TASVideos

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

Submission #4716: scrimpeh's NES Frankenstein: The Monster Returns in 09:39.48

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Frankenstein: The Monster Returns
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Frankenstein - The Monster Returns (U).nes
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 1.8.4
Movie length: 09:39.48
FrameCount: 34826
Re-record count: 70120
Author's real name: JPT
Author's nickname: scrimpeh
Submitter: scrimpeh
Submitted at: 2015-06-06 14:40:27
Text last edited at: 2015-12-12 14:02:12
Text last edited by: scrimpeh
Download: Download (5994 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Frankenstein: The Monster Returns is a NES game released by Bandai in 1990. The evil monster Frankenstein has risen from the grave and kidnapped the girl Emily. Our hero is out to save her and defeat the evil monster once and for all. This TAS aims to complete the game as fast as possible.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 1.8.4
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Abuses programming errors
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Manipulates luck


(Link to video)
Temporary encode for your viewing pleasure.

Comments

This is Frankenstein for the NES. It is a game. You are some bloke who's out to rescue the girl from Frankenstein. The monster, not the doctor. About a year ago I made a testrun for the game in 11:34. This run saves nearly two minutes over the old run through the use of new tricks and more careful optimization. Further details are outlined below.

Tricks

Projectile Double Hit

If you have a melee weapon that also fires projectiles, you can line up your attack to make both the projectile and your weapon hit an enemy on the same frame. This is very beneficial since most bosses have very long invulnerability times after a hit.

Kick Double Hit

If you perform a kick, the hitbox of your main weapon is activated as well. You can use this to make your kick do the damage of your main weapon, or line up the hitboxes so that both your kick and the weapon hit the enemy for additional damage. Once again, this is extremely beneficial.

Early Boss Hit

Most bosses become vulnerable before their dialogue cutscene plays. Using projectile weapons, this allows me to sneak in hits earlier than I should.

Attack Screen Wrap-Around

Kicks and projectile attacks wrap around to the other edge of the screen when they hit the edge. This comes in handy sometimes.

Cancelling Attack Animation

If you crouch, you can cancel your attack animation by uncrouching. This comes in handy sometimes to start moving again quicker.

There's also lots of one-off tricks that are pointed out as they appear in the stage by stage comments below.

Stage by stage comments

Stage 1

Stage 1-1

I name my character "." for dialogue to pass by faster. Landing normally costs a frame, but taking damage doesn't, so I take damage when I can afford to. If you hold a weapon or a projectile attack, you lose it if you take damage.

I pick up the club which doubles my damage output (from 1 to 2) and the projectile attack. Using that, I can perform double hits for 3 damage per attack.

At the end of this section, you are rushed by a set of dogs. You need to kill 5 of them to proceed, but if you kill them too early, the game won't register them.

Stage 1-2

Not much to mention here. The Grim Reaper has 5 HP, so 2 attacks from my weapons can take him down.

BOSS - Demon Horse

The Demon Horse has 10 HP. I finish him off using 1 projectile attack before the cutscene plays, and 3 double hits.

Stage 2

Stage 2-1

If you let the floating guys catch you, they will drain all your life and kill you instantly. Unlike every other weapon, you don't drop the sword if you get hit. It only does the same damage as my fist anyway. The monster has 4 HP, so combining the damage from my kick and the sword, I can take him down in 2 hits.

Stage 2-2

Again, I pick up a club and the projectile attack for 3 damage total. By carefully determining which enemies to kill, I can avoid all lag frames in this section.

The tree has lots of weird glitches, but unfortunately I don't get to show them.

When fighting the He Monster and She Monster, only the She Monster takes damage. After she is killed, I use an attack to stun the He Monster to make his dialogue cutscene start faster.

Stage 2-3

The lilypads are one of the few objects in the game where landing does not cost a frame. If you land on a lilypad while attacking, your attack animation is suspended. This is pretty nifty, but doesn't save any time.

BOSS - Medusa

Both forms of Medusa have 10 HP, so I have to finish them off in 4 hits each. The second form has a fixed pattern and a very long hitstun time, so I can't kill it before it flies out of reach.

Regarding the cutscenes, they must have been thinking they were writing a freaking novel...

Stage 3

Stage 3-1

You can get a small boost from the gravestones by jumping off when they rumble (Your position gets shifted back and forth, so if you jump while it's going forward, you save a frame).

The green demon guy is stupidly hard to get double hits on for some reason. He is the only boss in the game where I have to delay my attack by a significant number of frames to obtain them.

Stage 3-2

The stairs have a weird glitch that allows you to jump off from them, which saves about 40 frames. In the upper level of the castle, I obtain a whip from the last armor as it will come in handy later.

The whip is a ranged attack which does 2 damage, but you have to stand still while using it until it returns to you. It is not very flexible for that reason. However, by using the weapon while crouched, you can stand up the moment it hits an enemy to cancel the animation and avoid the return phase.

BOSS - Gatekeeper

Unlike my Testrun, Gatekeeper had a horrible pattern in this attempt where he would mostly fly out of reach of my attacks. Therefore, I had to improvise and get the whip. This allows me to hit him early and change his pattern to be more favorable.

Both the hand and the Gatekeeper need to be killed to proceed. The Gatekeeper would almost fly out of range, but thankfully there's a small elevated ledge to the right that allows me to just hit him before he flies out of range.

The color glitch in the next room happens because I leave the screen too quick after picking up the treasure chest. It is purely cosmetic.

Then, I go up the stairs to face the stage boss, Dark...

Stage 4

...what!?

