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

Submission #157: Warp's NES Rygar in 22:29.75

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Rygar
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: Rygar (E) [!].nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 22:29.75
FrameCount: 80985
Re-record count: 1178
Author's real name: Juha Nieminen
Author's nickname: Warp
Submitter: Warp
Submitted at: 2004-09-03 13:33:09
Text last edited at: 2011-07-16 22:46:58
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (4636 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

About Rygar

If you have never played Rygar, there are a few things you need to know about the game in order to understand certain things in the timeattack:

  • Although Rygar is pretty much a platform/action game, it has a few RPG features:
    1. The more and bigger enemies you kill, the stronger you get.
    2. You can cast three types of spells. To be able to cast spells, you need to collect stars from the monsters.
  • The three spells you can cast are:
    1. Power up: Makes your hits stronger and your diskarmor (Rygar's only weapon) extends farther. Requires 3 stars. This spell can only be cast once and has effect until you die (which means it needs to be cast just once during the timeattack).
    2. Attack&assail: When cast, the next 10 hits will cause damage to every enemy on screen. Requires 5 stars.
    3. Recover: Life is completely restored. Requires 7 stars. Basically useless in the timeattack.
  • Monsters drop from time to time either stars or healing bottles. The bottles are basically useless for the timeattack.
  • You must collect all the special items from the "Indora Gods" or else the game cannot be completed (the rope which leads to the sky castle at the end of the game doesn't appear unless you have all the objects). This means that no level can be skipped.

About the timeattack

Although the game is not linear and there's quite some places to explore, the fastest path is quite unique, nevertheless. I seriously believe no other path can be faster (or even close). Perhaps a bit unfortunately this path requires beating the Dorago boss (the one which looks like a beetle at the end of the castle played from overhead perspective) quite soon in the game (after the spider boss) although it's so strong that in regular play it should be left for much later. For this reason the battle is quite long (but not long enough to make any other path faster).

Getting the power up spell (which requires three stars) as soon as possible is a must. It makes your hits stronger (and makes them reach farther), which helps a lot specially in the boss battles. This is the reason why there's so much killing at the beginning of the timeattack, sometimes even at the cost of extra time spent. I definitely wanted to get three stars before the first boss (the monster at the end of the forest level), and barely succeeded.

Unlike in many other NES games where monsters drop items at random, in Rygar you can't affect the frequency of the drops. It would certainly help the run if you could manipulate the frequency as in other games, but it's seemingly just not possible. This is why it takes so long to get the three stars (just in time for the forest monster).

You can, however, have some effect to which item the monsters drop (the star or the bottle), although not easily as in other games. In other games you usually just make a slight change in movement somewhere and this will probably have a big-enough effect to the random number generation of the game to change the item. Not in Rygar. In my first try of the third version of the timeattack I was getting a bottle at the end of the forest no matter what I did. I had to play the entire forest level and the level preceding it again before the game changed the item to a star. You certainly can't easily affect the randomization of the game, although it's demonstrably possible.

The boss battles in Rygar are extremely difficult, even when done tool-assisted. If you want to beat them fast, you need to stay close to them and hit them constantly. The problem is that the projectiles they shoot are quite hard to dodge, and you need to predict when they will shoot (needs lots of savestates).

I used autofire for the boss battles although they can only be hit at certain intervals (after being hit they have a short immunity period). In a way it's a lazy tactic for hitting them immediately when they are not immune again, but luckily autofire doesn't look bad in Rygar.

In the levels viewed from overhead it's not possible to move diagonally when running but it's possible when jumping. That's why there's so much jumping on those levels.

