Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #1005: Kaz's SNES Soul Blazer in 1:46:55.73

Console: Super NES
Game name: Soul Blazer
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Soul Blazer (U).smc
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 1:46:55.73
FrameCount: 384944
Re-record count: 12724
Author's real name: P.H.G.
Author's nickname: Kaz
Submitter: Kaz
Submitted at: 2006-03-09 11:21:40
Text last edited at: 2006-05-01 17:26:05
Text last edited by: DeHackEd
Download: Download (19662 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

About the game

Soul Blazer is an action RPG made by Enix. It's actually the game that came before the well-known Illusion of Gaia/Time. The player controls the follower of the Master in his quest to free all creatures of each region of the world. Each region starts in the Master's shrine, then the follower walks out into an empty town he must repopulate by freeing creatures from monster lairs.

Swords can be used to poke or swing. The swing does more damage but roots you in place. It can also deal damage twice if the sword is still overlapping the monster after the invulnerability period of 8 frames is over. The poke allows you to remain mobile and makes you crabwalk, i.e. always face the same way no matter what direction you're walking. This is useful for positioning and orienting fireball magic shots. Remaining immobile while in crabwalk mode will pull gems directly in front of you by telekinesis. Swords also have level requirements but that's only to be swinged. They can still be used to poke regardless of the player's level. Swinging is never actually necessary except against the final boss's second form. Special swords are required to kill metal and spirit monsters.

All magic except phoenix is cast by the ball of light rotating around the follower. For much of this run, it is stronger than the sword and can be cast from far away. However it requires gems to be used. Gems are dropped by practically all enemies. Metal monsters, spirit monsters and bosses are immune to magic, except the final boss who is vulnerable to phoenix.

Items only need to be equipped, they are not "used". Medical herbs and strange bottles are automatically used when the player's HP drops to 0. Medical herbs completely refill HP, strange bottles prevent gems from being lost because you died. Both items are consumed when used.

Dying warps you back to the Master's shrine and makes you lose all gems unless a strange bottle is equipped. There are no other consequences.

There are 3 kinds of monster lairs:

  • 'One-by-ones', these lairs will not spawn a new monster until the previous one is killed.
  • 'Multi-spawns', these lairs will spawn new monsters after a certain interval of time.
  • 'Already there', all monsters are already spawned upon entering the area.

When all monsters tied to a lair are destroyed, it explodes and turns green. The follower must step on the green lairs to seal them. Sealing a lair can have one of 2 effects:

  • Free a creature and possibly change the geography of the town (make a house appear, etc.)
  • Change the current area's geography. Make a passage appear, drain a lake, create a shortcut, etc.

About the run

The run was made entirely in frame advance.

All damage taken is on purpose, either because it saves time or I'm planning on dying later.

Dying is almost always the fastest way to go back to town, so it is used frequently. Losing gems is a shame since magic is so useful but it's still faster to die and lose all gems except in 2 places where a strange bottle was used.

Only the necessary creatures to beat the game are freed. The creatures freed in this run are necessary because I need to talk to them to progress, their release triggers a necessary town geography change (bridge/stairs appear, etc.) or their presence is required for a necessary event to occur.

5 out of the 8 swords are required to beat the game. The critical sword is not required but I grab it anyway because it's an extremely small detour and it ends up saving more time than it costs.

Only 2 armors are required. I also get the magic armor because getting it costs very little time (I need the medical herb next to it) and it saves a lot of time by doubling the amount of magic I can use.

I use the fireball magic until I get arrows of light, then I use arrows of light until the end of the game. It's the best magic; it's not too far out of the way to get and it hits multiple enemies and deals damage to them 2 or 3 times. All other magics are inferior or require huge detours.

Beside medical herbs and strange bottles, the only non required item I get is the power bracelet. It doubles the damage dealt by the sword (both poke and swing) and saves a tremendous amount of time.

Luck and monster behavior _ARE_ manipulated quite frequently, but since I don't fully understand the randomness in this game it was done via trial and error. Sometimes the frame on which you do something matters, sometimes not. Sometimes input matters, sometimes not. Sometimes position matters, ... you get the idea. This run could be improved if randomness was fully understood and predictable.

Magic usage was extremely difficult to optimize because you can't control the magician soul's rotation. You can move it in different directions by holding down the appropriate direction on the D-Pad, however this will also move the follower unless you're pressing against an impassable tile.

The movie is shorter than it looks. There's an extra 13 minutes and 11 seconds for 2 frames of necessary input during the ending to finally get "The End".

DeHackEd: 26 yes votes can't all be wrong (can they?)

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