#1985: Slotermeyer's NES 8 Eyes in 16:40.28

Submission Text Full Submission Page
Run info:
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Emulator: FCEU 0.98.16
  • No warps, no passwords
  • Uses 2-player input
Rerecord count is low by about 5k because of some cut and paste usage.
I use the normal difficulty. You can select two higher difficulties using passwords. They aren't that different, just faster enemies. I use normal to avoid violating the no-passwords rule, and because the higher difficulties require more hack-and-slash and I think would make for less entertaining runs.
About the game:
8 Eyes is a Castlevania clone, and probably the best known game made by the obscure NES game company Taxan. It features two characters, the human Orin and his falcon Cutrus, in either 1 or 2 player mode. Cutrus can attack enemies, hit switches, collect items, and generally do all sorts of useful things. The game also allows you to attack levels in whatever order you like, and much like the Mega Man games, there's a certain sequence that makes the bosses easier. Having the correct sword for each level gives double damage against each boss. Orin can also find and use several Castlevania-esque items, such as a dagger or boomerang, or the ice ball, which freezes opponents (including bosses). Unlike Castlevania, you can switch between all collected weapons freely.
Gameplay notes:
2 player mode allows for substantially more control of Cutrus, though he's still a little temperamental. He takes a while to recover after his dive attack, and he follows a swooping cycle when flying normally that you can't entirely eliminate. It can sometimes be very hard to get him quickly and reliably from point A to point B.
Screen transitions follow Orin, so TAS strategy involves using Cutrus as an advance scout to remove obstacles from Orin's path. Orin is a little more nimble than he looks, but he delays a bit when jumping or landing. In general, attacking is faster than jumping, which is faster than taking a hit. Attacking twice is slower than jumping. Taking a hit when walking on stairs costs 0 to 2 frames, depending on position, so getting to the stairs is key in many situations. Also, taking a hit doesn't always have the same frame cost, it depends on damage dealt and which direction you get pushed. So the optimal delay, if one is necessary, sometimes depends on the enemy.
It's often possible to walk through enemies by damaging them at the right time with Cutrus and going through their hit box during the invulnerability. This doesn't work for all enemies, and Cutrus can't always get to enemies fast enough because of the screen layout. I occasionally use Cutrus to get Orin far enough into the hit box so that when he takes a hit it pushes him forward rather than back. Another technique is distraction. Sending Cutrus towards an enemy can make them attempt to attack him, allowing me to manipulate their position for when Orin arrives. Sometimes I can get them out of the way entirely. There are some good examples of this in Egypt, the second level. Cutrus can also soften up or kill enemies before Orin arrives.
The most interesting rooms are ones where Cutrus has multiple goals to accomplish and is able to smoothly transition between them.
Non-obvious game quirks:
In rooms where you exit via a door instead of off the screen, the game will wait for Cutrus to return to Orin's shoulder before starting the screen-change routine. It's very important to have Cutrus on Orin's shoulder when he reaches the door so as to avoid the very long delay that this would otherwise cause. If he's right next to Orin but not rested on the shoulder it will cost at least 4 frames. You'll see me get Cutrus in proper position in every room except one, where it simply wasn't possible because of the switch location.
In addition, the doors do not remain open for very long after hitting the switch, so you have to hit it when Orin is relatively close to the door. This extra timing element makes some rooms much harder. You'll often see me use items, rather than Cutrus, to hit the switches.
