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Atlantis no Nazo

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Title Screen

Atlantis no Nazo

Developer: Sunsoft
Publisher: Sunsoft
Platform: NES
Released in JP: April 17, 1986

AreasIcon.png This game has unused areas.
CodeIcon.png This game has unused code.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.

NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page

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Atlantis no Nazo is the kind of platformer that lacks creative level design but makes up for it with terrible jumping physics, extremely limited time, insta-kill enemies, leaps of faith, and 100 mind-numbing levels of hell (well, almost 100, but we'll get to that). All by the same company that would later go on to make the likes of Batman and Mr. Gimmick. However, it did manage to establish a sort of cult-classic status in Japan, to the point where it was even included in the Famicom Mini.

The game was localized and bugfixed by Activision several years later as Super Pitfall II, but for better or worse it ended up not being released. Eventually, though, a prototype cartridge was found and dumped for everyone to...enjoy?

To do:
  • Expand on the differences in Super Pitfall II.
  • This site describes unused strings, unused map areas, and microphone item in Zone 15.


Miscellaneous tidbits that are interesting enough to point out here.

Unused Graphics

There are some unused objects in the game's graphics data. These were presumably replacements for the diamond in Final Zone, but only the vase and coin appear in the same bank as the ending objects.

Debug Codes

All of these are entered at the title screen, but must be done quickly before the demonstration starts.

Level Skip

On Controller 2, press Select (×33) and A (×22), then press A on Controller 1 and B on Controller 2 at the same time. Now, during the game press Select to jump to the next level. Note that this cheat does not exactly skip the current level, but starts from Level 1 then jumps to 2, 3, etc. regardless of which level you use the code on first.

This can also be activated by setting $019F to FF. The level index is at $019E in RAM.

Infinite lives

Press A (×11) on Controller 2 and B (×22) on Controller 1.

This can also be activated by setting $0191 to FF.


Press B (×33) on either controller, then press A + B + Select + Up + Down on the other. This code actually gives an Invincibility item to you. It will last for 255 lives only, and your bombs may still kill you.

This can also be activated by setting $0457 to 01.

Unused Code

Unused "Dark Enemy" Effect

There is unused code in the game that causes enemies to turn black, except for the palette used on their eyes/other notable features, and illuminates them when you throw a bomb. It is used in all of the dark levels, and was probably supposed to be another effect of the "flash bomb" item (which illuminates the background). Most of the enemy sprites seem to have been designed with this feature in mind, as they rarely use the third color anywhere else on their sprites.

It can be enabled using Game Genie codes XVTKTO ASYGAP GEYGPP to require the "flash bomb" item, or GETKTO GEYGPO to always work in dark levels.

Alternate Sprite-Handling Code

The game has an unused block of code that appears to be an old, broken sprite handling routine. Instead of using DMA to send the sprite list to the PPU, it writes them directly to the registers, one by one. Activating it and removing the DMA code (Game Genie codes GEAEIE GEPAZE XTZEIU) causes a lot of flickering and other glitches, although the game otherwise continues to run properly. Most of the glitches are caused by bad logic and leftover debugging code.

The logic can be fixed with Game Genie codes GEAEIE GEPAZE APZEIU VAGAPU, which makes it work in emulators, although there are still some glitches and it updates sprites less than half as fast as DMA.

Unseen Zone Behavior

Zone 42

The infamous "BLACK HOLE!" Zone, Zone 42, flashes one of the palette colors red. None of the graphics displayed by the stage (unless going out of bounds) use this palette color. Since the door and the "BLACK HOLE!" text are the only things in the stage, and doors otherwise never flash in the game, it's safe to assume either the text or the background would've flashed at one point.

Zone 50

Zone 50 contains a closed, hidden door embedded in a wall near the start of the area, which leads to Zone 59. Since it's impossible to reach with a bomb, the door cannot be opened. It was probably meant to be open, requiring you to kill yourself in order to access it.

Inaccessible Zones

Several Zones exist that cannot be accessed without using the level-select warp.

There is a large image showing some of these levels and the doors leading to/from them. They are described in more detail below.

Zone 59

Zone 59 cannot be accessed. It was originally intended to be accessed from Zone 50, but as noted above the door that leads to it is inaccessible.

It has four chests of little value and three doors: the left door, from Zone 50, leads to the right side of Zone 26. The middle door is invisible and leads to Zone 55. The rightmost door leads to Zone 69.

Zone 55

Zone 55 can only be accessed from Zone 59, and as that Zone is not accessible this one cannot be reached in the normal game either.

It's a small zone that contains a chest worth 200,000 points, a microphone powerup, and one door that leads back to Zone 59.

Zone 69

Zone 69 is accessible in the normal game through several doors. However, the door that Zone 59 dumps you out of leads to itself, so it's impossible to access Zone 59 again once you enter the door leading to this Zone.

Zone 84

Zone 84 cannot be accessed normally. According to a full list of doors, there is not a single door that would send the player to this zone.

It's a short zone with a chest of tiny 4 points, and a proper door leading to Zone 83. If for any reason the right door in the midair is open, it will dump the player to the invisible door of Zone 59.

Zone 120

Zone 120 (a number well above the 100 normal levels in the game) cannot be accessed without hacking the game, and contains 7 items - the maximum normally allowed in any level is 4. There is no level layout data or doors. The seven items are, in order from left to right: Score-Up, Microphone, Invincibility, 2x Points, Score-Up, 2x Points, and Super Bombs.

The general consensus is that these items were assigned to actual levels at some point during development, but were later deemed unnecessary and repointed to level ID 77, effectively "deleting" them from the game. A few of them do seem to fit into certain levels rather nicely.