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

Submission #1680: Lord Tom's NES Legacy of the Wizard in 13:44.23

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Legacy of the Wizard
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Legacy of the Wizard (U) [o1].nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 13:44.23
FrameCount: 49454
Re-record count: 11443
Author's real name: Thomas Seufert
Author's nickname: Lord Tom
Submitter: Lord Tom
Submitted at: 2007-08-28 02:39:06
Text last edited at: 2007-09-20 17:33:06
Text last edited by: Bisqwit
Download: Download (9512 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
This run uses a completely different route, better luck manipulation, and some new tricks to cut 3:38 off my last time. As a starting point, I wanted to use Xemn in this run for variety and because the glove is the coolest item to watch employed at high speeds. This turned out to be possible without losing much time despite the extra character change and detour to get the glove.

Perhaps most striking in this run is the improved use of speed scrolls – shortly after the game starts, I get 3 scrolls and maintain this speed or higher for the rest of the run, including boss fights and character changes. The hours of luck manipulation poured into attaining this were a dark time for me which I will not here speak of.

I was very surprised that the time turned out as low as it did; when I started I had 15:00 as my goal. In the following sections I’ll go through some of the tricks I used, from most to least important, then discuss the route.

Speed Scrolls

There are 5 possible running speeds:

  1. 4 blocks / s (100%)
  2. 7.5 blocks / s (187.5%)
  3. 11 blocks / s (275%)
  4. 15 blocks / s (375%)
  5. 20 blocks / s (500%)

Speed starts at 1. There are 2 types of speed scrolls; normal scrolls are dropped by monsters and treasure scrolls are obtained from treasure chests. Either scroll will increase speed by 1. Treasure scrolls last twice as long (60s vs 30s) and have a higher max speed (5 vs 4). If a scroll ‘expires’ without picking up another one, speed returns to 1. Picking up a new scroll increases (or maintains) speed and resets the timer. The exception is that a ‘normal’ scroll cannot maintain speed at 5. Thus, if speed is 5, and a normal scroll is picked up, speed will revert to 4 when the timer for the treasure scroll expires.

Put simply, getting 3 normal scrolls without letting them expire maxes out speed at 4. Temporary boosts to 5 can be achieved with treasure scrolls, but there are only three in the entire game. Because speed returns all the way to 1 when a scroll is allowed to expire, it is very desirable to get a new scroll every 30s to keep speed at 4.

The Evil Scroll Timer

The timer for scrolls runs no matter what the player is doing – pausing, entering an inn, fighting a boss, or even going home does not affect it. This makes it difficult to maintain scrolls when doing time-consuming things like using an inn.

The biggest challenge, however, is maintaining the scroll between crowns because the animations before and after fighting bosses are so long (about 16s total). For each crown except Lyll’s it is possible to open the chest (2s), then get a scroll just before grabbing the crown.

After each boss is killed, it is possible to re-enter the dungeon briefly, grab a scroll, and go to the house to change characters with the scroll still in effect. It’s kind of bizarre, but changing characters does not reset the scroll timer. This keeps speed at 4, saving lots of time walking to the dungeon and ‘scrolling up’ compared to previous runs.


Crosses kill everything on the screen with a big flash. Anytime I need a scroll, but could also use money, keys or magic, I try to manipulate a cross to appear at the beginning of a large screen. The precise treasure drops can be finely manipulated by collecting the cross on a particular frame. Sometimes I pause up to a second or two (usually much less though) to get the cross and the right drop, but it’s worth it – to collect the items individually requires additional magic and time as you wait for each monster to drop off the screen.

Pass Through Blocks

Xemn can pass through blocks he is moving with the glove by firing at the block while it is moving. It is difficult to predict exactly what timing allows this, but it seems to be possible with any block that can be moved at least 2 spaces. Xemn takes a point of damage when he passes through and the block turns white and reverses direction. This trick saves almost 30s due to faster solution of Xemn’s many block puzzles.

Air Jump

Described in my previous run; pressing start then holding jump while unpausing allows jumping in mid-air during a fall (used during Xemn’s level). Pause/unpause must be used twice to air-jump during a jump (used by Roas above the sphinx). Used sparingly because each pause/unpause takes about 2s.

Stationary Magic

Described in my previous run; holding both directions while firing causes the magic bolt to stand still, greatly increasing the damage a single bolt can do.

