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Thread: Guys, what are the intended speed to play these Mega Drive games?

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Yohko16's Avatar
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    Default Guys, what are the intended speed to play these Mega Drive games?

    For Japanese or US developed games it's simple since they are all meant to be played in their native 60 Hz speed but I wonder about some European games.

    At first I thought that those were all meant to be played at 50 Hz but some of them maybe not actually. James Pond II for example, what's the correct speed for this game, 50 or 60 Hz?

    And same for Risky Woods, 50 or 60 Hz?

    And Mega Turrican, I've just tried it in Kega Fusion, first played the EU ROM but then played the US ROM and game was faster but also smoother, something that surprised me. Could it be an issue with Kega Fusion when playing this game? Or does the PAL version really has performance issues? And what's the correct speed for this game, 50 or 60 Hz?

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    Comrade as in friend. Master of Shinobi ComradeOj's Avatar
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    The KEGA thing you mentioned might be because of your monitor. Do you have a 60hz monitor? If so, 50hz might look worse than normal because of the mismatched refresh rates causing stutter. See if you can set your monitor to 50hz, maybe it will fix that issue. Just if you are curious. Also make sure KEGA is correctly setting between PAL and NTSC mode.

    Just anecdotally, I notice a lot of European developed games work well at both refresh rates. I think there was a lot of incentive to run correctly at 60Hz for the overseas markets.
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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Yohko16's Avatar
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    It was on my laptop, dunno if it's supposed to be 50 or 60 Hz though.

    But I've already played various MD games using Kega Fusion on said laptop and if I'm not mistaken, Mega Turrican is the first that had performance issues in its PAL version so I wonder about the official game release as well as about the intended speed.

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    Now with 33% more @$$! Master of Shinobi Assman's Avatar
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    Good question. I've wondered about this stuff myself. Turrican and Universal Soldier clearly run faster than they should at 60 Hz, but Mega Turrican doesn't feel anywhere near as touchy.

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    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    There are a bunch of games that are optimized for 50Hz and run fast at 60Hz. Shadow of the Beast is one of the more well-known examples, and James Pond II is another. IIRC Lotus Turbo Challenge should also be played at 50Hz.

    Another one I haven't seen mentioned is Davis Cup Tennis. The US and Euro ROMs are identical, and the game is clearly targeted for 50Hz -- it's blisteringly fast at 60Hz.

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    Shining Hero Joe Redifer's Avatar
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    Tons of Euro games (EDIT: removed "Euro-trash"... let's face it, European games mostly sucked back then) seem way too fast when played on the Genesis. I had always wondered why they were so fast. So I'd say that 50Hz would be the proper speed for *most* Euro games.

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    Nameless One
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    I think Double Dragon runs better at 50Hz.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Yohko16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assman View Post
    Good question. I've wondered about this stuff myself. Turrican and Universal Soldier clearly run faster than they should at 60 Hz, but Mega Turrican doesn't feel anywhere near as touchy.
    ok about Turrican and Universal Soldier!

    And so, for you, what's Mega Turrican correct version(region)/speed?


    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    There are a bunch of games that are optimized for 50Hz and run fast at 60Hz. Shadow of the Beast is one of the more well-known examples, and James Pond II is another. IIRC Lotus Turbo Challenge should also be played at 50Hz.

    Another one I haven't seen mentioned is Davis Cup Tennis. The US and Euro ROMs are identical, and the game is clearly targeted for 50Hz -- it's blisteringly fast at 60Hz.
    I knew about Shadow of the Beast but good infos about the others!


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Redifer View Post
    Tons of Euro games (EDIT: removed "Euro-trash"... let's face it, European games mostly sucked back then) seem way too fast when played on the Genesis. I had always wondered why they were so fast. So I'd say that 50Hz would be the proper speed for *most* Euro games.
    ok for the speed but I vastly disagree about the quality of European games! So many classics and also hidden gems, especially on Mega Drive...
    - Mega Turrican
    - Flashback
    - Chuck Rock 1 and 2
    - Sub-Terrania
    - Puggsy
    - Gods
    - Lemmings 1 and 2
    - Mega lo Mania
    - Sensible Soccer
    - Wiz 'n Liz
    - Battlecorps
    - Soul Star...

    European developers were some of the most creative back then and the quality was often pretty high. The only areas where they were rather weak or, rather, where they didn't care all that much are shoot 'em ups, beat 'em ups and fighting games. Japaneses were the best at these. But this is the cool thing: the cultural variety and complementarity which is, again, particularly remarkable with the Mega Drive library.
    Last edited by Yohko16; 12-26-2018 at 07:55 PM.

