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Sonic the Fighters - UPDATE: PROPER DEBUG MODE!


Original poster
Sep 22, 2019
Greetings all!

As I stated in my introduction, if I come across any big developments in my research, I would cross-post them here

Well, a a big development has been found! A debug display, which was previously accessed using memory manipulation, has a legit method of activation using a series of button inputs through reverse engineering!


Turn DIP Switch position 1 to "ON" and whle holding the "Service Coin" switch, on Player 1s controls press the following in sequence: RIGHT, RIGHT, PUNCH, LEFT, RIGHT, PUNCH, KICK, RIGHT, RIGHT, UP, PUNCH.

NOTE: DIP Switches for Sonic the Fighters/Sonic Championship are not currently mapped correctly in MAME, so this display can not be seen in that emulator. Also to note, in ElSemi's M2Emulator, all 8 DIP Switches are on for all games at all times. This means, after entering the cheat, DIP1 will be registered by the program first, enabling the display for the first frame, then DIP7 will be registered by the game as being "ON", which enables a different feature of the code, which disables all foreground textures, such as "PRESS START BUTTON" "INSERT COIN" and the health bar and timer HUD.

Pressing the "Service Menu" switch while in this mode activates a test mode called "CONTROL_TEST", in which whatever two players on screen (even if in a cutscene or reply) are assigned player (manual) control, all timers and health bars are disabled, and you can bash away to your heart's content. I can imagine this would have been a useful tool during development for character testing without having to use character select for another match when testing out new and added features to the game's engine or moves to an individual character.

This cheat has been hardware verified.

Holding P2's BARRIER + P2 START enables debug mode!!!

DIP switches do not need to be flipped to use debug mode, so this means both MAME and ElSemi's emulator can emulate this cheat properly.

While debug mode has been discovered for about a year and a half, it was unknown if there was a method outside of memory poking to activate it, and if it could be done on real hardware. Well, we now know it can!
Last edited:


Nov 18, 2019
Nice find, it's good to see people still interested in data mining and reverse engineering old games. Some still have a lot more to give back to the retro community and I've always felt that Sonic games always had something left over.

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