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Author Topic: NES PAL to NTSC hacks  (Read 17662 times)

vx

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NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« on: June 06, 2013, 01:27:01 am »
A problem I have never had with emus was playing PAL & NTSC roms, but since I got a flash cart (the new Everdrive N8) PAL games play but the speed is wrong.

There are only a handful of PAL roms I care about, but is there an easy way to apply an NTSC fix to it considering it's the speed?
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KingMike

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 08:30:26 am »
No, it would probably have to be hacked for each game.

(I suppose it's good for any such hacking project there's only around 30 or so "PAL-exclusive" NES games. Only a handful if one counts games not released on Famicom either.)
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Satoshi_Matrix

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 04:53:13 am »
The problem is that the PAL NES stupidly has a slightly slower processor at 1.66Mhz vs the NTSC NES and Famicom's 1.79. If you thus play PAL NES games on a NTSC system (real hardware or emulators that don't emulate PAL mode) all aspects of a game will be 17% faster than it should be, which includes the music since the 2A03 sound processor is also the cpu.

Moreover, there are also some PAL games that experience major glitches if played on an NTSC console such as Elite or Noah's Ark.

For those PAL games to function properly in NTSC they would have to be reprogrammed entirely for NTSC speed. Since nobody's jumped on that in 15 years of romhacking, I don't think it likely to see such hacks prop up any time soon.

Bregalad

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2013, 08:19:49 am »
Quote
The problem is that the PAL NES stupidly has a slightly slower processor at 1.66Mhz vs the NTSC NES and Famicom's 1.79. If you thus play PAL NES games on a NTSC system (real hardware or emulators that don't emulate PAL mode) all aspects of a game will be 17% faster than it should be,
Wrong, the speed difference is because of the screen refesh rate (50 Hz <-> 60 Hz) and is not due to CPU speed. This is not specific to NES, too.

Quote
which includes the music since the 2A03 sound processor is also the cpu.
However yes, the sound pitch is affected because of the CPU rate differences.This doesn't happen for example on SNES because the SPC700 have the same clock on both PAL and NTSC, but the screen refresh rates still affects the game's global framerate.

The sound tempo is affected in games that didn't compensate it manually, because most (i.e. 99.9%) NES games use vertical blanking to run their sound driver. On more modern consoles this is rarely the case anymore, therefore the sound speed is not affected by region.

Myria

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2013, 03:40:15 am »
What are some of the games you'd want to convert?  Elite is the only one I can think of.  Its original NTSC hack (made by the original game's author) isn't quite fully converted, if I remember correctly.

What good games were only released in Europe?  Dd someone translate Mr. Gimmick Japanese version already?

Vague Rant

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 07:40:36 am »
There's really nothing to translate in the Japanese version of Gimmick beyond the title screen, but if that bothers you enough, there's also a North American proto.

Ufouria has a patch to fix the music speed, but the pitch is still off, apparently. A better option is probably to use BMF and RahanAkero's translation of the original Hebereke.

Other than that, I'm not sure there's much in the way of exciting PAL exclusives. Probotector (robot Contra) is entirely unoptimised for PAL (slow music and all), so it works just fine running on NTSC.

EDIT: According to this list, there were 33 PAL exclusives. In terms of the potentially interesting titles, there's Devil World, Mario Bros. (Classic Series), Over Horizon, Parasol Stars (different game to the American release), Parodius, Road Fighter, Rodland and Super Turrican.

On the maybe pile, there's Banana Prince (German-only, probably no better than Japanese for most), Noah's Ark (I can't stand it, maybe people want to play it though) and Rackets & Rivals (just a tennis game, but has four-player support). As an extra, there's also that Donkey Kong complete edition from anniversary Wiis.

I have no idea how many of these need or already have fixes, are already "English enough" in their Famicom releases or have translations, etc. Sorry if I ignored any games people care about.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 08:34:11 am by Vague Rant »
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Jorpho

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2013, 09:21:19 am »
I hear the PAL version of NES Dragon's Lair is actually vaguely playable, unlike the NTSC version.
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KingMike

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2013, 10:53:21 am »
Licensed PAL NES games not released in North America, total 35 games

