DEV STUFF

Damien Pegoraro

How to hack a Genesis/Megadrive game

Part 1 – Tools & Goals

Watching a live stream on the Genesis port of Rampart, I saw how hard and RNG related this game can be.

Sapin Fun
the streamer enjoying his life on Rampart

That’s why I tried to create a little rom hack of the game to make it easier (playable?).
This is my first step into rom hacking and I haven’t read much before doing it, so feel free to tell me if the process can be improved in any way.

I – Gather tools

Rampart (USA) ROM, the game
BizHawk, the TAS oriented emulator  
Exodus, a Genesis emulator providing a decompiler 
SBWin to convert the rom
Cygnus Hex Editor, a hex editor, I chose this one for no reason
Fix Checksum, to make the modified game valid again

II – Play the game

Downloading the game and just playing it in your regular emulator is a good start to see what we want to change.

Rampart (USA)000

Rampart is a strategy/puzzle game where you have to defend your castles with walls against ships attacking you.

The action is split in three steps:

Assault: destroy ships with your cannons
Rampart (USA)002

Repair: rebuild your walls using Tetris style pieces
Rampart (USA)003

More firepower: place new cannons to destroy ships faster
Rampart (USA)001

The repair part is the worse. If you don’t manage to properly close an area with the given pieces you’re dead and the time to do it is very tight:

Easy mode: 25s
Normal mode: 22s
Hard mode : 20s

I’ll focus on making this timer higher to give the player more time to think and rebuild.

In the next part of this article, we will se how to search usefull addresses in the memory.

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