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The Tower of Babel

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Title Screen

The Tower of Babel

Also known as: Babel (Original JP Title Screen), Mystery Tower (International)
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namcot
Platform: NES
Released internationally: June 5, 2023 (Nintendo Switch Online)
Released in JP: July 18, 1986

CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

So very stubbly.
This page is rather stubbly and could use some expansion.
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Developer Credits

There is a copyright string inside the ROM, along with the name of the programmer, which is also used to see if the game performed a hard or a soft reset:


The copyright string has been blanked out in Namcot Collection version 3.0.1, leaving only the name of the programmer.

Regional Differences

The Japanese Nintendo Switch Online release changes the title screen to "The Tower of Babel" which was previously present in the Japanese Wii U Virtual Console release and Namcot Collection. The international Nintendo Switch Online release of the game localizes the game for the first time as "Mystery Tower", complete with an altered title screen logo (although the copyright information is unchanged from the original Famicom release).

Original Nintendo Switch Online (Japan) Nintendo Switch Online (International)
Babel no Tou-title.png TowerOfBabel-Title-NSO-Japan.png TowerOfBabel-Title-NSO.png

Revisional Differences

In the Namcot Collection, aside from the obvious copyright change, the title screen was updated in version 3.0.1 of the collection to read "The Tower of Babel" instead of simply "Babel". This change was also present in the Wii U Virtual Console release.

Original Namcot Collection 1.0.0-3.0.0 Namcot Collection 3.0.1+
Babel no Tou-title.png Tower-of-Babel-Title-NamcotCollection.png Tower-of-Babel-Title-NamcotCollection-Update301.png

CRC Test

There are a series of Namco games, made by the same programmers Haruhisa Udagawa and Kumi Hanaoka, that contains the same self-test for data integrity (Dragon Buster, Family Jockey, Lupin Sansei: Pandora no Isan, Mappy-Land, Pro Yakyuu: Family Stadium, Sanma no Meitantei, Sky Kid, Super Xevious: Gump no Nazo, Valkyrie no Bouken: Toki no Kagi Densetsu).

To enable any of these tests, you need a special device that should be plugged into the expansion port. The operation of that device is very simple. It should accept the data bit from the data input port and return it back inverted to the output data port. The device consists of a 4-bit shift register, working as some sort of FIFO buffer. The input bits goes to the input and then shifted to the output after 4 cycles.

At the game's boot, it tries to send some special data to the device. If the data output doesn't match the data input inverted, then the game continues the normal operation. But if all data (usually 32, rarely 64 bytes) matches, self-tests will be performed. The program calculates 24-bit partial checksums for the PRG (excluding the last 8K) and the CHR data, summing only every 15th byte, and comparing it against the etalon.

Before testing of the PRG data, the background color turns red, before testing the CHR data, it turns green. If any of these tests fail, the program will jump directly to the reset routine. It means, one of these tests will be performed infinitely, but until the special device is unplugged, or until the tests are passed.

Normally, you'll see the red to green flash just before the game's boot. Or the static red screen if the PRG data is bad, or the flashing red to green screen if CHR data isn't good.

Using this Game Genie code GENYEIEI, you can skip tests for the special device presense and jump straight to the integrity tests.