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Another Sega PC thread

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

  1. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Inspired by the recent activity on this thread, I hit ebay and managed to snag the PAL release of NBA Action 98! Can't imagine that did huge business when it was first released, we're not exactly crazy about basketball over here. But it's got the Sega PC branding, and it's definitely a real EU release, so it was on my hit list. Title screenshot for the wiki and review on this thread will follow as soon as I get my hands on it (assuming the wrappers work their magic and it runs on Windows 10).

    Reminds me, I never did a review of Formula Karts (which I already have). Mainly because the windows version has an awful fast CPU bug, and running the DOS version in an emulator just seems against the spirit of it somehow. It is the only game with the 'Sega PC' branding to include a DOS version on disk interestingly enough. Another possible direction for this is to go back in time, embrace DOS and start looking at the old 'IBM PC' Arcade ports on floppy disk. That would have to be done with unofficial versions, even I don't have a working 5 1/2 inch floppy disk drive!
     
  2. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Classic Eggman art Member
    So it wasn't my imagination, there was a physical release of Gens PC. It was the first or second game I had to surrender to DRM and buy it on Steam because I couldn't find a physical release when it was just released. I waited a year or so before giving up. And then it started being the rule and not the exception because modern world and that stuff.
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It's wiki time. There's no need to be afraid.
    As I said whenever - PCem

    [​IMG]
    I got Formula Karts running last year... although I was prioritising games I actually knew.

    I didn't know there was a DOS version though. I've never tried getting DOSBox to talk to a CD-ROM image but I've no reason to believe it can't.

    psst

    Sonic Generations
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2022
  4. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Unfortunately, the retail copy provides a steam key anyway, it's just the key and the files on the disc, you still need steam to play.
     
  5. MainMemory

    MainMemory

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    I think the physical release only happened because EU laws required it at the time.
     
  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It's wiki time. There's no need to be afraid.
    [​IMG]
    Well this was thoroughly tested. "Please re-install" says the installer after it failed mid-way through to install.

    It did create an EXE, but it complains about not being able to find the disc. The manual might give more clues, but we don't have a scan.

    Though to be fair, the box only lists Windows 95 as an operating system so maybe they knew it didn't work. Or the DOS installer installs the Windows version.
     
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  7. Bobblen

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    DOS version works fine in dosbox with my physical cd at least, and doesn't have the fast cpu bug, so that's good! Next job is to trawl through the EXE in a hex editor and see if any plain text passwords can be found.
     
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  8. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    upload_2022-9-23_6-9-9.png
    This is what it looks like in DOSBox, I could scan the manual that's inside the cd case (I don't have the big box, so no idea if there's a bigger manual.), but the English section is literally 3 pages long, has system requirements, how to install in Win 95 mode (doesn't even mention DOS), controls and that's it!
     
  9. Even though I had it physically, you still had to sign up to Steam to play the game. Not that I've ever had a issue with a game needing to check online if its a real game myself.

    I have the Pal version Saturn and it is an amazing game. I think at the time Basketball was really big in Spain and maybe that's why SEGA Europe looked to bring it over? I was amazed that SEGA Europe brought over NBA 2K to the DC and not the SK NFL games (which at the time, were the best sports games ever made IMO)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2022
  10. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Classic Eggman art Member
    Below football (the one some call soccer) who rules them all, basketball is one of the biggest sports here, and not just the second because here they like any sport an spanish regularly wins. A lot of people do in fact like basketball and not football, so yes, basketball is and has been big enough here to port basketball videogames. Other sports? Bring tennis and racing games, and I think that's all.
     
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  11. I remember reading and being quite shocked at how big Basketball was in Spain and there was talk of it growing, so maybe that's why SEGA Europe looked to bring NBA action over and also NBA 2K for the DC? and of course, they were very good games too. When it comes to American sports, I'm a massive NFL fan and was so disappointed that SEGA Europe never brought over the NFL 2K series to the DC, despite it being (for me ) the best sports game ever made at that time.

    I thought the SEGA PC division were getting relly good towards the end of the 90's.
     
  12. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    What an interesting discussion to come back to, I had no idea the Spanish are so fond of their basketball! Hopefully it shows up soon and I can try it out for myself.
     
  13. Bobblen

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    I've found some single letter command line parameters in the DOS version of Formula Karts. The game is kind in that if you pass in an invalid command line arg, it kicks you out and tells you. So I know at least which letters to try. -? tells you about -i, but sadly all the others are undocumented.

    These also work in the windows version, though I can't test properly until I can find a way to cap the framerate!

    -i disables intro videos
    -t lets you immediately start play on the track of your choice (-t1, -t2, -t3 etc). -t8 is a secret track, the moon!
    -g gamma correction
    -m0 no textures, just flat shaded models
    -s saturation threshold
    -v and -z appear to be something to do with vsync (-v made the screen flicker violently, -z sped up the menu animations alot)

    others to be determined are
    -a -d -f
    -h -k
    -q and -y

    Here's the moon
    upload_2022-9-26_10-24-43.png

    EDIT - added -m notes, windows notes
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
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  14. Trippled

    Trippled

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    Sega PC got a second life through rather obscure JP only releases with stuff Typing of the Dead 2, Kaseki Play and Sega Splash Golf.

    [​IMG]

    This is called Kaseki Play aka Fossil Play, and it was used to promote Wacom Tablets. Someone dug up and translated the credits and its the Phantasy Star Universe team that also did the WiiWare Pole's Big Adventure.
    Chu Chu Rocket was the game that the Phantasy Star Online team did before this. I like them doing small projects like this when they are making their big MMO.

