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In February 2009, the developers of the famous Disgaea RPG series, Nippon Ichi Software, released their first ever 2D action platformer, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? Spoiled by the multitude of today's easy games, a lot of casual players and reviewers complained about Prinny's insane difficulty and 'imprecise controls', which gave the game a bad reputation. Unspoiled hardcore gamers think otherwise. Given 1000 lives for the whole game, players take control of Prinny, who is ordered by Demon Lord Etna to find and retrieve her stolen Ultra Dessert. Using just a pair of knives and the 'one-way' jump system adapted from the classic hit Ghosts 'n Goblins, Prinny must traverse the most perilous places of the Netherworld while battling hordes of demons until they accomplish their mission or die trying.


Individual-levels hard difficulty run in 0:16:22.41:

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Level name Time Date Player
Moab Fortress 0:00:53.36 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
Demon Sea Aria 0:01:20.30 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
Magma Hideout 0:01:14.14 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
Death's Watchtower 0:01:45.22 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
High-Tome Forest 0:01:21.21 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
NetherGrasslands 0:01:21.05 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
Aged Sage Altar 0:00:24.55 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
Black Dessert Desert 0:01:44.53 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
Sweet Palace 0:02:53.51 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita
Sweet Garden 0:03:24.24 2010-02-02 Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita

Kevin 'xarugas' Areopagita's comments:

This is my first ever speedrun attempt, and I must say it was an interesting experience. Though I have put ALOT of "hardcore" time into games, never have I practiced the art of speedrunning til now. I started playing Prinny: CIRBTH since its NA version was released, but I haven't thought about speedrunning it til I checked out SDA to see a thread on the game.

Firstly, much thanks to:

  • nate for his expert encoding work on SDA, as well as confirming that my capture quality wasn't crap.
  • mike for allowing the run to be made mostly from replays and for being a nice guy.
  • Radix and the whole SDA team for making SDA as badass as it is today. You guys rock.
  • Gojira345isDante for discovering the Cliff Slide trick and for starting the thread on this game.
  • Cremator and Phoenix3568 for their help on certain recording issues.
  • romscout for stressing that with the proper positioning, bosses CAN be killed within 1 stun.
  • the anonymous guest who posted his best stage times. Without these as a reference I would've always thought my 2 minute stage times were hella fast.

    General Info
    -each stage of the game is 1 segment.
    -Hell's Finest/Hard difficulty, where the only difference from Standard difficulty is that Prinny dies in one hit.
    -Segment 1-8 and 10 are recorded from the combined stage+boss replays of their respective stages. Since the timing is based on the in-game timer, the loading screens are trimmed out.
    -Segment 9 is recorded real-time, since the mid-boss fights can't be saved as replays.
    -Tutorial 1 is not included since you can skip the stage during a new game+.
    -The Tutorial 1 and 2 clear times shown at the end of segment 10 are not included in the timing of the run. Clearing these stages is required to obtain the Replay NPC on a new game+ file.
    -The in-game time records show fractions of a sec in 1/60sec increments. (as opposed to the usual 1/100sec)

    Before I talk about the stages themselves, let me elaborate on some of the game mechanics:

    DOWN+X in mid-air. For those who haven't played the game, the hip pound is the classic butt slam. It's used to stun bosses, enemies, or simply force a vertical landing after a jump. After the pound, Prinny is invincible for a split second when he bounces off an enemy. This allows you to pass through certain projectiles and/or enemies if the timing and positioning are right.

    The Hip Pound's hitbox is a bit deceptive. It doesn't only hit things below you, it can also hit things beside you as long as you face their direction, this is because the hitbox extends all the way to Prinny's outstretched front leg.

    Holding O makes Prinny spin. When he starts glowing blue, he becomes completely invincible to any attack. This only lasts for a few seconds though.

    Releasing O while moving left/right during a Spin makes Prinny dash. During a dash, pressing or holding O will make Prinny go directly into the Spin again, complete with blue aura, so you can extend your dash by simply tapping O while holding left/right. This makes Prinny cover a lot of ground pretty fast.

    Simply jump/double jump after a dash. The distance and speed of a dash jump is greater than a normal one.

    Pressing DOWN during a dash makes Prinny do an invincible slide (with blue aura). Prinny slows down near the end of the slide; so instead of waiting for it to finish, it's best to jump out of the slide animation to save time and stay on the move.

    A trick discovered by Gojira345isDante. It involves Dashing to the edge of a platform then pressing DOWN right as you leave the platform. If done right, Prinny will execute the Slide in mid-air retaining all of the momentum of a Dash, making him invincible as he drops down from the platform.