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    CORD NAME: BLACK-FIRE Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Goati's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Redifer View Post
    Tons of Euro games (EDIT: removed "Euro-trash"... let's face it, European games mostly sucked back then) seem way too fast when played on the Genesis.
    I don't even know where to begin with the hundreds of good games or dozens of good developers or the computer demoscenes that I could present to you from the 80s and 90s
    So I'll leave it at that: nah
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    Master of Shinobi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yohko16 View Post
    - Chuck Rock 1 and 2
    The title screen alone of Chuck Rock is more enjoyable than many entire us/jp games. Especially at high volumes.

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    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    So which games do we know about for sure (more or less), i.e. NTSC-U and/or NTSC-J releases that were clearly optimized for 50Hz and, thanks to developer laziness (or whatever) were allowed to run faster than intended at 60Hz?

    So far it seems like we have the following:

    Back to the Future III
    Chuck Rock
    Davis Cup Tennis
    Fatal Rewind
    Gods
    James Pond
    James Pond II (NTSC-U only, NTSC-J is 60Hz optimized)
    Legend of Galahad/Leander
    Lotus Turbo Challenge
    Lotus II: RECS
    Risky Woods
    Shadow of the Beast (NTSC-U only, NTSC-J is 60Hz optimized and a different port)
    Shadow of the Beast II
    The Terminator
    Turrican
    Universal Soldier
    Zool

    Most of these are Amiga ports. What other Amiga > Genesis ports weren't optimized for 60Hz, and clearly run too fast on a 60Hz machine (but were released in NTSC-U or NTSC-J anyway)?

    BTW I've also read speculation that Rolo to the Rescue and, surprisingly, Shaq Fu were targeted for 50Hz, but it's hard to say (impossible in the case of Rolo).

    EDIT: Also note that James Pond II and Shadow of the Beast have NTSC-J releases that are 60Hz optimized, unlike the NTSC-U versions.
    Last edited by goldenband; 12-31-2018 at 06:07 PM.

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    Wildside Expert Furnessly's Avatar
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    It's mainly the earlier European Mega Drive games since later ones are more adapted to the 50/60Hz thing even though there was an import scene at the time, it just depends whether the programmer was aware of it. For certain:

    - Back to the Future III (too fast gameplay in NTSC when compared to other versions of the game, was one of the first Mega Drive games programmed in the UK)
    - Shadow of the Beast (music is too fast and too fast gameplay in NTSC that got fixed for the JP version, already listed)
    - Turrican (music is too fast and gameplay too fast? in NTSC, already listed)

    Oh and The Terminator is also 50hz since the music is too fast at 60 to the point where Matt Furniss himself was annoyed that most of the music rips around run at the wrong speed but he got used to it over the years.

    Something that I noticed, they tend to be from certain developers such as Probe (until mid-late 1992), The Code Monkeys, Millennium/Vectordean and Gremlin. EA published those from Millennium/Vectordean and Gremlin as well as Shadow of the Beast some maybe with their looser quality control meant that these issues went unnoticed. Turrican was published by Accolade who again didn't noticed.

    Some I'm not sure. Mega Turrican is a bit tricky since being made in Germany, you would think that they are in 50hz however Factor 5 used an unofficial dev kit so it is hard to say. Maybe compare with the Turrican 3 Amiga port that was developed around the same time but was released before? Similar thing with Risky Woods, while that was an Amiga port things got changed for the Mega Drive port and the developer of that game Zeus mainly went to work with Gaelco on arcade games, arcade games having no 50/60hz toggle. Would like to say that Risky Woods was intended to be 50hz but not sure.

    I'll say since many of the European made Mega Drive games were Amiga ports originally, 50hz are most likely the intended speed of those games. So Cannon Fodder, Chuck Rock, The Chaos Engine, Fatal Rewind/Killing Game Show, Gods, James Pond 1 and 2, Legend of Galahad/Leander, Lotus Turbo Challenge/Lotus II (2/3), Sensible Soccer, Shadow of the Beast series, Xenon 2: Megablast, Zool all fit into that category. The big catch being Lemmings since that was handled by Sunsoft and not DMA Design or any other UK developer, even then it depends on version for that game (the PAL version is broken at 60hz but the US/JP versions run okay in 50/60hz).

    Quote Originally Posted by homerhomer View Post
    I think Double Dragon runs better at 50Hz.
    It runs closer to the arcade game (without the slowdown) and does seem to be a bit more playable. One of the complaints about the port is that it is "too fast" so I'll agree with you.

    While there doesn't seem to be much evidence since Accolade didn't credit the developer, it seems that Software Creations who were an UK developer worked on the game and if they did it would have been their first game. They mostly used Sound Images sound drivers in their games. This game and Shadow of the Beast used the same sound engine but the music speed got fixed for unlike that game.

