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

Submission #3484: adelikat's NES Zanac in 03:16.11

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Zanac
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Zanac (U) [!].nes
Emulator: BizHawk 1.0
Movie length: 03:16.11
FrameCount: 11786
Re-record count: 1852
Author's real name: adelikat
Author's nickname: adelikat
Submitter: adelikat
Submitted at: 2012-03-03 21:19:42
Text last edited at: 2019-03-24 23:13:01
Text last edited by: adelikat
Download: Download (7187 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)


As always, I have provided a release package on my sourceforge project. It includes the movie file, spreadsheet, and Ram Watch file.


This movie was recorded on my our emulator BizHawk and should be used for encoding and playing back this file.


This is a 587 frame improvement over my previous TAS. The majority of the improvement came from using the hidden fairy at the beginning of the level. Thanks to TaoTao for pointing out this secret!

Some other frames were saved by more optimization on the final boss.

Warped run? what?

Like the previous run, I use a code (reset the game 13 times) to initiate a level select. The really long gray screen at the beginning is from me "mashing" reset as fast as possible. Yes, this is a "cheat code" but was deemed acceptable. Partly because it is mentioned in the instruction manual and mainly becuase the alternative is to have a 37min, repetitive auto-scroller that offers little that this shorter run does not.

Goals and input ending.

When to end input is by no means trivial in this game. There is a surprising number of choices.

  • Earliest possible input ending - end input after the last shot necessary to kill the boss, delays the true ending since the ship should be at the bottom of the screen (and with minimal lives) for the fastest true ending
  • Earliest possible ending, fastest possible input that does not delay this goal - requires getting the ship to the bottom of the screen with as few lives as possible during the death animation
  • Earliest ending, no death - your lives count down and added to your score before your ship flies off the screen, thus the fewer lives the better, and during the death animation there is a chance to manipulate a death, so this option delays the final ending
  • Earliest possible ending, end input at this time - generally we don't wait unnecessarily, so this is not preferred

The option I went with is option 2 for two reasons:

1) I generally think this is the better option in games as it leads to the most entertaining results

2) It adds the most strategy to the process since I have to manipulate enemies to be on the screen during the death animation and die from them, it also adds strategy since I have to do this as fast as possible to end input as early as possible

HOWEVER, I have a possible speed/entertainment trade-off in that I don't minimize points (in an attempt to minimize lives) during the level. I don't want to do this because it is an auto-scroller with minimal entertainment value as is. I don't want to exacerbate the problem for fraction of a second of non-input game completion time. I could have chosen a no-death goal but in this case the death adds an extra layer of strategy that I don't like taking out for the sake of a cleaner goal.

Overall, I find that any of these decisions has their merit and there isn't a definite correct answer. The choices I made were a decision. One that I personally find gives the most TAS-value to this game.

Why is this a good game to TAS?

1) Zanac is underrated in its amazing music. I rank the music easily in the top five all time NES sountracks. It is equal, if not superior than that of the megaman series or the castlevania series. The one downside of the warped run is that you don't get to experience all of the tracks. 2) This game features hords of enemies but absolutely no lag. Considering this is one of the older NES games, this is quite impressive. Especially when you consider some of the newer, "more advanced" games lag when ANYTHING happens in the game (*cough* mm3 *cough*). 3) The game is a VERY fast auto-scroller, this helps keep the interst going.


This game is on of the more classic examples of video game engrish. The title screen features "game desinded by". You don't start on "area 1" but "arer 1". Not technically engrish but it is also interesting that destroying the alien boss makes you MESSIAH of earth :P


  • Uses BizHawk 1.0
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Uses deaths (new category)
  • Genre: shoot-em up/auto-scroller

Baxter: Accepting as an improvement to the published run.

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