#6380: Noxxa's FDS The Mysterious Murasame Castle in 09:55.05

Submission Text Full Submission Page

FDS The Mysterious Murasame Castle in 9:55.05 by Noxxa

In Edo period Japan, alien demons have taken over the titular Murasame Castle and corrupted the castle lords of four neighboring castles. Apprentice samurai Takamaru sets out to each castle to slice ninja to pieces, scorch castle lords with fireballs, and eradicate the aliens.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.3.1
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Slices ninja
  • Colors a castle

About the game

The Mysterious Murasame Castle, also known as its original Japanese release title Nazo no Murasamejou, is a Famicom Disk System game developed by Nintendo EAD and published in 1986, only two months after The Legend of Zelda which it bears some similarities to. Unlike that game, however, Murasame originally only was released in Japan and did not spawn any further games or a franchise. The game has seen some re-releases over time, including being released in the West in 2014 for the 3DS Virtual Console, and Takamaru has been making cameo appearances in a few other games, including multiple Super Smash Bros. games.
Gameplay is comparable to that of The Legend of Zelda, with Takamaru being controlled from an overhead perspective, traversing through screens, slicing through enemies, and shooting projectiles. Compared to Zelda, Murasame is focused more on action than on exploring - stages are traversed in a linear progression, and while the environments contain some variety in branches, routes, and general maze-like structure (as well as tons of hidden secrets and power-ups), they too have linear progression towards the exit (or boss) as a goal. The action is also notably faster paced and more challenging.
There are five locations visited in the game - these are, in order, Aosame Castle, Akasame Castle, Ryokusame Castle, Momosame Castle, and finally Murasame Castle. Each of the first four areas is divided into a town segment and a castle segment, while Murasame only consists of a castle segment. The town segments simply require Takamaru to reach the end screen, while the castle segments end on a bossfight against the castle lord (or alien inside Murasame castle).

Plot

The story takes place in Edo period Japan. The titular Murasame Castle is taken over by a mysterious alien creature, who extends its power to four other neighboring castles. The daimyō lords of each castle are each given an evil sphere of power, and they use this power to summon armies of ninja and monsters to terrorize the nearby villages. Shōgun Tokugawa Ietsuna sends out samurai apprentice Takamaru to investigate the castles, defeat each castle lord along the way, and stop the aliens.

Tricks

General movement

  • Takamaru moves at a speed of 1.25 pixels per frame by default. With the red sandal upgrade (gained shortly into the run), this is improved to 1.5 pixels per frame. Takamaru can only move in orthogonal directions, not diagonals.
  • Any weapon action (sword swing, weapon throw) will pause Takamaru's movement for 1 frame. Therefore, it is important to minimize weapon actions whenever possible.

General weapon/sword actions

  • Regular shuriken and fireballs can be thrown with two on screen at a time, with an upgrade (not collected in the run) that upgrades this to four. If one of the shōgi projectile powerups is collected, only one can be fired at once.
  • The sword will automatically be triggered whenever an opponent is close enough when the button is pressed.
  • The sword trigger is based on enemy position relative to the player's position and direction on the previous frame - this means it's possible to look at an enemy or projectile, then swing the sword the next frame in another direction. This is used in a few places to save time.

Samurai bypass

  • The basic samurai enemies will try to hit Takamaru with their sword whenever he is in range, but there's a one pixel gap where they will try to swing, but will miss. This allows Takamaru to get alongside them (but not past them) without having to attack them. In a few cases, this is used to save a frame.

Chain explosion

  • Triggering an explosion (by defeating an exploding ninja) also triggers explosions of any mines that are on screen. This sometimes helps with bypassing mines by hitting a seemingly-unrelated enemy.

Stage-by-stage notes

Aosame Castle

Town

  • In the third screen, I get a hidden blue sandal upgrade, which allows Takamaru to move as fast on water as on land. This is immediately useful for speeding up movement in the water-heavy upper route.
  • At this point, there's a branching path. The upper route is faster than the lower route by a few seconds, mainly thanks to the blue sandal upgrade.
  • Along the way on the upper route, a tanuki moves directly in the way. Tanuki are not enemies - they cannot hurt Takamaru, and drop valuable (predetermined) powerups if hit. This one in particular grants a fire powerup, which replaces Takamaru's shuriken with fireballs, which have less range but deal more damage.
  • A few screens later, I get a hidden red sandal upgrade, which increases Takamaru's walk speed by 1.5x. This is the earliest available opportunity to get one, and naturally it's incredibly useful to have for the rest of the run.
  • At the end of the town section, there's a bonus game where Takamaru can slash a tanuki statue to get powerups. Every time this happens, the rightmost one must be luck-manipulated to be empty, so that the game progresses to the next stage as soon as possible.

Castle

  • Castles contain quite a few rooms with a locked door, where the door will only open once all samurai enemies in the room are defeated.
  • They also contain multiple rooms where the castle's daimyō appears, but runs away leaving behind a group of troll enemies. Here, too, the enemies must be defeated before the stairs to the next room open. In these cases, it's instrumental to kill all enemies as fast as possible so there is minimal delay with being able to enter the stairs.
  • The daimyō has 40 hit points. A fireball does 8 points of damage.

Akasame Castle

Town

  • Early on in the stage, I get a white crossbow upgrade, which increases projectile speed. This is not the first opportunity to pick one up, but it is close enough by, and the increased projectile speed is useful for saving time against various enemy types in the next couple of stages and beyond.
  • In the same screen, there's a one-pixel gap between some bushes, providing a hidden (and probably unintentional) shortcut.
  • The town is filled with ancient Edo-era land mines. These can often be bypassed with creative walking paths or abusing exploding ninja to trigger a chain explosion.
  • In the penultimate room, I get a shōgi (Japanese chess) rook piece upgrade. With this upgrade, on throwing a projectile three instances of it will appear in a diagonal line pattern (but only one projectile can be fired at a time). This is a powerful technique as the three projectiles can be used to inflict multiple hits in one throw, making it especially useful for bossfights.
  • In the room after that, I get a lightning technique from an invisible tanuki. This technique grants a screen-clearing move, although it can only be used 3 times before running out. This will be useful later.

Castle

  • The daimyō has 40 hit points (again), with a fireball hit still doing 8 damage. The shōgi rook upgrade shows its use here, as the daimyō is now defeated with just two clean fireball throw hits.
  • One of the summoned enemies is used to trigger a sword strike sooner while the daimyō is hit, allowing Takamaru to touch the orb earlier.

Ryokusame Castle

Town

  • In the second half of the stage, there are three possible routes. The middle route (down, then left) ended up being the fastest route by about 20 frames.

Castle

  • This stage introduces fire wizards/shinobi, which are incredibly obnoxious enemies. They have small fireballs circling around themselves, which can only be walked through with pixel-perfect positioning (and only if it's a relatively wide gap - some of the smaller gaps between fireballs are not passable at all), which block shots, and the shinobi itself tends to be invulnerable during their opening few seconds as well for some reason. Generally, defeating or getting past them requires some very creative and tight movement to breach their fire circle and cut them to death.
  • The daimyō has 40 hit points (again), with a fireball hit still doing 8 damage. This one uses three fake clones of itself. The four instances appear at random points along the top part of the map - this is luck-manipulated to have the real boss directly in front of the player, minimizing the time needed to throw fireballs at it.

Momosame Castle

Town

  • More ancient Edo-era land mines! Joyous. They're still easy enough to bypass in most cases, but throughout the stage there are a few instances where they simply cannot be bypassed without letting them detonate by themselves or by taking damage. This means I have to resort to the third option: clear them away with the lightning technique. This needs to be done once in the town section and twice in the forst section, but saves around 20 frames with each use.
  • Aforementioned uses of lightning have drained out the three uses of the lightning technique, but conveniently in one of the sky screens there's an invisible Tanuki to get a new supply.

Castle

  • There's one room with a locked door and a samurai that's so far out of the way that it's not worth the time to walk up to him and hit him (it's not possible to hit him with projectiles from afar, as his sword will block the shots). So, lightning is used instead. This saves a considerable amount of time.
  • The daimyō has 40 hit points (again), with a fireball hit still doing 8 damage. He's relatively straightforward, being a single entity firing projectiles like the first two daimyō (except the projectile splits into 8 when exploding). It's just a matter of dodging the projectile and using two attacks to hit with 5 fireballs.

Murasame Castle

Castle

  • The stage has three types of water - normal blue water, red poison water, and invisible black water - but none of those have any particular effect as long as the blue sandal upgrade is active.
  • There are a few screens with drawbridges, which are unlocked by defeating demon enemies like in the other castle stages. However, actually reaching those takes way too long, so lightning is used in both cases.
  • For the second drawbridge screen, I step 1 pixel onto the drawbridge zone, which causes Takamaru to be moved out of the way of the drawbridge, and partially into a wall. This in turn saves a slight bit of time by using this wall for a corner boost/mini-zip. This saves 3 frames here. In the other screen, this actually ended up being 1 frame slower due to loading time for the next room.
  • The boss of this area has 30 hit points, with fire balls doing 5 damage. Six hits are needed to defeat it, which means two projectile launches (optimally) with all fireballs hitting. This requires a little bit of positioning (also to avoid the enemy's projectile), but as soon as the projectile is passed the boss goes down quickly.
  • After the boss is defeated, a door opens to the final area inside the boss' body. A little bit of repositioning was required to enter this as soon as possible.

Inner Sanctuary

  • The projectile traps here cannot be attacked or stopped while "charging", but they can be deflected with the sword when they start flying towards Takamaru.
  • The final boss has 24 hit points, with fireballs doing 3 damage. Therefore, three salvos of fireballs are required.
  • I make sure to hit the head with the first fireball as soon as possible when it becomes vulnerable, with the next two fireballs following afterwards as soon as possible. This must be done from a slight distance as well, to enable firing the next set of fireballs faster.
  • Input is ended as soon as the last set of fireballs is fired towards the boss.
  • Takamaru takes damage shortly after input is ended because of a projectile from the boss, but this does not have any bearing on the ending. Avoiding taking damage in this situation would have cost a few frames before the ending would start (although the input time would have been the same).

Ending

  • After a game full of oriental-sounding tunes fitting to the samurai setting, the ending scene is accompanied by...a rendition of the Ode to Joy. Makes sense, right?

Closing

Screenshots

Thanks to hisatoki's 10:15 TAS from 2006 and the RTA speedrun community (WR 10:45 as of writing) for reference material.
Thanks for watching!

feos: Solid, fast-paced run, good feedback. I don't really have much to say other than Accepting to Moons.
fsvgm777: Processing.

