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RetroSonicHero

Sonic The Hedgehog (1991) With CD Quality Audio! (works on real hardware)

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Posted (edited)

NOTE: PLEASE READ THIS FULLY SO THERE ISN'T ANY CONFUSION. I TRIED TO MAKE THIS AS USER FRIENDLY AS POSSIBLE.

Intro
This was a project that I had mostly completed a while ago, but decided to revisit recently to do one last revision.  Thanks to @bluejay for being the one to show my 2nd revision to y'all a few months ago!

Sonic 1 had a stellar soundtrack.  One unique thing about the way it was made made was that, the OST's main composer, Masato Nakamura, used actual instruments and synthesizers for each song, and only after that would Sega's sound team rework each track to work on the Mega Drive's FM chip.  These original recordings (as in the ones that were made before the music was reworked for the Genesis) are known as "Demo Tracks", and they were later released under the "Sonic The Hedgehog 1 & 2 Soundtrack" CD album by Dreams Come True. Here's what Green Hill Zone sounds like:
 

Pretty sick, right?

 

I remember thinking to myself: "It would be so cool if I could manage to get these songs to play in-game!".  And by using an open-source Sega CD port of Sonic 1 from http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_1_for_SegaCD, I made my dream a reality by creating my own build that uses the Demo music from that album!

 

Keep in mind, I've ripped all of the songs from that album myself via my own personal CD copy of it, so I can confirm that absolutely zero audio compression has been made to the music, and each song is in its original .WAV Redbook Audio quality!  No MP3s or OGGs are used here.  The only thing I did was extend the length of each song.  The main Zone themes, the Special Stage theme, and the Boss themes have been extended to be 10 minutes long. This is because Redbook Audio has the fundamental flaw, in that, it can't seamlessly loop audio tracks after they end.  My solution was to edit in my own seamless loops via Audacity, and have them play longer than the game's 10 minute level timer so you'd never hear the track end within normal play.  This comes with the cost of the music taking up quite a bit of storage space.

 

As for the music that the album didn't have such as the drowning theme and the power-up theme, I've used the drowning music from Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, and a small clip from the instrumental version of You Can Do Anything from the Sonic CD Japanese OST.

But anyway, with the introduction out of the way, lemme briefly talk about which version you are going to want to download depending on what you're using to play this.

NOTE: USA BIOS IS REQUIRED!

 

 

Emulation and EverDrive PRO/Mega SD

 

A couple of things to note beforehand:

 

 

- I've only been able to get this to work on Kega Fusion. As of right now, it does NOT work with Retroarch, but it may work with other standalone Emulators. (this is actually mentioned on the Sonic Retro page for the port)

 

- For the Mega SD, you might need to rename the .WAV files to .BIN and update the cuesheet to have the WAV files instead listed as "BINARY".  This is very easy to do, and you can use Google as a quick reference if you have trouble figuring it out.

 

- The EverDrive PRO setup is the simplest.  Just drag the folder onto your SD card and load it from there.  As long as you have the USA Sega CD Bios located in the folder that the EverDrive expects, it should load without any issues as long as you at least have MEGAOS V4.01 installed or later.

 

Sonic 1 - Sega CD Port FULL

 

This build includes the full 10 minute songs.  So if you're not using a burned CD-R with an actual Sega CD, this is the version to go with.  However, this build is also considerably larger, being about 1 GB in size uncompressed.  Which is obviously too big to fit on even the largest CD-Rs.  

If you wanna play this on a burned CD-R you need to use the version below:

 

 

Burned CD-R On Actual SEGA CD Hardware

 

This build was designed with 650 MB CD-Rs or higher in mind.  As such, sacrifices needed to be made.  All songs don't run as long, and will eventually fade out and restart. (you can find the length for each song in the README).  With that said, I did my best to make the most out of the storage limitations; this version is 648 MB in size, just barely enough. So as long as your CD burning software doesn't add any extra data, it should fit just fine.

 

Speaking of which, here's what you need to know if you're gonna use this version:

 

 

- As listed earlier, both versions expect the USA Bios and won't boot otherwise.  Meaning, this game won't launch unless you're using a USA Sega CD.  Alternatively, if you have an EU or JP system, you can use a flashcart to Bios-swap. (check the manual of your flashcart beforehand to make sure it supports it).

