TASVideos

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

Submission #4351: scrimpeh's PSX Castlevania Chronicles in 24:58.72

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Castlevania Chronicles
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Castlevania - Chronciles.bin
Branch:
Emulator: PSXjin 2.0.2
Movie length: 24:58.72
FrameCount: 89923
Re-record count: 43642
Author's real name: JPT
Author's nickname: scrimpeh
Submitter: scrimpeh
Submitted at: 2014-06-27 20:32:09
Text last edited at: 2017-02-12 13:02:57
Text last edited by: scrimpeh
Download: Download (16435 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Castlevania Chronicles is a remake of Castlevania for the NES, originally released on the Sharp X68000 in Japan as "Akumajou Dracula". The game was rereleased on the PSX as Castlevania Chronicles, featuring an Arranged Mode that updates the graphics and music. The movie aims to complete Arrange Mode as quickly as possible, saving about 88 seconds over the previous run.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: PSXjin 2.0.2
  • BIOS used: SCPH1001.bin
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Ends input early
  • Genre: Platformer

Comments

This is Castlevania Chronicles, with an improvement over the previous run by zggzdydp by about 88 seconds. The bulk of the time improvement came from turning off the timer in the options, but several improvements in gameplay have been found as well. All in all, about 952 frames, or 15.87 seconds were saved through gameplay improvements.

You take control of Simon Belmont, armed with his trusty whip. Unlike in the original, you can whip diagonally downwards and straight down as well. Jumping is equally fast as walking, but wastes two frames on starting the jump and landing. Dropping from too high of a ledge forces you into a crouch state for several frames, which makes it more preferrable to walk off ledges sometimes. Additionally, low ceilings stop Simon's movement, making them undesirable.

Like the previous submission, the run uses Arrange Mode for the updated aesthetics. There are several gameplay differences between the two versions as well, most notably, Arrange Mode adds a mercy timeframe where you can still jump while dropping off a ledge. Additionally, taking damage in Arrange Mode boosts you straight upwards, whereas Original Mode boosts you upwards and sideways, making damage boosts possible. This fact alone makes Original Mode worth considering for a TAS as well.

Tricks

Canceling Whip Animation

Hitting the ground while whipping straight down or diagonally downward cancels out your whip immediately. This allows you to use your whip several times within a single jump.

Moving while using subweapons

Canceling your whip animation shortens the time you stand still when throwing a subweapon. The amount of frames you have to stand still before you can start moving again is equal to the amount of frames that are cancelled out, the fewer, the better, up to a maximum of a subweapon throw time of only 1 frame. This is extremely beneficial, as it allows you to use subweapons while moving forward, as well as jump and turn around while using a subweapon.

Hitting enemies behind you

When using a subweapon while moving, it will spawn slightly behind you (most notable with the cross) and be able to hit things that are immediately behind you. This comes in handy sometimes.

Stunning Enemies

Hitting enemies with your whip or subweapons stuns them briefly and disables their collision. This allows me to slip past several enemies that are too big to jump over normally.

Double Hit

Many enemies, most notably bosses, have annoyingly long hitstun times when taking damage. This can be counteracted by stacking all of your damage output to hit them on one frame.

Stage by stage comments

BLK-1 (Stages 1 - 3)

Fairly straightforward stage. Mostly the same strategy as in the previous submission, but I make an effort to minimize jumps. The stopwatch is used on the bat, as a hit normally makes it disassemble, taking ages to make it vulnerable again. Additionally, the layout of the arena makes it impossible to hit it any faster. Total: About 20 frames saved.

BLK-2 (Stages 4 - 6)

The green pillars in the beginning are annoying, as their hit recovery time is longer than Simon can normally whip, and they regenerate when you leave them alone for too long. It's not possible to manipulate the wooden platform in Stage 5 to come any earlier. I pick up the cross in stage 6 which will be the weapon of choice for the remainder of the run. The cross has a limited speed and range, which makes it less powerful compared to other Castlevania games, but still a very good weapon for all purposes. I don't know what their sound designers were intending with its sound, however. Using the double hit on the boss saves a lot of time, making the total improvement in this stage about 238 frames.

