Submission #4816: ars4326's NES Fester's Quest in 19:38.81

Console Nintendo Entertainment System Emulator BizHawk 1.11
Game Version USA Frame Count 70845
ROM Filename Addams Family, The - Uncle Fester's Quest (USA) Frame Rate 60.0988138974405
Branch Rerecord Count 18437
Unknown Authors ars4326
Game Fester's Quest
Submitted by ars4326 on 8/30/2015 4:52:21 AM

Submission Comments
Fester's Quest, based on the 1960s television series 'The Addams Family', was developed and published by Sunsoft and released for the NES in 1989 (1990, EU). While out one night enjoying a quiet evening of "moonbathing", Fester witnesses an alien invasion occur against the city and, armed with his blunderbuss, vows to save it.
This TAS improves sprocket2005's current record tool-assisted run on YouTube (parts 1, 2, & 3) by over 3 minutes and 55 seconds.

Game Objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.11.1
  • Contains speed/entertainment tradeoffs (very minor, I'll explain below)
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Foregoes time-saving glitches (explained below, also)
  • Genre: Action
  • Genre: Shooter

Explanation of speed/entertainment tradeoffs

Nothing major here. The sewers portion in this game is normally shrouded in darkness; making it a bit of a pain to see what's going on and requiring use of a Bulb in order to light it up (you gotta use a new one each time you enter). Since about 1/3rd of the game is spent crawling around down here, I went ahead and accessed my inventory a couple of times, during the course of the run, in order to light most of these areas up for better viewing enjoyment.
In total, these tradeoffs cost approximately 121 frames.
With that stated, some areas I simply didn't have an available Bulb handy to light up. Item RNG in this game can be time-consuming, so I compromised here and spaced out which areas I choose to light and which ones I decided to leave dark. For the most part, the dark areas are very brief while I choose to light up the ones which were longest. Hopefully this provides an interesting contrast between the two.

Explanation for foregoing a time-saving glitch

There's a bizarre glitch which allows you to, basically, instant-win every boss battle in the game. As I understand it, it requires having at least one Key in your inventory (in which you should have highlighted). During a boss fight, if you rapidly press down+left across the room while mashing the 'B' button, this causes the screen to briefly go haywire as the game proceeds to also give you a set of Invisibility Potions (normally only obtainable in the overworld by visiting fellow Addams Family member Thing). Here's a video demonstration made by fellow TASVideos member alucard (who was prior making a WIP run of this game):
I decided against using this glitch, mainly, due to me seeing it as quite redundant from an entertainment perspective (I find it rather cheap to use, as well). I believe it's far more entertaining to see boss fights in this game quickly beaten due to figuring out the best optimized strategy over spamming a glitch in every boss fight.
That's my justification for foregoing it. I hope the effort made in optimizing the boss battles outshines this alternative.

Useful RAM Addresses

03382Boss HP

Tricks Used know, after thinking about it, I don't think I really uncovered any noteworthy tricks in this run. Mostly, this TAS relied upon optimized movements and strategies to quickly take out the bosses, and such.
Aaaaaaanyhow, if something comes to mind that I'm not immediately recollecting, I'll be sure to edit it in here!

Stage Comments

Beginning: Overworld --> Sewers

Right off the bat, I waste no time trying to grind additional items and weapon levels. Since I'm doing any%, most of what I need will naturally drop for me over the course of the run (with a slight exception, later on). While traveling south along the road, I've got to move very slightly over to the right a few times due to the globs generating a bit outside of my current weapon's attack range. This changes as soon as I quickly upgrade to gun level 3 (Crescent Wave; 2 dmg/shot). Before dropping down into my first trek through the sewers, I obtain the Dynamite from fellow Addams Family member Pugsley. This item has essential use early on against the first two bosses. Upon detonation (either via contact or timer), it causes 1 dmg/per frame for 30 frames. In conjunction with firing a weapon with frame advance, this can cause MAJOR damage in a very short period of time.
I chose to light up the dungeon in here due to it being one of the longest in the game (and being the very first one, as well). In terms of annoyance, the green blobs found down here are one of the game's biggest annoyances. They have a massively high chance of duplicating upon being shot, and can take very many of them before finally being destroyed. They do have a nice side-effect of being able to generate many items at once though, which I take advantage of often to stock up on supplies/weapon upgrades. About halfway through, I'm forced to take damage from an orange Mutant Frog in order to quickly advance. Enemy manipulation in this game was challenging, in spots, due to trying to get favorable enemy spawn points (and to compensate for my, often, limited attack range, as well).
Toward the end, I generate one last blob in order to upgrade to the level 5 gun (Cannonball Shot; 3 dmg/shot). This gun will get through a bit over half of the game, as it does very nice damage per attack.

