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

Submission #939: JXQ's NES Super Mario Bros 3 "warpless" in 48:29.17

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Super Mario Bros 3
Game version: USA (PRG1)
ROM filename: Super Mario Bros. 3 (U) (PRG1) [!].nes
Branch: warpless
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 48:29.17
FrameCount: 174550
Re-record count: 31509
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: JXQ
Submitter: JXQ
Submitted at: 2006-01-09 19:51:25
Text last edited at: 2008-01-09 21:43:18
Text last edited by: JXQ
Download: Download (10590 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Super Mario Bros. 3 TAS by JXQ

Emulator used: FCEU 0.98.13 (nitsuja)

  • Takes damage / uses death to save time
  • Abuses programming errors
  • Manipulates luck

Goal priority:

  1. No using warp whistles (collecting them is allowed)
  2. Complete game as fast as possible
  3. Complete individual stages as fast as possible

For the most part, this was a very fun run to work on. Planning out a route through the game for the use of sub-items and when to be powered up with what in order to finish the game quickly was very enjoyable to me. The only part of this run I didn't like recording was World 8, because Genisto already dominated that World and I was just floundering in a sea of non-ninja-ness trying to catch up.

Several levels may appear to have a delay when grabbing the card at the end. This is done to manipulate the hammer brothers on the map screen into moving as little as possible (or into a specific spot, if needed). It was also important to make sure that three matching cards were never grabbed. In some levels, a flower was reachable without slowdown, but in others, delays are needed so that different cards are taken.

World 1

  • 1-F has a minor error; Mario can gain super-speed a bit earlier than he does here. It is also faster to collect the whistle than to defeat boom-boom (even when going through the wall).

  • Although the hammer brother can move less by walking back and forth, since he is defeated early, his total amount of movements is the same as it would have been with that strategy.

World 2

  • In 2-F, it is faster to get hit on the spikes than it is to keep firepower for Boom-Boom.

  • In 2-3, you are not experiencing a desync! The deaths that occur are the fastest way to put the hammer brother that gives a hammer in a spot to fight, so that several levels can be skipped.

  • In 2-P, there is a spot that would save time if the wall could be jumped through, but it was looked at in a level editor by Hanzou and extensively tested by Nitsuja, Kyrsimys, and myself, and it cannot be done at that spot.

World 3

  • If the water is long enough, it is faster to stay in it than to repeatedly jump out of it.

  • Both hammer brothers are fought in this world so that the bridge is down between 3-6 and 3-8 when I need it to be, so I can skip 3-6 (an autoscroller). Otherwise, I would only fight the one with the hammer.

  • 3-8 is one of the slowest looking levels of the run, but many strategies were tested.
  • 3-9 uses the "fall through a corner of a block" glitch for the first time. Others throughout the run are more difficult to spot at full speed.

World 4

  • 4-2 shows off a little pipe-entering glitch that costs a few frames, because I have to wait until a certain frame for the hammer brothers movements anyway. The hammer brothers in this world are a pain. It may be possible to reduce their number of movements by one, but the one is fought early so that Mario still has firepower.

  • Unknown to me when I started, 4-F can be skipped with a hammer. However, this hammer is better saved for World 6.

  • In 4-6, the jump that seems much too far to the left is done to avoid invisible coin blocks.

  • This airship is so boring.

World 5

  • After 5-5 is completed, a sound can be heard on the map. This corresponds to one of the hammer brothers on the ground level turning into a treasure ship.

  • Since I don't have firepower when entering 5-7, using the star here lets me get super speed much earlier than without. This star wasn't put in the original planning, but I ended up with an extra star from the hammer brother in World 3.

  • 5-9 is that diagonal-scrolling level, so it is skipped.

World 6

  • The hammer here skips 2 stages, and allows for a hammer brother fight to replace that hammer.

  • Using the star in 6-F saves a couple seconds, since there is another star in the level that allows a quick execution of Boom-Boom.

  • 6-5 was tested in MANY ways. It's possible to enter the second pipe underground and glitch through the pipe there to finish the level, but this ended up being slower than the (somewhat) standard route. Also, having raccoon power now saves getting it in the next level, which speeds things up considerably there.

  • There is an obstacle to jump over above the screen in 6-9, which is why super speed is delayed.

  • Since Mario doesn't have firepower on the airship, the leaf is used to fly to the top of the screen. The two strategies are nearly equal in time saved.

World 7

  • Heavy abuse of programming errors in this world turns in from one of the longest to one of the shortest.

  • I actually had to slow down in 7-3 to avoid collecting three flower cards.

  • Cloud used on 7-4, the water autoscroller.

  • Glitching through the wall on 7-6 gives me an extra P-Wing, which I can use on 7-F. A P-Wing isn't needed here, just raccoon power, but I don't collect any leaves in my inventory for this run.

World 8

  • Notice that the musicbox is still playing at the beginning of this world - apparently airships don't count as completed levels in that aspect.

  • It's surprising and disappointing how few extra lives can be obtained in the first level without a raccoon tail.

  • The longest skippable level remaining after getting the last cloud is 8-F.

  • Just before getting to Bowser, Mario turns around for one frame to manipulate Bowser into waiting the longest time allowed before jumping. Otherwise, he jumps too early and the battle ends up being slower.

Suggested description: Super Mario Bros. 3 completed as fast as possible with the restriction of not using warp whistles. This run does not complete every level; rather, it uses the layout of the world maps and the items obtained throughout to play as few levels as possible.

Possible screenshots:

  • 22396 (World 2 map using hammer)
  • 34412 (3-2 with fish stomping)
  • 55363 (4-2 carrying ice block)
  • 105351 (6-5 destroying blocks)
  • 129799 (7-6 wall-glitch)

I used several other runs for reference in Mario physics and tricks - Kyrsimys's Mario Adventure run and Genisto's run of this game using the warp whistles. Thanks go to both of them. Also thanks to Nitsuja, Hanzou, and Kyrsimys again for helping me with the glitch that lets you zip (well, crawl is more like it) through the walls. Thanks to FODA, 4Masty, Tailz, Bag of Magic Food, Randil, Saturn, A Runnelid, Andypro, Kitsune, and everyone else on the forums who offered encouragement (you can never have enough of that)! And finally, an extra thanks to Hanzou for editing the movie to begin from power-on rather than soft-reset. Color me n00bed!

(It may be more helpful to word the FCM error on the submission page differently: instead of "movie does not start from reset", have "movie does not start from power-on".)

Bisqwit: Processing.
Bisqwit: Submission file replaced per author's request.
This update does not propagate forward to the publication though.

JXQ: Thank you, Bisqwit.
The publication is not affected; this file contained the FCEU version in the metadata, while the previous did not.

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