Short speedrun commentary

  • In the beginning of the second level (after the first door you enter) there's a short rope you usually need to climb to continue. Some luck manipulation allowed me to use a rolling monster to make a high enough jump instead (this is another thing which is very difficult to control in this game; in my 2nd version I was unable to get the rolling monster and had to climb the rope instead, wasting precious time).
  • In the overworld level (the first one viewed from above) there's a jump over a river which most people thought was impossible. There's a really tiny spot just below the rope where you can jump just a bit farther over the river and which allows the jump to reach the other side. This spot is very hard to find (it took me hundreds of tries). (I knew that I should try because I had read about it somewhere.)
  • In the end of the forest level it took me literally hundreds of tries to get a clean and fast kill of the flying monsters (to get the third star). It may look like wasting time, but it really is necessary (because of the star) and should be as fast as it's possible in that situation. (Rygar also gets stronger by killing these monsters, so it's also useful that way.)
  • The forest monster boss battle might look easy, but it really requires tons of practice, even when tool-assisted. The battle you see in the third version of the timeattack takes less than a half of the time of my first attempt (in which the monster got twice across the screen). The reason why it takes so long to kill is that Rygar is still not strong (there's simply no time to get levels in a timeattack).
  • In the level before the spider cave level I had a jump over the second big gap (with the rope going downwards) in my 2nd timeattack. This was possible because a monster happened to fall to the gap just at the right time and I was able to use it to jump. However, no matter what I tried, I couldn't get it to work in this third version. A pitty.
  • In the spider cave level there are flying monsters at the end of the level in a place with gaps. This is another place where I had to try literally hundreds of times to get a clean runthrough. This is an extremely difficult part of the game to make a speedrun. (There's one place where I seem to shoot and not hit anything, but it really is necessary or else the flying monster would hit me.)
  • The spider boss is one of the easiest both when playing normally and when making a timeattack (when you duck, it can't reach you). Each time it is hit, it changes direction, and it requires precision to not to let it "run away" by accident (so that the kill is as fast as possible).
  • At the entrance of the Dorago castle (the boss level which comes after the spider boss) I make a mistake: I run all the way around the rocks when I could have simply jumped around the bottom rock. I didn't realize this when I was making the timeattack. This could have saved several seconds.
  • The Dorago boss is by far the hardest to beat (even tool-assisted). The overhead perspective makes it a lot harder than the other bosses, and the constant projectiles it throws don't help either. Also Rygar is still very weak at this point so it takes quite many hits to kill it. In my first attempt it took me 3 minutes 20 seconds to beat it. In my second attempt I succeeded in taking it down to 1 minute 40 seconds. In the third version I was able to drop 20 seconds more (it really takes practice to get it right, no matter how much tool-assistance you use). The time can still probably be dropped by about 10 seconds or the like with a lot more precise timing.
  • Back in the mountains level (the ones viewed from the side after Dorago) there's a jump to the higher level from a monster. This is another place which requires manipulating luck (which is quite hard to do in this game) to get the monster in the right place at the right time. When a success, the jump is beautiful.
  • The snail monsters are like the forest monster, but a lot harder (because they shoot a lot more frequently). Also takes quite some practice to beat them fast.
  • Right after the snail monsters there's a monster which moves like the spider boss around the walls and ceiling. This monster was a pain in the a** because it would run on the floor as well and couldn't be killed as easily as the spider. However, in this third run I discovered an efficient way of fighting it and I totally 0wn3d it.
  • The two-headed monster right after this can only take damage on its body. This is why I can't use autofire with it (the shield doesn't reach it with autofire). The power up spell really helps here because the shield reaches farther.
  • Right after this monster, back in the mountains level, I take deliberately damage from a flying monster. There was simply no way of getting past that point fast without taking the damage (trying to dodge or kill the flying monster would have taken several seconds).
  • In the overworld level I skip a star because I already have the required 5 for the attack&assail spell for the final boss (no, I can't get enough stars fast enough to use them with the other bosses, so I can use this spell only on the final one).
  • The ice world level is quite full of small maneuvering which is quite difficult. They are too many to list here, but you can probably spot most of them.
  • The two-headed boss at the end of the ice level shoots a fire projectile right at the beginning. It doesn't always do that, and when it doesn't, it's faster to get up. However, once again, I couldn't get the game to change that this time (I even replayed the entire ice world level to try to make it change, but it didn't help).
  • Right before entering the sky castle (after making the rope to appear with the flute) I take more damage. Trying to dodge the monsters would have taken many seconds.
  • The effect you see at the beginning of the final boss battle is the attack&assail spell: Every time I fire, the boss takes damage (regardless of where I am).
  • The boss itself can only be hurt on the upper body, so after the spell is used, you must to hit it there. The projectiles it fires are the hardest ones to dodge in the entire game.

Things to improve

There are probably tons of things which can be improved in this speedrun. Here are some of the possible things:

  • It might be possible to get more stars (because some monsters drop a bunch of stars instead of one). If it's possible to get enough stars, it might be possible to use attack&assail on more than one boss. (In the third version of the run I actually had one spare star at the end of the game, plus I skipped one star during the run.)
  • The beginning of the run (from the start to the forest monster) might be possible to improve by selecting better which monsters to kill for the stars.
  • Some if not all the boss battles could probably be improved with better manouvering and timing. Specially the Dorago boss.
  • Fixing the mistake at the entrance of the Dorago castle saves many seconds.
  • The river which can be jumped over is crossed twice. I only jumped the first time (the second time I simply didn't find the spot anymore and I was tired).
  • It's possible to avoid using autofire and still get an equally fast, if not even faster run. In fact, autofire does not produce any significant speedup compared to well-timed single shots (the only significance of autofire is that it's easier to get hits as soon as possible; it's thus a tool for the lazy). A next version of the video should probably not use autofire.
  • There are some bugs in the game which can be exploited for enormous shortcuts (most of the game can be completely skipped). However, using these bugs changes the nature of the run quite a lot and should perhaps only be considered as a complementary type of video. IMO a version of the run which does not use bugs for shortcuts has its own value.


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