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Magical Puzzle Popils

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Title Screen

Magical Puzzle Popils

Also known as: Popils: The Blockbusting Challenge (EU)
Developers: MTJ, Jun Amanai, Tengen
Publisher: Tengen
Platform: Game Gear
Released in JP: July 12, 1991
Released in US: 1992
Released in EU: 1992


CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
BonusIcon.png This game has hidden bonus content.


PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

Programmer's Credit

This text is located at offset 0x6F in the game data:

Copyright 1991 TENGEN LTD. Programmed by Jun Amanai.
(Source: SMS Power)

Debug Mode

This text is located at offset 0xAEF6 in the game data, near the items on the options screen:

DEBUG MODE

The hidden Debug Mode menu item on the Options screen can be activated by putting 0xFF into memory location 0xD3F3.

Debug Mode shown on the Options screen.

Debug Mode has the following effects:

  1. Displays mapper/you step counts before every round (usually the step counts are displayed only after you've beaten a round).
  2. Allows you to access rounds 1-100 from the beginning (usually the rounds are gradually unlocked through play).

Secret Extra Round

The Japanese Manual for the game seeds the rumour that there are in fact 101 rounds not 100. Whilst not cut from the game this reference was cut from the USA and European manuals.

Secret Round 0 is only accessible if you finish each round "perfectly" which means equalling or beating the "mapper" step count for every round. The hint for this round is a message from the programmer. The round is marked as Secret on the round selection screen.

Unused Sprites

The player sprite can kick, punch and head-butt to break blocks below, beside and above them. There are messages in the tile data for HEAD-BUTT and KICK, but they are unused in the game.

Also in the tile data are two small versions of the player sprite with fists (one facing left, the other facing right), and an extra smiley face. These are all at the size used for display within text or on the "mini map" round selection screen.

Tile Data as it is in memory whilst the round select screen is displayed.

Sound Test Mode

On the Options menu, press 1+START to get to the sound test.

Sound Test Mode.
Hmmm...
To do:
Check if all sounds/music are used in the game.

Alternative Credits

There is an alternative set of credits located at offset 0xB069 in the game data. This credits screen is shown on the second page of the Japanese manual with the caption "Credit screen occasionally appearing". The alternative credits sometimes appear before the main menu appears.

The code that governs the appearance of these credits asks for the following conditions to be satisfied:

  1. Region of Game Gear hardware is Japan.
  2. We are about to see the Main Menu.
  3. The number of times the Main Menu has been viewed is a multiple of 8.

The credits will not trigger if any of these conditions are false. For example, if you are using an "Export" (non-Japanese) Game Gear the alternative credits will not appear.

The fastest way to see them is to go in and out of the options screen 7 times. Alternatively, put your emulator in fast forward and watch the attract mode for 8 cycles.

Hidden Credits Screen.

Hints

Hints are different in Japanese and English. Most notably is that English uses graphical tiles in place of words - similar to emoji - to help with the limited line length available to spell things out.

Hmmm...
To do:
Compare translated Japanese hints with English hints.