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

Submission #422: TheAxeMan's NES Ninja Gaiden 3 in 11:30.25

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Ninja Gaiden 3
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Ninja Gaiden 3 (U).nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 11:30.25
FrameCount: 41415
Re-record count: 14166
Author's real name: Frank Amoroso
Author's nickname: TheAxeMan
Submitter: TheAxeMan
Submitted at: 2004-11-17 08:55:12
Text last edited at: 2004-11-27 08:50:07
Text last edited by: Bisqwit
Download: Download (4228 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Here's an updated and hopefully final version for Ninja Gaiden 3. I used FCE Ultra and play the more difficult American version. This time through I pull out all the stops, taking hits and pulling even more tricks than before. Despite taking damage, the smooth feel is even more apparent since I never wait for spikes. As before all the ninja powers are used at some point, but I am smarter about which one I carry. In my previous submission, I estimated that taking hits could speed things up by about 5 seconds. Now I'll say it's about 15 seconds, and 14 of that will be in the spike areas. But this run is over 40 seconds faster, and I can really only attribute about 5 seconds of that to taking damage, and mostly from spikes. The rest came from:

Several items I saw in hindsight and didn't correct in my last run, like jumping on the ice and jumping down vertical shafts. Some enemies are also dealt with more efficiently. Thanks to everyone who contributed in the discussion forum, there were many helpful ideas including some of the major items below. Overall, I make better use of the environment in several places.

By far the biggest help was using invincible fire wheel to run through the spikes. It's available in acts 4 and 7, so I make sure I have it. In act 7 this means picking it up in 7-1 and holding on to it all the way through. Using ifw requires a bit of planning as you have to make sure you're invincible when enemies come at you but also make sure it wears off before it knocks down a powerup you don't want to get (because I don't want to switch weapons). Sometimes I can knock down a powerup with the sword and jump over it instead of going straight through and picking it up. Also, ninja power is tight in the beginning of act 7, I can only afford one windmill star, but I make it count.

Wall jumps are faster. I used frame advance and at the peak speed the ninja wall jumps every 4th frame, or 15 times a second. As you can imagine, this makes some vertical rooms much faster.

I take each boss head-on and balls-out. All bosses except the final trifecta are beaten 1-2 seconds faster. This is mostly due to using vacuum wave or using it more effectively. For this reason I hold onto it throughout acts 1 and 3. It's useful in just about any situation so it wasn't hard to adapt. Since I need the invincibility for the spikes in act 7 I have to settle for upwards fire wheel on the final boss, and I could only cut out a few odd frames. Luckily I was able to switch in act 4 without worrying about the spikes. Vacuum wave isn't available in act 2, but a head-on approach sped things up anyway.

You may wonder how I was able to beat some bosses faster when I was attacking constantly before. You can only attack every 17 frames normally. But as Bisqwit has noted, "Ninjas should think beyond normal" -- there are several ways to get around this, and it's actually possible to hit the boss every 10 frames. Jumping off the ground or wall (acts 4 and 5) interrupts the animation. The magic animation is stopped just by landing. However this is limited by the environment and position of the boss, and this is where vacuum wave comes in. You can use the wave as a delayed hit that comes in between sword slashes. This is how I achieve the killing speed you see. Of course taking full advantage of all of these required a great deal of planning, and all the boss fights were stepped through frame by frame.

Besides the spikes, each hit only saves about 15 frames (1/4 second) at the most. Any more than that and you could stop and kill. But I take everything I can get. By my count I take 13 hits throughout the game. My favorite hit would probably be the one in act 5.

Well, this was quite a bit of work, so I hope everyone enjoys it.

Bisqwit: Everyone seems to enjoy it, therefore processing it now.

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