Submission #6620: lapogne36's PSX Heart of Darkness in 25:30.41

(Link to video)
Sony PlayStation
BizHawk 2.3.2
Heart of Darkness (USA) (Disc 1).bin Heart of Darkness (USA) (Disc 2).bin
Submitted by lapogne36 on 2/5/2020 2:43:36 PM
Submission Comments

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk-2.3.2
  • BIOS: SCPH5501.BIN
  • Luck manipulation
Rated E for Everyone, what could go wrong ?

About the game

Heart of Darkness if a 1998 cinematic platformer action-adventure game developed by Amazing Studio and supervised by Eric Chahi, also known as the creator of Another World (AKA: Out of This World). The game follows Andy as he is travelling through another world called the Darkland to rescue his dog. Due to the cinematic nature of this game, the framerate is quite low, usually between 10 and 15 FPS.

General information

Andy dies in one hit, and if there is one thing this game isn't lacking, it is means to kill Andy.
The fastest way to move is the running (single) jump, whether with or without his plasma cannon, which is pretty much the only consistent thing in this game. In most of the other situations (climbing, swimming, ...), the optimal movement is done on a case-by-case basis.
The game can load up to 32 entites (i.e. enemies and some interactive objects) at the same time, which shouldn't be an issue for a human since you are highly encourage to kill everything if you don't want to die, but for a TAS it has some good and bad side effects, especially in the later parts of the game.

level by level comments


First time I force my way through of group of enemies, which invlove a mix of luck and frame perfect movement. I am not sure why the enemies in the next screen didn't spawn (there was still 10 entity slots available) but it worked in my favor so I am not complaining.


The plants hitboxes aren't very accurate and you can sometimes dodge them for no apparent reason. On the section where I must dodge flying shadows by crouching, I just had to press Down for 1 frame and it was enough to not get killed, even if Andy didn't do any particular animation.

Underground cavern

Nothing in particular during the swimming section apart from the hitboxes abuses. I used a charged shot and waited a little before crossing a screen border so that it would hit the plant instead of the magical seed.

Floating Island

Barely dodging deadly attacks, jumping everywhere, so just basic stuff.

Rivers of Lava

I had to take the detour to kill all the 6 spiders, else even if only one is left alive it will instantly kill Andy when he reaches the screen.

Magic Rock Cavern

The beat them all section is time based and new enemies will spawn to replace the dead ones as long as the timer didn't run out. The missing shot was required to kill the enemies faster (else the NPC would not have killed one of them).

The Lair (before the plasma cannon)

The room with the lava is scripted and can't be beaten if the previous one isn't done properly, i.e. there must be 2 armored guys so that the worms eat one of them. The issue is that for this to happen, there must be 9 entity slots available when entering the room, which is why I had to kill some shadows before.
In a later screen I had to kill all the grounded enemies as otherwise they would activate the button on the right to close the path.

The Lair (after the plasma cannon)

The first three screens are the most glitch inducing ones of the run. You are supposed to wait 40s in the second screen before the enemies stop spawning and new ones spawn in the third screen, and the game try really hard to make sure you don't escape before that. There are in particular three shadows that instantly respawn when killed and don't move from the exit of the screen. I initially thought it was impossible even for a TAS to get out early but with carefull manipulation of the enemies behavior I managed to find a window to got to the next room 22s earlier. The main issue of this early escape is that some enemies are bugged and don't despawn, which may softlock the game at the 4th screen (which is why I killed some shadows on the third one even though it wasn't necessary to climb the ladder) and at the first rock screen (the only way I found to prevent the softlock was to shot with the plasma cannon for a few frames). One last softlock is when falling to the big bridge area, and the only way to prevent it was to get killed, which in the end is still faster than waiting the whole 40s in the second room.
The cutscene when collecting the last piece of magic rock can't be triggered before the Master of Darkness leaves the screen, which happen once he is on screen (i.e. Andy reaches the third screen of the area) AND there are no armored guys alive.
The final boss is also time based, getting the last hit sooner would have resulted in him still being alive.

Possible improvements

Better luck manipulation, better movement.

Special Thanks

  • Alien and groobo for their speedruns which served as a reference

Suggest screenshot :

frame 13542

ThunderAxe31: Judging.
ThunderAxe31: The movie showcases a lot of luck-manipulation and it have been much appreciated by the audience.
Accepting for Moons.
feos: Pub.
Spikestuff: If anyone wants to dump this in the future use 2.2.2 as 2.3 to 2.4 can crash when dumping.
Last Edited by adelikat on 11/2/2023 4:11 PM
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