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Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
The final Castlevania for NES was released in September 1990 and takes place before the other two. In the 15th century, Trevor Belmont makes his way towards Dracula's Castle and can choose to team up with one of three possible spirit partners: Grant, Sypha, or Alucard, each with quite different abilities. With many paths to take through the game, there are many ways to play.

 

Alucard run: 0:27:54 by Josh 'funkdoc' Ballard

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___________________________________INTRODUCTION _____________________________________

Castlevania 3, from the moment I played it, has remained my all-time favorite NES game, and I have long had interest in speedrunning it. When I looked at the schedule of the first SDA marathon and saw no Castlevania 3 or 4, I decided then that I would learn both games and run them at next year's.

I have spent much of this year learning the game, with its many routes and characters and precise tricks, and during the summer I received an opportunity to record runs for SDA (as I could not do so myself at the time). Specifically, fellow SDA members Kareshi and PJ DiCesare both offered me to stay with them and use their consoles and equipment, and I ended up going to PJ's. All of the speedruns that you see on this page were performed over the span of 3 days at his house, with Grant & Sypha completed on the second day and Trevor & Alucard on the third.

NOTE: If you see any awkward pauses in any of these runs, chalk them up to the controller I was using. It had issues with diagonals and quickly changing directions, so sometimes I wouldn't move at all. None of them are all that bad, but figured it was worth pointing out.

Level Notes:

Level 1:

-I suggest reading the Sypha comments for more details, as well as any general game-engine points you have questions about. This goes very smoothly throughout.

Level 3:

-The owls behave pretty well this time. The Sypha run is near-perfect in this area, and you can't expect that every time.

-I used to get meat if I had less than half life before the branching path, but I decided I didn't want to get any unnecessary meat in any recorded run. This means I can only afford to take one hit in the next level, but that meat costs quite a bit of time.

Level 4:

-Official name: The Murky Marsh of Morbid Morons. Ah, old-school Konami...

-This level isn't hard at all, but it is probably the most random level in the entire game. The frogs appear randomly and jump around randomly, and the mudmen and some of the bats appear randomly.

-The opening frog section went pretty well. I wait on that last one because he can jump either left or right. I actually don't care if I get a bad weapon drop then because there's another holy water shortly afterward and I can get the triple shot back by the end of the stage.

-The section with the two mud pits in a row and the bats is even more annoying than the frogs. This is why I waited on that frog back at the beginning ? I knew I would need to be able to take a hit here.

-The boss is a complete joke, though positioning yourself so you can throw holy water and not climb the stairs is a bit tricky at first.

Level 5:

-We're in for a long one here, with two bosses and a branching path.

-The part leading up to Alucard is the only non-random section of the game, as you do the same thing every time here.

-Killing the flame man ends up being better than damage boosting because of how it affects the positioning of the spike crushers. I used to wait until the crusher was near the top and jump off to the next ledge, but eventually figured out that it was faster to drop straight down and climb the stairs.

-Thanks to Tom Votava for figuring out the Alucard fight on his own. Standing where I do manipulates him to appear where you can burn his head with holy water, and it works every time. Taking him out that quickly is tricky to learn at first, watch what I do very closely and you'll get it.

-After the fight, the run gets a lot more interesting. I quickly switch to Alucard and power up his normal attack fully, which allows him to deal as much damage as Trevor's whip if you can hit all 3 fireballs. You also see some early flying here. The flying using around 1 heart per second, Alucard is invincible while transforming into & out of the bat form (birds will die if they run into you during this!), and you can transform even while getting hit. Additionally, you can press A to "jump" upward with the bat; he immediately drops back to the level he was at previously, so this is only useful to reach the top of a ledge and immediately transform back to normal.

-At around 177 on the timer, I get stuck inside that ledge for a bit. It's rare to avoid this, and you can die if you reach the bottom of the screen as the bat, so this part requires careful movement.

-The part after the branching path is self-explanatory. Watch for the small visual glitch when I transform back into Trevor! And yes, this part and the catacombs level combined still take less time than the Sunken City.

