The mad speedrunner Hitshee from Japan broke a new RTA speedrun record for one of the all-time best Famicom RPGs in Dragon Quest III. The record was possible thanks to another wild method by the speedrunner, this time involving a few cartridge swaps on the fly. (Thanks for the heads-up, sackchief.)
Before getting into the how, if you’ve never heard of Hitshee, he’s the previous Dragon Quest III record holder.
— Hitsheegame?????????? RTAinJapan (@Hitsheegame) December 27, 2020
The previous record for the classic Famicom RPG was 22 minutes and 22 seconds. Hitshee achieved the record through a bug that involved using a heating plate to increase the cartridge temperature. The bug essentially starts you out at level 99 when you launch the game with the hot cartridge.
The new record doesn’t require any cartridge heating but rather an intricate process of swapping out cartridges with Dr. Mario, Kirby’s Adventure, and Final Fantasy. Keep in mind that there’s a proper way of powering off the system to swap cartridges, and you also want to press the reset button before taking out Dragon Quest III to prevent a data loss bug.
According to Hitshee, you have to play through the first 1 minute and 40 seconds to get to the first save. After trying numerous methods, he couldn’t find a way to skip this part, so it always takes 1:40 to get to the save. The first cartridge swap with Dr. Mario comes immediately after the first save. Once you see the Dr. Mario menu screen, switch it out to Kirby and then immediately back to Dr. Mario. Once you’re back in Dr. Mario, it requires going into two-player mode and selecting the 1P virus level at 20 and the 2P level at 0. Then press right 15 times on the 2P speed option.
After the Dr. Mario and Kirby’s Adventure swaps, go back to Dragon Quest III. If done correctly, you should start with a Gadabout class with 20 MP in the first character slot and a Mage with paralysis stat in the second slot. The character names will also look buggy. From there, walk until the paralysis runs out, then cast Heal, then save again. Next is the Final Fantasy swap that troubled Hitshee in a previous run. According to the speedrunner, if you swap out Final Fantasy with the power left on, it leads to an opening scene loop. If done correctly, it throws you into the Final Fantasy overworld, and you can swap back to Dragon Quest III.
Back in Dragon Quest III, your party stats should be maxed out. The game should look buggier than before, and the music will sound bugged out as well. This part requires a series of item code rewrites done by looking at certain items held by party members. Once you’re ready, Zoom your way to Ladutorm Castle in Tantegel to save your game. This time when you restart, copy the save from slot 1 to slot 3 and start with the slot 3 save. If you do everything correctly up to this point, you should be greeted with the ending scene.
Check out the full video below:
You can catch Hitshee’s reaction after breaking the record at around the 6:30 mark of the video. The full completion time is 6 minutes and 47 seconds if you include the times from Dr. Mario, Kirby’s Adventure, and Final Fantasy. The new speedrun record for Dragon Quest III itself is 5 minutes and 53 seconds.