This game has a prototype article
This game has a notes page
Shadowrun is a game (based on the pen-and-paper game of the same name) in which the main character is shot to death during the opening cinematic and then brought back to life by a fox girl. Also, orcs with shotguns.
In Issue 120 of Retro Gamer magazine, an interview with the game's developers contained clues for a buried cheat:
There is a cheat in the game, but I can't remember exactly how to do it. Basically, there is a flickering streetlight in the first street area after you wake up from the morgue. If you examine the Matchbox four times around the flickering light, you're teleported to a cheat room that contains a bunch of upgrades and gives access to all of the levels.
There is an easter egg in the game. A certain dance around a lamppost in the main square that was put in for QA. I wish I could remember the actual cheat but it was 20 years ago.
Thanks to those hints, the mystery was quickly solved after remaining hidden for 20 years.
To access the debug room (in any version except the Japanese release), go outside the entrance to the morgue and stand just to the north of the flickering streetlight near the doorway. The spot where the A Busy Man NPC stops next to the street light will do, as well as anywhere inside the red outline in the following picture.
Wait for RAM address 7E3BD3 to equal 01, then open the items menu. This happens somewhat unpredictably, as it's part of the streetlight's flickering animation. It helps to use an emulator with a memory viewer, otherwise there'll be a bit of trial and error involved. (Note that using a Pro Action Replay (PAR) code won't work for this, as the value changes further as the cheat progresses.)
Examine the matchbox; if done correctly, you'll hear a telephone beep. Otherwise, exit the menu and try again after a second or two. If you did it correctly, examine it three more times in a row, and you'll hear three more beeps. Now enter the morgue lobby and examine the matchbox one last time; you'll hear a different beep. Once you've done this, the matchbox's "Examine L" option is replaced with the "Open R" option, like a door.
Alternately, you can just use the Pro Action Replay (PAR) codes 7E3BD3FF 7E3BD4FF, which will change the matchbox's menu automatically.
When you open it, you're warped to the debug room! This room can now be accessed at any point during the game via the matchbox.
On the ground next to you is the Dog Food item (previously believed to have gone unused), which grants invincibility.
The doors teleport you to the various "chapters" in the game (apparently defined as the periods between when irrelevant keywords are dropped from your keyword list), and you can talk to the waitresses standing next to them for money and karma relative to that point in the game.
From right to left:
- "4 hours": ¥5,000, 20 karma, warp to Jake's apartment
- "8 hours": ¥10,000, 42 karma, warp to Oldtown street doc
- "16 hours": ¥19,000, 70 karma, warp to hotel near Daley Station
- "22 hours": ¥26,000, 100 karma, warp to Bremerton ship
- "28 hours": ¥34,000, 125 karma, warp to volcano
- "32 hours": ¥60,000, 145 karma, warp to Aneki building
In the bottom center of the screen is an invisible exit that returns you to the location you warped in from.
Winter CES Warp
Located at offset 0E7EE0-0E7F26 (SNES address 9CFEE0-9CFF26) in the North American version is a script that displays the text Winter CES'93 Las Vegas - Warp! at the top of the screen and then warps you to the debug room, similar to the open Matchbox cheat. There doesn't seem to be a pointer that leads to it, however.
This crash/BRK handler is only present in the Japanese version, which is two megabits larger than the other versions; it was probably removed to save ROM space in other regions. A similar font used on this screen was used in Nightshade, another Beam Software title.
Pro Action Replay (PAR) code 00C1E700 will trigger a BRK at the beginning of the next frame, allowing you to access this screen. Pressing L/R selects a digit in the addresses shown in the left column of the memory dump. Up/Down increases/decreases the selected digit, and Left/Right increases/decreases the ones digit.
These unused character sprites can be placed in-game, revealing their respective names.
Unused Item: Mobile Phone
A portable phone found in the debug room of the North American prototype is no longer there in the final version, but can still be accessed with Pro Action Replay (PAR) codes: 7E3637B2 7E363808.
Check if it functions in the final build, there are conflicting reports.
One interesting thing to notice in the Japanese version is that the opening text crawl is much different, much longer, and like the rest of the text, still in English but with Japanese "subtitles".
Since both versions of the opening text are taken from the first edition of the pen-and-paper game, it's plausible that the long version was originally intended for the English versions of the game too. Why it only made the Japanese version is anyone's guess.
There's also a small difference in the way the opening cinematic (in which Jake is shot on the street) is presented. In the Japanese version, you see it each time you start a new game. In the English version, you have to wait around at the title screen for a few seconds to see it, otherwise you get taken directly to the morgue when you start a new game.
Dark Blade Weapons Shop
In the North American and European English versions, the Bullet Proof Vest (Defense: 3) in the Dark Blade weapons shop is initialized to be out of stock when starting a new game and never becomes available. There's no known way to obtain it through normal gameplay, however, you can use Pro Action Replay (PAR) code 7E381F00 to make it appear when you enter the shop.
In the German, Japanese, and Swedish versions, it's available on your first visit. It's not clear if this was a bug fix, or if the English version has a hidden trigger that was too obscure and changed for the later non-English releases.
Additional notes here.
Find the programming for another shop item that becomes available only after a storyline event is passed, and search for a similar hex pattern with the Bullet Proof Vest item index.
The Matchbox cheat sequence is missing from the Japanese version, but the debug room itself is still present.