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

Submission #6246: Fx's GBA Golden Sun in 2:58:12.83

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: Golden Sun
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: 0079 - Ougon no Taiyou - Hirakareshi Fuuin (J).gba
Emulator: VBA-RR v24 svn480
Movie length: 2:58:12.83
FrameCount: 638656
Re-record count: 7493
Author's real name: Wessel van der Reijden
Author's nickname: Fx
Submitter: Fx
Submitted at: 2019-01-27 15:32:00
Text last edited at: 2019-02-10 11:36:15
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (18230 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Golden Sun Any% TAS

(Link to video)

Emulator used: Visual Boy Advance v24 svn480

Some Information

Glitches Used

Retreat Glitch: When casting retreat with the use of a shoulder button shortcut while at or below 5 Psynergy Points (PP), the game will -think- Isaac went back to the first room, but it won't actually move him there. By then saving and resetting the game, Isaac will be moved to the first room, but keep his X,Y coordinates from the room he retreated out of. This allows us to cut out major portions of dungeons, because we can go out of bounds and enter doors that are usually not available until much later into a specific dungeon.

Retreat Warp: Instead of saving and resetting after activating the Retreat Glitch, you can also simply walk through specific doors that are now aligned with door numbers from the first room of the dungeon, which means you'll often be able to enter blocked off areas much faster than if you were to progress through the dungeon normally.

Instant Ladder Climb: By holding in the wrong direction on ladders for 13 frames, then holding the correct way on the 14th, you will instantly be moved to the top (or bottom) of the ladder you were trying to climb. For example: If you want to go up on a ladder, holding down for 13 frames then up on the 14th will activate this glitch.

Infinite Climb Glitch: Walking up to a ladder and holding up for 13 frames will initiate Isaac's animation to jump on the ladder, but the player can still give inputs for another frame. By pressing Start on the 14th frame, this will bring up the menu while on the ladder (something which is not normally possible). By then saving the game and resetting, the game will save our Z coordinate but think we're not actually on the ladder, instead it thinks we're on the ground. This elevated Z coordinate can help us interact with sprites faster than usual and skip some puzzles.

Tricks Used

Sanctum Warp: Holding L and Start when loading a save file will take the player to the sanctum in the last town they visited. This can save a lot of time when done at the end of a long dungeon.

Soft Reset Buffer: When saving the game, the player can buffer a soft reset input to get out of the game faster than normal.

Attacks First manipulation: This is a battle status that grants Isaac's party one free turn of actions, without giving the enemies a chance to retaliate. It also gives a 100% chance to run from battle, which is often more useful than taking the free turn of attacks.

Djinn Strategy

While there are 28 Djinn in total, in this run we will only be getting 18 of them. 5 Venus Djinn, 4 Jupiter Djinn, 5 Mars Djinn, and 4 Mercury Djinn. This is because the most powerful Summons unlock at 4 Djinn of a particular element. That means we don't need to grab any more than that, as they would just add more menuing time without mattering at all in battle. The reason we get 1 extra Djinn for Venus and Mars elements is because the particular Djinn we grab are extremely overpowered and do actually matter.

Battle Strategy

Run away from any non-mandatory fight. Keep Djinn on Standby so we can throw Summons at bosses from turn 1, rather than having to take extra time to set them up. Focus on cycling through Djinn as fast as possible on bosses that don't die after the first wave of Summons.


Throughout the game we will only use the following items:
  • Broad Sword (Bought in the shop in Bilibin, boosting our damage)
  • Lucky Medal (Obtained in Imil. Used later in the run to obtain the Assassin Blade)
  • Empty Bottle (Obtained in Imil after Mia’s introduction scene. Holds Hermes’ Water after Mercury Lighthouse)
  • Potion (Healing Item. Guaranteed drop from Tret)
  • Douse Drop (Psynergy Item. Lets us cast Douse with any party member)
  • Vial (Healing Item. Guaranteed drop from Living Statue in Altin)
  • Frost Jewel (Psynergy Item. Lets us cast Frost with any party member)
  • Assassin Blade (Extremely powerful weapon with a bonus effect that can instantly kill any opponent. We manipulate the RNG to guarantee the bonus effect in every possible fight)
  • Carry Stone (Psynergy Item. Lets us cast Carry with any party member)
  • Gaia Blade (The game’s ultimate weapon, used to boost Isaac’s attack significantly)



Run from every fight. Lose as fast as possible to Saturos&Menardi.

