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Pokémon Puzzle Challenge

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This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.
Other languages:
English • ‎polski • ‎한국어

Title Screen

Pokémon Puzzle Challenge

Also known as: Pokémon de Panepon (JP)
Developer: Intelligent Systems[1]
Publisher: Nintendo[1]
Platform: Game Boy Color
Released in JP: September 21, 2000[1]
Released in US: December 4, 2000[1]
Released in EU: June 15, 2001[1]
Released in AU: June 15, 2001[1]

ObjectIcon.png This game has unused objects.
MinigameIcon.png This game has unused modes / minigames.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page

Question: What do you get when you combine Pokémon and Tetris Attack? Answer: Pokémon Puzzle Challenge, yet another of Nintendo's attempts at increasing the marketability of Panel de Pon by rebranding it (on both sides of the Pacific this time).


Miscellaneous tidbits that are interesting enough to point out here.

Panel de Pon GB Mode

Characters from Panel de Pon can be found in the ROM, suggesting that Pokémon Puzzle Challenge was originally meant to be a Panel de Pon entry but got re-branded partway through.

That said, Panel de Pon GB does exist in a very early and generally unpolished state, as the characters and music are all there. The game can even be accessed on a regular Game Boy or Super Game Boy. Interestingly, the game's CGB Bootstrap ROM palette is remarkably similar to Tetris Attack for Game Boy and its Japanese version, Yoshi no Panepon, except that it is more yellow than green.

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge GBC Panel de Pon Game.png

If using a non-GBC Game Boy, Panel de Pon GB can accessed from the GBC-only screen by pressing A (×24), B (×24) (you will hear a chime after pressing each button the required amount of times). If on a Game Boy Color or a newer handheld, the GBC-only screen can be triggered from the title screen by pressing Up (×2), Right (×4), Down, Left (×10), Up (×4), Right, Down (×6), B. Once the screen is displayed, pressing A (×24), B (×24) will launch Panel de Pon GB.

Alternatively, it can be accessed by using Game Genie code 1F0-23B-80E which will start Panel de Pon in GBC mode, or 1F0-3AB-91E in any other GB mode.

Japan US Europe
Pokemon de Panepon J Panel de Pon GBC Menu.png Pokemon Puzzle Challenge GBC Panel de Pon Select.png Pokemon Puzzle Challenge E GBC Panel de Pon Menu.png

The European version of this hidden mode renames the "FIREWORKS" option to "SCROLL".
All options save for the last two correspond to options or secrets available in the main game. Their functions are as follows:

GAME MENU Gamemode settings.
GAME MODE Swaps between Marathon and Garbage mode.
GAME LVL Difficulty level. Effects differ between gamemodes.
SPEED LVL (Marathon mode only) Affects speed of the stack's automatic rise.
GRBG LVL (Garbage mode only) Affects size of falling garbage blocks.
START!! Launches a game.
OPTIONS General settings.
SEMI-SIGN Toggles pseudo-transparency of the signs that pop up for combos/chains.
SCORE LIM Whether the score maxes out at 5 or 6 digits.
CRY Swaps between two sets of combo/chain sounds.
SPEED LIM Whether speed levels above 50 keep increasing stack speed or not.
STOP Toggles stop timer given when doing combos or chains.
SCROLL Allows the player to raise the stack while panels are popping.
MUSIC Toggles music playback.
SOUNDS Toggles sound effects playback.
DANCING Toggles panel animations.
RESET Sets all OPTIONs to their default state.

Character Cries

The sound that plays when the player does a combo or chain in Panel de Pon GB mode changes depending on the RAM address for player character (JP:C0CE US/EU:CEA3). If the "CRY" options is set to "VOICE", the game will play approximations of the voice lines from Panel de Pon. "SOUNDS" mode, meanwhile, will usually play all-new sound effects.

Value: Character Voice Sound
00: Lip (Default)
01: Windy
02: Sherbet
03: Thiana
04: Ruby
05: Elias
06: Flare
07: Neris
08: Seren
09: Phoenix
0A: Dragon
0B: Thanatos
0C: Cordelia

When the stack is near the top of the screen, a different sound will play to signal a longer stop timer. This sound is the same for all characters, but still has a SOUNDS and VOICE variant, unlike the main game which always plays your Pokémon's cry when "PKMN Cry" is enabled.

