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

Submission #3463: TheAxeMan's NES Crystalis in 40:40.43

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Crystalis
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Crystalis (U)
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 40:40.43
FrameCount: 146667
Re-record count: 425853
Author's real name: Frank Amoroso
Author's nickname: TheAxeMan
Submitter: TheAxeMan
Submitted at: 2012-02-15 06:36:45
Text last edited at: 2012-03-05 06:33:07
Text last edited by: OmnipotentEntity
Download: Download (42407 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

NES Crystalis (USA) by TheAxeMan

  • Takes damage
  • Lots of glitches
  • Crazy luck manipulation
  • Crazy lag reduction
  • Stabs a dinosaur in the heart

I have gone through several versions of FCEUX since I started this run but ended with 2.1.5. Many thanks to the developers for adding some useful lua features for me.

About This Game

Crystalis is an awesome action rpg by SNK. What little plot there is involves the world ending on October 1, 1997. Naturally, after that the world became full of mutants and monsters. Technology regresses and people can use magic. There is an evil empire trying to revive the ancient technology, specifically the obligatory tower floating in the sky. The hero pops out of some sort of stasis chamber and proceeds to topple the empire and take down the tower with the help of some wise men and a friendly dolphin. There's a heroine named Mesia, but she only shows up a few times, most of which are skipped in this run.

About This Run

This beats my test run by over 2 minutes and tmont's run by almost 12 minutes. As with that run, the second-controller cheats are off-limits (the fm2 only has data for controller 1). Other than that, no holds are barred. Many new glitches are used. For a complete list, see the game resources page. Movement is faster by abusing the no-subpixel engine. Much effort went into lag reduction, especially in certain areas. However, the vast majority of the time savings is due to better experience management. That is, I spend less time grinding and grind more efficiently.

New Tricks and Glitches

Major new glitches are climbing up slippery slopes and air jumping over pits. I also upgraded two of tmont's tricks. The reset button can be used to get the same effect as dying to execute the sword charge glitch in much less time. That is why this run does not use death as a shortcut. Ghetto flight has also gotten a new dolphin warp feature. The dolphin reappears at the top of the falls and I can get back on. In tmont's run the dolphin disappears, but he doesn't get it to reappear in a useful spot. Other big changes include different grinding spots near Brynmaer, on Mt Hydra North and in the Styx cave. This run also visits Amazones later and does not collect the blizzard bracelet or thunder bracelet. Unlike tmont's run, the level 3 tornado and fire attacks are used. The big dragon fight is much faster because its attack sequence is altered by taking a hit from Draygon's human form. Stom is defeated on the first try with a little finesse.

Experience Management

The most dominating aspect of a TAS on this game is that levelups are required. Every enemy has a minimum level you must reach before they can be damaged at all. Even a TAS has to do some grinding to reach the level required to beat each boss. This leads to a very unique TAS where almost every enemy in sight is hunted down and killed. In fact, much work went into making more enemies spawn so that they could be killed as well. Doing this while travelling from place to place cuts down on grinding significantly. Still, about 5 minutes of this run is spent in repetitive grind loops. Use this lua script to fast-forward those sections automatically.

Now For Something Different

Instead of going into a lot of detail here, I want to try something different with the author's notes. Start the run and load this lua script. My notes will pop up in an iup window. Besides the notes, this script can show hitboxes, RNG and counter values. It also adds lua-based rewinding that can be disabled if your computer is on the slow side. I've set it up to show hitboxes and values at interesting points but it also allows for toggling those whenever you want. Fast-forwarding the grinding sections is also supported. Part of the reason I made this was to encourage people to play the run on the emulator instead of watching the encode. It would still be really cool if this could be encoded.

Possible improvements

After getting most of the way done I discovered that the slope glitch could be activated with teleport or telepathy. That would allow for using the slope glitch on Mt Hydra South and avoiding the backtrack on Mt Hydra N. That would save some time but the route change would also affect experience so more grinding would be need. So probably less than 30 seconds of overall gain. I'll leave the details for the next generation of TASers to figure out.

There's also places where lag can probably be cut more, especially early on. I did pretty well, but as I went on I figured out more little tweaks and put more effort into globally optimizing the flow of the counters. With a lot of work maybe a second or so could be cut from lag.

Finally, there are a few cases where perfect luck might give a little speedup. Either I wasn't able to line it up with something else and picked what was best or it wasn't practical for some other reason. But maybe there's some other flow I didn't consider. For example, damage boosting on slugs in the sealed cave might be able reach a later room early enough for another enemy to spawn. Or maybe there's a way to reach the grind spot by Brynmaer a cycle earlier.

Lua Code

Here's the lua code I used making the run for anyone interested in making the improvement or any other TAS on this game. It's got a few things I cut out of the author's notes lua including an enemy data table, spawn point markers and a simple macro bot.


Many thanks to everyone on the forums for encouragement and for beta-testing the author's notes lua. Thanks of course to tmont for his run and coming up with a lot of these glitches.

DarkKobold: Easy acceptance of an awesome movie.

OmnipotentEntity: I'll take care of publication on this run.

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