Another Sega PC thread

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Bobblen, Oct 6, 2021.

  1. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Hello Sonic Retro, I joined your forum to share a bit of a mini-project I've been working on over the last few months. I've been collecting old sega pc games and finally found the time and motivation to start going through them, working out how to get them running on Windows 10 (for various definitions of the word 'running'), testing for cheats and secrets (even finding a few that aren't documented anywhere online) and just general tinkering. I then stuck that information in a word document, took a bunch of screenshots and left it at that. Then I discovered that the good people of sonic/sega retro have been doing something similar and actually going to the trouble of sharing it online, so thought I'd sign up and share what I had.

    There's nothing earth shattering here, these are all quick and dirty ports of average quality (or worse). I'm no rom hacker, the only reason I've been able to find the odd new thing is because no one else looked yet. There are of course much better ways to play all of these games, these versions are just curiosities with their own quirks.

    A few general notes on getting old games to run on windows 10.
    -Windows compatibility for something this old is very fragile and dependent on your specific setup. I can only tell you what worked for my Windows 10 desktop pc, with intel core i5 processor and reasonably modern nvidia graphics card.
    -If my tricks don't work for you, you're out of luck I'm afraid!

    -I'm using the original cds so I definitely can't help with ISOs and patches to get cd audio working. I'm using a cheap LG usb cd drive for this

    -No widescreen in 1995, you'll need a direct x wrapper to force the correct 4:3 aspect ratio. if you don't do this, the game will probably be stretched to fill your monitor and won't look good. I use two different wrappers.
    --if the game requires the classic windows 95 menu bar to handle setup and options, I use DxWnd setup to run the game in a full screen 4:3 window with the menu available.
    --if the game has an in-game menu, I use dgvoodoo which for me at least, has better options for upscaling & image processing (but disables access to menu bars)

    -Some of the very old games use general MIDI for music. I highly recommend VirtualMidiSynth to allow you to use the MIDI sound font of your choosing.

    -Some of the games have 16bit installers even though the game itself is 32bit. 16bit is not supported on windows 10, there are a few different ways to get around this.
    --sometimes, there's a fan replacement installer
    --winevdm (aka otvdm) is software which uses wine as a backend to recreate Windows XP's 16 bit support on modern windows. Sometimes this can be used to run the installer
    --if all else fails, you can often manually perform the steps required to install, though it's a bit of a pain.

    Anyway, there's more to come. Here's a picture of what I'm working with
    segapc.png
     
  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    furthermore known as the JAMs Wiki Sysop
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    Yes I was looking at this last month (starting around here), emulating a Windows 95 setup with PCem. I stopped when I ran out of virtual hard disk space, which was about the same time I was encountering 3D accelerated titles - it was more of a broad strokes fact-finding mission than anything super serious. It could do with more dedicated fans.
     
  3. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Comix Zone
    Comix1.png

    This is a faithful port of the mega drive version, with the following differences
    -New title screen
    -Options menu has been removed and replaced with classic win 95 menu bar
    -Music has been replaced with general MIDI

    Cheats & Secrets

    Level/Panel Select Menu
    Comix2.png
    This one is listed on pretty much every cheat site around, it's a classic stage select.

    At any time after the application has been started (logos, title screen or during gameplay), hold Shift and type CAMERON to enable an additional menu bar item, ‘Cheat’, which contains a stage select and individual panel select.

    Set the desired level and panel in the menu then start a new game by pressing Action on the title screen or using the ‘Game’ menu (or keyboard shortcut F2) during play.

    In Game Debug Keys
    Comix3.png

    This is more interesting and only partially covered by a single cheat site. The site mistitles it as a 'refill your inventory' cheat, but it's actually much more than that. There's a whole set of debug keys to try!

    During play, open any menu in the menu bar. This should automatically pause the game. Now, with the menu still open, click anywhere in the white space to the right of the ‘Options’ menu.

    The game should remain in a paused state and the mouse cursor should disappear. You now have access to a number of debug options by pressing the appropriate key then resuming the game by pressing F3 twice.

    Add ‘Iced Tea’, ‘Super Hero Fist’ and ‘Roadkill’ to inventory: Action (default key X)
    Enable panel exits before all enemies defeated: Item 1 (default key 1)
    Refill Health Bar to full: Item 2 (default key 2)
    Add ‘Grenade’, ‘Knife’ and ‘Bomb’ to inventory: Item 3 (default key 3)

    Getting It Working
    Sadly, this is one of those 'install it manually' games. It actually predates direct x and uses microsoft's older 'WinG' technology. No registry shenanigans, it's not too hard to do!

    copy the following files from the cd to C:/SEGA/COMIX

    Comix.ex_
    Seqs.95
    Sprites.bin
    WAIL32.dl_
    WING32.dl_

    Use 7zip to extract the files with underscores (and rename file extension of extracted files to exe or dll, getting rid of the underscores).

    Move WING32.DLL into C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 and delete the file from comix folder (I appreciate that this is not recommended practice, do so at your own risk. I took the risk)

    Even doing this, the game only works in 320x240 window so worth forcing resolution to 640x480 so it fills enough of the screen.

