Forbidden Siren 2 [PAL] to Siren 2 {NTSCJ] Translation

Started by Scrotal Recall, February 27, 2023, 03:35:24 AM

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Scrotal Recall

Good morning. I am currently trying to import the English subtitles/FMVs of Forbidden Siren 2 [PAL] ISO over to the Siren 2 [NTSCJ] ISO. Here is my current knowledge/understanding of everything so far:

- The Japanese version of Siren 2 runs at a smooth 30FPS/60Hz, whereas the PAL version of Siren 2 runs at 25FPS/50Hz.
        ! The PAL version of Siren 2 (Forbidden Siren 2) has worse input lag, and certain functions in-game don't
          work as well as its 30FPS/60Hz counterpart (such as quick-turning, crouch from run, sight-jack dialing, etc.)

- The PAL version of Siren 2 is/from DVD9, a dual-layer disc. This is something to consider if anyone plans to burn it
  to a backup DVD, as dual-layer DVDs won't fit onto a standard single-layer DVD disc.

- The PAL version of Siren 2 *WILL* crash during ANY FMV playback when the PAL ISO is converted to NTSC using various
  converters. This is due to FMVs not being encoded to play at 30FPS to match the new refresh rate. (There is FMV
  playback on the main menu, and after every "mission") Gameplay is fine, however, after having your backup ISO
  converted to NTSC.


- My goal is to either:

  A. Rip English subtitles and FMVs (with English subtitles) and insert them into the Siren 2 NTSC-J ISO, thus having
     English subtitles with Japanese voice acting (this feature is present on the PAL version of Siren 2, however the
     framerate/refresh rate is 25FPS/50Hz).

  B. Insert NTSC-J FMVs into the PAL Siren 2 ISO, thus (theoretically) having 30FPS/60Hz encoded FMVs - therefore,
     anyone could convert this version of their PAL ISO to NTSC and play the game without FMVs crashing their system of
     choice (PS2 OPL, PS2 Modchip, PS3/Jailbroken, PCSX2, etc.)

I do know that there were two separate ROM hacks for Forbidden Siren 2 [PAL]. Both fixed the bizarre font spacing, as well as fixed other various graphical issues within the game. I tried to download both patches and analyze them, but I couldn't gain any insight into doing what I need/want to do.

I have both the PAL and NTSC-J ISOs ripped to my desktop properly. I even have the DVD9 PAL ISO ripped and filed into a "dual-layer" folder structure. I have done a lot of research into trying to rip out the guts of each file/archive on each ISOs, but I'm stuck. What do I do, or where should I begin to look on how to do this?

I have downloaded various tools, and tried to get myself very familiar with them:

- Xpert Tools
- QuickBMS
- XDelta Patcher
- Apache 3/2 Sonix
- Adrenaline Patcher
- Spootnik's PAL to NTSC Converter

I know there are rip-kits that people used to compress the FMVs on Siren 2 [PAL], as well as removing all the extra language files to help get the ISO smaller to fit on a DVD5.

Maybe what I'm trying to do is as simple as using a kit to encode or somehow run the FMVs on the PAL ISO at 30FPS/60Hz, then using a PAL to NTSC converter to convert the rest of the game to 30FPS/60Hz.

What direction should I take this project in? What path would be easier to pull off? If I had a definite track to start on, I would begin to learn everything I could to make it happen.

Thank you in advance for any of your replies!

Quick Edit:
Several hours after I made this post, I finally broke ground into extracting all video files from both Forbidden Siren 2 PAL and Siren 2 NTSCJ. I was able to pull all .mpg files out of each ISO, and organize each ISO into a folder structure that will help me replace one with the other.

Since converting the PAL Forbidden Siren 2 into NTSC with a converter tool will also convert the audio to NTSC as well, this should *maybe* be a simple task of replacing all .mpg files of the PAL version with the 30FPS/60HZ NTSCJ version. Then I just need to figure out how to pack it all back up into the parent ROM.000, ROM.001, etc. files. I may be horribly wrong about all of this. Luckily, both the PAL and NTSCJ versions do not have any hard-coded subs on the .mpg files. Also, curiously enough, all in-game cutscenes that I thought were rendered in the in-game engine are actually .mpg files, too. This is the same for both the NTSCJ and PAL versions of the game. These "in-game" .mpg cut scenes also do not have any hard-coded subs, as well.

