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Region locked/optimised Mega Drive games

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    For years people have wanted a list:

    http://segaretro.org/Sega_Mega_Drive_cartridges

    I've started one. Please finish it.

    This inlcudes:
    - Games which put up a "YOU CAN'T PLAY THIS" screen when run in the wrong region
    - Games which run in the wrong region but are broken and/or unplayable
    - Games which run too fast/too slow
    - Games which are part-optimised for PAL consoles (e.g. only the music is sped up)
    - Games which are "fully" optimised for PAL consoles (and use 240 lines instead of 224)

    Similar lists will need to happen for Saturn and Dreamcast games, but this is maybe the most pressing because region locking and optimisation is horrendously inconsistent on the Mega Drive.

    Fix things, add things, whatever.
     
  2. Pirate Dragon

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    It should be easy enough to find out which games are region locked for which regions via changing the region in an emulator. Incidentally, it was widely reported at the time that the Japanese release of Rolling Thunder 2 (1991-11-19) was the first game to be region locked.

    http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:SegaPro_UK_03.pdf&page=67

    That should eliminate quite a few of these;

    http://sega.jp/fb/segahard/md/soft.html
    http://sega.jp/fb/segahard/md/soft_licensee.html
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I suspect some emulators are a bit too good when it comes to handling regions. A 240-line PAL game running on an NTSC machine should be burning your retinas with wacky flickering and scrolling issues, but on Kega Fusion at least, that doesn't happen - the game breaks in other ways (or at least Super Skidmarks does).

    (although it's still fairly obvious when it doesn't work)
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Exciting fun fact: the Japanese version is indeed region locked, but the others are region free. So you could have imported a US cart at the time and beat the official release by more than a year!
     
  5. Fred

    Fred

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    The European version of Fun 'N' Games doubled (!) the speed of the player character in the Mouse Maze minigame, turning an otherwise boring slog into a fun hectic diversion. But the game has loads of version differences beyond that so I don't know how you'd count it.
     
  6. Mentski

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    Streets of Rage 2 - The US cart won't run on a JP or PAL MD, and the JP/PAL carts (which contain the same multi-language ROM image and is one of the rare carts that got a unique Asia release) won't work on a US Genny. That was the first cart I ever owned with a lockout I think.


    The US version of Shadow of the Beast is unoptimised for NTSC and runs too fast, that was fixed for the JP release (they updated the graphics, too...)


    I think some other Psygnosis games were like that, too - I'm pretty sure the US version Fatal Rewind ran too fast on NTSC machines, but I'm not sure if that was fixed like Beast was when it was released in Japan as The Killing Game Show.

    Yup, I remember that, I had the US copy. Did it really take pver a year to get a PAL release? I didn't notice... heh.
     
  7. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    In case that somebody also wants to document how PAL games behave on NTSC systems when the country lock is removed, this topic may come in handy.
     
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I can confirm Fatal Rewind runs too fast in both the US and Japan.
     
  9. Pirate Dragon

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    So, this could have just been unintentional, but I suspect not. As Black Squirrel has previously documented original JP Super Monaco GP release just gives a blank screen on PAL consoles. This was reported in the UK press not long after the JP release (90-08-09), it required 60Hz to play (article says as opposed to 58Hz, but I'm sure that's just a typo ... mistaking slashed zero for 8 ... a common error that I've come across before). Even though this was pre-PAL MD release import consoles were already sold modded for PAL. It's interesting that it didn't require English language jumper settings, so still works on US consoles. I guess this was Sega experimenting with region locking.

    I haven't scanned the whole magazine yet, but here's the page;

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. LockOnTommy11

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    Is there anything the uninitiated can do to help test games?

