Donkey Kong Country Prototype

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Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby badinsults » October 31st, 2010, 10:09 am

I made a thread on Romhacking.net about having something "interesting" relating to Donkey Kong Country, and was told DKC Atlas would be the place to go for all DKC related things.

Anyways, I'm sure people here have watched this promotional video for DKC. About four minutes into the video, they show a prototype of DKC in an unusual cart.


I have the ROM image from one of these carts.


Unfortunately, the game is screwed up. One expert I spoke with thinks that one of the ROM chips is from a different version of the game, meaning that there is absolutely no chance of the prototype ROM image working. I've probed the image and have found several sets of graphics tiles that are not found in the final version. For instance, there is an entire font set that is in the prototype, but nowhere in the final version. The in game text looks like it is pretty much the same as final, though.

I imagine the most interesting things in the prototype would be differences in level design. How plausible would it be to extract the level design information from the prototype and put it in the final version of the game? This would probably be beyond my level of expertise, so if I release this, would there people interested in trying this out?
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Mattrizzle » October 31st, 2010, 3:04 pm

Hello again, Ev--I mean, badinsults! I had an inclination that this "interesting" thing was a prototype.

Does the level name text exist in the ROM? I know from an early screenshot in the Nintendo Player's Guide that the first level, "Jungle Hijinxs," was originally called "Jungle Japes."

To answer your question about the level design information: It really depends on whether the format has changed a great deal between this prototype and the retail version. I'm not really the best person to ask when it comes to levels, but I do know that this data is uncompressed.

I would be most interested in looking into the sprite animation data as there are numerous unused sprites in the released version that aren't assigned to any animation sequences. Some unused sprites are also partially overwritten by other data (i.e. the Mechanical Kremling in the Misc. sheet at the aforementioned link), and your prototype may have the missing pieces.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Markster » October 31st, 2010, 3:08 pm

Very interesting, where did you find this ROM image?
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby badinsults » October 31st, 2010, 3:31 pm

Mattrizzle wrote:Hello again, Ev--I mean, badinsults! I had an inclination that this "interesting" thing was a prototype.

Does the level name text exist in the ROM? I know from an early screenshot in the Nintendo Player's Guide that the first level, "Jungle Hijinxs," was originally called "Jungle Japes.


I found a reference to that in what I suspect is a Funky Kong quote. Though that same quote is also in the final version.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Simion32 » October 31st, 2010, 3:51 pm

I'd be interested in trying this out, yes. :D

As we cannot post ROMs here directly due to the rules, send a PM my way. I'd be more than glad to have a look at this. ;)
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby VideoViking » October 31st, 2010, 3:52 pm

I've been wanting to play the original prototype/beta version ever since I bought the game. I was saddened that the levels shown in the video didn't appear in the game, but man, I would really love to play the original. I'm all ears.

Also, talk to Simion. He could help you out big time.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Cosmicman » October 31st, 2010, 6:17 pm

This is going to be interesting, I can't wait to see what you guys find!
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby badinsults » October 31st, 2010, 7:12 pm

Yeah, there is a block of text, located at 0x3D72D0 that has the level referred to as "Jungle Japes". I have included the text below. The text occurs at the same place in both the prototype and final version, and I think it is just garbage data.

As far as the actual in-game text, the prototype is the same as the final version for both the English and German translations. The prototype has a chunk of French text, I'll have to look at the European version to see if it is there.

edit: yeah, the French text is in the European version.

Code: Select all
uld get through

D.K.Country with only

one life, easy!





I'm talking about when

games were games!





3 lives and 3 continues,

that's all we had!





Games never looked like this

when I was a lad.





And we were much better off

in those days as well





Bet you thought this

was 64-bit eh, boy?!





I've got more game play in my

little finger than you've got

in this whole game!





Y'know what they say,

all graphics and no game play!





32 meg..? That would be more

than 30 games in my day,

and they'd be great games, too!





You know what's even worse?

When you get to the end,

and then have to start again!





All this fun can't

be good for you!





You wouldn't know a good game

if you were in it!





A single joystick, and

a single button is all that's

needed to make good game play!





I wouldn't be seen dead

in a game like this one!





I say you can't better the

graphics, sounds and

playability of a Game & Watch!





So you're back again!

I knew a punk kid like you

couldn't do the job...





That was quick. You didn't

leave me enough time to think

of any other stupid comments!





I don't know why

I'm telling you all this,

you didn't listen last time!





You have to

do better than that!





You only just left!





Back again?!  That was quick!





Came back to the master

for more advice, hunh?!