If all goes well, I will have a fully functioning version of Forbidden Siren 2/Siren 2 with 30FPS/60Hz gameplay AND cutscenes. The PAL version will now be the superior one, with the choice between English and Japanese audio and subs for five different languages. I hope to have this patch of sorts ready-made for anyone with a PAL backup of this game.

Wish me luck! I'm going to start the process of watching each (un-named) .mpg file of the NTSCJ and PAL versions, and matching them up with one another.

Another quick edit:

I forgot to mention - all of the cutscene/.mpg files are without audio (which is great!). Whenever the audio is selected at the beginning of the PAL Siren 2, that audio is then overlayed onto every cutscene.

Another quick edit 2:

Using a PAL to NTSC converter to convert the PAL ISO does, in fact, NOT bring the audio in line with the 30FPS/60Hz cut-scenes from the NTSCJ version. Work continues.


An English version of Siren 2 with 60hz support would be cool.

I wonder how possible it would be to transfer the subtitle data from 2 to 1, as 1 does not have subtitles, but does have a text pop up when you pick up items. A hack of 1 with Japanese audio + subtitles would be nice to see come to fruition.

Scrotal Recall

This is very doable. I've been trying to figure out how to re-pack all the converted .mpg files back into their respective archives. It's like a Russian stacking doll kind of thing. I've been learning a lot about how the PS2 scales certain images and graphics to the TV, as well as collecting a lot of tools from dead forums. It's actually been a fun learning experience. I even started to read the intros to Hex editing from the recommendations when you sign up for this site.

So, with PCSX2, there is a new texture dump/replace feature. This could theoretically be used to replace subtitle data from one to the other, but it would be garbled non-sense sadly. That was one of the first things I tried with the Siren series.

I agree with you, though. Having patched backups of both Siren and Siren 2 with a plethora of subtitle languages to choose from, as well as the choice between Japanese audio/others, would be great. A true, multi-regional version of these two cult-classics has been a dream of mine for years. I even went so far as to purchase a PAL PS2 back in 2014 while I was in college just to play Forbidden/Siren 2, along with a pretty sub-par composite-to-HDMI converter. I'm working with a true-blue back up ISO of my copy from years ago, along with an admittedly not-so-true-blue back up of the NTSC-J version of Siren 2.

Hearing about the amazing work on the reverse-engineered PC ports of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Perfect Dark have filled me up with so much hope and inspiration that I'm willing to sit down and learn anything I have to to get this done.

Back on the topic of the weird Frankenstein-ish thing I'm doing: it's been going okay so far. I did a small test after I was able to finally find the intro FMV/.mpg nested within nests, and it booted up pretty okay in the most recent nightly of PCSX2. I re-inserted the re-encoded FMV/.mpg back into the .riff, then that .riff back into the ROM.000 archive. Other than how I hastily encoded that FMV to 29.97 FPS (the exact frame-rate this specific game needs its FMVs to be to avoid audio de-sync crashes), there were no issues getting through the intro cinematic and sitting at the main menu.

This "spliced" thing won't boot on real PS2 hardware, I imagine. There's still the issue of the PAL Siren 2 being a dual-layer image, and the issue of getting the file-sizes just right so that certain things I can't access within the ISO don't complain about an .mpg being off by just a kilobyte.

At this point, a full-on translation of the NTSC-J Siren 2 seems like a much more sensible route. No re-encoding anything, no digging through each archive-within-an-archive to find FMVs to re-encode, etc. Just a straight-up translation of the Japanese characters/subtitles with help from the PAL version.

Whew, kind of a long-winded response but I'm determined to make this happen one way or the other. If anyone knows or is seeing this, what would be a good path to start on with a translation on a Playstation 2 game?


Have you reached out to Hilltop? He has begun PS2 work and did one successfully

Siren 2 for 60hz English would be absolutely incredible, to this day no one can get PAL to play nice



agreed. I fell down a rabbit hole on confirming the censorship of siren games. first has 2 scenes censored, and screams were altred a bit. 2 i dident see any, but would greatly benefit being 60hz, its a noticeable different between regions.


Definitely. I much prefer the original over Blood Curse which felt a bit Westernised so a uncensored translation hack of the first game + 60hz English hack for 2 would be awesome.