10 NTSC Games That Are Better Than Their PAL Counterparts
The image differences between NTSC and PAL games don’t matter much these days, but they used to be a big deal in the late 20th/early 21st century. Since North America and Europe developed different electrical grids, the former outputs at 60hz while the latter outputs at 50hz. Naturally, PAL games running at 50hz end up introducing certain complications.
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The 60/50hz distinction means that PAL games run at a lower frame rate than their NTSC counterparts, turning classic titles into something borderline unplayable. In some dire cases, the PAL ports of games either change or remove content for the worse – as if to run salt into the wound.
10 Super Metroid
Super Metroid is arguably the SNES game that suffered the most in the conversion to PAL. Going from the silky smooth NTSC release to the PAL version can feel downright painful. Super Metroid’s PAL release is much slower than it should be, lending Samus a weight that errs on clunkiness. For a game whose level design is dependent on tight reflexes and precise platforming, Super Metroid’s PAL release is nothing short of a worst case scenario.
9 Sonic The Hedgehog
It goes without saying, but a game like Sonic the Hedgehog just isn’t going to thrive on a PAL console. The original Sonic for Sega Genesis was built around the character’s speed and maintaining momentum, arguably more so than later entries due to the lack of the Spin Dash. Since the PAL release is slower, Sonic is harder to control and the level design doesn’t flow as naturally. Sonic runs at what feels like a light jog when he should be moving at the speed of sound.
8 Fatal Fury Special
For whatever reason, while Fatal Fury Special was developed for a 32-meg cartridge for its NTSC and NTSC-J releases, the PAL version swapped over to a much smaller 24-meg cartridge. Naturally, losing all this space resulted in the European port of Fatal Fury Special losing a fair amount of content.
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Roughly five whole levels are cut out of the game including several characters. Not just that, losing space on the cartridge also meant the removal of a few character animations. Consequently, the lack of cartridge space also means Fatal Fury Special’s unlockable character is available right away in the PAL release.
7 Tales Of Eternia
It’s worth keeping in mind that Tales of Eternia was localized on different consoles between NTSC and PAL regions. NTSC regions got the game as Tales of Destiny II when it was first released for the PlayStation, whereas PAL regions got Tales of Eternia when it was later ported to the PSP. Unfortunately, the original PSP version features a game breaking bug that crashes the game and prevents progression from being made.
6 Tekken 3
PAL ports of fighting games always come with some issues. This doesn’t tend to be a problem nowadays, but it briefly was one when the PlayStation Classic was being released. For whatever reason, Sony included the PAL versions of several titles – including Tekken 3. One of the best fighting games on the PlayStation, Tekken 3’s PAL release lacks the fluidity and stability needed to fully appreciate the fighting game. Which really puts into perspective just how mishandled the PlayStation Classic was.
5 Devil May Cry
While both Devil May Cry 2 and 3 feature 60hz conversions for their PAL releases, the original Devil May Cry wasn’t so lucky. The first game’s PAL release was a disaster across the board, failing to convey the full scope of Devil May Cry at virtually every turn. The screen is framed by thick black borders, the image is slightly stretched, and gameplay just doesn’t feel right. Devil May Cry is a game all about tight reflexes, which the PAL version doesn’t respect.
4 Disgaea: Hour Of Darkness
The average video game dub is nothing to write home about, but Disgaea: Hour of Darkness’ English localization is top notch in every sense. The game’s English track has since been re-recorded, but the PlayStation original is still the definitive version (in large part thanks to Amanda Winn-Lee’s turn as Etna). Unfortunately, the PAL release of Disgaea gutted the English dub in an effort to save on disk space – a move which deprived fans of a truly fantastic localization.
3 Persona 3
Persona 3’s PAL port is so much worse than its NTSC release that it’s almost comical. In one of the worst PAL conversions ever, the European version of Persona 3 runs at roughly half the game’s intended speed. Keep in mind that this is an RPG that’s already naturally 60-80 hours long depending on how much side content you do.
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The fact the PAL release inherently slows down everything makes for a grueling playthrough. Exploring Tartarus becomes a genuine nightmare and battles take an eternity to get through. Worse, Persona 3’s slowdown has the effect of interfering with character animations – leading to incredibly awkward and stilted gestures both in and out of battle. Persona 3’s PAL port is horrific.