Crash Avoidance

Each player has a certain max speed at which they can safely hit the ground. Beyond this, they will ‘crash,’ and the player loses control for several frames (longer for higher jumping characters like Lyll). Crashing may be avoided in several ways:

  1. Mayna can switch to the wings (used in Mayna’s, Pochi’s crown)
  2. Pressing ‘start’ resets vertical velocity (but takes longer than just crashing; not used in this run)
  3. Landing on a treasure chest or item dropped by an enemy resets vertical velocity (used in Mayna’s crown)
  4. Landing on the second row of the screen after falling from the screen above (used in Lyll’s crown en route to the wings)
  5. Using the glove or rod to move a block resets vertical velocity if falling (used in Xemn’s crown)

Pressing Up

Pressing up on the controller (bizarrely) causes the player to make a tiny jump. The jump distance increases greatly with the player’s speed. This is most useful in two ways:

  1. Allows player to jump small gaps (1 to 2 blocks) more quickly than jumping
  2. If the player needs to fall off a ledge, pressing up before reaching the ledge allows you to start accelerating downward before reaching the edge, which cuts a few frames off most falls.

Cutting Corners

It is possible to save a frame anytime the player rounds a corner, either on a ladder or falling. The frame before reaching the turn, press diagonally on the control (combining the current direction with the desired direction). On the next frame, press the current direction and the player will get cut the corner. This is used for all crowns, but saves the most time on Pochi’s crown.

The Route

I get Xemn’s crown first to collect items for later crowns. Unlike Walker Boh’s run, I get the crystal first and use it to warp back to the entrance after getting the glove, saving the long walk back. I save a ‘crash’ by moving a block as I fall to the left of where the dragon is. The combination of the air-jump and block pass-through glitches lets me blast through Xemn’s block puzzles. I buy the key at a higher price than necessary to use the least out-of-the-way store. I save time on the ‘boring’ screen by using the press up trick and moving the bottom blocks right, saving two pushes per column. I crash after killing taratunes so that Xemn’s ‘crashed’ sprite gets to go through the post-boss animation. As described above, to preserve speed, I get a scroll immediately before and after fighting the boss.

Lyll’s crown is next, but she needs to get the wings for Mayna. I pause for a while on the screen above the wings to manipulate a scroll, one of the toughest drops in the whole run. Lyll needs the treasure scroll’s 60s of high speed to allow preserving speed after the crown – this is the only crown with no enemies nearby, meaning it is not possible to open the chest before getting a scroll. Using the longer-lasting treasure scroll, it is just possible to preserve speed. I originally wanted to buy a crystal at the store right before the inn, but that used too much time off the treasure scroll, so I had to get the crystal with Mayna later. Lyll’s mad jumping and block-breaking at speed 5 en route to the crown is my favorite portion of this run.

Mayna is happy to start with all of her items on board, and uses the wings and rod to get Pochi’s crown very quickly. Unlike previous runs, I skip the knuckles (increase magic damage 400%). The time to collect and equip them is not worth it because the bosses go down in about 2 seconds each using the ‘stationary magic’ trick. I wanted Mayna to get the last 2 crowns because her magic is powerful and the wings are very useful for gracefully tearing through screens and fighting archwinger and rockgaea. Doing it this way I end up skipping a money bag, but I don’t need it and use very little time in this run going after cash anyway. Pochi’s crown is guarded by treasure chests that do 100 damage; they can’t be killed without first touching them. To avoid dying, I get a ring two screens earlier; the invincibility only lasts 10 seconds, so there’s no time to dawdle in reaching and killing both chests, manipulating a scroll in the process!

Mayna’s crown is the last of the four. The major difference from the last run is she starts with the magic key, saving an inn stay and the detour to get the magic key. At the screen below the entrance, I kill a crab for a cross that appears to give me no items, but I actually grab a scroll drop from the monster right at the bottom of the screen, but it’s tough to see this in real time. Because Xemn used a crystal earlier, we need another one and Mayna takes about eight seconds to procure one from a treasure chest. On the screen with green blocks and a long row of doors at the top I kill an offscreen monster by firing down and left, which results in a scroll waiting for me right next to the inn. At the start of the screen with the crown, I have to shoot the block and wait while it stops moving. I choose my position carefully to have the block end up in just the right place each time. I use crosses to get extra magic on two occasions which just allows me to get the crown with only one inn stay.

Roas’ quest is similar to the last run, but I save a lot of time by starting at speed 4, wasting much less time getting the last scroll I need, and a faster ascent using the sphinx. Jumping just as Keela dies allows me to end input one frame earlier.

Time Comparisons For The Boring Screen

Just for fun, the frame counts for the ‘boring’ screen in Xemn’s crown, the one with 13 identical pillars of 9 blocks, each of which must be individually broken or moved. Needless to say, this screen is thrilling to play on a console, TAS, or to watch in a video. ;) No glitches are used in any of the runs’ executions of this screen; I find it cool that so much time (25s!) can be slashed just by better technique and execution.

I used FCEU 0.98.16.

Here’s to you, Drasle family. I’ve spent more time with them over the past several months than I have with my own family. ;)

NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. Here goes! Feel free to clean up the list.

adelikat: Accepting for publication as an improvement to the published movie.
Bisqwit: Processiŋ...

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