From A complete guide to Super Metroid speedrunning
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Full Categories

All full categories start on a "0:00" file. This can be set up by letting the intro sequence play until Samus becomes controllable in the Ceres Elevator Room, then resetting the console.

Timing for all full categories begins on the frame that the Missile pointer disappears upon confirming "Start Game."

Start Game.png

Timing for all full categories ends on the first frame that Samus is facing forward on her Gunship before it departs the exploding Zebes.

End Game.png

See this page for instructions on getting the time between these two frames accurately.

Partial Categories

Spore Spawn RTA

Spore Spawn RTA uses the following timing. Specifically, the start is the first frame that the map screen starts to fade out, and the end is the first frame that the Super Missile text box has fully disappeared.

Crocomire RTA

Crocomire RTA uses a similar timing to the above, except the end timing is the frame that Crocomire's drops spawn upon his defeat.


Timing for race categories typically begins on the same frame as full categories, and ends the moment the final or only goal is achieved. For example, if bingo is being played, timing for a racer should end the moment they achieve their final bingo requirement.

If the final or only goal involves acquiring an item, timing should end the moment Samus makes contact with the item.

If the final or only goal involves entering a specific room, timing should not end until the moment control is returned to the player upon entering the room. (post-transition)

The above also applies to "map station" and "recharge station" goals - the station does not need to be accessed, only its room.

If the final or only goal involves "destroying" a certain number of statues, the statues room must be entered, and timing should not end until the moment the soul of the last statue required appears to exit its respective statue.

If the final or only goal involves being "in an elevator", timing can end the moment the elevator is used.

Similarly, "visit Crateria-Maridia elevator" requires using the elevator.

If the final or only goal involves defeating a boss or miniboss, timing should end the moment the boss or miniboss begins exploding. Regarding Crocomire, timing should instead end the moment that the camera is unlocked after Crocomire has disintegrated in the acid.

If a goal requires an individual to "visit the critters", they must be brought onto the screen to have been considered visited.

"Fully explore the Wrecked Ship" means filling in (turning a pink color on the minimap) every map square within the Wrecked Ship. You do not have to fill in squares of the rooms outside the actual ship.

Timing can end for "finish in a shinespark or Crystal Flash" the moment the respective technique is activated.


Real time obviously never ceases.

Game time ceases during the following:

  • Pause menu
  • Room transition
  • Message boxes (such as those from item fanfares and refill stations)
  • Ceres Station cutscene

Game time does not cease during the following:

  • Save station
  • Refill station
  • Gunship
  • Elevator (excluding the room transition)
  • Cutscenes where Samus is still partially in the player's control (ex. stunned after Mother Brain's rainbow beam)

The game begins tracking the time for the file when the screen fades into the Ceres Station elevator ride.

The game ends tracking the time for the file the moment the game has fully faded out after Samus's Gunship has departed the exploding Zebes. (approximately 10 seconds and 55 frames after the frame Samus faces forward on the Gunship)

Version Differences

There are no differences between the NTSC-U version and the NTSC-J version. Only the PAL version is different.

Different platforms will run Super Metroid at different frame rates.

Platform Frame Rate Notes
Super Nintendo / Super Famicom / bsnes (a.k.a. higan) ~60.10
Snes9x (recent versions) ~59.94 A run that is 1:00:00 long on console/bsnes will be 1:00:09 long on recent versions of Snes9x
Virtual Console (Wii) (480i) ~59.94 A run that is 1:00:00 long on console/bsnes will be 1:00:09 long on Virtual Console at this resolution
Virtual Console (Wii) (480p) ~59.89 A run that is 1:00:00 long on console/bsnes will be 1:00:12 long on Virtual Console at this resolution

On Virtual Console, Kraid will, on average, emerge at a faster rate than on console. Editor's note: After observing Kraid between consoles, I believe this to save at least half a second (again, on average) for Virtual Console players, but exact figures with supporting evidence have never been provided.

The Wii U Virtual Console and the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console versions have yet to be investigated for potential differences in lag or processing.

Each platform will handle memory-altering effects such as space time beam differently.

Similarly, each platform may show differences in terms of the blocks placed within the out of bounds areas of rooms.

TASVideos has a full list of platform framerates here.

Dotsarecool made a comparison between various different SNES emulators in the spreadsheet linked from this thread, with the caveat that the amount of lag shown may not be relevant to Super Metroid.

SDA Timing

For full-game categories that start on Ceres, the player gains control of Samus 343 frames after pressing "Start Game". On the original hardware, this is 5.707 seconds. (note that this value can vary depending on the sound queue at the time of pressing "Start Game")

This value can also be used to calculate the RTA-equivalent time for a run that starts with the opening cutscene, such as TASes.