Category Archives: PlayStation

South Park

South Park 1998 PC N64

The game based on the popular TV show, came out very early in the shows life, along with a hit number 1 single

Story mode does not make for a good game, with the enemies being repetitive to the point of tediousness. The first level starts you off in your home town where you are attacked by deranged Turkey’s (who have the most horrible sound effect, and it’s horrendous if there’s 3 or more enemies present) and throughout the first three levels its just ongoing Turkey’s, with the occasional cow thrown in (only on the PC version, I’ve not seen the cow in the console versions on this level).

South Park 1998 PC N64
A Tank version of the turkey.

On the next stage you encounter Tank enemies which are larger Turkey’s that have the ability to spawn more turkeys that will attack. The tank’s have much more health than regular turkeys and will start to run into the beginning of the level when their health goes below 30%. If a tank manages to make it to the start point of a level, than another stage will need to be completed after you complete the level, where you have to kill the tank enemies that escaped, with a replenished health bar. You will need to do this before they destroy the town, of which depends on how many tanks had escaped. For this reason its a good idea to kill the tanks in the main game, since you are going to have to beat them regardless. What’s frustrating to me is they speed run back to the start of the level, meaning you have to chase them whilst firing, and causing you to backtrack. This makes the level much more tedious since you hare going through areas you have already passed.

South Park 1998 PC

The next levels don’t change much, replacing the turkeys with clones, robots, aliens and moving toys, however its mostly the same type of enemy throughout the level which become boring fast. Some of the later enemies becoming literal bullet sponges, taking 20-30 hits before they go down.

The multiplayer on the other hand is rather fun, playing as a regular FPS with a interesting selection of guns. The console versions let you play with two players, whilst the PC version supports LAN netplay. If there is one reason to play this game, its for the multiplayer mode.

The Nintendo 64 version has 17 different maps to choose from, all with a variety of weapons. The PC version has the most maps, with 26 in total This includes all the N64 maps, plus some PC exclusive maps. PlayStation has an alerted version of the multiplayer mode, discussed in its section.

Nintendo 64

The first release of the game, and was the best version of the game until the PC version, however it remains the most accessible. Multiplayer supports up to four players on one console with a range of multiplayer options, including deathmatch. This version also features a high score table and supports 16:9 aspect ratio and a ‘High-Res’ mode with the use of the expansion pack.

Downside to this version is the significant frame drops when there’s a lot of action on the screen, and the short draw distance being disguised as fog.

Below is running on Retroarch Mupen64plus with Angrylion RSP plugin, I do own a copy of the PAL version of the game, but my N64 is one of those models that only supports composite out (No RGB or even S-Video, way to go Nintendo)

PlayStation

Released a year later (1999) and used a revised soundtrack compared to the MIDI N64 version, the cutscenes are captured from the N64 version instead of being pre-rendered on a workstation like many other games of the era. Graphically its a downgrade compared to the N64 version, and the multiplayer only supports two players, known as head to head in this version.

The PlayStation version comes with a head to head mode that has 6 maps, some of which are modified from the Nintendo 64 version. DM1 is based off the Ravine level from the N64, but with some alterations like the removal of water. DM4 is based of the badlands level, DM5 off badlands 2 and DM6 is based off the Gym Class map. DM2 and DM3 look to be unique maps for the PlayStation version.

Captured on Duckstation emulator with bi-linear filtering and rendered at twice the original resolution, with GTE accuracy enabled

Windows

The definitive port of the game, with better graphics and CD audio. Also comes with a proper multiplayer mode that use the Gamespy client (now defunct) to organize games. However there are issues running this game on modern systems, as the game only seems to work on Windows 98/Me systems (95 untested but assumed to work) this could be down to DirectX/Glide support on modern systems.

Below is running on the PCem v17 emulator running Windows 98, emulating a Pentium Overdrive MMX 200Mhz, 3DFX Voodoo graphics, with a Aztech sound galaxy soundcard.

There is also a software rendering mode that renders the games graphics in just the CPU, ideal if you do not have a dedicated 3D accelerator or one that is unsupported. Unfortunately it gives PlayStation level graphics at a weird screen aspect ratio.

Cheats PC

These were hard to find, so I thought i’d put them here

Press the Esc button, select Options and move the mouse cursor to the lower left of the screen and then click, you can then enter the below cheats. Sometimes you may have to move the cursor so it goes off the screen before you can enter a cheat.

