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

Submission #5004: Jules's SMS Hokuto no Ken in 05:06.94

Console: Sega MasterSystem
Game name: Hokuto no Ken
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Hokuto no Ken (J) [!].sms
Emulator: BizHawk 1.11.4
Movie length: 05:06.94
FrameCount: 18393
Re-record count: 2715
Author's real name: Robyn S.
Author's nickname: Jules
Submitter: Jules
Submitted at: 2016-02-06 03:08:39
Text last edited at: 2020-06-08 00:40:15
Text last edited by: Jules
Download: Download (4348 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Hokuto no Ken is a SMS game that, after making this TAS, can best be described as having little fighting and a lot of outstretched-leg flying. This run improves the published movie by arukAdo by 379 frames.

(Link to video)


  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.11.4
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Uses warps
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Genre: Platform


Hokuto no Ken, based on the manga/anime series of the same name, is a fairly straightforward beat 'em up. It may be more well known internationally as "Black Belt", a version of this game that was released in North America that was stripped of the Hokuto no Ken license, among other minor things. The reason Hokuto no Ken is chosen for this run instead of Black Belt is the presence of level warps, among other changes. The player controls Kenshiro, who is able to jump, punch, and kick. He traverses through levels beating up enemies and minibosses, and at the end of every level there is a boss. There are 5 levels total, after which the final boss is fought.

Level comments

Level 1: The only level that isn't skipped. I took a more pacifist approach this time and took lots of damage, because each jump costs a frame. I also manipulated the minibosses to appear earlier and reduced lag by manipulating enemies offscreen. It creates some downtime, but alas, there was nothing I could do, not even move around because the boss spawn frame is pretty finicky. The minibosses were all killed off quicker, mostly by using the crouchkick which arukAdo neglected, since it has the shortest animation but deals the same damage as the other attacks. When fighting the fat guy at the end I was able to avoid taking a hit from his kick with better positioning. The boss in the level was improved by only having to use one jumpkick instead of two, and replacing the second jump kick with a punch, since the jumpkick is less powerful.

Level 2: I was able to keep the boss in the corner and just unload an alteration of kicks/crouchkicks on him. The attacks are alternated because the regular kick's animation takes too much time to consistently hit the boss during the one-frame window of vulnerability before he charges out like in arukAdo's movie, so I use the crouchkick which deals less damage to ensure he stays there, and then use the regular kick which hurts more. When the boss' health gets low enough the punch starts dealing more damage so I use that to take him out. Some frames are saved near the end as I move as far right as possible to shorten the animation of Kenshiro walking offscreen.

Level 3: Jump-kicking the boss is the only way to make sure he doesn't leap up into the air which wastes a huge amount of the time. arukAdo pretty much nailed the strategy for this one, there's not much to it. Frames were saved from moving to the right after the boss dies to shorten the animation, again.

Level 4: This boss is super tricky. He's only vulnerable when he pops up after crouching so you have to bait him by repeatedly punching. In arukAdo's movie he punched->kicked, while in mine I just punched->punched. It doesn't make a difference because he's hit on the first frame every time. Some frames were saved from a closer jump near the end to once again shorten walking time.

Level 5: The level boss here only takes damage if you use a certain pattern of attacks. When the boss' health gets down to 0 he doesn't die. Rather, you have to hurt him while he does this jump attack to finish him off. arukAdo jumpkicks him while I just use a well-timed punch so I don't have to use a few frames waiting for Kenshiro to land on the ground. Once again I move to the right to shorten the animation.

Final Boss: In arukAdo's TAS, at the beginning of the fight, he does a jumpkick and misses. Oops. I punch instead of crouchkick which finishes off the boss a hit early. The animation of the final punch landing is seizure-inducing, so uh look out. Then the boss slowly lumbers over to the center and croaks, and that's the game!

Other comments

I decided to TAS this game simply because it looked short and silly and I wanted to run another SMS game. At first I figured the whole improvement would just be a few frames in the first level, so I was relatively pleased with the amount of minor optimizations there were to do throughout. Thanks to arukAdo for doing a good first run of the game!

Samsara: are you a machine Judging.

Samsara: Accepting as an improvement to the published run. Audience feedback seems better as well, so giving it an upgrade to Moons.

fsvgm777: Processing.

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