Still got you beat, hunh?!





Yup! Don't make game players

like they used to!





Okay,

I'll do the level for you!...

Naw!.. Only kidding!





I don't know how you dare

show your face in here again,

after that pitiful performance!





Whoa, Dudes!

My name's Funky Kong!





My bodacious Jumbo Barrel

can launch you to any point

on the island!





Most unfortunately, it can

only send you to a place

you've already been to...





which is a complete and

total bummer, let me tell you!





Hi!  I'm Candy Kong

and this is my Save Point!





If you want to save your

current game, jump into

my spinning save barrel!





Hello guys,

got anything worth saving?





Can I help you monkeys

save your game?





How would you like

a quick spin in my

save barrel?





Yoo-hoo, Honey Kong!

Now's a good time to save

where you've gotten to!





It must have been hard work

for you to come all this way!

why not save your game?





Wow! You guys really came a

long way! Save your game now,

while you have a chance!





Yeah, crucial Kongs! If you

feel the need for speed,

jump in and like, jet!





You dudes need some lives or

something? Jungle Japes

is the place for that!





Yo Gorillas!

Go see old man Cranky,

he can help you out!





Lookin' good, Kongs!

Buckle up and blast off,

you're outta here!





If you guys see Candy on your

travels, tell her I'll give

her surfing lessons anytime!





Fancy a flight, DK Dude?

You know the score,

hop in and high tail it!





Whoa, Donkey dude! Maybe your

little surf buddy's on another

level.  Go check 'em out!





Yo Diddy cool! Lost the

big guy again? Blast off

back and see the scene!





Still talking to yourself,

huh? Check out the jungle, I'm

sure you'll find your buddy!
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby badinsults » October 31st, 2010, 8:14 pm

From the final version of the game (1.0), located in the address range $2DE076 - $2DFC94. I analyzed a chunk of text that appears to be from an older version of the game:

[*]The name of "Slippa" being "Hister"
[*]Three text blocks are in different orders
[*] The line "the colors are all too rich" is "the colors are all to rich" (spelling mistake)
[*]The level "Jungle Hijinxs" is referred to as "Jungle Japes"
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby badinsults » October 31st, 2010, 10:15 pm

I released the ROM images on my website. I will respect the rules of the forum and not post a link.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Simion32 » November 1st, 2010, 3:19 am

And how the heck do you expect us to find your site? :roll:

Add a link to your main site in you profile information. That should be OK.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Markster » November 1st, 2010, 3:26 am

Simion32 wrote:And how the heck do you expect us to find your site? :roll:

Add a link to your main site in you profile information. That should be OK.



I know his site, his site is [Link Removed].
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Markster » November 1st, 2010, 3:27 am

I put together all the parts in a hex editor, in this order...

1, 8, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Each part is 512KB, and when all combined it makes a 4.00MB ROM, 32Mbits.

And all it does is play jungle theme music, i've tried 3 different emulators, and it does the same thing, like you said, it doesn't work, i did open the ROM with DK Edit, and it was editable, the levels looked different from the final release, there was a red balloon on the first tree in the jungle level, that's pretty cool, i think.

If anyone knows the problem to his ROM, then try fixing it for him.

EDIT : I used a PAR code on it, the level modifier code, i set it to Manic Mincers and it played cave music.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Simion32 » November 1st, 2010, 3:29 am

OK Markster, thanks for pointing that out. I've spoiler-d your link up there (for the time being) for obvious reasons.

Going to have a look at this immediately.

EDIT: I've spotted some level data, and I'm trying to determine which tileset is being used. going to try extracting a PNG over the original's Jungle tiles.

EDIT2: I seem to have found Mine Cart Madness and Trick Track Trek, looking for some more level layouts.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Kingizor » November 1st, 2010, 4:52 am

I've been playing around with this for a few hours and I haven't got any results.

The key differences so far are the different layouts for several levels. Some are partially different, some are the same, and some look half missing. It seems to vary a bit, but sometimes the objects seem almost identical to the Japanese rom versions.

Also, I've ran it through DKCRE 0.0.4.1 (the one that can dump the graphics without checking the CRC32), and some of the sprites are not rendered properly, resulting in garbage. So, I'm guessing that means they're not there*?

Spoiler!
Elevator Antics [J].jpg
Elevator Antics [J]
Elevator Antics [J].jpg (166.73 KiB) Viewed 21392 times
Elevator Antics Prototype.jpg
Elevator Antics Prototype
Elevator Antics Prototype.jpg (141.47 KiB) Viewed 21392 times

*If you do not know the difference between there, their and they're, consult your local dictionary.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Simion32 » November 1st, 2010, 7:34 am

It seems the game is waiting for something to "happen"... hardware debugging hook?