TASVideoAgent
They/Them
Experienced Forum User, Moderator
Joined: 8/3/2004
Posts: 11820
Location: 127.0.0.1
This topic is for the purpose of discussing #6380: Noxxa's FDS The Mysterious Murasame Castle in 09:55.05
Experienced Forum User, Published Author (21)
Joined: 6/17/2006
Posts: 456
Funny how this TAS makes this very hard game look almost trivial. Great job, and Yes vote! By the way, shouldn't the 3DS version have been better since it gets rid of the loading screens? Dunno if there's a technical issue with that version or not.
Noxxa
Any
Admin Assistant, Experienced Forum User, Published Author (5230)
Joined: 8/14/2009
Posts: 4022
Location: The Netherlands
Exotic platforms TASer of 2018Exotic platforms TAS of 2018Exotic platforms TASer of 2017Exotic platforms TAS of 2017Exotic platforms TAS of 2017Exotic platforms TASer of 2016Exotic platforms TAS of 2016Gameboy TASer of 2013
SmashManiac wrote:
By the way, shouldn't the 3DS version have been better since it gets rid of the loading screens? Dunno if there's a technical issue with that version or not.
Based on my understanding of 3DS VC releases (there's not much information out there), it consists of the original FDS ROM with a modified/hacked FDS BIOS and emulator. There is no new separate NES/loadless ROM, to my knowledge. Unless your idea is to run the full VC package, in which case there is no accepted emulator for 3DS TASing. In any case, even if it was an option, it's quite a bit of a grey area issue (especially as TASVideos generally favors using original releases) just for a difference in loading times.
http://www.youtube.com/Noxxa (formerly known as Mothrayas) <dwangoAC> This is a TAS (...). Not suitable for all audiences. May cause undesirable side-effects. May contain emulator abuse. Emulator may be abusive. This product contains glitches known to the state of California to cause egg defects. <Masterjun> I'm just a guy arranging bits in a sequence which could potentially amuse other people looking at these bits <adelikat> In Oregon Trail, I sacrificed my own family to save time. In Star trek, I killed helpless comrades in escape pods to save time. Here, I kill my allies to save time. I think I need help.
CoolHandMike
He/Him
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Published Author (364)
Joined: 3/9/2019
Posts: 354
Liked this Tas quite a bit. Solid superplay. The Zelda type gameplay seems well done, even if it has some similar areas. They should have released this in the west, I know I would have enjoyed it. Also...how exactly does this samurai wear the red and blue sandals at once? Is one much larger than the other? Or does he somehow attach the bottom of one to the other and go with that? Not exactly the ending theme I would have chosen for the game either ahah.
discord: CoolHandMike#0352
Experienced Forum User, Published Author (1191)
Joined: 11/15/2010
Posts: 266
We played part of this in big 20, and I enjoyed the movie. Well done.
nymx
He/Him
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Published Author (1051)
Joined: 11/14/2014
Posts: 477
Location: South Pole, True Land Down Under
theripper999 wrote:
Liked this Tas quite a bit. Solid superplay. The Zelda type gameplay seems well done, even if it has some similar areas.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this had a Zelda feel about. Yes vote.
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------- Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes?
EZGames69
He/They
Experienced Forum User, Published Author, Publisher (4044)
Joined: 5/29/2017
Posts: 2417
Location: Marquette MI
TASer of 2020SNES TASer of 2020Sega TASer of 2020TASer of 2019Sega TASer of 2019Exotic platforms TAS of 2018
This was a fun watch. I especially liked the clip you did at 2:16. Is that very specifically executed or can you very easily walk past it? Also it looks like they announced the characters from this game will be included in Mario Maker 2. So it’s definitely a good time to have submitted this. Yes vote.
[14:15] <feos> WinDOES what DOSn't 12:33:44 PM <Mothrayas> "I got an oof with my game!" Mothrayas Today at 12:22: <Colin> thank you for supporting noble causes such as my feet MemoryTAS Today at 11:55 AM: you wouldn't know beauty if it slapped you in the face with a giant fish [Today at 4:51 PM] Mothrayas: although if you like your own tweets that's the online equivalent of sniffing your own farts and probably tells a lot about you as a person MemoryTAS Today at 7:01 PM: But I exert big staff energy honestly lol Samsara Today at 1:20 PM: wouldn't ACE in a real life TAS just stand for Actually Cease Existing
Noxxa
Any
Admin Assistant, Experienced Forum User, Published Author (5230)
Joined: 8/14/2009
Posts: 4022
Location: The Netherlands
Exotic platforms TASer of 2018Exotic platforms TAS of 2018Exotic platforms TASer of 2017Exotic platforms TAS of 2017Exotic platforms TAS of 2017Exotic platforms TASer of 2016Exotic platforms TAS of 2016Gameboy TASer of 2013
EZGames69 wrote:
This was a fun watch. I especially liked the clip you did at 2:16. Is that very specifically executed or can you very easily walk past it?
It's a 1-pixel gap. It's not that hard to pull off, though (you can bump into the border to the right of it to easily set up the correct position). RTA runs also make use of it.
http://www.youtube.com/Noxxa (formerly known as Mothrayas) <dwangoAC> This is a TAS (...). Not suitable for all audiences. May cause undesirable side-effects. May contain emulator abuse. Emulator may be abusive. This product contains glitches known to the state of California to cause egg defects. <Masterjun> I'm just a guy arranging bits in a sequence which could potentially amuse other people looking at these bits <adelikat> In Oregon Trail, I sacrificed my own family to save time. In Star trek, I killed helpless comrades in escape pods to save time. Here, I kill my allies to save time. I think I need help.
Post subject: Movie published
TASVideoAgent
They/Them
Experienced Forum User, Moderator
Joined: 8/3/2004
Posts: 11820
Location: 127.0.0.1
This movie has been published. The posts before this message apply to the submission, and posts after this message apply to the published movie. ---- [3962] FDS The Mysterious Murasame Castle by Noxxa in 09:55.05