Submission Text Full Submission Page
The Last Ninja for NES is a port of The Last Ninja 2 for the C64. It is a much jankier version, with the music dumbed down and backgrounds missing. Features an isometric view, worthless combat, and hamburgers. The goal is to reach the end of stage 6, where the evil ninja Kunitoki needs to be defeated.
The movements are going to look different in 30 and 60fps, truly a deep game.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: FCEUX 2.2.2
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Avoids damage (except where required)


The game boils down to taking perfect lines to get the necessary items and move from screen to screen. Some screens have an enemy. These suck. Luckily there is never more than one at the same time, likely because the NES would explode. The enemies are extremely aggressive, and just from a glance at any screen with one, you can see their movements are erratic. When an enemy attacks you, Ninja gets frozen in place and bonked in the head. There is a huge frame window to avoid damage every time by kicking or swinging your weapon in sync with the enemies attack, this results in no damage for either. However it takes 32 frames to attack, so it was almost always better to avoid this.
These rooms with enemies basically became an input puzzle, trying to find which directions let you by as soon as possible. If actions in a room look weird, well, they are. But it's the fastest solution to the "puzzle" I could find.
Only two enemies get attacks off. At the very beginning of stage 4, the guy is on top of you, so it was best to sync-kick with him. The final boss does a completely unavoidable hit as soon as you spawn him, as far as I can tell. (And it does just under 50% of your life!) Some enemies throw ninja stars when you get far away, this is preferable to having them close enough to attack. Though this always causes a lag frame or two.
Jumping into screen transitions sometimes saves an extra frame. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't know. In theory it's because you move marginally faster in the air. However, during normal movement this is pointless because of the landing animation. It's important to note I abuse this animation to get some enemies off of me. Another note about jumping, it barely works when enemies are around. If even a pixel of one gets in the way your momentum completely stops.
It should be noted that 1-frame zigzags and similar movements that I do are the same speed as moving in straight lines, so it's purely for entertainment while not losing any time at all.

Stage by stage comments

Stage 1: Central Park

A common theme you'll see is doing a bunch of seemingly random junk and picking up whatever is in sight. It's all necessary. The spider-looking thing on the ground is the ninja stars, an item required to beat the final boss, and only found in the initial stage. They one-shot enemies, but you only get 9. Yes you can reach the end of the game without them and be screwed. The stick is required to activate a boat, and open a gate in a later stage. The boats are completely insane to get across, the hitboxes on them make no sense at all. Of course, Ninja can't swim and you lose a life.

Stage 2: The Streets

Pretty boring stage, collectathon and killing time. The flower pots dropped from windows kill you in one hit, but moving in a straight line ensures they always miss. The bottle is required to beat stage 3. The first streetlight that I pass is on some sort of global timer. If the light is green, a motorcycle comes by and instakills you. There is absolutely no way to avoid this, believe me, I have tried. The second stoplight isn't on a global timer at all and I have to wait. One more pixel to the right would have got Ninja killed.

Stage 3: The Sewers

At this point some enemies start to move faster than you, such as the cop in the room with the first key. This is a major problem, and requires more complicated inputs to get by them. This stage has the pinnacle of game design, doorways that lead to death with no indication at all. The gator has to be set on fire. There's an invisible wall behind him until you do.

Stage 4: The Office

The best way to get by the beginning dude is to kick in sync with him. That's life. To get by the panther guard (?) you have to grab the chicken (??) and coat it with suddenly green opium (???), or cocaine (????), don't ask me. It's required in this stage to grab a code from the terminal. As far as I and my crack squad of researchers know, any code from 0000-9999 is possible. You have to enter this code in the final stage to spawn the final boss. The best code is 0000, it takes 1 frame to input at the end. I tried manipulating this code the best I could, wasting a few frames got 0800, which is extremely lucky. This code only takes 4 frames to input at the end. Waiting an extra frame outside the code room generates a whole new set of codes to test, but none ended up as good as 0800. A miracle, really.

Stage 5: The Mansion

Lots of enemies here. You have to take this really slow-looking route to complete the stage. The key unlocks a door with a precious rope inside. You need this to enter the dumbwaiter shaft (??) to the kitchen, which leads to the room that had the key. Despite the door being open, this is the only way. I don't know. The room after the kitchen is the worst room to tas in the entire game, that guy is unbelievably aggressive. The dark room at the end of the level has spike walls everywhere that you can't see cause I skipped the light switch.

