Developed in 1992 by Wolf Team, Earnest Evans answers the burning question of what would Indian Jones be like if Indy's bones were made out of rubber. Earnest Evans flails his way from a ancient buried ruin in Maine to exotic locals all across the world.
Best time: 0:08:53 by Mike Uyama on 2012-08-05.
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My introduction to this game is thanks to MURPHAGATOR. It was March 2012 and I was in the middle of my donation stream to get to SGDQ and Murph donated for this little gem. I knew about the game and had played a tiny bit before my donation stream, but I didn't know how incredible the game was until I played it for my donation stream.
From the first moment I played the game, I was in love with it. The bizarre yet smooth animation, the awkward crouch and roll mechanics, and the helpless flailing of the whip. The game looks awful, but it's actually a lot of fun and a solid action-platformer, if nonsensical. As I like to say, "Earnest Evans is a sheep in wolf's clothing."
Anyway, zoom forward to right after SGDQ 2012. About 10 of us decide to go to Fun Unlimited in Logan, Utah. Fun Unlimited is an awesome used games store that's arranged like a 16-year old's bed room. Lo and Behold, what do I see at Fun Unlimited? This game! I played the game during SGDQ bonus stream and it was an instant hit, being dubbed, "Qwopplevania."
After a couple of months of grinding this game I came to this 8:53 run. There were definitely fun times and some great bloopers.
Don't worry, it's not all over. I do have plans to improve this run someday, just not right now.
MURPHAGATOR - For introducing me to this fine piece of gaming.
Sbagok - For being my research assistant. He discovered great time savers such as skipping the tree in the Jungle and finding an easy 4th boss quick kill method. Maybe the 4000th try will give you success. I'm pretty sure he's helped me find at least 20 seconds of time savers over the TAS. Too bad the TAS is still way faster than us. :(
My stream chat - For being just as entertained watching this game as I was playing this game, and for combining and giving me the power of W o L F T e a M.
Bass Boost - For giving me a copy of El Viento after I got a sub-9 minute run in this game. I do plan on running that game some day. Gotta give all the love I can to Wolf Team!
Bugtarou - Best programmer in the business.
I only have one guy to say unthanks to:
QWOP - For stealing all of the glory from Earnest Evans. >=(
-This game is very very laggy. Anything and everything will make this game lag. Also, some of the lag is completely random (see stage 2 vines) and you can gain or lose one or two seconds from random lag.
-This game is also very random. There are a ton of random elements in this game, including but not limited to the stage 1 boss, stage 2 vines, the bouncing enemies in stage 3, and THE FISH! Sometimes good execution can be wiped out by bad luck. See my stage 8 if you want to see an example of bad luck making me lose time.
You can definitely get a lucky run, but you will never get a run with perfect luck, which is why you can't let one section with bad luck stop a run.
-You start with 5 continues and that's all you get. If there's a choice between dying and getting through a stage on a pixel of health, then choosing the pixel is almost always better because the game always makes sure you have two bars of health at the beginning of the next stage.
-Getting hit by any threatening-looking projectile such as a scorpion's stinger, a bullet, or fireball will do one or two pixels of damage. On the other hand, sitting in any enemy's sprite does about two pixels of damage...
-You will die when speedrunning this game. Dodging enemies and their projectiles takes too much time 9 out of 10 times.
-Your whip damages enemies for every frame it's inside their hitbox. You not only want to swing a lot with the whip, but you also want to make sure each swing counts when fighting a boss.
-The controls are quite responsive, with the exception of one quirk. Whenever you're crouching, you have to stand perfectly still and then hit up to stand up. If you're moving just a little, you won't stand up.
Stage by stage breakdown
One note: The time from my splits is 8:55 instead of the actual 8:53 because I started runs when I pressed start on the title screen (which adds 41 frames), and ending the final boss split at the exact moment is extremely difficult because timing ends the moment the boss dies, and the final boss has no health bar.
Stage 1: Is this Mexico or Maine?
Best time: 37.48
Time this run: 41.92
Time difference: 4.44 seconds
This is the very upper limit of what I would allow for stage 1. I told myself I would allow any time that is 42 seconds or below, and this is barely below 42 seconds.
My execution was quite good during this stage. What cost me a lot of time was the boss, who went into spots that were hard to reach with my whip. The boulder boost definitely helped out my time though.
The death boost at the boss door lets me skip the key, which is something the TAS doesn't do. Sbagok and I discovered this death boost simultaneously.
If you're wondering how I got the 37.48 time, I got a super lucky boulder boost during the escape. The moment I dropped down to the lowest level, a boulder boosted me all the way to the exit. It goes without saying that you can't reliably get that boost. You can, however, get boosts like this.
