Submission #8039: hellagels's GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "Julius mode, beat Chaos" in 05:38.02

System Game Boy Advance Emulator VBA-rr v24
Game Version USA Frame Count 20189
ROM Filename Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow (USA).gba Frame Rate 59.7275005696058
Branch Julius mode, beat Chaos Rerecord Count 19814
! Sram Authors hellagels
Game Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Submitted by hellagels on 2/17/2023 11:54:41 AM

Submission Comments


  • Emulator used: VBA-rr v24
  • Starts from SRAM
  • Aims for beating Chaos and clearing the game at fastest real-time
  • Uses hard mode
  • Abuses glitches

New Tricks

Double Orb Glitch

A new trick different from the well-known Manticore Double Orb Glitch.
Normally you cannot hit one enemy with 2 different attacks at the same frame. For example, when whip and sub-weapons overlap at an enemy at the same frame, only whip attack will hit at that frame, and sub-weapon will hit at the next frame.
One exception is that martial arts and sub-weapons (Julius)/souls (Soma) can hit at the same frame. (Martial arts include sliding, dive kick, and upper.) Martial arts hit prior to sub-weapons/souls. Killing an enemy with two attacks will results the enemy die twice.
  • For Creaking Skull, Manticore, Great Armor, Big Golem, by killing them twice we can get 2 orbs. Combines with the Manticore Double Orb Glitch, we can get 4 orbs from Manticore. Other bosses cannot give more than 1 orb.
  • For Graham, killing the 1st phase with Double Orb Glitch results 2nd phase skipped.
  • For Headhunter, using double orb glitch cannot skip any phase, but the damage of sub-weapons/souls counts into next phase.
  • For Chaos 2nd phase, using double orb glitch on the eye can lower core's defense twice. Core's defense cannot be lowered over to 4 times, so we only need to destroy 2 eyes.
This glitch was found by me.

High Jump Zipping

The left and right sides of the player have no wall collision detection in vertical direction. By doing neutral jump, player can clip into the wall less than 3px.
When player is close to ceiling and clips into the wall deep enough, do a high jump (Soma)/uppercut (Julius) away from the wall, player will be fully pushed into the wall and then zip upwards. To make this zipping success, Soma needs to clip into the wall no less than 1.5px, Julius needs to clip no less than 2px.
There is another setup that need no wall clipping at the beginning. In this setup player need to be close to the ceiling, take damage to fly away from the wall, and do a high jump/uppercut towards the wall at the same frame.
For Julius, uppercut can be replaced with a precise double jump, but basically using double jump is slower.
This glitch was found by klmz. The second setup was found by Darkman (a.k.a. 黑暗人).

Triggering Chaos Fight

Normally in Julius mode, entering Chaos boss room will not trigger Chaos fight. To trigger Chaos fight, in-event flag needs to be set.
NotesAddressData Size
in-event flag0200042C1 byte, bit 0
This flag gets set in many scenarios, like starting a boss fight, interact with save room /warp room. The flag is often cleared quickly after being set, making carrying out in-event flag difficult.
The only found way for Julius to carry out the flag is to beat Julius first. The first time player visit the entrance of Chaotic Realm after beating Julius, there will be a movie that player automatically going to Chaotic Realm, and set the in-event flag. Player has control of Julius only at the first frame just before the movie start, make Julius move rightwards and leave the room, the in-event flag carries out. Following is a list about things that can clear in-event flag:
  • Entering a save room/warp room
  • Use the teleporter at the entrance of Chaotic Realm
  • Closing a door of the type that separating different region
  • Leaving a room while the door, of the type that separating different region, is loaded, regardless of whether player go through that door
  • Some time after starting a boss fight
Setting in-event flag also give player invincibility, and the region name does not show when visiting a new region.
This glitch was found by Darkman (a.k.a. 黑暗人).

After Chaos Fight...

In Julius mode, after beating Chaos, player will warp into a dark room and start dropping, and the game does not end. (This is the room where a cutscene in Soma mode is played.) To bring out the credit sequence and save the game, the only found way is to move leftwards to warp into the map for boss rush mode, and beat Graham there.
In boss rush map, Creaking Skull, Manticore, and Big Golem do not spawn if their corresponding death flag is set.
Great Armor does not spawn if Death's death flag is set. (Collect the orb from Great Armor will set Death' death flag.)
Headhunter, Death, Legion, and Balore spawn regardless of their corresponding death flag.
The ending cutscene after beating Graham is glitched, looks like a hybrid of Soma's and Julius's ending cutscene.