Stage 6: The Final Battle

You have to switch to ninja stars at some point, so I do it immediately in order to take out the idiot guard who lags the game when alive. Ninja was a pacifist for 5 stages, but not anymore. The final boss is one of the craziest concepts I've ever seen. He has to be knocked out (only possible with ninja stars) inside the star, and then all five candles need to be lit before he recovers. If he gets up, all the candles go out. Any you light before spawning him go out upon the spawn as well. The hitbox on him being considered inside the star seems to be generous at the top (where I kill him), but the bottom is another story. See here - This does not work. This game sucks.
Anyway, after Kunitoki explodes into fireworks like most evil ninjas, Ninja escapes through the safe (?????????) and the game is over. Last input at frame 29854. Cut the 30k. Nobody thought it was possible.

Other comments

I love quirky short NES games, and this fit the the bill perfectly. It has some weird charm but doesn't overstay its welcome. I've been running this game RTA for a while (that line hurt to type) and since there was absolutely nothing TAS related, I thought I'd give it a shot as my first one. Was a lot of fun since most of it was simple. A good experience.
Thanks and shoutouts to magmapeach, Megiddo, Jadian, and Fatalis for researching the safe code generation more than any human being should have.
I had the chance to run this game at Awesome Games Done Quick 2015, as part of the awful games block. Not sure why it was in that block, but I'll take it. Check it out if you enjoy dry humor -
I like frame 17717 of the movie the most. Good screenshot.
On a final note, I leave you with the silliest death in the game -

Nach: This game looks awful, yet the TAS makes quick work of it. I don't know why, but I even found some of it entertaining. Good response, accepting.
fsvgm777: Processing.

