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Dragon Saber (Arcade)

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Title Screen

Dragon Saber

Also known as: Dragon Saber - After Story of Dragon Spirit (JP)
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Platform: Arcade (Namco System 2)
Released in JP: December 1990


GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


Dragon Saber is a vertical shooter game about two dragons in quantum states of beheadedness.

Title Screen Codes

Hidden Credits

DragonSaberArcHiddenCredits1.png DragonSaberArcHiddenCredits2.png DragonSaberArcHiddenCredits3.png DragonSaberArcHiddenCredits4.png
On the title screen, press 1P Button 2 x2, 1P Button 1 x4, 1P Up, then 1P Left x5. Hidden credits will appear before the prologue starts.

Unlike the normal set of credits, the people credited here use their real names:

  • "T.Negoro" is possibly Tsukasa Negoro, who also designed Pac-Land.
  • "Y.Sugiyama" is Yoshihiro (Yoshinori?) Sugiyama, part of the "Visual Creating Crew" in Namco's Assault.
  • "T.Nishmiaki" is Takashi Nishimaki, and this seems to be their only credited game.
  • "N.Itoh" is Naoki Itoh, also credited as a programmer under the name "Shiohigaler Itoh" in Cosmo Gang: The Video.
  • "S.Hosoe" is Shinji Hosoe, who composed for many, many games, his first being the original Dragon Spirit.
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Debug Code

On the title screen, press 1P Button 2, 1P Button 1 x10, 1P Up, then 1P Left x5 to set the game to debug mode. This normally does nothing, but if certain dip switches are set...

Dip Switch 1 (Video Display)

DragonSaberArcFreePlay.png
Sets the game to "Free Play" mode and gives both players infinite HP.

Dip Switch 2 ($2000-1)

Press 1P / 2P Button 3 to cycle through dragon forms in the following order: Blue, Light Blue, Green, Purple, White, Mini.

Dip Switch 4 ($2000-3)

Prints a string of repeating characters (Goes from at least A to E depending on the game mode) on the third line of the screen, followed by a sequence of red numbers (Or, sometimes, nothing) below the letters. This is then quickly cleared before the frame updates, so it's never visible to the player. It's not clear what this is supposed to represent.

Dip Switch 5 ($2000-4)

Press 2P Start to freeze the game, then press 2P Start again to advance to the next frame. Turn the dip switch off to resume normal gameplay.

Dip Switch 6 ($2000-5)

DragonSaberArcObjectViewer.png
Start a new game to access an object graphics viewer. Press 2P Up/Down to cycle through object graphics, and 2P Left/Right to change the object palette. The only way out of this viewer is to reset the game.

Dip Switch 7 ($2000-6)

DragonSaberArcStageSelect.png
Start a new game to access a stage select. Press 1P Up/Down to change the stage, and 1P Left/Right to change the level (area).

The object viewer takes precedence over this stage select, so turn off Dip Switch 6 beforehand.

DragonSaberArcDebugDisplay.png
This dip switch also enables a debug display and memory check.

First row of numbers:

  • First Word: Unknown, related to game state.
  • Second Word: Stage number.
  • Third Word: Set to 0001 when the players clear any stage, reset on Game Over.
  • Fourth Word: Number of times both players have been hit in the current stage.
  • Fifth Word: Player alive timer. Increments 1 per frame for each player, resets when either player is hit.

The memory check is in the bottom-right corner. Press 2P Left/Right to move the cursor and 2P Up/Down to decrease or increase the address, respectively. Invalid addresses (0x020000 to 0x0FFFFF, 0x110000 to 0x11FFFF, 0x4C0000 to 0xFFFFFF) will disable "CANT" in place of the value. It was probably possible to actually edit the values in the memory check at one point, but not in any of the released versions.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Text

Location Test Message

DragonSaberArcLocationTest.png
Message IDs 22-2A are text for a location test version of the game - note the "1999" typo. Unfortunately, the code that would display this text isn't in any of the retail versions, though thankfully the formatting and positioning of the text is intact; it's formatted like the text in the prologue and ending.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Atari Games List

At 0x05E82 in the main CPU is a list of Atari games that Namco published in Japan. A few of the names are strangely romanized, with "WAR LOAD" (Warlords) being the worst. These games might have been intended to be placed in the "HISTORY OF NAMCO GAMES" section of the credits at one point, but the text as it is in the ROM isn't properly formatted to display in-game.

PON PON KADOLA
TANK
BASKET BALL
FOOTBALL 
ASTEROID
LUNNAR LANDER
BATTLE ZONE
TEMPEST
STAR WARS
MISSILE COMMAND
INDY JONES
FIREFOX
SUPER MAN
WAR LOAD
720
SUPER SPRINT
PAPER BOY
PETER PACRAT
MARBLE MADNESS
KLAX
HARD DR
(Source: ねこ自慢ブログ 特殊なアーケード本)

Regional Differences

JP INT
DragonSaberArcTitleJP.png DragonSaberArcTitle.png

The Japanese version has a subtitle, "After Story of Dragon Spirit." Other versions replace this with credit information and a "Please Insert Coin" message. The Japanese version is also missing a trademark.