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Low intensity colors are a bug in the code of the game as documented below. There is a patch in to fix it with this description about the bug:

Back to the Future: Part III, for Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, is a game that is broken in a particularly weird way. Genesis games use a 9-bit palette, with 3 bits each for Red, Green, and Blue color intensity. These are stored in a 16 bit "word" (2 bytes) using the format:

0000bbb0 ggg0rrr0

Somewhere in the development process for this title, the programmers got things mixed up, and mistakenly stored all palette data - and code to modify colors - in the wrong format instead:

00000bbb 0ggg0rrr

In other words, all bits shifted right by one place. The result is that all colors on screen are reduced to half their intended intensity, making the game look dim, and with low contrast. How QA missed this is beyond me... I guess their TVs were just turned up really, really bright.

In fact, there is one place in the game that DOES have the correct palette: the SEGA logo that displays when the game is first turned on. It's likely the logo, and the associated "color fade" code, was taken from SEGA documentation.

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