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Final Blow (Arcade)

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Title Screen

Final Blow

Developer: Taito
Publisher: Taito
Platform: Arcade (Taito F2 System)
Released internationally: Spring 1989

DevMessageIcon.png This game has a hidden developer message.
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.

Final Blow is a boxing game with fairly detailed graphics (For 1988, anyway.)

Easter Egg

During the game demo, after the timer starts counting down, press 1P Up, Down, Left, Right, Up, Down, Left, Right to trigger an icon of a mouse and dog in the bottom-right corner of the screen. This signifies that the game was developed by Taito Central Research Laboratory (中央研究所 - Taito Chuokenkyusho, shortened to ChuKen): The mouse represents the "chu" -- the Japanese onomatopoeia for a mouse's squeak -- while the dog represents the "ken" -- as in the kanji for dog, 犬, which can be read as either inu or ken. This is a response to similar hidden Easter eggs in games developed by Taito Kumagaya Laboratory.

(Source: https://twitter.com/ZackmannX/status/1240367634291372033)

Developer Message

Found at 0xBDBC:


Translates to "Oonogi-San is worried". Yuichi Ohnogi worked on the software for Final Blow.

Stage Select

That's not fair! There was time now!
Final Blow features the Taito Code:

  • While the game boots up, hold the Service Coin button until the "SERVICE SWITCH ERROR" message pops up on the screen.
  • Then, press 1P Start (x3), Service Coin, 1P Start. The error message should be replaced with "ROUND SELECT ON !!"
  • Start a new game and a stage select menu should appear.

Debug Functions

A handful of debug functions remain in the game. Put the following code in MAME's finalb.xml cheat file to replace the default service test with one of the functions below.

  <cheat desc="Change Test Mode Function">
      <item value="0x5D98">Object Test Mode</item>
      <item value="0x60C8">Color Test Mode</item>
      <item value="0x63AA">Mask Test Mode</item>
      <item value="0x7C58">Sensor Test Mode</item>
    <script state="run">
    <script state="off">

Object Test Mode

Tests the object graphics bank.

  • 1P Left: Decrements tile counter by 64 tiles.
  • 1P Right: Increments tile counter by 64 tiles.
  • 1P Up/Down: Hold to rapidly scroll through tiles (64 tiles per frame).
  • 1P Button 1: Increments palette number.
  • 1P Button 2: Decrements palette number.
  • 1P Start / 2P Start: Hold to rapidly cycle through palettes (1 palette per frame).
  • 2P Button 1: Increases size of grid overlay.
  • 2P Button 2: Decreases size of grid overlay.
  • Service: Increases the "Secret" counter (Doesn't appear to do anything).

Color Test Mode

Please replace color ink cartridge.
This allows the user to verify and modify color values.

  • 1P Left / Right: Choose between Red, Green, or Blue. Be aware that for some reason, the actual order of colors is Red, then Blue, then Green.
  • 1P Up/Down: Changes the currently selected Red/Green/Blue value.
  • 1P Button 1: Increments the color number for the current palette. Please note that each color is stored twice, so 0000 0000 and 0000 0001 point to the same color.
This also means that each 16-color palette actually covers values 000X 0000 to 000X+1 000F.
  • 1P Button 2: Decrements the color number for the current palette.

Mask Test Mode

Tests the Mask, or character, graphics bank.

Press 1P Button 1 or 1P Button 2 to select a different palette. The palette counter maxes out at 3F.

Sensor Test Mode

Some sort of alternate input test.

Power reacts to the inputs of 1P/2P Buttons 1, 2, and 3.
Peak records the max value of the Power meter.
Just On will only record input when the Sensor button is pressed.
Joy Stick just records the players' joystick input.

About the controls: This input test supports up to five action buttons per player. While MAME supports all five, actual arcade cabinets will only have three.

  • 1P/2P Button 1: Increases Power by 1.
  • 1P/2P Button 2: Increases Power by 2.
  • 1P/2P Button 3: Increases Power by 4.
  • 1P/2P Button 4: Turns "Dacking" on, which disables the Peak meter.
  • 1P/2P Button 5: Turns "Senser" on, which enables the Just On meter.
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Graphics

I love these goofy staff pictures!
A goofy little caricature of Takayuki Ishiwata, who worked on software for the game. The big head is in the same style as the ones used by the different boxers.

Unused Publishers

Get your game on, go play! This Phoenix didn't rise from the ashes.
The word at address 0x3FFFE in the main CPU controls the title screen's publisher information. There are five different publishers; The above two are unused, even though Romstar did publish the game in the U.S.

Place the following code in MAME's finalb.xml cheat file to switch between publishers:

  <cheat desc="Publisher">
      <item value="0x0000">Taito Corp.</item>
      <item value="0x0001">Taito U.S.A.</item>
      <item value="0x0002">Taito Japan</item>
      <item value="0x0003">Romstar License</item>
      <item value="0x0004">Phoenix License</item>
    <script state="run">

Please note: The Romstar and Phoenix values have to be toggled after the game is done booting up, or the system will return a coin error. That's probably why these strings went unused to begin with, come to think of it.

(Source: Original TCRF research)