Lost Worlds of the Judge Dredd SNES Game
Versions of the Judge Dredd game were released on the PC, Sega Megadrive/Genesis and Game Gear, and the Super Nintendo and Gameboy in 1995. A preview version of the SNES version was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, before the game was finally released later on that year. As with many beta versions of videogames, this earlier version contained content deleted from the final release. This article explores these changes and how they fit into the game’s overall story.
More Than Just a Game?
In contrast to many games based on films, the final Judge Dredd game followed the movie’s plot, before adding material from the comic. This was most obvious in the Dredd sprite, which had the uniform of the comic character. Other references could be seen if you looked carefully, with mentions of Otto Sump, The Phantom, Chopper, Gila Munja and, as the final bosses, the Dark Judges.
CES Chicago 1995 Preview
The earliest known version was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show. This game lacked the password feature of the full game, with only two selectable levels available to the player at the start of the game. If the player completed the primary objectives of these levels, they could progress. However, Mission 3.1 could not be completed, if not because of the almost instantaneous onslaught of enemies, then because the level lacked necessary events in order to complete the primary objective. Some enemies were also indestructible, which also formed a barrier against completion. The game had some other differences to the final game, including different mission briefing screens.
Final Version Cheat Codes
To gain access to the two cheats in the final version of the game, Level Select and Health Regeneration, the player must enter the following at the Copyright screen:
Left, Up, X button, Up, Right, Y button.
If done right, details of the development team appear on the screen. When the phrase “Say No to Cheats” appears, pressing A and Y buttons will activate the Level Select code. This is accessed during gameplay by pressing the select button. However, the player loses all progress on the current level.
Pressing the X and B buttons after “Say No to Cheats” will activate the Health Regeneration during the game. However, a boss such as Judge Fire can deplete the health bar quicker than it can recover, making Dredd still vulnerable to an early exit from the game.
One thing that is apparent on the Level Select is that certain missions are unavailable, including the very first one. This is mirrored in the Megadrive/Genesis version of the game, with certain level missions being marked as N/A, and a 13th level also being mentioned. It seems odd that these have been taken out, but perhaps the quality was not of a good enough standard. Games undergo a range of changes before they are released, sometimes for the better.
The CES version does provide a mission not in the final version, with Dredd starting at a different point in Heavenly Haven. The second map then matches that of the final game’s first mission. Could this mean that the same one is in the final game, albeit inaccessible by normal means? The size of the game files is approximately the same. Using the Game Genie code 7E04C9XX, where XX is a hex value between 00 and 23, these levels can be accessed.
However, the game has a (very short) level, with Dredd standing under the word “Dropped” … as in the level has been dropped. So the missing levels cannot be accessed that way.
Back to the CES version, then. If there is one deleted level here, there might be more. With a lack of (known) cheats for this game, the Game Genie code 7E04F9XX can be used instead to access the different levels. The rogue levels are indeed in this version and, although playable, are not always complete. These may have unfinished enemies or backgrounds, lack any boss characters and may prove impossible to complete in terms of objectives. Although the game coding does contain some mission briefing text (nothing different from the final game), it is incomplete and does not show up for most of the game.
Both versions follow the same level settings, although the maps for individual missions vary in places.
The overall sequence of story events is as follows:
1 - Heavenly Haven
2 - Aspen Penal Colony
3 - Cursed Earth
4 - Mega City One
5 - Council Chamber/Mega City One Bike Chase
6 - Statue of Liberty/Janus Lab
7 - Statue of Liberty/Janus Lab
8 - Janus Lab/Sewer System
9 - RC4 Processing Plant
10 - City Towers
11 - Justice One
12 - Cursed Earth Crash Site/Dead World
Each level has three maps or missions. Those missing from the final game are as follows:
As there are some 36 listed missions in all spread over 12 levels, that means a quarter of the game’s total missions are unavailable. Whatever the reason for their removal, it seems very drastic to lose that amount. So what are we missing? Are these maps even worth looking at? Do they add anything to the story? To answer these questions, let’s look at the relevant maps from the CES version.
1.1 – First part of Heavenly Haven level, with Dredd having to stop a Block War. The lower levels of the city are also seen, reflecting the poverty seen in certain parts of Mega City One.
3.3 - Has incomplete textures/backgrounds, but seems to take place underground. Could this be linked to the Angel Gang’s hideout? Having defeated Mean Machine in the previous level, this could have other members of the gang as bosses. The Book of Law is also hidden in this level in the CES version, so perhaps the player fought Mean here instead.
4.2 – Similar to 1.1, except Dredd starts at the lower levels and works his way upwards as he infiltrates Mega City One. This would bridge the Cursed Earth and Mega City One levels more smoothly.
6.2 – Features construction around the Statue of Liberty, with Dredd making his way to the Janus Laboratory.
7.2 – After defeating his brother, Rico, Dredd makes his way back down to the base of the Statue of Liberty. A previous level in the CES version also features the base of the statue (as does the Gameboy version), but this whole area is not in the final SNES game. The whole Janus Lab/Statue of Liberty part of the game seems to feature much going up and down, which may be why these parts have been taken out of the final game.
