Battle Mania
Image: Vic Tokai

As we all know, there were a lot of shots fired between Sega and Nintendo in the '90s, as the two parties did battle for market share, with even some of its developers famously getting in on the act.

The one we remember most, for instance, is getting to the end of Donkey Kong Country 2 and seeing Sonic's iconic red & white footwear in Cranky's Hall Of Heroes, positioned next to a bin and a sign reading "No Hopers". But there were also some other examples that we are admittedly less familiar with, including a not-so-subtle Easter Egg hidden inside Vic Tokai's 1992 sidescrolling shooter Battle Mania (which was otherwise known as Trouble Shooter in the West).

The secret opening is only present in the Japanese version of the game and features Madison (known in Japanese version as "Mania Ohtori") angrily stomping on a Super Famicom. It recently came to our attention thanks to a tweet from the Legends of 16-Bit Game Development author John Harrison and is unlocked by pressing start on the second controller during the start-up.

At this point, you may be wondering — what did Nintendo do to annoy the developers of Battle Mania so much? Well, in a 2004 interview, originally featured in the Japanese-exclusive book Nazo no Game Makyo #4: "Lost Games" and translated by Shmupulations, the former Vic Tokai programmer Takayan gave the following explanation for its inclusion:

"I wasn’t happy that most of the development budget was going to the SFC team. After I put that in, a FAX was sent to all the SEGA development studios asking them to refrain from using imagery that hurt other companies' trademarks or characters.

"I think the only reason nothing happened at the time was the power of the Sunseibu president and the fact that SEGA themselves didn’t like Nintendo all that much."

Did you already know about this Easter Egg before? Better yet, can you think of any other examples of in-game swipes about the SNES or Sega Mega Drive / Genesis? Let us know!