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Bionic Commando (NES)

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Title Screen

Bionic Commando

Also known as: Hitler no Fukkatsu: Top Secret (JP)
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: NES
Released in JP: July 20, 1988
Released in US: December 1988
Released in EU: October 26, 1990
Released in AU: 1988


AreasIcon.png This game has unused areas.
EnemyIcon.png This game has unused enemies.
ObjectIcon.png This game has unused objects.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page
PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

Bionic Commando tells the story of FF Battalion Captain Ladd Spencer, a man with stiff knees and a bionic arm who finds himself the star of a platform game despite being unable to jump. His mission: rescue Super Joe from the Empire, successor to the Nazis Badds, and put an end to Hitler Master-D's insane plans for world domination.

Unused Objects

Most of these objects were used only in Top Secret, the Japanese version of the game. To interact with these, set byte 0554 in memory (US version) or 7736 (Japanese) to the given value, preferably before entering a door. Note that unless this is done in a room where the object's sprites and palette are loaded, it will appear glitched, but its behavior can still be seen.

Red Rolling Ball

TopSecret-Area6Balls.png

Object Number: 24

In Top Secret, the heavy object throwing soldiers in Area 6 alternate between throwing spiked balls and this non-damaging spikeless variant. Though functionally identical to the blue rolling balls seen in Area 5, it is a completely different object. Considering the enemy soldier's sprite when lifting the ball over his head is clearly spikeless, it is probable that they were originally intended to throw only unspiked balls, which would have made Area 6 much less annoying.

Floating Platform

Object Number: 26

An extra long-range floating platform that covers a wider horizontal distance than others of its type. This object is unused in all versions of the game.

Land Mine

BionicCommandoNES-Landmines.gif

Object Number: 39

Explodes when stepped upon. Five of these are placed on the ground beneath the very last sequence of swings in Top Secret's Area 7, and nowhere else. The graphics are still loaded and will display properly in Bionic Commando.

Suicide Bomber spawned from door

Object Number: 5C

This enemy is unused in both versions. Other than its method of entering the room, it is identical to the enemy found in areas 2, 8 and 19.

Captain Mack

BionicCommandoNES-mackspeaks.png

Object Number: 66

An Imperial commander found in the second room of Top Secret's Area 14. Part of his dialogue was translated, but he was replaced by ten bullet canisters. The yes/no prompt can only be properly seen by interacting with this object, though answering yes will display text from the credits.

M-2

Object Number: 7D

A friendly soldier whose role in Top Secret was to comment if the player shot and killed the captured soldier, who is invincible in Bionic Commando. Presumably this is M-2, who informs you of the capture and requests you visit Area 7 (a typo). His single line of dialogue was translated, indicating he was considered for inclusion at some point.

Rock Barrier

Object Number: 85

Presumably, this is same vertically-stacked rock barrier seen in Top Secret's Area 4 that also occupied index 85. However, loading without the rocks will freeze any version of the game. The rock object 3F in Top Secret was changed to a falling tank robot in Bionic Commando, making it impossible to properly load this object.

Unused Overhead Stage Objects

Nothing

Object Number: 03

The object that used this index number in Top Secret was removed from Bionic Commando. Forcing one to spawn produces no visible effect.

Jumping Soldier

TopSecretFC-ConvoyAmbush.gif

Object Number: 0B

A regular soldier exhibiting a jumping behavior not used in English versions. After completing the jump, it will change into object 00 (roaming soldier), unless frozen, in which case it will hop around indefinitely.

Unused Areas

To visit these locations, change byte $4D in Bionic Commando or $51 in Top Secret before selecting "descend" on the map screen.

Boss Rooms

Room Numbers: 23 through 26 (with boss), 55 and 56 (empty)

Unused duplicates of the common boss room. Room 23 features the fake boss from Area 12, and the locked exit (object 2E) that brings you to the room with the electrified floors. However, the boss is stuck on the other side of the generator, which cannot be damaged, making it impossible to exit except with A+B+Start. Room 24 is identical, except the boss's sprite is glitched. Rooms 25 and 26 are identical to 23. Rooms 55 and 56 are both completely void of objects and use the Area 5/6/10 BGM. These are probably just unused placeholders.

