don't click here

The internet lies: cheat code edition

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

  1. Bo102010

    Bo102010

    Member
    66
    52
    18
    Panzer Dragoon II: Zwei has at least on bogus code on GameFAQs:
    I checked the button presses on the title and mode select screens, and the game isn't doing anything interesting that I can see.

    There are separate title screen handlers for "NEW GAME", "CONTINUE", and "BOX MODE." That led me to the value to unlock all of the Pandora's Box options:
    https://twitter.com/memory_fallen/status/1749433580609028484
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  2. Bobblen

    Bobblen

    Member
    392
    199
    43
    Funny because PD1 is drowning in codes, i remember documenting them all for the pc version. A glimpse of the future, codes replaced by unlockables.
     
  3. I tried it a few times and it didt work . The wizard mode works in the 1st game mind and really ups the frame Rate to ridiculous levels in parts LOL
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is a big can of worms but I can confirm one of the fun features.

    [​IMG]

    Save your game in Panzer Dragon Saga...

    [​IMG]
    ... and make sure it's on system memory when booting up Panzer Dragon Zwei...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And yep, Pandra's Box.


    This is less of a faff on real hardware than it is with emulation, because by default, Mednafen gives each game its own set of system memory, i.e. it's not shared. The easiest way to work around this is to copy to cartridge, then physically rename the bcr file in Mednafen's sav folder. So I saved in Saga (to system memory), copied to cartridge in Saga, renamed the bcr file to Zwei, copied the cartridge in Zwei to system memory, and boom.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • List
  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    [​IMG]
    I noticed GameFAQs was speaking in tongues. If you have INSTRUMENT MODE set to full, then hold B on the second control pad, you get the text "ADEC" and a number. And at no point did they bother to explain what it means.

    This is apparently the "automatic difficulty enemy control" system. Basically, the game adjusts its difficulty based on how well it thinks the player is doing (well before Nintendo started getting credit for certain Wii games). I don't know Zwei well enough to say exactly what the numbers mean, but I'm guessing 3 is "normal" difficulty, since this was a fresh save.


    Also according to IGN Panzer Dragoon Saga recognises Zwei saves too, but someone else more familiar with Saga might have to investigate that one.
     
  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    A decade or two ago the internet was going crazy about scrapped plans for Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie - the infamous Stop 'n' Swop, where you'd transfer data between cartridges. While the N64 was turned on, you'd swap one cart for another, and you'd get fun bonuses. Wouldn't that have been unique and fun in the year 2000?

    [​IMG]

    Turns out Panzer Dragoon Saga did this in 1998.

    If, while the Saturn is powered on, you swap a Saga disc for Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Zwei will boot with a different introduction video... the one from the first Panzer Dragoon. Why this is a feature, I can't say - it's been listed on the internet for years so it's not a complete unknown, but... uh yeah, I made an m3u file for Mednafen and managed to emulate this behaviour.

    I presume it's the same kind of system Rare were attempting to create - something is left in RAM which isn't cleared when a new disc is loaded.

    There's a two year gap between the releases of Zwei and Saga. To plan that far ahead is pretty crazy.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  7. TapamN

    TapamN

    Member
    102
    3
    18
    Any idea how it's implemented? You'd think the boot menu from opening the lid would clear RAM, but maybe there's a part Saga can stick a flag for Zwei to see? Or maybe Saga sets a timestamp in its or Zwei's save file that tells Zwei to use the alternate opening if the current time is in a certain range (which it likely would be if you swap discs and start the game immediately)?
     
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    I think one of the software requirements of Saturn games is that they had to react instantly if you opened the lid at any time. i.e. there's no time to dick around with save files.

    I'm assuming it just sets a value that is never cleared. There were contingencies for disc swapping (Panzer Dragoon Saga ships across four discs after all) so I'm guessing they're exploiting that somehow.


    p.s. shoutout for Bo's Time Commando patch
    https://twitter.com/memory_fallen/status/1749072793138798629

    I had no idea this was a thing - a Saturn game that shipped with a game-breaking bug. It's also looks shockingly poor compared to the PlayStation and PC versions - bad frame rates, no lighting on the character models, and it was already questionable as a video game.
     

  9. Yeah, that was nice. Speaking of Zwei. It's Very much like how if you had Duke Nukem 3D or Quake on the Saturn recognise the save files of Lobotomy games to unlock Death Tank Zwei
     
  10. Bo102010

    Bo102010

    Member
    66
    52
    18
    I checked Zwei, and it explicitly looks for Saga's backup file. So that was definitely intentional, not some happy accident.

