Quirks of the Game

This page is dedicated to the various accounts I've come across of strange events and features that people have encountered in playing the game on the various platforms.

Hidden Messages

The first set of oddities it seems is a long-standing issue that has puzzled players of the Amiga versions for years. I'll let Exilemaster Oliver Pike do the talking:

i know for a fact that some extra objects do exist inthe game via my action replay cart and i had game saves to proove it (which i sent to audiogenic) .My guess is maybe reeve didnt have time to finish them off or they are in use as the coding is very effecient not messy at all everthing is subroutined and non-linaer thats how i managed my little hack.

These extra objects I understand cause unusual messages to appear but only when the game has been hacked as Oliver instructed in an Amiga magazine at the time.
Here's a full list of messages which are apparently in the OCS/ECS versions of the game:

"you have killed Triax"
"you have found a secret passage"
"this is a special weapon"
"null message!"
"she wants you badly"
"food not for you but for what"
"it has given you special powers"
"food, not for you but for what?"
"bad equipment"

Oliver speculates these may have been for debugging or, as I say on the Amiga page, may have been destined to be implemented in the game but there wasn't time to do it. He says they were removed in the later AGA and ECS versions of the game in 1995 after he reported them to Audiogenic. Both explanations make sense to some extent.

(STOP PRESS: I am told that both explanations are close to the truth which is apparently that text was added to allow for the possibility for extra objects and also for de-bugging, so there you go!! But can you see why each message was added? As Oliver says 'it was nice to speculate' which I'm sure is what the authors intended!)

These objects included a red-coloured weapon and a key which opens the rune door and activates all transporters but were only made to appear after applying the hack.

Strange Text

The Amiga version

One further piece of hacking was done by T.R.Schmidt of the Exile Resurrection site.

Mr.Schmidt tells me he found a text-file on the Exile disc which he thinks, as it appears, is encrypted into 3 languages. I'm told that this was on the Boot-sector of the Amiga updates in 1995. Mr.Schmidt's guess is that it represents the text of the entire game and if, as Oliver Pike states, the strange messages were removed from these versions, this text does probably not contain hidden material.

One curious thing though is a message that Messr's Irvin and Reeve have left in the file:

/                            \
  \                         / 

Unless this appears somewhere at the start in the later versions, maybe it was a message for would-be hackers!

One additional explanation for strange text which may lurk on early Amiga disks comes from William Reeve:

One thing I do vaguely remember is that the disk loading system for Exile was proprietary, and (I think) relied on creating a virtual copy of an Amiga's entire memory system. I am not sure that this virtual copy started off blank - so it is possible that some vestiges of other projects were saved to disk too? This was certainly how the Atari ST version worked - and I think also for the Amiga version.

The BBC version>

The Amiga version was not alone in possessing strange text as I found out from James Bonfield, the author of the Micro User BBC Exile cheats. Again the authors injected their humour in what was effectively a protection system (written I understand with assistance from Kevin Edwards, a master in this area):

The disk copy protection was first class. The disk was a dual 40/80 track format with track 1 (or 2, depending on whether 40/80 mode) being "invalid". The disk sector IDs (read using OSWORD 7F if I recall) normally inform the programmer of the number of sectors for the track and what their logical sector numbers are. Track 1 had been formatted strangely with far too many sectors and cryptic looking IDs. The data block containing all this information, when looked at as ASCII, spelt out "Well good evening, I hope you're having fun!" (or words to that effect). That really made me laugh. Following that (ie also part of the sector IDs) was another osword 7F data block which is used as the parameters for loading the next part of the code. This way without this track (which contains no real 'information' except for the sector ids themselves) the game could not be loaded. Hence this fooled virtually all disk copy programs.

More information from James is on the Game Development page.

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Last modified 06/02