Communication Rooms

Room Numbers: 2F (Area 7), 46, 47, 57, 58 (non-functional)

Room 2F is accessible in Top Secret as Area 7's hidden communication room. The entrance to this room was deleted in Bionic Commando.

Rooms 46 and 47 do not have functioning communicators. They do however each contain object 79, which is used for important items found in the neutral area interiors. The items themselves are defined as nothing. Taking the exit places you on foot at Area 1's landing point.

Rooms 57 and 58 have no functioning objects (including the exit) and play the Area 5/6/10 BGM.

Area 12 Generator Rooms

Room Numbers: 5B through 5E

Duplicates of Area 12's unique generator rooms, each lacking destroyable generators. There is an invisible exit to the left of the door that spawns you on Area 1's landing zone.

Unused Text

To view these in-game, change the two bytes starting at address 007A to the provided dialogue pointer before speaking to any NPC.

Area 15 Soldier

HERE'S ANOTHER  
COMMUNICATOR FOR
YOU.            
HURRY,TAKE IT.
BionicCommandoNES-greensoldierface.png
ROM address: 2C787
Dialogue pointer: 7587

Stored adjacent to another line ("WE'VE LOCATED JOE! HE'S AT P.O.W. CAMP IN AREA 7. PLEASE HURRY.") that is used twice: once by the NPC in the second room of Area 17, and once by the friendly soldier outside the second room of Area 15 where the delta communicator is found. This makes Area 15 the only location with a communicator where the NPC outside the door doesn't have anything to say about it. Given these facts it is fairly likely that this line was intended for Area 15 and left out by mistake.

Captain Mack

I'M CAPTAIN MACK
OF THE IMPERIAL 
FORCE.          
HA・HA・HA・・・     
FOR YOU.        
YOU WANT TO COME
INTO ROOM IN THE
BACK?
BionicCommandoNES-redbeardface.png
ROM address: 2D0AF
Dialogue pointer: 9D90
IS THAT SO,     
THAT,S VERY     
DISAPPOINTING.

BionicCommandoNES-redbeardface.png
ROM address: 2D17C
Dialogue pointer: 6A91

These lines belonged to a friendly Imperial commander who occupied the second room of Area 14, but was replaced with ten bullet canisters in the English versions. Note the incorrect punctuation. While the NPC still exists in English ROMs, his response for players answering 'yes' to his question is missing.

Captured Soldier

OUCH,IT HURTS,  
YOU IDIOT!


BionicCommandoNES-redsoldierface.png
ROM address: 2D5D5
Dialogue pointer: C395
HOW COULD YOU DO
SUCH A CRUEL    
THING!

BionicCommandoNES-greensoldierface.png
ROM address: 2D64A
Dialogue pointer: 3896

Remnants of a different version of the encounter in the first room of Area 17, where a captured enemy soldier informs you about the secret underground paths. In the Japanese version, he is interrogated by whacking him with the bionic arm repeatedly. He can also be shot and killed, which elicits a remark from the nearby friendly soldier (who is also unused in English versions).

Destroyer

I HAVE IT IN MY 
ROOM.


BionicCommandoNES-civilianface.png
ROM address: 2D7AD
Dialogue pointer: 9B97

This one appears among the dialogue of the 'Destroyers', who offer you a (possibly fake) machine gun in Area 18.

Area 19 NPC

IF YOU CANNOT   
ADVANCE ON THE  
FLOOR,TRY       
CEILING.
BionicCommandoNES-civilianface.png
ROM address: 2D880
Dialogue pointer: 6E98

Stored with some dialogue for neutral area NPCs (roughly organized by area number), right after the speech by the '100th opponent' guy from Area 19, where the NPC who might have said this was probably intended to appear. While it serves as good advice for pretty much the entire game, it was probably a specific hint for Area 11, which features a series of floating platforms as a red herring - the only way to clear the stage (save a well-timed grapple during the damage knockback from landing in a fire pit) is to ignore them and swing along the ceiling.

Unknown

GOOD
                


BionicCommandoNES-redsoldierface.png
ROM address: 2E232
Dialogue pointer: 20A2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 
9 0


ROM address: 2E238
Dialogue pointer: 26A2
NO.IS INCORRECT.



ROM address: 2E24D
Dialogue pointer: 3BA2

Vague text of unknown use, stored adjacently. The sequence of numbers may have been for inputting a numeric code.

Garbage

NERALISSIMO   
KILLT HAS SEEN  
THE PLAN,AND    
DECIDED TO      
EXECUTE THE PLAN
HIMSE
ROM address: 2E73F

Truncated duplicate text from the introduction, stored after the end of the ROM's text.

Unused Variables

Inventory

Unrelated: set 4CA to 6 to equip flares as a weapon, resulting in severe yet harmless graphical glitches every time you press B.
Addresses 04d0, 04d5, 04d6, 04d7, 04de, 04e4 and 04e5 (US/EU versions) and 1d26, 1d2b, 1d2c, 1d2d, 1d34, 1d3a and 1d3b (JP) are unused flags for inventory items that don't exist: a gun, three armors, a miscellaneous item, and two communicators, respectively. In addition to wasting memory, this shows that the inventory system is set up to allow up to six items per page, even though it is impossible to get more than five. All of the unused items pull their icons from other items, except for the gun, and the communicators, which use garbage data. The unused gun is a blue palette swap of the 3-way; firing it crashes the game.

Unused Graphics

BionicCommandoNES-donotuse.png
This tile is used as filler in several places in Top Secret.

Regional Differences

General

Introduction
Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Introduction1.png
TopSecretFC-Introduction2.png
BionicCommandoNES-Introduction1.png
BionicCommandoNES-Introduction2.png

The antagonistic force in the Japanese version, whose title translates to "Hitler's Revival: Top Secret", are genuine neo-Nazis, and have decorated their bases accordingly with swastikas all over the place, starting with the introductory cutscene. These symbols were changed to eagles in the (quite partially) censored English versions of the game. Basically, anywhere you see an eagle in Bionic Commando, it was a swastika in Top Secret (except the continue badges). In a video game context, Nazi symbolism is illegal to display in Germany, and potentially illegal in France and Hungary, which likely would have prevented publication of the uncensored title.

Title
Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-title.png Nesbcomm-title.png

In Top Secret, the first thing seen after turning the power on is the introduction. In Bionic Commando, the title screen displays immediately, playing the introduction after waiting for a bit.

TopSecretFC-Comm.gif
The red lights in Top Secret's communication rooms have an animated palette. The object responsible for this animation (object number 8B) was deleted from the object list in Bionic Commando (which has valid objects only up to 86).
  • Top Secret does not have Bionic Commando's problem where dialogue boxes clear and restart mid-conversation. This bug is due to the differences in message length and lazy localization.
  • In Top Secret, the player retains control while destroyed boss room generators (and the Albatross) explode, whereas Bionic Commando disables input until returning to the map screen.

Enemy Convoys

TopSecretFC-ConvoySoldier.png
The top-down sequences in Top Secret all have a friendly soldier waiting for you at the end, strafing back and forth in front of the exit. They are ignored by enemies, and will leave through the exit with the player when they are all killed. They are palette swaps of the generic enemy troops; the soldier in the mountains/underground is blue, and the one is grassy areas is green. Touching them inflicts damage. The soldier's object number produces nothing when forced to load in Bionic Commando.
  • Enemy soldiers will jump down on the player from above in Top Secret. This behavior is not seen in Bionic Commando, but the object at least still exists in the ROM.

Area 1

TopSecretFC-Area1-1up.png
There is a 1-up located above the player starting position in Top Secret that is missing in Bionic Commando.
TopSecretFC-Area1itembox.png
Several enemy soldiers were removed from the exterior in Bionic Commando. Notably, there is an enemy in Top Secret (top left) who seems to have been deliberately placed so that you'll bounce off his head when swinging on the first light pole over the water. Additionally, the item box that parachutes down on the second island was removed.
Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area1SwastikaDoor.png BionicCommandoNES-Area1Door.png

Denazification of the decorations beside the doors. The door itself was also changed, which also applies to every other level where the doors lock.

