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Sonic the Hedgehog - 50Hz Effect

#16 User is offline redhotsonic 

Posted 25 February 2016 - 08:30 AM

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View Posttokumaru, on 24 February 2016 - 08:58 AM, said:

I thought Sonic 2 (and the next 2 games) fixed only the music, no?


In Sonic 2, the drowning music is still slow. And in S3, it seems all music is slow... not as slow as it would have been in S1, but it's definitely slower than it's60Hz counterpart. Not sure why because S2 doesn't suffer from this problem.


View PostGerbilSoft, on 24 February 2016 - 10:33 AM, said:

Not exactly related to the MD and SMS games, but there's a bug in Sonic Adventure 2 where, if running at 50 Hz, some button inputs are randomly duplicated. This results in e.g. instant homing attacks instead of jumping. This applies to both DC and GCN; it *might* still happen on Windows if you set your monitor's refresh rate to 50 Hz.


This happens in pretty much any game that had a 50/60Hz option. This bug you mention happens in Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and I remember Crazy taxi being a bit of an issue too. I remember getting a new TV when I was younger and it supported 60Hz, and all them issues just disappeared.

#17 User is offline MarkeyJester 

Posted 25 February 2016 - 09:18 AM

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I always have my emulator set to 60hz, simply on the basis that most are accustomed to it by comparison, including those who grew up with 50hz. The audience is therefore larger, thus common sense is to make/play/test roms on the most used settings to improve the quality (catering to the larger audience). I may also point out that while the frame rate is faster, the CPU speed is not (at least not by a significant amount to be taken into consideration). Since the CPU isn't any faster at 60hz, this will mean that the processing time available within a frame for 60hz, is less than 50hz. So logically, if something is fast enough for 60hz, it will always be fast enough for 50hz, so working in a 60hz environment covers you for both in this aspect.

However, I do occasionally set my emulator to 50hz when playing Sonic 1 in my own personal time, and will often hop onto my 50hz Mega Drive to play it. In my opinion, the slower speed gives me the subconscious feeling that the game is solid, and not liable to break, even though the game in question isn't any more solid than 60hz, it's simply the matter of reaction time, you have more time to react, therefore feel more in control. An example would be having a high jump, having it at a slower speed as if you're on the moon as opposed to earth gravity gives you the better feeling of control.

#18 User is offline Aerosol 

Posted 25 February 2016 - 09:24 AM

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I think the crux of this 50Hz shock is that we haven't had to consume media at that refresh rate for a long time. 60fps has been the golden standard for a long time.

#19 User is offline Flygon 

Posted 25 February 2016 - 09:27 PM

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Which's kinda dumb, because, 24fps films scale up to 50fps way smoother than 60fps. But I suppose American AC electrical frequencies won out in the end!

I grew up with Sonic & Knuckles Collection on PC myself, so, I was accustomed to 60Hz from the onset. The only Sonic game I actually had on Sega hardware was the first Master System game. Given that one is in a completely different category to all the other future products, I don't think it quite fits the scope of this discussion. No matter how much I prefer it over the Mega Drive edition.

#20 User is offline Puto 

Posted 09 March 2016 - 03:53 PM

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View Postredhotsonic, on 25 February 2016 - 08:30 AM, said:

View Posttokumaru, on 24 February 2016 - 08:58 AM, said:

I thought Sonic 2 (and the next 2 games) fixed only the music, no?


In Sonic 2, the drowning music is still slow. And in S3, it seems all music is slow... not as slow as it would have been in S1, but it's definitely slower than it's60Hz counterpart. Not sure why because S2 doesn't suffer from this problem.


View PostGerbilSoft, on 24 February 2016 - 10:33 AM, said:

Not exactly related to the MD and SMS games, but there's a bug in Sonic Adventure 2 where, if running at 50 Hz, some button inputs are randomly duplicated. This results in e.g. instant homing attacks instead of jumping. This applies to both DC and GCN; it *might* still happen on Windows if you set your monitor's refresh rate to 50 Hz.