-The skull knight here is arguably the toughest boss in the game. Each time you hit him, a bone appears and flies at you, and he can only be damaged when there's a bone on-screen. Triple holy water still takes care of him without too much trouble, though. Note that Alucard is terrible for most bosses, so you're better off switching to Trevor the vast majority of the time. It's actually possible to kill this guy quickly enough with Alucard to save a very small amount of time, but that takes extraordinary luck.

Level 6:

-One of my favorite levels, this has one of the coolest tricks in this run.

-I pressed down too early and got hit by that skeleton early on, which changed my strategy for the next part. Without that hit, I would run straight through the mummies and take 2 hits, which saves a small amount of time since you stop for the 2 transformations.

-If you wonder why I climb the stairs to that moving platform instead of flying, flying doesn't save you any time there. You would still have to wait for the platform to move forward in order to pick up the two big hearts.

-It can be faster to take the low route instead of running into the axe armor, but you need to be extremely lucky to fit through that gap before the knight hits you.

-The stopwatch + flying trick at the end is rather difficult, as fitting the bat through 1-block-wide gaps takes good positioning and a bit of luck. Saves a nice chunk of time, though.

-Yes, believe it or not, it's better to fight Frankenstein with Alucard. He's such a big target that it's easy to hit him with all 3 fireballs, so you can deal decent damage here. This fight takes 11 seconds, you would lose around 9.5 seconds for switching characters twice, and Trevor takes a bit longer than 1.5 seconds to kill him.

Level 7:

-Hated this level as a kid, since I always used Trevor the whole way. Look at how long it takes here, then remember that Alucard saves much more time here than anywhere else in the game.

-Yes, in that area where I take my first hit, Alucard can't fly over that wall since the bat can't go up into the top part of the screen.

-And here's the only other boss I use Alucard for! Not perfect but much better than it could have been.

-Just look at how much I fly right after that boss, then imagine what you would have to do there without Alucard. Yeah.

-Remember earlier when I said you can kill birds with your bat transformation? Well, here it is in action! It only works with them because they die upon contact with you.

-Taking that hit on the staircase scared me, but luckily the Cyclops behaved pretty well and the other bosses are never a problem.

Level 8:

-This level provides the only opportunity to use the coolest trick in this run: Using a damage boost and the bat transformation to glitch yourself onto a ledge from below. It's easy to do, just transform when Alucard's head is above the ledge and you've got it. The second one requires some luck, and the axe armor behaves perfectly for me there.

-There is no way to get enough hearts to successfully fly under the bridge at the end without wasting a lot of time, and you would only save around 15 frames by doing that.

-Death is the same as in the Trevor/Sypha runs. Alucard's fireballs hit the second form twice each, but that isn't enough to make him worth using.

Level 9:

-This level is nowhere near as scary with Alucard as with the rest of the cast. You can fly right through the worst parts of it.

-It's difficult to aim your shots at the flea men while moving forward, but well worth it. Not having to worry about weapon drops is huge here.

-Yes, you have to go a bit out of your way for hearts in this level, but it's well worth it with all the flying shortcuts. Skip the whole water bridge section? I'm in there!

-The Doppelganger fight is the same as usual, since Alucard is horrible against him.

Level A:

-You want to stick with Trevor for the bulk of this level, as you'll need to pick up the axe near the end. There's only one timesaver with Alucard and it isn't worth switching for.

-After the axe, on the other hand, Alucard is a must for obvious reasons. He's extremely bad against Dracula, so you'll need to switch again, but the shortcuts here are easily big enough to be worth it.

-The Dracula fights all go near-perfectly. You don't need to get hit by the first form, but I screwed up the positioning for that a bit. Still cost hardly any time, so I'm not complaining.

_______________________________CONCLUSION & THANKS__________________________________

Overall, this is easily the strongest of my 4 runs, with less than 10 seconds of realistic improvement possible, and it's also the only one of my runs that beats the (likely savestated) emulator speedrun on Youtube. I got a 28:17 on my first day at PJ's, and kept that while I worked on the other ones. I knew that wasn't an SDA-worthy run, though, so I made it a point to finish the others with enough time to go back and improve this. I'm very happy with the way that decision worked out!