    EDIT - corrected the name of WING32.dll (previously said WIN32.dll)
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
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  4. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Ecco the Dolphin
    Ecco1.png

    A unique port of the mega cd version (including the cd audio tracks, fmv videos and the 5 extra levels) which also includes
    -a high(er) resolution mode with redrawn sprites and backgrounds (worth playing for this alone, this graphics set is exclusive to this version)
    -file based save system with multiple save slots
    -difficulty that can be modified at any time during play via the menu
    -half the sound effects are missing for some reason
    -the usual win 95 menu bar containing setup options

    Getting It Working
    Ecco is sufficiently old and coded in such a way that no amount of messing around with compatibility modes will let you play it on Windows 10. But there's a much better option, @Korama of this very forum has created a compatibility tool, Sega PC Reloaded, which will take care of installation, fixes compatibility issues, increases the number of save slots and allows custom sounds and music to be used.

    Also, via the Caverns of Hope website, they released the 'fixed and enhanced edition' which contains the same fixes and is bundled with FLAC versions of both megadrive and Mega CD/PC soundtracks as well as all the missing sound effects.

    Cheats and Secrets
    Again, all credit to @Korama and Caverns of Hope for documenting these, I'm just the messenger!

    Message Viewer
    Ecco2.png


    Hit enter to pause the game whilst turning around, so that Ecco is looking outwards towards the screen when the game freezes.

    Now press Z, X, C, X, C, X, Z, C, X, Z (assuming default keyboard controls where Z=sonar, X=attack and C=speedup). The game will unpause and the words
    'MESSAGE NUM: 00’ will appear in the bottom left corner of the screen.

    Press up or down to select a message number and C to view the message (Ecco will continue to respond to the button presses you use to select a message). Press left or right at any time to exit this mode.

    Sega PC Reloaded Cheat Options
    Ecco3.png


    Yes, that's right. The Sega PC Reloaded compatibility tool itself has a hidden code which enables some extra cheats not present in the original version of Ecco!

    After you open the launcher and before pressing any other button, type in the code A, B, C, B, C, B, A, C, B, A (which is the same code as the above cheat but using the a, b and c keys).
    Now when you select Ecco PC, 3 new cheat options will be visible.

    Super Dolphin Mode: Enables the invincibility power up found in Atlantis permanently.
    Unlimited Air: Ecco never loses air
    Unlimited Life: Ecco cannot be harmed
     
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  5. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    I had a read and I did laugh at your start menu screenshot, if sega can do so well to keep the 'sega pc' branding consistent on all the packaging, can they really not have them all under 'Sega' on the start menu!? :)

    PCEm has a number of advantages over windows 10, it's a good approach. For example, Sega Rally has a crippling 'fast cpu' bug on modern PCs. If your CPU is too fast, the framerate is all over the place and the game is unplayable. There's no solution other than artificially slowing your processor down. Don't have to worry about things like that in an emulator.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
  6. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Virtua Cop
    vcop1.png

    The first of many bare bones sega saturn ports I'll be looking at. Nothing stood out to me as a unique feature other than the usual menu being replaced by function keys which bring up settings. The settings appear to be using 'comic sans' as a font for reasons known only to the programmers.

    The most interesting thing about it is probably the fact that there's a version for the Nvidia NV1 on the disk, a very early Nvidia 3d card that featured among other things, a sega saturn joypad port! Unfortunately the unique feature set of this card isn't supported by any modern wrapper so we're stuck with direct draw.

    Getting It Working
    This one isn't too bad. Amusingly, the setup EXE was actually tricked into thinking I had an NV1 by my modern nvidia card!
    To get around this, browse the cd and find NATIVE.EXE and run it directly to install the direct x version. There were a few error message but nothing stopped the installation

    I then had to manually copy DPLAY.DLL from the CD's DIRECTX subfolder into the folder where vcop is installed.

    Finally, I used dgvoodoo to force a 4:3 aspect ratio. Note that the game EXE is named PPJDD.EXE. I don't know why, alternative name perhaps?


    Cheats & Secrets
    Nothing on the usual cheat sites, but then I thought 'well this is literally a direct copy of the saturn version, so maybe...' and guess what?

    The cheats below have been tested by setting Player 1’s controller to ‘keyboard’ via the F5 controller setup menu


    Cheat Mode
    When the game first starts and the SEGA logo appears, quickly hold down Reload (default key G) and press Up (W), Down (S), Left (A), Right (D). A gunshot sound will confirm correct entry.

    Having done this, when the AM2 logo subsequently appears, hold down Reload (G) and press Down (S), Up (W), Right (D), Left (A), Up (W), Up (W), Left (A), Right (D). A gunshot sound will again confirm entry.

    Note that the codes stay unlocked, and you don’t have to input both codes in a single session. Inputting the Sega code, closing the game then inputting the AM2 code works fine.

    This unlocks the following features.


    Ranking Mode

    Ranking Mode is automatically unlocked without having to finish the game, it can be selected from the main menu. Ranking mode is a challenge mode where you have to beat the game on a single credit, with your skill level ranked after you finish.

    Extra Options
    vcop2.png

    New options are available in the options menu. New difficulty levels Easiest and Hardest as well as intermediate difficulty levels Medium Easy and Medium Hard can now be selected.

    The continue option now allows you to select ‘Free Play’ as well as the usual number of credits.

    Option Plus Menu
    vcop3.png
    Go to the options menu and note the three arrows on the right hand side of the ‘EXIT’ option. Press Down whilst exit is highlighted to highlight the arrows, then press Shoot (V) to access the new menu.

    Language: Change the language used in game (English or Japanese)

    Mirror: Enables mirror mode, the screen is mirrored left to right.

    Gun Select:
    vcop4.png

    If enabled you can change gun at any time in game by pausing (F3) then pressing reload (G) to cycle through the available weapons

    Book Keep:
    vcop5.png

    View statistics related to play time.
     
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