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Early Levels hidden in Japanese Burning Rangers Demo

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Kushami, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Kushami


    Hey guys!

    So, I'm a big fan of Burning Rangers. It's a weird little Sonic Team gem that, unfortunately, not a lot of people seem to care to look into. I think we should change that!

    Though I think there's merit in looking into the game, even if you don't like it so much. It seems to be the successor of the NiGHTS engine and precusor to PSO in a lot of ways, for one. With my limited skills I've found some stuff, but at this point I'm stuck and I'd like to go further. I'm hoping with this thread we can get people interested in Burning Rangers stuff. I think it would be neat to delve into how the game works, how the random levels work, etc. I actually have the guidebook which explains the random levels a bit, but it needs a translation.

    To start things off, I think we should first take a look at Burning Rangers: Trial Version. This is a demo that came out in Japan 2 or 3 months before the final game, and it has a bunch of differences between the final. It came in a double CD case with a demo of House of the Dead, or, I believe, in a paper sleeve packaged with Saturn Magazine.

    Here's an imgur album of the cover in high res if someone wants to update the wiki with it:

    So, if you haven't played The Trial, I did an annotated video playthrough describing the differences in the playable section of the trial. It explains everything in heavy detail, so if you're interested so far, you should watch that.

    (Please view in Youtube here so you can see the annotations.)

    A lot of the differences deal with placement of explosions and which survivors are placed where. The video also gives a primer on how to play Burning Rangers in general.

    Cracking open the disk and examining the files, though. There's a bunch of interesting things:

    -The Trial has pretty much the entire game on the disk, including all of the levels.
    -The build date of a lot of the files seems to be November/December 1997, where the build date of the final Japanese version is more around the end of January 1998. The US version is 3 or 4 more months later.
    -In the final game, sound files are split between ADX.ACX and BGM.ACX. In the trial, everything, music and all, is inside of ADX.ACX.
    -In the final game, there's 300 or so more audio samples total. There's 967 in the trial, and in the final there's 46 (in BGM.ACX) and 1279 (ADX.ACX)
    -The artwork included inside of the EXTRA folder on The Trial is different.
    -There are far less WAV files included in the EXTRA folder. They have different filenames. I haven't checked to see if the contents are different.
    -There are Redbook audio tracks on the Trial. There is a short version of We Are Burning Rangers (:33), a mashup of Angels with Burning Hearts and We Are Burning Rangers that people have probably never heard before (4:33), and a short version of I Just Smile (:33).
    -The intro is different; it has advertisements all over it.
    -All the cutscenes are on the disk. R04H.CAK has different audio/doesn't exist elsewhere. It plays a different version of Angels with Burning Hearts. I've not heard this particular version, though this could be used elsewhere.

    I did difference checking on all three versions of the game: Trial, Japanese Final, American Final. American Final shares a lot of identical files with the Japanese Final, but the Trial has a lot of different files.

    -A general note, it seems that things ending in "S" deal with Shou, while "T" is Tillis. I assume everything "E" is for Everyone. (Not a joke!)
    -Almost all of the round files in the trial are different. Some of the boss files are the same.
    -Round12T and Round13L only exist in the trial. Whereas Round11S and Round13T only exist in the final. I'm guessing these are the demo stages, maybe?
    -There are a lot more files like this. You can see it all here:
    -First column is the trial, second is Japanese final, third is English final.

    So, now here's the tricky thing... I imagine there's got to be a way to hack the demo to load all the other stages, right? And to see, maybe, what changed in the last 3 months of development on this game? That's just... way beyond my expertise, though. My knowledge of modifying games to load different things is largely down to file swapping and not memory modifying, and this is such a mess that I don't know where to begin. To that end, I've created a bin+cue of the Trial and uploaded it here:!AMxW0TyS!39Uj3y5dmwzIyrNMRYDPJW07XXzKAr95cKIs01vGIBA

    If you mount it, SSF will play it perfectly fine. I'm hoping some more tech-minded members will get interested enough to help me start digging. :)

    I have some other stuff to post soon, but this post is already long enough!
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
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  2. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

    You can also download the trial from the Internet Archive (arguably a more stable download link than Mega):
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  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
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  4. Kushami


    Resurrecting this old thread of mine since there's finally been some movement on this!

    Andreas Scholl, who's been working on an amazing Burning Rangers Tribute demo, was able to help me and figured out how to load some of the alternate levels from this demo on emulation.

    Here's the training room, which, if you're familiar with the game, looks completely different here.

    Here's his directions:

    So far, people have found some interesting things, like the burning ship just sitting in a level:

    I know people here like to poke at builds, so now here's how. Despite the demo's files being dated a few months before release, it seems like the build is much earlier than expected.
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  5. Energy


    There is a lot of differences in this build. I only got 30 mins last night (I took the picture you used) but it was really interesting.

    It seems a lot earlier than expected. Lots of bugs, levels not loading, unfinished etc a few test objects too. Well worth an explore.

    Need to compare the EU auto demo too (sega flash vol. 7) as that has all the game in too but as it’s dated a couple of days after the Japanese release and is unplayable.
  6. Sappharad


    Unrelated, but still on topic. Enjoy this wonderful alternate version of Burning Hearts:
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  7. Bo102010


    I've spent the last several weeks dissecting the various Burning Rangers builds, and here are some resources for people who find this thread and want to learn more...

    First, on the Trial version: my article takes a look at the various differences between it and the final version. There's a link to a script that will let you play any available mission.

    Second, on hacking more generally: my hacking guide describes how to do various tricks: level select, character select, multiplayer (!), object placement, and more. I hope others can use this to find other interesting things!

    Third, there are currently four known prerelease builds of BR:
    • The December 1 prototype - get it from Hidden Palace
    • Flash Sega Saturn #25 - it's an auto demo that you can control; see my hacking guide and writeup
    • Burning Rangers Taikenban - see my hacking guide and writeup
    • The January 3 prototype - I helped this one resurface; see my writeup and get it from Hidden Palace
    I would love to get my hands on the Tokyo Game Show 97 Autumn build (see a video here), so if you know somebody who worked at a game magazine back then who might be hanging onto some discs, do send me a note.