BLK-3 (Stages 7 - 9)

Because jumping slows you down, I can't really do that many interesting things with the fleamen. Stage 09 is an ice level. Attacking while in midair slows you down about 4 frames each time, which is why I only attack when I need to. The position of the ice pillars the boss raises are dependent on RNG, which is set in advance before you enter the boss arena. The boss teleports to the other side of the room from you, making proper positioning very important. Total improvement: 169 frames.

BLK-4 (Stages 10 - 12)

I finally collect a triple shot in this level, which is gonna make the bosses go by a fair bit quicker. The spike traps in Stage 12 cannot be manipulated, which forces me to take damage from them. Unlike the previous run, I was able to slip by the glass monster without taking damage, saving a fair bit of time. Total improvement: 81 frames.

BLK-5 (Stages 13 - 15)

Oh, the dreaded clock tower. The moving gears and platforms in this level make it fairly difficult to TAS, with lots of small optimizations throughout. This is also where every enemy in the game starts doing 4 bars of damage to your health, which means you'll go down very quickly. Once again, I am able to slip through several obstacles that zggzdydp had to stop for. Total frames saved: 250

BLK-6 (Stages 16 - 18)

Oh the tower of dolls. For all of the game's otherwise questionable choices in music design, this theme makes up for all of them. Moving through the stage is fairly straightforward, but manipulating the dolls is not. It is very hard to line them up properly to for high point cross combos. The Axe Armors in the last part of the stage are very resilient from the front, but jumping over them and hitting them from above finishes them off in one hit. The Doppelganger boss is very aggressive and has a high invulnerability time, making him fairly tough to defeat. About 13 frames were saved in this stage.

BLK-7 (Stages 19 - 21)

Of all the enemies where I said you can slip past them by hitting them with your whip, of course, this doesn't apply for Franky, who I am forced to take damage from. Most of the rest of the Stage is fairly straightforward. About 152 frames saved.

BLK-8 (Stages 22 - 24)

The enemies in this stage are very aggressive and resilient, making it pretty tough to get past them sometimes. Unfortunately, I cannot get past the falling chandeliers any faster. Thankfully, I can at least rack in lots of cross combos for lots of score. As usual, Dracula has two forms. The first form is a matter of doing as much damage as possible per cycle. Like the Block 3 boss, Dracula's first telportation is random and fixed when you enter the stage. On his second form, I use the crosses to destroy the flames he is spitting at me. Note that input ends when I throw my final cross at him, which makes the actual level completion time a bit longer. Nevertheless, about 29 frames were saved overall in this stage.

Useful RAM Addresses

Address Type Description
0005A809 16 Bit X Pos
0005A808 16 Bit X Subpixel
0005A80D 16 Bit Y Pos
0005A80C 16 Bit Y Subpixel
00092BD0 8 Bit Fallstun Timer
0005A828 8 Bit Simon Hitstun
0005A830 8 Bit Weapon Upgrade Counter

All Addresses are unsigned.

Other comments

And that was Castlevania Chronicles. Special thanks go to zggzdydp for making the previous submission, which helped me immensely making this run. I'd also like to thank Nach, who suggested the game to me some time ago on IRC; It's no Castlevania: The Adventure 2, but I hope it'll do. Shoutouts also go to the tasvideos IRC channel for being a chill place in general.

The run can likely still be improved by some frames through better optimization, as well as better heart, jumping and damage management (Also boss fights 'cause I'm bad at boss fights.) Still, I hope you enjoyed watching this run and if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer.

-scrimpeh


Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: Solid run. Accepting to Moons as an improvement to the published run.

feos: Publication.


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