Overworld --> Sewers segments (2)

In the overworld here (and throughout the run, as well) I strove for nice movement symmetry and enemy manipulation to make things look nice. Towards the end, I also generated a Fly Head in order to create a brief little bit of humor just before entering the sewers again.
Towards the end in this section, I had the challenge of maneuvering past a green blob that was blocking the corridor giving access to the end of the dungeon. I wasn't successful in getting it to not generate (and I had already taken my only free hit prior), so I eventually uncovered a clever solution of shooting it down while rapidly moving up+left away from it. This allowed me to BARELY (and I'm talking one frame here!) slip by it without losing time or taking damage.
I generated that stalking floor eater, as well, for amusement.

BOSS 1 Crab Arms

With the big help of RAM address 0038, I was able to closely monitor Boss HP to ensure that all of my intended hits landed and that I wasn't wasting any frames on missed/unintended shots. Here, I squeezed up just close enough to Crab Arms in order for the dynamite to fully detonate on him on every stick used, while blasting away at him with my gun. This caused his 6 HP bars (x127/RAM Watch) to diminish extremely rapidly!

Sewers --> Overworld segments (3)

A succession of green blobs were generated early on to obtain more items and upgrade to gun level 6. The damage level remains the same, and the gun now has a larger (i.e. more annoying) circular attack range. However, it also leaves me one step closer to obtaining level 7 (Pyramid Beam; 4 dmg/shot) upgrade.
On the overworld again, as I navigate upward and across the highway I decided to generate a rather rare giant tarantula monster. This thing has a LOT of HP, so I don't bother directly engaging with it. I found it to be more entertaining to generate it here (and spent 1 frame shooting at it, making it steaming mad!), as I continue onward underground.
Since I'm now running low on Bulbs, I forego using one down here (and the next one, after) since the dungeon is rather brief.
The next one comes immediately after a brief glimpse of sunlight, above ground. While taking a corridor, I have to waste 3 frames worth of unoptimized movement (i.e. I can't hug the wall here) in order to avoid being tagged by a mutant frog.
Briefly above ground yet again, I manage to generate an extra Bulb as I head downward, once more. I light up this one since it's considerably longer (and to break up the monotony of three straight dark dungeons). Floor eaters are now starting to become a bit more common foe...

BOSS 2 Tricera-Whips

"Solving the puzzle" on this one initially took me a while to figure out. With alternating cracking whips in either of its hands, I had a very limited range where I could place Dynamite. Since my gun shoots out projectiles from only the left side, I also had to dealt with it having brief invincibility when striking with its right hand. The optimized strategy I found here was to immediately lure it toward the bottom of the screen, setting Dynamite directly in its way the entire time (as well as spraying it with my weapon). Once along the bottom, I was able to maintain an easy patter where Tricera-Whips would back away from me (when I approached) and then pursue (as I laid a booby trap for him to collide with).
Back away...set trap...pursue...BAM!...repeat
After bosses are defeated, there's an extended waiting period before the overworld loads back again. I spend time in these spots to (hopefully!) do some entertaining thing. Basically, whatever happen to cross my mind in that particular moment :p

Sewers --> Overworld segments (4)

Another brief dungeon where I don't bother lighting. In order to pass through here in the quickest amount of time, I must take damage from an approaching mutant frog guarding the exit.
Once back above ground, I go visit Morticia to grab THE most important sub-weapon in the game: Missiles. These bad boys, on every use, fire off 6 heat-seeking retorts that damage struck foes for around 63 1/2 HP, each! Specifically, when viewed in RAM Watch, when enemies (such as bosses) have a very large life bar, this weapon will damage for it down (rounded) to either 64 or 127. So for instance, say a fired missile at a boss lands twice. You'll see its HP bar register '64' and then '127'. All in all, this sub-weapon is essential in defeating certain bosses in any short amount of time!
Aside from that, there's very little distance this time between the next boss fight (thankfully!).

BOSS 3 Thunder Horn

This is where things started to get complicated. This boss wields a giant handheld shield that negates all damage, with the exception of dynamite, until he briefly exposes himself to strike with his sword (which emits thunderbolts in a three-way direction). And unlike Tricera-Whips, he can't be baited into following you close enough for successful dynamite blasts, either. The quickest solution I found here was to:
1) Lay 1 stick of dynamite in his approaching path, 2) Menu-swap and time a missile strike at the earliest frame to hurt him when he's vulnerable, 3) Spray him some with my weapon while he remains in a brief vulnerable state. 4) Menu-swap again and repeat that pattern.
Fortunately, this one has the lowest HP out of all of them (4x127), so this ended up not taking much time, at all!

