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

Submission #5338: Invariel's NES Faxanadu in 23:04.69

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Faxanadu
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: Faxanadu.nes
Emulator: BizHawk
Movie length: 23:04.69
FrameCount: 83218
Re-record count: 25859
Author's real name: Adam Michaud
Author's nickname: Invariel
Submitter: Invariel
Submitted at: 2016-12-24 05:01:55
Text last edited at: 2016-12-28 01:25:52
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (29983 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:


The World Tree is in shambles, and you (henceforth named the Faxanadude) return home to figure out what to do about it. Doing something about it involves dying, talking to the King, climbing a tower, dying again, pestering some old dudes to do their jobs and get the fountains flowing again, entering the World Tree and suffering through the poison mist, dying again, talking to some other dude for a key, running around the branches of the World Tree to collect twoone parts of the mystical battle armour, dying again, and finally beating up the King of the Dwarfs and the Evil One.

This is a 1004 frame (16.73 seconds) improvement over [1077] NES Faxanadu (USA) by Lord Tom in 23:23.68.

Temporary Encode

Author's Comments

It's done. It's finally done. I've asked so many questions about this game along the way:
  • Can I skip all of the enemies until Forepaw and just farm up there? No.
  • Can I just use magic all the way and then get the Glove and use it to farm? No.
  • Can I get a second pair of Wing Boots and sell them to buy the Long Sword and save time? No.
  • Is there somewhere I could sell a potion at a reasonable profit to save time? No.
  • Can I clip through walls? Yes, but it is useless.
  • Hey, what's this box at the ... oh.

I started the run after reading a bit of the source code (thanks to sp's partial disassembly of the game) and discovering that some enemies can be manipulated to face left or right by knowing the current state of RNG and pressing A on the frame where RNG is queried. That turned into an 18 frame savings against Lord Tom's run, but threw off RNG for the entire rest of the run, meaning that enemies decided to be less helpful (until convinced otherwise).

I also started the run with the idea of getting together enough Golds to buy the Long Sword and use it for the rest of the run. However, everything I tried turned out to be a lot slower. Getting a second pair of Wing Boots in the Tower of Fortress (just after Forepaw) was promising, but set me back quite a ways, and then buying the actual sword and selling the boots cost me nearly thirty seconds overall.

The biggest time save in the run came about a month ago, when I was describing my Lua script to someone in my Twitch channel, had to restart playback, and realized that there was a hitbox on the first screen of the game. Building up enough speed to jump over it, I avoided the introduction to the game and saved 12 seconds. That gave me the motivation I needed to power through every other setback and get this finished.

It should be noted that the rerecord count is incredibly low - seeing as the file that ultimately finishes the game is called Faxanadu v13.tasproj, I had a few false starts.

New Tricks

Intro Skip

As discussed above, there is a hitbox that falls from the top of the screen; building up sufficient speed lets you jump over it and save 12.5 seconds when optimized.

RNG Manipulation

Some enemies (not all of them) advance RNG when they have to make a decision. By holding or not holding A during this RNG poll, you can influence the direction those enemies face. This means that enemies can be convinced to not jump off of ledges, and to not turn around underneath you.

Enemy Invulnerability

Enemies go invulnerable for eight frames after being hit by the Dagger (and probably any Weapon) and four frames after being hit by Deluge (and probably any Magic). These two timers do not count down at the same time -- Weapon invulnerability will count down first, from eight to zero and then Magic invulnerability will count down from four to zero.

Particular Time Savings

Description Savings In seconds Notes
Intro Skip 856 14.26 Talked about this above.
First Enemy Turnaround 18 0.30 Talked about this above.
Mattock Room 67 1.11 Lord Tom pointed me to the comment he left in the thread for the currently published run, suggesting that a second could be saved by taking damage on the ladder. He was right.
Wyvern after JO Key 35 0.58 By just running right, I was able to still damage boost and avoid fireballs without slowing down.
Triple Kill -23 -0.38 This is necessary because of the damage taken during the Mattock Room, but I hope it's entertaining.
Farming Wyverns 34 0.56 I spent eight hours trying to save one frame and had the realization that enemy invulnerability timers must exist somewhere in RAM. After I found them, I was able to optimize these four fights and save these frames.
Gremlin Damage 2 0.03 ShinerCCC remarked that the RTA route walks through the first gremlin in the upper portion of Branch. Doing that and managing a later gremlin that the currently published run takes damage from saved me roughly half a second immediately but only two frames overall.
Battle Suit Boss 21 0.35 Optimizing Magic usage earlier let me save an entire attack cycle against the Dwarf protecting the Battle Suit.
King Grieve 19 0.31 I saved roughly one attack cycle against King Grieve. That fight has a lot of lag in it.
The Evil One -5 -0.08 Yes, I lost five frames against the final boss. I chalk it up to having one less shot of Deluge (which I fired against Grieve to save nineteen frames). After finishing this fight, I went back and did it again to get rid of some lag frames and better optimize my positioning.

Special Thanks

No submission is complete without thanking the people that were supportive along the way. While I am sure that I will miss some people, here are the ones that jump to mind.
  • Lord Tom, for making the previous run and being supportive in IRC.
  • Walker Boh, for making the first two runs of this game.
  • Samsara, for supportive conversations while I was really frustrated with how things were going.
  • adelikat, for repeatedly saying he wants to see an improvement to the currently published run.
  • Cythraul, for asking what the boxes were.
  • MediaMagnet, for the auto-hosts, participating in the chat, and keeping me focused.
  • link_7777, for hanging out in Twitch, throwing people my way, and being supportive in general.
  • ZombieQueen22, for being incredibly supportive and understanding.
  • ShinerCCC, the current RTA WR holder, who kept asking questions.
  • Nifter, for reminding me that there are other worlds.
  • The TASVideos IRC channel, for just being there.
  • HelloBoing, NorBro86, Wreckie, volt_56, duhbat, Ms_Crash, SpiritSpirits, and the rest of the Twitch viewers who have dropped in to ask what the crap I am doing.

Possible Improvements

  • ShinerCCC noted that it can save two frames at a time by equipping items over timer countdown frames because I have to pause anyways. Across the run, I think this would save eight to ten frames. I did start doing this late in the run but didn't go back to the first use of Wing Boots to
  • I am fairly certain I lost frames due to subpixel optimization, but I know that I made them up later. Better subpixel control might help though, so I have to mention it here.
  • Reducing lag in the King Grieve fight would certainly help things, but I don't think it's worth hitting Grieve early to turn him around so that he shoots his fireballs into the wall, because you have to reposition too much.

Lua Script

The Lua script that I used to draw hitboxen and display other vital information can be found at http://tasvideos.org/userfiles/info/35925051135496342


This run is dedicated to my mother, who is responsible for me knowing about the game in the first place.

Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: Well planned and well executed run. Good improvement. Accepting to Moons as an improvement to the published movie.

Spikestuff: Publishing!

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