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  • Joined: 08 Apr 2021
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Alien 3 high score name cheats
Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2022 1:07 pm
I've started messing around with Alien 3, as I was curious about the various cheats floating around online and in particular the fact that the master and game gear versions apparently have different high score name cheats. At the moment I'm just trying to confirm what's real and what isn't before I start getting the debugger out and hacking away.

I noticed in particular that on your first life, you start with 0 ammo for anything (harsh!) but on subsequent lives and even starting a new game after game over, regardless of what you put on the high score as a name, you appear to start with the ammo you collected in previous attempts (possibly a bug?)

Anyway, according to this site, putting ALIEN in as a high score will give you infinite lives in a 2p game (on SMS), putting CHEAT in will give you extra ammo (on GG), but need to try and separate that from the extra ammo you seem to get by default!

Nothing to add yet, but if anyone else has tried any of these, I'd be interested. I remember there was an interesting discussion on how the final boss is almost invincible, so there's a few people out there at least :D

EDIT - yes, as I suspected it seems the GG extra ammo cheat isn't really a cheat, you don't get anything above what you get if you just start a new game without putting a name in the high score field. Unless there's some extra subtlety I'm missing.
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2022 9:48 pm
On one hand, we do confirm all the cheats we list. On the other hand, we may not have noticed that you get extra ammo when you restart. It’s definitely worth checking the code.
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:23 am
Oh I'm definitely not trying to catch smspower out or anything like that. You guys have the most reliable and comprehensive list around because you actually test and check the code, it's great!

The dying on the fans in 2 player mode thing does work, I think it's an overflow glitch. Normally when you die in 2 player mode, it's supposed to switch over to the other player, but insta-death on a fan does not have this behaviour, you immediately restart next to the fan as the same player. This seems to confuse the two player logic and when you run out of normal lives, your lives left is set to "/". I didn't see any obvious behaviour change putting 'ALIEN' in as a high score though.

Time to start poking around in MEKA I think.

EDIT
The simplest way to get the overflow seems to be
-Start 2 player game
-Immediately die 3 times on fan as player 1 and get game over
-Immediately die 3 times on fan as player 2 and get game over
-Go to 'configuration' and 'continue' which should start you as player 2 with 0 tries left, which will roll over into various non numerical characters if you keep dying.
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:59 am
Please forgive the ramblings of a novice, it helps me to write these things down.

High score names in RAM start at C206, Put a breakpoint on the first letter of the top score to see what code path hits it.

So far, I've only hit it at the start of the game when the RAM is populated with the default names and when the high score screen itself is loaded. Need to pick apart exactly what the high score screen load logic actually does.
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  • Joined: 01 Mar 2006
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  • Location: Essex, UK
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 3:06 pm
As far as my findings go, there are no cheats which involve putting a particular name into the high score table. The lives cheat is just a bug and technically it's not infinite. When you start a new game (after losing all lives on 2 player mode), the lives counter (RAM $C424) will be 00 and then rolls down to FF when you die, meaning you have 255 lives. Although it's a very well-made game, there are a few other minor bugs (Battery item is useless as using radar doesn't deplete, high score table doesn't record level number, ammo carries over into a new game).
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 5:30 pm
It seems like we should make patches to fix it.
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 12:57 pm
Thanks Ian, I couldn't find any instructions that were comparing score letters to anything else, but I can only really get my head around it if the code is so simple it's staring me in the face. Good to have confirmation from an expert!
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