Sirwin
Sirwin

N64 Debug Menus [Part 2]

By Lameshark | Romhack | 30 Apr 2023


Hello World. Fasten your seatbelt because we will be exploring another debug menu. Yesterday, we explored the Ocarina of Time Debug options. We warped to Beta areas, gave ourselves 9999 rupees and explored color viewers. Today we will dust off another N64 cult classic: Conker's Bad Fur Day. The backdoor to this Debug Menu is very similar to Ocarina of Time; we will be plugging in a special version of the game [ROM] and also use a Gameshark code [81000002 1001]. 

f180de81684a0a5f2241b5fc705d5a6c994be19cbc4fa6e697e2d8c91947bc9d.png

When I was a child, I never really liked playing Conker's. I found the edgelord humor strange. I played the game once or twice only. However, I think it's the perfect game to explore because it's a cult classic and some people are obsessed with this title. Conker's Bad Fur Day is certainly some people's favorite N64 game. Every N64 fan knows about it. It represents N64s edgy side, along with titles like South Park [1998] where [in the Ps1 version], you can pee on a snowball and throw it at your friends.

4931875584648493910cfdb17f87f2386954021221c6395236649a40676763df.png

After the title screen animations, you are brought into a menu room [we covered menu/debug rooms in part 1]. This area showcases Conker's amazing [for N64] models, 3D sprites etc. Click on the options menu and then "cheats" to be greeted by a devil head staring at you! You want to cheat huh sonny?! Might need my help for that! When you enter "DEBUG" into the [very cool] popup keyboard, the devil gives you a head nod and a thumbs up 

Conker's Bad Fur Day isn't one of my favorite games, but it does stretch the limit of what's possible on the N64 and had some awesome concepts/development. When you click on the little keyboard buttons on the screen, they actually sink into the device! The game also has great patching, character design etc. It's a great honorable mention, even if you don't love the gameplay.

d2fac113e1318dc7918b1b58e875f508a278a0ea32a03ef7fdb9e4eecef255ed.png

79c5fa51acc2f1a11302f9d8fb4004309381e893ad375c822f86b53d513d6970.png

Step 1 is the DEBUG cheat code.

Step 2 is the gameshark code [81000002 1001]

You have to enter the code during gameplay and after an EXTREMELY long cutscene, I decided to play the game for a while. The cutscene in the beginning showed Conker getting drunk and walking around and I was really hoping the game would start out with drunk physics. I love drunk physics in video games. Sure enough, the poor squirrel was loaded. He could barely jump, walked slowly and stumbled slightly.  

a549e03952a2357a52653a0138dec228bfd155ae74dd36e524cac6db92c750ff.png

The actual gameplay is a bit ghetto. It is made by Rare and it reminds me a lot of an Adult version on Banjo Kazooie. The problem is, they tried too hard. Sure, the rock background looks SUPER realistic for N64 and those carrots in the ground, they look better than Banjo Kazooie's carrots, but it has bad effects on the overall. For example, there is a giant shadow that follows Coker around and clips into weird shapes constantly. 

2d9503d2700844546049d88c12a10ee40297237a004624e2ef00fc80bc0e22cf.png

I played the game long enough to become sober: In order to test the "normal" physics like jumping and swimming. The game has some nice physics and dynamic 3D sprites for the main character! The game also has a great map, sweeping cinematic camera shots and fluid movement. The swimming areas have great multiple currents like in Ocarina of Time.  The actual gameplay is solid: It reminds me of other N64 classics like SM64 and Glover.

58796a3540c441d8a68b42652fada0c5ac94849642e751faa988f8f55c1fb50e.png

4b27ffa878f778698172c2f5d61bb66c48d14183361339d6495caa9cb9c94b97.png

6e5e353f86c0a17c3617491c8c219c341fc29c7fd8f084f559e346ab0519d019.png

Of course, we are here to break the game, not play it: However, playing the actual game is a good baseline for understanding the debug menu data. One reason I wanted to explore this game's menu is because [according to an 8 month old Cutting room floor article] the data from this menu is largely untested/unknown. I didn't do a huge deep dive, so many it has been explored more, but I'm going to blindly play around with whatever menu I find. I typed in the gameshark code other hackers found [similar to Ocarina of Time]. This code is the backdoor and only works on special Conker's ROMs. 

b6171cbe273f830d97e85968f4fc5b41d60491c345c13a7c7de5443bdd54c851.png

This game has a "crash debugger" which means the menu only displays after the game crashes. This means you cannot change data and then play with the changed data like in Ocarina of Time. I did find reference to a work around of this using a "cartridge tilt", but I haven't found evidence of this actually working.  For now, I just accessed each menu. The data is undefined, but you can tell what most of the individual menus would be used for.

  • Registers
  • Memory
  • Structs
  • Move Obj
  • Music
  • Sound Emitters
  • Zones
  • Objects
  • Cameras
  • Stack
  • Mem Map
  • Soak Test
  • Task WS
  • Host Debug

4c1084095ee1deb6d7146c2fdb28672c0c6075fae8fe8a1012608ba93495b56b.png

Find random matrix data to stare at inside of a game is fun, but I wish there was a way to manipulate this while playing. Of course, you could just romhack the game ... but it's fun to find official menus and manipulate things through the debugger. It's like unearthing an old magical relic that was used by someone hundreds of years ago: You are using the actual backdoors that the original developer used! It can also lead you to easter eggs. A signature from a Rare employee, a beta room etc. 

Conker's Bad Fur Day definitely seems like a great game to explore for strange things. Certainly it has hidden things. It's also just a complex game in general, so it most likely has "junk" areas like the test rooms we explored in Ocarina of Time. There are also prototype versions of the game that are available.  Sometimes prototypes can unlock things in the actual game. At the end of the day, I'm suddenly hooked on this game, at least from a technical standpoint. I have a weird feeling there is a lot beneath the surface with this cult classic.

2c0fcdb5387fb71fcd14218c3bd694998c3f574df803ae66830441b4fe57fee0.png

Part 1: https://www.publish0x.com/romhacks/n64-debug-menus-xpzgwml

 

How do you rate this article?

3


Lameshark
Lameshark

Hello World.


Romhack
Romhack

To the subject of "Romhacking" aka taking apart a videogame and creating your own "hacks": This could be a simple graphics improvement or a completely new version of the game. Romhacking can also uncover "secrets" about a game which is called "breaking the game". Romhacking is deeply tied to the emulation of consoles and console games. There is no legal precedent against romhacking, unless it is used for commercial purposes. The following blogs are for educational purposes and are under fair use.

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.