    Panzer Dragoon the first: there's one unknown cheat code - this one displays the version:
    Code (Text):
    1. R, L, R, L, Up, Left, Down, Right, Up
    Panzer Dragoon (Japan) (2M)-0002.png

    Bizarrely, there are four codes that do the Space Harrier mode:
    Code (Text):
    1. Up X Right X Down X Left X Up Y Z
    2. Up Y Right Y Down Y Left Y Up Z X
    3. Up Z Right Z Down Z Left Z Up X Y
    4. Up Right Down Left Up Z X Y Up Left Down Right Up
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    I think those might be for different languages - the first one only works if you've got the language set to German, the second one French. Haven't tested the other two.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  12. Bobblen

    Bobblen

    Member
    392
    199
    43
    Wow, so the weird 'set to german' thing was a red herring? Pc version changed it to be just another code (which requires the cheat mode code first). I must try that version code though.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    Going a bit off topic, but I want to share the suffering. I'd do a write-up but we're missing the Japanese manual, so the details may not be accurate to the Saturn version of the game.

    Time Commando was made by the same people who brought us the original Alone in the Dark - the "original" survival horror. It plays very similarly, the major difference being that all of the backgrounds are pre-rendered videos, and it lacks any puzzle solving. It's also a much more linear game - you walk from point A to point B and fight anything that moves, with tank controls and AitD-style combat where (by default) you have to hold A then use the d-pad to attack. And it's horrible and slow, and while you can pick up weapons, they're also horrible and slow. And you will die if you don't play in a specific way. And you will die if you take too long. And I could only get to the problem area with save states:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Get to this tunnel near the end of the game, and the game crashes. There's a level skip code which I suspect can get past this bit, but I don't think it was possible without cheating.


    But I mean look at this noise - being forced to stop is surely a blessing.

    I found Saturn cheats which weren't documented in English. They're not very interesting, but will at least make the game more playable.

    Given it's so painfully "French", it's odd this game never received a PAL release on the Saturn, but there are alternatives, like Alone in the Dark 2, which in my view might be worse. At least Time Commando has guns.
     
  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    I missed this one:

    [​IMG]
    Enter COMMANDO as a password and you get to fight yourself in a ring.

    But clearly nobody likes Time Commando because they didn't mention...
    [​IMG]
    ...that if you win, you have to fight this character. And if you beat her... it shows the time taken, and you're kicked back to the main menu. Don't know if that means something special happens if you win within a certain time - these aren't necessarily hard fights, it's just very awkward to position yourself so that you're not attacking the air.


    The fun part is all the enemies you encounter in the main game can be seen spectating... but because they're all so poorly defined in-game, most are unrecognisable. Big up to GREY MAN and BROWN CREATURE.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2024
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  15. Bo102010

    Bo102010

    Member
    66
    52
    18
    Via Wesker, who pointed me at Time Commando in the first place: this blog has scans of the manual. It's also just a fantastic description of the differences between the PSX version and the Saturn version, and even gets comment from the developers!

    I checked the Saturn version for the pause menu codes from the PSX version; they're not there.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  16. Bobblen

    Bobblen

    Member
    392
    199
    43
    I have fought the protagonist in pc little big adventure 2 (basically this https://lba.fandom.com/wiki/Stanley_Opar) but did not know there was a broken japan only port. Glad they left lba alone. I love those games!
     
  17. Wesker

    Wesker

    Member
    50
    2
    8
    It was also possible, at least until now which we have the game finally fixed thanks to @Bo102010 (whom I want to thank once again), if you used the passwords of the PlayStation version, because they are pretty much the same and handle exactly the same energy/lives coordinates and such. They didn't bother to change them. So what I did many years back when I got this game and reached this point, was using my password on the PlayStation version, complete the level there, and take the next level password back to the Sega Saturn version, which can be then finished that way without issues.

    Yeah, most people gets scared off by this game when they see or get in contact with it somehow. That, if they ever get to know it, because it's extremely obscure. I mean, the original PC game was not a massive success to begin with, and so its name bears little recognition or remembering through the passing of time, unless you are an European with a PC background and a soft spot for this kind of early 3D games, because I have the overall feeling that all these games were much more successful in Europe than beyond the old continent. Little Big Adventure, from the same creators, is a little more known, and obviously the first Alone in the Dark game that they did when they still were in Infogrames.

    I have always been a sucker for this kind of games due to my hybrid Sega and PC nature from grown up, hence the reason I'm fond of this game (because of playing it on PC back in the day, that is), of Adeline overall (especially thanks to the Little Big Adventure games), and why I got crazy interested on the uber oscure Japanese only Sega Saturn version when I was aware of its existence and imported it from Japan. I wasn't expecting it was going to turn so bad though.

    No! They are interesting indeed! Thanks for the research.

