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Ending of Duck Hunt (Round 0/Level 100/Kill Screen)

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

Ever since I have seen a video of Billy Mitchell reaching the final stage of Pacman, were the game is glitching because of integer overflow, I have been fascinated with these so called kill screens. For light gun gaming there is a very famous kill screen in the game Duck Hunt, which people call level 100 or level 0. This bug exclusively happens in game mode A, as the other modes have no trouble to loop back to level 1 after level 0.

There are plenty of videos showing the Duck Hunt kill screen, most of which use some kind of cheat. The oldest documentation of the kill screen I was able to find was achieved with emulation by the YouTube user Ray Dempsey in 2006. Since then his video has been stolen frequently by people who claimed to have reached that level themselves, among which were some big channels.

The idea to see level zero with my own two eyes occurred to me during my work developing hardware for the NESLCDMOD project. At this project I try to avoid so called false positives, which is when shooting the sky is counted as shooting a duck. One can easily enforce false positives by modifying some Famiclone light guns. The value of a single resistor has to be changed. People who are hesitant to solder themselves could buy a Hyperkin Hyper Blaster HD, which is prone to false positives. I reviewed this light gun in episode 162 and I use it in the current video to cheat my way to level 0 on a real Nintendo AV Famicom and the Japanese version of Duck Hunt.

I was particularly curious to see how a real system behaves, without having some memory addresses forced to fixed values, by using devices such as an Action Replay or a Pro Action Rocky, as I was afraid this could interfere with the memory overflow I wanted to witness.

After level 99 the display says level 0. In this level often the hunting attempt duration is incredibly short and the trial is almost immediately terminated by the laughing dog. If a duck flies at all on the screen, it is fragmented and teleports all over the place. The beaming ducks can be hit, but it is difficult to do so. Normally level 0 is the last screen as for the too short trials which seemingly happen at random. In 2013 YouTube user krcsirke published two Game Genie codes which force the game to consider each level as beaten, regardless the actual hit quota. We need to overwrite address D2B7 to 0A if it reaches 00 and overwrite D2B9 with AA if it goes to BB. If this is ensured the game will loop to level 1 after level 0 just like all the other game modes do without cheating.

There seem to be people who are able to reach the kill screen without cheating. The oldest proof I was able to find is from 2009 by Tom Votava. A more recent player who seems to be able to beat Duck Hunt is Carter44 who uploaded multiple runs.