One thing I didn’t mention with the previous update is that for a lot of the HotGen developed JAKKS Pacific games there is an easy code to enter a debug / test menu. This is documented on The Cutting Room Floor where they show the screen from one of the later 2009 units. Either way, the method to access the test menu is the same “On the opening screen, hold Up and press A, then release Up and press Down to enter Debug Mode.”
Here is the screen from the Ms. Pac-Man GameKeyReady base unit that we used. It has a build string of “07 FEB 2005 A SKU F” this will be useful for comparing against other units as we know there are quite a few revisions.
2 GameKeys for this unit were also dumped, the first, containing New Rally X + Dig Dug and has a build string / date of “01 APR 2005 A SKU E” while the 2nd key, containing Pac-Man, Bosconian and Rally-X has a build string of “11 JUL 2005 A SKU I”
So yeah, 2 GameKeys, 5 more ports of classic Namco titles
There was a 3rd GameKey, which is the same as the Pacman, Bosconian, Rally-X one, but without Rally-X, so is kinda redundant. Rally-X was a bonus for buying a bundled version, if you bought a non-bundled version you didn’t get it.
Anyway looking at the games, first, Pac-Man, it feels good to play, and in my not fully educated opinion is a respectable port of the game.
Maybe subjective, but Bosconian feels more like a port, although is still enjoyable.
Rally X is more difficult than I remember it being, with very aggressive enemy AI, but it’s fast, smooth and very playable; maybe I’m just rusty. The original Rally-X arcade is actually one of the first arcade games I ever remember playing.
New Rally-X on the other hand is quite easy, and a fair bit slower (but still smooth) The sound emulation also doesn’t work as well. It’s quite strange, because Rally-X and New Rally-X feel like they’re 2 completely different ports, even if logically one would just expand on the other. The arcade New Rally-X was also easier, but the difference doesn’t seem quite as significant as it is here?
Dig Dug is probably my least favorite of these ports, but I’ve never really been a fan of the original. I love the sequel, but nobody really seems to care for it, however the original never really appealed to me. This has a slight scroll because the playfield otherwise wouldn’t fit on the screen, I find it to be distracting, although maybe the other options would have been worse for the actual game experience.
There you go anyway, 5 more ports of classic Namco games to a Plug and Play system, which is now emulated. One thing to keep in mind if you’re a MAME user, the GameKeys, which include these games, are part of the Software Lists, to be used with the Ms. Pac-Man base machine. This is because the GameKeys are like cartridges. If you’re using a proper version of MAME this isn’t a problem, but some distributions fail to include the vital ‘hash’ files needed for the Software Lists to work.
Again these were purchased with the help of the 20 donations that were made during the previous appeal. Sean Riddle handled the hardware side of things, I handled the emulation side of things.