Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Wesker

Saturn Doom regional differences

Recommended Posts

Hi

A couple of days ago, I got the Japanese version of Doom for the Sega Saturn. Since a long time, I always read how the Japanese release was superior to what appeared in Europe and North America, a bad port from the PlayStation version issued with slowdown and very poor framerate perfomance. Most people agreed than this problem was solved in the Japanese release because of its later release and extended development, so I have been looking for it until I could grab a cheap one, since it seems to be scarce and also has some demand behind it.

Well, having played it enough now, I have to say I don't really see the improvement. The game is still jerky and still has an inconsistent framerate, specially when there's a lot of enemies onscreen. Maybe I have to put this and any of the western versions running at the same time for a better appreciation of what most people have always pointed out, but even if there really is a fixout, it musn't be that much either. The game still gives that feel that it could have turned out much better, specially when compared to the other FPS's on the console (Hexen is enough in the regard, aside from the great Lobotomy efforts).

I would like to know, from people keen into the matter, if there really is an improvement in the Japanese release, or it's just some kind of urban myth. The only thing I can notice in the Japanese version (packaging differece aside) is that it has the link-up multiplayer modes the North American version lacked, but then again, they were also in the European version, and this one is pretty much identical to the North American one in gameplay perfomance.

Share this post


Link to post

Almost 100% of my Saturn Dooming has been on the US/NTSC version, but I have played around a little with the other editions, though it's been a few years.
I do not remember being impressed by any notable speed increase in the Japanese version.
Perhaps there's an improvement when playing on actual Japanese hardware, versus using the hack-in-box region-busting carts on US equipment... but I don't have high hopes.
Barring that, the original PlayStation Doom (which doesn't exactly break land-speed records itself) is still faster/smoother than all of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Ledmeister said:

Perhaps there's an improvement when playing on actual Japanese hardware, versus using the hack-in-box region-busting carts on US equipment... but I don't have high hopes.


I don't think that has anything to do. All the Sega Saturn hardware from different regions are essentially the same, without any subtle variation or upgrade that could improve the performance. Not even those that were licensed to other manufacturers in Japan like Hitachi and JVC should make a difference. And the way you load imports shouldn't make a difference either. I myself play them through a modded and switches-ready console instead than using import loader carts.

Interestingly, I just noticed another difference in the Japanese version: the music tracks are arranged in a different and more appropiated order than both the North American and European versions. I guess that's one benefit to consider at least.

Share this post


Link to post

I think I read somewhere that the PAL and JAP versions have deathmatch/coop, while the US version does not.

Share this post


Link to post
J-selva said:

I think I read somewhere that the PAL and JAP versions have deathmatch/coop, while the US version does not.


That's correct indeed, as I stated already.

Share this post


Link to post

Hiya! I have US Saturn Doom, and for a while I was checking all kinds of places for the Japanese copy to see if I could finally play a decent version of Doom on my favorite console. I did come across some YouTube action of someone playing the Japanese version, but I wasn't really impressed, even over YouTube it still looked like it ran shitty. The author claimed that he had both versions, and insisted the import played better.
I collect first-person games on Saturn, I own almost all of them, and I have to say Doom is by far the worst as far as performance goes. There's really no excuse for it. It will always be my dream to make a good Doom port on the godly Saturn, even if it takes me another 20 years.

Share this post


Link to post

If they are the YouTube videos I'm thinking of, then I'm not surprised you got a bad impression, since those videos are recorded facing the TV screen and look like crap shit. And aside from them, there's nothing else properly recorded from the Japanese version, only from either the North American or European version.

Some good source ports of Doom and Doom II for the Sega Saturn would be neat, especially if following the original PC layout of levels. To keep a little of the Saturn feeling, though, I would add the possibility of playing the source ports with the musics and sounds of the Sega Saturn (and PlayStation) version, like some mods do in modern PC source versions.

But at the moment, the most similar thing to this that it's being done is the hacking of the 32X version.

Share this post


Link to post
Wesker said:

I don't think that has anything to do.

Yah, me neither. ;)

I myself play them through a modded and switches-ready console instead than using import loader carts.

Nice. I'm pretty nonplussed with the few import carts I've tried. Is your rig a DIY or a purchase?

Interestingly, I just noticed another difference in the Japanese version: the music tracks are arranged in a different and more appropiated order than both the North American and European versions.

Yes. Interesting surprise, that was, when I tried cabling the JP and EU versions together, and different level music was coming out each TV. %)

Share this post


Link to post

I never really had a problem with how slow the Saturn port is. It is laughable at parts (Perfect Hatred) and plain annoying in others.