    Like @Bo102010 already pointed out, after telling him about his game and this game breaking bug he managed to fix, I suggested him to look for these cheats. The PlayStation version has very similar cheats, and since this seems to be a straightfoward PlayStation conversion which even inherited its very same password system, I had the feeling the PlayStation cheats could be interchangeable (with the appropiate button shift) between versions too, but he couldn't get them working (based on the PlayStation ones, that is). Glad to know there are cheats after all.

    It's explained in this development blog: https://blog.defence-force.org/index.php?page=articles&ref=ART84

    Apparently the game development was interrupted at some point, I suppose it was during 1997 (since this seems to have been started in late 1996), because the Delphine management (Adeline relied on Delphine, and in fact, by mid 1997 all the Adeline staff had already moved to the Sega owned No Cliché studio, of Toy Commander fame) couldn't decide if the game was released everywhere, only in Japan, or cancelled altogether, and in the end they went with the second option, I suppose backed by the interest of the Japanese branch of Acclaim to publish it.

    I mean, this was not the first time a console game shipped with a game breaking bug with the Acclaim label slapped on it. It also happened years before with the European Mega Drive version of The Death and Return of Superman, which has a game breaking bug which freezes the game and can happen randomly within the first two levels, and it's almost impossible to avoid that to ever happen. In that case, there was always the option to play the unbugged North American Genesis version by Sunsoft, though.

    Regarding the Sega Saturn version of Alone in the Dark 2, I have always been keen about the fact that this and Time Commando are French developments with essentially the same issues on them, and the games even share some common origin (ie, the first Alone in the Dark) of sorts. At first, I thought the Sega Saturn versions of both were converted by the same people, but it seems it's not. Alone in the Dark 2 on the Sega Saturn is also ugly, but at least their models and textures are consistent up to a degree. Time Commando on the Sega Saturn, on the other hand, is not, because it seems they used some automated process of converting models and didn't have any artist to manually retouch them, which I believe was definitely the case with Alone in the Dark 2 (done worse or better, but it seems it was), so you don't get people with a white face and brown bodies and other bizarre things like that that scream a lot a urge need of a retexturing hack of sorts, to at least leave the game with some sort of logic within its ugliness and not the complete trainwreck it is in its current state.
     
  18. Wesker

    Wesker

    Member
    50
    2
    8
    Funny you mention, because Little Big Adventure have a similar but different thing. It's an early PlayStation conversion done for the Japanese market, and apparently not developed by Adeline but outsourced, like the Sega Saturn version of Time Comando is. I'm not sure who developed that instead, maybe it was a Japanese developer tasked by the Japanese publisher Electronic Arts Victor (maybe the same devs behind the Japanese exclusive FM-Towns and NEC PC98 versions?), but it is largely unknown or not researched. It seems to be a straight PC conversion.



    The later European conversion, on the other hand, was actually developed in-house by Adeline (by the same programmer who had previously done the PlayStation version of Time Commando, Mickaël Pointier, this blog I got detailing the the Sega Saturn version of Time Commando is by him), and it's much better, even adding elements from Little Big Adventure 2 (especially notorious on Twinsen's updated model from the sequel).



    I wonder why a Sega Saturn conversion of Little Big Adventure wasn't done in the same vein as that Japanese PlayStation conversion, maybe by Japanese developers?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2024
  19. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    8,721
    2,612
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    Interesting - this is mentioned on Sega Retro, but not on a dedicated bugs page. That'll be something to explore.

    Which reminds me - my PAL copy of Skeleton Warriors had a bug where it would cause repeated, loud crackling sounds instead of proper audio. That freaked me out as a kid - I should probably look into that too.
     
  20. Wesker

    Wesker

    Member
    50
    2
    8
    IIRC it was myself who added that to Sega Retro, some 10+ years ago.

    Back when there was still no known ROM dump of the European version, I was only able to get this with my European copy on original hardware, and I have always been annoyed by that freeze, even to the fact of managing to get a second copy of the game to see if it was mine which was faulty, then I figured out to my surprise that it was a generalized problem. Also puzzled about the fact it's so obscure and unknown (similar to the Time Commando situation), as I don't remember the magazines back then (at least the ones in Spain) ever commenting about this issue.

    Several years later I managed to get a ROM dump thanks to TmEE and I noticed than on emulators, the game didn't freeze, it simply had its sound broken with this high pitched noise being constantly played, so it seems to be a sound related problem but I'm not sure what's exactly causing it since I'm no coder myself. Would be happy to know, and why exactly does that happen in the European version by Acclaim and not in the North American version by Sunsoft (which was released before, so they screwed up the European version somehow, and it's not even PAL optimized in any way).

    This I'm unaware of, as unlike the Sega Saturn version of Time Commando or the European version of The Death and Return of Superman, I don't own the game (although it has always been on my radar) and now I'm curious. When or in which situation does that happen?