Experienced Forum User, Moderator
Joined: 8/3/2004
Posts: 12253
This topic is for the purpose of discussing #4687: usedpizza's NES The Last Ninja in 08:16.77
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 6/10/2006
Posts: 152
Location: Wisconsin
Interesting, this is more of an adventure game with some action elements. But da-yum this game has some unforgiving insta-death moments. And an item only obtainable at the beginning of the game that's needed for the final boss? Adventure game hell. I found this intriguing all the way through. A molotov cocktail on a gator is pretty sweet in any game. Also chuckled a bit at giving the radioactive chicken to the panther.
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 7/2/2007
Posts: 3960
Ha, I saw this at AGDQ and was amused, and then after watching this TAS I saw the same guy made it. Awesome. Thanks for the TAS! I was entertained.
Pyrel - an open-source rewrite of the Angband roguelike game in Python.
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 3/8/2014
Posts: 36
Silly game, enjoyable TAS, yes vote
Experienced Forum User, Player (171)
Joined: 4/15/2013
Posts: 331
Location: In the attic
Aw, man. You know you're in for some crud when Central Park is the first level. Aside from that, I didn't really 'get' this TAS. Sure, you guys may have pointed out some mildly entertaining moments, but, for me, a game's music is one factor that can make or break my enjoyment of a TAS... and this particular game fell short in that department. Sorry, usedpizza, but I'm going to vote Meh.
FanFiction|Youtube Still on Win7! Take that, Microsoft!
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 6/4/2009
Posts: 893
Derakon wrote:
Ha, I saw this at AGDQ and was amused, and then after watching this TAS I saw the same guy made it. Awesome. Thanks for the TAS! I was entertained.
same here, yes vote
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 4/3/2005
Posts: 575
Location: Spain
Both Last Ninja games are far better suited for watching than for playing. I find very funny how out of place the player character looks in this game, dressed as a ninja while walking down the street and the park.
Editor, Experienced Forum User
Joined: 6/23/2009
Posts: 2199
Location: Georgia, USA
This feels like a mix of Wrath of the Black Manta (but less violent) and Nightshade (with a ninja suit instead of a detective coat). It was sort of amusing even though it was really clunky. The pace of the game feels alright. Even with your description, though, I couldn't really tell what you were doing... I'm not sure I even noticed the shuriken pickup. This is somewhere between a Meh and a Yes for me in entertainment. The highlight is probably the alligator.
Used to be a frequent submissions commenter. My new computer has had some issues running emulators, so I've been here more sporadically. Still haven't gotten around to actually TASing yet... I was going to improve Kid Dracula for GB. It seems I was beaten to it, though, with a recent awesome run by Hetfield90 and StarvinStruthers. ( Thanks to goofydylan8 for running Gargoyle's Quest 2 because I mentioned the game! ( Thanks to feos and MESHUGGAH for taking up runs of Duck Tales 2 because of my old signature! Thanks also to Samsara for finishing a Treasure Master run. From the submission comments:
Shoutouts and thanks to mklip2001 for arguably being the nicest and most supportive person on the forums.
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 11/17/2005
Posts: 278
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Read the comments, watched the encode, THIS GAME IS TERRIBLE. The TAS is short enough to put up with, though, and it's constantly doing some interesting things on each screen. Yes vote.
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 4/3/2005
Posts: 575
Location: Spain
The game has terrible controls and it's unforgiving, but it can be quite fun, too.
Experienced Forum User, Player (165)
Joined: 3/21/2015
Posts: 29
Location: 66th region, Russia
Computer TAS of 2017
I really loved that zigzagging. Nice TAS.
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 5/3/2015
Posts: 4
Completely disappointed by the fact that this is not an all burgers run. However the tas absolutely wrecks an incredibly poorly controlling game and is a great watch. Hopefully judgment will happen soon.
Active player, Editor, Experienced Forum User (390)
Joined: 9/29/2008
Posts: 706
Location: Canada
TAS of 2012Speedy TAS of 20123D Platforms TAS of 2012N64 TAS of 2010Speedy TAS of 2010
The final boss in this game is so odd lol voted yes
Post subject: Movie published
Experienced Forum User, Moderator
Joined: 8/3/2004
Posts: 12253
This movie has been published. The posts before this message apply to the submission, and posts after this message apply to the published movie. ---- [2855] NES The Last Ninja by usedpizza in 08:16.77
Player (46)
Joined: 5/8/2015
Posts: 2
Hi, thx.
Banned User, Skilled player (1871)
Joined: 11/14/2009
Posts: 1349
Location: 𝔐𝔞𝔤𝑦𝔞𝔯
NES TASer of 2013NES TAS of 2013NES TAS of 2012NES TAS of 2011
edit: first possible frame is probably 19682th frame, forgot to remove unnecessary lag frames before writing this post. edit2: vaguely watched the fm2 file, don't forget to change ~650th frame input to something else than start (loses 1 frame I guess?) First of all good job on the SDA block and the TAS, usedpizza. Didn't watched the full movie, just checked the code obtain part @ ~19610th frame. You generate it at 19706th frame, while the first possible one is @ 19685th. That's 21 frames sacrifice to get 0800 which is 4 frames to enter I guess. While the number of frames to input not, but I guess the manipulation could be shortened. My wild guess is that the RNG is only cpu cycle dependent (pausing and multiple pausing manipulates it). edit3 (I swear my latest edit): definitely improvable if I'm right. - current TAS uses 21~24 frames to generate 0800 which takes 4 frames to input - using whatever tricks, 7 frame delay to generate 0301 which takes 1+6+2+1=10 frames to input (R = 0; U, empty, U, empty, U, R = 3; empty, R = 0; U = 1) (payload is just an example, didn't tested/verified it's length for 0301)
PhD in TASing 🎓 speedrun enthusiast ❤🚷🔥 white hat hacker ▓ black box tester ░ censorships and rules...
Player (46)
Joined: 5/8/2015
Posts: 2
Yo thanks for the input Meshuggah, that logic seems sound to me. Also can't forget that a frame delay outside the code room generates different codes than if you delay inside the room. I'll have to calculate this better next time, lol. On the note of improvement, 0xwas found a way to skip waiting for the stoplight in stage 2. Pretty huge time saver. It's so simple I kind of hate myself, but that's all right. So now the plan is (possibly with his help) basically make everything better in a more thorough fashion, now that I have more than zero experience making a TAS. Thanks everyone for the warm reception to my scrub tier attempt at a TAS, even if it can already be improved, haha. All the positivity is motivation to improve it for sure. It'll get done [eventually]