if my interpretation of events is not accurate.

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  2. JJT_Defender's Avatar

    I created 2 new Spy Hunter stand up tracks this one a player is allowed to use the bug/glitch & a complete video game recording & uploaded to Twin Galaxies.

    The 2nd Spy Hunter stand up is the same for exception that player has have complete video game recording and upload to Twin Galaxies

    TRACK RULES

    Spy Hunter stand up
    Twin Galaxies Rules
    1. Players are allowed to use the bug/ glitch: Specifically, it is possible to get the game into a state where the difficulty no longer increases and you no longer see torpedo boats or enforcers.

    1a. The bug can be triggered by "jumping" a broken bridge by getting out of a weapons van and riding on the right over the broken bridge when an enforcer is on the bridge or nearby.

    2. A complete video game recording is required and uploaded to Twin Galaxies

    Switch No.1 @ 30,000 PointsExtra Base Awarded Every 30,000 Points Up To A Maximum Of 3
    Note: The above Dip Switches, are not only the FACTORY DEFAULT settings, but are also the correct Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings for this title.

    ADDITIONAL INFO

    To see how high score can get using bug/glitchSpecifically, it is possible to get the game into a state where the difficulty no longer increases and you no longer see torpedo boats or enforcers.1a. The bug can be triggered by "jumping" a broken bridge by getting out of a weapons van and riding on the right over the broken bridge when an enforcer is on the bridge or nearby.1




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    Updated 02-05-2021 at 08:52 PM by JJT_Defender
  3. TJKinkead's Avatar

    Thanks for the reply...I think I see what you are saying. Although, that would be an ethical gray area because a tactic would be a technique that one uses to aid in a task. I.E. British troops forming into squares during a French cavalry charge to avoid being trampled (horses wouldn't run into what they perceived as solid structures.) The weapons van glitch effectively turns off game features (keeps the horses in the stables and off the battlefield.) Has anyone ever posted the old scoring criteria or what was allowed back in the day? I wonder if there is a Twin Galaxies referee's manual floating around out there?


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  4. JJT_Defender's Avatar

    If you want to submit just go leaderboard and put in the search Spy Hunter stand up there you will see 2 tracks

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  5. The Evener's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by TJKinkead

    Thanks for the reply...I think I see what you are saying. Although, that would be an ethical gray area because a tactic would be a technique that one uses to aid in a task. I.E. British troops forming into squares during a French cavalry charge to avoid being trampled (horses wouldn't run into what they perceived as solid structures.) The weapons van glitch effectively turns off game features (keeps the horses in the stables and off the battlefield.) Has anyone ever posted the old scoring criteria or what was allowed back in the day? I wonder if there is a Twin Galaxies referee's manual floating around out there?

    Thanks for posting this wall thread - it's great to hear your discoveries and techniques for the game as you look to maximize your point potential

    Here's a copy of the 1986 Video Game Masters Tournament (VGMT) manual used by participating arcades to set up their games, and what to look out for. Since Dean's WR was achieved during the VGMT, the specific rules for Spy Hunter will be of interest:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20140123195127/http://mysite.verizon.net:80/hattg/pics/videogame/1986_VGM_TOGM.pdf

    The rules for Spy Hunter are laid out on page 44.


    "Tricks:
    Many flaws hamper Spy Hunter. Most of them will 'lock-up' the game and just give the player points. Another method involves keeping the player's boat, during the river sequence, just behind the tugboat which appears to bring out new boards. Nothing will appear from behind and the tugboat blocks out everything in front. In either case, void the game immediately."


    http://www.videoparadise-sanjose.com/tg-rules.htm

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  6. JJT_Defender's Avatar

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  7. 80sArcadeKid's Avatar

    Really impressed with your experiments and deep dive into the game you love.

    I don’t think there will be very many Spy Hunter players who can give you tips more than you already know.

    Unfortunately we will never really know if the glitches mentioned were used in the 9 million point game without seeing video evidence which doesn’t exist. The only way to try prove it is possible without cheating is to hit that 13k pace you calculated for a long period, like 5-6 hours maybe and a 4.5 million game. (Half the score in half the time)

    If not possible playing fairly but it is possible with the glitch cheat, it would demonstrate that the old world record was ‘most likely’ done with the glitch cheats. Unfortunately disputing any old scores seems to be dismissed on circumstantial evidence.

