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Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by saxman, May 9, 2023.

  1. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I am a champ at this code. I have been for many years. I know just when to start pressing the buttons, and I have just the right rhythm. I can usually get it with only a few attempts (sometimes on the first try).

    Back in August of 1994 when I tried it for the first time after seeing the code in a Tips & Tricks magazine, it took me anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour before I *finally* got the code to work. After that, I dreaded even turning off my Genesis, knowing once I did, I'd have to go through all that effort again.

    Thinking back on this, and considering what I said in at the top regarding having the right timing, there's one question I have never seen anyone answer: WHY is this code so difficult?

    I've heard too many times over the years, sometimes from people who talk as though they know everything (I'm looking at you, YouTube content creators), that it's really just a matter of not pressing the buttons fast enough. I can tell you that this is a complete and utter crock. I don't press them as quickly as I can, but instead try to pace it so the first button press is during the first frame of animation, and the last button press is during the last animation frame.

    My personal guess is the DMA transferring going on to continuously update the screen is causing a delay to occur in the registering of button presses, leading to some button presses being outright dropped. But I don't know for sure.

    With all the years of research from a whole host of individuals, has anyone actually looked into this? Can anyone confirm the accuracy of my guess?

    And as a side thought, I wonder if the developers intended for the code to be this difficult for people, or if it is merely the result of poor/rushed programming.
  2. Sara


    Magical Catgirl Oldbie
    TCRF has some info on this. They claim that you only have 1.3 seconds to enter it, and it seems like the inputs can be eaten between input frames.

    Kudos to being able to pull it off like that. I couldn't do it as a kid even after what had to be thousands of attempts on my part.

    Edit: There's also this info from Retro's Wiki:

    So yeah, it's documented and a little bit... particular about your inputs.
    Last edited: May 9, 2023
  3. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    Huh... I guess I didn't search hard enough. Good to know. And the reference on the Retro wiki is quite telling with the frame inputs allowed and not allowed.

    So let me dig deeper... is this due to DMA transferring?
  4. Londinium


    People actually read these? Member
    S3&K wasn't split because of McDonald's, it was split because it took a whole day for the devs to put the code in while working :tinfoil:
  5. Oh god you unlocked memories with this thread. I remember the pain and suffering this code gave me. I remember trying to hold the controller differently to see if I could input better (a thumb on down and a thumb on up). I remember getting REALLY MAD because I KNEW I kept putting it in right but I was either "too late" or "Not fast enough". I also remember whenever a friend would be over they would think I'm making it up that the code even existed! It's nice to know it wasn't me all along.


    The trauma of countless resets has come back to haunt me just to see that forgotten Sonic 2 Hidden Palace icon...
  7. OKei


    OKeijiDragon Member
    I recall doing this twice in the late 1990s after reading about it on Tips & Tricks and was fascinated how that S2 Hidden Palace icon was there. This was around the time I discovered the internet and I think SOSTH (made by that aussie I think?) is what compelled me to look up that Simon Wai build that had Hidden Palace in it.

    Every time I wanted to enter that level select following that though, I just turned on all the level select codes in Sonic 2, then swapped in Sonic 3 and hit reset.
  8. Fadaway


    I got really good at it myself. I remember in the first half of 1994, I probably made a thousand attempts. After a while, it becomes easy to time it. I've never had a desire to do it anymore following the release of S&K, though.
  9. RetroJordan91


    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    Back in 2015 during the Sonic 3 Remastered Campaign Race, Stealth went into the technical details about this code.

    Long story short, the reason why it is so difficult to get it to work on the Genesis version is because when the title screen is loading up, the game is running at a really low frame rate. Like Sara said, you only have like 1 to 1.3 seconds after the SEGA logo background turns to black and Sonic starts coming on to the screen to enter the code.

    Therefore when you’re trying to input it, because of the low frame rate, your button presses are likely occurring on a lag frame and the game won’t even recognize it.

