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Thread: Ultracore coming on cartridge!!

  1. #151
    Road Rasher
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    Just received my copy from Stricly limited game, and im so happy that the game is not sealed with a shrinkwrap!! You cant tell if the game is new or not, because its not sealed, keeping games in the wrap is getting retarded, just play the damn game!

  2. #152
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    I also got one of my Strictly Limited Games copies. Does anyone know if it has one of those 5 volt regulator thingies (unlike the Columbus Circle releases, which has lead me to use my Everdrive instead)?

    Also, I beat the game today. I have started writing the review for the site.
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  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    I also got one of my Strictly Limited Games copies. Does anyone know if it has one of those 5 volt regulator thingies (unlike the Columbus Circle releases, which has lead me to use my Everdrive instead)?

    Also, I beat the game today. I have started writing the review for the site.
    Its a good game, but there is too much cheap death traps later in the game, i finished it on emulator

  4. #154
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingNameless One Pha's Avatar
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    I was able to observe a jacket made in a hurry on the SLG version, SLG is not a creative distributor that's, it's sad.
    An innovative game on md/gs ? I vote for.

  5. #155
    WCPO Agent Mad Moham's Avatar
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    I've played through most of the game now and I find that it starts off very fun but gets cheap towards the end. I'll probably finish the game eventually, but for now I only enjoy about the first half of the game.

    But from a technical perspective I think its one of the most impressive games on the system. Its hard to believe a game so good was cancelled so late in development.

  6. #156
    Master of Shinobi Pyron's Avatar
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    i really think that this game is VERY VERY Overhated !

    its not good as the people want or dreamed, level design basic, visuals are very repetitive and you get bored to see the same assets and colors over all game,
    the pixel art is good and detailed but they created all the game assets thinking in the same base pallete to reuse colors, so everything uses the same brown, green and blue tones....
    the music makes also is not so good... anyway.. this overpriced cartigde is not for me...
    now i understand thats we dont´any good review of it out there

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  7. #157
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    I really dig the soundtrack, one of my favorite for the system, its sounds like a c64 and megadrive at the same time! Graphics are good imo, the only thing bringing it down is the cheap deaths

  8. #158
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingNameless One Pha's Avatar
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    Would anyone be aware of access to the sound test (and to the stage select) if it exists ?
    An innovative game on md/gs ? I vote for.

  9. #159
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    Just registered here to comment a bit on this game.

    Seems to me it was perhaps released a bit incomplete. Maybe they had to rush it to get something out at least? There are some weird things in things the game...

    • Title screen music does not loop at all.
    • Why show the currently equipped weapon when picking up a new one (as if asking whether to replace it) when you can carry all weapons at the same time anyway?
    • Feels like there should be at least one more cutscene screen between the levels, and the ending should be longer (or at least have some text instead of just a single picture before the credits).
    • A few jumping sections in the later levels feel truly random and unfair, not playtested enough?


    ...and also bugs in both the Japanese NTSC and the PAL version, played both on real hardware and in Kega Fusion or BlastEm on PC:

    • Sometimes the actual level music just doesn't begin when you spawn, instead the game keeps looping the level start jingle.
    • If you buy energy using coins from the terminals too fast (try holding down the "use" button or mashing it real fast), the energy variable can overflow and wrap around so you end up with almost zero health unless you spend even more coins to bring it back up.
    • Sometimes, rarely, the player character suddenly gets warped through normally solid floors to another location. Happened to me twice in the same spot in one of the last levels actually: got warped to the secret area near the bottom of the level when I used a bomb while shooting one of the cannons which shoot bouncing balls.
    • Sometimes, when respawning, the background graphics around the spawn location get corruped (at least until you die and respawn again). Happened to me near the beginning of the level which comes before the first factory area.
    • Sometimes the game will just hang. Happened to me once in the final factory levels when playing on a real console, and I think once before on one of the earlier levels when playing using an emulator.


    Especially the part where you have to jump between multiple floating platforms using the rockets that launch from the bottom of the screen in a seemingly random pattern sucks. Unless there's something obvious I'm missing, it's really diffcult or impossible to predict when some rockets will actually launch. The timing necessary for jumping from the last of the platforms back to ground also seems unfairly tight, and this is in the slower 50Hz version. (which btw. is probably the intended speed considering this game was developed by European demosceners)

    Funny how the game ROM is 2MB (16 Mbits), but almost exactly half of that space is just wasted (0xFF padding). The actual game data ends only a bit over 11kB (11344 bytes) after the 1MB (8Mbit) mark. At least going by the dump of the Japanese version that's floating around since unfortunately I don't have any means to dump cartridges by myself at the moment. I wonder if they reserved a lot of ROM space for the top-down sections, but in the end just nuked it all before release since they couldn't finish them in time. If so, I wish they had left the scraps in there so ROMhackers could possibly bring the top-down stages back. The game would surely feel more complete and less too short with them.

    Some screenshots and videos from the MegaSG show 1.2 instead of 1.0 in the title screen. I wonder if that version has some bugfixes missing from the cartridge versions... sucks if it does and they sold everyone who prefers the original systems and bought cartridges an unpatched version.