If you enjoyed this and like other old-school Castlevania games or random obscure stuff, follow my Ustream channel for live speedrun practice & attempts with commentary, and check out my Youtube page for various speedruns (from Maximum Carnage to Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3-D and Skull & Crossbones).

Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-speedrunning

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rashreflection

Thanks to:

PJ, for making this whole thing possible.

Kareshi, for offering me his place. Unfortunately it couldn't work out, but the thought is much appreciated.

Tom Votava, for doing some very good runs before SDA accepted console games or tasvideos even existed. Some of the coolest tricks here were taken directly from him.

Bablo, for pointing out a trick in the Grant run I had missed before.

Samhain-Grim, for the CV3 TAS's. A number of the tricks you see here were either taken directly from them or adapted slightly to be practical in a real run.

TheZeth, for making Youtube speedruns that, though probably savestated, still offered many useful strategies. This was especially helpful for playing Trevor, since the TAS's barely use him at all.

ArekTheAbsolute, for the Grant vs. Doppelganger strategy.

Mike Uyama, nate, & co. for keeping SDA going and rekindling my interest via the marathon.

All the stream monsters, for watching my practice, record attempts, and random poverty games.

The rest of SDA, for being a solid community and giving me things to watch as I study & go to sleep.

Grant run: 0:33:02 by Josh 'funkdoc' Ballard

Get Flash to see this player.

___________________________________INTRODUCTION _____________________________________

Castlevania 3, from the moment I played it, has remained my all-time favorite NES game, and I have long had interest in speedrunning it. When I looked at the schedule of the first SDA marathon and saw no Castlevania 3 or 4, I decided then that I would learn both games and run them at next year's.

I have spent much of this year learning the game, with its many routes and characters and precise tricks, and during the summer I received an opportunity to record runs for SDA (as I could not do so myself at the time). Specifically, fellow SDA members Kareshi and PJ DiCesare both offered me to stay with them and use their consoles and equipment, and I ended up going to PJ's. All of the speedruns that you see on this page were performed over the span of 3 days at his house, with Grant & Sypha completed on the second day and Trevor & Alucard on the third.

NOTE: If you see any awkward pauses in any of these runs, chalk them up to the controller I was using. It had issues with diagonals and quickly changing directions, so sometimes I wouldn't move at all. None of them are all that bad, but figured it was worth pointing out.

Level Notes:

Level 1:

-Read the Sypha comments for a more detailed breakdown. In fact, read the Sypha comments if there's any general game-engine stuff you don't understand. The execution was a bit cleaner in this one but it's the same thing.

Level 2:

-A rather boring level to watch IMO. It's easy and there aren't many interesting tricks, but if you do make a mistake you'll probably fall to your death.

-The upward climb with gears and Medusa heads is annoying, as the heads are somewhat random and can block your path for a bit.

-There is a slightly faster boss strategy (see the Grant TAS), but it's far too difficult for too little gain to be worth it here.

-The trip down is much quicker and more fun than the climb up, as you are introduced to Grant. He walks faster and jumps higher than everyone else, he can change direction in mid-air, his normal attack is extremely fast, and he can climb walls and ceilings. The climbing controls are not the easiest thing to learn, though, and there is one particularly nasty bug: Occasionally, when climbing up the side of a ledge, Grant will not grab the side and instead just fall off. That makes this run much more nerve-wracking than it needs to be!

- I figured out the stopwatch at the end myself. Using it at the end gets rid of hearts and reduces the countdown at the end of the level, and it also helps at the beginning of the next level.

Level 3:

-Yes, by going to the clock tower you skip the first section of this level.

-My goal here is to obtain a triple axe, as this will come in handy throughout the rest of the game.

-The owls are nowhere near as annoying with Grant as they are otherwise, I have to say! Still got a bit of bad luck, but nothing horrible.

