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

Submission #3290: link_7777's NES Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 12:14.22

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back (U) [!p].nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 12:14.22
FrameCount: 44126
Re-record count: (unknown)
Author's real name: Phillip Grimsrud
Author's nickname: link_7777
Submitter: link_7777
Submitted at: 2011-09-19 05:58:19
Text last edited at: 2011-12-07 14:05:05
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (15422 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was a well made, though fairly difficult platformer. It was not very popular, probably because it was a fairly late entry in the NES era. I'm sure most viewers are familiar with the story, and I hope you all enjoy the TAS.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: FCEUX 2.1.5
  • Genre: platform
  • Aims for fastest time.
  • Takes dammage to save time.
  • Abuses programming errors.
  • Uses left and right simultaneously.


Force powers used:

  • Improve blaster power
  • Levitation

Force powers skipped (due to being less useful and/or far away):

  • Improve light saber power
  • Increase speed
  • Deflect blaster shots
  • Jump
  • Regenerate health
  • Mind control that makes enemies ignore you.

Used lua scripting to try to optimize boss fights.

The main programming error exploited was that you can avoid death by jumping on the first possible frame when passing through obstacles meant to be instant death. More details on specific levels below.

Stage by stage comments

Level 1: Hoth

Kept the Taun-Taun as long as possible because it had a faster run. Picked up the light saber. Skipped other force powers because they were too far off the path. Additionaly force run and force jump aren't overwhelmingly helpful. Skipped the middle part of the level and a boss fight by hopping through the frozen water.

Level 2: Hoth Snowspeeders

Used tow cables and sabatoge to take out the AT-ATs. Takes a long time to take one out using the blasters.

Level 3: Echo Base

The big strategy decision here was to grab the force power that improves blaster power, but skip the one that improves light saber power. The force is a much greater improvement to the blaster, and the light saber upgrade is much further off the path. You can fight and subsequently control the AT-ST's as intended, but it turns out not to be necessary. There are some beams that you can damage by normal means, or jump over. There are also some damaged areas that are meant to be instant death. They really do 128 damage (out of 255 health), but it takes a frame to die after the damage is applied. As long as you jump on the first possible frame you never actually die. The blaster force power makes quick work of the bosses.

Level 4: Dagobah

No major tricks here, and no big shortcuts. Just taking dammage to save time, and trying to find the shortest path.

Level 5: Dagobah

There are actually 2 opportunities to get the levitate force power. The one I pick up is much closer to the path. Vader deflects blaster shots as you might expect, so the fights are done by light saber.

Level 6: Cloud City

No tricks, just taking out ships as quickly as possible.

Level 7: Cloud City

Other mass dammage obstacles suffer the same programming error as the dammaged areas in level 3. This includes the vertical beams, which are meant to be passed with the help of R2-D2, or an AT-ST. Additionaly if you jump the frame before you run into them you pass through while taking no dammage. This skips a bunch of the level since the AT-ST is quite far away. It may seem that I go out of my way to take out an extra bounty hunter boss, but the path back to the left through the beams is invisibly blocked by the boss battle. The blaster force power makes quick work of the bosses.

Level 8: Cloud City

No tricks, just take out Boba Fett's ship as quickly as possible.

Level 9: Cloud City

No new tricks, just skipped an unnecessary boss fight.

Level 10: Cloud City

I used extra force power here to skip by some parts of the level since there is no use saving any force for the Vader fight. Note that there are 6 opportunities to fight Vader on this level, but I stick with the required 2.

Other comments

Because I was using TASEdit and Lua scripting the rerecord count is 0. I made a guess as to what the count might be in the game thread, but it is not accurate enough for the submission.

Potential improvements:

  • Boss fights were optimized by lua script, but not exhaustively.
  • Different strategy on level 2. My path seemed best intuitively, but I did not try others.
  • Space battles on levels 6 and 8 might be improved through manipulation of enemy movement.

Potential for major glitch improvement:

Turbo up and A on level 2 results in hopping up through the top of the screen. I wonder if it would be possible to use this to mess with memory and trigger an end condition.


I'd like to thank the following for the helpful resources.

Possible Screen shots:

28655, 33675, 35010, 43480, 43602

DarkKobold: Right in time for the awful Bluray release. May the judging be with you.(claimed)

DarkKobold: The force is strong with this one! Easy Accept!

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