    If this evidence transpires I could imagine how annoying and frustrating it would be to hold a valid 2nd place to an old invalid 1st place that is likely never to be removed without a dispute and compelling circumstantial evidence.

    Personally I’d love to see old scores without video evidence (VHS,DVD,INP) moved to some kind of ‘who knows if they are really valid’ database and leave only evidence based scores in the current database. That way they can keep their scores and bragging rights in some form and if they really want to prove they are the best they can re-submit new performances.

    Imagine if TG didn’t have the original VHS copy of Billy Mitchell’s MAME Donkey Kong debacle, you’d never expunge the deception of the past. Unfortunately that’s what we have in a least one track I’m going to be disputing as soon as I have the credibility score.

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  8. Blackflag82's Avatar

    @TJKinkead - thanks for doing all of this work, and sharing your findings here. This is really useful to the community as a whole! Re: your videos, you could post them to youtube and link them here. That might be the easiest way to attach them.

    Has anyone reached out to Paul and asked him directly if he knew about or used this glitch?

    If this glitch was used, it definitely strikes me as something that, at the time, could have been viewed as a tactic more than a glitch. I think it would fall into the category of the Robotron record which was performed based on the rules of that competition, but don't pass the smell test today.

    You may have stated this previously and I missed it, but have you manually lowered the settings of your machine to the easiest settings, and seen what the score rate looks likes with that?

  9. TJKinkead's Avatar

    Yes, I experimented this week with difficulty settings. The machine ranges from 1 (lowest) up to 9 (hardest). Since the factory default is 3, the lowest difficulty of 1 wasn't really that noticeable...less enemies and civilians on the road to start. Points accrue at the same rate. I also think the game levels up through the difficulty levels on its own because after 100k or so, the game seemed to back to normal. Playing at the higher levels increased the numbers of cars on the road....Level 9 seemed to have a substantial number of cars at the very beginning, and going in high gear became difficult. I also noticed that motorcycles clustered in pairs that made passing them difficult. Points from driving accrued at the same rate. You can't drive as fast at level 9....too much on the road.


    I watched a video about Spy . If the strategy, as is repeatedly stated in the video, is to go medium speed and to not overuse your oil slick or weapons (all from the video), then I just don't see a way to set scoring averages of either 3,700 or 3,200 over that length of game. 10-11k per minute range is what I would see, and it would be even lower on segments with curves, ice, etc. Water board in low gear is pretty easy and you could maintain scores close to 13k per minute UNTIL your oil slick runs out. Going just slightly in high gear on water stages sets Dr. Torpedo off and firing torpedoes. If this video summarizes the philosophy that achieved the world record, I think the record's scoring rate needs to be analyzed more. Without high speeds and increased kills, score averages of that magnitude cannot be maintained for that long. Even when using the weapon's van glitch, high speeds on water (which is still difficult without Dr. Torpedo due to mines and narrowing channels) is still dangerous. That video clearly states that high speeds and killing sprees were not part of that performance. What have I missed?

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  10. TJKinkead's Avatar

    Does anyone know or have contact with the game's creator....Mr. George Gomez? I was reading that he works for Stern Pinball. Besides creating Spy Hunter, he also made TRON (an aesthetically beautiful game), and numerous pinball titles. If he was a member or anyone has had correspondence with him, he would be treasure trove of game design information.

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  11. Blackflag82's Avatar

    Admittedly, I haven't dug through all the old posts about this. But it seems a lot of the uncertainty stems from the scoring rate and the reported length of his game. Are there multiple sources that report the total length of the game, or just one that everyone repeated?

    I seem to remember seeing a post where Paul stated he wasn't sure how long the game took, but went off what the arcade operator said (though I might be confusing this statement with a different game/player). I ask, because it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that the total length of the game was incorrectly reported or calculated and that has just been repeated over and over based on the incorrect initial length of time. I ask largely because, if we removed the scoring rate, it simply becomes a question of whether 9 million can be reached versus trying to reach a score within potentially incorrect parameters.

