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Author Topic: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue  (Read 4656 times)

FUTURA

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So I own a Mega Drive Arcade Ultimate Portable, one of these:



I am trying to get the game Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety working on this handheld but there is a problem.

The rom itself boots fine and loads up to the main menu.

However when you select 1 player or 2 player, the game just freezes forcing me to restart my handheld.

This is the screen I cannot get past since it crashes when selecting either option:



I have attempted to fix the issue myself to no avail.

What I've tried:

- Making sure the rom is a .bin file (which this handheld prefers).
- trying out different versions of the game rom.
- fixing the checksums and adjusting the rom headers and switching regions to test all kinds.

The game roms run completely fine on my Fusion emulator on my PC, and doesn't freeze up after selecting 1 player.

I have a feeling this might require something more drastic like modifying the rom somehow so that the emulator built into my handheld can run it smoothly. I am not skilled with any of that though, or have the faintest idea how to do that.

Is there anything else I can do to try and get this game working completely and smoothly on this handheld device?
« Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 05:50:36 pm by FUTURA »
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Anime_World

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2020, 06:25:29 am »
Don't test using Fusion! Try picodrive or gens.

FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2020, 09:40:13 am »
Don't test using Fusion! Try picodrive or gens.

I loaded the rom that freezes on the menu into PicoDrive for Windows and it works fine, it doesn't freeze up on the menu.

I loaded the same rom into gens and it too works fine, doesn't freeze up at all and works fine. So I am still just as stuck as before.
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Anime_World

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2020, 09:45:03 pm »
So, if works in gens and picodrive. Your handheld is the problem.

Try to update your software with Neto's Mega drive Menu

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2020, 11:01:57 pm »
It sounds like the problem is probably that it is an AtGames device.
I don't think I've used one but they are notorious for being among the worst devices to play Genesis games.
So it's a blind guess what they could've done wrong here.
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FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2020, 09:22:12 am »
So, if works in gens and picodrive. Your handheld is the problem.

Try to update your software with Neto's Mega drive Menu

It still freezes playing it through NETO which I already have on the device.

I think the rom requires a patch for it, only it's pretty hard to debug when almost every emulator runs it fine.
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FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2020, 09:56:40 am »
It sounds like the problem is probably that it is an AtGames device.
I don't think I've used one but they are notorious for being among the worst devices to play Genesis games.
So it's a blind guess what they could've done wrong here.

There was a similar problem with Super Bubble Bobble. It loaded on the menu and froze there. However I found a rare version of the rom that had been "fixed" and loads fine on the handheld. So I was able to make an IPS Patch from it. So if that game can be fixed then I'm sure this one also can be.
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Jorpho

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2020, 11:28:39 am »
There was a similar problem with Super Bubble Bobble. It loaded on the menu and froze there. However I found a rare version of the rom that had been "fixed" and loads fine on the handheld. So I was able to make an IPS Patch from it. So if that game can be fixed then I'm sure this one also can be.
If you think that's related, then it seems to me the obvious thing to do is to compare the patched version of Super Bubble Bobble with the unpatched version, determine what was changed, and see if there is a similar sequence of bytes in Spider-Man that can also be changed.  You might have to get a disassembler program involved.

I've never heard of Spider-Man using any particularly exotic programming techniques, but then it's hardly an especially popular game. TCRF notes that there is a level select code; does the crash still happen if you use that?
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FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2020, 11:45:00 am »
If you think that's related, then it seems to me the obvious thing to do is to compare the patched version of Super Bubble Bobble with the unpatched version, determine what was changed, and see if there is a similar sequence of bytes in Spider-Man that can also be changed.  You might have to get a disassembler program involved.

I've never heard of Spider-Man using any particularly exotic programming techniques, but then it's hardly an especially popular game. TCRF notes that there is a level select code; does the crash still happen if you use that?

I haven't the faintest idea how to disassemble it or compare them. I did however recently upload the Super Bubble Bobble fixed IPS patch to the Romhacking Hacks section here: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/5602/  so perhaps someone else will be able to take the IPS patch and make comparisons.

I did try straight up using that IPS patch with Separation Anxiety but nothing changed.

I did also try the level select code since it does allow you to enter passwords still, however upon selecting a level, it freezes.

It's odd since Maximum Carnage works just fine on the handheld.

As for Super Bubble Bobble, I found a Youtube video where some described how to fix it:

*Note: Super Bubble Bobble needs to be patched to play correctly.

Sorgelig's Patching notes:
There are several (probably Chinese) releases having primitive protection against dumps. They have some fixed bytes far from ROM space.
It's easy to make a workaround.
For example, the game Super Bubble Bobble needs the following bytes:
400000 : 55
400001 : 00
400002 : 0F
400003 : 00

You just need to copy original ROM (1MB) 4 times to new file to make it 5MB and at the end add the bytes I've written above.

That's all - game works.

I don't know if anyone can try this with Separation Anxiety making the comparisons etc.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2020, 07:06:01 pm by FUTURA »
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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2020, 08:08:59 pm »
You just need to copy original ROM (1MB) 4 times to new file to make it 5MB and at the end add the bytes I've written above.
Well, if you want to try that with Separation Anxiety, you can use the Windows command line.

Locate the folder where your ROM is stored.  Hold down Shift, right-click the folder, and select "Open command window here".  Then, assuming your ROM is named "spider.bin", type
Code: [Select]
copy /b spider.bin+spider.bin+spider.bin+spider.bin+spider.bin bigspider.bin
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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2020, 09:04:56 pm »
Well, if you want to try that with Separation Anxiety, you can use the Windows command line.

Locate the folder where your ROM is stored.  Hold down Shift, right-click the folder, and select "Open command window here".  Then, assuming your ROM is named "spider.bin", type
Code: [Select]
copy /b spider.bin+spider.bin+spider.bin+spider.bin+spider.bin bigspider.bin

For the hell of it I made a folder, renamed the actual rom to "spider.bin" and executed that code. It didn't work, threw up an error with red letters. Plus, how does that command add the "extra bytes"?
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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2020, 11:39:00 pm »
For the hell of it I made a folder, renamed the actual rom to "spider.bin" and executed that code. It didn't work, threw up an error with red letters.
It "threw up an error with red letters" in Windows, or when you tried to use the ROM on your Mega Drive portable? Windows generally doesn't display errors with red letters, at least not on the command line.

Quote
Plus, how does that command add the "extra bytes"?
Ah, quite right - it does not. I misread that line.  There's really no reason to expect that Separation Anxiety should use the same extra bytes anyway.  Never mind.
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FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2020, 09:44:37 am »
It "threw up an error with red letters" in Windows, or when you tried to use the ROM on your Mega Drive portable? Windows generally doesn't display errors with red letters, at least not on the command line.

When I right-clicked the folder I chose the option that was there which was to open a poweshell menu on the folder which was like a blue command prompt and I executed the code and it threw up red text saying there was an error with the command.

I guess it's pointless since the whole byte thing wouldn't be in it.
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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2020, 10:13:08 am »
When I right-clicked the folder I chose the option that was there which was to open a poweshell menu on the folder which was like a blue command prompt
Yes, Powershell is completely different from the standard command prompt and things requiring the command prompt will probably not work in Powershell.  For future reference.
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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2020, 10:51:29 am »
Yes, Powershell is completely different from the standard command prompt and things requiring the command prompt will probably not work in Powershell.  For future reference.

I'm on Windows 10 so the "Open Command Window Here" option wasn't available. I followed steps to add that option back, and so I was able to execute the code.

I did the same thing, renaming the ROM to "spider.bin" and creating "bigspider.bin".

When selecting it on the handheld, it takes a long time to load and when it does load it is only a black screen, the menu doesn't load. I guess the bytes would fix that somehow.

I guess that avenue has officially been explored.
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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2020, 07:19:15 pm »
Games can fail to work (especially on crappy hardware) for many reasons.
You need to stop the assumption that something that makes game X work will make game Y work as well.

