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

Submission #1805: theenglishman's GBA "any%" Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in 42:15.0

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: "any%" Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time (U) (M3).gba
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 42:15.0
FrameCount: 152100
Re-record count: 31190
Author's real name: Noah Tomlin
Author's nickname: theenglishman
Submitter: theenglishman
Submitted at: 2007-12-19 04:59:26
Text last edited at: 2008-01-21 19:47:22
Text last edited by: adelikat
Download: Download (15870 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Everyone’s favourite gymnastics winner is back in this 2D re-imagining of the classic console game. Loosely based on its big brother’s story, the Prince of Persia accidentally unleashes the Sands of Time, turning everyone except him, an evil Vizier and a mysterious girl named Farah into zombies. The Sands also gave the Prince a few new unexpected powers, like the ability to walk through walls and repeatedly jump underneath platforms.

Apparently the Prince is a sexist douchebag, because he won’t let Farah do anything by herself, and then ditches her after a few minutes for no apparent reason to go at it alone. Bastard.

Suggested screenshots: frames 8568, 75143, 87877, 88950, 116151, 144068


Thanks to Bisqwit for the awesome site (as if anyone didn’t know). And thanks to Ubisoft and whoever developed the physics engine and controls for this game...I am forever in your debt =P

I was pretty much solo in planning this run, but there were a few people who unintentionally helped me: vukeno, whose unassisted 1:13 speedrun helped me in creating a core route; Iorek B for his GIF map of the game world; and cthrag yaska’s game guide which also helped me immensely in route-planning, the placement of Sand Potions, and also theorizing tricks in the guide which I brought to fruition.

On the feedback side, special thanks (in no particular order) to JXQ, Comicalflop, Tub, moozooh, AngerFist, AnotherGamer and Blublu for their support and interest, and for making me feel like I was making this run for somebody. Also thanks to everyone at #nesvideos for smiling and nodding politely while I plugged the run ruthlessly in the chatroom and talked about tricks to no end ;)

No special thanks to the bastard who wrote the virus that infected my computer right in the middle of developing my run. (Yeah, it was technically my fault but I feel like shifting the blame somewhere else.)

History of this Run

I started playing this game about a year ago and I felt there was something TASable about it. I tried to do it on and off for a while, but heavy research began in August of this year, and I’ve been making the run ever since. A few days before I was supposed to complete this run my computer got hit with a Trojan virus and production, combined with dates and trips to universities, slowed down my runmaking considerably. But no virus can stand in my way when I’m making a run XD.


How much of the game is skipped? There are sequence breaks in the run, but because this a relatively linear game, most breaks consist of skipping large portions of a single level. Only a few supposedly required levels are entirely skipped. A few large chunks of platforming are skipped for this run (example, frame 8,200). One collectible time ring (for slowing time), supposedly required to beat the game, is skipped (I collect the Freeze Ring to help speed up boss fights). Also, you’re supposed to kill a genie and collect a musical note to get pass the red and green platform sections, but what did those poor genies ever do to me? ;) It is possible to temporarily skip certain scrolls collected from bosses (most notably the absorption scroll); however, these scrolls need to be collected for other breaks and you can only go so far in the game without them anyway. Other unnecessary scrolls were in the way and I would waste more time skipping them than going through them.

Why does soul-sucking (finishing off a sand enemy) take so long in some cases and so quickly in others? I think it depends on the enemy type. I generally just mashed random buttons until I got the desired result >_<

What the hell...you’re...jumping underneath a platform. Weird. That’s a trick I call airhopping. It works like this. If you jump underneath a platform that has collision detection on all sides (some don’t), the Prince’s momentum is reset for one frame, and you can do anything for that frame – even jump. You can then jump repeatedly forward underneath the platforming, skipping parts of the level underneath.

Okay, so the Prince can bounce off walls and run up them...now he’s going THROUGH them?!?! Yep. Under certain conditions, the Prince can pass through walls. The Prince can pass through a wall as long as a) it’s lodged with another wall in an L-shape and b) his sprite overlaps with the wall as he falls down. Sadly very few walls in the game meet these criteria :'(

The Prince just killed himself...does he hate life? Nope, he dies for love – so romantic. When you die, you go to the last checkpoint you’ve hit (an altar or one of the green flames) – and so does Farah. I skip a huge part of the game using this trick a few times by moving Farah towards me once I’ve skipped a puzzle so she doesn’t have to do the same. It should be noted that in a few cases it’s faster to just bring Farah in, especially if she’s really close to a checkpoint.

Why do you keep firing arrows when playing as Farah? Firing an arrow with Farah elongates her jump, so I can get onto platforms quicker than I should. Unlike the Prince, however, she can’t stand on the edge of spiked platforms so I have to ring gongs and such for her.

Why do I keep seeing flashes of colour during the boss fights? For boss fights, you need to expose the enemy to the Sands of Time (holding L) at the very minimum on the frame they are hit. Otherwise, I would collect Sands from them instead of hurting them.

Why did you collect some Secret Medal pieces and not others? Only one secret medal – Zircon – needs to be assembled to complete the game (the last three pieces right before the bridge).

How does movement work in this game? The different modes of travel (running, jumping, backflip jumping, double-jumping, rolling etc.) are almost identical in terms of speed. Rolling and double-jumping are the fastest modes of travel by a few frames, but certain movements also depend on factors like slope and momentum. Certain double-jumps can kill momentum instantly for one frame, sending the Prince back to zero speed, but 99% of those can be cancelled out by a well-placed dagger swing.

Why do you stand so far away from the Lion Statues? You can only get so close to the Lion Statues before they turn around and become invincible. Where I stand is always the closest I can get to a Lion Statue before it defends my attack.

Why do you use the speed-dagger trick (holding down+A+B) on regular enemies but not on the griffin bosses while they’re in the air? There are two reasons: 1) because on the first boss if you don’t hit the middle section of the body it only registers one hit point instead of 14 and 2) in the later boss fights (especially the last one), they cause more lag than usual, though it might be hard to believe with the fourth boss ;)

Why does it take so long to kill the Whip Mistresses? You need to cut her whip down to four chains (how much you cut is already predetermined) before you can attack her.

Well, I’ve gone through hell and back making this movie. Hopefully I will never have to touch this game ever, ever again. I’d love to see someone else do a 100% run (it would be really interesting because so much stuff can be taken before it should be), and I’d gladly help with a route, but as for TASing it again – not a chance. Enjoy, and don’t forget to comment and vote!

NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. Then the author deleted the ones that sucked. Oh! I also corrected the ROM name.
  • You indicated 1232 - Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time (U) (M3).gba
  • I updated it to Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time (U) (M3).gba

adelikat: Entertaining game & nice viewer response. I will accept it for publication and begin encoding.

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