-Yes, the Sypha path is faster with him. Going to Alucard's costs around 40 seconds in a TAS, and I supect it would be more in a real run.

-This level introduces my Cyclops strategy, which is noticeably faster than anything Trevor can do. I screw up a little bit here but it was still acceptable.

Level 4:

-This is where I get most nervous in this run, due to a couple dangerous tricks. One involves climbing up a ledge to avoid a ghost, and the glitch I mentioned earlier tends to happen a fair amount here. The other is the toughest jump in the entire game; it requires pixel perfection, so you'll see me stop to line it up correctly. Votava actually found that one himself, which is amazing.

-It's better to fight Medusa with Grant because you lose around 9.5 seconds by switching characters twice, and this battle doesn't last that long period. This is the justification for most of the boss fights in this run, and probably my single biggest improvement over Votava's run. There's very little reason to use Trevor over Grant.

-That was an unfortunate mistake with the swordsman near the end, and it made me a bit nervous against the Cyclops. Worst part of the run, hands down. I still think the boss fight looks cool because of the strategy for the mummies, which requires precise positioning in order for your axes to hit both of them.

Level 5:

-Scary climb at the beginning, and I hold forward a bit first to prevent the glitch from happening.

-Bablo pointed out to me that in the autoscrolling section, you can climb under a ledge and get hit by a knight to boost yourself upward just enough to begin the autoscrolling earlier than usual. So if you were wondering why I took that hit, there you go!

-Yes, even against a boss with as much HP as Frankenstein, you're still better off sticking with Grant than switching characters. And yes, rapid stabbing is faster than using the triple axe.

Level 6:

-The extra mobility is a pretty big help with the water bridge, as you might expect.

-Wall climbing makes this a very short level. Interestingly enough, Alucard can't fly over that wall since the bat is unable go up into the top part of the screen. I shouldn't have waited for that fireball before falling off the wall, but I was feeling cautious at the time.

-Finally, a weapon drop in an unavoidable spot! Knew one of those had to come eventually...

-Boss fight was a bit ugly, not sure if it was the controller or just me being nervous. Shouldn't have missed those axes in any case. And yet, it still ended up being faster than switching to Trevor would have been!

Level 7:

-Wall climbing cuts out even more of this level than the previous one. And yet again, Alucard can't fly over those walls.

-Really should have jumped to hit the harpy there, would have avoided the damage. Otherwise this was pretty smooth.

-This is the only boss fight that's worth switching back to Trevor for. The mummies and especially the Leviathan just take far too long for Grant to kill.

Level 8:

-As usual, a simple level without much to comment on.

-There is no faster way to handle those axe armors that I have found.

-Climbing under the bridge only saves around 15 frames, but it's easy and it looks cool so why not?

-The boss is a tad slow but still good. Grant ends up being worth it here because he can do a lot more damage to the second form early than Trevor can.

Level 9:

-Still hate this level, even with Grant's abilities. He makes the flea men and water bridge sections much easier, though.

-That pause in the spike crusher room is used to manipulate the crushers and spikes. Specifically, I stay far enough to the right that the spikes in the middle aren't triggered, and wait until I'm able to jump over those spikes as they are triggered.

-Still not sure how I got hit in that long climb up, must have just barely missed hitting the fireball. Didn't end up being a disaster, but still a decent mistake.

-I avoid being hit in the water bridge section because my boss strategy is somewhat luck-dependent and I want a bit of a safety net.

-Speaking of that boss strategy, it works very well here and is one of my favorite parts of all of these runs. Credit for this one goes to ArekTheAbsolute, who makes Youtube videos showing how to beat various Castlevania bosses without any subweapons or powerups. I never would have believed the Doppelganger was doable with Grant, but his video of this fight showed me that it was not only doable but much faster than switching to Trevor. The only issue is that you need a bit of luck to get him locked into that pattern, but it happens more often than not in my experience. Also, now you see why I was so careful earlier...the spacing for this is tricky.

