Hard Boiled, ultimate map and guide

Door Briqunullus

Champion (342)

afbeelding van Briqunullus

30-01-2021, 19:38

Since I have returned to MSX'ing last year, there has been one game I wanted to revisit. And lately, I finally made the time to do so. Hard Boiled.

Back in the 80's, a friend of mine had the 30 MSX Hits collection, and we played it a lot. Oh Shit, Beach Head, Skooter, Sorcery, Boulderdash, Life in the Fast Lane, Oil's Well... and of course Hard Boiled. We started to map out Sector Alpha. I think we completed that, but never came to do Sector Beta and beyond.

I was surprised I couldn't find a map for the game online nowadays, so I created one from openMSX screenshots. I started out with maps for each sector separately, but to my joy they could be combined into one. The only tips I could find were in the famous PPT books 2 and 3, but I found them to be incorrect. So I did a dive into the code to check the different functions of the portable objects.

Along the way, I also discovered a debug mode. To access the login screen, hold 'T' and 'J' keys (for Twan Janssen, the coder) while entering a new screen. No other keys or controls should be pressed, so easiest is to leave the room going downward. There are 12 different password/private code combinations, each with separate functions enabled in the debug menu.

I have documented everything I could on the map. Enjoy!

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Van Randam

Paragon (1281)

afbeelding van Randam

30-01-2021, 22:00

Cool to see the whole map. I have cleared this game so many times that I know the map by heart, but cool to see it is a fully wrapping/ fitting map. And thanks for confirming that most items don't do anything. I kept trying to find a comb with those but couldn't find them. Even tried stupid things like bringing items to the car, or the lampshade or safe for some of those non working items.

The items are in different locations though every time. Perhaps you should have placed the bullets and keys in possible places in the map. Because the bullets can appear for instance in level 1 in 4 or 5 places iirc and the next level item in level 2 and 3 can also be in a few different places, not even talking about the keys. Very cool you also found a debug mode. I didn't know it had one.

I have one request with regards to this game though. ESC is give up and you constantly need to press 1 and 2 to regain life or use items. Could someone PLEASE patch that some other button is give up (like STOP) because I have so often by accident pushed the button ESC just when I wanted to use a restore item. You would probably do a whole lot of players a big favour...

Anyone ever beat the game with a percentage higher than 93,6 or 93,7%? I think I never got more rooms open because the key configs in the levels didn't allow more.

Van Briqunullus

Champion (342)

afbeelding van Briqunullus

30-01-2021, 22:28

Randam wrote:

And thanks for confirming that most items don't do anything.

Basically, there are four types of items. Group 0 does nothing, group 1 gives fuel, group 2 are the specials (keys, power-up, etc) and group 3 are combinations.

Randam wrote:

The items are in different locations though every time. Perhaps you should have placed the bullets and keys in possible places in the map. Because the bullets can appear for instance in level 1 in 4 or 5 places iirc and the next level item in level 2 and 3 can also be in a few different places, not even talking about the keys.

Yeah, I know. I've put a small quote 'objects will be at different locations each game' on the map. But that's easily missed. Maybe I need to dive into that part of the code and see how it really works. And update the map accordingly.

Randam wrote:

Could someone PLEASE patch that some other button is give up

I can help. In file HB.005 at offset 0x2844 change value 0x57 to 0x67 to substitute the ESC key for the STOP key. Or do you prefer another key?

Randam wrote:

Anyone ever beat the game with a percentage higher than 93,6 or 93,7%? I think I never got more rooms open because the key configs in the levels didn't allow more.

I have just beat it for the first time. What does the percentage mean anyway? Is it about unlocking doors? Now that we know about debug mode, that's easy to test...

Van Briqunullus

Champion (342)

afbeelding van Briqunullus

03-02-2021, 22:27

Randam wrote:

Anyone ever beat the game with a percentage higher than 93,6 or 93,7%? I think I never got more rooms open because the key configs in the levels didn't allow more.

I have unraveled the distribution of objects. There is a group of objects scattered all over the map, I did not look into that much. But there is another group of carefully placed objects, where each object can have multiple locations. Like in sector alpha, there are 5 possible locations each for both the alpha key and the next sector key card.

And then in sectors beta and gamma, that mechanism is expanded. As each sector will have two scenarios with a 50% chance to happen. In the different scenarios, the objects are placed in different locations.

This is where things go wrong. Both sectors contain a bug in one of the scenarios. In sector beta, the next sector keycard will overwrite one of the delta keys. Which leaves this sector with only one delta key, conveniently stored behind a delta door. In sector gamma, one of the scenarios only has one delta key, while there are 2 delta doors.

All in all, you can only reach 100% (which is I think all rooms visited, not all doors opened as I suggested earlier) if both scenarios play out right. Which is a 25% chance of happening.