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Sonic the Hedgehog - 50Hz Effect

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by D.A. Garden, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Blugenesi(Jarty)


    Wannabe Youtuber Member
    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.
  2. BlackFive


    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.
  3. redhotsonic


    Also known as RHS Tech Member
    United Kingdom
    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.
  4. ICEknight


    Researcher Researcher
    You mean outside of gaming consoles? At least in Spain, I believe that our TV signal still does 50Hz only.
  5. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    EDIT: I'm misinformed. DVB-T in the EU is still 50Hz.
  6. Clownacy


    Tech Member
    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.
  7. TheOcelot


    Scooty Puff Jr sucks! Member
    *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.
  8. Jelq God

    Jelq God

    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.
  9. Qjimbo


    Your friendly neighbourhood lemming. Oldbie
    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.
  10. tuanpingas


    Hanoi, Vietnam
    some small Sonic Generations mods
    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.
  11. Mentski


    Pff. Member
    Parts Unknown
    Being a mysterious face.
    I hold no nostalgia for 50hz, for I was a member of the Glorious NTSC Grey Import Mega Drive Master Race, and as such, looked down on my lowly friends with their slow Mega Drives with their white detailing, crappy looking logo, and no where near as cool looking golden "16-BIT" text.

    Yes: I was THAT arsehole.
  12. winterhell


    I grew up with all the Mega Drive games + Chaotix on PAL 50Hz. Nowadays I don't ever look back and play only the 60Hz versions.
  13. Nova


    Personally, even though I played almost nothing else until the release of the PlayStation, 50hz Sonic didn't really have a huge effect on me. Played it that way as a kid but when I got Mega Collection after losing my Mega Drive and games, I played Sonic 1 and I instantly put in the NTSC code to play the 60hz version. I guess emulation did that to me, as I had been playing the games on my PC for a while before this. It's why whenever I do my yearly marathon of the games, I start with Taxman's Sonic 1 or even Mega Collection.
  14. Aerosol


    Not here. Moderator
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Do you really only marathon the games once a year? I blitz through Sonic 2 whenever I have a spare 40-minutes or so with nothing better to do :v:
  15. Nova


    Well, I sometimes play them throughout the year but I generally only go back to Sonic 1 if I'm doing 'the marathon'.
  16. Yuzoboy


    I also grew up with the 50Hz PAL versions of Sonic 1, 2 and loved the music as a child. Even now when I listen to the slower versions, especially Labyrinth Zone, I can be taken back to the simpler days of gaming non-stop after school :)
  17. Sir_mihael


    I do kinda love the slowed down PAL Sonic 1. It's half the reason I keep the PAL PS2 'Mega Collection Plus' around, just for that reason. That being said, I normally try to avoid PAL whenever I can these days, unless the devs have done a good job to optimize the game to compensate.

    Konami were crazy good at PAL optimization back in the day. Fullscreen, full speed. They even fixed bugs from the US releases of certain games (Suikoden II immediately comes to mind).

    Seems like 50hz is still an issue with certain Virtual Console/PSN releases though. Was the PAL Wii Sonic 1 release slowed down still?
  18. Clownacy


    Tech Member
    Oddly, despite my first experiences of Sonic being at 50hz, the slow music and gameplay doesn't strike me as familiar at all. Maybe it's because I spent the later part of my childhood playing the Mega Drive titles on the Gamecube Mega Collection, but 60hz has always been the way I know.

    Frankly, even if I stuck with 50hz for longer than I did, I'd never go back to it. If it wasn't the way it was intended to be played, it isn't the way it should be played.
  19. DigitalDuck


    Arriving four years late. Member
    Lincs, UK
    TurBoa, S1RL
    I disagree with this statement.

    The way a game should be played is the way the player enjoys most. For example, the way Sonic CD should be played, for me, is by ignoring the special stages entirely and smashing all the generators and holograms. The way Sonic '06 should be played, for me, is by using the gems to jump out of bounds and do random shit with the dodgy physics engine.

    I don't play Sonic in 50Hz because I prefer it in 60Hz. It would've been 50Hz as a kid, but since I've been able to emulate it I've always used 60Hz versions. Even if it was intended to be played in 50Hz, it's better in 60Hz.
  20. E-122-Psi


    I grew up with the 50hz version, though I remember feeling the slower take was a bit odd and even a bit eerie. Since I had played Sonic 2 first I noticed off the bat that the theme song was slower and more basic and, along with the more basic controlling and speed cap, the whole thing felt like it was trudging much more.

    I remember seeing a version in an Arcade booth that played the proper speed and thinking 'Ahh it all makes sense now', even if I didn't figure out yet it was the difference in frame rates and just thought I had brought a buggy Sonic 1.