Aladdin
Asterix (I thought this was announced for NA, but maybe it was the also PAL-only SNES game I was thinking of. But no NTSC ROM regardless.)
Aussie Rules Footy
Banana Prince (DE/JP)
Beauty & the Beast (announced for NA, but never released)
Championship Rally (AU, Exciting Rally in JP)
Crackout (FDS port)
Devil World (SCN/JP)
Dropzone
Elite
F-1 Sensation (EU/JP)
Hammerin' Harry (Daiku no Gensan JP)
International Cricket
Kick Off
Konami Hyper Soccer
Legend of Prince Valient
Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque (FR Saint Seiya: Ougon Densetsu)
Lion King
Mario Bros. (Classic Serie)
Mr. Gimmick (SCN/JP)
New Ghostbusters II (Many know this is different than Activision's Ghostbusters II. I think EU got both games. EU/JP, NA prototype ROM exists.)
Noah's Ark
Over Horizon (EU/JP)
Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III
Parodius (EU/JP)
Rackets & Rivals
Rainbow Islands (Ocean's PAL version is different that Taito's NTSC versions)
Road Fighter (SLIGHTLY better graphics than JP version, still not sure what Konami was thinking releasing such a simple game seven years after the Famicom version)
Rodland (ES/IT/JP only?)
Smurfs
Super Mario Bros./Nintendo World Cup/Tetris
Super Turrican
Tecmo World Cup Soccer (not the same game as Tecmo Cup Soccer Game aka Captain Tsubasa)
Trolls in Crazyland (EU and JP. Announced and canceled both without and with the Trolls license for NA. Can't remember if a proto ROM of either version ever got released.)
Ufouria (Hebereke)

The Japanese and PAL versions of Dragon's Lair both use VROM in place of VRAM in the NA version, which reduces the slowdown. But for some reason the Japanese version put jump on the Up button, which is even more annoying than pressing B.

I do have a copy of the Ocean version of Rainbow Islands, and I played it on my top-loader NES. Strangely the music actually sounds better at the wrong speed. :)
Though I haven't played it enough, I suspect that playing on an NTSC console will result in the timer ticking faster than it should.

EDIT: How could I forgot Rodland, what was once considered the rarest PAL game (not sure how it actually ranks compared to Mr. Gimmick).
And I forgot Dropzone! I briefly had that cart as well in a shipping mixup. That one would need an NTSC fix. In the HUD, half the scanlines for the score font are missing.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 12:33:30 am by KingMike »
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Ness

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 09:53:52 am »
The problem is that the PAL NES stupidly has a slightly slower processor at 1.66Mhz vs the NTSC NES and Famicom's 1.79. If you thus play PAL NES games on a NTSC system (real hardware or emulators that don't emulate PAL mode) all aspects of a game will be 17% faster than it should be, which includes the music since the 2A03 sound processor is also the cpu.

It is interesting to know that some games had "good" PAL conversions in which the speed was fixed to play at the correct one and not 17% slower. To my knowledge it's the case for SMB3 and Blue Shadow, iirc Mr. Gimmick too though I'm not sure, but there is probably others too although it's still rare (I gave up on PAL a long time ago except for PAL exclusives).

It is also interesting to know that the PAL version of SMB1 actually runs FASTER than the NTSC versions natively on PAL systems (and which makes it more fun that way imo), so if you played a PAL SMB1 on an NTSC machine it would run EVEN faster!

I have a soft spot for Astérix and The Smurfs because I had them as a kid. I think they're really fun. They both have great graphics and musics and solid gameplay.
 The Smurfs is better than Astérix because it's longer, harder, and actually has real bosses and more variety in gameplay.

Chpexo

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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 03:19:48 pm »
.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 10:34:50 am by Chpexo »

Revenant

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 06:29:11 pm »
Super Turrican is, if I remember right, designed to run correctly on both PAL and NTSC hardware and will adjust itself to run at (almost) the correct speed on an NTSC NES.

A while ago Acmlm made a NTSC fixed version of Asterix which optimized some of the game's code, allowing it to run glitch-free with a shorter vblank interval (the original game suffers severe glitching if you attempt to run it on a NTSC NES, because the vblank period ends earlier than the game normally needs it to). I don't know if there's a patch available for download anywhere, but it's been done.

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 11:19:01 am »
Quote
Rainbow Islands (Ocean's PAL version is different that Taito's NTSC versions)

Oceans version was miles better than the NTSC versions largely due to them implementing the various bonus items, that and allowing you to throw 3 rainbows at once.  Even though they didn't use the proper somewhere over the rainbow theme.

Road Fighter (SLIGHTLY better graphics than JP version, still not sure what Konami was thinking releasing such a simple game seven years after the Famicom version)
Crackout (FDS port)

Some reviews from back then.
Roadfighter
Crackout

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KingMike

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 12:37:57 am »
I realized I missed one more Japanese/PAL-only game that gets overlooked (even that site previously linked missed it): Tecmo World Cup.

Probably because it's another generic soccer game, but also because the title is so similar to Tecmo Cup Soccer Game (localized Captain Tsubasa). Last I looked at James Rolfe's collection page, he didn't know the difference between the two either (a box from one game and a cart from the other).
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Psyklax

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2013, 03:58:50 pm »
Wasn't Micro Machines PAL only? I loved that game... then again it did get released on Genesis/MD and SNES too, so it's not so unique, but I always have to switch it to PAL mode when playing it in the emulator.

KingMike

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Re: NES PAL to NTSC hacks
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 05:51:18 pm »
No, it was released in North America.
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