It is possible to get around 35 seconds with perfect execution, boss luck, and a lucky boulder boost. The odds of all three of those happening is less than 1% though.
Stage 2: Lag-based time variance is hilarious.
Best time: 59.75
Time this run: 1:00.34
Time difference: .59 seconds
Total time: 1:42.26
The main reason why this stage was so fast was super good vine luck in the beginning. The vines went into places that caused hardly any lag. Normally the first five seconds of this stage are one or two seconds slower because of vine lag. And yes, that's right, I said first five seconds.
I collect the Indiana Jones hat because it doubles Evans's attack power. Observant watchers might notice that the TAS doesn't collect the hat, but I've never been able to kill the boss as quickly as the TAS does without the hat.
Unfortunately, I clinged to the wall while falling off the bridge which cost me about a second.
My second boss fight was quite good. Whether you have a good fight or not is all dependent on your positioning, and my positioning was spot on.
Oh yeah, interesting note. It's faster to wall hump the walls on the left, but it's slower on the right walls???
Stage 3: The scorpion's sting is not deadly, but sitting in the scorpion is FATAL.
Best time: 1:03.70
Time this run: 1:08.52
Time difference: 4.82 seconds
Total time: 2:50.78
This stage is super annoying to run because you're constantly forced to crouch.
Yes, you want to collect the stones because they're much stronger than your whip. I don't have the Indiana Jones hat anymore because each weapon is exclusive to the stage it appears in.
One thing to point out is that I didn't die in this stage, which is actually pretty rare. Usually I die in this stage because the bouncing enemies are almost always in my way.
Despite the difference between my best time and my time this run, my run through this stage was actually pretty good. The only real mistake that occured was being forced to crouch before the rotating spike platform, which can be avoided.
The boss played good D and put his arms up before I even had a chance to hit him. This bit of bad luck cost me around 2 seconds.
Stage 4: The greatest physics boost in any game ever.
Best time: 1:03.76
Time this run: 1:04.70
Time difference: .94 seconds
Total time: 3:55.48
My run through this stage was very very good. I died once, but I chose the perfect spot to die and boost myself forward, which might have actually saved time.
Right after I died I hit the whip boost quite well. So well, that I actually hit my head on the ceiling which killed my momentum. I guess this is the one mistake I made during this stage.
The boss quick kill is mostly positioning and timing. It's actually very easy to pull off because neither the positioning nor timing is tight.
Oh, I almost forgot. MOMENTUM BOOST!
Stage 5: The most technical shortcut.
Best time: 0:31.01
Time this run: 0:31.37
Time difference: .36 seconds
Total time: 4:26.85
Man what a tough shortcut. You didn't see it? Well you have to hold left. :P AKA the shortcut you learn after you play the game more than once. :D
Your time in this stage is almost solely determined by how nicely the coal monster cooperates. As you can see in my split, the coal monster was very cooperative.
You might think the lag slowed me down, but the lag is actually sort of a good thing. The lag is caused by hitting the coal monster so much that the hit explosions cause lag.
Stage 6: 1920's Guile
Best time: 0:40.07
Time this run: 0:42.32
Time difference: 2.25 seconds
Total time: 5:09.17
I'm not 100% sure how the boost off the car works, but it's consistent and saves a lot of time.
This stage was actually pretty slow. I got caught on a couple of objects on the way to the boss. I also jumped and whipped three times fighting the boss, which cost me half a second over jumping and whipping twice. I'm not sure if those two things cost me 2.25 seconds, so I'll just say the rest of the time lost is random lag, which is actually a reasonable excuse in this game. :P
Stage 7: Worms Armageddon
Best time: 0:29.75
Time this run: 0:31.12
Time difference: 1.37 seconds
Total time: 5:40.29
To have a good time in this stage, you either have to not die, or if you die, then you have to make sure you boost in the correct direction when you die. Fortunately, I had a good run of this stage while not dying.
At the very end I take a little bit of time to kill the worm and slug because I would have died otherwise. I'm pretty sure going through the slug without killing it takes at least a full life bar.
I'm not sure how my best run through this stage was 1.37 seconds faster. Maybe I took a death boost at just the right time or I magically had less lag.
Stage 8: INFINITE ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
Best time: 0:21.96
Time this run: 0:26.49
Time difference: 4.53 seconds
Total time: 6:06.78
My time in this stage was terrible solely due to luck. In fact, I deal with my terrible luck quite well and minimize the time lost. The problem is that the boss was constantly running away from me so I had to constantly jump towards him so I could hit him.
My best times have involved the boss starting very close to me and just sitting in place. Yes, where the boss starts is random because he moves offscreen AFAIK.