Yeah, I didn't see that one coming. By using my weapon right before triggering a screen exit, it messes up and sends me right to the next level. This skips a very long and tedious boss fight, as well as yet another cutscene. This alone saves over a minute over the old run.

Stage 4-1

Unfortunately, I have to get rid of my whip here because it'll only be cumbersome later. Plus, my sword has been upgraded to do 2 damage now, just like the whip. The Tree Stump guys fire a lot of projectiles and produce an ungodly amount of lag while doing so. I manipulate all their shots to go offscreen quickly to avoid any unneccesary lag frames.

Skipping right to Stage 4 also has the side effect of avoiding several minibosses; Usually, at the end of this section, there would be a miniboss to fight.

BOSS - Manwolf

This guy has 20 HP, so by combining the damage from my sword and from my kicks, I can finish him off in 6 hits for 3 damage and 1 for 2 damage. His hitboxes are very finnicky, and his invulnerability time is shortest of nearly all bosses in the game (about 40 frames), which made this fight very difficult. He also has a tendency to jump out of reach, which I had to avoid by doing careful manipulation.

I get the three-way fire here, which adds three projectiles to my sword attack. It will come in very handy in the next section.

I also wait for 5 frames before leaving the screen to avoid the color glitch from earlier. It is okay when it's just one really short room. It's less okay when it's an entire section in garish white and pink colors.

Stage 4-2

I can't use my three-way fire too much here because doing so would create lag. The award to the worst hitboxes in the game go to this section's miniboss, because projectiles do not count if you fire them while old ones are still on the screen. You can work around this by firing a third set of projectiles after the first ones have disappeared, as this "reactivates" your current set of projectiles.

BOSS - Vampire

The Vampire once again has 20 HP. I can line up all three projectiles and my sword to do 5 damage, killing this guy in 4 hits. The first hit is problematic though, because the projectile going straight up will not hit him. To counter this, I had to use my sword once to glitch the game into firing two fireballs forward as opposed to one going upward in the next attack. Lining this up with another attack allows me to hit the Vampire for 5 damage on the next attack. As the game remains active several frames into the fade to black, I had to work in the dark to perform this.

The rest of the fight goes fairly straightforward, but manipulating this guy is a pain, as the outcome of his actions is determined only a few frames before it happens.

Once again, I wait 3 frames to save your retinas.

Stage 4-3

The vines sometimes go in your favor, more often than not they don't. You can go at full speed in the water by holding the jump button when entering it. The water drains your health very quickly though, so I can't stay in it for too long. Once again, another miniboss that should be there doesn't appear because I skipped straight to Stage 4 earlier. What's more, it is the exact same boss that would've been the Boss of Stage 3, so you never get to see him. What a shame, no?

BOSS - Frankenstein 1

Frankenstein has 20 HP, and my kick can do up to 3 damage to him. I also have a bomb in my inventory, which does one extra damage. However, by using it right before the game fades to black, the game forgets to take it away from me after using it, so I can get to use it a second time later in the fight. This allows me to do 4 damage twice to him, allowing me to finish the fight in just 6 hits instead of 7.

The graphical glitches when talking to Emily are caused by jumping on the frame before I enter the door.

BOSS - Frankenstein 2

This boss is annoying, because it is the only boss where double hits aren't possible, so you get to sit through all 21 hits of it. After killing his body, the head comes off and attacks me. It has 12 HP, but I can do 3 damage per hit again. Manipulating it was kinda tricky, but ultimately I managed.

After doing the last hit, I make sure to land as far right as possible, to decrease the time it takes for Emily to reach me. Once she does, the last dialogue plays and the game is over.

Useful RAM Addresses

Address Set #90: Frankenstein: The Monster Returns
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Download .wch file for: BizHawk
Domain Address Data Type Signed Endian Description
RAM 0085 Word Unsigned Little X
RAM 0087 Byte Unsigned Little Y
RAM 0088 Byte Unsigned Little Y 2nd Byte
RAM 0089 Byte Unsigned Little Camera X
RAM 00B8 Byte Unsigned Little Stage 1 Dog Rush Direction
RAM 00B9 Byte Unsigned Little Stage 1 Dog Rush Count
RAM 0602 Word Unsigned Little Enemy 1 X
RAM 0604 Word Unsigned Little Enemy 1 Y
RAM 0607 Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 1 Health
RAM 060C Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 1 Timer/Hitstun
RAM 060F Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 1 Other
RAM 0612 Word Unsigned Little Enemy 2 X
RAM 0614 Word Unsigned Little Enemy 2 Y
RAM 0617 Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 2 Health
RAM 061C Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 2 Timer/Hitstun
RAM 061F Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 2 Other
RAM 0622 Word Unsigned Little Enemy 3 X
RAM 0624 Word Unsigned Little Enemy 3 Y
RAM 0627 Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 3 Health
RAM 062C Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 3 Timer/Hitstun
RAM 062F Byte Unsigned Little Enemy 3 Other

Other comments

And that was Frankenstein for the NES. I really enjoyed making the movie, as I was able to find a lot of clever solutions to problems the game presented. The somewhat high rerecord count of the movie is kinda skewed by having to do the double hits manually, which involves a lot of trial and error. If you feel like improving this movie, I recommend getting a hitbox viewer in Lua and maybe something to automate the more repetetive parts like dialogue sections. Nethertheless, I'm very pleased with the result; It's not Castlevania, but it's practically the same thing.

I hope that you enjoy watching the movie as much as I enjoyed making it, and, if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer.

~scrimpeh


GoddessMaria15: Judging.

GoddessMaria15: This is quite the interesting game choice. The run itself is very optimized and the audience response has been mostly positive. Good work, scrimpeh!

Accepting for Moons.

sheela901: Encoding and publishing...


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