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

Submission #629: TheAxeMan's NES Crystalis "wild warp" in 43:38.58

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Crystalis
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Crystalis (U)
Branch: wild warp
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 43:38.58
FrameCount: 157115
Re-record count: 17315
Author's real name: Frank Amoroso
Author's nickname: TheAxeMan
Submitter: TheAxeMan
Submitted at: 2005-04-15 10:23:07
Text last edited at: 2005-04-15 10:23:07
Text last edited by: Bisqwit
Download: Download (15805 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Ok, I've decided I should submit this run, my second full pass through the game, since my development on a final version is going slowly. I've been working on it for a few months and am at about 5 minutes out of 40. I'll hopefully finish it someday, but I don't want to be in a big hurry.

The intro sequence of Crystalis reminds you that October 1, 1997 was "The END DAY." It goes on to describe how "An evolution had taken place" and "those surviving vowed not to repeat their mistakes of the past and erected a great tower in the sky ... to oppress evil forever." The actual action is similar to Zelda, you run around and stab with your sword as a main attack. However, all weapons give you a projectile which you can activate by charging up, which you would normally stand still while doing (clearly not acceptable in a timeattack!) By most standards, this game is fairly advanced for the NES. The soundtrack is profoundly catchy.

This run looks quite a bit different from normal play due to a few factors. For starters, I never buy armor (though in dungeons I acquire a Sacred Shield and of course the Psycho Armor.) The aptly named "wild warp" is sometimes comes off as very erratic, and it allows me to skip several sections of the game, including the (normally) most useful magic spells Refresh and Teleport. For this reason, I simply have to avoid taking damage in most cases and use warp boots to teleport when it's better than the wild warp. Charging while moving also changes things a bit.

It's been said this is a poor choice for a timeattack due to the fact that leveling is required. Not only is it necessary to reach a certain level to beat each boss (below that any hit simply whiffs) but all enemies have a minimum "to hit" level. So I'm stuck working my way up the food chain, killing bigger enemies as I can. This becomes a dominant planning factor, especially in the first half of the game. About 30% of the time is spent solely on killing enemies to build levels. The worst part is reaching levels 6-7: I spend 5 minutes slaughtering 100 ice zombies.

However, there are many saving graces. One is the "wild warp" cheat which instantly warps you to different areas of the game. Using this, it is possible to warp close to the very end, but many items and weapons are necessary to reach the final bosses, and it's also necessary to build up levels. The wild warp does allow me to skip several major sections of the game, saving a lot of time. In other cases, it simply allows me to teleport to where I want to go faster.

In two cases, I skip large portions with the wild warp and backtrack to reach the location where a wise man telepathically gives me a necessary magic spell. Specifically, I skip most of Mt Sabre, but step in from the other side to get paralysis and skip most of the Evil Island dungeon but come from Swan to get Barrier.

Another glitch allows me to charge my sword while moving. Powered-up sword shots are useful in combat and necessary to get past certain obstacles. This is done by hitting B in alternating non-lag frames.

A glitch which I found, but didn't use in this run, allows buying items from shops at discounted prices or even free. It's activated simply by moving the cursor and hitting A as quickly as possible. The price paid will be the price of the item the cursor started on, but the item bought will be the one the cursor is moved to. Interestingly, this is quite doable on a real NES console. If I felt like it, I could get armor for free from some shops, but it's just not worth the time it would take. My next run will make use of this glitch to consolidate the little shopping I do need.

Route planning for this game was quite complex. The wild warp iterates between the 16 different warp points, so it may take up to that many warps to get to the last warp spot used. I had to consider not only where I was going to get experience and plot items, but also this warp sequence. In addition, I sometimes use warp boots (teleport is skipped) when they can take me closer to where I want to be (and not break the wild warp sequence.) There are also many instances where it's necessary to talk to the various NPCs to advance the plot. It took some research to figure out exactly what the triggers for each event were. For example, you must talk to Kensu in the hut by the ocean before calling the dolphin.

This run definitely has its share of flaws, though they're mostly non-obvious. The final version will use advanced manipulation of enemy spawns to speed up leveling, tweak movement to reduce lag, move all the shopping (with some shoplifting) to Brynmaer, and include some other general improvements. But this run is still pretty crafty, most bosses die very quickly and the route is pretty well refined.

Some specific spots: --Stom always wins the first two fights, his attack pattern is too fast. There doesn't seem to be any way to manipulate this other than going toe to toe with him. So I let him win quickly to get to the third fight, which is actually winnable. --Telepathy unlocks the quests in Oak, it's useless as a spell. --The medusas in the waterfall cave are immune to fire and wind swords. --The dolphin won't appear in the Portoa sea cave unless I get Recover magic (which is useless in a timeattack.) --The only reason I enter Joel is to talk to the elder, Ralph, which unlocks the Evil Island sea cave. --Near the end HP regeneration is due to the Psycho Armor.

Basic info: --FCEU, latest version --Uses a warping cheat code --Abuses programming errors --Takes hits

Well, in conclusion I guess it's time to see if there's interest in this despite the (sometimes long) levelup sequences. Feedback in the forums seems to be positive. Besides, several much longer RPG runs have been published. I'd say when the ice zombie hunt starts, it's a good time to grab a snack and enjoy the thumping soundtrack. In the end it's safe to say that no one expected a clear time near this fast. Someday, I'll finish the (hopefully) final version, cutting out a few more minutes, but until then this one should do.

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