-Oh yeah, and I pick up that big heart at the end because if I can't get the pattern to work I switch to Trevor. Time constraints were starting to factor into my mindset here, but luckily I didn't need to resort to that!

Level A:

-No real timesavers for Grant in this level, except for a decent one in the pendulum room.

-Screwed up with the controller on that "hanging on the wall" trick with the bone pillar, then got a bad weapon drop coupled with some annoying enemies in the next room. Nothing major, though.

-Dracula fights all went very well, although I should have used a couple fewer axes on the first one and saved them for the second.

_______________________________CONCLUSION & THANKS__________________________________

Overall, I could see this being improved by around 10-15 seconds through better execution in general. There's so much precision and randomness in this run that it won't be easy to come by, though, and I am proud for pulling this off without anything as bad as, say, the final boss fights in the Trevor & Sypha runs.

If you enjoyed this and like other old-school Castlevania games or random obscure stuff, follow my Ustream channel for live speedrun practice & attempts with commentary, and check out my Youtube page for various speedruns (from Maximum Carnage to Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3-D and Skull & Crossbones).

Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-speedrunning

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rashreflection

Thanks to:

PJ, for making this whole thing possible.

Kareshi, for offering me his place. Unfortunately it couldn't work out, but the thought is much appreciated.

Tom Votava, for doing some very good runs before SDA accepted console games or tasvideos even existed. Some of the coolest tricks here were taken directly from him.

Bablo, for pointing out a trick in the Grant run I had missed before.

Samhain-Grim, for the CV3 TAS's. A number of the tricks you see here were either taken directly from them or adapted slightly to be practical in a real run.

TheZeth, for making Youtube speedruns that, though probably savestated, still offered many useful strategies. This was especially helpful for playing Trevor, since the TAS's barely use him at all.

ArekTheAbsolute, for the Grant vs. Doppelganger strategy.

Mike Uyama, nate, & co. for keeping SDA going and rekindling my interest via the marathon.

All the stream monsters, for watching my practice, record attempts, and random poverty games.

The rest of SDA, for being a solid community and giving me things to watch as I study & go to sleep.

Sypha run: 0:30:53 by Josh 'funkdoc' Ballard

Get Flash to see this player.

___________________________________INTRODUCTION _____________________________________ Castlevania 3, from the moment I played it, has remained my all-time favorite NES game, and I have long had interest in speedrunning it. When I looked at the schedule of the first SDA marathon and saw no Castlevania 3 or 4, I decided then that I would learn both games and run them at next year's.

I have spent much of this year learning the game, with its many routes and characters and precise tricks, and during the summer I received an opportunity to record runs for SDA (as I could not do so myself at the time). Specifically, fellow SDA members Kareshi and PJ DiCesare both offered me to stay with them and use their consoles and equipment, and I ended up going to PJ's. All of the speedruns that you see on this page were performed over the span of 3 days at his house, with Grant & Sypha completed on the second day and Trevor & Alucard on the third.

NOTE: If you see any awkward pauses in any of these runs, chalk them up to the controller I was using. It had issues with diagonals and quickly changing directions, so sometimes I wouldn't move at all. None of them are all that bad, but figured it was worth pointing out.

Level Notes:

Level 1:

-I whip those three candles at the start to guarantee that I will get the second whip upgrade in the next room. It helps with the bats on the climb upward.

-You obtain double & triple shots by destroying a certain number of candles with your subweapon, and getting triple holy water is actually faster than the current TAS's strategy here. Holy water does far more damage than any other weapon in the game; though useless against a few bosses, it still comes out well ahead of even the cross.

-This level also introduces one of the more advanced tricks: recovery canceling. When falling from a height greater than 2 blocks, you normally have a long landing recovery period; if you perform an attack and time it so that the animation ends as you land, you'll cancel out all or most of this recovery.

-Damage boosting has exactly the same speed as normal walking (except with Grant, since he walks faster than everyone else). The direction of your damage boost depends on which half of your sprite gets hit ? taking a hit on the right side send you to the left and vice versa.