TopSecretFC-Area1elevator.png
In Top Secret, the right hand side of the elevator shaft in the interior section has a trapped elevator that quickly falls as soon as you step on it. This elevator is absent in Bionic Commando, making the wiretapping hint ("Commander, beware of the elevator") meaningless. Additionally, the behavior of the functioning elevator was changed a bit: when exiting the communication room in Top Secret, the elevator will descend to your level, while in Bionic Commando, it resets to its starting position at the top of the shaft.
  • Bionic Commando lacks some of the bazooka-wielding soldiers and electric barriers present in Top Secret. Instead, regular soldiers (somehow) endlessly parachute down from above.

Area 4

TopSecretFC-Area4Rocks.png
Top Secret features an object that isn't seen in Bionic Commando: a barrier of rocks you must knock down with the bionic arm. Knocking a rock out of the way will destroy it and cause the rocks on top of it to fall down. It deflects your projectiles, but enemies can walk right through it. There are three of these placed in area 4, and nowhere else: one at the cave entrance, one obstructing the door to the communications room, and the last one in the tunnel guarded by knife and rifle soldiers before the large open room. In Bionic Commando's object list the index for the individual rocks (39) was replaced with a new object (the falling mini-tank robots from Area 10), making the rock barrier impossible to load.
TopSecretFC-Area4POW.png
There is a POW item in the chamber at the top left of the caves that is guarded by a knife-wielding soldier in Top Secret. Both the item and the soldier are absent in Bionic Commando, making the alcove useless.
TopSecretFC-Area4-1up.png
The 1-up hidden across the spiked floor near Top Secret's boss room entrance is also missing in Bionic Commando, making the obstacle pointless. The parachuting item box nearby is also missing.
BionicCommandoNES-FlareGlitch.png
A glitch involving the flare bombs curiously applies only to Bionic Commando. Making your way through the cave without lighting the flare, then doing so while standing directly beneath an enemy so the flare projectile hits them will instantly restart the stage and cost the player a life.
  • Top Secret has one more rifle soldier near the entrance to the communication room that was removed.

Area 5

  • Denazification during localization, also including the flag at the very top of the stage.
  • Top Secret has extra rolling balls in the first area, many of which hang from nothing.
  • An item dropbox was removed in Bionic Commando.
  • Top Secret has more helicopter soldiers that may cause slowdown and graphical glitches.

Area 16

Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area16NPC.png BionicCommandoNES-Area16NPC.png

The NPC inside one of the buildings was replaced. The Japanese version uses a generic hostile enemy soldier (one of the "Get the heck out of here, you nerd!" guys) instead of a generic neutral character.


Area 3

Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area3itembox.png BionicCommandoNES-Area3itembox.png

The parachuting item box was moved from the far side of the second quicksand pit in Top Secret to the island between the quicksand pits in Bionic Commando.

TopSecretFC-Area3elevators.png
Top Secret has many useless elevators in the interior section of the stage, most of them trapped. The number of rifle soldiers was reduced, relieving some slow down.
TopSecretFC-Area3-1ups.png
This hard-to-reach area held a total of three 1-ups and a health refill in Top Secret, all of which were removed.

Area 6

TopSecretFC-Shootingstar.gif
  • Exclusive to Top Secret is a shooting star that flies over the area with a large stack of purple barrels. The object responsible for its appearance (object 89) is not included in Bionic Commando's object list.
TopSecretFC-Area6Platforms.png
Also exclusive to Top Secret are several moving platforms in the second part of the stage. Their removal makes the series of tricky swings over the pit more dangerous.
  • The ball-throwing enemy soldiers in the last portion of the stage alternate between throwing spiked and nonlethal spikeless balls in Top Secret. In Bionic Commando, every ball thrown is spiked, making the area more difficult and leaving the spikeless red ball object unused.

Area 14

TopSecretFC-Area14spider.png
In the first room there is a spider present, but only in Top Secret.
Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area14CaptainMack.png BionicCommandoNES-Area14bullets.png

The contents of the second room are completely different. In Top Secret, there is a non-hostile enemy commander who offers to tell the player the location of the helmet. Bionic Commando replaces him with a room full of bullets. This soldier and part of his dialogue exist unused in English version ROMs.

Area 8

An item box was added to the vertical room with banners (which were also denazified) and bronze spikes.

Area 17

Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area17int.png BionicCommandoNES-Area17int.png

Interrogation of the captured enemy soldier who tells you about the secret underground passages is different between versions: in Top Secret, the player must hit him with the bionic arm five times to get him to talk. You can also shoot him, which prompts a response from the nearby friendly soldier. In Bionic Commando he talks when you swing to his side of the room, cannot be killed, and the friendly soldier is not present, but exists unused in the ROM. Additional unused dialogue for both of these NPCs was translated.

