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PAL optimised list; feedback welcome
Topic Started: Oct 18 2007, 09:00 AM (13,216 Views)
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I've started working on a list of how all the PAL releases compare to the NTSC ones in terms of speed and resolution.
I'm always very annoyed by sloppy PAL conversions that seem to run in slo-mo and have big black borders on the top and bottom of the screen.

I could be wrong on some games because I haven't thoroughly tested everything.

Any feedback on games that aren't on the list or are listed wrong is very welcome :)

Anyway on the the list ^_^

N64 Pal Optimised list

Game Full Speed Full Screen
007 The World Is Not Enough Y Y
1080 Snowboarding Y Y
Banjo Kazooie Y Y
Banjo Tooie Y Y
Beetle Adventure Racing Y N
Blast Corps N Y
Body Harvest Y Y
Bomberman 64 N N
Buck Bumble Y N
Conker’s Bad Fur Day Y Y
Daikatana N N
Diddy Kong Racing Y Y
Donkey Kong 64 Y Y
Excitebike 64 Y Y
Extreme-G Y Y
Extreme-G 2 (XG2) Y Y
F-Zero X N Y
F1 Pole Position 64 ? N
F1 World Grand Prix Y ?
Goldeneye 007 Y Y
Hybrid Heaven Y Y
Hydro Thunder Y Y
Jet Force Gemini Y Y
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards N Y
Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time N Y
Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask N Y
Lylatwars N Y
Mario Kart 64 N N
Mario Party N Y
Mario Party 2 N Y
Mario Party 3 N Y
Mario Tennis N Y
Mickey’s Speedway USA Y Y
Mischief Makers N Y
Mission Impossible Y Y
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon N Y
Paper Mario N Y
Perfect Dark Y Y
Pilotwings Y N
Pokémon Snap Y Y
Pokémon Stadium ? Y
Pokémon Stadium 2 ? Y
Quake Y Y
Quake II Y Y
Ridge Racer 64 ? Y
Rush 2 – Extreme Racing USA Y Y
San Francisco Rush Y Y
Shadow Man N Y
Snowboard Kids Y Y
Space Station Silicon Valley ? Y
Star Wars Battle for Naboo Y Y
Star Wars Episode 1 Racer Y Y
Star Wars Rogue Squadron Y Y
Star Wars Shadows of the Empire Y Y
Super Mario 64 N N
Super Smash Bros Y Y
Top Gear Rally Y ?
Turok 2 Y Y
V-Rally ‘99 ? N
Wave Race 64 N Y
Winback Covert Operations Y Y
Yoshi’s Story N ?

A little explanation of why some PAL conversions are so bad.
Games are desined for NTSC televisions which run at a 60Hz refresh rate and in a 480i resolution. PAL televisions on the other hand run at a 50Hz refresh rate and in a 576i resolution. To make games display well on PAL televisions they therefore must be slightly altered. i.e. the resolution must be upgraded and the framerate must be downgraded. When this isn't done the PAL release will have black borders because of the resolution and it will run in 5/6 of the intended speed because all the frames are still displayed but at a slower rate.

Edit: I've figured out that Shadow Man runs at 5/6 of the intended speed on PAL. That was wrong for a really long time. Wave Race also had big black borders on NTSC so the resolution has been updated for PAL and can be considered "full screen".
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Yeah some games really had a bad conversion like Wave Race 64. Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask were also quite poor running in 5/6 speed and with some small framerate problems that weren't in the NTSC releases.
Quite funny (or not :-/) to see how almost all Nintendo's own titles got really poor PAL conversions while some mediocre third party games got perfect PAL conversions.

To alxbly: you recognise me probably from the gamefaqs boards as I post on the n64 hardware/ general boards occasionally :)
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I've added a bunch of games I'm fairly sure about and changed Beetle Adventure Racing.

When a game is full screen it means that the resolution of the game has been upgraded for PAL televisions, so all games that are full screen in PAL will look a little better than their NTSC counterparts. I count games as being full screen as long as they don't have bigger black borders than their NTSC counterparts. Some NTSC releases also had big black borders like Mischief Makers.
A good example of a fully PAL optimised game is Star Wars Episode 1 Racer. I own both the PAL and NTSC versions of the game and because of the higher resolution and equal gamespeed I actually prefer the PAL version.
I don't think there is any game in which they've altered the graphics for the PAL version, the best you can hope for is a fixed higher resolution while keeping the framerate steady.

I think it's a good idea to add content changes between PAL and NTSC versions to the list but this will be a lot of work for sure and something I definitely can't do alone.

A few to start with:

Blast Corps - there is a big glitch in the USA version of the game that allows large portions of levels to be skipped. It works by holding down the Z-button while being close to buildings to blow them up. This was removed for the PAL and Japanese versions and some later USA releases.

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon - quite a shocking difference between the PAL/USA and Japanese releases are the Star Blocks. Those Star Blocks were actually blocks with swastika's in the Japanese version. The Japanese version also had some spoken text in the cutscenes that was removed in the PAL/USA releases.

Mario Kart 64 - a lot of voices of the characters are different in the Japanese version compared to the PAL/NTSC releases.

F-Zero X - a craft called the Blood Hawk in the PAL/NTSC version was called the Hell Hawk in the Japanese version.
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I did some tests with Pilotwings 64 and it seems it was optimised in speed for PAL. Quite surprising since Super Mario 64 had one of the worst PAL conversions and the both of them were launch games from Nintendo.
I assumed it was another lazy conversion since it has huge black borders but apparently not :) .

I also did some tests with Mission Impossible on an emulator and the speed is at least optimised. The downside of testing this with an emulator is that I can't check for borders <_< .
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Interesting, I've never known that.

In Mystical Ninja it's indeed straight so it's the sun symbol, makes sence now why they replaced it with a sun drawing in the western releases ^_^ .
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