-When on stairs, you can autofire by holding B. Works with normal and subweapons.

-The boss went almost perfectly. Sometimes he can be a jerk and hit you with his sword, which costs a small amount of time.

Level 3 (Level 2 is skipped):

-This is when you'll have to start worrying about enemies dropping bad subweapons in your way. It's an instant reset if you pick one up, both because the holy water is rather rare and because you lose your triple shot. You get a subweapon drop after killing a random number of enemies, but the minimum number seems to be fairly high ? if you get a drop, you can be certain you won't see another one for a while.

-The owl section is annoying and random, but not nearly as bad as some other parts of the game. I mostly run through it with a bit of waiting, which gives you the best chance to make it through with enough life for all of the following damage boosts. After their initial swoop, they will target you based on position and height, so you can fake them out by jumping as they dive.

-Fun fact: If you take this path with Alucard on the second loop, you can fly straight from the room after the owls to the exit gate!

-When approaching a gate that leads to a branching path, your character will engage in an auto-walk which is slower than your normal walk but cancels landing recovery.

-The Cyclops is the most random boss in a non-Grant run, and you need to be able to take 1-2 hits against him. The strategy I use is the fastest, but you have to hope he walks toward you instead of going all the way to the other side and back. You fight him 3 times on this route and twice on Alucard's route...

Level 4:

-We have Sypha now, but she won't be used very much in this run. She is helpful in the normal levels, but so much worse against bosses than Trevor that it's not worth switching to her. There are a couple exceptions you'll see later on, and those are some of the most impressive parts of the run.

-Honestly, this is a pretty cut-and-dried level with Trevor, not much to say for the most part. Watch for a couple cool damage boosts!

-At around 349 on the timer, I could damage boost off of that ghost but choose not to. There's a room with birds that can hit me if I'm unlucky, and if I take both of those extra hits I won't have enough life to execute the proper Cyclops strategy.

-Right before Medusa, I screw up a small trick. I jump and throw holy water onto a platform, and if I do it right it will hit the ghost, keep him place for a bit, and keep me from having to kill him on the way up the stairs.

-After Medusa, I am very hesitant around the first headless swordsman. This is because the candle in front of him has a dagger.

-The boss is one old enemy and one new one. Blink and you'll miss the new one.

Level 5:

-That first damage boost took some practice, as you have a 3-frame window to jump into the fireball and get knocked forward.

-That damage boost involving the axe armor requires some luck, as he has to throw a high axe in order for it to work.

-Ugly mistake on the axe armor late in the level (supposed to destroy the axe with holy water then throw 2 more at the axe armor itself) compounded by a weapon drop in the worst possible place. Probably the worst part of the run after the final boss, especially since it forced me to take the last room a bit slower than usual.

-Frankenstein went perfectly fine, you shouldn't get hit here.

Level 6:

-I really, really hate the water bridge. Currents, random birds, random fishmen, it has it all! You just have to slow down a bit here.

-Minor hiccup at around 454 on the timer, climbed the stairs a bit too late and got hit with the axe. Still got all the necessary damage boosts, though, so I can live with that.

-The last section with the fishmen is also annoying and random. I just take it slow and watch for weapon drops. There was another minor mistake, probably due to the controller but I don't remember exactly. If you press B on the frame that you land from a jump, you'll hear the whip sound but it won't come out...that might have been it.

-The boss strategy was taken from Tom Votava's runs but changed slightly. Adding a whip hit along with the holy water is guaranteed to kill the first serpent right off the bat, allowing you to focus much more damage on the second one. Not too easy but not overly difficult either.

Level 7:

-And finally, Sypha gets in the picture! I think this is the highlight of the run, thanks to the glitches available with her ice spell.

- The first glitch is much easier than it looks, just copy what I do there and you'll get it every time.

-The second glitch, on the other hand, is extremely difficult. You need to freeze a fireball as it's just barely left the bone pillar, jump on the fireball (walk backwards first), then walk off of it so that you end up "inside" the bone pillar. This allows you to jump over it, then jump back onto it then immediately upward to avoid going to the right and climbing the stairs. You have a very tight window to do all of this!