I think it is an O.K. port, but could be a hell of a lot better considering it was ported from the PSX.

Share this post


Link to post

Perfect Hatred is almost unplayable. In fact only a Doom fanatic would bother with that map at all. Other maps like Twilight Descends are right on the edge. Sometimes the game will go apeshit and all the walls will disappear, remain impassable, but projectiles will fly through them. I've had the textures all turn into white/brown blobs before.
The gravity is wrong, even the smallest change in floor height will produce a 'omph' from the player. Very rare occasions while playing with my Action Replay the screen fills with gibberish.

Share this post


Link to post
Use3D said:

Perfect Hatred is almost unplayable. In fact only a Doom fanatic would bother with that map at all.


Guess I'm a Doom fanatic then, I've played through the whole game twice so far.

Use3D said:

Sometimes the game will go apeshit and all the walls will disappear, remain impassable, but projectiles will fly through them.


Once at Hell Revealed, for the blue key room trap the walls went completely black. Another time they were completely see through, but still acted as a solid wall, creepy.

Share this post


Link to post
Ledmeister said:

Nice. I'm pretty nonplussed with the few import carts I've tried. Is your rig a DIY or a purchase?


It's a purchase from several years ago. Had no other choice, since I have always been unable to do this kind of hardware modification myself.

Share this post


Link to post

By the way, am I the only one who has always been annoyed by the fact that in this version, the Inferno episode levels in Ultimate Doom feature the cityscape skybox from the urban levels in Doom II?

I suppose that Rage wasn't able to replicate the impressive animated fire skybox that was in the PlayStation version without compromising even more the framerate. But seriously, what was the point of this skybox replacement choice that doesn't have any background sense? It would have been better to simply switch to the original red skybox from the PC version, even if it wasn't available in the PlayStation source.

Any tip about how this could be modified in the Sega Saturn version data?

Share this post


Link to post

Provided you can get at the original unencrypted data, quite possibly but there will likely be proprietary compression to deal with at the very least. Who know's you might be lucky and the devs didn't bother.

Share this post


Link to post
Wesker said:

By the way, am I the only one who has always been annoyed...

Any tip about how this could be modified in the Sega Saturn version data?


No, and the list is endless. Also you may want to give Kaiser a PM, he did extensive PSX Doom hacking and the data structures are very similar.

Share this post


Link to post

I've tried to mess around with the Saturn version's data on my computer, but there aren't any good programs for the Saturn that I've seen yet to really even view the data. The PSX has all sorts of tools (PSmplay, PSSound, etc.) that I wish the Saturn could have, but doesn't, at least that I know of.

Share this post


Link to post

Sadly that has (and likely always will be) the main problem with the Saturn. During it's active lifespan the Saturn didn't exactly have an extensive developer tool suite and many devs were forced to produce/source their own tools for a lot of what the PSX dev kit can do out of the box. Apparently the situation changed somewhat a year or so after the US Saturn release with the dev kits improving considerably but it still paled in comparison to the PSX dev kit.

It is my understanding that during this first phase practically all third party devs used a standard library from the dev kit for reading of data from disk.

This is meaningful because DOOM was released during this period and it is commonly believed that the standard library does no compression what so ever (FMV and RedBook audio (and other such data) is handled separately). Due to the Wad/lump file system used in DOOM this means that in all likelihood, if there is compression then it will be at lump level (and will probably be a standard/well-known algorithm if present).

My advice would be to take an image dump of the disk and explore it with various Hex tools. If the image data is indeed uncompressed you should be able to see something you recognise (e.g., sprites, textures...) simply by using a generic Hex image viewer.

DOOM64 for the N64 stores images as a set of individually compressed palletised (B5G5R5) nibble tiles to match the hardware texture limits and allow for quick upload. Now, I don't expect the same scheme is in use by DOOM on Saturn (as the video hardware is very different and thus has completely different (mostly higher) limits) but thats the sort of thing I'd be investigating.

However, as I said earlier - I seriously doubt there is any compression at all on the DOOM game data (no need, bags of space).

Share this post


Link to post
Use3D said:

The gravity is wrong, even the smallest change in floor height will produce a 'omph' from the player.


that sounds really annoying. It's good you cant play pwads with it.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for these detailed and extensive answers.

I'll look into the matter as soon as I have some spare time. Even if it's just a minor hacking, I would like to do it since at least it would recapture the ambience essence of those particular stages.

I'll also PM to Kaiser to see if he can be of some help.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×