    I have a Mega Drive Mode I UK PAL, 32X, plus an Analogue Mega SG, which allows region selecting and altering region during play, which gives some funky results on occasion. I have the following games that I can test if required:


    Space Harrier (SMS)
    GoldenAxe Warrior (SMS)
    Hang-On (SMS)
    Space Harrier II
    Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
    Afterburner II
    Sonic The Hedgehog
    Desert Strike
    Sonic The Hedgehog 2
    T2: Arcade
    Streets of Rage II
    Jurassic Park
    Mega Games 3
    Gods
    FIFA Soccer
    Jurassic Park Rampage Edition
    Sonic 3
    Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis
    Virtua Racing
    Micro Machines: Turbo Tournament 2
    Mega Games 6
    Classic Collection
    Mega Turrican (re-release)
    Aladdin (re-release)
    Sonic & Knuckles
    Zero Tolerance
    Kawasaki Superbikes
    Toy Story
    The Lost World: Jurassic Park
    Paperboy
    Sonic Spinball
    Micro Machines Military
    Batman Returns
    PGA Golf Tour 94
    FIFA ‘95
     
  11. Pirate Dragon

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    I bumped a really old thread, so I think this has largely been done now, mainly by Black Squirrel, but I'll leave it to him to comment on anything that's remaining to be done.
     
  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It was a joint effort:
    Mega Drive region coding
    Category:Region coding

    It's not completely done since some exceedingly rare cartridges have yet to be dumped:
    Sega Retro:Todo/Region coding
    but we're mostly there.

    That being said, we do have Category:Unfinished region code table. It's obvious when a game doesn't boot, and if the music is too fast/slow, but one thing that wasn't checked was game speed. In Sonic 2, for example, the music was optimised but the rest of the code wasn't, so it still runs too slow.

    To do it properly, you'd need two emulators running side-by-side for ~500 games. But I was also anticipating cases where PAL versions are only "partially" sped up... which means you'd have to work out exactly what the differntial is and ugh.
     
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  13. KMetalmind

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    One game that surprised me was Dynamite Headdy. Being on a PAL country I played the PAL version back at release, but after playing emulated games I switched to NTSC because 60Hz is usually how games were meant to be played. Playing the intro on a PAL console shows Headdy fighting the robot of the 1-1 chase level. The music is perfectly synced too with what's happening. But on NTSC, the robot appears more than once, like in a loop, and the music is not synced with what's happening. I've always found it odd that the intro seems to be actually programmed with PAL regions in mind? There's not a single problem like that in the rest of the game: It's just the intro.
     
  14. LockOnTommy11

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    It could be coincidence, Treasure is a Japanese dev, so I can’t understand why they would try and sync to 50htz.

    Streets of Rage’s opening in PAL 50htz syncs perfectly, and the music ends as the logo hits the screen. It’s so much better than the 60htz version but I’m certain it’s not intentional.
     
  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    We are interested in cases where 50Hz might be better. Or at least, I am.

    Truxton is another example - in 50Hz the music plays at a speed closer to the original arcade, but it was released in Japan before PAL consoles were even a thing, which makes it doubly weird.
     
  16. As far as I know when it comes to games being made specifically for PAL speeds, Wiz 'n' Liz runs too fast on NTSC systems. Bizarre Creations (or Raising Hell at the time), being based in the UK, developed the game with PAL speeds in mind so the kind of speeds the player characters run at is reasonable, but on an NTSC system they're too fast to control reliably.

    On a coincidental note (since both these games made fun of each other), Puggsy seems to be made with PAL speeds in mind too. While game speed isn't really that much of a deal for it given its much slower pace in comparison to Wiz 'n' Liz, the music for the intro sequence and end credits sync up perfectly with PAL speed - both songs end exactly when the sequences reach their end. On an NTSC system, the sequences end before the songs do.

    Zool is also cited to run too fast on NTSC speeds. Apparently the Game Gear and Game Boy versions, both running on systems that always output 60Hz due to their handheld nature, plus it was originally an Amiga game to begin with.

    And then you have games which only had PAL releases, like Mr. Nutz...
     
  17. Mentski

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    Shadow of the Beast (US version at least, JP version was heavily changed) and Killing Gameshow/Fatal Rewind, too. Seems pretty standard for all MD Psygnosis games to only run at their "correct" speed on PAL, even when they were releasing them through EA.
     
  18. Pobert-Eii

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    Not a official "game", but Overdrive 2 afaik only runs on PAL Mega Drives because of some strange coding shenanigans the demo pulls from the time the TV's screen is updated.