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How many levels in KLAX?

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I spent most of yesterday addicted to 7800 KLAX. This cart is finnicky in my 7800 -- sometimes it works, sometimes I just get a blank screen. Anyway, not wanting to fiddle with it, I left my 7800 on most of the afternoon and just immersed myself in the game. I made it to level 20 or 21 (the level that has the store parking lot as the backdrop). For you Klaxers, how high does this version go?

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I spent most of yesterday addicted to 7800 KLAX. This cart is finnicky in my 7800 -- sometimes it works, sometimes I just get a blank screen. Anyway, not wanting to fiddle with it, I left my 7800 on most of the afternoon and just immersed myself in the game. I made it to level 20 or 21 (the level that has the store parking lot as the backdrop). For you Klaxers, how high does this version go?

 

The startup bug is rather annoying. :| Though, I think it proves that the Klax version that we have available is just a late proto and not the final rev. (No music either)

I think there are 99 levels in all, maybe someone else can verify this. I've only made it into the teens. :D

 

Mitch

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Hi Mitch,

 

Is there a sure-fire way around that "startup" bug? Nothing ever seems to get KLAX started the same way twice. <sigh>

 

Mark

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I just power it off and back on again. It usually works after one or two power cycles.

 

Mitch

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Ok gang,

 

I have been asked a few of questions about this. I cannot explain why Klax does this. When we made the 1st batch, we tested exclusively on my 7800, which work every time with every cart we have ever made. We noticed on the 2nd run, that some seemed a little finicky on my partners 7800, but still work fine on 4 of my 5 7800s. The 5th one exhibited some finicky behavior. Strange for sure. I had one customer, who couldn't get Klax to work at all, but used another 7800 and found that it works flawlessly on another. Baffled by this, we thought that is may have to do with the speed of the chips and various revisions of 7800s, but a few tests with various chips seem to indicate that is is not the case. Also, Sentinel seems to work perfectly with the same chips, same boards, etc.. on all 7800s. I have no explaination as to why we see this strange phenomenom. Perhaps, something to do with the startup vectors for the banking not being initalized properly (randomly or a timing issue). I have no idea, perhaps Eckhard, Chad et. al. can explain further.

BTW: One guy in Europe claims that his copy works on his PAL 7800. Maybe Mitch, can verify this. I find it hard to believe, but who knows.

 

As far as the number of levels, hmmm.. David Dentt stated that he was given the data tables from the 2600 version and began from there. He added and extra set of levels that he thought were impossible. He believes he had 3 impossible levels where one required simultaneous Klaxs to complete the level, while another required a certain score to complete and the 3rd one ..... he can't remember.

 

I know this doesn't help matters much, however, I do relealize there is a problem. Usually, it seems that folks can work around it by cycling the 7800 on/off once or twice.

 

Take care,

-Lee

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BTW: One guy in Europe claims that his copy works on his PAL 7800. Maybe Mitch, can verify this.  I find it hard to believe, but who knows.

The game doesn't crash right away on a PAL 7800. But IIRC the timing is completely messed up, and some of the colours look too similar on PAL to really be able to play the game.

 

Since you say that there are some 7800s where KLAX works every time and some where it fails sometimes, do you know what's different between the consoles? Is it the same compatibility issue as with 2600 Decathlon? And wasn't there a problem with KLAX sometimes hanging after the key validation in the MESS emulator as well? Or did that only affect older version of MESS?

 

 

Ciao, Eckhard Stolberg

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Klax worked pretty much okay on my PAL 7800, but yes there are some timing issues and colour screwups of course...

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Since you say that there are some 7800s where KLAX works every time and some where it fails sometimes, do you know what's different between the consoles? Is it the same compatibility issue as with 2600 Decathlon? And wasn't there a problem with KLAX sometimes hanging after the key validation in the MESS emulator as well? Or did that only affect older version of MESS?

 

The console problem is not related to the Activision bankswitch problem. Of the ones that play Klax everytime, some play Decathalon while some don't. So I don't believe that is the problem.

 

I have heard rumours that the problem is similar on MESS, but have never tried MESS myself.

 

-Lee

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I still think it's just a proto bug in the game. :D

The problem in MESS is identical to the one on the real thing except it happens every time in MESS, though you can kick it past the problem by hitting reset.

 

Mitch

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As far as the number of levels, hmmm.. David Dentt stated that he was given the data tables from the 2600 version and began from there

 

If that's true then there are 102. I believe the 2600 version says something like "Winner 100" when you reach the 100th level. I've never done this, but I did see the message hidden in the game code.

 

Tempest

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Apologies for the thread necromancy, but I spent some time looking at the Klax bug in the MESS debugger. There's a race condition between Non Maskable Interrupts and some of the startup code.

 

Delaying DMA (and thus NMIs) until after the crash point fixed the issue in MESS. Hopefully this version works better burned to a cart.

Klax (19xx)(Atari)(NTSC)(proto) - fixed.bin

Klax (19xx)(Atari)(NTSC)(proto) - fixed.a78

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Not sure which version you are referring to in your post. There is a fixed version from Eckhard out there that seems to fix the bug though.

 

Mitch

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Any idea where one can get Eckhard's version? Google isn't showing the way, and the one in the AA database has the bug.

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Ditto that request. Carts are still being made with the faulty dump - I have a copy that was made a couple of years ago that doesn't play nice on one of my A1 serials with Expansion port - plays fine on several other consoles - the "good"/"fixed" dump has definitely not been widely known or utilized by all.

 

FYI, the work around I found is to hold down one of the P1 joystick buttons during the BIOS load/check screen. It starts up fine every time.

The reverse is true for NTSC consoles where Klax plays fine. Hold down a button on the P1 joystick and Klax will "blank screen" after the BIOS load/check.

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Any idea where one can get Eckhard's version? Google isn't showing the way, and the one in the AA database has the bug.

Here is the fixed binary I did in 2003. IIRC, I removed several unnecessary writes to INPTCTRL in the startup code. That seems to have fixed the issue on real consoles. I think if you access INPTCTRL too soon after you locked the console mode, it might lock up the 7800.

 

KLAXfix2.bin

 

BTW, it seems that you forgot to update the signature key in your binaries.

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It's too bad they didn't put more work into this port so that it would match the graphics of Tengen's NES and Sega Master System versions. Of course, that would've meant more memory in the carts and a POKEY for the audio. Some of the audio fx sounds as if they were taken from Tower Toppler.

 

If Tengen's SMS version uses the FM chip used in the Japanese SMS, an enterprising coder could borrow it and adapt it for use with the XM's YM2151.

 

Either way, is anyone going to do a cartridge run of this fixed version? Any chance of throwing in HSC support in the code too?

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Why would you put "impossible" levels in a game. Seems like a dickish move.

 

The two things I HATE about games are ones that become "impossible" due to difficulty ramp up or stuff like this and "unlocking" things.

 

If I buy a game, give me the ^%$#@! game.

 

You don't buy a car where the air conditioner doesn't work until you "achieve" 3 oil changes or hit 60,000 miles.

 

KLAX WAVE!

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If Tengen's SMS version uses the FM chip used in the Japanese SMS, an enterprising coder could borrow it and adapt it for use with the XM's YM2151.

 

 

Unfortunately, it doesn't. I own the SMS game and an FM enabled SMS. No Tengen releases had FM sound, but all of the Activision releases did. Sure would be nice if Klax did have FM sound though... those games sound awesome. Speaking of which, did you see that Sonic for the SMS has recently gotten an FM sound upgrade? It sounds absolutely amazing.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WRwpcV9_30

Edited by KevinMos3
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