The same with your Pac-Man report as well. The header tells us nothing, nor does it matter if a similar game works and the other doesn't. What you are asking is for people who know how to disassemble the game code (itself not a quick task) and then blindly guess what sort of game programming might be too difficult for your fly-by-night designed device to handle.

From the Super Bubble Bobble bootleg, it seems they considered the Genesis will mirror the ROM.
I'm guessing that the game trying to read more than 4MB, or at address $400000 and beyond will break it on an official Genesis console with a Sega CD attached as well.

Super Bubble Bobble is obviously a pirate game, which means we should assume it had no program quality standards.
Separation Anxiety is a game by a professional licensed developer, and if it would break on a real console with Sega CD attached (by reading a bad memory region), it surely would've been called out at the time of release.
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FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2020, 07:50:39 pm »
Games can fail to work (especially on crappy hardware) for many reasons.
You need to stop the assumption that something that makes game X work will make game Y work as well.

The same with your Pac-Man report as well. The header tells us nothing, nor does it matter if a similar game works and the other doesn't. What you are asking is for people who know how to disassemble the game code (itself not a quick task) and then blindly guess what sort of game programming might be too difficult for your fly-by-night designed device to handle.

From the Super Bubble Bobble bootleg, it seems they considered the Genesis will mirror the ROM.
I'm guessing that the game trying to read more than 4MB, or at address $400000 and beyond will break it on an official Genesis console with a Sega CD attached as well.

Super Bubble Bobble is obviously a pirate game, which means we should assume it had no program quality standards.
Separation Anxiety is a game by a professional licensed developer, and if it would break on a real console with Sega CD attached (by reading a bad memory region), it surely would've been called out at the time of release.

I downloaded a ROM of Waterworld (Prototype) and ran it on my handheld. It played fine so I had no problems with it. Then when doing research for these games I mentioned here, I noticed that Waterworld was on a list of incompatible games for the handheld. It didn't make much sense to me since it worked fine for me on my handheld.

I went to check this and all of a sudden the game stopped working and that very same rom no longer works, and acts the way MS Pac-Man does (is just a black screen). So I think you are right in the instance that it can be a case of botched emulation. If they had made the handheld correctly in the first place then there wouldn't be any issues with any of the game roms.

I guess the fact that a game was fixed and now works that didn't before gave me a little bit of hope. I'm sorry if I offended anyone.
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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2020, 12:14:49 am »
Try with the last Neto's bootloader:
https://www.neto-games.com.br/rom_hack/Neto_Boot_Loader_v1_46a_e.rar

All these roms use the same engine:
 - Spiderman and Xmen Arcade Revenge
 - Spiderman vs Kingpin
 - Maximum Carnage
 - Separation Anxiety

Can you check them?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 12:22:42 am by Anime_World »

FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2020, 09:31:21 am »
Try with the last Neto's bootloader:
https://www.neto-games.com.br/rom_hack/Neto_Boot_Loader_v1_46a_e.rar

All these roms use the same engine:
 - Spiderman and Xmen Arcade Revenge
 - Spiderman vs Kingpin
 - Maximum Carnage
 - Separation Anxiety

Can you check them?

That version of Boot Loader is the version I currently have.

Maximum Carnage I know works, since I've already beaten the entire game on my handheld.

Spider-Man & X-Men works fine.

Spider-Man vs Kingpin works fine too.

And for good measure: Spider-Man The Animated Series also works fine.

It's only Separation anxiety that doesn't want to load beyond the menu.
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FUTURA

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Re: Spider-Man and Venom Separation Anxiety Genesis/Mega Drive Portable Issue
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2021, 10:27:30 am »
An odd thing happened. I recently went back to retry this, and the Two Player option actually loads into gameplay now, where it didn't before.

So I used the password option to enter level select, and selected "Two Player" when going into a level.

I tested by choosing "Carnage's Resting Place" on level select, as Two Player, and it loaded me right into the level.

The only issue is that since it is two player, I cannot move beyond the very first section of the level as I cannot control the second character Venom to move with Spider-Man.

It's just the "One Player" selection on the menu and on the level select that causes the entire game to freeze.

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