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.
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.
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...
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.
Well, that's enough mahjong for now... Let's try something a little more exciting! Like the title screen implies, Riding Fight is a FRONT VIEW SPEED ACTION GAME featuring a couple of rad dudes who punch everything in their path while riding hoverboards in the future. And it has a level select screen!
More Mahjong Menus! Next up we have Nyanpai and Musoubana, two games that run on the same Nichibutsu hardware and share most of the same artwork. They also share a hidden option test.