I think I lose 10 frames infinite rolling after I kill the boss, but I gain 100 frames of awesome which means it is very much worth it.
Stage 9: Welcome to the Jungle.
Best time: 0:44.77
Time this run: 0:49.43
Time difference: 4.66 seconds
Total time: 6:56.21
The two biggest factors that determine your time in this stage are the boost in the very beginning and the worm fight.
I grab the vine in the beginning of the stage to set myself up for the boost that catapults me over the tree. As you can see, I didn't get the boost, so I have to opt for rolling through the tree, which is about 3 or 4 seconds slower than the boost.
On the other hand, my worm fight was quite good. I hit the worm constantly, and I died in a spot that didn't cost me much time. If you're wondering why I'm facing away from the worm while I'm hitting him, it's because you swing the club backwards before you swing it forward, and it lingers behind you longer than it does in the front.
If you're wondering, yes, you have to kill the worm, or else the plant boss at the end does not appear.
The plant fight was perfect, no complaints there.
Stage 10: Reading this line about the stage will take longer than the stage itself.
Best time: 0:07.64
Time this run: 0:08.42
Time difference: .78 seconds
Total time: 7:04.63
I should explain this stage, which will take at least 20 times longer for you to read than watching the stage.
A lot of stages in Earnest Evans wrap around either vertically or horizontally. For example, the Jungle stage wraps around horizontally.
To beat this stage, you're supposed to hit the bottom of the stage, but it turns out the exit trigger wraps around to the top of the stage. So all you have to do is jump a bit to the left.
If you're wondering how I lost time compared to my best split here, in my best split I simply held left, mashed jump and got very lucky. The method used in this run is a little slower, but much more reliable (I hit it at least 90% of the time).
BTW, if you're curious, Sbagok did try to go over the left wall in the Jungle stage and trigger the boss early, but there's an invisble wall blocking the way, and you have to kill the worm to trigger the boss anyway.
Stage 11: uhhhhhhhhhhh.
Best time: 30.73
Time this run: 30.73
Time difference: None! This is a personal best.
Total time: 7:35.36
This is the biggest luck factor in the game, and I super lucked out here. If you're wondering how badly I lucked out, on average my time on this boss is seven seconds slower. I've only beat this boss faster once, and that was on emulator.
To kill this boss, you first have to destroy all of the orbs surrounding the boss, and then you can kill the boss.
Normally this boss runs away from you as you try to chase him, which really sucks because the boss moves faster than you. If the boss decides to turn towards you while you're running after him, you can suffer massive amounts of collision damage. This time the boss mostly cooperated and didn't move around much. I know I said it already, but I need to stress it again, this boss fight was incredibly lucky!
I would have liked to kill this boss without dying a second time, but I didn't lose any time from that death because the boss was already exploding. My aggression paid off big time.
Stage 12: Believe in the power of W o L F T e a M.
Best time: 1:18.01
Time this run: 01:19.79
Time difference: 1.78 seconds
Total time: 8:55.15 (not really, but whatever)
Yep, the final stage is a boss rush. I was actually in a bad spot health-wise because I was on my last credit. Dying twice on the fish didn't help. :(
Despite my situation I went all out because I desperately wanted a sub-9 minute time.
The first form of the final boss went quite well. The only thing I could have improved was running to the right earlier to avoid lag.
The second form was perfect. You can maybe save half a second to a second taking more damage on the second form, but it's not worth the damage taken, especially since I was on my last credit.
The third form went quite well. My fight might look slow, but you're really at the mercy at what the boss does, and he mostly played nice with me. He didn't do any sudden dives at me, and the one time I jumped up to deliver more damage, it paid off. This fight definitely wasn't perfect, but the third form is so random (and I'm not just talking about theme here :P) that it's impossible to have a perfect fight.
I'm pretty sure the only reason why my personal best time was faster was better luck on the third form.
The W o L F T e a M was kind to me when I did this run. I had some super lucky fights (I'm looking at you coal monster and fish), and some great stages (stages 2 and 4), but I also had some terrible luck (third boss and stairs boss) and not so hot stages (stage 6 and 9). This run can definitely be beaten. My best splits add up to sub-8:30, which I don't think I'll get, but I do think that a sub-8:50 or even 8:45 is possible. The biggest factor stopping me from improving this run is how lucky my fish battle was this run. I stand to lose about 6-7 seconds on average in a attempt. However, I've had runs where I've been 10+ seconds ahead when I'm fighting the fish.
I do plan on running El Viento, so the pack of wolves hasn't died yet. ;)
'til next time, keep that boulder rollin' Earnest.
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