    After a Dash Jump, press DOWN just as Prinny lands to do a Slide (which is supposed to be usable only after a Dash). The timing is strict: too early and the slide won't work; too late and the slide will lose momentum, ending up slow and short. The distance covered by a Dash->Dash double jump->Dive is pretty large, and it enables you to get past tricky enemy formations. Not sure if anyone else knew about this trick but since I haven't seen any discussions or videos with it (nor is there any in-game info about it), then I'll claim this as my own discovery. :P

    Sorta obvious. The air attack involves Prinny swinging his swords while projectiles shoot out of them. If you do this up close, you get to hit an enemy with both the sword swing AND the projectiles, doing massive damage.

    Another somewhat obvious mechanic. Start the air attack but don't mash, just let Prinny enter his "attack pose", with his swords brandished. This creates a hitbox in the upper half of Prinny's body, which hits multiple times rapidly. (same damage as a sword slash per hit) This makes short work of weaker enemies like the low tier Winged Demons, Mothmen, Corns, etc. (plus it looks awesome)


    For the stage sequence, I used what the anonymous guest posted in the forum:

    10 hours left - Moab Fortress - fastest first stage. Any other variation of this stage contains alot of annoying enemies.
    9 hours left - Demon Sea Aria - all variations of this stage past this point has a laser vehicle segment, which takes a LONG time since it moves automatically.
    8 hours left - Magma Hideout - beyond this point the stage contains some hard jumps and alot more enemies to plow through.
    7 hours left - Death's Watchtower - if this stage is done 5th or 6th, the boss is different, & there are more Phantoms.
    6 hours left - High-tome Forest - if this stage is done 4th or 6th there would be 2-3 bosses. Plus, this one has an easy route.
    5 hours left - Nethergrasslands - the path includes a carpet shortcut which skips a large part of the stage easily.

    Now for the stage comments:


    Segment 1 - MOAB FORTRESS - 00'53"36

    Perfect. You'll see lots of Dive action in this stage, showing first-hand how effective it is for getting past certain enemy formations. Moab could've been half a second faster though.


    Segment 2 - DEMON SEA ARIA - 01'20"30

    This is a tough stage to perfect due to the number of Dives I have to do for an optimal time. Though the 2nd Dive was poor, it didn't really matter much since the carpet over the first water pit activates right before the 2nd Red Idol everytime; so as long as I didn't mess up the 3rd dive, I'd get to the carpet properly without wasting time.

    The run to the boss gate was perfect. It looks deceptively simple, but when there are 10+ winged demons attacking in random flight sequences, it could get VERY ugly.


    Segment 3 - MAGMA HIDEOUT - 01'14"14

    The failed Dive wasn't a problem, since I still got to the red carpet at the optimal time right as it starts moving to the right so i didn't have to wait. The 2nd spin right before the big gap was necessary. I have to wait for the blue carpet to start going down before I make the jump, else the Firegoyle would've blocked my jump and killed me after hip pounding the mothman.

    The last hip pound used to land on the platform under the ninja could be avoided by positioning the double jump properly from the previous platform, BUT it poses a great deal of risk of falling or getting hit not worth a mere half-second.

    The Hoshikage fight was perfect. This is what happens when you combine proper positioning and rapid mashing.


    Segment 4 - DEATH'S WATCHTOWER - 01'45"22

    This stage is one of the toughest to perfect. Alot of areas must be run perfectly to get to the carpets on time.(to avoid waiting) Killing the Male Phantom is slow, but keeping it alive means having a fast homing enemy (that can also pass through walls) chase you down at the most crucial jumps before the boss gate.

    Right after the phantom, instead of jumping over the gargoyle I spin through it. I do this to prevent the Female Phantom from starting her rounds before I even get to her platform, which would've caused me 2 secs of waiting for a clear jump. Landing on the next green carpet is tough. In fact, you'll see that I barely made it.

    The boss fight went smoothly. Knocking Basil off the platform prevents him from staying in the match as a projectile-shooting decapitated headed after he dies. Plus, it clears up the left side of the platform, which is where Chervil resurfaces.


    Segment 5 - HIGH-TOME FOREST - 01'21"21

    Almost a perfect run, except for that last double jump where I didn't land on the platform properly, wasting half a second with the edge-climbing animation. As for comments on Anise, check out the Sweet Palace comments.