-I hate that jump. You'll know what I'm talking about if you don't already. Even Votava stops to position himself for it.

-That weapon I pick up near the end of the level is Sypha's lightning spell, which will come in handy for Dracula. Unfortunately, it's so slow on the boss here that you're better off eating the 4+ seconds it takes to switch to Trevor. You've seen the first two bosses before, and the Leviathan at the end is simpler than either of them (though he has the most HP of anything in the game).

Level 8:

-This tribute to a simpler game is a simple level itself. Short and doesn't offer much for me to say.

- That axe armor I get knocked backwards by is annoying. Probably should have damage boosted forward instead of killing him, but I wanted to save 1 hit for the bridge at the end; the knight there causes huge slowdown that can randomly drop your inputs, potentially causing you to take a hit.

-Death is extremely easy. You can manipulate the location of his scythes by standing in a certain spot, and I choose one that lets me take them out immediately and concentrate on the reaper himself. The second form is just pathetic, even when playing normally.

Level 9:

-My most hated level in any run. They cut & pasted the most annoying sections from the rest of the game and made them even harder here. At least the music is great!

-I got lucky, having received a weapon drop shortly before this level. This allowed me to run straight through the beginning flea man section without worry, which is unusual.

-The next section features my gutsiest damage boost, half life gone from one hit. I originally didn't use this, but figured out how to make it through the rest of the level without meat. It saves too much time not to go for!

-This level as a whole went quite smoothly, with one bad weapon drop as the main mitigating factor. I'm especially glad I was able to handle that double water bridge near the end as quickly as I did!

-The Doppelganger is the toughest boss in the game when playing normally, since he copies your moves but deals far more damage. Triple holy water makes quick work of him, though.

Level A:

-Thankfully, this isn't one of the harder levels in the game. On the short side, too, which is nice since the music gets repetitive quickly.

-The one possible improvement in the level itself is damage boosting through the bone pillars instead of stopping to kill them. I was a bit conservative there to account for any potential mishaps with Dracula.

-Sypha's lightning spell really shines against Dracula's first two forms since the holy water is useless against them. However, it's terrible against the final form because two of the balls will target the hands (which can't be hit) and you have to wait for all of the balls to disappear before you can cast another spell. Trevor with a single axe is much, much faster than any of the alternatives here.

-The final battle is also where I make the biggest mistake of the run. Even after you kill him, you have to wait for the platforms to disappear before the orb will appear, and I could have killed him one "platform cycle" earlier. That's around 10 seconds lost!

_______________________________CONCLUSION & THANKS__________________________________

Overall, this is improvable by around 15-20 seconds through a better final boss and more risk-taking, but I'm not so sure about doing that. The reason is that over the course of recording and comparing these, I learned that it's very slightly faster (2-3 seconds probably) never to use Sypha at all for the entire game, and I am definitely not doing that; I think we can all agree that her appearances are some of the coolest parts of the run and we don't need a duplicate Trevor run. Frankly, I'd be more likely to go back and improve Trevor since that's a worse run anyway, and that still isn't very likely.

If you enjoyed this and like other old-school Castlevania games or random obscure stuff, follow my Ustream channel for live speedrun practice & attempts with commentary, and check out my Youtube page for various speedruns (from Maximum Carnage to Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3-D and Skull & Crossbones).

Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-speedrunning

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rashreflection

Thanks to:

PJ, for making this whole thing possible.

Kareshi, for offering me his place. Unfortunately it couldn't work out, but the thought is much appreciated.

Tom Votava, for doing some very good runs before SDA accepted console games or tasvideos even existed. Some of the coolest tricks here were taken directly from him.

Bablo, for pointing out a trick in the Grant run I had missed before.

Samhain-Grim, for the CV3 TAS's. A number of the tricks you see here were either taken directly from them or adapted slightly to be practical in a real run.