    Wonder if there ever was an oppurtunity to localize something like this back in the day. Sega Europe must have been kinda open to something like this.
     
  15. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Formula Karts
    upload_2022-9-29_9-35-22.png

    Jumping back in time to 1997, we have the obscure kart racer, Formula Karts. This one is a bit of an oddball in that it isn't an arcade conversion, nor was it developed internally by Sega. It's a 3rd party game programmed by Kart game specialists Manic Media Productions, which somehow ended up getting the Sega PC branding and so ended up on my list! It's a Saturn conversion that appears to only have been released in Europe (though Expert Software bought this PC version over to the US a bit later) and has everything you might expect a kart racer to have, 5 teams with suitibly edgy 90s names, 8 tracks set in different countries (plus a secret track). There's a few different modes, a single race mode, a championship mode where you qualify and race on every track and an arcade mode where you can earn money to buy upgrades. It's not quite Mario Kart but you do have in-race upgrades like a quick speed boost which you can activate when you need to.

    The graphics are direct draw only but have been giving the usual boost up to 640x480 (320x240 and a few resolutions in between are also available), and you can switch between 256 colour and 16 million colours as well. The graphics are generally poor with low res textures and a lack of detail in the backgrounds. This combined with the very short tracks (which is probably realistic for kart racing but still) makes for quite a dull experience in my opinion. Nowhere near the standard of the Sega arcade stuff that was around at the same time. Saving is done via an infuriatingly large password instead of a file, which is not great. Unusually for Sega, the disc contains both a DOS and Windows version of the game. They appear to have feature parity, graphics/sound config is identical between the two.

    Getting it working
    This was an interesting experience, which involved the DxWnd developer actually improving DxWnd itself to help get it going. The windows port is incredibly flaky, it's direct x 3, crashes often and has a timing bug causing it to run at 100 miles an hour. The windows port strangely uses the EXE as a tiny wrapper to launch a DLL which runs the game, and actually relies on picking up direct x error messages and ignoring them to even get to the title screen, the handling of which needed to be fixed in DxWnd to stand a chance. So, to try it, grab the bleeding edge latest version of DxWnd (v2.05.88.rc11 or later), then instead of pointing it at the EXE, point it at EWFK.DLL instead. Special handling is required to fix the framerate issues, go to the Timing tab and enable Time Stretch Initial and set to x1, and enable Normalise Performance Counter. Even with this, I often had crashes when starting a race and couldn't get the cd audio to work using the original cd or audio files.

    For a much more pleasant experience, installing the DOS version via the DOSBox emulator worked perfectly for me (although at least one other person has reported the DOS installer crashing half way through), and the game works at the correct speed with cd audio without any further tweaks required. This is the recommended way to play as it really isn't missing anything, and looks identical to the windows version.

    Cheats & Secrets
    Through sheer good fortune, and as mentioned above, I stumbled across some command line parameters when testing the DOS version. These all work on the windows version as well by creating a shortcut (or adding it to the 'Command Line' section in the Hook tab in DxWnd.

    Secret Track
    upload_2022-9-29_10-27-12.png
    The secret track, 'The Moon' is probably unlocked as a reward for winning arcade mode (no I'm not playing it through to find out!), but to play it immediately, pass in the command line parameter -t8.

    Single Track Test Mode
    The -t parameter can be used to instantly play a single race on any track, the numbering starts at 0 for Germany, through to 8 for the Moon (e.g. -t0, -t1, -t2 etc). The program will close after the race is complete.

    Other Command Line Parameters
    The following parameters are also available, most are config changes rather than cheats.
    -i skip intro movies
    -m0 disable textures (all models are flat shaded instead)
    Other parameters TBC, see post above for more info.
     
  16. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Disclaimer: I didn't try very hard with DOSBox and my copy is far from a fresh install. Someone uploaded a wrapped up copy of the DOS version on archive.org which you can play in your browser - it presumably works, but it's a 600MB download and their servers are notoriously slow.
     
  17. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    NBA 98 has arrived at last, here it is along with Formula Karts, part of my ever growing 'rare because nobody bought them' 90s PC collection. Could probably chuck Bug Too in there as well, that one took me ages to find.
    upload_2022-10-3_10-36-57.jpeg

    EDIT - it's another challenge, DxWnd doesn't like it, DGVoodoo doesn't like it either

    EDIT 2 - but PCEm can handle it, so there is hope!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  18. I forgot I ever had these games for the PC, I haven't even bothered to open the DC collection

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    The lineage of that dreamcast collection is ridiculous. Take Sonic Adventure DX, ported to Game Cube, ported to PC, ported to X-box, ported back to PC (that's what this collection is), then added to Steam. Each step resulted in features being lost or cut out. For Sonic & Crazy Taxi at least, mods can put everything back in that was lost. I'm also pretty sure your boxed version there has Starforce drm, which is completely unusable on a modern PC. You were wise not to open it! :D

    Manx TT is really good fun, although light on content (there's basically two tracks), and because it uses glide 3d, nglide can run it really well and make it look pretty. Aliens I picked up in a steam sale but have never played. I was scared off by all the bad reviews at the time!
     
  20. I never even bothered to install the DC collection: I think I got it from Game for just 99p. I didn't mind Manx TT on either Saturn or PC, it looked and run great on bot and didn't mind Aliens too much It's not the game that was shown off or promised, but I had fun with the title and again for me it's not as terrible as some made out. My main issue with Aliens was that it looked for all the world like GearBox took SEGA for a ride :( But then, the SEGA Producers would have been playing code and show have seen what was happing ?