This happens in pretty much any game that had a 50/60Hz option. This bug you mention happens in Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and I remember Crazy taxi being a bit of an issue too. I remember getting a new TV when I was younger and it supported 60Hz, and all them issues just disappeared.

S3 music is not slower at all. That only happens if you start the game in NTSC mode in an emulator and switch to PAL mid-game. (and if you do it backwards, you get super-fast music)

#21 User is offline TheJart 

Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:41 PM

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Man... I am so glad I grew up in Canada, with the 60 HZ intact. (Of course, the first time I played Sonic it was on the emulators or Collection discs of the early 2000s, but I do have a Model 1 Genesis now)

It does make sense to love the 50 HZ Sonic Games on PAL Mega Drives if that's what you grew up on. Its Nostalgia, and unless you grew used to the newer 60 HZ releases of those games, that is how you would naturally want to play them. Simple as that.

#22 User is offline BlackFive 

Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:57 AM

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View PostPuto, on 09 March 2016 - 03:53 PM, said:

S3 music is not slower at all. That only happens if you start the game in NTSC mode in an emulator and switch to PAL mid-game. (and if you do it backwards, you get super-fast music)


I believe the music for Sonic 3 & Knuckles is slightly slower on PAL consoles, but not slow enough that you'd generally notice unless you listened to the PAL and NTSC soundtracks simultaneously or in immediate succession. I'm not certain as to why, but It's possible that the developers had trouble perfectly syncing the music for PAL machines, so the final result was off by a couple of BPM.

It wouldn't be the only game where the "optimised" PAL soundtrack differs from the NTSC one. Road Rash II stands out in particular as being one of the few MD games that sounds faster on PAL systems.

On a slightly different note, it always confuzzled me that Sonic 1 of all games didn't have an optimised soundtrack for PAL machines, whereas games like Volfied did despite not even being released in PAL Land.
This post has been edited by BlackFive: 10 March 2016 - 05:01 AM

#23 User is offline redhotsonic 

Posted 10 March 2016 - 08:55 AM

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View PostPuto, on 09 March 2016 - 03:53 PM, said:

S3 music is not slower at all. That only happens if you start the game in NTSC mode in an emulator and switch to PAL mid-game. (and if you do it backwards, you get super-fast music)


Not true, it is definitely slower on PAL. Not by much, like as it would act if it was Sonic 1, but it's absolutely slower. I didn't try an emulator either.

I have Sonic 3 (EU) and I also have Sonic 3 (JP). And my MegaDrive is an Asian Pal that's been modded with 2 switches: EU/JP and 50/60.

Playing Sonic 3 (JP) on JP/60Hz works as you expect.
Playing Sonic 3 (EU) on EU/50Hz works as you expect except the music is ever so slightly slower than its 60Hz counterpart.

I can video it if you like.

EDIT: Oh, and I don't change the switches during the game, only when it's switched off, so I know that's not interfering with the results.
This post has been edited by redhotsonic: 10 March 2016 - 08:57 AM

#24 User is offline ICEknight 

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View PostAerosol, on 25 February 2016 - 09:24 AM, said:

I think the crux of this 50Hz shock is that we haven't had to consume media at that refresh rate for a long time. 60fps has been the golden standard for a long time.
You mean outside of gaming consoles? At least in Spain, I believe that our TV signal still does 50Hz only.

#25 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 10 March 2016 - 01:50 PM

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EDIT: I'm misinformed. DVB-T in the EU is still 50Hz.

#26 User is offline Clownacy 

Posted 11 March 2016 - 06:52 AM

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S1 probably lacked a 'PAL mode' out of laziness. Such a thing is usually implemented as a giant hack. For example, S2 processes music twice on every fifth frame, and, call me crazy, but I swear it makes the music audibly 'sway' in speed, like some notes come slightly too late or too early. Anyway, Moonwalker, outright updates the entire SMPS driver twice on every fifth frame, meaning SFX are sped up too. I can't recall if PAL mode ever came built in to SMPS - unless it was a Z80 driver using the YM2612's timers - so devs would have to add it, themselves.

