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

Submission #4998: Archanfel's Genesis The Pirates of Dark Water in 14:14.92

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: The Pirates of Dark Water
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Pirates of Dark Water, The (Jan 1994) (U) [!]
Emulator: Gens Rerecording v11c
Movie length: 14:14.92
FrameCount: 51229
Re-record count: (unknown)
Author's real name: Alexey
Author's nickname: Archanfel
Submitter: Archanfel
Submitted at: 2016-02-03 23:24:41
Text last edited at: 2016-02-08 16:12:18
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (5097 bytes)
Status: published
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(Link to video)

Game objectives

  • Emulator: Gens Rerecording v11c
  • Heavy glitch abuse
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Genre: Platform
  • Uses no passwords
  • Contains speed/entertainment tradeoffs (so small that it not worth mention as tag)

About the game

Pirates of Dark Water is remarkable for its eccentric setting, utilizing the source material's melding of swashbuckling adventures, sword-and-sorcery fantasy, and Road Warrior-inspired fashion aesthetics. Drawing from the cartoon's backstory, players fight rival pirates as well as fantastic creatures sent to hinder the heroes from finding the Treasure of Rule by the evil pirate-lord Bloth.


The game features the main crew of the 1990s TV show - Ren, Ioz, and Tula - searching for the Treasures of Rule in order to rid the world of Mer of the Dark Water and return Mer and Ren's homeland, Octopon, to its former glory. At beginning of each stage the player can chosen one of the three main characters:

  • Ren - medium strength/medium agility;
  • Tula - low strength/high agility;
  • Ioz - high strength/low agility;

Ioz can kill most enemies in one hit, Ren is the most balanced while Tula is the fastest but weakest. If you feel a change is in order you can feed 10 watermelons to monkey bird companion Niddler to switch. However it is take too long.

Tricks and glitches


If to enter lank input after acceleration phase is possible to keep high speed longer than intended. Optimal double jump for Tula is not so obvious, as i calculated on infinitely flat surface highest average speed have this double jump {[>B] [>]x10 [>B] [>]x25 [ ]x14} but places to apply pure theory in reality are very rare. Usually many factors of influences, like surface angle, low/high ceiling, enemies on way, distance to aims (need exact amount of jumps). So each real place require some adaptation to make double jumps longer or shorter.

Gravity potion & side-effects

Gravity potion is inba item. This wonderful potion allow player to make jumps at sonic speed 15 pixels per frame during double jump, blank input as akways help to maintain high speed much longer after that. Potion's effect works 899 frames, for TAS with precise sequence of inhuman jumps it's enough to completely crack whole levels. Beside high speed, there are also interesting side-effects of potion:
  • Tula (and Ren) able to use vertical zipping in some places.
  • Ioz is even more broken, he can jump thru close doors without having key.
However such priceless game-breaking potions are enough rare, and some of them are hidden in so far places that it is cost more time to get than benefit from usage. In my route 14 gravity potions will be collected and used. During route planning i tested two things: 1-How many frames cost to get each particular gravity potion in game and 2-How many frames will be saved if use gravity potion in each level. Then compared these numbers and figure it out how many potions is optimally - result is that Goldilocks number is exactly 14.

Cancel breaking bottles animation

By pressing [C][>BC] possible cancel breaking bottles animation and to enjoy effect of potion for 44 frames longer. Used each time when need to use potion.

Cancel sword attack animation

By pressing down or by making jump possible to cancel sword attack animation, it used each time when need to destroy boxes/basket.

Ladder glitch

Near with some ladders possible grab for air and became able to climb up (or down) infinitely high. Used only once in very beginning.

Falling limit

There is falling limit, if character is fall down too long it will lost HP and be respawn from place where it was before falling. Possible to slightly extend this limit by using double jump during falling or by taking damage. Several tricky jumps in this run done extremely near to very boundary of this limit.

Avoid dialogues

Dialogues with secondary characters are just waste of time, so where possible they are skipped. To do it usually need simply jumped over their "speaking area", only 2 or 3 of such skips are more or less tricky.


Zipping is zipping. Very powerful glitch, it allowed to move inside some walls with fantastic speed. Very useful especially in vertical levels. Need use gravity potion + some set up to activate.

Ceiling effect

Ceiling is reflect you back to ground. So middle-high ceiling allow make double jumps more frequent and reach higher average speed, it is very useful. On other low ceiling forbid double jumps and make average speed almost equal walking. Special case is corner effect, at corners possible to get angle almost parallel with ceiling, even at low ceiling where normally it not possible.

Finish level trigger

In many levels is need to stay on the ground to finish it.

Temporary invincibility

There are two types of invincibility - full and partial, during partial invincibility still can get damage by spikes. Full: 1)– a short time at the beginning of the level. 2) After damage or death. Partial: 3)During double jump acceleration.4)During use of potions. In TAS all 4 cases were used.

Button glitch (harmful)

For some reasons if stand on button - effect of potion will immediately disappear. Conclusion: Never stay on buttons during potion. Never.

S+ state

To execute double jump we need to make normal jump. However in some places, where need to come down is not handy or even impossible to jump up. So is worth to make preparatory jump without acceleration. After landing we get ability to make do double jump second jump with acceleration without pre-jumping. I called it S+ state. Used many times.

Special ability

Magical super attack is cost player's health to produce deadly wave and kill enemies. Only one useful application in 6-7 to clear path to exit and save several frames. In all other places used it just for fun to during long awaiting.

Stage by Stage

Pandawa Jungle


Used ladder glitch to skip part of level. Actually it was first and the last time where this glitch was used.


At beginning go in the wrong direction to get first gravity potion and "try" cover this backlog. Even with potion, path up to exit enough tricky, to climb up on each next stage necessary to catch elevators. Fortunately in one of places is possible to skip elevator and catch to bottom of ladder instead.