    So big ups to you for mastering it on the Genesis version. I’ve only got it to work when playing via Sonic Jam. And I’m super happy that it’s been fixed in Origins where you can input in at any time on the title screen.
    Last edited: May 9, 2023
  10. Pengi


    In Sonic Jam you can just input the code on the title screen. They also replaced all the Sonic 2 Zone icons in the level select with the Sound Test icon, if I recall correctly.
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  11. MainMemory


    Kate the Wolf Tech Member
    The only ways I've ever seen the S3 alone level select are by using Game Genie, the S2 cart swap trick, or playing in Sonic & Knuckles Collection where you use the same code as S3K (or just set the game to debug mode to start at the level select).
  12. DefinitiveDubs


    The Voice Maestro Member
    Cyber City
    Mega Man Zero: The Definitive Dub
    I totally did the code on Sonic Mega Collection Plus, on an HDTV which only added to the input lag it already had. I was so fast with that thumb, I could probably have killed a man with it.
  13. Fun Fact, when you do the S2 to S3 Swap Trick it also works in reverse for the level ID you have selected in S3, allowing you to play and crash S2 on silly things like "Zone Zone" that plays 2P emerald hill music and I think even get to the remains of HPZ in S2.
  14. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I have always been too afraid to swap cartridges.

    1) Those cheat books that published these tricks would always mention it as a "do it at your own risk" activity. And Sega always said not to do it as well.

    2) When my brother and I first got our Genesis for Christmas back in 1989, it stopped working on us the same day. I was very young, so my memory of what happened is limited, but my brother has always told me the cartridge was removed with the system on. From that, he concluded that's what broke it.

    Years later, I saw a work order from Sega that my parents had saved. Mind you, we had sent the system back to them two or three times over the years to be repaired. I don't know which incident the work order was for, but I distinctly recall it mentioning a failed capacitor.

    My knowledge of electronics is not super impressive, so I can't say if there would be any connection between removing the cartridge and the system breaking in this manner or not, but I'm sure they don't warn you against it for the sake of saying so.

    But anyway, yes, I did the level select the hard way. But later, I learned of the Game Genie code to activate it. And I think it wasn't until I was running emulators (late '90s) that I learned of the Sonic & Knuckles code. But the Sonic 3 code will always have nostalgic value to me.
    Last edited: May 9, 2023
  15. I've punched my copy of 3D blast multiple times to get to the level select.

    My copies of Sonic 2 and 3 have been swapped to death

    In all honesty if they broke now so many years after, I wouldn't even be mad. That would be hilarious to me. Because those carts have been through so many different sega genesis consoles at this point... I'm pretty sure they've touched a Model 1, 2, 3 and even a CDX.

    Has there actually been any reported cases of dead carts from this? I mean, for crying out loud people speedrun those old dragon quest games on a hotplate in order to munipulate ram over in japan... I would think this is MILD in comparison.
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  16. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    So many jokes come to mind here, all of which are inappropriate!

    I am not aware of any incidents, unless you count mine (which I think is fair to call questionable). These cartridges seem to be incredibly durable. These aren't cheap Chinese builds, these were made to last. So you have a fair point. But I'd personally still be paranoid about it. I don't know, maybe my console failures as a kid make me that way.
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    I guess the worst that can happen by taking a cartridge out while playing is, if the game has a save feature, it might get corrupted if you're in the middle of saving/loading (that's why consoles still warn of this today). I'd be very surprised if you could damage anything in the console itself - they're going to be fully aware that kids don't read manuals.

    The issue is more about how the console reacts to suddenly not having access to data. You might get garbage on the screen or weird noises from the speakers - troubling if you don't know how video games work, but nothing that can't be fixed by a reset.

    In fact you could argue that Sega actively chose not to care, because original Japanese Mega Drives have a cartridge lock, physically stopping you from removing a cartridge when the system was powered on. This was scrapped for overseas units (and the Mega Drive 2). It's why Japanese cartridges (and Sonic & Knuckles) have a notch in the side.
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  18. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    Back in the day in the village I lived in, I was the only one who could actually pull this code off - and even then it would usually take me half a dozen tries or so. And this was at 50Hz - when emulation came along years later and the game now at 60Hz, I started struggling again but eventually got back to the same number of attempts to getting it work. This does mean on hardware at 50Hz I can usually get it in a try or two. =P

    I think it was made so hard to try and hide the fact so much stuff was missing, via the level select - stuff they didn't have the time to sort out properly.
  19. kazz


    16-bait Member
    My version of this is just seething as a kid trying to get the 3&k level select to work in S&K Collection which would "work" but then wouldn't let you reset to the title screen to actually get to it since you couldn't pause the same way as the Genesis version. I remember so badly wanting Mega Collection+ as a kid JUST for that. I think I've just always been aware enough of my limitations to not even attempt the 3-alone way lol.
  20. Dissent


    @SailsSez on Twitter Member