 

- You'll need to have a basic level of knowledge of how Sega CD game burning works.  Be sure to check Youtube and/or the manual for your CD burning software to familiarize yourself with this.  I can't really give a guide because the process on how to do this can vary depending on what software you're using.

 

- You must use a CD-R, as CD-RWs will NOT work.

 

Be sure to set the writing speed to 2x in your CD burner software.

 

Sonic 1 - Sega CD Port (burned CD version)

 

 

Conclusion

 

I think I've said all that I need to!  If you're having any issues, feel free to describe your issue in this thread, and we can try troubleshooting.  I or someone else will be willing to help you out.  This project was a lot of fun to do, and it was very cool to see these songs finally being played in-game at their original quality.  I hope everyone who sees this thread gets something out of it, and enjoys playing this as much as I enjoyed making it!

 

Credits

Don't forget to check these guys out!  They're pretty cool, and this wouldn't be possible without them!

 

http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_1_for_SegaCD - all credit goes to the people listed in the description.  Massive thanks to the technical geniuses who coded this port. 

 

"Dreams Come True" - property owner for both the Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 OST.

Sega Enterprises, Ltd. - property owner for Sonic The Hedgehog.  No copyright infringement intended.

 

Edited by RetroSonicHero
did some reformatting to make it easier on the eyes
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This is awesome. Thanks for sharing all the extra info!

 

Unless you somehow generated a bunch of money and bought a Mega SD and a Sega CD, how did ya figure out how things work/don’t work on each device?

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, bluejay said:

This is awesome. Thanks for sharing all the extra info!

Sure! I enjoyed doing it after all.

 

5 hours ago, bluejay said:

Unless you somehow generated a bunch of money and bought a Mega SD and a Sega CD, how did ya figure out how things work/don’t work on each device?

Research more than anything.  I took a look at the Mega SD's manual and used Google and Youtube as references as to what the Sega CD can and can't read, and what you would need to do to burn games to discs.  I also listened to other people's personal experiences in general.  redhotsonic, as an example, is a Youtuber who has burned multiple Sonic CD protos to disc, so I figured that he'd have a pretty good idea as to how this stuff works. 

 

Unfortunately, I can't test it on a Mega SD or Sega CD as I simply don't have the money for the hardware, but considering what the people who coded the port were saying and based off of what I can confirm from research, they should work in the event that these steps are followed.

Edited by RetroSonicHero
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6 hours ago, RetroSonicHero said:

Research more than anything.  I took a look at the Mega SD's manual and used Google and Youtube as references as to what the Sega CD can and can't read, and what you would need to do to burn games to discs.  I also listened to other people's personal experiences in general.  redhotsonic, as an example, is a Youtuber who has burned multiple Sonic CD protos to disc, so I figured that he'd have a pretty good idea as to how this stuff works. 

 

Unfortunately, I can't test it on a Mega SD or Sega CD as I simply don't have the money for the hardware, but considering what the people who coded the port were saying and based off of what I can confirm from research, they should work in the event that these steps are followed.

Well, wow. I really respect the amount of effort you must have put into this, regardless on how much you enjoyed doing it. I generally never end up with a finished product after starting a project, so big respect to you on actually finishing this the way you did. 

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1 minute ago, bluejay said:

Well, wow. I really respect the amount of effort you must have put into this, regardless on how much you enjoyed doing it. I generally never end up with a finished product after starting a project, so big respect to you on actually finishing this the way you did. 

Thanks!  I'm glad I was able to complete this as well, as I struggle with similar things.

 

Here's hoping to us being more consistent in the future! 🍺

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17 hours ago, RetroSonicHero said:

- As listed earlier, both versions expect the USA Bios and won't boot otherwise.  Meaning, this game won't launch unless you're using a USA Sega CD.  Alternatively, if you have an EU or JP system, you can use a flashcart to Bios-swap. (check the manual of your flashcart beforehand to make sure it supports it).

It's been ages since I burned any CDs, but there's a utility out there that will change the region protection on the disc image itself.

 

Here's one: https://www.zophar.net/utilities/segacdutil/convscd.html

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1 hour ago, Asaki said:

It's been ages since I burned any CDs, but there's a utility out there that will change the region protection on the disc image itself.

 

Here's one: https://www.zophar.net/utilities/segacdutil/convscd.html

Interesting... I actually wasn't aware of this software.

Well in that case, this is definitely a good option for people who don't have USA consoles.

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