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

Submission #1196: primo's GB Ninja Spirit in 05:40.42

Console: Game Boy
Game name: Ninja Spirit
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Ninja Spirit
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 05:40.42
FrameCount: 20425
Re-record count: 3892
Author's real name: Mike Tryczak
Author's nickname: primo
Submitter: primorial#soup
Submitted at: 2006-09-10 19:16:32
Text last edited at: 2011-01-07 03:49:23
Text last edited by: Nahoc
Download: Download (1644 bytes)
Status: published
Click to view the actual publication
Submission instructions
Discuss this submission (also rating / voting)
List all submissions by this submitter
List pages on this site that refer to this submission
View submission text history
Back to the submission list
Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)


This is a TAS of the USA version of Ninja Spirit (Japanese Saigo No Nindou), finishing with a time of 5:40. The emulator used for recording was VBA 1.7.2 (Nitsuja rev. 10), and the run itself was completed (not including breaks) over the course of approximately two weeks.


  • Aims for fastest time.
  • Takes no damage.
  • Plays at hardest level.
  • No predefined saves.
  • Genre: Platform.

Allow Left+Right/Up+Down checked.


Setting: Ancient Japan. An evil force has entered the land, and has corrupted all ninjas. Only you, Tsukikage, the spirit of the Great White Wolf remain unaffected. Taking ninja form, you set out to defeat the evil forces and return peace to your land.

There are four weapons:

  1. Righteous Cloud - the Magic Sword
  2. Swirling Leaf - the Throwing Knife
  3. Bamboo Thunder - the Bomb
  4. Rising Dragon - Sickle and Chain
Each weapon can be powered up by having the weapon selected while grabing the power-up. If the weapon it already powered up, one of the other weapons will be powered up instead. For raw damage, the sword is the most powerful, and I use it for all boss battles. I make it a point to showcase each of the weapons in at least one of the seven stages.

Power-ups only drop from certain enemies (in stage one, they are the flashing enemies hanging from the walls). Moreover, where they appear and which power-up they drop seems to be hard-coded (think Mario Bros. question mark bricks, in enemy form). Another power-up is a shadow ninja, which follows your path exactly and does the same moves you do. There is another powerup which destroys all enemies on the screen for about three seconds.

Other general information:

  • You may only have up to two shadow clones.
  • Shadow clones stop moving exactly when you stop moving. This means that sometimes you can make them stop in mid-air.
  • Shadow clones attack exactly when you attack, even if they are stopped in mid-air.
  • Attacking while running causes you to stop. Attacking in mid-air does not.
  • Jumping multiple times does not slow you down.

There are also two difficulties for this game, Arcade mode and Gameboy mode. In Gameboy mode, you have a health meter, and can get hit four or five times without dying. In Arcade mode, each hit kills you instantly. I chose Arcade mode because in general, killing or avoiding enemies does not slow you down, and taking damage is to no advantage (there is no knock-back effect).

Luck Manipulation

Which enemies appear and where can often be manipulated by changing input slightly. In general, I manipulate more enemies to appear so that I can kill more at once. The exception to this is in a few places where it caused lag. I also manipulate the explosions after each boss battle. The time between them is a random value belonging to the set (3, 7, 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, 31), which means an average value of 17 frames. There are 30 explosion, so by manipulating a 3 value for everyone, one can save an average of 420 frames.


Stage 1 - House of Ninja

The first part of the stage is pretty straight forward. I make sure to power-up both my Sword and my Shurikens, and to get the shadow ninja. At the end of the stage, there are enemies jumping out of well-like structures. You don't even have to kill any, just wait for a certain amount to appear. However, the game only allows 3 to be on the screen at a time. By killing at least one before a fourth wants to appear, you can make it progress a lot faster (about 300 frames faster than not killing any at all). The boss, Asura, is a giant statue. I don't manipulate the explosions after this stage, because the next level is timed with the descent of the statue.

Stage 2 - Forest of Ninken

During the stage, I pick up my second shadow companion, and finish upgrading my weapons. The enemies which fall from the sky are supposed to be wolves. The boss, known only as "The Two-axed Ogre", alternates between doing three charge passes, and then crawling on the wall. I kill him just after he starts his second pass, but he doesn't die until after finishing that pass. I don't think it's possible to kill him in just one pass, so this is likely optimal. Here you can notice how fast the explosions go when manipulated.

Stage 3 - Valley of Tsuki

I choose shurikens for this stage. The reason is the gun-wielding foes which only appear here, as it helps to take them out quickly. The boss, Hanzo the Fiend, is very slow moving, but carries a big sword. I kill him before he is completely visible.

Stage 4 - Cave of Ishi

This stage is unique, because it has enemies on both the floor and the ceiling. I chose to use the Sickle and Chain, which I think was the right choice. The boss battle is kind of weird... it's two boxes ("The Enchanted Stones") which try to crush you. In order for it to die, you need to do lethal damage to both boxes; because they start so far apart, I basically do them one at a time.

Stage 5 - Shadow of Tako

This stage is just a vertical ascent. I'm pretty sure I use the best route. The boss, "Evil Wind", consists of 5 enemies on a kite. The only one you need to kill is the center one. This battle lags quite badly, but I was unable to minimize it more than it is.

Stage 6 - Battle of Ronin

I use bombs for this stage because it allows me to attack both arial opponents and those on the ground at the same time. No shots are missed from either me or my shadows. The boss, "Ghosts of Fugitive Warriors", consists of four ghost warriors. If you don't kill one in a certain amount of time, the next will spawn, but not as quickly as by killing each one as soon as possible.

Stage 7 - World of Kessen

The first part of this stage is very short. I avoid killing the monk that's chasing me, because I couldn't do so without wasting time (and attacking without killing something looks dumb, right?). After you jump of the ledge, there are several ninjas in mid-air with swords extended. Naturally, landing on the swords kills you. These ninjas can also not be killed (otherwise I would have ;). Once I get to the bottom of the pit, it looks like I'm wasting time, and I am. The game gives you a few seconds to pick up the power-ups on either side. The boss only appears after entering the center of the pit after a certain amount of time has passed. I do so at the earliest possible moment.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to SXL, for not only suggesting this run, but also for reviewing my WIPs.

adelikat: A nice game and nice TAS. It is reasonably fast paced and not too long. The votes were all positive. Accepting for publication.

Similar submissions (by title and categories where applicable):