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

Submission #2250: CtrlAltDestroy's NES Dr. Mario in 01:12.83

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Dr. Mario
Game version: JPN/USA
ROM filename: Dr. Mario (JU).nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 01:12.83
FrameCount: 4377
Re-record count: 630
Author's real name: Chris Strake
Author's nickname: CtrlAltDestroy
Submitter: CtrlAltDestroy
Submitted at: 2009-05-17 08:22:00
Text last edited at: 2014-01-01 09:58:16
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (1272 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Dr. Mario's Medical Malpractice

By CtrlAltDestroy

Tetris spawned a whole new genre, the "manipulate falling stuff" puzzle game, including other classics such as Puyo Puyo and Columns. Among them all, Dr. Mario is probably the 2nd most well-known and most popular of them, only next to Tetris itself.

The game mechanics are nothing like Tetris. At the beginning of the game, the bottle is filled with floating "viruses" of 3 different colors, arranged randomly so that no three of the same color viruses coincide horizontally or vertically. The higher the level number, the more viruses appear. From there, you are given a series of capsules, each containing a combination of 2 colors, and you must manipulate them to clear the viruses. Form a row or column of 4 or more of the same color, and it vanishes, clearing any pill-half or virus involved. The level ends when all viruses are clear, and you can rack up lots of points by forming complex combos or chains. Pills will drop faster on a harder skill level, and the drop speed increases every 10 pills. Back up the pills to the top center of the bottle, and you die.

But you already knew that. Everybody knows Dr. Mario. Just watch the movie!

  • Emulator: FCEUX 2.1.0a
  • Primary Objective: Aims for fastest completion of Level 20, Speed Hi
  • Secondary Objective: Aims for highest score
  • Beats Baxter's old rejected run by a long shot.
  • Movie file does not start from Reset / Manipulated memory
  • Manipulates Luck
  • Uses a Reset Sequence
  • Uses Up+Down and Left+Right
  • Abuses Programming Errors


  • If you haven't seen the videos I've been posting in the NES forum, I won't spoil the movie for you.
  • The pill sequence cannot be manipulated like Tetris. You can only vary the frame on which you start the stage to get a different level layout and different pill sequence.
  • Flipping a pill twice while moving it to the left lets you get it into the leftmost position faster.
  • I use a Reset a few frames into the movie, and I also stall for a few frames on the menu screen. Both are for manipulating the level.
  • Don't ask me what happened at the end of the movie. I don't know, exactly... But I did exhaustive experimentation trying to make it happen like that, and it finally paid off.
  • Don't ask me how score is calculated. I haven't figured that out, either.
  • If the game freezes due to a really complicated combo, you can press a button combo, usually on Player 2's controller, to unfreeze it and keep the game going. I had to do this once in the movie.
  • I have no doubt this movie can be improved, either by getting a better stage and pill sequence, or understanding the "trick" better. But for now, this was the best level I came across.

If you enjoy this movie, I invite you to check out these other movies, which gradually led to the making of this TAS:

Enjoy! I had fun fooling around with Dr. Mario in order to finally make a TAS like this.

mmbossman: Looks like we have a winner here. Accepting.

ShinyDoofy: Claiming.

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