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Major Havoc The Promised End

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"Keep playing, the home world is near."


Like many others I spent a great deal of time looking for that "home world" in Major Havoc when I was a kid in the 80's. My friends and I were obsessed with Major Havoc's multi genre gaming madness thinking there would be many more games like it that never came to be after the arcade scene crashed and burned.

Decades later I got back into classic arcade gaming again through MAME and meeting like minded friends who owned original cabs and threw arcade parties every now and then. I was starting to set high scores and even WR's on some titles as I started to attend California Extreme here in the Bay Area where I happened to be showing off on Major Havoc one day as someone came up behind me and said "You're pretty good at my game". That was the one and only Owen Rubin the designer of Major Havoc and many other great classic titles.

Around the same time I had reached out to Jess Askey who had put together the Return to Vax rom hack with some cool new levels for Major Havoc. He had been hacking Major Havoc and interested in the home world since the 80's with friends like Bryan Roth and others. I think they first hacked arcade roms to get tons of lives to see if they could find the home world and that many years later led to the creation of new levels by figuring out how the game stored them so they could make changes in a hex editor to build new ones.

I was working on setting high scores on both the original MH and Return to Vax (in MAME) so I kept sending Jess and Owen playback vids of my efforts. At some point in early 2018 Jess told me about the MH Level Editor that he was working on with Bryan Roth and others. He let me know that they really wanted to complete Owen's vision for the final game, with his help no less, that had been cut short when Atari rushed the game out in the middle of the arcade crash.

Jess asked if I would be interested in helping them test it out and to see if I could come up with some cool levels. The original plan was to have a contest after the level editor was finished and then he and Owen would pick the best ones to put in the final game. At some point after I had started to crank out working levels Jess jokingly told me that I had already won the contest basically and the rest is still being made history.

Currently we have added back three of the Return to Vax levels Jess made and I have had the honor and great fortune of being allowed to create nine more new levels bringing it up total total of 28 for The Promised End (5 new "regular" levels and 4 hidden ones featuring the new Maxoid enemy that never got implemented into the original game). Jess, Bryan Roth and others helping him under the watchful eye of our "benevolent overlord" Owen Rubin have been working hard on the Level Editor as well as adding to and modifying the original game code to help realize all the great ideas that got left on the design table back in the 1980's.


You may or may not know that we have had a couple of presentations about the project at the last two California Extreme events. I also did a new segment about the status of the project for the virtual CAX that was broadcast yesterday on Twitch. Here are some links to the 2019 Major Havoc talk as well as the Twitch feed from yesterday of me showing some of the new levels :

CAX 2019 Major Havoc Panel Discussion Playlist


Virtual CAX 2020 Twitch Broadcast Major Havoc Segment


Unfortunately, we did not have much time to put together the segment for CAX 2020 and ran into some technical issues when filming over at Jonathan Koolpe's great home arcade in San Bruno that kept me from showing off the end of the game that was promised for the segment (so ironic lol). It's probably for the best because there were some surprise bugs with the rom build we had for the recording session that have been fixed since then, I've made some design changes to the final levels, and Jess has added some of the final Homeworld animation.

I used that updated romset to put together this new HBMAME playback video below that shows off the final 4 mazes of the Vaxxian Mainframe Cube as well as the "end" of the game that includes the new Vaxx Bonus screen, a peak at the Homeworld Animation, and the end game credits plus a quick a look at the start of the second loop of the game.


Major Havoc The Promised End - Level 21-24 End Game+ v0.71


You can read more about the project here, download the Level Editor and or find out how to convert your original MH PCB to the Promised End version (you can also play updated MH roms in HBMAME) :



You can follow our development progress on Github here where I also believe Jess is releasing patch roms of the most recent build (you need original MH roms of course) :


The current goal is to be finished by early 2021.


Happy Gaming!









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Wow, great story on meeting Owen and the road travelled since then. Congrats and looking forward to seeing the project come to fruition.


Strangely although I sunk so much money into arcades back in the day, I never put a coin into MH.  For sure a mistake.

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Jerky, thanks for writing all that up... cool for sure that we get to work on this and I think every time I send out a buggy release for you to chew on, that this group is so lucky have have someone so skilled at not only with the coordination skills to respectfully put a game in its place with your score; but also with someone who has deeply played so many different games across the spectrum of classics. It has been really cool to sit back and experience your level authoring as you create, tweak, adjust, re-tweak and then (hopefully) we get you to where you need to be with the code features (and lack of bugs hopefully). 

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