Hacking Michigan (PS2) for videos lost due to glitchy localization

Started by RetroProf, June 25, 2012, 11:17:41 AM

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Wow, now that's a title.

Michigan Report from Hell is a videogame by Suda 51 of Grasshopper Manufacture:

It was released in Japan and had a tiny budget release in Europe, in English. Never released in the USA. Unfortunately 505 Game Street introduced a serious menu glitch during localisation.

The plot is bat**** insane, but during gameplay there are meant to be 4 videos you can find, which can then be viewed from the Theatre section in the Extras menu. Except clicking on it instead drops you into the pole-dancing extra the game features. The Theatre mode is entirely inaccessible.

It wouldn't matter, except the 4 bonus videos which explain the plot can only be accessed through the Theatre mode. I suppose a patch could be made to correct the menu bug, but I'm hoping there's an option to rip the video files from the disc. I recently rebought the game, and it's scratched to hell, but hopefully there is a way to get into it and extract the files. Then I can put it on Youtube.

What is the recommended procedure for this? Is it even possible? Will the files be read in something like VLC player afterwards?

Popping the DVD in my PC shows a "movie" folder with 4 x 700mb BIN files.

These are the inaccessible video files according to a GameFAQs guide.
Level 12 (Club "Gotchi")     Videotape: Meteor.
Level 5 (Brody Nursing Home) Videotape: Shooting.
Level 15 (24-Station)        Videotape: Interrogation.
Level 10 (Von Erich Library) Videotape: Paula's rampage.

Turns out the BIN files can be read in VLC player, but they're silent. They appear to be every video from the game in one long sequence. Is this some kind of propriety format the PS2 uses? Is there a way to activate the audio? Is the sound perhaps stored as a separate file on the disc? Looks like this might be easier than I thought!


I had some videos before (not from a game, from a cell phone I think) that apparently didn't have sound, but when I converted them to another format, voila, there was sound. So, you may give that a try.


Thanks, I'll look into that.

The other BIN files are the same video except with subtitles in different languages, so if I'm unable to get the audio working I'll just screengrab the Spanish subtitles and put them online - better than nothing I suppose.


The movies on PS2 should be something near an MPEG2 format and that's why VLC can play them.
Try rename those files to PSS and try use the PSS tools you can find HERE

You will need probably some ASM hack to fix the wrong jump/link in the menu.

By the way, the movie theather  is not the only thing that got lost since the japanese version.
In the japanese version you have one more reporter with her secret cards as you can hear HERE.


I can't quite remember, but I think I used something like PSPlex or something to rip the videos for Beet the Vandel Buster: Darkness Century for PS2.

There were two programs I used. One ripped the video and audio into separate files, and then I used another one to merge them.  I thought I found both programs here. If not, I googled ripping PS2 videos.  Not much help, but it IS something that can be done.


Excellent, thank you gentlemen. I shall look into using the PSS tools. Currently I'm playing through the game again to take screens for a planned article, and will then work on the video. If I can get it to work I'll put it on youtube (or bits of it), otherwise I might screengrab the subtitled version and make a gallery.

Too bad the subs are only in French, Italian and Spanish. Good thing I know a fluent French speaker!


I have to oppose my own tip, PSS will not work.
I played around a bit and it's looking like MOVIE_E contains 34 videos in MPG2 640x448 @30f/s.
You can open that file and you will see a header that look like a pointer table, after that there is a series of 00 and then the actual first movie start with his header. Just search for "%encoded by TMPGEnc (ver." to find the header of each sub-movie.
I don't know if there is sound embedded anywhere but for the moment I didn't hear it in any player/program.

I was trying to find the japanese version (without success) because maybe it's more easy to convert that version than correct the Pal version.


I see. I just popped online now to grab the PSS progs, but won't bother now. Thanks for checking. :)

The disc also has a sound folder, with a 500mb GVGDATAE.BIN file. I'm wondering if that contains the audio? Is there a specific file I should root around for?

The Japanese version has the movie theatre mode accessible, but it's in Japanese. The point with this is that it's in English. I'll screengrab the subtitled foreign vids (probably French) and see about getting the subs translated. It's only 4 videos which are inaccessible in-game.


I didn't try the game but I heared something about a language selector.
Maybe it's possible to switch the files between PAL and JAP version.
There would only be the Mei Ling part left untranslated.
Anyway before i get my hands on the japanese version, I can not try it.

About the sound, well, if the folder say so it's probably correct and there are good chances that it's the movie audio because from what I know, there is no music in the game. Try rename it to .wav and open it with VLC but i doubt it will be so simple.


Hmm, the language selector I think refers to the English/Fre/Ita/Spa on the EU release. Considering that 505 Games added 4 entire video clip for subtitles, which are hardcoded onto the video as opposed to being overlaid, I have the feeling it wouldn't be as simple as swapping files around. They basically have 4 x 700mb files, just for the cinemas. That's like 2.8 gigs on what's probably a 4.7 gig DVD (assuming PS2 single-layer capacity is the same as commercial DVD-R).

I tried all kinds of stuff with the audio file (which was also a BIN extension), but no dice. Couldn't get anything out of it. Even tried importing it into Audacity as a raw file. It produced audio, but it was this weird creepy wailing and static.

I've screengrabbed and translated all the text from the secret videos, and gave a little thanks to RHDN. The article will be up on HG101 in a couple of weeks. I'd link to it now, but we're still debating just how saucy we're going to make some of the screenshots.

If anyone is interested, here's the dialogue:

Wait! Don't Shoot! Please! No, please!
Fine. I'll talk. I'll tell you, but don't kill me!
Don't you know more than I do?
You were the actors, who were on the front of the stage!
I was just a prop. Wait! Don't shoot!

How would I know if there's a connection between the government and Zaka Group?
A relationship between Roy Sanders and Debora Flair?
I don't know who that guy is! How can I explain?
It was all a set-up? What are you talking about?
Obviously not! The information on new biochemical weapons is true! Oh! Damn!


Well, there are 2 ways to exchange things:
-the hard coded movies into the japanese version so that you could see the video but have to navigate the japanese menu (size don't matter, what matters is the length and the sequence of the movies).
-move the japanese executable to the PAL version and maybe have a full working PAL game but with some parts untranslated (it's a longshot).
Anyway without the japanese version all this is useless and if you already solved, it's ok.

July 11, 2012, 04:05:13 PM - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)

I was surfing around and I still got Michigan in my head.
I found out 2 other things:
-there is a PAL russian version but I don't know how well that version is working.
-HERE you can download some movies from the original site.


Well, this is a close enough fix for the problem. Having now seen the movies, I'm a little disappointed. FAQ writers and player speculation at the time implied these would be real eye openers, but they're more weird than anything. Still, we've made the article live now, so I can link to it.

Page with lost video footage:

Thanks for the help Auryn.


Just wanted to say thanks for your efforts on this.  Michigan is a pretty unique game so it's nice to see it featured, especially when it involves digging up lost stuff.
weird video game comic translations: