top of page

Hidden disc-booting function in Alien Resurrection PS1 game revealed after over 20 years

A simple mistake that could have had wild repercussions went undiscovered for over two decades.

Some wild stuff came out of the retro gaming vault today. It turns out that a big, commercially-released video game based on a massive IP had a hidden “cheat code” that would’ve blown the door open for piracy on the PlayStation. Fortunately for Sony, nobody discovered it when it was relevant.

The game in question is Alien Resurrection, a PS1 game/movie tie-in that is over 20 years old. This secret was revealed by a member of the game’s development team, Martin Piper, to YouTuber/game developer MVG. Using a secret buried under multiple layers of button combinations, Alien Resurrection becomes a de facto boot disc that allows users to run backups without any additional modding.

If you have a PlayStation (or PSOne model) and a copy of Alien Resurrection, here’s how to use this ridiculous, probably unintended “feature.” The only external variable needed is a way to hold the console’s tray open, which is pretty simple regardless of which model you’re using.

Here's a breakdown of how to do it yourself:

  • In the game’s options menu, press Circle, Left, Right, Circle, Up, then R2. This enables an actual cheat menu.

  • Once again in the options menu, press R1, Down, R1, Right, L1, Up, L2, then Square. A sound effect will notify a successful input. This expands the cheat menu to include a level select.

  • The final options menu code is Left, Up, Right, Down, Right, Up, Left, Square, Triangle, Square, Triangle, and L1. Again, listen to the sound effect. MVG describes it as a “bonk.”

  • In the cheat menu, set level select to Level 6, Section 1. Then hold L1 and press X. Keep L1 held and the game disc should stop spinning.

  • Swap in a burnt/backup disc, then hold Square and Triangle along with L1.

  • Let all the buttons go, and the new disc should boot if you did everything right.

This “feature” was never disclosed to Sony upon submission. According to Piper and MVG, the code was implemented to test technology to see if disc swapping was possible without a power reset. Alien Resurrection was going to be a multi-disc game at one point. The boot code seems to have been left in as a mistake, as a majority of the team didn’t know about it, which explains the lack of reporting. Too late now!

One of the initial codes was discovered as seen on The Cutting Room Floor, but the actual function was unknown. It’s hard to imagine the implications if such a thing was discovered when it could have really made an impact, but at this point, it’s simply an incredibly fascinating reveal.

1,329 views1 comment
bottom of page