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  12. TJKinkead's Avatar

    JJT_Defender...I just looked at the 1986 scoring form...I did not know about the tug boat glitch. Thank you for that primary source proof. If you go as slow as the tug, you could play indefinitely, but scoring rate would be horribly suppressed because those things go slow. With no enemies, I'd estimate scoring rate would drop to 5-7k a minute. Perhaps I'll try that one later....thanks!

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  13. TJKinkead's Avatar

    Evener...thank you too....you posted the original link. Great stuff!

    Quote Originally Posted by TJKinkead

    JJT_Defender...I just looked at the 1986 scoring form...I did not know about the tug boat glitch. Thank you for that primary source proof. If you go as slow as the tug, you could play indefinitely, but scoring rate would be horribly suppressed because those things go slow. With no enemies, I'd estimate scoring rate would drop to 5-7k a minute. Perhaps I'll try that one later....thanks!

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  14. TJKinkead's Avatar

    Blackflag....thanks for the post. I think the score rate is actually the most important thing in this entire conversation. It is like the pace a runner sets for himself. Even thinking about challenging such a daunting record starts with score pace. The pace cannot really kick in until after the civilians are off the road at around 100k, but I look at it and calculate it during weapons van stops.

    As far as the record performance and timing, I think there was at least one witness who must have been keeping track of time. There should be no ambiguity on the length of game...it was for a world record. Furthermore, I think it was done at a commercial arcade, so that is a business. Businesses are only opened for a set amount of hours...8-4, 9-5; arcades in the 1980s would have had later hours...10 AM to 10 PM? 12 noon to 10 PM. The game was part of a promotional tournament, so it probably had expanded hours too. Whatever the case, the end and start time, with witnesses and in a public business, should be no problem to measure.

    All of this is important because if I am going to devote my time to try to challenge such a record, I need to know the details involved to ascertain whether it is feasible or not. If I played at my rate, it would take me over 14 hours. I also think as the game gets to its highest difficulty...perhaps by 800k has been suggested, the tendency is to slow down the driving a bit to deal with the enemies. More oil slick, smoke screen, and missiles but more trips into the weapons van too...averages that shoot up due to increased kills dip back down once the ammo runs out. Those averages are huge and I am just curious. I had no idea about the tugboat glitch...I am sure there are other glitches too. And perhaps there are driving tactics too...I am just trying to get more information on what needs to be changed in my own game. I don't know if I can ever score like that, and I sincerely doubt I could withstand a three hour game on the stand-up version.

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  15. Blackflag82's Avatar

    I don't disagree that exploring the scoring rate fully so you know where things stand and what you will need to do is necessary and beneficial. It absolutely is. I'm simply saying trying to determine Paul's scoring rate based on the total time played would all be inaccurate if the reported play time was incorrect.

    I think you're assumptions about the length of the game and some of the governing aspects are correct in theory and in an ideal world, but in practice, prove to be far from the norm (both historically and presently).

    This was a game based on score, not time. At the time in question a < 15 hour game was not that big of a deal for the length of time (There had been no shortage of games surpassing 24 hours). While those of us in the know understand that a 12 hour game on Spy Hunter would have been incredible, the general public couldn't make that distinction. This is important, because it's unlikely exact time would have been kept for a high score run in the mid-80's.

    Many arcades were open for longer than 12 hour stints during this time...especially on weekends, holidays, or for special events. There were no shortage of 24 hours arcades at the time.

    It is unlikely that a single person stayed there and watch the entire performance. More likely a person (or persons) checked in periodically. Again, the length of time would have been something likely asked by media after the fact and someone could have responded..."Oh, it was about 11 hours," even if it had actually been 14 hours (This gets back to the who stated the length of time question). It also could have simply been reported wrong. It wouldn't be the first time a reporter couldn't read their own writing about a stat and put the wrong stat into the paper as a result. There are thousands of examples of this across sports history...

    Events like this are often run by a small handful of folks pulled in dozens of different directions. Those folks would have been happy for the press of a WR on the game, but that doesn't mean their record keeping about the event would have been good. Anyone who has been to a mid-sized event can account for that.