The Japanese version also has an obscure secret hidden in the interrogation. Address 7976 counts the number of hits dealt to the prisoner. Hitting him 255 times displays the following message, and grants you all the weapons in the game:

Japanese Translated
えらい!てんさい
! フンフン・・
武器をぜんぶ
やるよ!
BionicCommandoNES-redsoldierface.png
You're amazing! A genius!
Hehe..
I'll give you all the weapons!

Area 9

  • Wired Soldiers were removed throughout the level.
TopSecretFC-Area9greensoldier.png
This single green enemy soldier was removed.
Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area9spikes.png BionicCommandoNES-Area9NoSpikes.png

A parachuting item box in the middle of the mine cart room and the spikes hanging over the tracks were removed.

Area 7

TopSecretFC-Area7secret.png
Top Secret has a hidden communication room with no door at the top of one of the towers. Selecting communicate contacts a mustachioed enemy soldier named Terukun (a name mentioned in the credits as a character designer), while wiretapping features an ally soldier named Sambo (presumably also a developer nickname), giving the player the following hints:
Japanese Translated
ぼくは てるくん
右のカベを
叩いてごらん

BionicCommandoNES-redmustacheface.png
I'm Terukun.
Inspect and hit the right wall.
わたしはサンボ
A・Bをどうじに
おしてね!
            
BionicCommandoNES-greensoldierface.png
I'm Sambo.
Press A and B simultaneously!
Grappling the wall on the right side of the room five times plays the 1-up sound effect and sets variable 1D6B in memory, which gives the player a POW every time both A and B are pressed. While the room still exists in Bionic Commando's data, its entrance was removed, as were the hints from the developers (the strings were not translated, and attempting to use the communicator will instantly end transmission). The object responsible for activating the cheat (6F in Top Secret) was both removed from the room and repurposed as the trigger for the self-destruct sequence countdown timer; setting the address equivalent to 1D6B in Bionic Commando does not enable the cheat.
BionicCommandoNES-Landmines.gif
Top Secret had land mines under the swing-path to the boss room door. Land mines remain unused in Bionic Commando.
  • The Helicopters are faster in Top Secret.

Area 15

  • In Bionic Commando, the barriers in this area disappear automatically when provoking the neutral soldiers to attack with any weapon, allowing the player to acquire the delta communicator much earlier than necessary. In Top Secret and the European version, these barriers can only be removed by shooting them with the 3-way gun; however, it is possible in all versions to circumvent them without violating the ceasefire by swinging underneath.
Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area15spider.png BionicCommandoNES-Area15platform.png

In Top Secret, the room behind the barriers contains one of the spiders from area 3. This was removed in Bionic Commando, and a moving platform was added.

Area 10

  • The Laser Cannons (also present in Area 11) had their movement speed reduced, and several of them were removed.
  • A mini-tank robot was removed from the platform above the spike pit.
  • Hanging spikes that force the player to crouch-grapple were removed from the opening to the first vertical shaft with slime extruders, which due to the changed behavior also seen in Area 2, do not produce slimes if they are the left-hand side of a pair.
  • Constantly air-dropping mini-tanks were added to the section with the pink background right after the last spike, and the statically-spawned mini-tank located there in Top Secret was removed. The falling mini-tank object does not exist in Top Secret, its index number instead being host to the rocks seen in its version of Area 4.
  • The bazooka soldier near the boss room for was removed in Bionic Commando.

Area 11

TopSecretFC-Area11soldiers.png
Two Construction Soldiers were removed from the platforms outside the communication room, and one more from the fire pit near the boss room entrance. As a consequence only two of these enemies exist in Bionic Commando.

Area 12

Top Secret Bionic Commando
TopSecretFC-Area12BallThrower.png BionicCommandoNES-Area12ball.png

A Heavy Object Throwing Soldier in the second room with electrified floors was replaced by a rolling ball in Bionic Commando, making it much easier to traverse the room from the bottom up.

BionicCommandoNES-Area12paratroopers.png
Paratroopers were added to the second generator room.