DESCRIPTIONCODE TO ENTER
All Weapons & AmmoSWEET
Big head modeEGOTRIP
Display framerateFRAMERATE
Enable all cheatsBOBBYBIRD
God modeBEEFCAKE

External Links

acclaim.com: South Park (archive.org)

WipEout

A futuristic racing game released in 1995 for various platforms.

In Wipeout your mostly battling against the track itself, rather than the rival ships, and at fast speeds the game can become a challenge, requiring quick reflexes. Thankfully it comes with a banging soundtrack, something which is a staple of the Wipeout series of games.

2 Player mode exists for the console versions, but its one of those games that needs a serial cable, two PlayStation or two Saturn’s, TV’s and copies of each game.

PlayStation

Probably the best version, since it has all the graphical effects, and the sound effects when you enter a tunnel. Can also be played on the PlayStation 3 and PSP as part of the PS Classics. Only issue with this port is the low resolution and the pop-in textures on the track, poor draw distance. As a bonus the game supports the use of a NeGcon controller, allowing for an analogue control, useful for turning and for the airbreaks.

On modern emulators you can sort of re-create the PC effects such as higher resolution and texture filtering, but you are still stuck at 30fps. Overclocking the CPU results in the game running too fast.

Duckstation: Enhanced

The game clears up rather well compared to how it originally looked

Sega Saturn

Wipeout was released for the promising Sega Saturn, and serves as an example of the PSY-Q dev kit for the Saturn, which Psygnosis were trying to promote at the time as an alternative to Sega’s devkit (a version of PSY-Q was released for the PlayStation). The soundtrack has been altered with some songs being removed

Screenshots: SSF emulator

Windows

WipEout was ported to the PC a year later than the PlayStation release, and was designed exclusively for ATI video cards and was typically bundled with Windows PC that had those cards. It’s one of the games that supports ATI’s CIF API rather than Direct3D. This limits it to ATI Rage series 3D chipsets, the one in my Dell OptiPlex being one of them, but in order to play CIF games you need to use an older 1999 driver from ATI (The Windows 98 bundled driver has no CIF support), also CIF is only supported under Windows 98, there is no support for Windows NT 4.0. ATI later removed CIF support from its drivers from late 1999 onwards, so you may have to downgrade the driver order to play. A CIF wrapper exists for Windows 7 onwards, although I’ve not tested it.

Screenshots below are captured from a Dell OptiPlex GX1 with an Intel Pentium 2 350mhz and an ATI RAGE 2 with 4Mb of VRAM

The main difference is the ability to play the game in a higher resolution and with the ability to play at a higher framerate, it’s not exactly 60fps on a Rage2 but its a lot more smoother than the PlayStation version. However the sound is not has good as the console versions, with the PC missing the echo sound effects that play when you enter a tunnel. It’s also one of those games that’s stores the music as Redbook CD audio, and the game plays the audio back like a regular CD player would. This gives the option to change the CD (as the game runs from the hard disk) to play your own music.

MS-DOS

Very similar to the accelerated Windows version, but has a lot of enhancements removed, there’s no texture filtering, the framerate is lower and the resolution is reduced, likely because everything is being done on the CPU. You are limited to a low 320 resolution, 16 bit colour.

Personally I would stick with the PlayStation version, or the Saturn if you prefer more detailed textures. The PC versions sacrifice too much for what benefit they give, although you get the opportunity to run in a higher resolution, the missing sound effects are a huge setback and ruin the immersion of the game. besides with modern emulators you can run the game with additional filtering and upscaling, the FPS is still stuck at 30fps.

Hackers

A concept imaging of Wipeout appeared in the movie Hackers, which features slightly different gameplay with obstacles on the track, a crew that speaks to you instead of techno music playing. It was believed to be rendered on a SGI workstation and features perspective correct texture mapping

External Links

WipEout – Archive Website

WipEout – DOS Support

Driver: You are the Wheelman

A classic game, Shame about the tutorial level…

  • Undercover – The main story mode of the game, you complete a set of missions which can range from driving from point A to B within a set amount of time, to escaping or pursuing another car
  • Take a Ride – Sandbox mode, only two cities are available with the other two being unlocked as you progress through the story.
  • Driving Games – A set of activities to choose from, Pursuit, Getaway, Cross Town Checkpoint, Trail Blazer, Survival and Dirt Track. Carnage is a mode exclusive to the PC version.
  • Training – Introduction to the came and the various mechanics and techniques to mastering Driver
  • There are no two player or multiplayer modes, Driver is a single player game.
Desert training level

PlayStation

The version that most people have played and are familiar with. This was the first version of the game to be released. Main attraction was the sandbox Take a Ride mode where you could drive freely until you caught the attention of the police, who would then proceed to ram you to death.

