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Guerrilla War (NES)

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Title Screen

Guerrilla War

Also known as: Guevara (JP)
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK
Platform: NES
Released in JP: December 26, 1988
Released in US: June 1989
Released in EU: 1989

DevMessageIcon.png This game has a hidden developer message.
CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
MinigameIcon.png This game has unused modes / minigames.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

Guerrilla War is (more or less) an NES port of the arcade game of the same name. Any similarities to the Cuban Revolution are purely coincidental.


Hidden Text

Some messages from the programmers are located at 0xF8BD (US version) and 0xFB8F (Japanese version) in the ROM:

APO? mess       
DaDi DaDaDa DaDi
ATHENA ikima--su
MARIchan muzukas
hikute wakanna-i
Ti-----me Girl!!
Fight ! Fight !!
Knt mess        
3/9/88 20:0     
YOUNI ....
Original Translated
ATHENA ikima--su
ATHENA ikimasu!
Athena, ready to go!
MARIchan muzukas
hikute wakanna-i
MARI-chan muzukashikute wakannai.
Mari-chan is tough. I don't understand her!
I'll do my best!
Nikagetsu de tsukkutan da zo! Homete homete.
I managed to finish this game in 2 months! Let's hear it for me!
YOUNI ....
BUG ga demassen you ni...
I hope there aren't any bugs...
(Translation: GlitterBerri)

Knt is the main programmer, Yukio Kaneda. APO's identity is unknown.

"Athena, ready to go!" (± some words) is a line from Psycho Soldier, another SNK game.

Level and Difficulty Select


Hold A + B when selecting the number of players for this menu, with a difficulty and stage selection. Note that all stages except the last are accessible here.

Hidden Initials

Just in case you forgot who published this. Wouldn't you give yourself some credit?

These hidden powerups in stage 3 are arranged to spell out the developer/publisher name (SNK) and the main programmer's pseudonym (KNT). Note that some of the powerups may fail to spawn due to sprite overload.


  • K - Kill all enemies on the screen.
  • N - +1000 pts.
  • S, T - Weapon pickups.

Unused Graphics



The unused frames for the players death animation, which is closer to how it appears in the arcade version. In this port, the animation has been simplified, so the enemy soldiers can use it too.

Map Screen

Normal Unused

The map segment has graphics for the player going upwards, however there's not enough space to give a separate palette for the legs. The game only uses the horizontal variant of the sprite.

5th Area


Two different sized graphics of the players getting into the minecart... or falling into it after being thrown by Plow Brothers from the previous Area. What's interesting is that Castro Player 2 has unique tiles here instead of being a replica of Guevara Player 1. Again, these graphics don't seem to be designed to have multiple palettes.


The enemy soldiers were set to appear during the minecart section, possibly planned to have more than one single rail before it was turned into a bonus level. Instead of the soldier being overlaid into the minecart, the graphics contains a piece of it, meant to be combined with the rest of the minecart tiles. The body is drawn a bit differently in compare to how it normally appears in the game.

10th Area


The final boss of the game, Batista Dictator running away. This was supposed to be used after all of his turrets on the roof were destroyed before the second phase was added, where he fights to the death.


The graphics for an unused boss! In the arcade version, the last area is guarded by bigger tanks. This could have been an unique incarnation of them in this port as a mini boss before facing the Dictator. No code was found related to it and the boss was probably replaced by the set of 4 turrets blocking the path, followed by the exact same set right after that.

Unused Music

Track 09 in the NSF isn't used. It might have been meant as a stage theme or a boss music. it can be heard in the game by setting the value to 1B at the RAM address 0100 and make the game play any sound effect.

Regional Differences


Guevara Guerrilla War
Guevara-title.png Guerrilla-title-anim.png

The background of the title screen is teal in Guevara, but it's blue in Guerrilla War. The logo for the latter has a darker palette and is framed by a fireball that flashes red and white, while the logo for Guevara isn't animated.

The European version (not pictured) uses the Guerrilla War logo, but with different copyright text: "©1988 SNK Corporation / Licensed By Nintendo".

Curiously, the splash screen that appears after the SNK logo refers to the game as Guerrilla War regardless of the region.

Character Names

Guevara Guerrilla War
Guevara-score.png Guerrilla-score.png

On the score screen, the heroes are explicitly called Guevara and Castro in Japan. They became Player 1 and Player 2 for international releases, disguising the game's connection to the Cuban Revolution only slightly.

Sasuke vs. Commander

Yes, it really is that bizarre.

A minigame based on Sasuke vs. Commander, an early SNK arcade game, is hidden inside the Japanese version! According to an interview from 2001, programmer "Kin-chan" (presumably Yukio Kaneda, if the hidden message above is any indication) insisted on adding this in return for taking up the job to program the Famicom port of Guerrilla War in just two months. To access it, do the following:

  1. At the player selection screen, hold A + B and press Start to trigger the Level and Difficulty Select cheat.
  2. Set to stage 5.
  3. Now, hold Up + A + B on controllers 1 and 2, and then press Start on controller 1.

The ROM also includes the necessary font and space in the side bar for a score, an alternate screen layout, and multiple frames of animation for Sasuke and the ninjas, but none of it was used. It's likely that the developers had planned a more full-fledged port, but simply ran out of time.

Most of the game's graphics and screen layouts remain in the US ROM, but the program code was either disabled or removed.

To do:
explain, maybe it does more

While the game does not display your score, the main game will display it in place of your high score.


Guevara Guerrilla War
Guevara cred-1.png
Guevara cred-2.png
Guerrillawar cred-1.png
Guerrillawar cred-2.png

The North American version changed Fly Garuda to Ninja Sasuke and added Uncle Boo Boo.


The Japanese version has an extra epilogue after the credits.

End guevara-6.png