Sewers --> Overworld segments (5)

In the second sewer segment I, unfortunately, had to do a tiny bit of farming here in order to get another key, in order to access the next office building. Basically, I had to stand in front of a green blob within one of the corridors and rapidly shot (and let him divide) until I got what I needed. I mean, it took about 3 seconds, total, so it hopefully doesn't break the pace too badly...
I also got the level 7 upgrade here for my troubles.

BOSS 4 Imposter Hopper

Oh boy, this one gave me fits in trying to figure out! Not only does it have a shield similar to Thunder Horn, it also regularly hops in mid-air, which completely avoids all shot from the gun! Its also impervious to dynamite, as well. After approaching dead ends for those options, I uncovered that the fastest strategy in winning here was to simply spam, spam, spam missiles! I had to move around the screen quite a bit to generate the fastest landed strikes (about 2 landed shots/per 100 frames). But overall, I'm very satisfied with how quickly the final result turned out (I did 4 passes, total, on this one getting it optimized).

Sewers --> Overworld segments (6)

Getting closer to the end, I basically now had to deal with increasing monster spawn manipulation points (more floor crawlers, in particular). Overall though, pretty much more of the same as I strove to make things as aesthetically pleasing as I could.

BOSS 5 Dyno-Gunner

Finally: No shield and no tricky invulnerability periods! Despite having access to the missiles, the quickest solution here was to simply get in its face and pump 'em full of lead (...or pyramids?). It also has the HIGHEST HP of all boss monsters in the game (19x127!) so having the strongest gun here was essential.
Strategy wise, I had to figure out the fastest way to evade its primary attacks while maintaining a near constant stream of fire on it. Around every 2 1/2 seconds, it emits a large fireball down the center, followed by a very quick three-way spread of bullets. After emitting the fireball, I had to quickly move Fester out of the way toward the right, while moving back to position in time in order to slip around the bullets and continue firing. It took a couple of passes to figure out, but I'd say overall this was slightly easier than figuring out Boss #4.
After its defeat, I decided to input a little easter egg while waiting for the overworld screen to load. Extra props to whomever figures it out ;)

Final Area: UFO Interior

Longest single segment in the game. The UFO is one big, linear (only one way to the boss) map with loads of new baddies. The little eyeball hopping things were actually the easiest ones of all to handle. They actually hop fairly slow and it was remarkably easy to slip underneath them. The green blobs have evolved into a more spiked variety. Fortunately though, I upgrade to the max level gun (same power, but faster and with better range) which makes handling them now trivial.


The final battle! In total, it takes 16 direct hits with missiles in order to derail this thing for good! Much like the 4th boss, I optimized the missile hits to land as soon as possible. Similarly, I timed the last wave of missiles to launch at the earliest possible frame (despite the last hit taking relatively longer).

Possible Improvements


  • Toward the latter half of the game, I figured out that it was considerably faster to swap inventory items during boss room screens than it was in the overworld or in the sewers. 7 frames spent vs. 38, to be more precise. I tried to go back and edit this improvement in via TAS Studio; but alas, doing so completely messed up the current enemy spawn manipulation (and would've basically required a re-do). 58 frame savings here, overall.


  • As stated earlier, before taking on the 4th boss, I had to spend a bit of time in the prior sewer portion and farm a key off the multiplying blob enemies. In total, this cost around 3 seconds to make happen. Better item RNG manipulation throughout the course of the run could, possibly, limit this need to grind, entirely.
  • I'm not sure if the missiles have a set pattern, but if one were to...I don't know... "solve" exactly how they function, I could see the 4th and final boss fights being done even faster than what I was able to generate.

Suggested Screenshots

frame 42959
frame 53787

Suggested Description

Fester's Quest, developed by Sunsoft, is based on the 1960s television series 'The Addams Family'. While out one night enjoying a quiet evening of "moonbathing", Fester witnesses an alien invasion occur against the city. Armed with his blunderbuss, Fester vows to stop this invasion and must find and defeat 5 alien bosses (hidden in office buildings) before tracking down the UFO.
In ars4326's run, uncle Fester briskly paces through the game's overworld and sewers, picking up a few sub-weapons from fellow Addams Family members along the way. Doing so allows quick destruction of the alien bosses guarding the clues to the UFO's whereabouts (as well as the final boss).
A time-saving glitch allowing instant wins on all of the game's bosses was forewent also, due to the author's preference to not use it.

GoddessMaria: Judging.
GoddessMaria: On one hand, this movie is well optimized and planned out. On the other hand, however, the game itself does has its moments of redundancy and audience feeling divided because of this. Despite this, the movie holds strong enough that it makes it into the Vault therefore I am accepting this to the Vault Tier.
fsvgm777: Processing.

Last Edited by ThunderAxe31 on 12/30/2021 5:46 PM
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