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    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Thanks for that post, Furnessly! I've added Back to the Future III and Terminator to my previous post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Furnessly View Post
    Some I'm not sure. Mega Turrican is a bit tricky since being made in Germany, you would think that they are in 50hz however Factor 5 used an unofficial dev kit so it is hard to say. Maybe compare with the Turrican 3 Amiga port that was developed around the same time but was released before? Similar thing with Risky Woods, while that was an Amiga port things got changed for the Mega Drive port and the developer of that game Zeus mainly went to work with Gaelco on arcade games, arcade games having no 50/60hz toggle. Would like to say that Risky Woods was intended to be 50hz but not sure.
    I definitely think a direct comparison of these games would be the evidence needed to add them to the list. There's a 50Hz Risky Woods capture from the Amiga on YouTube, but I'm not feeling 100% sure about the comparison, though it's clear that the timer is running faster in the Genesis version.

    EDIT: Timer matches realtime on the Amiga at 50Hz and the Genesis at 50Hz; runs faster than realtime on the Genesis at 60Hz. Game is clearly 50Hz optimized.

    Quote Originally Posted by Furnessly View Post
    I'll say since many of the European made Mega Drive games were Amiga ports originally, 50hz are most likely the intended speed of those games. So Cannon Fodder, Chuck Rock, The Chaos Engine, Fatal Rewind/Killing Game Show, Gods, James Pond 1 and 2, Legend of Galahad/Leander, Lotus Turbo Challenge/Lotus II (2/3), Sensible Soccer, Shadow of the Beast series, Xenon 2: Megablast, Zool all fit into that category. The big catch being Lemmings since that was handled by Sunsoft and not DMA Design or any other UK developer, even then it depends on version for that game (the PAL version is broken at 60hz but the US/JP versions run okay in 50/60hz).
    Some of those should be cut since they weren't released in 60Hz areas anyway, right? If we also remove games already on the list in post #11, that leaves:

    Chuck Rock
    Fatal Rewind/Killing Game Show
    Gods
    James Pond
    Legend of Galahad/Leander
    Lotus II: RECS
    Shadow of the Beast II

    Fatal Rewind's opening countdown seems to match realtime at 50Hz, but runs faster than realtime at 60Hz, so I guess that one's targeted at 50Hz. Japanese version (Killing Game Show) is the same. I'll add Fatal Rewind to post #11.

    Also, how about Stormlord and Onslaught?

    EDIT: Timer in Lotus II: RECS also runs realtime at 50Hz, fast at 60Hz. I think that's a very simple, but accurate litmus test.

    EDIT #2: Clock in James Pond runs somewhat faster than realtime at 50Hz, and significantly faster than that at 60Hz. The 50Hz value seems to match the original Amiga game when played at 50Hz.
    Last edited by goldenband; 12-29-2018 at 11:30 PM.

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    Wildside Expert Furnessly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    Also, how about Stormlord and Onslaught?
    Onslaught is different between the Amiga and the Genesis versions where the gameplay is similar but with different graphics and sound, it's like Sword of Sodan. Music seems to be the same speed between 50/60hz (unusual since its the same music people as Turrican and Universal Soldier). Hard to say really which one is the intentional speed.

    Stormlord though might be adapted to 60Hz but again hard to tell since the game has a slow pace. Since the Genesis version was programmed in the US by Kevin Seghetti, it would be weird for the game to be faster than intended in the country where it was selling it. The original Amiga version was sold in the US by Cinemaware and looking at the US version, it seems to match the Genesis version more than the original European version judging by its palette choice and the use of a sun rather than a timer on the HUD.

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    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    ^Agreed on both counts, based on the evidence you've mentioned.

    I've added James Pond to the list in post #11. That leaves us with 4 games without obvious timers:

    Chuck Rock
    Gods
    Legend of Galahad/Leander
    Shadow of the Beast II

    Galahad and SOTB II have the same ROM in both NTSC-U and PAL territories, and neither one seems to adjust for it in software -- both play faster when booted at 60Hz. Adding them to post #11.

    EDIT: The European ROMs for Chuck Rock and Gods are slower at 50Hz than the NTSC-U at 60Hz. The hero's walking speed in the Amiga version of Gods seems to match his speed in the Mega Drive version at 50Hz. Same with Chuck Rock.

    I'd say that's reasonable confirmation that (unsurpisingly) both games are intended for 50Hz, and weren't optimized for 60Hz in their NTSC-U releases.
    Last edited by goldenband; 12-31-2018 at 06:06 PM.

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