Vale&Sol Sanctum

In Sol Sanctum, use the Retreat Glitch the skip through the majority of the dungeon.


Bandits fight is fairly straight forward. Manipulate their actions with some odd-looking targeting and move on.

Goma Cave

Cancel several Move casts, then Retreat Glitch in the 2nd room of the dungeon to skip ahead to the Mars djinn Forge. The fight with Forge is fast and easy, just do as much damage as possible as fast as possible.


Here we enter the shop for a short moment to buy ourselves a Broad Sword, which will boost our damage significantly. After that we complete a little puzzle to obtain the Jupiter djinn Gust. Sanctum Warp out and leave the town.

Bilibin to Imil

Run from all encounters.


Obtain Lucky Medal on the way to the Mars djinn Fever. Small glitch used on the snowman puzzle: instead of actually moving the snowman, merely casting move on him and cancelling it will make the game think we pushed him when we really didn’t, saving us a second or two.

Empty Bottle obtained after Mia’s cutscene.

Mercury Lighthouse

Cancel Move on the first statue puzzle before solving it. Defeat the Lizard Man, then Retreat Warp to fast forward to the Mercury djinn Sleet. Defeat him in a specific manner to set up our RNG for the Saturos boss fight. Retreat normally after Sleet and progress through the dungeon until we get Mia, then Retreat Warp to skip right to the top of the lighthouse and initiate the sequence that leads to the Saturos boss fight.


We focus on cycling Mercury djinn to keep summoning the tier 2 summon Nereid. This is by far the fastest way to beat him. He hits hard so we have to do some manipulation during the fight to stay alive.

After defeating Saturos, take the elevator back down and obtain Hermes’ Water.

While heading to Kolima, give Isaac two Mercury Djinn. This lets him use Avoid to prevent encounters. This is the only time where we can use this Psynergy, as its success is based on our party’s average level. In just a few moments the average level of enemies will be too high for Avoid to work.

Kolima & Kolima Forest

Go to Kolima Forest first to trigger the cutscene. This saves time compared to going to Kolima right away, as the cutscene would be much longer in the town.

Head to Kolima to obtain Granite, a Venus djinn. Sanctum Warp to save a little bit of time when exiting the town. Head back into Kolima Forest.

Nothing special through most of the dungeon, but we use the Instant Climb Glitch to save some frames when entering Tret (also because it looks cool)

Tret Tree

We use the Retreat Glitch twice in this dungeon. Once to skip ahead to the Jupiter djinn Breeze, and once after that to set up for the boss fight with Tret.


Fairly simple bossfight, not particularly interesting. Blow him up with summons.

Use Retreat to leave Tret Tree, Instant Climb Glitch down, give Tret Hermes' Water to heal him. Sanctum Warp to Kolima to save time.

Fuchin Temple

We only go here to obtain the Jupiter djinn, Zephyr. Retreat Warp once to skip through most of the dungeon, blow Zephyr up with summons, Retreat out normally.

Mogall Forest

Retreat Glitch to skip a puzzle and multiple rooms. We grab Quartz on the way to the exit.

Killer Ape

Primarily summon rush, but some nuance in what frame we cancel summon cutscenes on to change our RNG for the better. We get a double Attacks First seed by doing this.


Solve a short puzzle to obtain Mist, our 3rd Mercury djinn.

After Leaving Xian, head to north and obtain the Mars djinn Corona.


Here we use the Infinite Climb Glitch to skip a puzzle required to fight a mini-boss. Mini-boss itself gets rushed by summons.

We then use the Retreat Glitch to skip almost all of the dungeon. We have to do some in-game RAM manipulation to make this possible.

Lama Temple

Long cutscene, nothing else.

Lamakan Desert

Use subpixel-perfect movement to manipulate encounters. Obtain the Jupiter djinn Smog, which will be our last Jupiter djinn of the run. Then activate the Retreat Glitch and do some out of bounds movement to reach the Manticore bossfight earlier than intended.


This boss is a bit tougher than the previous few, so we manipulate the RNG to give us a guaranteed proc on Mist, causing the boss to fall asleep and skip several actions.

The game then drops us off at where we would normally be after fighting the Manticore, so we can continue as normal.

Shortly after leaving Lamakan, we obtain Vine, our 4th Venus djinn.


Interact with a specific NPC to advance the story. Then enter a small dungeon and solve a puzzle to obtain our 4th Mars djinn: Scorch.

Tolbi-bound Ship

We will be given 3 mini-boss encounters before the real fight. These mini-bosses can all be taken out with a single tier-4 summon.


We manipulate the RNG in order to make several things happen in this fight: First, we once again guarantee the proc on Mist which makes Kraken fall asleep. Secondly, we also guarantee that our Psynergy “Weaken” will succeed twice, dropping Kraken’s elemental resistances by a large amount. Then we rush him with summons which are way more effective because of his lowered defenses.

Tolbi and Altmiller Cave

We use our Lucky Medal from Imil here to obtain the Assassin Blade, which will let us one-hit kill all enemies except bosses from here on out.

One-hit kill our 4th and last Mercury djinn Hail on the way to Altmiller Cave.

Pick up the 5th and also last Venus djinn Ground.

(Sometimes it’s faster to do the dungeon first and only then pick up Ground, this was not the case for my particular RNG seeds.)

Progress through Altmiller Cave as normal.


We skip the option of pre-solving some puzzles because we have to wait at the end anyway (our opponents are slow).

For the first fight, we grab the Oil Drop item because it saves time (no time lost from picking it up as we have to wait anyway)

Use Scorch to disable the opponents, cast Meteor (tier 4 Mars summon) while they are disabled.

Final fight, we lose as fast as possible as it’s faster to lose than to win.

Suhalla Desert

One-hit kill every Tornado Lizard (mandatory enemies)

One-hit kill the 5th and last Mars djinn, Flash. Most powerful Djinn that can reduce all incoming damage by 90%

Avoid the optional boss fight. From here on out, we can no longer run away from encounters as the level difference is simply too great. Instead we manipulate our RNG to give us single-enemy encounters that we can One-hit kill.

Suhalla Gate

One-hit kill one encounter.

Venus Lighthouse 1

Exit on the right first and re-enter, to save some time when leaving the area later.

Pick up the Carry Stone. One-hit kill one encounter.

Blue path is fastest.


Skip right on through.

Babi Lighthouse

Retreat Warp to save about a second.

Tunnel Ruins

Solve puzzles as usual. One-hit kill one encounter. This sets up Attacks First.

Venus Lighthouse 2

Retreat Warp to skip ahead into the lighthouse. Run away from the encounter.

After this, we progress through the lighthouse as usual. Manipulate the RNG to give us double Attacks First and a final encounter that we cannot One-hit kill, so we use Boreas (tier 4 summon) instead.

Saturos & Menardi

Spread out our Mercury djinn across the party to make them recover faster after being summoned. S&M and FD are weak to Mercury so this saves a lot of time.

In the fight, cycle through Flash, Granite, and Ground to prevent S&M from killing us. Activate summons as fast as possible. Spread damage out so they die on the same turn, setting up our RNG perfectly for FD.

Fusion Dragon

Strategy is fairly similar to S&M. Cycle through defensive Djinn to blunt his attacks, and manipulate the RNG to have him attack the right targets.

One last set of cutscenes.


(Credits start upon clearing Mia's last textbox. This is RTA timing for speedruns. After the credits roll for several minutes, a couple presses of the "A" button are needed to see a post-credits cutscene.)

Edit: I wanted to include a 2nd movie file that performs these couple of inputs as well, but could only upload one file.

Masterjun: Judging.

Masterjun: This is a great improvement on the previous run. I like how using a BIOS changes a few strategies when a hard reset takes too long to save time. Some potential minor optimizations were mentioned, but this is almost bound to happen with a TAS of this length, especially in an RPG. Compared to the previous run, this run has a much higher technical quality.

The problem is the entertainment. The previous run is currently in Vault. While this run is undeniably faster and of higher quality, it's still a long game with a lot of repetitive running around and dialogue. The difference isn't enough to promote it to Moons.

Accepting to Vault as an improvement to the previous run.

Note to the publisher: Make sure to use the movie file with the extra input that starts the bonus cutscene after the credits.

feos: Pub!

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