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View topic - Some hidden bits in Sonic Spinball

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  • Joined: 08 Apr 2021
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Some hidden bits in Sonic Spinball
Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:36 am
Hello all, first post here and just wanted to share a few bits I've found messing about with Sonic Spinball. Thanks to the maps on smspower, I noticed there's a hidden monitor with jumbled text on it in each of the 4 levels. The game is not fun to play but luckily it has a free movement mode and a level skip so I could quickly get to each one.

Breaking each monitor causes a different message to display at the top of the screen

Level 1: '08-XX-XX...'
Level 2: 'XX-31-XX...'
Level 3: 'XX-XX-71...'
Level 4: 'XX-XX-XX, SFX GET THAT???'

This is obviously referencing one of the many codes you can put into the sound test, but it also happens to be one with an unknown effect in the smspower thread where the cheats were found (I can't link to this)

So what does it do? Based on a hunch I put 00-08-03-01-07-01 into the sound test, started a new game and floated over to the secret monitor.
The code actually changes the message to this:

‘TRY THESE SFX! 02-11-66, 09-01-68, 02-15-66, 04-25-57, * * * FIND THE REST ON YOUR OWN ***’

All known cheat codes, but now I was curious, are there any more hidden messages? Opening up the rom and searching for plain text, luckily all the messages are in a single block.
There's one more message that can't be displayed any other way.

'HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BLL, 03-18-92'

Hang on, that date sure looks familiar. It's another code with an unknown effect!

And sure enough, if you enter 00-03-01-08-09-02 into the sound test, find a hidden monitor and break it open, this message is displayed at the top of the screen.

So there you go, 2 new cheat codes identified (or re-identified, it's possible a simple google search would show this has been known for years). Now if only there was a code to sort the sluggish controls out!
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:59 am
The monitors themselves were well known, even I made a video about them several years ago, but I don't think that the full extent of their aftereffects has ever been documented anywhere (I just double checked on gamefaqs and tcrf), so nice work!
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:49 am
I added some info at https://www.smspower.org/Cheats/SonicSpinball-SMS, does it apply to GG as well?

Many of these codes seem to be dates in US mm-dd-yy format, presumably dates of birth of the developers (or their children). I guess it’s not worth the effort to try to match them up :)
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:17 am
Hi Maxim, yes the codes are identical on the game gear. I've been browsing this site for a long time, so it's nice to finally contribute something to it.

And thanks Tom, very much a case of 'no one else was bored enough to look' rather than any great insight or programming skill on my part!
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:22 am
It might be good to check for any other codes, which is probably a matter of checking for the byte sequences of the existing codes.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:29 am
Fortunately, your good self did this long ago in another thread, which is how I knew those two were 'valid' codes. The remaining unidentified ones are as follows:

00 08 02 08 07 05
00 04 01 09 06 04
00 05 02 08 07 00
00 06 02 04 06 03
01 00 01 03 06 07
01 01 01 01 03 00
01 01 01 01 03 01
01 01 01 01 03 02
01 01 01 01 03 03

The ones starting 01 01 01 01... look for all the world like they should be more level warps, but don't appear to do anything that obvious.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:32 am
It’ll take some effort to figure out what they do from a disassembly... and this game is a bit too awful for me to spend time on that :)
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:34 am
I strongly agree!
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:17 pm
Ahah, they are level warps. You use them in tandem with the 01 01 01 01 04 codes which are actually sub level warps..

For example

01 01 01 01 03 03 = 'set to Level 4'

Then

01 01 01 01 04 03 becomes 'go to Level 4 title card' instead of 'go to intro'

Some tedious testing required to work out what all the combinations mean. Yes I have too much time on my hands.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:54 pm
OK, I'm retiring from Sonic Spinball forever after this :-)

Some oddities
-The first ending cut scene appears twice
-The third set of scenes can be accessed using two different codes.

01 01 01 01 03 00 – First set of scenes (also the default value)

01 01 01 01 04 00 – Title Screen (Sega logo on GG version)
01 01 01 01 04 01 – Title Screen Again
01 01 01 01 04 02 – 1st cut scene (Fortress rising)
01 01 01 01 04 03 – 2nd cut scene (Sonic and Tails arrive)
01 01 01 01 04 04 – 3rd cut scene (Sonic drops into fortress)
01 01 01 01 04 05 – Toxic Pools Title Card
01 01 01 01 04 06 – Toxic Pools
01 01 01 01 04 07 – Toxic Pools Boss Arena
01 01 01 01 04 08 – Bonus Stage 1 Title Card
01 01 01 01 04 09 – Bonus Stage 1

01 01 01 01 03 01 – Second set of scenes

01 01 01 01 04 00 – Bonus Stage 1 Points Tally
01 01 01 01 04 01 – Lava Powerhouse Title Card
01 01 01 01 04 02 – Lava Powerhouse
01 01 01 01 04 03 – Lava Powerhouse Boss Arena
01 01 01 01 04 04 – Bonus Stage 2 Title Card
01 01 01 01 04 05 – Bonus Stage 2
01 01 01 01 04 06 – Bonus Stage 2 Points Tally
01 01 01 01 04 07 – The Machine Title Card
01 01 01 01 04 08 – The Machine
01 01 01 01 04 09 – The Machine Boss Arena

01 01 01 01 03 02 or 01 01 01 01 03 03 – Third set of scenes

01 01 01 01 04 00 – Bonus Stage 3 Title Card
01 01 01 01 04 01 – Bonus Stage 3
01 01 01 01 04 02 – Bonus Stage 3 Points Tally
01 01 01 01 04 03 – Final Showdown Title Card
01 01 01 01 04 04 – Final Showdown
01 01 01 01 04 05 – Final Showdown Boss Arena
01 01 01 01 04 06 – Ending cut scene 1 (Sonic & Robotnik falling)
01 01 01 01 04 07 – Ending cut scene 1 again (Sonic & Robotnik falling)
01 01 01 01 04 08 – Ending cut scene 2 (Fortress destroyed)
01 01 01 01 04 09 – Credits
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:56 pm
Fantastic research.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:19 pm
All those numbers in the first post have to be the developers' birthdates, just as Yuji Naka's birthday code in Sonic 2 Genesis.
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