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

Submission #2098: DaTeL237's SNES Young Merlin in 40:02.2

Console: Super NES
Game name: Young Merlin
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Young Merlin (U).smc
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 40:02.2
FrameCount: 144132
Re-record count: 31663
Author's real name: Daan Terra
Author's nickname: DaTeL237
Submitter: DaTeL237
Submitted at: 2008-09-21 12:58:25
Text last edited at: 2008-11-03 16:56:13
Text last edited by: ShinyDoofy
Download: Download (5496 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
A 100% run of Young Merlin for SNES. Aims for a time as low as possible while still earning a go at the prize T-Shirt (see end of credits). A range of unintended programming artifacts are abused to speed things up.


About the Game

A colorful 1993 SNES adventure in which Young Merlin explores a fantasy world to eventually free it from the Shadow King and his evil minions. The game features exploration, puzzle and fighting elements.


Memory watching was used continuously to optimize every action. Occasionally, TAS Movie Editor (v0.12) was used to alter the movie.

Merlin is slowed down by walking against walls so a large amount of rerecords went to simply avoiding wall collisions.

Damage boosting is used to save time wherever possible.

Lag is avoided wherever possible. An example; every attack with the Shooting Star introduces some lag frames, so the amount of shots is minimized.

Specific tricks used

Multiple occasions

Standing on the spawnpoints of items during cut-scenes to pick them up while locked. Thanks to klmz to pointing this out early on.

Thunder Pig sequence break

Taking damage off Thunder Pig allows Merlin to gain back control during the cut-scene.

Early Reflection Crystal

When Merlin is out of the camera's sight (caused by the Thunder Pig sequence break) , most triggers are not checked by the game, allowing merlin to collect the Reflection Crystal earlier than intended.

Lake sequence break

When merlin dies while he is frozen by the game (in this case, because he needs to wait for the Lady of the Lake to be finished) he will still have the 'ability' to press the Start button to break out of a Freeze state. This is used to break another cut-scene and collect the wrench in the meantime (two cut-scenes get intertwined here). Damage is taken spread out over several moments to initiate the sequence break as soon as possible.

Early cave herring

The creators intended the Air Bubble to be a required item for collecting the Cave Herring (without dying, in which event Merlin loses the Herring). By using a damage boost, the Balloon and trading some health for oxygen, it is possible to collect it anyway if Merlin starts with 9 filled heartpieces. This amount of health (starting with 3) is collected from a healing potion at the Tulip pond (+2), in the cavern (+1) and from another healing potion (+3).

Free Red and Blue Gems!

After using the Spring, Merlin is given a password, this is the game's way of saving process. By pressing the Start and then the Select button, this process is retrieved. Accidentilly, the creators assumed that the Bubble Wand and the Air Bubble would have been collected at this point and this information is incorporated in the password.

Filling the basins

It's possible to fill up the basins at the Underground Palace without losing any water by switching items at the right frame. The water is never used later on but the trick is performed anyway.

Dwarven Key warping

The Dwarven Key (four red arrows) is used to teleport back a few times to save some second.

Block pushing

A range of solutions exist for the block pushing puzzles, these are the fastest solutions I could find. Several Sokoban solvers were used to help finding these solutions. The 1-block-1-push 'puzzle' is done on the way back because doing it later would force Merlin to wait for the gate to open.

Swimming for a heartpiece

The heartpiece in the northern part of the underwater cavern is collected and deathwarped. The fastest way is to use the Air Bubble (fill air to 6 full bubbles) as soon as possible and take some damage to die earlier.


A huge amount of possible routes is available, the taken one was thoroughly tested to be the fastest.

Comb skip

By using a damageboost off an enemy, the 2nd wooden heartpiece that is collected does not require the Comb item, saving a trip in and out of rainbowland.

Treetrump lady break

By using an item at a specific frame, the Lady of the Lake can be broken out of again. This also comes with the ability to break out of another freeze. The second appearance of the Lady of the Lake is broked with this ability, and this ability is available again due to it.

Ghostly minecart

By using the abovementioned press-Start-to-unfreeze action is used to drive the minecart through the wall and get back on track at the other side.

Spyder boss cut-scene

After the Spyder boss is killed, Merlin automatically walks to a fixed position and normally a cut-scene is then started. By getting entangled and dying in the web (only dying does not work), this automatic movement guides Merlin into the trigger to get out of that room. This timesaver has the side effect of granting Merlin semi-invincibility.

Thunder Pig cut-scene

After Thunder Pig another cut-scene is supposed to be started, but by taking damage at the right frame and using the hourglass to freeze time, this is prevented.

Bloop's body parts

By using the Mirror and some awkward movement, Bloop's body parts are manipulated to gather up in front of the door allowing a speedy exit.

Heart Locket usage

The Heart Locked unleashes a storm of thunderbolts in predetermined unmanipulable directions. This is why it seems impossible to kill the boss in 2 charges. The movie concludes with the activation of a glitch where Merlin gets teleported into the wall

Credits (in alphabetic order)

  • All Snes9x contributors for creating the emulator
  • All TAS Movie Editor contributors for creating it
  • Bisqwit + encoders + publishers for running this community
  • Gocha for creating Snes9x memory watcher
  • klmz for providing lots of help and feedback
  • Many creators of Sokoban Solver applications (over 10 were used)
  • Nintendo for creating the SNES console
  • Westwood Studios for developing this game (Louis Castle & Barry Green)
  • Ryo Ohkubo for creating JoyToKey

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.

mmbossman: Accepting due to positive viewer feedback, and I apologize again for taking so long to judge this.

ShinyDoofy: Processing...

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