Route Comment

Creaking Skull - Manticore - Great Armor - Julius - Chaos - boss rush map - Great Armor - Man-Eater (orb skipped) - Big Golem - Headhunter (orb skipped) - Death (orb skipped) - Legion (orb skipped) - Balore (orb skipped) - Graham
Before Julius fight, I need to build up the status, so it does not take too long to beat Julius and subsequent bosses. I beat Creaking Skull, Manticore, and Great Armor, these are rather weaker bosses and each of them gives multiple orbs, 8 in total.
In boss rush map, I also collect 2 orbs relatively from Great Armor and Big Golem, building up the status again and restoring the MP.


Getting 4 orbs from Manticore makes Manticore's dying animation extremely laggy. I choose to kill Manticore with an uppercut, so can make Manticore go out of the screen quickly, reduce the object being generated, and reduce some lag.

Great Armor

Great Armor has a rather special mechanism to decide its movement. It has a counter and a flag to decide whether to walk backwards:
NotesAddressData Size
hit counter020013F11 byte
backward flag020013F21 byte
Hit counter increases by 1 each time Great Armor takes damage. Backward flag gets set each time Great Armor takes damage, and every frame the game decides whether to get the flag cleared as per RNG. If the hit counter is greater than 3 and the backward flag is set, Great Armor walks backwards, otherwise its movement is decided by RNG. I manipulate Great Armor to walk forwards, so the orbs are closer to the right side.


The animation of the heads fly to next to the body is divided into 2 parts, each part's length is RNG-related. The direction which way Headhunter faces also changes the animation's length. I think we got the best possible pattern.


During Death's 1st phase, tiny sickles keep spawning at random places. I manipulate the first sickle to spawn at the right place, so I can do a dive kick, hit the sickle, and do an uppercut to go to the greater sickle's right side at the fastest time.


For Graham's 1st phase, I need him teleports to the place that near the right stair at the beginning, so the 2 crosses can hit 3 times in total, also I manipulate him to shoot 2 Dark Infernos, which is the best pattern. For the second time Graham teleport, I also need him to be near to either side of the stairs, so I can connect the jumping whip to uppercut quickly.



Thanks to klmz, KSeptuple, Pike, and Darkman for their contribution to this run.

feos: Claiming for judging.
feos: Replacing the movie as explained in this post, so that we rely on an existing verification movie. The run itself is intact and syncs.
feos: The question of how this goal relates to #8040: hellagels & klmz's GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "Julius mode, all bosses" in 06:13.04 was interesting, and I think we've figured it out.
While [5143] GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "Julius mode" by KSeptuple & klmz in 01:38.40 is in the standard class, because save RAM anchored movies are now eligible for standard, we can't definitely say the same about aiming to beat certain bosses as Julius.
[2658] GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "Julius mode, all bosses" by McBobX in 11:36.38 was the first publication beating all bosses, but it was obsoleted by [2876] GBA Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow "Julius mode, all bosses" by hellagels, KSeptuple, Pike in 11:52.03 which beats one more boss - Julius himself - who is normally not available in the Julius mode, and was accessed through a glitch.
This submission adds Chaos to that list, who is also not normally accessible. And as a result of the glitch that accesses Chaos, it also had to play the boss rush where it beat some of the same bosses as the "all bosses" movies.
So if we look at all the Julius movies that aim at beating bosses, it's possible to conclude that the nature of the branch has been to beat maximum bosses. The first one beat all the bosses it could access, then a way to access Julius was found and used, and now we can also access and beat Chaos.
On the other hand, beating the bosses outside the boss rush feels more natural and entertaining, because it visits more of the map.
Yet we can't really come up with a clear cut definition of which of those goals is definitely eligible for standard, because of the 4 movies we have, we also have 3 different ways to draw the line. If we only require normal bosses, the current publication beats one unnecessary boss. If we want to beat maximum bosses, this run would have to beat all the normal ones too. If we say that beating all normal bosses and one glitched one is standard, then why don't we include Chaos?
None of those problems exist if we leave all those movies in the Alternative class, because maximum entertainment and difference is what we want there.
This run does technically beat all the bosses from the "all bosses" goal, but it does so through a glitch and doesn't travel across the map like the latter does. And if a way to avoid the boss rush after Chaos is found, this run will be obsoleted by that, and the regular "all bosses" category won't get affected by that.
If some new movie beats maximum bosses in both modes (normal map and boss rush), we may revisit our classification, but for now it makes the most sense to keep them all in Alt.
Accepting as a new branch.
Note to publisher: The label doesn't need to be changed, there just needs to be a note that beating Chaos results in having to beat other bosses in the boss rush mode, which the "all bosses" branch of Julius doesn't play.

EZGames69: Processing...

Last Edited by EZGames69 8 days ago
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