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What triggers the red text in Marvel's X-Men (NES)?

Started by goldenband, November 05, 2012, 12:30:10 PM

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Ah, the notorious Marvel's X-Men (aka Uncanny X-Men) for NES.  One of its many quirks is that, in order to access the final stage vs. Magneto, you have to use a special code (Up + B + Select).  Part of the code is printed on the game's label, but it's not complete -- it omits the part about Select, because you're supposed to glean additional info through gameplay.

At the end of each stage, you get a page of text.  The way it's supposed to work is that some of the text is highlighted in red, and those parts were clues; put all the red text together, and you get the extra info you need.  You can see doctored screenshots at The Cutting Room Floor of what it's supposed to look like, but the problem is that the text usually fails to show up in red.

Some sites claim that it never does, but that's not true; when I played through and beat the game yesterday, I got red text once on the "ABEL" screen, and not on other occasions.  Same for when I almost beat the game in the mid-1990s -- I know I got at least some of the red text.

There's a vague consensus that it's a bug, and Wikipedia claims that it was corrected in the PAL version, but I'm unable to find a non-US copy and I suspect that claim is bogus.  I think it also could be intentional; maybe one needs to trigger something in the game, or meet a scoring threshold, etc.

Does anyone have any insights into this?  Any suggestions on how to figure it out, or has anyone delved into this game before?  Unfortunately I'm still on an old Mac and a lot of the best debugging tools aren't available to me, but honestly I wouldn't quite know where to start even if I had the right tools.


Well, this topic landed with a resounding thud of non-response. But it turns out there's an answer thanks to the good people at The Cutting Room Floor:

You need to kill 30 "special" enemies to trigger the red text. Quite obscure, in a manner typical of early Famicom games -- and, to my mind, that lends credence to the theory that X-Men was made by a Japanese development house that preferred to remain anonymous.


Quote from: goldenband on April 02, 2014, 04:53:21 PM
X-Men was made by a Japanese development house that preferred to remain anonymous.

There's some linking, but there's no concrete evidence as of yet.  It shares similar sound effects to the FDS game Topple Zip, which lists "Bothtec" on the title screen.  Not just the audio, it even seems to share some of the hit detection physics as well, possibly X-Men was crudely built on-top of it.  It's unknown who developed that game, BUT, one of the cheat codes you can enter is "Pixel", likely referring to the company Pixel who also developed Over Horizon and Conquest of the Crystal Palace.  It was common practice to hide developer info in subtle ways back then, and many games lacked developer info to begin with. Topple Zip starts at 31:24, and this makes it the ONLY recorded footage of this game on YouTube.


^Heh, I just realized that this YouTube link is probably what spurred me to make my way through all of Chrontendo's "back issues"! I've been watching them steadily, and am up to #43 now. :D

Anyway, thanks for that. I'll have to check out Topple Zip for myself.