Digital archaeology, game disassemblies and more

Object menu, debug tools and more in Kyukyoku Sentai Dadandaan (Monster Maulers)! - Part 1

Kyukyoku Sentai Dadandarn, meaning Ultimate Battle Squad Dadandarn and called Monster Maulers in the West, is Konami's homage to the sentai genre of TV shows, movies and comics. It's a solid game and pretty fun; Hardcore Gaming 101 has a good review. And I got way more than I bargained for when I started taking the game apart: so much more that I'll be making splitting this into two posts. Here we go...

Hidden Menu in Miyasu Nonki no Quiz 18kin

Yet another adult arcade quiz game, but this one has some pretty well-drawn and amusing artwork by eromanga artist Miyasu Nonki! A while back I found the text for an alternate test menu, with object and background checks. I could never really track it down properly with the standard MAME disassembly. Maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough, because when I gave it another go yesterday, this time in IDA, I was finally able to find the routine as well as the non-hacked method for activating it.

English Text in Koutetsu Yousai Strahl

I'm pretty burnt out on tackling Super Gem Fighter / Pocket Fighter right now. I took a little break and did some more research on something quite interesting I had found a while back: English text in Koutetsu Yousai Strahl, a horizontal shooter and a favorite among shmup fans.

Level Select in Magical Error wo Sagase

I noticed this menu a while back in Magical Error wo Sagase, a puzzle game where you search for differences between two images. In the past I was able to load the routine, but I guess the stack wasn't set up properly, and it would reset the game immediately after the text appeared. I took a second look at the disassembly tonight and had much better success.

Unused Menus in Land Maker

I was pretty unhappy that Land Maker, one of my favorite arcade puzzle games, was one of the few Taito F3 games that did not have the Taito code implemented. Despite that, I still had a hunch there may be some leftovers worth investigating. And I was right! I wouldn't be making a post otherwise...

The Taito Code

Around 1988, Taito began implementing a standard level select code into many of their arcade games. The code was not available to normal players, as it requires the use of the Service button, inside the cabinet. Considering the timing required to press Start and Service in quick succession, it may not have been for cabinet owners either, but instead for the developers who had direct access to the hardware and who may have had those special buttons mapped to something more accessible for testing.

Indeed, some games have more than just level selects, including basic map or object editors and viewers. Some menus allow you to select level numbers well beyond what actually exist in the game, loading non-existant game data when selected. Some menus are very plain, while others obviously had some work put into them. Besides the obvious bonus of easily exploring the game levels without so much work, the menus themselves are sometimes a fascinating look at the developer's side of the game.