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

Submission #390: Josh the FunkDOC's NES Castle of Dragon in 06:59.7

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Castle of Dragon
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Castle of Dragon (U).nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 06:59.7
FrameCount: 25182
Re-record count: 2673
Author's real name: Josh Ballard
Author's nickname: Josh the FunkDOC
Submitter: Josh the FunkDOC
Submitted at: 2004-10-29 18:40:49
Text last edited at: 2004-11-27 13:12:48
Text last edited by: Bisqwit
Download: Download (7974 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Here's another childhood game of mine, done in timeattack form. Meant to submit this back when FCEU first became accepted, but never got around to it until now...

This is one of the most frustratingly random NES games ever, along with its quasi-sequel Sword Master (which I will also submit eventually, after I make another improved version). It took me 7 versions of this thing to get it to where I want (well, the early levels weren't hard to get down, but the later ones sure were).

Why is this? Almost the entire game is miniboss and boss battles, and almost all of these enemies have extremely random behavior which is influenced by virtually everything you do. Like in Monster Party, I occasionally had to make some ugly moves to randomize enemies properly. In addition to this, one of the special weapons is rather random (more on this later).

That's pretty much the game right there...you walk from left to right, kill easy normal enemies, fight a miniboss, and repeat until you reach the level boss. Sometimes you have to jump over pits, which is the extent of the variation here. There's also an experience meter next to your lifebar, but leveling up only extends your lifebar and doesn't affect anything else.

Oh yes, and after the first three levels you enter the castle. You can do these levels in any order, but the first four which I do must be completed for you to be able to beat the last level.

So why do I think this movie is entertaining? Well, there is an impressive variety of weapons used (which I'll describe in detail shortly), and the boss fights all have a sort of fun, reckless feel to them (hacking them to death without worrying about damage), as I take lots of damage simply because it's impossible to avoid it without wasting huge amounts of time. I also took painstaking detail to ensure that the myriad random factors involved here worked to my favor as well as possible; pretty much anything I do that appears suboptimal serves this purpose.

I'll explain the weapons now:

Sword - Your only normal weapon available until the end of level 2. More powerful than the daggers, weaker than everything else. It's the only thing that damages the last boss.

Daggers - Acquired from the 2nd boss, they are throwing weapons. Sometimes useful to get early damage on enemies, but very weak. Especially good against the blue dragon and the weird giant chicken thing, as it hits them a bunch of times, but still weaker than the mace.

Mace - Gotten from the 3rd boss, this is your staple weapon for the rest of the game. By far the strongest of the normal weapons. It randomly damages you for some reason, and I generally aim to avoid this because it slows things down (with a couple exceptions).

Lightning Sword - A special weapon dropped by certain enemies. Automatically targets minibosses, wipes out everything in one or two hits. It doesn't last very long, though. =(

Flame Sword - The other reason, along with enemy behavior, for this game's frustration. Like the lightning sword it is dropped by certain enemies, and it causes your sword to shoot fire waves. These are extremely powerful on minibosses and bosses, better than the mace; the lone exception is the level with the harpies, as the mace is quicker againt them. Where the frustration comes into play is that it is possible to keep this weapon for the whole rest of the level after getting it. Doing so requires you to fire the weapon throughout the level in a certain way; sometimes you don't have to shoot that much, sometimes you do, sometimes you can shoot while jumping forward, other times you must shoot while standing. I have tested, and these are the least time-wasting uses of this weapon in each level that I could get.

And now for some other notes:

- Armor essentially serves as an "extra life" for you. When you wear it and your lifebar runs out, you revert to normal and have another full lifebar.

- The fairies restore your life. You don't ever really need them, but there are some that you can grab just moving as fast as possible.

- For an optimal time it really doesn't matter which order you use for the castle stages, as long as the fire level is done last.

- The above is true because in the last level you have to fight a mirror image of yourself. To kill him, just keep walking into him; you'll take damage until you lose your armor and you're down to half life, then he'll disappear. You want to start this level without your armor (it doesn't matter how little life left, as your lifebar is fully restored when you start the level), and the quickest way to do this is to play the fire level last. For some reason, if you attack the boss there with your mace and take damage, it causes a lot more damage than doing the same thing against other enemies. Hence, with the power of rerecords, attacking him becomes the quickest way to lose your armor.

- Against the giant death chicken, I take damage from swinging the mace in order to affect his behavior. This was the other exception I mentioned.

- The last boss, as I mentioned earlier, is only damaged by the sword. He also has a RANDOM HITBOX (I'm not kidding...it explains why I never could quite beat this blasted game way back when). His weak spot is his head, but sometimes hitting it hurts and sometimes it doesn't. Thankfully, you don't have to do anything stupid to affect this; it changes on its own each time you rerecord.

I think that's about it. Hope you enjoyed this, it was a great feeling for me to finally get this thing under 7 minutes (however barely so it is).

Peace, Josh.

Bisqwit: For people who don't know this game, this movie might not be really interesting at all. The energy spent at making this movie could have spent in some better game... However, surprisingly many people seem to have voted "yes" (without explaining why), so I'm taking the chance and processing this movie.

Bisqwit: Publishing.

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