[PROTIP: There's probably stuff here that actually is used in the game, but it's so big and wonky that I've never seen it or forgotten I did.]
Everybody seems to hate this game, but I say the credits song is enough reason for it to be superior to the original. That and the fact it quite unashamedly lets you look at all the graphics in the game by simply hitting some dipswitches!
And by a few, I mean all. In Kawaks just hit the Game settings, NeoGeo settings and then Debug dipswitches. You could be precise and choose only the ones that get you what I'm talking about, but I can't be bothered for that.
With those on, press start and you'll be brought to this screen. A graphics viewer! The controls are a little more extensive than those in Metal Slug 5, so here's the rundown.
GROUP ID:Press left or right here to scroll through the graphics. Each playable character has five IDs to themselves, so bear that in mind.
ACTION: Scrolls through the animations of that sprite. The FRAME NUM at the bottom right shows how many frames of animation are used for it, which is helpful for sprite rippers.
FRAME: No idea. I'd imagine it would scroll through animation frames, but it doesn't. Hurf.
TIME: In a looping animation, increases the length of time before it loops again. Fun?
KIJYUN PALET: Scrolls through the palettes.
POSITION: Use left and right on the X and Y axis to change the position of the sprite. Pales in comparison to Metal Slug 5's method.
H/V ZOOM: Horizontal and vertical zoom, respectively. Squashes the sprite!
PAL GRP: Changes palette group, but doesn't seem to achieve anything.
PAGE NO: Scrolls through the pages.
Page 01 is palette related stuff, but doesn't seem to do much.
Page 02 is the backgrounds!
SCR GROUP: Scrolls through the backgrounds of each level. Level 1, level 2, y'know.
SCR ZONE: Scrolls through the pieces and chunks of that level's background.
AUTO: No idea!
PALET NO CODE: No clue either!
Additionally, if you wait until the character select screen to turn on the dipswitches...
Level select! There are a few test stages, but after looking through two Super Shinobi 2 betas and all the stuff in the Metal Slug series, they're a bit dull.
TAKASHI TEST is simply a barren area with a tank to use.
DAIYOSHI TEST is a piece of either level 1 or the last stage with an infinitely spawning robot to fight you; if it walks off another walks in, if it's destroyed another promptly appears.
KATAGIRI TEST has the boss of Stage 3A (I think!) with a chunk of background at the side; kill it and it spawns again. Fun!
YOUSUKE TEST is a single screen with spawning pistol officers; they'll drop Boomerangs, weapons that I don't recall seeing in the main game which kill them in one shot with plenty of lovely gore, but that's it.
Level 4B is nothing but blackness; Bonus A is an auto scrolling level of blackness with discoloured background chunks that zooms to the top and then stops, allowing you to go left or right to nowhere. Bonus B is more or less the same, except the chunks have collision detection and scroll themselves while the screen doesn't, forcing you to do that. It doesn't have much either.
Having all the dipswitches on makes you invincible, gives you infinite grenades, makes you walk faster and has tile viewer graphics appear on screen, so that could probably be of some use if what individual dipswitch combinations did was sorted out.
This is all well and dandy, but surely there has to be something good here to bother documenting it! Oh, but there is.
Biking? Ladder climbing? Parachuting? Cliff sliding? Climbing from a hole? All four characters have these animations, and it's all very puzzling. I'm under the impression some of them would've been used for the ending, as it's simply the bad guy dying, the characters quipping and then a textual epilogue without seeing how they escaped from an exploding warhead.
Talk about out of place!
Unused boss! This hulking, tonfa using beast can swipe with his weapon, run like a madman, jump and somersault, give a mean punch, forward roll and even use his tonfa as a gattling gun! He's also got a single cinema image which doesn't have a preset palette, forcing me to give him a different one.
I'm guessing he was removed due to giant machinery being the main bosses in the game, excluding the final one, but I miss him. Interestingly, he's the only unused character to have a shadow, meaning he must've been made later along the line and actually considered for the game.
Civilians appear in Level 3B, but these animations seem to portray them with a vaguely larger role, one using a communicator and another worrying like a good man should.
They're followed up by a white-suited officer and what looks like a jet pilot, both walking, in cockpits and jumping to the left and right, as well as the officer running in a vaguely frightened fashion. How odd.
Unused boss deux! A Joe Higashi look-alike with a samurai sword, he has a million animations of him swiping his sword in varying fashions, but none of him actually moving. His very last animations involve him moving into a pose and spinning his sword. I'm not even sure if this guy is a boss, or finished for that matter; he can't move, he has no animations of him being killed, and what good is a sword user if he's rooted to one spot?
Unused boss tres! A grey, purple and orange decked armoured ninja with tiger markings on his arms (or really wild hair), he can run, fling shuriken, use charging strikes with his sword, apparently use a flail and a sickle, do crazy slashing somersaults and back flip. And instead of a traditional dying animation, he falls to his knees and commits seppeku. Best boss ever!
Strangely, only his shuriken flinging and sword charging animations are diagonal; all the rest are only in four directions, which contrasts everything else in the entire game. And his suicide is surprisingly clean; every other character has ludicrously bloody deaths, including innocent civilians. Bias?
Thanks to the way the graphic viewer is coloured, a lot of his body comes out as transparent, so that's wonderful.
There's also a calf among some stuff. I think it's adorable.