Cop car went vertical, a common occurrence

The game occupies on memory card block per story save, and two blocks for replay data, you can easily fill a memory card with this data, thankfully the game

PAL-land version

Thankfully this game runs in full PAL resolution, no top/bottom bars, likely since the studio that developed the game was based in Europe. There is a difference in the logos, with the NTSC version having a altered blue version of the logo with the works ‘You are the wheelman’ which is also present in the games title. The PC version adapts this for both Europe and US markets (Makes sense since the PC isn’t regionalized compared to the PlayStation releases, PAL/NTSC does not exist on PC)

Windows

Despite this version running in a higher resolution and a capability of having a higher framerate there are a few drawbacks compared to the PlayStation version. there was also a Mac version, although I believe its very similar to the PC version.

Screenshots here are running on an emulated PC (PCem v17), running an Intel Advanced/ZP with a Overdrive MMX processor with a 3DFX Voodoo Graphics card. The operating system is Windows Me. The graphics here will depend on the 3D video card an API, as 3DFX cards used Glide, the Direct3D version may look different.

Differences between the two

One of the main differences is the background music which was changed in the PC version. Also unlike the PlayStation version, there are no separate themes for when you gain felony, in the PlayStation version the music would change when you attracted the attention of the cops, but the PC version remains the same throughout. As someone who grew up on the PS1 version, it was kind of jarring to play Miami without the familiar theme, and for the game to not change when catching the cops attention.

Comparison screenshots below, the PSX version is running in Duckstation at twice the native resolution (640×480) with bilinear filtering and 2x anti-aliasing enabled. With these enhancements we can try to bring the PSX version up to the PC version, which is running at 640X480 resolution with ultra graphics present.

One thing to mention with the PC version, as with all PC games of the era the game is reliant on using Redbook CD audio for the background music, where the games streams the music from the disc itself, like an audio CD. For this to work you had to have an audio cable connected from the CD drive to the motherboard or soundcard, in addition to the IDE cable. On modern systems (with SATA drive onwards) this is no longer supported, and modern Windows versions / soundcards its no longer possible to stream analogue audio from the CD drive, instead being delivered through the IDE or SATA interface, which this game won’t support. The game itself will still run and you can still hear sound effect like the car engine, but you wont hear any music.

  • The spawn points are also different for each of the maps/level, again not sure why these were changed
  • The map layouts were also changed, with some areas being remodelled completely, Dodge Island had a massive change, possibly since it was designed around the PlayStations limitations initially.
  • The cop radio voices were also changed, with some lines being completely different
  • A speedometer is present which gives the speed of the players car in miles per hour
  • The car models themselves had change and I cant say I prefer the PC version of the cards, which are lacking certain details from their textures, the back of the cards look like a blur compared to the PlayStation version.

Upgrading the PlayStation version

Modern emulators are capable of running the game in a higher resolution with additional smoothing effects. Unfortunately there is little we can do for the framerate, that’s stuck at 30fps, or 25 for Pal-land copies. Still at least there’s no boarder, and you can overclock the PlayStation CPU on some of these emulators, which helps with the slowdown when there’s a lot of cars and particle effects on screen.

The game can be upscaled to 640×480 or 800×600, which the PC version also natively supports. Depending on the emulator, higher resolutions can be used but I don’t recommend it unless the emulator supports perspective correction, otherwise those polygons will be jittering aggressively. This video will help explain further on why this occurred on PlayStation games.

Texture filtering can be hit or miss, whilst it helps smooth out the textures, due to the way the PlayStation handled 2D, it can affect the HUD display too, causing excessive blurring on the HUD, making it look like an N64 game.

Exploring the disc

In the NFMV folder there is a exe file called NFMV.EXE however this does not open even in older versions of Windows

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

What a mouthful

A gem based puzzle game, soft of similar to columns, but instead of matching 3 of the same colours, you have gems and crash gems which are used to destroy a gem of the same colour, and sends a counter gem to the rival player. The game does feature various Capcom characters but they are not directly controllable, merely appearing as avatars. The game is over when the players gems reach the top, similar to Tetris.

Arcade

Arcade version uses an arbitrary resolution. One nice feature is when the blocks are beginning to stack up, the music starts to speed up. As the arcade was the original released, the console and PC versions are based on this version.