$B5/8093 70 D0 BVS $D0 [$8065] A:FCFF X:0002 Y:005D P:eNVmXDizc ←
$B5/8065 1C 01 1C TRB $1C01 [$80:1C01] A:FCFF X:0002 Y:005D P:eNVmXDizc |
$B5/8068 05 18 ORA $18 [$00:0018] A:FCFF X:0002 Y:005D P:eNVmXDiZc |
$B5/806A 21 18 AND ($18,x)[$80:001D] A:FDFF X:0002 Y:005D P:eNVmXDizc |
$B5/806C 01 30 ORA ($30,x)[$80:0000] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/806E 05 30 ORA $30 [$00:0030] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8070 03 30 ORA $30,s [$00:0227] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8072 FC 05 7F JSR ($7F05,x)[$B5:6060] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/6060 60 RTS A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8075 06 FF ASL $FF [$00:00FF] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8077 07 88 ORA [$88] [$00:0000] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDiZc |
$B5/8079 74 CA STZ $CA,x [$00:00CC] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/807B 74 3B STZ $3B,x [$00:003D] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/807D A4 0C LDY $0C [$00:000C] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/807F 8E FE 3E STX $3EFE [$80:3EFE] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8082 F8 SED A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8083 07 E0 ORA [$E0] [$00:0000] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8085 07 E0 ORA [$E0] [$00:0000] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8087 07 C0 ORA [$C0] [$00:0000] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/8089 0F C0 1F E0 ORA $E01FC0[$E0:1FC0] A:00A9 X:0002 Y:005D P:enVmXDizc |
$B5/808D 1F C1 1F D9 ORA $D91FC1,x[$D9:1FC3] A:F0EF X:0002 Y:005D P:eNVmXDizc |
$B5/8091 07 D0 ORA [$D0] [$00:0005] A:F4EF X:0002 Y:005D P:eNVmXDizc |
$B5/8093 70 D0 BVS $D0 [$8065] A:FCFF X:0002 Y:005D P:eNVmXDizc —
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Mattrizzle » November 1st, 2010, 8:29 am

Upon closer inspection, evidence points to this being a badly-dumped copy of the competition edition.
EDIT: Corrupted, not badly-dumped...

  1. badinsults, you stated that the text starts at 12A99E in this prototype. The same is true for the competition cartridge.
  2. The interesting tiles you found are from Super Metroid, which show up in that exact location in the competition cartridge.
  3. The jungle music plays at start-up. This shows that the game is trying to start at Jungle Hijinxs, just like you-know-what. The code that does this is at 8000 on chip 1.

Here are the areas of difference between the prototype and competition edition, grouped by chip number:
1: E9BB, 46C00-49FC9, 6762A-6A3C9
8: B2C00-B563F, D2806-D5405
2: 116000-1193BF, 178000-17AFBF
3: 1A3F40-1FE57F, 1FFA00-1FFBFF
4: 213C00-216BBF
5: 2FEB80-2FF7C9 (this one is nearly identical to the CE)
6: 317400-319FBF, 326400-37FFFF
7: 3A79C0-3AA7BF

Another interesting tidbit: If you replace chip 6 with the equivalent data from the competition version(300000-37FFFF), the game becomes playable!
The first thing you see is this...
dkc_proto_00000.png
dkc_proto_00000.png (23.22 KiB) Viewed 21362 times

...which quickly turns into this:
dkc_proto_00001.png
dkc_proto_00001.png (60.98 KiB) Viewed 21362 times

Also, the game will lock up if you enter a bonus area.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby VideoViking » November 1st, 2010, 8:39 am

What about the extra life balloon that Mattrizzle found while using DKEdit? It didn't show up in the competition cartridge.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Mattrizzle » November 1st, 2010, 8:45 am

I saw nothing of that sort in dkEdit. Markster must have mistaken the hidden banana bunch in the first treetop for an extra life balloon.
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby Simion32 » November 1st, 2010, 9:10 am

Well this thread is essentially useless now, isn't it? :roll:
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Re: Donkey Kong Country Prototype

Postby badinsults » November 1st, 2010, 7:13 pm

Well thanks everyone for looking into this. I never thought to compare it with the Competition Cart. Alas, the prototype must be the victim of bitrot, as these chips probably were not dumped incorrectly. I still hope that the owner will send a picture of the prototype, though.
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