Submission #2958: scrimpeh's MSX Vampire Killer in 17:32.07

Console MSX Home Computer System Emulator
Game Version JPN Frame Count 63043
ROM Filename Akumajyo Drakyula - Vampire Killer (1986) (Konami) (J) [a1].mx2 Frame Rate 59.9227510135505
Branch Rerecord Count 8064
Unknown Authors scrimpeh
Game Vampire Killer
Submitted by scrimpeh on 12/28/2010 10:11:09 PM

Submission Comments
The MSX2 Vampire Killer was released in Japan, Europe and Brazil one month after the NES/Famicom Castlevania. While the general outline and many elements are similar, the gameplay has a more nonlinear thing to it. In every stage, you have to collect a white key to open the door to the next stage. In addition, there is a plethora of other items to be found in chests, candles and walls. This movie completes the game as fast as possible.
Thanks to Mister Epic for the encode.

Game objectives


I had been very interested in a TAS of Vampire Killer. Using an already existing run by Vampier as a base, I created a testrun clocking it at 19:11. This movie improves upon my testrun by over 90 seconds due to better boss strategies, better planning and far better optimization overall. Progress was very quick, in fact, I think the movie only took about a week to make. The game has its own very distinct quirks and Simon controls somewhat different from his NES twin. The game seems to be very haphazardly programmed, frequently exhibiting heavy sprite flicker, odd whip collision and other such oddities, but despite this, remarkably few glitches can be found.
TASing with openMSX has a very different feel to it than most other emulators due to its rewind system and command prompt based nature. You can either rewind a set amount of time using a hotkey or drag a slider on the reverse bar at the top. While it may seem very rudimentary on the first glance, openMSX has all the important features if you just know where to look, e.g. Ram Watch or scripting support via Tcl.

Stage by stage comments

Stage 1

Nothing big to mention here. I just wish I could get past that Wolf/Panther/whatever that is without having to stop.

Stage 2

Getting hit by a merman is the only way to proceed without slowing down. Other than that, again, nothing big to mention.

Stage 3

Nothing to note here.

BOSS - Vampire Bat -

I manage to land far more hits on it than in my testrun, thereby not giving it the chance to fly out of reach before I can finish it. Still one of the slower bosses in the game.

Stage 4

I can't manipulate the armor not to hit me. Oddly enough, its behaviour depends on wether I am invincible or not. Aside from that, we are introduced to Medusa Heads. As with the bats, their spawning Y position is dependent on yours.

Stage 5

The Medusa heads are placed very annoyingly here. Still, I manage damage far better than in the testrun.

Stage 6

Grabbing the invincibility ring is faster because you are just swarmed by ghosts and those slimes with no room to dodge. Unlike the NES game, those ceiling traps won't kill you instantly. It is also possible to jump over them.

BOSS - Medusa -

She goes down a lot easier than the Bat oddly enough. Technically, I can get the holy water in Stage 5 to finish her off even quicker, but it takes too long to get the water.

Stage 7

I choose to evade the skeletons, rather than fighting them. They take four hits with an unupgraded whip. They can be manipulated to throw their bones differently or move differently, but I haven't exactly figured how, making them especially annoying.

Stage 8

This stage is a bit of a maze, which is why a map comes in handy. It has vertical wraparound as well.

Stage 9

Like the skeletons, the hunchbacks also are manipulatable. Just don't ask me how. I get the holy water here, because it does obscene damage against bosses, provided you have a chain whip.

BOSS - Mummies -

Two well placed holy water jugs is all needed to take them down. Still, there is some manipulation involved to get them to move to the right place.

Stage 10

A very annoying stage due to all these moving platforms and mermen blocking my way. Nothing else to mention, really.

Stage 11

Again, I get the holy water against Franky. Aside from that, the level is fairly linear.

Stage 12

This level is a maze. You need to crouch and press up to enter those doors in the background. At one point, I need to get an invincibility crystal, due to a very unfairly placed white dragon that would hit me otherwise.

BOSS - Frankenstein -

Again, the holy water does most of the talking. The jump between Franky and Igor needs to be pretty precise. Aside from that, nothing big to mention.

Stage 13

Gah! Skeletons and Hunchbacks! I hate it! I also get the hourglass here, because it will be hugely beneficial against the Grim Reaper.

Stage 14

I hate those damn axe armors. Their shield is part of their hitbox, and it seems to magnetically pull you towards it at 5 meters of distance. In addition to this, they do obscene damage when you touch them, whereas their axes hardly do any damage. You also can't jump over them because they simply turn around, hitting you with their shield again.

Stage 15

More Axe Armors, and more backtracking. In general, whipping them tends to be more efficient than taking the blow, because your health is restored at the end of the level, which costs time.

BOSS - The Grim Reaper -

Aah, Death. Using the hourglass leaves this chap absolutely no chance. It's almost lame, but also the fastest way, so, whatever's cool, I guess.

Stage 16

Very straightforward, slight manipulation of the Vampire Bats with little else of note.

Stage 17

The attentive of you may realize I can technically get the key far earlier than I do. Only that will leave me trapped down there with no means of escape but death. You need to clear out the wall from the other side first, otherwise, you'll be stuck.

Stage 18

More hunchback manipulation. Here, I also get a dagger from the Merchant.

BOSS - Dracula 1 -

He fights pretty much like your average Dracula. With the dagger, I can just spam his very generous hitbox full with daggers, ending the fight rather quickly.

BOSS - Dracula 2 -

His only weak spot is that diamond between his eyes. I can't really get out of the way of the stream of bats he sends flying at me, so getting hit and accidentally hitting bats is inevitable, still, this is why having the dagger is vital.

Other comments

Possible Improvements

I doubt the movie is perfect. In general, you could always try to see wether a different route or item works out faster or just optimize the hell out of this run. It is especially worth looking into wether enemies can perhaps be manipulated better than I did. Also, in Stage 8, there is a possible shortcut using a damage boost that I couldn't do, see here:

Special Thanks

- Special thanks must go to Vampier, who did an excellent run I used as a base for mine. He also gave me a lot of support through the making of this movie and did some other, very useful things. Without him, I wouldn't even have bothered making this run.
- Quibus also deserves a special mention for he helped me set up openMSX properly and again, gave me a lot of support. Again, without him, I would've been totally lost.
- The folks at the tasvideos IRC channel. You guys are awesome!
- Everyone else who's cool. Note, unless there is some specific reason we two are not cool, this most likely includes you.

Closing Words

Well, I hope you enjoy watching this movie just as much as I enjoyed making it. Have fun, and if you have any questions regarding this run, I'll be happy to answer! ~ scrimpy

Nach: I watched this over a few times. I'm pretty certain that with a lot of work another good minute can be shaved off this game once TASers get to know the game and emulator a bit better. However this run was entertaining and brings much needed new blood to TASVideos. Accepting as first run for this game.
Mister Epic: I'll publish this later.

Last Edited by scrimpeh on 1/25/2017 8:15:19 PM
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