TheZeth, for making Youtube speedruns that, though probably savestated, still offered many useful strategies. This was especially helpful for playing Trevor, since the TAS's barely use him at all.

ArekTheAbsolute, for the Grant vs. Doppelganger strategy.

Mike Uyama, nate, & co. for keeping SDA going and rekindling my interest via the marathon.

All the stream monsters, for watching my practice, record attempts, and random poverty games.

The rest of SDA, for being a solid community and giving me things to watch as I study & go to sleep.

No Partner run: 0:31:04 by Josh 'funkdoc' Ballard

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___________________________________INTRODUCTION _____________________________________

Castlevania 3, from the moment I played it, has remained my all-time favorite NES game, and I have long had interest in speedrunning it. When I looked at the schedule of the first SDA marathon and saw no Castlevania 3 or 4, I decided then that I would learn both games and run them at next year's.

I have spent much of this year learning the game, with its many routes and characters and precise tricks, and during the summer I received an opportunity to record runs for SDA (as I could not do so myself at the time). Specifically, fellow SDA members Kareshi and PJ DiCesare both offered me to stay with them and use their consoles and equipment, and I ended up going to PJ's. All of the speedruns that you see on this page were performed over the span of 3 days at his house, with Grant & Sypha completed on the second day and Trevor & Alucard on the third.

NOTE: If you see any awkward pauses in any of these runs, chalk them up to the controller I was using. It had issues with diagonals and quickly changing directions, so sometimes I wouldn't move at all. None of them are all that bad, but figured it was worth pointing out.

Notes:

If you want to understand this run better, just read the Sypha comments. This is almost the exact same run, with the only differences being level 7 and the Dracula fights (which are the same as in the Alucard run). There is one very cool trick early in level 7 (which I hadn't discovered until the day before I left for PJ's), so check that out if you can.

Just note that the execution is cleaner in general compared to the Sypha run, with one notable mistake in level 6 and the double water bridge in level 9 being the only new issues. However, I am still a bit too conservative in levels 8 and A. Then, there's the pendulum room at the end...I get unlucky and kill a bat while getting hit simultaneously, which costs me 15 seconds. I make the same mistake on the final boss that the Sypha run does, as well. I kept this run anyway because of time constraints and the fact that the pendulum room is much more difficult with Trevor than anyone else (that was my first time making it through there alive!).

In retrospect, I should have picked up that axe the bone pillar dropped, but I'm not sure I could have gotten double shot even at that point.

_______________________________CONCLUSION & THANKS__________________________________

This is improvable by over 30 seconds all in all, which means solo Trevor is actually faster than using Sypha anywhere. I'm honestly not too excited to improve either of them...if I redid Sypha it wouldn't feel right not using the fastest strategy, and Sypha being slower than solo Trevor would just look weird.

If you enjoyed this and like other old-school Castlevania games or random obscure stuff, follow my Ustream channel for live speedrun practice & attempts with commentary, and check out my Youtube page for various speedruns (from Maximum Carnage to Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3-D and Skull & Crossbones).

Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-speedrunning

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rashreflection

Thanks to:

PJ, for making this whole thing possible.

Kareshi, for offering me his place. Unfortunately it couldn't work out, but the thought is much appreciated.

Tom Votava, for doing some very good runs before SDA accepted console games or tasvideos even existed. Some of the coolest tricks here were taken directly from him.

Bablo, for pointing out a trick in the Grant run I had missed before.

Samhain-Grim, for the CV3 TAS's. A number of the tricks you see here were either taken directly from them or adapted slightly to be practical in a real run.

TheZeth, for making Youtube speedruns that, though probably savestated, still offered many useful strategies. This was especially helpful for playing Trevor, since the TAS's barely use him at all.

ArekTheAbsolute, for the Grant vs. Doppelganger strategy.

Mike Uyama, nate, & co. for keeping SDA going and rekindling my interest via the marathon.

All the stream monsters, for watching my practice, record attempts, and random poverty games.

The rest of SDA, for being a solid community and giving me things to watch as I study & go to sleep.

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