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The internet lies: cheat code edition

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Jul 9, 2022.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    (so I'm not clogging up the general topic)

    I don't document cheat codes very often, but when I do, almost always find the likes of GameFAQs or IGN or whatever are listing codes that don't work. They weren't tested when they were added in the 1990s, and haven't been tested in the 20 years since, despite being copy-pasted around the internet verbatim. I'm relatively confident everything mirrored on Sega Retro works, but it's good to highlight inaccuracies elsewhere.


    Today, Earthworm Jim 2. David Perry-derived video games have secret menus with build dates, but I noticed we only had a screenshot of the US Saturn version:

    [​IMG]

    The PAL and NTSC-J versions are missing. Turns out there's a good reason for this - most of the cheat codes don't work in those versions (I may have even tried these in vain on real hardware back in the day).

    Does this screen exist in those versions? Probably. It was disabled for the PlayStation version (which apparently derives from the Saturn port), but you can re-enable it there with Action Replay codes and the like. The screen is then apparently activated by pressing circle eight times.

    There is a clean pause code for the Saturn enabled by pressing C eight times, so it got me thinking - can we do things by pushing other buttons eight times? Yes!

    [​IMG]
    Pausing the NTSC-J or PAL versions of the game, pressing A eight times, then unpausing enables (or disables) "interlaced mode" (which you have to use the above menu in the NTSC-U version to activate). Why do you want this? Well Earthworm Jim 2 usually runs at 352x240, and on an NTSC television with 480 horizontal lines, only half of them are used to display the image - that's where the concept of the black horizontal scanlines comes from. In interlaced mode, you're still sending the full 480 lines to the television... except not at once. It's 240 lines per frame (or "field"), and you alternate between the two sets.

    It's been a very long time since I've seen a decent CRT running this kind of content - I forget how much of a difference it makes. But I do know it's a giant waste of time when emulating on a progressive scan computer monitor - you just get combing artefacts and it feels like the frame rate has dropped. You're certainly not tapping into higher resolution visuals.
     
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  2. Yash

    Yash

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    My go-to example of this are the various button combinations people swore would raise your catch odds in the original Pokemon games. I know it's all completely fabricated but still to this day I hold down Up and B every time I throw a ball, even in the newer games (and make sure to release on the second shake!).
     
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  3. I just rhythmically tap B, which is super effective.
     
  4. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    You have made me paranoid now about retesting my cheat code stuff for PAL / JP. I normally screenshot US only unless I have reason to suspect a code might be region specific.

    An amusing example of a made up internet code I found recently is Alien 3 sms. All the sites talk about putting a name in high score screen to get extra ammo. Turns out you always start with extra ammo because of a bug (which I've documented).
     
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  5. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    A lot of the information about Shenmue on the internet is outright false. There's claims that your chance of winning a Dural Gold from the raffle is 1/400 (it's actually 1/1000) and that the chances of winning each prize are doubled on certain special days (they're not).

    But my favourite one is the date everyone gives as Shenmue II's bad ending - here's IGN claiming the bad ending occurs when you go to bed on June 31st, 1987.

    You don't need to have even heard of the game to know that this is wrong, for the simple reason that there is no June 31st. It triggers when you go to bed on or after July 31st (and there are various methods of delaying it too... I used it to see if the game handles leap years correctly (it does!)).
     
  6. nineko

    nineko

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    The internet is never wrong, and L is definitely real, just wait until 2401 and you'll see.
     
  7. Yash

    Yash

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    L was real!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Three cheats are listed for Robo Pit:
    https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/saturn/573996-robo-pit/cheats

    [​IMG]
    Only one works, and it's the sort of thing that might be listed in the Japanese manual (we don't have scans) - pressing Y+Z switches to a sideways view, which was probably used to make pretty screenshots for the box. It also makes the game significantly harder to play because the controls were designed foir a first/third-person perspective.

    I wonder if I get points for noticing this - the Sonic 1 level select code, a.k.a. "nobody has played this game and we're not reading what we're copy-pasting."


    I thought about making a "interesting Saturn games you've never played" topic once I discovered emulation was viable. I might still do that, but in Robo Pit's case, it's not quite as good as I remember back in the late 90s. Build your own robots and fight them (in 3D!) sounds great on paper, but there's only five arenas, the music gets annoying, the AI likes to walk around in circles, and much of the time is spent not hitting anything. Although come to think of it the real thing was a bit like that too.
     
  9. Cooljerk

    Cooljerk

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    Enemy Zero has a very widely spread rumor about a cheat code that disables enemies. I've been seeing this online for decades now, and it's not true. The code does nothing, AFAIK there's no way to turn off enemies at all. And believe me, I've looked for such a code, because the invisible enemies are the absolute worst thing about that game.
     
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  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Bust-A-Move 2 has a very badly explained code:

    https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/saturn/573935-bust-a-move-2-arcade-edition/cheats

    "New levels" and "Bubble Bobble backgrounds" apparently unlocked with the same button combination... but there are a few different modes to Bust-A-Move 2 and I don't know what you're talking about.

    Taito don't make this super clear either - "X left right X" enables "Another World", which is... a set of replacement levels in puzzle mode. It's not called Out of this World in North America.

    [​IMG]

    So basically, "more puzzles" - it doesn't affect the "player vs. computer" arcade mode which is the main event, and if you're not super familiar with the game, you might not even have noticed the puzzle mode layouts have changed. I mean, there are a lot of Bust-A-Move (or Puzzle Bobble) games - these layouts are hardly iconic.