8.2 – Dredd moves from the Janus Lab to an underground network of tunnels in order to deal with the Gila Munja threat, arriving at the sewers seen in 8.3.
9.2 – Back to the sewers for Dredd in the R4 Processing Plant. May have been removed due to repetition. The CES version cannot be completed due to a large hole in one part of the level, which is impossible to cross.
10.3 – Third part of the City Towers level. Although Dredd supposedly deals with the cause of the riots by defeating Chopper in 10.2, the disturbances continue. In 11.1, we find out the real cause of the riots, namely the Dark Judges. This level could have given that part of the plot a little more emphasis.
12.1 – Set in the Cursed Earth, this features the crashed shuttle from Justice One. As such, it links the Justice One levels more clearly to those of Dead World than in the final game, where it is just mentioned in the mission briefing. As with many of the other missions, it is not possible to complete this one for various reasons.
The deleted parts of the game were not the only changes. Other levels were changed completely in places, with different layouts and enemies:
1.2 - Same location, but different enemies.
1.3 - Same in both games
2.1 - Same layout in both games, but some different enemy placements.
2.2 - Similarities between the start of both level, but have different layouts.
2.3 - Same in both games
3.1 - Similar layout in both games, but with minor differences. Very different enemy placements and types, though.
3.2 - CES version has very messed up graphics on background. ABC warriors are present. Seems similar to level in final game in terms of layout.
4.1 - Similar location, but starting points at opposite ends of the level.
4.3 - Same basic level, although it is raining in the CES version.
5.1 - Similar rendition of the Chamber Council.
5.2 - As above in 5.1.
5.3 - Bike chase in final version is not present in CES version: another version of the Council Chamber mission is seen instead.
6.1 - Final version set at the top of the Statue of Liberty: CES version set at the base.
6.3 - Janus Lab in both versions, but different starting points.
7.1 – As above in 6.3. CES version has clones as well, but these are static, unlike those of the final version.
7.3 - Similar location at top of Statue of Liberty.
8.1 - Janus Lab setting for both versions.
8.3 - Similar sewer settings.
9.1 - Similar setting. No prisoners present in CES version.
9.3 - Both versions have the Aspen Penal Colony level, although the prisoners are meant to be at the R4 Processing Plant.
10.1 - Both versions are set in MC1's City Towers.
10.2 - Final version has the confrontation with chopper in MC1, while the CES version has a City Towers level with no boss.
11.1 - Both versions have first Justice One mission. The CES version is different in terms of enemies and structure, with Dredd using anti-gravity units to get about the level.
11.2 - Second Justice One mission for both versions.
11.3 – Third mission set on Justice One for both versions.
12.2 - First Dead World level. The CES version lacks any enemies.
12.3 - Second Dead World level, similar to 12.2.
Level 13, as mentioned in the Sega Megadrive/Genesis version Level Select, is not present in either of the SNES counterparts. Having concocted a Game Genie code for the Sega version, none of the missing levels appear to be present in either the Beta or Final versions. The code for 13.1 brings up the start of the 2D bike chase mission (5.3).
There are, accoridng to the manual, nine types of ammunition available in the game. Using the code 7E14F8XX (where XX are EVEN numbered decimal values between 00 and 18), these can be accessed. However, the last one seems to be unavailable in either the main beta or the final game.
Play as Judge Death?
Game Genie codes for both the Nintendo and Sega versions have emerged, allegedly allowing you to play as Judge Death. However, the codes do not seem to have any such effect. Until evidence emerges that this is indeed possible, it is assumed that these codes are not real.
Having finally extracted the text from the final game, it seems that there is a debug mode mentioned. This is after the text for the Level Select and Health Regeneration cheats, so, if it still exists, the debug menu may be linked to these other cheats. I have tried a number of different combinations on the controllers after the “Say No to Cheats” text appears, but with no luck so far. A Gameshark code has also been discovered to activate these cheats, but no values seem to extend it to cover the debug menu. It may be that the cheat menu itself is the debug, but this seems unlikely. While debug mode usually include level select and infinite health, they tend to have other features as well. Hopefully more on this feature soon.
Other assorted codes are coming to light for the CES version. Super Jump/Slow Fall is 7E0C4F00. Increase the value to decrease the height of Dredd's jump.
There are a number of elements missing from the final release, which can be accessed in the CES version with the help of a Game Genie. These contain new areas and enemies, as well as one type of ammunition, but are frequently incomplete, as is to be expected in a beta version of a videogame. Progression is possible through these missions, but Game Genie (or similar device) codes are needed to complete them.
Many of these levels seem to have been removed due to repetition, but others would have added to the overall flow of the game.
This document is Copyright Dr Kirk (2011). Judge Dredd is copyright Rebellion Developments Ltd: no attempt is made to infringe on this or any other holders of such copyright.
Judge Dredd - The Director's Cut
Rap Sheet - all perps from the final game
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