2 Breath Of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Rather than just slowing down the gameplay or introducing some technical hiccups, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter’s PAL port makes fundamental design changes that actually ruins the whole experience. Dragon Quarter is built around the idea that you won’t be able to complete the game in one playthrough, Restarting from the beginning periodically while keeping any items, skills, or experience.
The PAL version of Dragon Quarter removes the Restart mechanic altogether, forcing players to beat the game in a single playthrough. While this is technically possible, DQ was blatantly not designed with this in mind so the European release of the game is ultimately much harder to actually complete. It’s like a roguelike forbidding you from ever starting over.
1 Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-
Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN’s PAL release is one of the few modern examples of a European port dropping the ball. Not only does -SIGN- region lock players – cutting off PAL players from the majority of the game’s player base – several DLC characters were left unusable since the PAL ports were never actually patched with future updates. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- was ostensibly abandoned for a good chunk of players.
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NTSC-C is a regional lockout created in 2003 by Sony Computer Entertainment for the official launch of its PlayStation 2 gaming system into the mainland Chinese market.
Mainland Chinese market
The system's original model, then called PlayStation 2, was launched throughout 2000, 2001 and 2002 in Japan, North America, Europe, Oceania and South East Asia, but it was not introduced in mainland China because of the local mass piracy system. In November 2003, Sony China Chairman Hiroshi Soda explained the situation:
Sony was previously reluctant to introduce PlayStation 2 into the Chinese market due to the piracy problem. But we changed our minds as we think that the piracy situation cannot be controlled 100 percent, not only in China but also in many other countries and regions in the world. We have to be courageous, to face the reality.
However the situation changed in November 2003 as Sony China announced the PlayStation 2 (SCPH-50009 "Satin Silver" type) was planned to be launched in mainland China for Christmas, official release date December 20, 2003. Sales would be first limited to five large industrialized cities Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu, then distribution would start in the whole country. However, on the eve of Christmas, arguing an "unfavorable environment," Sony China delayed the mainland release to next year with the system's new "slim" type PSTwo and sales limited to Shanghai and Guangzhou. Meanwhile, Kenichi Fukunaga, a Sony Japan spokesman in Tokyo, reportedly declared "the company simply had not prepared in time for the China launch."
The "NTSC/C" regional lockout for mainland China was specially created as the system is also a home NTSCDVD player with its specific Zone 6 regional code which is not compatible with the bordering countries (Japan is Zone 2; South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are all Zone 3, etc.)
The first batch of NTSC/C games was released in December 2005. Along with Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, third-party publishers included local branches of Bandai and Namco among others. NTSC-C PSTwo type is SCPH-70006 CB ("Black").
"C" stands for China. However Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are part of the NTSC-J region which was initially created for Japan.
The term NTSC-C is used to distinguish regions in console video games, which use televisions of NTSC or PAL display standards. NTSC-C is used as the name of the video gaming region of continental China, despite the country's use of PAL as the official TV standard instead of NTSC.
Games designated as part of this region will not run on hardware designated as part of the NTSC-J (that include Traditional Chinese 中文版 version for Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, instead of Simplified Chinese for China), NTSC-US and PAL (or PAL-E, "E" stands for Europe) mostly due to the regional differences of the PAL (SECAM was also used in the early 1990s) and NTSC TV standards, but there is also a concern of copyright protection through [[re
- ^Sony China announces launch of PlayStation 2 in the China Mainland market, Beijing, November 28th, 2003
- ^PlayStation 2 finally comes to China, Paul Johnson, November 29, 2003
- ^"Sony delays PlayStation 2 launch in China".
- ^Sony cancel PS2 launch in China, Rich Kavanagh, December 24, 2003
- ^Sony finally launch PlayStation 2 in China, Rich Kavanagh, January 07, 2004
- ^Sony delays PlayStation 2 launch in China, China Daily, 2003-12-25
Television publication territory that covers most of Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe
The PAL region is a television publication territory that covers most of Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and Oceania. It is so named because of the PAL (Phase Alternating Line) television standard traditionally used in some of those regions (with SECAM used in others), as opposed to the NTSC standard traditionally used in Japan and most of North America.
