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

Submission #406: Josh the FunkDOC's NES Sword Master in 17:21.88

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Sword Master
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Sword Master (U).nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 17:21.88
FrameCount: 62513
Re-record count: 4623
Author's real name: Josh Ballard
Author's nickname: Josh the FunkDOC
Submitter: Josh the FunkDOC
Submitted at: 2004-11-06 07:16:00
Text last edited at: 2004-11-29 00:37:20
Text last edited by: Bisqwit
Download: Download (4515 bytes)
Status: decision: cancelled
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Author's comments and explanations:
Well, I promised a movie of this, and here it is with the right time displayed now! =)

This game is very similar to Castle of Dragon in gameplay and structure. You move from left to right and fight a neverending onslaught of minibosses and bosses, with the occasional set of weak normal enemies to break things up. And also like CoD, as you kill things you gain experience and gain a longer lifebar as you level up.

This game has some key differences which make it much better-suited for a timeattack, though. First of all, the even-numbered levels do not have any minibosses; they focus more on platform jumping and are very short. The game is generally much faster-paced, and you can perform double and triple jumps; this is EXTREMELY difficult to perform in real-time, as I think you cannot hold the A button for more than 2 or 3 frames in order to be able to jump again. Jumping is much much faster than walking, so I do it almost nonstop in this video.

And, there's magic. The bosses of the 2nd through 5th levels each give you a magic spell upon death. Upon picking up the first of these, you can switch between your normal form and a wizard form by pressing Select. When in wizard form, you can switch spells by pausing and pressing Right (and ONLY Right) until you get what you want. Pressing B causes you to shoot a projectile, and holding it afterward makes your character charge up for a highly-damaging version of your spell.

Your experience meter also doubles as your magic meter, and it gets longer as you level up. You have to be careful planning out magic use, though, because once you level up your MP count resets to zero.

Here's a description of each of the 4 spells, in the order in which you acquire them:

Staff - The first one you find, pressing it shoots a dinky fireball and charging it only gives it extra range. Generally useless, but you need this to be able to turn into the wizard. Also good for a spell-charging trick: Select this spell, shoot the little fireball and begin charging, then switch to the spell you want while charging, then release it when ready. The reason this is useful is that this spell's normal projectile does not cost anything, whereas the other spells' projectiles all cost 1 MP (they all also deal 2 points of damage, btw).

Fire - Normal projectile is a fireball that travels across the screen. Key to beating the level 5 boss quickly. The charged version of this spell is the weakest besides Staff's, but it also costs the least MP; I use it once precisely for this reason.

Explosion - Normal projectile is an arcing, exploding fireball with limited range. The charged version is tied with Lightning's for most powerful attack in the game, but the latter takes far less time to execute. This costs exactly 1 less MP than that one, though, and it is used once specifically because of this.

Lightning - Normal projectile is pretty much the same as Fire's. Charged version is as strong as Explosion's, much much quicker to execute, but 1 MP more expensive. Used twice in the run.

I have tested things out, and my uses of magic are the most time-saving ones that work within the MP limits. Generally, a barrage of projectiles is the fastest way to kill something, but charged spells are a better damage-for-MP value; each has its place in this movie.

And one more thing about magic before we're done...in my previous version of this run, I somehow started out one experience level higher than I should have. This allowed me to use magic quite a bit more, which is why this movie is only marginally faster than that one. Level 5 is 146 frames slower in this run, and level 7 100 frames slower (both entirely due to the lesser amount of magic, as I improved them otherwise), but this movie improves the other levels by over 6 seconds total.

Whew! Now that that's done, a brief word on randomization. This game is similar to Castle of Dragon in being extremely frustrating in this sense (the skeletons, dinosaur, lizardmen, level 3 boss, and level 6 boss were the worst), but I'm happy with what I got out of every enemy. Sometimes what I do may look strange, but I tested things and these were the fastest results I could obtain.

One other EXTREMELY important thing to note is that if an enemy is backed into a corner, he cannot be damaged by anything. This is the whole reason I often wait for enemies to come toward me.

And now for the fun part...glitches! This run features two graphical glitches and one that improves speed. Here's the rundown on them, in order of levels they appear in...

Level 2: Watch closely as I jump over a floating eye. As it flies off the screen to the left, it turns into a weird-looking piece of junk.

Level 6: The ceiling glitch! It works just as it appears to: If you get hit backwards in certain places, you'll get stuck in part of the celing and can jump on top it. You can cruise through the whole rest of the level jumping forward on the ceiling, without having to worry about any of the level's many obstacles. To fall through the ceiling, all you have to do is just stand there for a brief period.

Level 7: As I'm charging up a spell before the last boss, I jump. This leaves a little graphic of my hands charging, just sitting there for a little while.

There's another trick that isn't a glitch per se, but a big time-saver nonetheless. See, after killing a boss, there's a period of about 5 seconds where you must wait for the level to end. If you pause and unpause after the boss, though, it instantly ends this period. Of course, with most bosses you need to pick up the spell before doing this!

One more thing...I repeatedly get hit by the last boss's lightning bolts because it's slightly faster to do so than to wait for them to disappear.

So there you have it. Hope you enjoy watching this short, fun, EVIL game!

-Uses FCE Ultra

-No warps or passwords

-As fast as possible

-Takes damage to save time

-Abuses programming errors in the game

Later everyone,


Still giving the wrong time, sigh...

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