    And while it's true that the Another World puzzles have different backgrounds... I'm not sure where "Bubble Bobble backgrounds" comes from, given Bubble Bobble has no backgrounds.

    [​IMG]

    Obviously the Bust-A-Move series is a spin-off so there are plenty of Bubble Bobble-inspired elements, but the new levels aren't more Bubble Bobbley than the old ones.

    Bust-A-Move-3 also has an Another World code:
    https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/saturn/196855-bust-a-move-3/cheats

    I added this to Sega Retro a few months ago, but it wasn't obvious to me then what it did, and GameFAQs didn't give hints. And yes there's one in Bust-A-Move 4 - same situation.


    GameFAQs also suggests things happen if the Saturn's clock is set to either "December" or "New Year's eve/day". I saw nothing (though I'm testing the NTSC-U version - maybe things are different with the Japanese version).

    ...unless it's also tied to a specific year and doesn't recognise 2022. Apparently nobody knows.
     
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  11. Pobert-Eii

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    Rayman fan here. The Saturn version is something of a cryptid: most people have only played PS1 Rayman and aren't even aware that there are music, loading, and sprite differences. Check the ending for example! Rayman totes a gun on Saturn handstanding and in PS1 it goes straight to the FMV. I'm not too surprised that fake codes for Saturn Rayman are still prevalent: it was only relatively recently people found the utter smorgasbord that were the Pin Codes on Jaguar Rayman.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2022
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  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/saturn/198353-pro-pinball
    The Saturn version of Pro-Pinball: The Web has no cheats, but the PlayStation and PC versions do. In both cases, if you get a high score and enter your name as PRO, you get TURBO MODE or SUPER SPEED or whatever, a.k.a. gravity is turned up and the game becomes unplayable.

    It's a feature of the Saturn version too, just not documented because nobody cares for 26 year old pinball games. You also need a minimum of 200 million points, and the table is a bit too dark and the resolution too low to consistently make precise shots. For casual players, it's not an easy (or desirable) thing to test, so it wasn't.
     
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  13. Bobblen

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    There's the two mega drive games I started separate threads for

    Eternal Champions where someone actually went to the trouble of writing a full blog post about a cheat that seemingly doesn't exist, in what is either a new level of click bait or just a bit bonkers (or maybe not, someone feel free to prove me wrong!)
    Eternal Champions cheat (or not) | Sonic and Sega Retro Forums (sonicretro.org)

    And Shining Force 1, where a Japan only code to take control of the AI in battles which has been doing the rounds forever, but has been thoroughly debunked by the hackers on shining force central. Interestingly, they did discover that the US version has the debug mode, activated by a different series of button presses to the Japan version. Knowledge up until that discovery was that it was Japan only unless you hacked a US rom.
    Mega drive Shining Force series cheats | Sonic and Sega Retro Forums (sonicretro.org)

    I will use this thread for any future dubious code discoveries!
     
  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    None of the cheats for the Saturn version of StarFighter 3000 work. At least in the NTSC-U version.

    I looks as if cheat listings have just been copy-pasted from the 3DO version of the game. There you need to enter your name as "COFFEE N PICKLE", which will then let you input "SHOW ME", "DANIEL DEFOE" and "WAG" as other cheat names - many sites seem to think the same applies to the Saturn (and PlayStation) versions, but I'm not sure that it does.

    Though there is something here. If you input your name as "COFFEE N PICKLE" the game ignores it. It doesn't do anything else obvious, but that suggests there's some leftover code firing.

    It certainly doesn't show the message "CHEAT NOW" like it's apparently meant to.
     
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  15. Bobblen

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    Might be worth throwing that one into a hex editor, on the off chance that the password strings are plain text (maybe changed for the Saturn version). I found a few codes in the Sega PC ports by doing that.
     
  16. Bobblen

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    Also @Black Squirrel good find with that mega drive Worms prod code. That's one I had when I was a kid and I never knew about that! It looked awful on the tvs of the day, you vould barely see the worms. Was quite the revelation when i got my hands on the DOS version :-)
     
  17. Bobblen

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    So the PAL version of StarFighter 3000 does appear to accept the cheats. I had to set my name, leave the name select screen then come back to get it to say 'CHEAT NOW'. WAG as level select definitely works, although it appears to be some kind of rank/difficulty level rather than a stage select? (or maybe the stages are named after ranks). Also bizhawk would not take screenshots of this game for some reason, so I got windows 10 to do it instead (hence the menus). Maybe standard Mednafen or the Retroarch core will do better.
    upload_2022-7-13_13-32-22.png upload_2022-7-13_13-32-27.png upload_2022-7-13_13-32-32.png

    And it is plain text! Even says 'Cheat Words.' before the list.

    ROGER THE CAT
    DANIEL DEFOE
    WAG
    PIZZA
    DEMO
    VIDEO SLUG
    FLOOD
    SHOW ME
    CREDITS
    COFFEE N PICKLE
     

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    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
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  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It's a new trick I've learnt - always check the other ports. Because while nobody's listed this for the Mega Drive, it's there on the SNES (and probably other versions if I could be bothered to check).

    [​IMG]

    I was playing with Pandemonium! yesterday and found another one. "THETHING" is a password that lets you mess with character geometry on the PlayStation - the code triggers a response on Saturn, but the feature doesn't seem to work (I tried every button combination I could think of). In fairness though, the internet isn't claiming otherwise with this one.

    p.s. I'm using Mednafen's snapshot feature (F9) to get the best screenshots, although you may still need to crop some borders.
     
  19. Bobblen

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