    In general a fun game though, despite the bugs and the kinda same-y environments and enemies repeated for almost the whole duration of it, and the music is really good. Probably not worth the current eBay prices for the PAL cart though, and maybe not even the Japenese cartridge price (a few Japanese sellers on eBay still sell the genuine NTSC J version for around 50 euros or dollars, international shipping included!). Myself, I'd still buy the carts again since I really like this kind of game and the music. Already played the PAL version to completion on my MD2 (without using continues even).

    Quote Originally Posted by Pha View Post
    Would anyone be aware of access to the sound test (and to the stage select) if it exists ?
    No builtin sound test or stage select exists (or they're well hidden).

    I figured out how to make the game play different song IDs on startup instead of the regular title song though, back in December, to record VGM files for submitting to Project2612. It's a one byte patch. In the dump of the Japanese cartridge version that's circulating, change byte at 0x4451 to the song ID you want. By default it's 0x0E which is the title screen music.

    That got stalled since I wanted to number and name the songs in the VGM pack exactly as they appear on the official soundtrack CD (and also because looping/tagging VGMs is dreadfully boring work), I don't have the CD and some of them are a bit difficult to match to the tracklist. Seems someone else has now made a pack (though not with CD track names) and posted it to both Youtube and Project2612 forums.

    I'm also really curious to see how many bytes really differ between the NTSC and PAL versions since they pulled this shit where you must buy the full vertical res PAL version -- which then isn't compatible with NTSC consoles -- separately. Too bad I don't have any means to dump carts myself. (I am not going to buy a Retrode or a MegaCD just to dump one cartridge)

  10. #160
    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dystopia View Post
    Funny how the game ROM is 2MB (16 Mbits), but almost exactly half of that space is just wasted (0xFF padding). The actual game data ends only a bit over 11kB (11344 bytes) after the 1MB (8Mbit) mark. At least going by the dump of the Japanese version that's floating around since unfortunately I don't have any means to dump cartridges by myself at the moment. I wonder if they reserved a lot of ROM space for the top-down sections, but in the end just nuked it all before release since they couldn't finish them in time. If so, I wish they had left the scraps in there so ROMhackers could possibly bring the top-down stages back. The game would surely feel more complete and less too short with them.
    To me that looks more like it was originally 1MB and then decided to run past it during the bugfixing before release (since nowadays there really isn't any point going with a chip below 4MB, in fact the smaller chips tend to be more expensive because they're less common).

  11. #161
    WCPO Agent Mad Moham's Avatar
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    Yeah, most of the games on the system have a lot of padding in the rom. Its unlikely that anything was planned with the extra space on the cart

  12. #162
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    I just checked the ROM in Tile Layer Pro, and the uncompressed graphics tiles for the Columbus Circle logo screen are stored near the end.

    So it's probably only the Japanese version which goes over 1MB due to the additional logo screen. (the PAL cart has no additional logos after the Digital Illusions screen, I'd guess US version works the same since it was also from SLG)

    Also, just checked a video of the Switch release on Youtube and that's labeled "V-1.0" on the main menu.

    (PAL cart is "MD-1.0", JP cart is "MJ-1.0" and MegaSG version in the YT playthrough I've seen is "SG-1.2", could of course be that SG-1.2 is really equivalent to the other 1.0s at least as far as bugs go and they had a "SG-1.0" at some point which had even more unfixed bugs)

    edit: oh yeah, I wish there was something like TapeDump for Mega Drive.

  13. #163
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher
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    It's not particularly hard to write, and instead of audio you could dump faster via a controller port to serial/parallel (to maybe usb for modern comps). However switching carts at runtime is risky, and for the cost of a cable and an usb adapter you could get one of the many dumping devices (Sanni's, krikzz Flashkit programmer...).

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by roce View Post
    It's not particularly hard to write, and instead of audio you could dump faster via a controller port to serial/parallel (to maybe usb for modern comps). However switching carts at runtime is risky, and for the cost of a cable and an usb adapter you could get one of the many dumping devices (Sanni's, krikzz Flashkit programmer...).
    Yeah, I'll probably try writing my own audio dumper at some point, but I am not really a good coder and have almost zero experience with 68k and the Mega Drive hardware (i386, C and PHP only).

    The PAL Ultracore cart is probably the only thing I'm ever going to dump since I don't have contacts to get cool protos or anything like that, so I would like to avoid paying for any hardware. Hotswapping cartridges indeed does always have slight risks, but I've done it a few times long ago (to get debug mode in Sonic 3 without S&K of course) and managed to get away with it.

    I actually have the old ToToTek MDPro flashcart plus the programmer for it, and could maybe be bothered to bring up an old PC with a parallel port to use it (indeed I'll have to if I get the audio dumper working since that's the only devcart I own), but for some reason they didn't design the programmer so that it could also dump original cartridges (their SNES flashcart's programmer can do it).

    Anyway, getting a bit off-topic here...

  15. #165
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher
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    You don't need much Genesis experience, you can write it in C entirely. The m68k can write to the sound chips, sgdk has easy functions at least for psg, so you could output data as beeps. Getting the code in one place, copied to RAM, and then jumping there does need some C-fu. Get SGDK and start with beeps in an emulator, and you're already half there.

    OT doesn't particularly matter here :P

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