    Segment 6 - NETHERGRASSLANDS - 01'21"05

    Yes, it's faster to go through the Steel Corn path instead of trying to lure the Mothman towards you and using it as a hip pound platform shortcut to the upper level. It's simply too tedious and luck-based to wait for the mothman to spot and attack you, compared to just running through the Corn path.


    Segment 7 - AGED SAGE ALTAR - 00'24"55

    Nothing much here. Throwing the first 3 bombs as fast as possible allows for the 24 sec kill.


    Segment 8 - BLACK DESSERT DESERT - 01'44"53

    I enjoyed running this stage the most for one reason: the Cliff Slide. Thanks to Gojira345isDante's discovery, a treacherous part of the stage can be sped through without fail. Watching how the slide goes all the way down the slope is just lovely.

    The only other thing to note is that in the last area, the Cannoneer Moab I threw didn't hit and explode on the winged demons like it should have. (stunned, low HP enemies act like bombs when thrown) This never happened before. It cost me about 2 seconds since I had to wait for the demons to fly past my Spin's invincibility before I could dash. Good thing the 5 winged demons didn't decide to spam their dive attack while I was rushing to the boss gate though.


    Segment 9 - SWEET PALACE - 02'53"51

    This stage is all about boss fights. After hours on hours of boss tweaking, the most optimal times are: 18-19sec Ogre, 11-12 sec Anise, 22-23sec Basil+Chervil, 9sec Cardamon, 12-13sec Hoshikage, and 14-15sec Moab. My original finished run of this stage was at 3'16" and used different strategies for Hoshikage and Cardamon. It also had a VERY crappy 47sec dragon duo fight. Days after finishing the segment I decided to redo it since I couldn't stand watching the dragon duo fight at all. Ironically, it still isn't perfect.

    Ogre starts out way too far from the walls, and without wall positioning, Ogre won't ever die in 1 stun without an autofire hack, but you're welcome to prove me wrong. (in fact, I want to be proven wrong, so I can improve this time further lol) Moab is a run breaker since his stun time is short, making for surprise deaths if you air attack too close. I played it safe in this run and slowed down my attack speed so he doesn't enter critical HP after the 1st stun, since if he does, his attacks unleash more shots and they travel faster.

    Anise, Cardamon, and Hoshikage can all be lured to a wall. But to kill these girls in 1 stun you have to keep them at the same vertical height as Prinny during the air barrage, else you run the risk of juggling them too high or not juggling at all, therefore either the slash projectiles or the sword swings will miss. Anise is easier than the other two since she has lesser HP.

    Basil & Chervil took me the most tries to develop a perfect manipulation technique. The goal is to kill Basil on the 2nd stun (since he doesn't go near a wall) fast enough so you can Hip Pound Chervil RIGHT as she reburrows after a jump. This will save about 4 secs since you won't be waiting for Chervil to resurface again. I was able to do constant 23 sec kills of this fight during my practice runs using this method.

    Ironically, in the runs where I got perfect fights all the way to Cardamon, I screw up Hoshikage. In runs where I perfected all the way to Hoshikage, somehow Moab kills me. Mind you this kept happening in a span of 400-500 reruns of the damn stage. In the finished run that's presented here, I mess up both Cardamon AND the dragon duo fight. (not really "messed up" per se, and it's still way faster than my previous 47sec fight) Overall, this segment could be 11-12 secs faster if all the boss fights are perfected, and about 5secs faster if the stage runs are cleaner. I usually run the non-boss segments of the stage perfectly, but shit happens. 2'4x" is possible, which I still want to achieve....but probably at a later date since I'm currently sick of this stage. >:C

    Btw, for those interested in how a perfect Cardamon and Basil+Chervil fight looks like, click here.


    Segment 10 - SWEET GARDEN - 03'24"24

    The final stage of the game is actually easier to perfect than most of the other stages. The boss fights however are what makes or breaks a good Sweet Garden run.

    My method in the first Sir Sweet fight is definitely the fastest method, unless there's a way to manipulate him into moving to the wall a 2nd time. The 2nd Sir Sweet fight is nearly perfect, though it could be 2 secs faster. Then again, this fight is rarely seen done in less than 2 minutes as it is, and I finished it in 1'46". If I could mash as fast as Toshiyuki Takahashi, however, the fight would've ended MUCH faster lol.


    That's all for the run; I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed doing it. (except for Sweet Palace, which I really hate) Aside from small stage imperfections and some boss fight imperfections (again, all in Sweet Palace) I'd say the run is pretty good. I'll probably improve this on a later date, hopefully in single segment hard mode awesomeness. Oh god that'd be so hardcore 8D

    If you read this far you deserve some zombie juice, dood!

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