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

Submission #1609: Phil. Côté and Morrison's NES Castlevania in 11:20.5

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Castlevania
Game version: USA PRG1
ROM filename: Castlevania (KC).nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 11:20.5
FrameCount: 40830
Re-record count: 52573
Author's real name: Phil. Côté and Joshua Horst
Author's nickname: Phil. Côté and Morrison
Submitter: Phil
Submitted at: 2007-06-23 02:49:21
Text last edited at: 2011-01-02 01:06:31
Text last edited by: Nahoc
Download: Download (2736 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)

NES Castlevania

Quoted from the description of the current published movie: The original Castlevania is set in the year 1691. Simon Belmont must fight his way through the castle and destroy Count Dracula."

  • Aims for Fastest Time (But intentionally loses some 1-3 frames at level 2. It is explained in the description.)
  • Manipulates Luck
  • Exploits Programming Errors
  • Takes damage to save time
  • No death
  • Genre: Platform
  • Emulator FCEU 0.98.16
  • Can be played in both USA PRG1 or Konami Collector's edition.

This movie is 817 frames, 13.6166 seconds, faster than Morrison's previous version. This version also features an higher score, 259600. There were a few places in the run where it was possible to get a few more points, but we felt it looked sloppy. I hope you enjoy the movie.


Here's the breakdown:

Level Stage Frames Saved/Lost In Stage Score Gained/Lost
1 1 0 0
1 2 208 -200
1 3 12 -240
2 4 42 100
2 5 2 1900
2 6 0 210
3 7 18 5100
3 8 2 24000
3 9 60 6910
4 10 411 100
4 11 0 -900
4 12 -40 920
5 13 6 19200
5 14 2 4200
5 15 8 -390
6 16 0 0
6 17 5 5500
6 18 101 -1200


Stage 2

If the watch is used at the very first frame, it can be used; the bat will be at the right place. Thanks to Vandal for the discovery.

Stage 3

Phantom bat leaps towards with Simon sooner.

Stage 4

Special note: For level 2, it could be ~1-3 frames faster by using the watch at beginning of stage 4 instead of fire bomb. Logically, the fire bomb should be indeed faster but it costs some time to collect it at level 1 because of some bad randomness and such. The reason we've decided to keep it is that there are so many multipliers on the same screen, at stage 4 2nd part, which is rare and weird. This is caused by some bug with the fire bomb only. Although it's not so important, using the firebomb gives more points than keeping the watch.

Persuading the vampire bat to drop the "Boomerang" adds a nice touch. Also, Multipliers!

Stage 7

Platforming off the first hunchback is faster. No frames lost here due to the frame rule. The frame rule applies to the door transition scenes. So the slowdown at end of this stage, for killing a skeleton, was intentional to get more points.

Stage 8

Frame rule grants enough frames to pull out some major score without losing any time. The score ascends in the following manner: 1ooo, 2ooo, 4ooo, 7ooo, 7ooo. 7ooo has no graphic and no 1-up after the first.

Stage 9

Better planning and luck manipulation allows us to save four more frames. There is a 7ooo score obtained on the skeletons. Better manipulation of the mummies saves some frames.

Stage 10

Although the moving platforms' starting positions are static, the vampire bat's spawn point was discovered to be dynamic with the help of the watch. It is possible to access the moving platform right of the pink ceiling/stalagmites a cycle faster. It was a good thing that a fire bomb was hidden in the candle prior to the jump. Big time saver.

Stage 12

Frankenstein takes longer to kill with the fire bomb. It's not possible for enemies to drop boomerangs in this level.

Stage 13

Using the Hunchback as a platform in combination with getting the pork chop is faster than using the stairs. It also allows Simon to take 2 more hits in this level. Also, manipulation of the skeletons bone throwing gave more score.

Stage 14

More score is obtained in this stage by using the frame rule and by forcing the skeleton to throw more bones.

Stage 15

Since we have extra health from the pork chop in stage 13, we save a few frames and a heart by taking damage on the dragon skull cannon. Phil devised a new strategy for Death that saved 4 frames.

Stage 17

We avoid getting the watch from the candle in stage 16 but get it later from an enemy in favor of gaining more score in stage 17. Also getting the porkchop there really makes the Dracula fight faster. And not using the enemies as shortcuts is a really bad idea.

Stage 18

This fight took a long time to perfect. Eventually, we asked Bisqwit to see if he wanted to help since he expressed interest in contributing early on. Bisqwit broke down the weird randomness and provided some crucial memory addresses. He also figured out that using pause could affect the relation of some variables. After some testing, Phase 1 was complete.

Phase 2 is also considerably faster due to attacking sooner, using a boomerang for extra damage, and ending input even earlier and using holy water to finish off the last bit of the ghost's life.


We have tested, found useful memory addresses but without Bisqwit, we would have missed important ones. Also thanks to him for asking Bisqbot for testing something even though it failed.

Phil: I personally thank Morrison for helping me doing the movie. Without him, I would have missed some points and frames somewhere. And the run wouldn't be as close to perfection as now.

Morrison: It was a pleasure to work with someone else who appreciates this game. There were some periods of time where I was not motivated to TAS, but Phil didn't mind too much, and I thank him for his patience and great contributions! I would also like to thank previous Castlevania TAS author Bisqwit for his contributions.

Bisqwit: I did not play a frame of this movie, but I did do a lot of hacking. I disassembled the game and set out to discover, what makes the random item drops work, and later, what makes Dracula work. Also, I reformatted this submission text a bit ;)

Bisqwit: Reformatted the submission text a bit and added my comments even though I'm not a main author of this movie.
Bisqwit: Also, accepting and claiming for (eventual) encoding :)
NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. Here goes!

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