"STOP" Voice "STOP" Sound

! Panel

Pokemon Puzzle League Panel de Pon Unused In Game.png Pokemon Puzzle League Panel de Pon Unused exclamation Panel Normal.png Pokemon Puzzle League Panel de Pon Unused exclamation Panel Captured.png Pokemon Puzzle League Panel de Pon Unused exclamation Panel Unused State.png Pokemon Puzzle League Panel de Pon Unused exclamation Panel Unsettled.png

The ! Panel exists in all forms. The inverted red version is an unused state, while the black rendition would be used for the upcoming panels which never appear.

There is a routine that verifies all panels at the start of the round. Set RAM addresses D245, D24B, D24D, D251, D257 D25D, D263 to 07. This will set the last row of panels to the ! panel.

(Source: Mezmorize, nensondubois)

Other Panel de Pon GB Leftovers

To do:
This game has a lot of compressed graphics; documentation and decompressor on Jul.

In addition to the above, very barebones version of Panel de Pon GB still buried inside the game, there are many leftover graphics from a more complete version which likely would've had features similar to the final Pokémon Puzzle Challenge.

The graphics from the middle image are loaded into VRAM on all stage select screens besides Challenge mode's, but any mugshot that would appear in that mode is then replaced with the corresponding Pokémon, Gym Leader, or Professor Oak's head.

Besides the uncompressed mugshots, there are many blocks of compressed graphics still left over from Panel de Pon, including the title screen, which reveals that the game was supposed to be called Panel de Pon GB before the Pokémon rebranding. (All offsets are for the Japanese version.)

To restore the PDP Title Screen, use this xdelta patch and apply it to the Japanese ROM:

Download.png Download Panel de Pon GB Title Screen Patch
File: PPC_PdPGB_Title_Screen.zip (info)

A restoration is in the works here.

(Source: Jul)

Character Artwork

Game Genie code 160-23B-80E will boot the game in a mode that displays redrawn "character bio" artwork from Panel de Pon. Different artwork will be loaded depending on the value at RAM address CDA1 (JP) or CDC1 (US/EU).

Unused Stage Graphics

Setting the RAM address for the current stage graphics (JP:CEBF US/EU:CEA2) to values above 0D will load themes left over from Panel de Pon GB.

0F, 11, and 13 use the same borders as the Flying, Grass, and Water Pokémon themes respectively. Only the background animation differs.

1B and over load the same palette and border as 1A (with a broken "incoming garbage" area). 1C onward use the background from training mode, which lacks vertically offset animations, so the last loaded background is reverted to as the stack scrolls.

Unused Scenes

Artworks showing unused scenes from Panel de Pon GB can be seen on the map in VS. COM mode by setting RAM Address DF1F to 01. Also set CE25 to 01 to make sure the background and sprites for the current scene align with each other. CF09 is the image id, and setting CF08 to 2C or 38 sets the screen to black or white while the tiles load.

Unused Text

To do:
Unused Japanese text for Panel de Pon GB character bios and easy mode ending has been found.

Unused PPL Title Screen

PPC Unused PPL Screen.png

The game was going to be titled Pokémon Puzzle League at one point, matching the N64 game. Using these Game Genie codes for the Japanese version will load this screen in place of the Puzzle Challenge title screen.


Debug Menu

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge GBC Screen Debug.png Pokemon Puzzle Challenge GBC Pokemon Test 1.png Pokemon Puzzle Challenge GBC Pokemon Test 2.png Pokemon Puzzle Challenge GBC Garbage Test.png

Game Genie code 220-23B-80E will start Pokémon Puzzle Challenge in a screen setting viewer/CHR set viewer. Soft resetting from the main game after enabling the code is recommended for more stable results (especially on the European version, since many screens rely on a language being selected).

You can view all stage backdrop sets, special events, and boss introductions. Pressing Left, Right, Select, Select+Up, or Select+Down depending on the screen allows testing of various functions such as listening to Pokémon cries, scrolling the screen, setting the menu cursor, and other specific functions.