PlayStation

Supports both memory cards, Seems to have some overscan (Could be due to the emulator), this can be adjusted in the game settings

Sega Saturn

Saturn version seems to run in a higher resolution compared to the PSone version (Could also be emulator related), also in the Saturn version, Dan randomly interrupts a match in arcade mode, which I have never encountered in the PSone version. The loading times are faster compared to the PSone and Windows version.

Microsoft Windows

The game was ported to the PC. The specs required are higher than I thought, which might be an indicator of a poor port. When running on a PCem based Pentium MMX 100Mhz, there was notable slowdown at 640×480 (not the lowest resolution supported) The graphics card was an ATI Mach64 VT2. Running at 800×600 was near unplayable. A Pentium 2 with a S3 Trio64 gave better resolution.

A nice side effect is the music of the game can be played in any media player, since they are wav files, even the sound effects, They are located in the BGM folder. There is also an EMI folder that contains a bunch of files with the EMI extension, which I’m guessing relates to the background and sprite graphics. There is also a goodies folder which contains images that are also in the goodies section of the game, plus a zip file with a Windows theme. The PlayStation also appears to use the EMI format, but the Saturn does not.

There’s an exe file in the movie folder on the PlayStation version, but trying to run it on windows 98 results in an invalid Win32 application error, trying tor un it from does gives a ‘Program too big to fit in memory’ error

Desktop Theme

Desktop theme

A desktop theme comes bundled in the GOODIES folder which can be installed

Comparison

Saturn version (middle) is run on the RetroArch Yabause core with default settings, PlayStation (left) is using the BeetlePSX HW core which also with default settings, the arcade version is on the right.

The graphics are mostly the same across the different versions, with the PC version having the ability to run at a higher resolution.

Score Ranking

Main Menu

Demo

Gameplay

Looking at the PlayStation BIOS interface

The purpose of the BIOS for the PlayStation was to provide an interface for the end user to manage their memory cards and the option to play an audio CD and was automatically displayed when the console was turned on without a disc inserted. Not all games provided a way to manage the memory card so the BIOS was often used for this purpose. Like the hardware, the BIOS went through various revisions and designs which we will look at.

SCPH1000 (Original Japanese launch)

The very first BIOS version, this one has a different cursor appearance and the CD player cannot be accessed unless an audio CD is in the drive.

SCPH1001 (Original US Launch)

Initial BIOS version for the NTSC lands

SCPH1001 (Revised US Model)

A revised version of the US model, the option colour has slightly changed

SCPH1002 (Europe Launch model)

In PAL-land we got this menu instead, using icons and symbols instead of text due to the different languages used in Europe and to reduce the ROM space. This is the BIOS I remember growing up with. Also the Europe Cd player can have different sound effect applied to it, which I couldn’t find in the NTSC BIOS?

SCPH3000 (Japan)

Japans SCPH3000 is equal to our 1001/1002, with their 1000 being a different revision with a buggy GPU. Model numbers would be synchronized with the 500x series.

SCPH5000 (Japan)

SCPH5001 (US)

Sony would continue to revise each hardware

SCPH5002 (Europe)

No visible difference from the 1002?

SCPH7001 (US)

This model introduced SoundScope, this BIOS would remain the same for the SCPH9001 models

SCPH7002 (Europe)

Seems like Sony wanted to unify the BIOS designs worldwide and change Europe to look like the US/Japanese versions

SCPH101 (US PSone redesign)

Or maybe not, since the NTSC versions used the PAL design albeit with different icons, you can briefly see the Soundscope effect in the BIOS before it fades to a black background

SCPH102 (Europe PSone redesign)

Same as the US version

Soundscope

This was a feature from the SCPH7000 models and up, and introduced a visualizer that appeared in time with the music by pressing SELECT on the controller.

Ridge Racer

One of the first textured 3D racing games, and mostly known of being a launch title on the first PlayStation console. However it appeared a year earlier in the arcades. The arcade version runs on much more powerful 3D hardware, runs in a higher resolution, a higher framerate (60fps vs 30fps on the PS1) thanks to it’s Evans & Sutherland 3D hardware, which was previously used to power their simulations and CAD hardware.

Arcade

Released to the arcades in 1993 and running on the System 22 hardware, which was in direct competition with Sega’s Daytona USA and Midway’s Crusin USA.

PlayStation

The game was ported to the original PlayStation in 1994 as a launch title, and was considered to be an acceptable port of the arcade despite the downgrade made in order to run on the PlayStation hardware. The PlayStation port has support for the Namco neGcon controller, that allows the player to replicate analogue steering by twisting the controller as at the time the dual analogue controller wasn’t available.