There are a handful of enemies that can only be damaged by Cutrus. The guys with chain whips, mostly.
Like Castlevania, you can't jump when on the stairs. You also can't walk off of a ledge that has stairs at the edge, or you'll fall down them somewhat slowly. I show this during the after-boss downtime in Italy (level 3).
Levels:
Spain
This is generally the recommended starting point for non-assisted play and I choose it too. Orin's starting sword gets its double damage bonus on this boss, so it's the only real choice. Spain is one of the less interesting stages. You'll notice that Orin gets to have a nice cup of tea with all the bosses after each stage. Of course. No sense being uncivil.
Egypt
Egypt, on the other hand, is a very interesting level. Room 1 turned out particularly nice and I really like the very smooth distraction of the skeleton in room 3. Optimizing this boss fight took quite some time.
Italy
Tough level. Generally lots of enemies per screen, and the knights with the short swords are extremely annoying. They have long range and a quick attack motion so it's very hard to hitbox through them. I invest a few frames grabbing the ice ball to use on the boss, since being able to drop on top of him without taking a hit or doing any awkward repositioning saves quite a bit of time.
India
Another tough level, that turned out well. I'm very happy about the solution for the first full room. The boss teleports around the room from time to time, very slowly. Luckily this room contains a "Z" jar, which briefly doubles weapon power. It's well worth the time spent grabbing it.
Africa
This level and the next one are mazes, where the room exits don't all match up logically. The correct route through Africa is very short and this is the quickest level in the game. There's an infinite room that requires exits to be used in a certain order, much like the forest room in Legend of Zelda. Note how I run Cutrus off the right side of the screen when approaching the boss: this causes the boss to attack the left wall instead of throwing axes at me as I walk to him.
Germany
Another maze. A somewhat dull level, in my opinion. There aren't any suitable attack items that drop on the most direct route, so I have to use Cutrus to hit the final door switch. It's slow, but not as slow as going out of the way to get an item. The boss room contains another "Z" jar, and this one costs me literally no time to take.
Arabia
The only level in which health becomes a real consideration. The enemies do lots of damage to Orin, as does the boss.
The House of Ruth
In the final level, you have to fight all the bosses again (except Germany's, for some reason). DID OUR TEA MEAN NOTHING? No double damage swords, so this is kind of a slog. Hopefully I dominate them all well enough that it's still interesting. The bosses' damage window is 32 frames, and there are a couple of them on which I don't lose even so much as 1 frame between the first hit and last. A few others I only lose 5 or 10 frames from taking a couple of hits when necessary.
You start with all the items, plus full item power and health. After each boss you get restored to 100% again. Also, each room has an "S" jar that refills everything to 100% when picked up. Not all of them are in convenient locations, but a few are. I thought this level would be harder to optimize than it was, but all the refills mean I don't have to worry much about when to use items, and the delay before the doors open means that my location after winning each fight isn't important. Note also that despite appearances I can only use the ice ball 4 times per refill, not 5. A full bar is 9 and change power, not 10. Inconvenient, particularly on the teleporting boss, who I'm not able to kill before he teleports once.
The final puzzle
There's a little logic puzzle that has to be done correctly to finish the game. You're supposed to collect clues in each of the stages that give the solution, but there's obviously no need for this in a TAS.
Enjoy the lame ending. Taxan's trademark is requiring you to beat the game 3 times to get the best ending. Even the good ending sucks, though.

NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots (Desynced and removed) of this movie and placed them here. Oh! I also corrected the ROM name.
  • You indicated 8 Eyes (U).nes
  • I updated it to 8 Eyes (U) [!].nes

adelikat: Nice movie and good viewer response. Accepting for publication. Also, very good job on the submission text. It was very informative and also easy to read.

Chaosv1: Encoding...

adelikat: This movie has been "underway" for too long, encoding it myself.

TASVideoAgent
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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #1985: Slotermeyer's NES 8 Eyes in 16:40.28
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Not bad. I like the concept of the Simon-clone plus helpful bird. The refights were a drag, though. I can imagine watching this again, so I give it a Yes.
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I agree that the concept of a human-bird combo being very interesting. Still I thought it was a decent movie. BTW, some of the sound effects reminded me of The Guardian Legend. When you get hit and when you hit a boss, those sound effects are also heard in TGL. What a great game that was. *hint hint*
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Very nice run, looked very well done given how annoying the games' controls are. Yes vote.
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I've been expecting this run for long. And you did a great job. Yes vote!
<klmz> it reminds me of that people used to keep quoting adelikat's IRC statements in the old good days <adelikat> no doubt <adelikat> klmz, they still do
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Looks good. Never know that this Castlevania Clone exist. Yes vote.
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I thought there was an 8 Eyes TAS but I guess it wasn't submitted or summin. 8 Eyes is a TAS of a type most interesting to me since, for years, I was never able to do JACK with this game. Seeing it beat makes me feel just the slightest bit avenged, heh. Awesome work!
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going with yes. A bit slow at times, but a good tas overall
Has never colored a dinosaur.
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I am surprised this game did not have a good ending. But your input gives this another + !
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I was expecting this run for a long time. The run in itself is not bad. I would have hoped the author to find some weird glitche(s) to make the run more WOAH. I still give a yes vote.
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It looks pretty well optimized. I've been reluctant to work on this game because of how much of a pain in the ass it is to figure out the best use of Cutrus. There is a different route through Africa. Here's a quick unoptimized fcm I whipped up just now to show you. Did you know about it, and how does it compare to what you used? You wind up with the knife either way, so I'm not sure which is better, I never did get around to doing an exact comparison. It looks pretty close on the surface, though. But anyway, I did enjoy watching it. Nice work.
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I didn't know about that! I just went back and did an optimized run through Africa with that route and, luckily, it's about 160 frames slower than the one I took.
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hah, i like how the robot picked screenshots that were all the same the bird thing was kinda cool, voted yes so the final boss' attack just goes over your head? wheres the challenge in that?
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I didn't expect 8-yes to be so interesting. I really enjoyed the concept of having a bird to "scout" ahead. That added a lot of interest TASwise. Easy yes vote.
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Can I encode this movie?
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Sure.
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Symbolic are you going to encode this or should I
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So what is going on with this submission? It has been publication underway for weeks.
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I'll take the job! I already got a raw movie file in the hundreds of MB's and now I need the right codec (H264 or MKV) to try to downsize it. I'm running Vista, but I hope that is not going to slow me down. And for the emulator, should I turn FCEU messages (ex: Movie recording stopped) on or off?
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I always thought that H264 is just a codec and MKV a container format? So why not combine the two? :o
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I think I'm beginning to get the hang of encoding and compressing the raw video as it stands. Is it okay (audio-wise) if I can reduce the frequency from 44100 to 22050? Or what could happen? Okay, so far, I obtained a raw movie file at 110MB using ffdshow codec and selecting "H.264", "X264", "one-pass constant bitrate" and entering 64 kbps on that one. I got the length of this FCM movie out of here, and the re-record count as I viewed the movie stats on the emulator. I put this information plus the "TASvideos.org" message into subtitles using Photoshop CS3 and saving them as PNG images while having both of them ensure the dimensions are exactly the same the movie (256x224). And so I encode with Vegas Movie Studio, but I haven't created my opening logo yet. I'll try to make the logo pretty simple. If I do wind up with a very low file size, quality could suck. Also, I am trying to get this movie where it is compatible with VLC, but for an H264 movie on top of this, there are times when a dialog pops up about "AVI file is broken" =/
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I have the right codecs but my settings (even at their lowest) still gives me a huge file. I'll leave this to someone else, but I still need to know what other program (besides mencoder) was specifically used to encode video in perfection.
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Reducing the frequency (to 22050) should not be neccessary-try to strip the audio from the movie and encode them seperately: i.e. use vorbis (or other codecs at 32kbps/lower) for audio and x264 (2pass/or 3pass, dis-/-enable multithreading, try various subpixelrefinement settings, etc-there are a bunch of options: search, quantizer...). A bitrate of 300-320kps should be enough for Gens-movies; for GBA 260-310 (my experience)-but it really depends on the game (details [the game world], speed of moving objects); for NES-Videos I do not know. After encoding simply put the two streams in a mkv container together with the subtext files. Play with antialias too perhaps.
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This discussion is getting worse and worse. You are way off as far as getting a good, publishable avi. Please read: http://tasvideos.org/EmulatorResources/MakingAVI/FCEU/Windows.html Setting the sample rate to 22k is going to be a bad move, you will lose sound quality in the final encode.
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Yes vote for gratuitous ass-stabbing.