    Ultimately, if the scoring rate that is supposedly needed can't be approached after all avenues are exhausted, it seems more likely that the length of the game is incorrectly reported. Again, this doesn't affect you needing to understand the scoring limits and your own rates. Just stating that given everything we know directly from Paul about his play style and the fact that he didn't know how long his game lasted, but relied on someone else to say as much, it sounds increasingly to me like the stated length of the game is wrong.


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  16. The Evener's Avatar

    As far as I can tell, the results of this tournament weren't reported in a local newspaper at the time, although I haven't given up - not all newspaper archives are available on-line. Ultimately, we have the times that Paul and other witnesses cited, which I understand is variously described as 11.5 to 12 hours. I understand Blackflag's point about the length of time and pace, if it was reported that the WR game required 14 hours of play, then I think the current pacing discussion would be taking a different direction? But we do have a stated time (roughly) so the pacing remains an interesting question for me - can it be increased in a meaningful and sustained way based on what we know of the WR run?

    In my search, though, I may have uncovered someone else who is the Spy Hunter world record holder. :) There was mention is the Sydney Morning Herald (25 July 1985) of someone holding down a score of 9,947,580, eking out Paul's score of 9,512,590. But yes, we don't know anything about the conditions that the game was played under, use of glitches, etc, but I thought it was a fun find nonetheless.

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  17. Blackflag82's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by The Evener
    But we do have a stated time (roughly) so the pacing remains an interesting question for me - can it be increased in a meaningful and sustained way based on what we know of the WR run?

    I just wonder where that stated time came from.

    During my master's thesis on a library organization, I found a discrepancy in some dates (the year a national committee was founded, had no reference in the governing body's annual minutes). There were 60 years of articles from "experts" referencing said dates. When I traced them back to their source, it turned out, one woman, who was part of the founding group, misspoke about the year in an address she gave a couple years later. Everyone based their writings on this incorrect date.

    Is this a similar situation where one person stated a time and everyone else repeated it as gospel? idk. I agree the question of how well the scoring rate can be pushed up is a good one to pursue, but I'm skeptical about the origin of the length of the run at this point. I'm also having a hard time even uncovering the origin of the length of game beyond some CAG forums (written decades after the event), so if anyone has a link to that, could you post it?

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  18. 80sArcadeKid's Avatar

    Simple solution, hard implementation I’m sure.

    Move any old scores without evidence into a grandfather category under the same tracks.

    Purge the uncertainty of that past, move forward with the certainty of now.

    People will take the grandfather scores with scepticism unless they can be resubmitted with evidence.

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  19. bensweeneyonbass's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by 80sArcadeKid

    Simple solution, hard implementation I’m sure.

    Move any old scores without evidence into a grandfather category under the same tracks.

    Purge the uncertainty of that past, move forward with the certainty of now.

    People will take the grandfather scores with scepticism unless they can be resubmitted with evidence.


    This accomplishes nothing that isn't already accomplished by listing the verification method for each score. All it would do is change who is Number One on the leader board. People with discretion are already considering legacy scores and TGSAP scores as being in different classes.

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    Updated 02-06-2021 at 04:01 PM by bensweeneyonbass
  20. TJKinkead's Avatar

    As far as where the 11.5 hour record game time came from, it came from this article that was working a week ago. It isn't loading now...I don't know why it doesn't now.

    http://spyhunter007.com/retro_gamer_...spy_hunter.html

    This quote came from it....it was from my 1.151 million submission board...

    Paul put in many hours of concentrated
    effort before he became a spymaster. A regular player since the4 game's launch in
    1983, his practice regime became two hours a day, Monday to Friday, in the months
    leading up to the Guinness Tournament in 1985 where he'd achieve his record score.
    He developed a range of tactics - a 'see-saw' pattern of slowing down and speeding up
    to avoid the double-barreled gun of the Lethal Enforcer, one-shot kills of enemy cars
    to minimize debris on the road, a non-aggression policy on curvy or icy roads, and
    judicious use of oil on water to take out the malicious Dr Torpedo during the boat
    sections, to name a few - until the game became as servile as Miss Moneypenny.

    "It's a game of risk management. You have to be careful with only six lives in total,
    but it does plateau around 800,000 and once I'd perfected the strategies, there was
    nothing it could throw at me I couldn't handle."

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