Ridge Racer Hi-Spec

Runs in a resolution of 320×480 which is higher than the original release but less than the arcade version. The main attraction to this version is the 60fps upgrade and the gouraud shading, which enhances the graphics greatly. However there are only two cars on the track, with only 1 in time attack, and the texture quality has been reduced slightly. I had to disable texture filtering and display then unfiltered since it just looked like an N64 game. The polygon count of the cars and track may also have been educed, since the guide mentions optimised textures and polygons.

This build of the game was bundled on the Ridge Racer Type 4 bonus disc, and was not a standalone version of the game. It was meant to showcase a 60fps game on the original PlayStation hardware, and what sacrifices were needed no be made, as Namco were keen for later Ridge Racer titles to be running in 60fps. Ridge Racer V for the PlayStation 2 would be the first home game to be running at 60fps.

Zeebo

The game was ported to the Zeebo, a home console released in Brazil by TecToy and QUALCOMM, graphics have been slightly altered and the music is rendered entirely in MIDI.

Comparison

PSone on the left, using moderate enhancements in the Duckstation emulator with the Mame emulation of the arcade in the middle and the Hi-Spec version on the right, I wanted to see if I could get the PSone version to match the arcade in terms of image quality by upping the resolution to 640×480 and enabling texture filtering, something with System 22 lacked.

Arcade emulation seems to have issues rendering the flag, which is supposed to flap freely, maybe a physics issue with one of the Texas Instrument DSP?

The game isn’t a straight port and some design changes had to be made, the HUD has been changed around and the track objects have also changed. Some buildings have also been changed to be in line with the PSone limitations. On the right you can see the effects of the shading which affects the art style slightly, giving a more realistic look. The ground textures have also been altered.

It’s worth mentioning that System 22 also supported gouraud shading, but Ridge Racer did not utilise it until Rave Racer in 1995.

Sunset differences between the two ports, The Hi-Spec mode does not have a night time version.

Game over is rendered in 3D for the arcade version, a static image on both PSone versions.

Comparison of the night sky, In the middle of a race the sun will set on the intermediate and time trials courses, to simulate a Le Mans race, the arcade shot is taken from one of the attract demos.

Boundary Break (Arcade)

With the help of some cheats in MAME, we are able to disable the collision detection, allowing us to move outside of the track. This gives some interesting close ups of some in game environment buildings.

Ridge Racer System 22

A look of the city from a different angle

Ridge Racer System 22

In the first tunnel, there is a path that is blocked off and is inaccessible

Ridge Racer System 22

A closer look at the other tunnel, with a view of the cars, normally these aren’t directly accessible. Namco used lower resolution models of the cars, since you typically see these driving in a distance.

Ridge Racer System 22

Another closer view of the cars, the tunnels ends abruptly to the outside, and the cars just disappear, and respawn at the other side after a few seconds.

Ridge Racer System 22

Before the end of the tunnel, theirs an intersection to another tunnel, which leads to a dead end

Ridge Racer System 22

The ground near the bridge, you can see the low detail textures, since System 22 didnt support texture filtering, giving a minecraft appearance

Ridge Racer System 22

Another shot of the beach, sometimes if you break out of a track early on, your car remains on a higher evaluation allowing for a top down view for later sections of the game

A look at the buildings near the beach

Ridge Racer System 22

A closer look at the crowd at the start of the game

Tire Garage Starblade, one of the shops near the overpass. Starblade was a 3D rail shooter

The buildings lack modelling towards the rear, since this view would not be available normally in the game. Also note the gap in the Sky where a bit of the blue sky is visible. Seems Namco displayed an overlay across the sky when it was night time, something the MAME emulator has issues replicating accurately.

Italian tomato, some sort of resturant or obscure namco game?

A closer view of the construction site, the trucks are levitating…

Ridge Racer System 22

View of the city, some of the building’s are quite long

The boats in the beach section

One of the many restaurants near the beech, this building appears multiple times. Also this game predates lightning effects, as the game is supposed to in night time mode but the building appear as if its daytime, however in the starting section, the buildings do change to a night time effect.

A distant island, near the marina

Another restaurant building

Ridge Racer System 22

Alternative view of the dead end tunnel, I’d like to try and do this to the PSOne version.

Todo: Mjlonir emulator was capable of running the system 22 versions of Ridge Racer with graphics acceleration, but as it was based on an older version of MAME it suffered from a lot of emulation and graphics issues, and uses an outdated rom set. Vivanonno was another emulator that was worth a look at.