Port of Pandawa


Grabbed 2 bottles and all gold coins.


Zip up inside wall to skip first key. Used OOB route to skip the second key, however get this key anyway for next stage. Get yet 3 bottles, actually it's a whole treasure, in second half of game they will became rare and then completely disappear closer to end.


Skip first dialogue with monkeys, used extra key from previous stage. Linear areas like this are very effective for application of gravity potion. Only one bad thing about super speed - it's possible jumping forward in one direction so fast that camera not able to keep player on screen...

2-4 (boss)

There was pleasant surprise in this boss fight. There is strict 99 frames rule between hits, and i thought zero chances to improve this fight, however unexpectedly found glitch allow to make 2-HP strikes at specific frame during animation transitions. Workable only on Konk.



Short level, just grabbed potion and go to exit. On the falling platform you can notice usage of S+ state.


At beginning of the level (during invulnerability) was possible make jump on the spikes. In the sub-room with key to manipulate load of skeletons pattern to get key without problems. When back in main room, precise jump to fall down very close to the falling limit.


Beauty of ceiling effect at upper rooms.


Get another potion.


Difficult level. In the first half it is necessary to contrive to meet the rigid platform cycle, meanwhile need to collect gold coins and a key. Using a vertical zip glitch which would skip the door. Saved key from that door will be useful for the second half of the level. In the second half it is necessary to take two potions and refrain from use, although very desirable.


Nothing special. Skeletons archers in the frame-advance are look interesting.


Just take a compass and leave.

Bobo Mountain


Short level, the only thing to care about is not start dialogue with prisoner.


Using potion = skip level. Level is very linear, simple.


Using potion again, but this time not so simple. Thorns, to death hole, ladder, and ect, but it all early no one sees because almost everything is happening offscreen. At end need to take another two potions.


Autoscroller level. To make it more interesting and small trade off - if press "left" while level is loading Tula turn around on during flying airplane. It was suggested by Sean Cass. I found it hilarious.


The level is pretty huge and in addition it is necessary to take the potion in the middle. So activate the potion is not at the very beginning as usual, but a little later in order to achieve maximum effect. Do not forget about the limit of the fall.


Using another potion. Relatively simple level. There were only some difficulties were crossing the wide pits in the beginning of the level, because impossible to land on some flying platforms while being offscreen, but it all problems were solved by avoiding these platforms in route at all.


Need just to press the center button, and wait for the statue. Made some jump and fake fight with statue just for entertainment.

Janda Town

Changing the character to Ioz, to be able use jump thru close doors mighty glitch.


Ioz is quite slow, in such a short level he lost about 2 seconds compared to Tula, but it is a very small entrance fee for ~45 seconds shortcut in next one.


With using super-glitch go through walls and missing lots of keys. There is a stable set up to skip door (standing near the wall), but for Tas i found faster set up at tricky angle, so potions became enough to complete full level from the beginning to the end. And as the cherry on the cake - skipped dialogue with beard guy.

5-3 (Boss)

Nothing special, fixed frame-rule between hits.


Change the character back to Tula.


Short level. Jump down (close to the falling limit as usually) + skip dialogue at end.


Collect keys. The ceiling-effect is friend. Some inconvenience deliver monster-dogs and spiders near keys, but after all managed to pass without damage. By the way, there are two kinds of sword-attack at sitting down; chopping vines with use that which is 4 frames shorter.


Open the doors. Monster-dogs and bats try to eat us again (without success obviously).


A simple level, just click the big button and exit.


Fantastic level. Very useful zip avoids waiting a long platform cycle and pressing button => skip huge piece of map. It would seem already good enough, but here comes into play another zip! Another decent chunk of the level passed. Btw second zip was special, it is necessary to get the damage at spikes as setup. Not yet all! At the end of level also another button was skipped, jump above pool with dark water without a bridge.


Pess the button. Open the door. Pess the button. Open the door. Pess the button. Open the door. Well, you understand. By the way the buttons have an internal 8-frames rule, i extremely pleased with the optimisation of last button to satisfy this rule. Remarkable point is using of super-strike to kill enemies near the last door (in narrow places difficult to evade from enemies).


Short and simple.

6-8 (boss)


Sunken Bridge


The main thing is not to drown in the sea.


Another short and simple level, the main limiter is platform's cycle.


This level has brought very pleasant surprise. There is platform with very long ~700 cycle, and it was almost no hope to catch the previous cycle. However, after overcoming of sea cycle (which also has seemed impossible) and getting damaged at spikes miracly gained enough frames to succeed. Cycle was caught! Very, very happy with this level.


Some difficulties with platforms. Also at end of the level need wait cycle of sea to not drown.


Using invincible in the beginning to ignore arrow shot. Sword attack to avoid slipping from the button.



At bottleneck before key, we must accept damage, there are no other way to avoid without time losses. Super-risky jump at moving platform section, it save a little of frames, but still nice what trick succeed.


Potion. Just potion.

8-3 (boss)

The most uncomfortable boss. Hard to optimise.

Dark Dweller’s Lair


Using the latest potion. Falling limit at the end brings some problems.

9-2 (Dark Dweller)

Crystals should be placed in a certain order. The most interesting parts are transiction from the third to the fourth crystals, climb the platforms counterclockwise, and from the fourth to the fifth with falling.

Possible improvements

I not exclude that may be some new zips can be discovered. Besides some aspects with lag manipulation, multi-dimensional movement/acceleration/physics and enemies hindrance most likely can be a bit improved in several places.

Special thanks

  • maTO
  • Pyrius
  • Sean Cass

Suggested screenshots

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Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: Another well planned and well executed run. The potion usage and potion management make it especially fun to watch. Accepting for Moons.

feos: Pub.

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