Entry Description
0000-0003 Save, resume, congratulations, and game over screens. Left, Right, and Select move the game over screen's cursor.
0004-000B LineClear introduction screens.
000C-002E Character and Pokémon portraits.
002F-0048 Battle portraits. Shows all frames and their corresponding animations. Left and Right play the Pokémon's cry.
0049-007C Garbage block sets for every Pokémon. Can be scrolled in all directions.
007D-0085 Overworld "islands" for Challenge mode.
0086 Scrolling Pokémon League hallway. Can be manually scrolled in all directions.
0087-008E LineClear "ROUND CLEAR!!" screens.
008F-010E Stage graphics and layouts. Some of these combinations are normally inaccessible.
010F-0116 Puzzle mode completion screens.
0117-0128 Ending screens for the various modes. Select+Up decreases credits scroll speed, Select+Down increases it.
0129-012C Pokémon egg portraits.
012D-0146 PKMN Data screens. Select+Up/Down scroll "Face Select" cursor, Left/Right change selected Pokémon without updating the screen.
0147-0155 Boss battle introductions and defeat cuscenes. 0155 depicts an unused event, as beating Lance always triggers the ending on the spot.
0156-0157 Stop timer animations.
0158-0159 Pikachu splash screen.
(Source: Mezmorize, nensondubois)

Unused Music

To do:
There's a LOT more unused songs than the ones listed here, mainly the entire Panel de Pon GB soundtrack. Get all the music uploaded along with providing their ROM offsets.

There are three unused music tracks in the game's data. Game Genie codes ??3-C3B-F72 ??4-88B-F72 (where "??" is the song ID number) will play your selected song at the main menu. Song ID 54 is a duplicate main menu track, while the Panel de Pon track ID values are 1E, 1F, and 20.

Unused Song 1

ID 01

Unused Song 2

ID 04

Unused Song 3


(Source: nensondubois (access method))

Unmapped Tracks

Besides the above songs, there is a lot more unused songs and jingles from when the game was going to be Panel de Pon GB. They are unmapped, so the songs need to be patched in. The music pointer table is located at 8190E in the Japanese version, and nearly every pointer after 8196E is set to play no music. The offsets for all songs here are for the Japanese version.

Windy's Theme

ROM offset: 8C9B6

Windy Danger

ROM offset: 8C746

Sherbet's Theme

ROM offset: 884DD

Sherbet Danger

ROM offset: 8CE95

Thiana's Theme

ROM offset: 88DDE

Thiana Danger

ROM offset: 8FD47

Ruby's Theme

ROM offset: 180575

Ruby Danger

ROM offset: 8F7A4

Elias' Theme

ROM offset: 8D0EF

Elias Danger

ROM offset: 934F0

Neris' Theme

ROM offset: 88104

Neris Danger

ROM offset: 8FA49

Seren's Theme

ROM offset: 8C000

Seren Danger

ROM offset: 8C631

Phoenix and Dragon Theme

ROM offset: 8D4E1

Phoenix and Dragon Danger

ROM offset: 8E451

Thanatos' Theme

ROM offset: 8E5F6

Thanatos Danger

ROM offset: 9076C

GBC-Only Screen

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge GBC Only Palette GBC.png

There is a black-and-white GBC palette programmed for the GBC-only message screen, likely added for the aforementioned Easter-egg game mode Panel de Pon GB. Game Genie code 1D0-23B-80E will start the game on this screen in GBC mode.

(Source: Mezmorize, nensondubois)

This screen might have leftover code from Tetris Attack's title screen, as a connected copy of the main game or Tetris Attack will mistakenly treat being on this screen as being "multiplayer ready".

Leftover Japanese Language

Setting RAM address CF2B to 00 while on the European version's language select screen will highlight an otherwise inaccessible Japanese option, complete with its own flag sprite.

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge Eur Lang00 Select.png

While the game does retain some Japanese text and assets, a good amount of content is still replaced with its English counterpart when playing on this setting. Interestingly however, the Japanese Link Error screen was kept, but modified to remove a mention of Panel de Pon GB.

Japanese Link Error European Japanese Link Error
Pokemon Puzzle Challenge LinkError JP.png Pokemon Puzzle Challenge LinkError EU-JP.png