Recently, as most countries have stopped using PAL, in regards to video games, the term "PAL region" means the list of regions it covered in the past.
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(December 2014)
Below countries and territories currently use or once used the PAL system. Many of these have converted or are currently converting PAL to DVB-T (most countries), DVB-T2 (most countries), DTMB (China, Hong Kong and Macau) or ISDB (Sri Lanka, Maldives, Botswana and part of South America).
PAL B, D, G, H, K or I
- Brazil (H264 video over ISDB-T, at [email protected] Hz (SD) or [email protected] Hz (HD), simulcast with digital format in ISDB-Tb, also called SBTVD), an update to ISDB-T, started in December 2007. PAL broadcasting continues until 2023.
Countries and territories that have ceased using PAL
The following countries no longer use PAL for terrestrial broadcasts, and are in process of converting from PAL (cable) to DVB-T.
60 Hz operation
During the mid-1990s, the practice of modifying consoles such as the Super NES and Mega Drive to allow 60 Hz operation became somewhat common among PAL gamers, due to the rise in NTSC/60 Hz capable PAL TVs and the relatively simple nature of the modifications. Beginning with the Amiga CD32, which introduced more powerful hardware, developers had the ability to output at full PAL resolution without borders or stretching, although games still typically ran slower and all ran at 50 Hz. Beginning with the Dreamcast and continuing through the sixth generation of consoles, developers began including PAL60 modes in their games. Games that run at PAL60 are produced with the same colour encoding system as 50 Hz PAL signals, but with the NTSC resolution and field rate of 60 Hz, providing an identical gaming experience to their NTSC counterparts, however some games, such as Tekken 4 and Tekken 5, will actually use the NTSC color mode when in 60 Hz mode; these games will appear in black and white on PAL-only televisions. Brazil's PAL-M always operates in 60 Hz.
Criticism of PAL region video games
Games ported to PAL have historically been known for having game speed and frame rates inferior to their NTSC counterparts. Since the NTSC standard is 60 fields/30 frames per second but PAL is 50 fields/25 frames per second, games were typically[dubious – discuss] slowed by approximately 16.7% in order to avoid timing problems or unfeasible code changes. Full motion video rendered and encoded at 30 frames per second by the Japanese/US (NTSC) developers was often down-sampled to 25 frames per second or considered to be 50 frames per second video for PAL release—usually by means of 3:2 pull-down, resulting in motion judder. In addition to this, PAL's increased resolution was not utilised during conversion, creating a pseudo letterbox effect with borders top and bottom, which looks similar to a 14:9 letterbox, and leaving the graphics with a slightly squashed look due to an incorrect aspect ratio caused by the borders. This was especially prevalent during the 8-bit and 16-bit generations when 2D graphics were used almost exclusively. The gameplay of many games with an emphasis on speed, such as the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, suffered in their PAL incarnations.
Despite the possibility and popularity of 60 Hz PAL games, many high-profile games, particularly for the PlayStation 2 console, were released in 50 Hz-only versions. Square Enix have long been criticised by PAL gamers for their poor PAL conversions. Final Fantasy X, for example, runs in 50 Hz mode only, meaning it runs 16.7% slower than the NTSC release and features top and bottom borders; while this practice was common in previous generations, it was considered inexcusable by contemporary consumers at the time of release. In contrast, the Dreamcast was the first system to feature PAL60, and the overwhelming majority of PAL games offered 50 and 60 Hz modes with no slow speeds. The PAL GameCube also offered 60 Hz on almost every title released. The Xbox featured a system-wide PAL60 option in the Dashboard, with almost every game supporting PAL60. Seventh generation PAL consoles Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii also feature system-wide 60 Hz support.
As of the eighth generation, consoles such as the Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch have all games solely in 60 Hz, with 50 Hz only being used for video playback and, in the Wii U's case, backwards compatibility with Wii and Virtual Console games.
However, this problem does not occur in Brazil's PAL-M since it is mostly based on the NTSC standard (with its frame rate operating at nearly 30 frames per second) but not on the encoding of the color carrier which is similar to that of PAL.
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