#27 User is offline OcelotBot 

Posted 13 March 2016 - 05:35 AM

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*Joins the 50Hz club*

Yeah my first experience of Sonic was Sonic 1, 2, 3 and S&K on the Mega Drive with the slower PAL 50Hz. Guess it was the same for me with Spinball and 3d Blast. Wasn't until the Ultimate Genesis PS3 collection that I finally got to experience the games in 60Hz. I played Sonic Mega Collection Plus on PS2 which I think was still at 50Hz?

When I finally experienced Sonic 1 at 60Hz I was shocked. It felt strange due to how Sonic (and everything else) moved more quickly and it took a bit of time for me to adjust/get used to the quicker movement. Now that I'm used to 60Hz/60fps it doesn't feel right going back to 50Hz. Yesterday I briefly loaded up the PAL versions of Sonic 1, 2, 3&K. They feel painfully slow these days, but they were the norm for me back then. I played the PAL versions to death and they were still really fun to play despite being a bit slower.

I remember the music-more specifically the stage ending music being very slow in the PAL version of Sonic 1 and then the stage ending music being faster in the PAL version of Sonic 2. The difference as to how Sonic feels and moves is very noticeable between the PAL and other versions of 1&2. Although the difference isn't quite as dramatic in 3&K.

Even if I had never played the PAL versions I don't think my opinion of the classics would be any different, although playing Sonic 1 and 60fps had made be appreciate that game more. I rate the classic as; Sonic 3&K > Sonic CD > Sonic 1 > Sonic 2.
This post has been edited by OcelotBot: 13 March 2016 - 05:46 AM

#28 User is offline Jelq God 

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:52 AM

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Believe it or not, Sonic The Hedgehog (2006) also suffers from this issue.

I bought it with a 60GB PS3 on launch and had no component/HDMI cables at the time, so I played through the whole game with composite video. For whatever reason, and despite that video games moved on from this over 10 years prior, the game actually runs slower! Beyond that here are some of the other oddities I recall:

  • All FMV audio constantly "stopped" for a moment multiple times per second in order to sync up with the slower video
  • Musical cues in in-game cutscenes would end too soon, leaving an awkward silence at the end of each
  • The already badly lip-synced speech didn't line up at all, always ending before the mouth flaps did and leaving even more dead space between lines
  • Slowdown occurred less often (though this may be because the game was rendering at way below HD)


I didn't even realise it until I bought component cables for my PS3 months later and played the game at 1080i. Like magic, all of the above issues disappeared, and the game ran quite a bit faster than I was adjusted to.

Probably the weirdest part about all of this is that everyone I've spoken to about it has no knowledge of it. I seriously can't be the only one!

EDIT: I should also mention the PS3 model I had was a CECHC02. It might've played a part in it, as I remember it running fine in composite on my friend's PS3, which was a later model. If that *is* the case, then I probably can't replicate/record footage of this issue due to my original PS3 giving up the ghost years ago.

EDIT2: To be more on-topic, my first Sonic game was Sonic Mega Collection Plus. As someone in this thread already mentioned, all of the games were locked to 50Hz and were slower as a result. This didn't really shape my perception of the series, as I already had some prior knowledge of Sonic beforehand; I don't remember exactly how much, but it was enough to know that speed was his game, so to speak.
This post has been edited by Jelq God: 14 March 2016 - 07:35 AM

#29 User is offline Qjimbo 

Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:22 PM

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The main thing I remember about playing Sonic 1 in 50hz when I was younger is how much more dramatic the boss music was. I think it actually sounds better at 50hz. Nostalgia-wise it doesn't make much difference since I played it in 60hz since the late 90s when I first discovered emulation, so to me 60hz is the norm.

#30 User is offline tuanpingas 

Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:34 PM

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The fact is that 60Hz was the original speed, as Sonic 1 was developed in Japan, where NTSC is the standard analog TV system. However 50Hz slowed down the entire game, but at the same time achieving more nostalgic when look back.

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